Legalizing Marijuana: Is it Time?

Although I’m a huge fiscal conservative, I openly admit that I have some pretty far left ideas on most of the major social issues.  Most of my beliefs are due to the fact that I feel strongly about individual personal freedom.  Regardless of my personal feelings on any particular subject, I try not to to force my opinions on others.  My philosophy on most issues is “live and let live.”  Or, “do whatever the hell you want as long as you don’t bother me.”

One issue that I feel strongly about is the legalization of marijuana. Although the issue seems pretty cut and dry to me, I know that it can sometimes strike a nerve with those who are against drug use in general or disagree about the issues.  Regardless, here are the 4 reasons I think that legalizing the sale and use of marijuana is the right move for everyone:

  • Tax Revenue- With state and federal governments constantly struggling to balance their budgets, wouldn’t it make sense to slap a tax on everyone’s swag?  I think that most stoners would be thrilled to pay a little extra in order to prevent being hassled by the Po-Po.  According to a Cato study, legalizing and taxing marijuana could raise 8.7 billion dollars in annual tax revenues.
  • Waste of Resources- Let’s face it; chasing down stoners is a complete waste of law enforcement resources.  Shouldn’t we stop squandering their resources so they can focus on fighting real crime?  More than 300 economists convened in 2012 to discuss the legalization of marijuana and they concluded that doing so could save the U.S. 13.7 billion dollars per year.
  • Individual Freedom- Would you resent it if someone told you that you couldn’t eat artichokes?   I would.  I freaking love artichokes. And more than that,  I just think that the whole thing is a matter of principle.  The government should focus on more important things than trying to control people’s personal decisions about their own body.
  • Waste of time- The criminalization is marijuana use is simply a waste of time.  As long as people can grow their own plants in their backyard or their basement, there’s simply no way to stop them.  And, why should we bother enforcing a law that can never truly be enforced?  In my opinion, we shouldn’t.

More Thoughts on Marijuana

Now, I’m old….so I don’t really know that many people that smoke marijuana anymore.  However,  all of the users I know and used to know are totally harmless individuals.  They aren’t starting fights with strangers at bars or driving into telephone polls.  They aren’t angry or aggressive.  They were just hungry.  And giggly.  And tired.  I haven’t personally witnessed any situation in which marijuana use was particularly detrimental to society, or to an individual.

So, what do you guys think?  Should the federal government legalize the use and sale of marijuana?  Do you think doing so would have a positive or negative impact on society?  And, are you getting a strange but undeniable craving for Taco Bell?  Please share by commenting below.

 

About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. I think its an open and shut case. Legalize it! Although I don’t partake in it, I think people should have the freedom to chose whats good for their own lives. Additionally I think with legalization the goverment will be in a better position to control consumption and quality control.

  2. Holly THANK YOU for writing this post! It’s an issue that I am passionate about and have written about when I was a political blogger, but haven’t fit it into my site yet. I have never smoked marijuana but I absolutely believe it should be legalized. One book that I really recommend to people is “Marijuana is safer, so why are we driving people to drink?” It really makes a great case for marijuana legalization. It’s FAR less harmful than alcohol and would be a safe alternative to alcohol. I could go on for hours but I will stop my comment here : )

    • I totally agree! I can came off several people whose lives have been ruined by alcohol. However, I can’t name a single person who has ruined their life by smoking pot. It’s not comparable.

  3. I wish I had been able to post my comment at exactly 4:20… oh well, someone will have that honor. Legalize it!

  4. Totally agree, legalize it already. Everyone does it and it doesn’t hurt anyone, the fact that it’s illegal is a huge waste of time and resources, not to mention a major buzz kill.

    The crazy thing is, I would say 95% of the people I talk to about this issue feel the same way (maybe that’s just my demographic), yet it’s still illegal? How can something be against the law when no one thinks that it should be?

    Good post!

    • I know! I can’t think of many people I know personally who are totally against it. Most people are pro-legalization or just don’t care.

  5. I know a ton of people who smoke marijuana and I do think it should be legalized. I really believe there are many, many medical benefits. And, on top of that if alcohol is legal, pot should be. I’d rather be around a pot head than an alcoholic ANY DAY!

  6. I know a lot of people who smoke it and most would be surprise at there position. Well I wasn’t and I just don’t understand how things like alcohol and cigarettes are legal when they cause a lot of deaths but you ban marijuana. Just sell it and tax it or get rid of alcohol and tobacco products. We know thats not going to happen to much money being made. Maybe the just like having people to arrest…smoke cigarettes in public its okay…smoke weed at home you may go to jail. Heck you might not be able to get a job!!

    • Exactly. The whole thing makes no sense. You can be a raging alcoholic and get a job, yet be denied from a job just by smoking pot once (and failing a drug test).

  7. I definitely think it should be legalized. I don’t understand why it’s not.

  8. An interesting post! I think it should be legalized – I’ve never smoked the stuff but as you say, there are so many people who do and they’re not really causing trouble out there in the world. Some people smoke it to ease their pains so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be legal these days!

  9. I used to be adamantly against it, but as I’ve come to understand a bit more of the benefits, I’m all for it. Why is alcohol legal but pot isn’t? I’ve also never met an individual who uses marijuana that is a menace to society.

  10. I’m with you on the personal freedom part. The one thing I would worry about is whether it actually acts as a gateway drug, but I don’t think there’s much evidence showing that it does. Absent that, it’s pretty harmless and definitely feels like a waste of resources to chase after. I’m with you.

  11. waste of time/resources is a big one IMO. That effort could be redirected to fighting real crime, whether it’s burglaries or child abuse or murders.

  12. I’m against legalizing it. There’ll be a huge run on Doritos and pizza, two of my favorite snacks. (Of course it should be legal. Tax the shit out of it, though.)

  13. I support legalizing it, As it would bring control on cost, consumption, quality and addiction. Well people have it because they don’t get it apart from addiction. Human tendency is usually to want and have things that not available. At least it will reduce the curiosity for first timers and eventually the need and addiction too

  14. I am with you on this one Holly. I have a very good friend in law enforcement that spends some time trying to find illegal grow houses. They all hate wasting their time and resources for something so petty. There have been numerous studies about how marijuana isn’t the gateway drug that everyone thinks it is. Trying to stop it is a waste of time and money. There is no point anymore.

    • Exactly. There really is no point. I don’t have any personal reasons for wanting it legalized…but as a taxpayer I think that it’s time to move on to other things. We might as well be shredding hundred dollar bills all day. It’s totally pointless.

  15. I have a roommate during my high school year who are using this plant. Yes, he is not starting any fights but after their session he felt hungry. I think it will be effective if we legalize it with some parameters or restriction.

  16. Like any “substance” yes there are those who abuse it, but they do with alcohol, and for sure prescription drugs…that’s more of a problem than pot in my opinion. And texting and driving a bigger problem on the road. I think it’s going to happen…just a matter of time for every state to get on board.

  17. “Do whatever the hell you want as long as you don’t bother me” pretty much sums up my views on most things too haha. I’ve never smoked marijuana, but it wouldn’t bother me if it was legal.

  18. Holly! Great post and well reasoned. Was “cut and dried” an intended pun? Anyhow, the time to legalize was about 35 years ago. What is the hang up with altered states of mind. We live in a country of priggish prudes! Damn it all!

  19. I’m pretty much for legalizing it. The main road block I really see is testing. Since there isn’t, to my knowledge, a test to see if someone is currently under the influence, then it could become a sticky issue with law enforcement for OWI situations. Like I said I’m pretty much in favor of it. I think I would also go long on pretty much every big tobacco company since they probably all have a plan sitting in a vault, waiting for the day when they can become the main suppliers.

  20. I’m torn to be honest. I like the idea of legalizing it, because I believe everyone should be able to choose what they wish to do with their lives. However, I do worry about the impact on society and the individuals who use it. In the school I went to, many of the students who started smoking marijuana had moved on to harder drug use by the time they were of graduating age. Almost like it was a gate-way drug in our area. I also worry about the young kids who grow up with their parents smoking it, do those kids end up more likely to use more-harmful drugs in the future?

    I’m all for legalizing it from a black-and-white standpoint, but I do worry about all the unknowable (until it happens) consequences that could occur.

    • I don’t disagree with you buy using that logic means that alcohol should be illegal as well. Drinking is socially acceptable in most circles and a lot of people openly drink in front of their kids. Using your criteria, we should wonder if that leads those kids to binge drink in college, or even in high school.

      It’s a complete double standard and one that should be examined. Why is one “drug” legal and the other is not?

      • True! And totally another thing I wonder about. Maybe some of the reason so many people I knew who went on to harder drugs did so solely because Marijuana was also illegal and had little of the qualities that most of the other did, and therefore they believed it would be similar? Or maybe if society had older adults using it as a “non party drug” (most of the younger people I knew use both marijuana and alcohol to party) there would be more socially implied limits for these types of things? A lot of these questions probably won’t be able to be answered until it was legalized.

  21. Living in BC, where it’s basically unofficially legal, I support this. I find it funny that Washington legalized it before us! Only a matter of time I am sure!

    • Oh yes, I have been to Blunt Brothers in Vancouver many years ago. That was a little weird; a strange mix of people eating sandwiches, drinking coffee, and smoking out of giant bongs, all while acting like nothing weird was going on. Did it burn down?

  22. I just moved from Colorado, where it has been legalized, and the fact that the federal government hasn’t moved towards legalization is a huge problem. Banks can’t do business with companies in the industry so it’s a cash business, and of course, not everyone is reporting their actual income, so the tax collections aren’t as high as they otherwise would be.

    The stoners in CO are super annoying though. Pot is absolutely everywhere. You smell it coming from the car in front of you, or from the guy on the bus next to you. Or people smoke in the street… where ever.

  23. I’m against drugs in general. But I dont deem marijuana as a drug. It is a natural plant that you dont have to alter to partake. I say tax the Ish out of it and help our sequestration and law enforcement BUT knowing plenty of stoners, they hate the idea of getting it legalized. They refuse to have the government in on it because they will most likely regulate the THC content or something along those lines. (Think 140 proof illegal moonshine to 80 proof that you can buy in a liquor store) Stoners hate the government and dont want them anywhere near the green.

  24. I’m with you on this–doesn’t make much sense that it’s not!

  25. I couldn’t agree more with your post, especially for the tax and crime points. I think it’s all just a matter of time.

  26. The president of Guatemala tried to legalize but apparently the US weren’t too happy about it. Here drug smuggling kills people, living next to drug lords isn’t ideal, so I would really like it to be legal so they can just transit whatever the US needs to get high and leave us in peace.

  27. I used to be very against it, but in the past year, I’ve completely supported legalization for the reasons you’ve mentioned. Ask any cop and most of them support it too.

  28. It is legal here in Colorado and like you mentioned the tax revenue is huge. You just have to watch how high you tax it because it drive people back to black market marijuana.

  29. I’m gunna say no on this one. Having partaken in the past I realized a few things about it:

    1. You can drink and not be drunk. You can’t smoke and be sober.
    2. It really is a gateway. I had too many friends start there and need something more, only to wreck their lives and those around them.
    3. It’s not harmless. People get behind the wheel, and not matter what anyone says, “YOU CANNOT DRIVE SAFELY WHILE HIGH”. Trust me.

    Now, I know my opinion is unpopular, but I have not seen any case where marijuana has NO NEGATIVE IMPACT on someone else’s life. But in the end, if they legalize it, I guess my opinion won’t change, so maybe it doesn’t matter much. People are going to smoke it and be idiots whether or not it’s legal, might as well make some money off it??

  30. I guess I’m kind of in between. I completely agree with Jacob, and also from experience, you cannot drive safely stoned, or do much of anything else stoned. So DUI’s would have to be heavily enforced, like they should be with driving and alcohol. That being said, just like guns or alcohol, you’re not going to stop those who want it from getting it, legally or not. Although I don’t believe people should drive while stoned, they’re pretty harmless in their own homes, and from what I’ve read, it’s rarely addictive, and does seem to have medicinal qualities for some.

  31. I totally agree that pot is no more harmless than alcohol or cigarettes. I live in a pot legal state and here are a few of the downsides. When if was first legalized for medicinal use a few years ago, we had five pot shops open up downtown. We live in a small town, so having every other store be a pot shop was a bit much. Unlike bars, where you can sit right next to someone who is drinking, you cannot walk by one of these places without getting a contact high, so the smell is annoying. You can’t smoke cigarettes in bars or restaurants here, so I have a problem with the smell. I also agree with Brian that there needs to be some sort of limit to what is considered under the influence and you shouldn’t be driving around while high. Right now, there is no law against how much you can smoke and still drive. I do wish they would legalized it nationwide if they are going to let states do it individually. I don’t mind our share of stoners. However, we live in a border area, and I don’t want all the others coming in to tip the balance. I just think there is a time and place for stuff like that and, unless you have a real medical condition, I think people need to grow up and get a life at some point, but you’re right, if it doesn’t bother me and helps build better roads and hires more firemen, go for it.

    Maybe they should start a pot scholarship program with the tax revenue. New Mexico uses lottery funds for this, so maybe we could have a marijuana scholarship program!

  32. Legalize it. Extra tax revenue, less taxpayer money wasted on enforcement, what’s not to like?

  33. I agree. When you get benefit of something,why don’t you utilize it! Marijuana should be legalized as early as possible.

  34. kay peterson says:

    If the negative aspects of cannibis were made loud and clear and it was kept from youth not to damage their brains, legalise not a big problem as few thinking people would use it. It does impaire functioning shorterm in regard to accident potential, reaction time etc… Long term heavier use that some succumb to impaires a lot more. There are thse who do suffer from major loss of life success and relating from its use. There are life situations when it can help some medical conditions that already impair people and it’s helpful.Only problem in legalising it is that it tends to increase users as many people have escapist tendencies who otherwise don’t have a current legal drug to rely on. On the otherhand no sane person would touch it bar a few rare times in their life at worst. It is not innocuous for many people or any people used often enough, or for their kith and kin wearing the negatives.Leagalising it for most reasonable people won’t make a difference-aside from weaker kin etc.iimpacts on them.For vulnerable overall law abiding types it could be a problem.Legalising cannibis is really seperate from what a nasty drug it can be most times. You wouldn’t want a seemingly ordinary pot smoker driving your kids anywhere if you look up the impact and length of time it effects one and the increased accident stats.So if legalised you’d need to up testing for it in many kinds of jobs etc.. That’s something illegal users would if they thought about it have them screaming not to legalise it. Look at alcohol and driving or used at work with machinery, except alcohol leaves the brain much faster and one can be clear between drinking times. It’s complicated…

  35. kay peterson says:

    Doubt the harms of ongoing use of cannabis because some successful people use? Well if they keep dipping into it , it does catch up with nueocognitive functions and judgements after awhile. Look at brilliant Jobs, couldn’t get his head around fixing his cancer when he could. Rhianna and her nutty partner choices and saw it’s claimed Arnie Schwarz liked it…his later personal life messes. And these are the success stories. Still wouldn’t want to drive in their car as a passanger.Again legalising is different from the drug being innocuous. Please, please shut up about cannibis being harmless. It’s not and likewise thats why in some researched conditions it’s a positive option. Chemo is great for killing some cancers but lousy on the immune system if not needed. CANNABIS IS A potent DRUG! Legalising it may be good if it means it gets better regulated and given the real press it deserves.and then the taxing of vices to be discouraged like tobacco and alcohol together..On second thoughts treated like these it’s consumption may drop.

  36. How do people not see the stupidity in wasting time and effort simply to invade others personal lives. Grown people can make their own informed decisions about what to put in their bodies.

  37. Hiya. I came across your blog the usage of msn. That is definitely an incredibly intelligently authored article. We’re guaranteed to take note of the idea and are available back to get more information within your valuable info. Basically publish. I am going to definitely return.

  38. Hey, great summary of reasons to legalize, the money alone is good enough reason to do so in my opinion. Thanks, Zeke

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