All Potted Up-Left Side

It’s High Time To Legalize Marijuana Across The Nation, For Recreational As Well As Medical Use



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Therein lies part of the resistance, of course. If marijuana were available over the counter for both recreational and medical use, like cigarettes, pharmaceutical companies—which, as all those television commercials demonstrate, are nothing more than legal and highly skilled drug pushers—would see a drop in profits.

It’s hard to know why there’s still so much resistance beyond that. I suspect it has something to do with pot’s lingering association with the 1960s counterculture, which old-timers still see as anti-American.

But it’s high time (pun intended, I suppose) that we jettison those antiquated ideas. For the sake of simple justice, if nothing else, marijuana should at least be decriminalized across the country. It is outrageous that in our own state, possession of less than a half ounce carries penalties of up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine. Far worse, the buddy who sold you the bag you needed to get through the holidays with your dysfunctional family could conceivably go to jail for up to 10 years!

It’s only a matter of time, of course, before all of this falls by the wayside. Several recent surveys show that as many as 85 percent of Americans favor legalization for medical use, and a clear majority (52 percent, according to the Pew Research Center) support legalization, pure and simple.

A lot of this has to do with a changing of the generational guard. Just as most young Americans support gay marriage, today’s 20-somethings overwhelmingly support pot legalization (65 percent, according to the Pew poll).

Alas, we’re still stuck with the Steve Doocys of the world—and his kindred spirits in Congress and state legislatures. Sure, they provide comic relief—all the more so, I’m sure, if you watch the YouTube video while stoned.  

But it would be a crime to kick back, light up the bong and wait till these people die off. The push for legalization is building momentum, and now is the time to seize that opportunity—for the sake of revenue-starved states; for the sake of people who could benefit from it medically; for the sake of people who’ve been fined and incarcerated for simple possession and sales; for the sake of people who just want to catch a buzz and hear that old Pink Floyd album as they’ve never heard it before; and maybe most of all, for the sake of people like Steve Doocy, who clearly just need to chill.

Tom Robotham is an award-winning writer and an adjunct professor of American studies at Old Dominion University. He was born and raised in New York City but has lived in Norfolk for the past 20 years. He can be reached at tomrobotham@gmail.com or at the Taphouse Grill in Ghent.