Today lawmakers on the House Human Services Committee are hearing testimony on HB1430 which would legalize the use of medicinal marijuana in the state.
I’m sure much of the debate will circle around the efficacy of cannabis as a medical treatment, and the impact this legalization might have on crime and illicit drug use.
Personally, I support the legalization of marijuana. I think it’s a relatively benign drug, no more or less harmful than alcohol, and our enforcement efforts aimed at stopping its growth, distribution, sale, and use simply aren’t working. Someone wishing to purchase marijuana, in just about any community in the state, can probably do so at reasonable prices.
The “war on drugs” hasn’t put a dent in the availability of marijuana.
We can’t stop it. The impacts of the drug on society are mild. The side-effects of prohibition are dire. So why not just legalize it?
The problem is that the manner in which HB1430 legalizes marijuana use is objectionable. The legislation is chock-full of regulations for how much marijuana an individual can have. When and where they can have it. And, perhaps most disturbingly, the legislation details specifics on which maladies marijuana can be prescribed for.
While many support this legislation as “baby steps” toward broader legalization, and the myriad regulations and requirements as so much appeasement for the drug warriors, I worry when the government begins codifying how doctors can prescribe a drug like marijuana.
The case for medicinal marijuana is dubious, at best, and little more than a cover for a broader legalization for recreational use. So why not have that debate?
Sure broader legalization will have an impact on crime and substance abuse issues. But it will also reduce the number of public resources dedicated to the “war on drugs,” and will remove a very lucrative product from the catalogs of organized criminals who serve the black market.
Put simply, we ought to stop fooling around with silly debates about medicinal marijuana, and get on with the inevitable debate about full-on legalization.