Monday, October 22, 2018

Legalized Pot - A Good Idea? - UPDATE

[UPDATE: I was out of town until late afternoon yesterday. I intended that the following would be finished before then, but... I will be updating this, by posting further Parts over the next few months. Feel free to argue with my viewpoint - I know many do (including family members).]

I've been hearing the arguments for years - if pot was just legal,

  • Casual users would not be made criminals
  • Use could be regulated
  • Those needing medical treatment could get their pot without jumping through hoops
  • States could collect taxes on the legal dispensaries
  • Minors would still not be able to legally indulge
  • Use of pot would not rise
  • Criminal activity around the production and distribution would cease
  • The 'herb' is harmless
Let's take them, one at a time.

Do casual users (occasional, low-level users) seriously risk jail time? This essay from a former prosecutor disagrees, who states that pot possession has been "de facto" legalized.
Here is why there is confusion: the only time someone is sentenced to jail for smoking pot is if there is a more serious crime they are clearly guilty of, and the prosecutor or judge wants to give them a lighter sentence. Theft or burglary were the most common crimes I came across. Instead of being required to sentence a defendant to a year imprisonment for stealing, a defendant could plead guilty to marijuana possession instead and get a much lesser sentence. So on paper, it looks like they are serving time for drug possession, but in reality, they were let off the hook for a serious crime.
This is in line with what I've seen and heard from my students - they may complain about someone having to go to jail for marijuana possession, but, when you question them further, they'll admit that there was a more serious FELONY on the table, that they escaped prosecution for.

But, at least use could be regulated?

Uh, no.


sykes.1 said...

In Mount Vernon, Ohio, the City Council is considering legislation that would prohibit people 18 through 21 from buying e-cigarettes and vaping apparatus. This is supposedly for the good of the 18/21 year-olds. The insanity is made obvious by the fact the 18 to 21 year-olds can still buy actual cigarettes.

Ohio has legalized marijuana cultivation (with license) and medical sales, despite the fact the voters voted it down.

Is there no end to the madness?

Linda Fox said...

I'm not in favor of penalizing those casual users, who are not supplying the under-age (younger than 16). However, even 'home use' can be a problem, if there are young children around - the problem of a 'contact high' is sufficient to involve authorities, and to remove children, if there is neglect.

But, that's a case where the use is causing the neglect - and the remedy is to prosecute the neglect.