Saturday, November 7, 2009

Legalize Weed? Breckenridge, CO Legalizes Marijuana

I'm a little late on this one, but better late than never.  I admit it, I think we should legalize pot.  I think if you want to smoke the dried, ground up buds of this weed, you should have the right.  If, after a hard day's work you decide that marijuana, not a martini is right for you, then go for it.  Like alcohol and tobacco, it should be manufactured, taxed, and regulated.  I think you should be able to buy it in a store similar to today's liquor or state stores.  Although people should be allowed to grow a few plants of their own, I think with legalization, most people would buy their weed in stores through a trusted purveyor where quality control, tHc level, even price, were known quantities.
When taking any drug, you should know you are making a choice.  Is it ever a good thing to introduce into your body a foreign substance that changes it phisiologically just for the reason of a heightened, or lowered sense of awareness?  I think not.  Is it a good thing that every once in a while you kick up your feet, socialize with friends, and smoke a joint?  I think so.
 
Like alcohol and tobacco, there are risks.  Pot is a stimulant.  It makes your heart beat a little faster, raises blood pressure, squeezes the arteries a little, and the smoke can cause emphysema and other lung problems.
There is also the question of the cost of the war on drugs, and putting people in jail for possesion. 

"Marijuana arrests in the United States doubled between 1991 and 1995. In 1995, more than one-half-million people were arrested for marijuana offenses. Eighty-six percent of them were arrested for marijuana possession. Tens of thousands of people are now in prison or marijuana offenses. An even greater number are punished with probation, fines, and civil sanctions, including having their property seized, their driver's license revoked, and their employment terminated. Despite these civil and criminal sanctions, marijuana continues to be readily available and widely used."
So, it takes it's toll on society.  Suffice it to say that if sold and taxed as we do cigarettes today, societal costs for something that many people engage in, would come down.
Lots more to say about the subject but as this is a blogpost and not an essay, best left to comments and answers.  The following story is what sparked my posting about my long-held views on marijuana.  Also, not to muddle the waters, I decided not to address the issue of medical marijuana.
For my libertarian readers, I believe that the decision to smoke pot in the first place is an individual choice, and secondly a states right issue.  We probably agree on this one!

By the way, Breckenridge voters passed their amendement with a 72% majority of city voters!

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. —  Voters in this Rocky Mountain resort town will decide next week whether to legalize pot for all adults at a time when the movement to allow medical marijuana is gaining steam around the country. 
A measure before Breckenridge voters in Tuesday's municipal election would legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana along with bongs, pipes and other pot paraphernalia. Supporters of the measure say it would inch the whole state closer to full legalization.
Other cities around the country have taken similar action in recent years, including a measure in Denver that decriminalized possession.
Local ordinances to allow some recreational marijuana use have passed in Seattle, San Francisco and other cities, though in all those places the law is considered symbolic because it conflicts with state and federal laws. Alaska allows possession of up to 4 ounces of marijuana in one's home, and advocates in California want to ask voters in next year's election to legalize pot.
Links:
Breckenridge Pushes to Legalize Marijuana
Myths and Facts About Marijuana
Marijuana Causes

6 comments:

  1. As someone who works in a NJ state prison, and, specifically, is assigned to the inmates who are in the drug treatment program (a real cash cow!) I agree with legalizing marijuana. Shoot, I'll go even further--legalize 'em all! Have laws against driving while under the influence, just as with alcohol. If someone wants to put poison in his body, then so be it. Let him suffer the consequences of that choice. It's very frustrating to see pedophiles get early parole while we waste money keeping drug users behind bars. Or, in my case, housing them in dormitory style units and a big building with a nice blue roof (aka the 'Blue Roof Inn').

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  2. OK Sheila, I admit I was afraid to read your comment for fear of a tongue lashing and really did not want to go point for point. Surprise! I agree with philosophically with your thoughts that if a person wants to poison his or her body that's their choice. But practically, and morally it's a different matter, in my mind. I also agree that the laws seem to be turned backwards when addressing people convicted of possession of controlled dangerous substances vs pedophiles and murderers. I have been to Bayside several times not to visit, but on business. I think of myself as quite knowledgeable about the prisons here but I don't know about the "blue roof inn."
    I assume from your comment that's what they call this particular unit?

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  3. After the re-read. Just to make clear my point. We agree on the legalization of marijuana, then also agree philosophically with the legalization of other drugs (if they want to poison themselves, let them). But I think legalizing more serious drugs presents more problems for society. I don't want to see meth and heroin users driving anything but I admit they provide a greater strain on society than simply smoking pot. The more serious users obviously need more help and it sounds like you deal with some of that in your work. It's a conundrum, I admit.

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  4. I tend to have the same effect on most people who know me. They expect vigorous disagreement then say "oh"when they see I indeed agree with them. I've had many people in my life refer to me as "unpredictable". I don't want to see people on harder drugs out and about making us unsafe, either, but I think stricly enforcing the law which makes driving under the influence will keep people stoned on heroin from getting behind the wheel. The tricky part will be establishing what constitutes "impaired". We have a standard when it come to the blood alcohol level--I wonder how feasible it is to come up with unacceptable levels of other drugs. I think it's completely hypocritical to single out certain drugs while letting alcohol remain legal. You know that I am pro-life--I am also against the death penalty. And yes, the "blue roof inn" is part of Compound C at Southern State Correctional. If you have been to Bayside, you have seen it, on your right as you drive the main road into Bayside. The blue roof is quite striking.

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  5. Whoa I should have proof read that last comment! I think the law ought to be strictly enforced when it comes to driving under the influence of drugs. I hope you got that from the mish mush and the typo. I put in the anti death penalty statement as an example of how I try not to be a hypocrite. Sorry if it was a bit confusing. Again, I tend to have that effect.

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  6. Hi Sheila, let us both agree that with the amount of posts and comments that we do make, typos do happen to everyone. I think we can gleam the idea the other was trying to make from content, and if not, ask the question as to what was meant.
    I am very pleased to learn that you are against the penalty. I don't have any sympathy for murderers but I don't want a further killing or murder on behalf of society, or me. Also, you probably wouldn't be surprised how many good folks who attend church every week are pro-life and pro-death penalty. In my mind, it does not follow suit.
    In the old testament it is said "An eye for an eye" but also said that man should not eat bottomdwellers like lobster and catfish because they are dirty. (My Grandfather would never eat any of that) Some today, have a more enlightened view, but to take the bible 100% literally???
    Finally, now that you mention it, I probably have noticed the blue roof inn driving into Bayside, just didn't think about it. I'm guessing I've been there about 4 times. Never past the metal detector just past the offices on the right!!!

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