Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Hill: Legalize It! (Or at Least Decriminalize It)

Can we finally start talking about marijuana decriminalization?

Boston voted to do it in November. There was a bill just introduced in California to legalize and tax it; after all, it's their largest cash crop and would bring in $1 billion in taxes per annum. President Obama is certainly open to it.

Public Opinion is catching up. Recent polls have support for legalization at all-time highs, 40 percent, which means, in some ways, that pot is more popular than the Republican Party. Nate Silver did the math, and if support keeps growing at these rates we'll have 60 percent nationwide for legalization by 2022.

Since Obama has taken office, there have been five DEA raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in the state of California. Barack Obama should order the immediate halt of federal intervention in states like California that allow for the use and distribution of medical marijuana. Seventy-two percent of the American people would be behind him, and he pledged to do it during the campaign. These raids should be halted immediately by Attorney General Eric Holder, but the White House says they will wait until a new DEA head is named.

Once Obama clears the ways for the states to move on marijuana legislation, who knows what could happen?

Originally posted on The Hill.


  1. For once, I am totally with you Ryan, though I'd go further, legalizing ALL currently illegal drugs. I doubt there's political support for THAT, but maybe someday. This drug war costs billions a year and has done little to stop trafficking. Adulterated drugs from the black market kill people, so do the guns concomitant with criminalization. We repealed prohibition- and cut off a major money maker for organized crime. Let us end this prohibition on illegal drugs and cut off a major source of funding for terrorism. Not to mention... marijuana became illegal because of racial discrimination towards Mexican immigrants, cocaine became illegal because of the media's portrayal of "coke crazed negros" in the South. Racism drove these policies. We the people should be able to choose what we put in our bodies. I'd say Big Macs and Budweiser are a more destructive overall to our national health than weed, coke or any other illegal drug. Even prescription drugs are more damaging. I'd rather see the $19bn spent a year on the war on drugs go towards drug treatment programs. Or perhaps with legalization, the new taxes on sales of drugs here could bankroll treatment programs with new dollars. Our scientists, now free to experiment with the drugs, could also design non addictive forms for recreational use... ah the possibilities. And hey, let's legalize prostitution while we're at it- make it clean, make it safe. the fact is people will do these things whether or not they are legal (like abortion) - why resign control to the black market? We can still shun things we disapprove of- like we do with alcoholics and gamblers, without making those things illegal and losing all control over them.

  2. "40 percent, which means, in some ways, that pot is more popular than the Republican Party."


  3. Please do not legalize it. The quality will only go down, and the price will only go up. I don't have a big problem with decriminalizing, but who in their right mind thinks that the government would do anything but screw up the only think that relaxes me at the end of the day.