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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 5/22/19

Why we must legalize marijuana

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From Nation of Change

Legalizing, taxing, and regulating is good for the economy and creates jobs.

The federal prohibition on marijuana has been a disaster. For decades, millions of Americans have been locked up and billions of dollars have been wasted. It's also deepened racial and economic inequality.

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We must end this nonsensical prohibition.

The facts are staggering. I n 2017, more Americans were arrested for marijuana possession than for murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery combined.That's one marijuana arrest every minute.

The costs associated with enforcing this ban including arrests, court costs, and incarceration reach nearly $14 billion a year.

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Prohibition also hurts the economy in terms of lost wages. And Americans with criminal records have a harder time finding a job and getting the education they need.

On the other hand, legalizing, taxing, and regulating is good for the economy and creates jobs.

By simply levying a tax on marijuana like we do cigarettes and alcohol, state and local governments could raise more than $6 billion a year. This doesn't even include additional revenue from taxes on the marijuana industry.

States like Colorado and Washington that tax and regulate marijuana have already generated millions of dollars for health care, education,and other public investments.

But this is more than an economic issue. It's also a matter of racial justice and equality.

The federal prohibition on marijuana dates back to anti-Mexican sentiment in the 1930s. In large part, it was nothing more than another way to criminalize communities of color.

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Today, black and brown Americans are still much more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white Americans, despite using marijuana at similar rates.

Given the racist legacy of these laws, it's particularly important that the economic gains of legalization extend to communities that have been most harmed by the war on drugs.

Support for marijuana legalization has surged in recent years, with two-thirds of Americans now in favor of it. Even a majority of Republicans are in support, and more states are taking action to reform their laws and move toward legalization.

Yet Donald Trump and his administration are trying to turn back the clock. They've even formed a task force to weaken public support for legalization and help spread misinformation about so-called "marijuana threats."

Just as with the prohibition on alcohol in the 1920s, the federal prohibition of marijuana has been unnecessarily cruel wasting billions of dollars, unjustly harming millions of lives, and furthering racist policies.

It's time to legalize marijuana.

 

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Robert B. Reich Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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4 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments


Paul from Potomac

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Please let me know how you feel about pot when a pothead runs over your wife or child while stoned, is a designer of an AI system for your car that catches fire in your home garage while charging itself, or forgets where the children are while babysitting. It's rather like when it will happen, not if. My daughter is trying to get pregnant and the tenant just below her condo smokes dope all the time and it comes through the vents while she sleeps. Just another warning from an intelligent person about absolutely and flagrantly dumb ideas...

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 4:15:41 PM

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Daniel Geery

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Good questions, but at this point I'd argue mainly starting points for discussion. For example, this from the following link: "Although marijuana's contribution to traffic accidents is hard to pin down, it is possible than an increase in cannabis consumption following legalization would lead to more stoned drivers on the road, resulting in more crashes. Alternatively, if more pot smoking is accompanied by less drinking, the net result could be fewer crashes, since alcohol impairs drivers a lot more than marijuana does. It is not clear yet whether either of those scenarios is materializing in Washington." click here


I post this link for a deeper look into the issue... but since I can't post the actual link, I can only say search this for anyone serious about this question "are people quitting alchohol due to marijuana"


I would also add that smoking pot, from all I've read over a few decades, is far less harmful for someone's health than drinking. Ditto for "loss of control." Shall we also ban cell phones, since they cause more accidents than alcohol? Shall we ban wireless internet, since the microwaves may well cause disruption in human cells, particularly in fetuses? And likely far more so with 5G technology, that is coming at us like an unstoppable freight train?


On a related yet vastly more important issue, why the hell is anyone getting pregnant in this day and age? Are they sadists or simply ignoramuses? Not meaning to be personal, really, but I post that as a larger question for all humans living today.

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 7:52:31 PM

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Jill Herendeen

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Reply to Daniel Geery:   New Content

I'm sure the ruling elites are extremely grateful for espousing their cause of controlling the population of the 99%; I hope you're getting a suitable cut.

Submitted on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 4:43:07 PM

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tim mcghie

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Reply to Paul from Potomac:   New Content

keeping it illegal solves none of those problems unfortunatley

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 9:01:01 PM

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Jill Herendeen

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WHY is our gov't allowed to tell any adult what they may or may not do to their own body, with whatever substance, much less incarcerate them for owning or selling or GROWING it, or send SWAT teams to bash down their door in the wee hours of the morning?

Submitted on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 4:21:45 PM

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