Pubdate: Fri, 14 Dec 2012
Source: Herald, The (Everett, WA)
Copyright: 2012 The Daily Herald Co.
Author: Michael Collins


Laws from an era that make no sense should be reconsidered.

There seems to be a lot of concern regarding the deregulation of 
marijuana in Washington state. Like the Mayans, modern-day doomsday 
prophets claim to see dark clouds on the horizon.

What these people fail to take into consideration is the era during 
which the laws regarding marijuana were drafted. This was an era 
where my grandfather came back from fighting in the pacific theater 
during World War II to see signs in windows saying "Irish need not 
apply" or "Christians only." Japanese-Americans were sent to 
internment camps, and mental health-care professionals routinely 
performed full frontal lobotomies and administered electroconvulsive 
therapy for questionable reasons.

The reasons behind the criminalization of marijuana were similarly 
questionable. A combination of a smear campaign by timber barons 
aimed at making marijuana's pulp and fiber producing cousin hemp 
illegal to manufacture, and the demonizing of minority users by 
ultra-conservative left wing religious zealots has lead to a 
grotesque caricature of marijuana lurking in the dark corners of 
America's collective psyche. Modern objective studies of the effects 
of marijuana have shown the adverse side effects are minor, the 
active constituent chemicals are not physically addictive, and in 
fact many of the chemical compounds are dramatically safer than 
existing prescription alternatives.

If we are to truly to be a nation with liberty and justice for all, 
we must use objective metrics when determining what the American 
citizen should and should not be allowed to do. We need to stop and 
think if the minor adverse effects of marijuana usage are so 
detrimental to the individual and to society as a whole that we can 
justify spending several billion dollars a year on enforcement of 
existing marijuana regulation, and continue to adversely impact the 
lives of users by treating them like pariahs and criminals.

Michael Collins

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