In 1996, California voters passed the Compassionate Use Act, also known as Proposition 215, by a 56 percent “yes” vote. Ever since, California residents with a valid medical marijuana license have been toking it up in the safety of their homes all across the state.
It has been 13 years now and medical marijuana has been legalized in 12 other states. In 2006, marijuana reform activist Jon Gettman, who is the leader of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis, listed it as the largest cash crop in the United States. The average production value of marijuana from 2003-05 was $35.8 billion, according to Gettman. Corn is in second place, behind by approximately $15 billion in his study.
This information appears to support claims by proponents of the legalization of marijuana for recreational use that the United States could benefit by decriminalizing marijuana instead of throwing away money in futile eradication efforts.
They also argue that through taxation of legalized marijuana, states would be able to reduce debt and fund infrastructure in their cities.
This is simply not true. Licensed sellers would never be able to compete with underground prices. Individuals who smoke marijuana for recreational use will continue to obtain it from the usual places, and free of sin tax.
Even if the government was successful at capitalizing on the marijuana industry, someday it would in effect rob marijuana culture of its spirit and individuality.
The very accuracy of marijuana’s “biggest cash crop” status is being questioned.
“In the paper [Gettman] essentially piles one guesstimate upon another to obtain a number that looks, but isn’t factual,” said, Los Angeles Times columnist, Michael Hiltzik in a recent article addressing Gettman’s research.
Another issue that has been significantly over looked by proponents of the legalization is lowered reaction times, a side effect of marijuana consumption. Like alcohol, this drug significantly impairs the ability to drive.
As we well know, this fact does not and will not keep everyone from getting behind the wheel, but if marijuana is legalized, how will law enforcement officials prove that a driver is under the influence? There is no way to test levels of marijuana intoxication in order to determine whether someone is above or below “the limit,” as is the case with alcohol.
According to Prop 215, for patients to obtain marijuana for medicinal purposes, they must go through a licensed physician, be evaluated, and then provide medical documentation as proof of their ailment.
If marijuana is legalized for recreational use, the medical marijuana industry will become obsolete, along with this evaluation process for obtaining the herb.
The truth, folks, is that legalizing marijuana is a bad idea for those that want to sell it and those that want to smoke it. Marijuana is a medicinal herb. It’s a painkiller, anti-nauseate, and appetite enhancer. Prop 215 permits the use of this medicinal herb for “any medical symptom that not alleviated may cause serious harm to the patients safety or physical or mental health.”
If we decriminalize marijuana for recreational purposes, then why shouldn’t we decriminalize opiates, or any other over- the-counter medicine that has psychoactive side effects?
Marijuana is the only effective and all- natural alternative to synthetic medicines on the market today, and is invariably less deadly than almost all “legal” drugs also on the market.
If we as the electorate have decided marijuana should be treated as a medication, then let’s keep it that way.
We are not a nation of money-hungry drug addicts that have to resort to profiting off the doping up of its citizens in order to keep a balanced budget. Let’s send the right message to the coming generations, and to ourselves. Leave us with our medical marijuana and move on to the crimes that actually have victims.
Source: The Clarion Online
Author: Cheyenne Scharff