Pubdate: Wed, 29 Jul 2009
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2009 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.


It's time to legalize marijuana.

Note we did not say it's time to "decriminalize" marijuana. And note 
we did not say it's time to legalize marijuana nationwide for 
medicinal purposes only.

It's time to flat-out legalize the production, possession, sale and 
use of marijuana.

This should be a no-brainer for thinking people. After all, alcohol 
prohibition in the early 20th century was such a "success," right?

The federal prohibition against marijuana took effect 72 years ago 
this Sunday. It has flooded our legal system, jails and prisons. It 
has cost taxpayers billions of dollars annually.

It also has fueled organized crime and violence on a massive national 
and international scale.

And it has sent billions of dollars into an underground economic 
system that could bolster the mainstream economy, especially in these 
recessionary times.

Indeed, with legalization there must be some commonsense, effective 
and market-friendly regulation. (Please, no Pennsylvania Marijuana 
Control Board.)

Marijuana sales should be taxed. (But not at a level that discourages 
its commerce.)

Use by minors should be prohibited. (Let the debate begin whether 
that should be under 21 or under 18.)

And the same under-the-influence laws that apply to alcohol and 
driving should be applied to marijuana.

We're off our conservative rocker, you say? Then late conservative 
icons William F. Buckley and Milton Friedman were, too.

Citing the Dutch example, Mr. Buckley said usage did not swell. 
"Today we have illegal marijuana for whoever wants it," he added.

Noted Mr. Friedman, citing clear economic thinking: "There is no 
logical basis for the prohibition of marijuana."

Marijuana's prohibition long has been rooted in fear, not facts, and 
in government propaganda, not sane public policy. Prohibition has led 
to far more fearsome things, true reefer madness, if you will.

It's time for sanity in the Great Marijuana Debate. It's time, at 
long last, to legalize marijuana. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake