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UNF Spinnaker

Discourse on Legalizing Marijuana

By Spinnaker Editorial Staff

There isn’t much else to say about legalizing marijuana that hasn’t been said already. Based on how much it consumes America, it’s difficult to tell that marijuana is even outlawed at all, let alone frowned upon. It triumphs as a catalyst for so many of our television shows, movies, books, art, music – you name it. Think what you will about marijuana; it hasn’t hurt our iPod playlists.

Mainstream media has all but inhaled marijuana, which in turn, adapted a merry sub-genre of pop culture that discredits arguments against it.

Today, 50 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to a new Gallup poll, which goes into more detail on page 6. Citizens don’t categorize cannabis as a hard, gateway drug anymore; they view it as a commodity.

It’s time we legalize it, tax it and create jobs with it.

However, the timetable to repeal prohibition, federally, won’t be soon enough, as laws against it continue to affect the lives of users.

The prohibitionist cause is doomed by demographics.

“Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age,” Gallup reports, “ranging from 62 percent approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31 percent among those 65 and older.”

Optimistically speaking, if the trend continues, we’ll see marijuana discussed in the 2016 election debates as an impetus for medical and economic growth.

The failure of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s War on Drugs plays a significant role in the declining opposition, as well.

Every year, the DEA expands and succeeds in failing its mission to do away with drugs. To be fair, this isn’t the DEA’s fault. The illicit trade in the narcotic black market cannot be subdued in a free society. To no avail, legislators insist on increasing the DEA’s size and its budget, ultimately costing taxpayers.

The bottom line is we are not winning the war on drugs. Drugs, like a pharmaceutical company, need regulation.

For marijuana purposes, we’re talking about decriminalizing it and applying standards – quality control – just as with alcohol or cigarettes, which the American Medical Association confirms are more addictive and harmful than pot.

Because of an unwarranted prohibition and the creation of the War on Drugs 40 years ago, legalizing marijuana has become a leap of faith for the other 50 percent.

Granted, their reasoning implies good intentions. But it’s a petty sentiment to uphold when you take into account the medical benefits of marijuana, the economical potential and the hypocrisy surrounding prohibition.

Sure, there are kids who have turned from outgoing, bright youngsters to slacker stoners. Big deal. There have been many users who have gone on to be quite successful. At least a couple – as far as we know – have gone on to be the presidents of the free world.

Of course, we don’t want children smoking doobies. But deterring children from becoming potheads doesn’t necessitate prohibition. It requires parenting. Certainly the life of a parent would be easier if everyone had no choice but to be a straight and sober do-gooder. However, an intoxicant-free world is not the world in which we live, nor is it one most adults want.

It isn’t fair that people are arrested and labeled as criminals, particularly to students who lose university scholarships over one single conviction. We read every police report at UNF – trust us, parents, many of your children are smoking pot and loving it.

It isn’t fair to waste police time and court time, and public resources, in the building of jails and prisons.

Furthermore, prohibition adds to police corruption – recently, NYPD officers admitted to planting drugs at crime scenes to meet quotas. And it’s done insufferable damage to our civil liberties, as private home invasions and tapping of private telephones proves.
Indeed, some drugs cause miserable effects on the human body, which could make the argument that prohibition may be worth it. But marijuana isn’t a harmful substance. All marijuana does is make you happy, hungry and sleepy. Yeah, you shouldn’t be driving while high, but prohibiting marijuana isn’t stopping it from happening. Doing the right thing cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding.

We’ve entered the dawn of a new century. It’s fast-paced, exciting and full of potential. But it’s entangled with adversities. Legalizing marijuana won’t solve all our problems, but legitimizing it would allow for more focus on real problems, such as unemployment, war, human trafficking and famine.

Marijuana isn’t a gateway drug, life is. And until the quality of life improves for a slew of impoverished Americans, drugs will exist as the catalyst for many just trying to make it through the day.

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