The Legalization of Marijuana Issue

In an article entitled “Obama: Legalizing Pot Won’t Grow Economy”, dated March 26, 2009, President Obama stated:

“I have to say that there was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high, and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation.”

He went on and answered the question in a manner that must have been nothing less than a major disappointment for the many Legalization of Marijuana Advocates across the nation who placed their hopes and dreams with the President for Change to finally being able to buy and smoke pot legally. President Obama stated:

“The answer is, no, I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy.”

The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, later clarified Mr. Obama’s position by saying:

“The president opposes the legalization of marijuana…he does not think that’s the right plan for America.”

In the past Mr. Obama made it clear that he was for “Decriminalization” of Marijuana and not “Legalization” of the drug. These latest statements seem to be consistent with the message he has been conveying for over a year now.

Is Mr. Obama Right?

Over the past 2 or 3 weeks it seems that the topic of legalizing pot has reached a fevered pitch, discussions and comments about the topic are freely heard on the net and talk radio – as well in homes and workplaces across America. It seems as if one cannot go a full day with out hearing someone comment on whether legalizing marijuana is a good or bad thing for America.

Lately one of the angles to press for the legalization of marijuana deals with the taxes it could generate for America and more tax money means more money for the government to use to help strengthen the economy. One can even hear non-potheads agree that the taxes collected from sales of marijuana would be of such an amount that it could actually do some good to bolster the economy. It seems obvious to many that the taxes generated from such a move as legalizing marijuana would be good for out economy, so how can the President not see the obvious?

Apparently there is more to the issue than meets the eye.

What’s involved that is not being recognized?

The first thing people should be made aware of is the fact that Today’s pot is not the same as the Pot of Yesteryear. In the 60s and 70s pot was more natural, true some claimed that the better marijuana was soaked in THC to enhance it’s effects… but the pot that was smoked back then was basically stuff that was grown, chopped up and stuffed into pipes or rolled into joint. This stuff would still get the smoker high enough to enjoy their little nickel and dime bags… but it wasn’t laced (or laced often) with other drugs that could cause real problems – like death. It was a safer pot back then, today’s pot is lace with all sorts of stuff – including a drug called Oxycontin. The aim is to get a ‘better high” despite the costs and if this stuff sends someone to a hospital or morgue… oh well.

Now, before I get 100 people writing me nasty letters in response, I will say that most likely you can still by the ‘cheap crap’ that was sometimes called “Homegrown” or “Green” weed and you can probably still get it fairly cheap too… however the nature of people have not changed that much over the years. Through out the 70s, 80s, and 90s and into the 2000s it was pure nature of people to ‘want the good stuff’. That homegrown stuff and weak stuff is fine for many if that is all they can afford or all they can get, but when you have to smoke twice as much to get the effects you want – most people will try to buy the better stuff that gives them that high they get.

If the U.S. Government legalized pot, they would legalize ‘straight pot”. They would not condone mixing the marijuana with dangerous drugs just to please the citizenry. The legal pot one buys would not be as good as ‘the illegal stuff’. If one buys the legal stuff and does the mixing themselves then if their altering the substance were found out then the legal pot would become illegal.

Additionally the pot being sold as legal would fall under laws akin to Alcohol and Tobacco; odds are anyone under 19 or 21 could not buy the substance legally. This means all of the Grade School, Junior High School, High School and many college students could not buy the substance. This would probably equate to anywhere from 25% to 40% of all pot smokers… leaving only 60% to pay the taxes. This is also assuming that every one who smokes pot buys the legal stuff that is taxable.

Those smoking the marijuana also could not smoke it while driving, they couldn’t smoke it then drive, and no one in the vehicle could smoke it either. You’d probably end up only being allowed to smoke it in your homes or apartments, at certain ‘bars’, and maybe outside in the wide-open spaces. The pot smoker also may not be allowed to smoke it around children. If the law doesn’t explicitly state this, then you might still be prosecuted under some type of child abuse law.

There are many aspects to the legalization of marijuana that most Marijuana Reform Advocates either overlook or they simply do not think about.

My Stance

I feel that Mr. Obama played the “Politician’s Game”. He stopped short of actually saying he opposed the legalization of Marijuana, instead he allowed his Press Secretary to ‘explain’ what he meant. In the future it can be said “Barack didn’t say what Mr. Gibbs said he said” and those saying this will be right. However I also feel that Mr. Obama has made his stance on the issue clear over the past year or so.

Whether Mr. Obama is right, in my opinion, is another issue. I am not so sure whether the legalization of marijuana is ‘good strategy to build our economy’ or not. The tax dollars it generates would help with the economy… and if taxing cigarettes and gasoline or alcohol is good strategy for our economy – then why aren’t taxes received from selling legal marijuana? I feel that Mr. Obama’s words would have more merit if the government didn’t send mixed signals.

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