Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pat Robertson is wrong on pot.

Pat Robertson recently said we should legalize marijuana, because, among other things, we've lost the war on drugs and we'll save billions of dollars as a result.

I strongly disagree with him on this one. You can't expect to win by surrendering and who said it would ever be eradicated. It's like saying we can't get rid of certain crimes, so we should stop prosecuting them.

A good response was made by Joseph Califano, formerly head of HEW during the Carter Administration.
...Contrary to Robertson’s belief that legalizing marijuana will reduce our nation’s incarceration rates, the fact is that only 2 percent of all inmates are incarcerated for marijuana possession as their controlling or only offense.

Indeed, legalizing marijuana will likely increase criminal activity. Some two-thirds of incarcerated felons (1.5 million) meet the medical criteria for addiction and marijuana is commonly one of the first steps on the road to other drug addiction.

Most violent felonies, such as murder, rape and aggravated assault, occur when the perpetrator is high or drunk, and the lion’s share of property crime involves people seeking money to buy drugs. And the legal drug alcohol that Robertson wants marijuana to be treated like is implicated in more violent crime than any other substance.

The notion that taxing sales of marijuana will provide a windfall for our public coffers is another (bong) pipe dream. For every $1 of taxes on tobacco and alcohol, our nation incurs $9 in state and federal health-care, criminal justice and social-service costs. These costs will skyrocket if legalization becomes the norm, increasing the drain on our public coffers.

As with cigarettes, we know a lot more about marijuana today than we did a generation ago. Today’s marijuana is no harmless herb: it is 10 times more potent than the marijuana of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, says, "There is no question marijuana can be addictive; that argument is over. The most important thing right now is to understand the vulnerability of young, developing brains to these increased concentrations of cannabis."...
I don't think the drug and marijuana problem will be solved solely by laws and their enforcement, but the law is part of the response.

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