Just over one year ago, the state of Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use.
The world, shockingly, did not implode. Society did not crumble. In fact, it seems like things are actually going pretty well.
Recently Colorado released some statistics on the first year of their legalization experiment.
No increase in crime, not even drug crime. No change in police work, impaired driving, or even, for that matter, drug use in the general population.
These things are actually all on a downward trend, despite the ‘scary drug culture’ now legal in their midst.
Regressive Canadian law
This begs the question, why hasn’t Canada taken similar steps? Why is cannabis still illegal in a country ostensibly more liberal than America? Our weed is notoriously better than American pot anyway.
We know weed is not good for us. It’s addictive and bad for our lungs. This is a valid argument, but is weed really any more harmful a whole host of other things we classify as ‘perfectly acceptable’?
Alcohol is also addictive. So are coffee, tobacco, pornography, gambling, and sex. Fast food is bad for us too, but I don’t see the government throwing people in jail for eating too many Big Macs.
Most people, when they smoke pot, do nothing more than watch nature documentaries and think about the universe. They eat Doritos, giggle, and occasionally spend hours playing video games. They are not dangerous people making dangerous decisions.
Funding criminal activity
But there are dangerous people in the drug world: dealers and gangsters! The last thing we would want to do is support them, right?
Right, but by keeping cannabis illegal we are continuing to fund these criminals by giving users no other options when they want to go green.
Drug dealers are not easy to catch. The people in jail for marijuana possession, trafficking, and sale are too often young kids with no criminal record. They wind up in jail for months or even years for drug crimes.
Prison is not rehabilitative for these kids – they never needed to be rehabilitated in the first place.
Perhaps their punishment for wanting to get high is what ends up forcing them into a life of crime. Ex-cons don’t have an easy time finding a good job, after all.
The government of Colorado made over $60 million in marijuana tax revenue last year.
Instead of putting millions of dollars into the hands of criminals, why don’t we use the millions of dollars cannabis legalization would put into the hands of our government and invest it in health care, in education, in infrastructure?
Doctors prescribe cannabis for pain, for diabetes, for epilepsy. If penicillin had to be bought in secret on street corners, there’s no way Canadians would stand by and watch.
Why is our government spending so much money policing the use of something that helps people?
Leave the Dorito-eaters alone. Free a generation of wrongly imprisoned youth. Let patients get the medicine they need. It’s time to legalize marijuana in Canada.
Take it from Colorado; nothing bad will happen.
Photo Credit: Ed Andrieski – Associated Press