Marijuana legalization a good thing? We’re not buying it
The proponents of Question 7, marijuana legalization, would like you to believe it’s a black and white issue. And it is if you believe the following:
• Pot is not harmful.
• Legalizing it would not lead to any more pot smokers than we have now.
• The prevalence of marijuana would not lead to any more addiction problems than we have now.
• Our prisons are full of inmates guilty of no other offense than smoking pot.
• Our police officers spend most of their time chasing down people guilty of no other crime than smoking an occasional joint.
If you choose to do more research, be ready to process an immense number of studies from both sides. Be prepared to be “alarmed” by statistics, such as there are more arrests for pot in Nevada than rape, murder, manslaughter and robbery combined. Of course there are … there are also more arrests for shoplifting than there are for bank robberies, but that doesn’t mean there’s a failed policy on petty theft.
Our recommendation is that you use your common sense when you cast your vote. The Regulation of Marijuana Initiative would allow those 21 years old and older to legally possess, use, and transfer 1 ounce or less of marijuana. Penalties are also stiffened for those who drive under the influence of marijuana or sell it to minors. Use in public would be prohibited.
Here’s what our common sense tells us:
• Pot is harmful, has addictive qualities and negatively alters behavior. Most people don’t need to play the six-degrees of separation game to find friends and relatives whose lives have been changed for the worse by overuse of marijuana.
• More people will use marijuana if it is legalized, and it will be more readily available in households and elsewhere to those under 21. To say that there would be no additional users of pot if it were legal seems ludicrous. There are many law abiding citizens who would use pot if it were legal. We’d have more intoxicated drivers on the roadway and more addicts in need of counseling and treatment.
• We’re not aware of any war on marijuana or prisons jammed with pot users. There is a war on the drug culture as a whole, however, as there should be. And, as is the case in any war, sometimes strategy changes are necessary. But in this case, we believe it would be a mistake to legalize marijuana and that it would send the wrong message.
We have a litany of other concerns (e.g. no law enforcement agencies support legalization; the pot would be grown in Nevada; most of the money funding the legalization campaign is from out of state, etc.), and they all add up to a solid No on Question 7.