Pubdate: Wed, 15 Jan 2014
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2014 Bill Steiner
Author: Bill Steiner



In a recent Op/Ed column, "Legal marijuana challenges culture," John
Crisp described new challenges posed by legalizing recreational
marijuana in Colorado and Washington. In his conclusion, Crisp wrote:
"But the challenge for citizens in both states will be avoiding
self-indulgence and achieving a level of moderation. . ."

He is dead wrong. A year ago, any Colorado adult or school kid could
get marijuana within two days, provided he or she had $500. Getting
dope was, and is, just slightly more challenging than getting alcohol.
This holds true for Denver, Minneapolis and Richmond. Legalization
will not increase availability because marijuana has always been
available. The war against it has accomplished nothing but making
criminals out of those few unlucky enough to get caught - at a cost of
billions of dollars.

Colorado is legalizing dope. The only effects will be fewer prisoners,
less money for organized crime and more money in taxes. Rates of mild
addiction, buzzed driving, lost productivity and the munchies will
remain as they were before. Everyone who wanted to try marijuana
already has, and those few who choose to be dedicated dopers already
have done so. The challenges are not new and legalization will not
make them worse.

The prohibition of alcohol was an unworkable exercise in
self-righteous self-delusion. The same is true of marijuana. Colorado
got smart and bowed to the inevitable. And the state is making a
profit. Other states will soon see the light. Perhaps Virginia's
legislature will take notice. The Republicans should like enhancing
revenue without raising taxes. The libertarians will be happy that Big
Government is not controlling personal choices. And the Democrats just
like to get high.

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