Pubdate: Thu, 05 Feb 2009
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (AK)
Copyright: 2009 Fairbanks Publishing Company, Inc.
Author: Craig Burnham


To the editor:

One billion dollars. That's the amount of money spent every year in
the United States of America to hold marijuana offenders in our
prisons. Twelve million Americans have been arrested since 1965 for
marijuana charges. That's more than 15 times the population of this
state. And $10.7 billion is spent every year on the war on marijuana.
That's just marijuana, not the whole failed "war on drugs."

The benefits of legalizing marijuana far outweigh the consequences. To
start, we'd be saving $10.7 billion per year to stop the arrest and
detainment of these offenders. Secondly, by allowing the government to
control the cultivation and distribution, we'd create a huge revenue
generator. A recent study showed that the potential revenue if
marijuana was legalized would be $31.1 billion. A huge benefit to this
would be the end of Mexican and South American drug cartels who play
in the marijuana game. Why go through the hassle of smuggling in a
large amount of pot when it's readily available in every store?

Sure, a lot of skeptics out there are going to say "But marijuana is
an illicit drug!" That simply is not true. Consider alcohol. Alcohol
impairs your decision-making, impairs your movements and can lead to
disease. Alcoholism is a huge problem, especially in this state. And
you can drink too much alcohol and end up in the hospital, or worse
off, dead.

With marijuana, it is impossible to overdose by smoking. Let me say
that one more time. It is impossible to overdose by smoking marijuana.
Sure, it's going to impair your judgment and impair your reaction time
and movements, but those are the same side-effects of alcohol.
Marijuana should be treated the same way as alcohol - restricted to
those of a proper age, and no driving or operating machinery while
under the influence.

The benefits of legalizing marijuana far outweigh the consequences. In
my opinion, the federal government should abolish marijuana laws, and
leave it up to the states to decide. Think of the economic savings,
and think about the medical uses.

It's time to get smart. Let's legalize it.

Craig Burnham

- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin