Pubdate: Tue, 28 Jan 2014
Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)
Copyright: 2014 Albuquerque Journal
Author: Chris Jones
Page: A7


I AM COMPELLED to write a response to the Rev. Thomas J. Mayefske's
op-ed, "'If voters want marijuana, they get it' is horrible policy" in
the Jan. 12 edition of The Sunday Journal. Mayefske takes issue with
Albuquerque Democrat Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino's proposal to amend the
constitution making marijuana legal.

The Reverend Mayefske, a retired Roman Catholic priest, correctly
asserts that alcohol abuse is a danger to society, when he writes, "We
have seen hundreds of wrong-way deaths, as well as domestic abuse,
etc." He rightly continues, "Underage use of alcohol is a fact that
needs no further proof." The Reverend admits it himself: Even though
we have laws prohibiting alcohol use by minors, teenagers are still
going to drink. In other words, laws don't prevent children from
drinking - or smoking if that is their preference.

Laws concerning pot and alcohol don't work very well to keep those
substances out of the hands of underage kids. And just as violent
crime soared during Prohibition, marijuana drug cartels have as well.
Why do we insist on spending huge amounts of law enforcement time and
money unsuccessfully trying to stop the use of marijuana - and while
doing so help the cartels grow rich - rather than making money on it?

Alcohol is highly controlled. Let's do the same with pot. The laws
controlling alcohol have provided, according to the tax policy center,
6.24 billion in 2011 tax dollars. Replacing marijuana prohibition with
a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcoholic
beverages would produce combined savings and tax revenues of billions,
too, and put the violent cartels out of the marijuana business as
well. That just makes good sense.


Santa Fe
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