Weedy wisdom

I am doing a research paper on the legalization of marijuana and I was wondering if you could give me a few tips or words of wisdom on what I should look out for.

If the purpose of law is to protect the society from harm, then no law should be more harmful to society than the behavior it attempts to regulate. By any yardstick the marijuana laws are more harmful than the use of marijuana. Here are two glaring examples.

According to the Drug Awareness Warning Network nobody died medically from the use of marijuana last year, or any year since the statistics have been gathered. However enforcing marijuana prohibition cost over fifty lives in the US, mostly civilians. Certainly that cost alone is enough to warrant an end to prohibition.

Last year there were over 750,000 marijuana arrests. Each arrest affects the parents, children, spouse, employer and friends of the arrestee. Perhaps five million people were affected by the law. Certainly the effect of the arrest to the people closest to the arrestee is more harmful to the society than that person’s use of pot.

Don’t get caught in the conundrum of differentiating between the user and provider of marijuana. If it is okay to use the substance, then it should be lawful to provide it to willing buyers. Differentiating between provider and consumer for something that is deemed lawful to use still denotes disapproval and inevitably leads to corruption. Commerce should be transparent, not hidden.

For words of wisdom I defer to Bob Dylan in Subterranean Homesick Blues, “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters.” I take this to mean that, first of all, just because some prominent person says it or wrote it, doesn’t mean it’s true. Second, if you are subverting the law, then don’t stand out from the norm in a way that brings official types around. Keep your car in good working order and mow your lawn ? or they’ll know where the grow room is located.

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