Marijuana: The Case for Legalization

LegalizeBy The David

The David’s experience as a registered nurse and care provider gives him an enlightened view into the beneficial uses of marijuana for medical patients and offers a practical solution for its sales and distribution.

In the State of California there is a movement to legalize the general use of marijuana and tax it to help reduce the deficit the State endures. Over the years I have been on both the con and the pro side of the fence. I have been in favor, and I have been against legalization of the weed. California, like many other States including Florida and Connecticut, has had difficulty balancing it’s budget, leading to the need to cut badly needed services, and in the case of California, to even begin to sell off State property. Most States are in a fiscal mess. The reasons are myriad. They include everything from mismanagement to greed to spiraling costs in all areas. The cuts being made are effecting some of the most vulnerable citizens. Cuts are being made to funding for all educational levels, while the tuition costs for State Colleges and Universities are skyrocketing. The State Budget Office claims it can no longer subsidize education programs. Medicaid payments for Home Care and other health services are being eroded. State programs for HIV/AIDS are being forced to continue despite the lack of the additional monies they had hoped for in order to increase their outreach and improve their services. In short, necessary services for children, the ill and the elderly are being cut because of lack of funding.

Besides those cuts, anyone who reads newspapers or watches news programs has to realize that those things that feed the soul are also losing funding and are in danger of disappearing. Music and Art are disappearing from the schools. States that contribute to the funding of theater, symphony and opera are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Museums suffer as well. The arts are a legacy we receive, enjoy, add to and then pass on to succeeding generations. What kind of custodian are we?

marlborogreensBut, what has all of this to do with legalizing “pot?” California is a place where marijuana has been legalized for medical purposes. The original intent was to make the plant available for relieving the nausea and the anorexia that often accompany chemo therapy for cancer, or that are often seen in people with AIDS. In that guise, many considered it a godsend, and it truly is that. In California, according to news reports, the weed is being prescribed for pain, anxiety and just about every other condition a person might complain of, short of an ingrown toe nail. In short, the law allowing marijuana to be prescribed is being somewhat abused by prescribers.

I don’t advocate repealing this law….. in fact, I advocate tightening it up. I think doctors physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners who might be abusing the intent of the Medical Marijuana Laws by over-prescribing should be penalized severely. But I also believe that marijuana should be legalized. It should be legalized not only in California, but throughout the country. For medical reasons, it should be kept purified and standardized. It should be kept at a tax-free and reasonable cost. It should be sold in pharmacies. Other than for medical reasons, it should be packaged and sold in liquor stores to persons “old enough to drink.” It should be taxed. The taxes collected from the sale of weed in liquor stores should be diverted to those areas suffering under the current financial crises.

I know that there is opposition that claims that marijuana is a “gateway drug,” and that those who hit a bong are sliding toward the use of hard drugs. If that were the case, I would be a vocal opponent of such legalization. There is absolutely no evidence that smoking pot leads to using harder drugs. It just isn’t so. Other opponents of legalization point to Amsterdam as a country besieged with drug problems because they have legalized just about all drug use. It just is not so. Since legalization, the crime rate and other drug related problems have been vastly reduced. I would not, however, advocate legalization for all drugs, but marijuana? it is time. Taxes collected would, of course add to the State’s coffers and reduce or eliminate deficits. Prisons would become less costly since the population, swelled by current laws that call for incarceration of those caught with pot, would be reduced and these victimless crimes would be wiped from the books. I believe it is time, and our State Legislators, and those in all other States need to be put on notice that there are other sources of revenue available….. they need to become creative and they need to become brave.