Legalizing Marijuana Would Save Lives and Money

Legalizing Marijuana Would Save Lives and Money
Posted by CN Staff on March 04, 2007 at 21:28:36 PT
By Carl Hedberg
Source: Union Leader
New Hampshire -- We have been fighting the war on marijuana for over three generations to no avail. Lives of our fellow citizens continue to be torn apart, not by the drug, but by Draconian laws that do nothing to stem supply or demand. How long must we stay the course on this social and fiscal abomination before we finally adopt a new approach?Consider just the social cost. In 2005, the United States reached an all-time high in marijuana arrests. The FBI reports that more than 780,000 people were nabbed -- a rate of one every four seconds. 
Of those charged, approximately 88 percent -- just over 696,000 Americans -- were cited for possession. The others were charged with "sale or manufacture," a category that includes all cultivation offenses, including marijuana being grown for personal or medical use. One might argue that this surge means we're making progress in the war. On the contrary, like the recent discovery of sophisticated hothouses in otherwise vacant luxury homes in New Hampshire, higher arrest rates point to a robust and growing underground economy. The only way to put a dent in this illicit marketplace is to alter the fundamental economics of the marijuana trade.Before any real consensus on a new way forward can be reached, however, citizens would have to face the fact that marijuana has found a permanent place in the fabric of American culture, and as such, prohibition is a long-lost cause. In addition, we would need to put to rest a few age-old misconceptions about marijuana and the potential impact of more progressive policies.* Children will use marijuana more if it is decriminalized: As with alcohol, tobacco, safe driving, safe sex and the like, parents need to lead by example, establish ground rules and expectations and explain the risks. There are tons of great reasons why our youth shouldn't be experimenting with marijuana, but current laws and just say no programs have never, and will never, keep it out of reach. Besides, it's not the state's responsibility to raise our children.* Marijuana is a gateway drug: In the current environment, this appears to be true; marijuana often leads to the use of even more unsavory substances. However, sampling the gamut of pop drugs is not typically driven by the quest for a better or stronger high. It is largely driven by youthful curiosity and the presence of a deep and wide network of one-stop-shop drug vendors who employ a basic business strategy: to increase sales, offer a broad line of products.* High potency increases the incidence of abuse: The vast majority of adult marijuana users aren't getting wasted and falling down on hyper-strong weed any more than social drinkers are chugging beers or throwing back shots every night after work. For the multitude of productive members of society who use marijuana, high-potency just means that a little goes a long way.* Legalize, commercialize, and tax: This is a common solution proposed by fans of legalization, but it is absurd. High-potency marijuana is not a viable commercial product for three reasons. First, marijuana is a weed that can be easily cultivated anywhere in our state. Second, commercial ventures are in the business of promoting and selling product. Given the opportunity to vend weed, there is every reason to expect that for-profit firms would pursue similar tactics to develop and perpetuate that market. Lastly, marijuana could never be a truly viable commercial product because the average user doesn't consume enough of it. Over a year, even a casual drinker can be expected to spend quite a bit on beer, wine and spirits. On the other hand, a teacup full of potent marijuana would last a similarly responsible user for months.There is a solution: The way to defeat illegal purveyors of anything is to make it unprofitable for them to engage in that activity. We can eliminate the economic incentive to sell marijuana in New Hampshire -- and restore our American right of self-determination and free will -- by decriminalizing personal cultivation. If adults were permitted to grow marijuana under the same laws and social, workplace and parental expectations that they are able to produce wine and beer, the market for illegal weed in New Hampshire would collapse. Allowing cultivation and private use would remove marijuana from the overall war on drugs and free up millions: that could fund enhanced educational, outreach and treatment programs.Carl Hedberg of Lyndeborough is a senior teaching case writer at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., and founder of EEcases, a case clearing house for entrepreneurship educators.Source: Union Leader (Manchester, NH)Author: Carl HedbergPublished: March 5, 2007Copyright: 2007 The Union Leader Corp.Contact: opinion UnionLeader.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #8 posted by ryno35 on March 05, 2007 at 16:54:46 PT
Lost me at the end
"marijuana could never be a truly viable commercial product because the average user doesn't consume enough of it."It's hard to find words to describe the lunacy of this comment.If it takes you months to smoke a teacup full, why would you be growing? Plus like Toker00 says, most people would rather just buy. Based on the last three paragraphs of this article I don't believe the author has ever been or known a regular smoker of marijuana and has never seen the marijuana market in Amsterdam. As reasonable people know, the only solution is a legal market where marijuana is bought and sold in a regulated environment as Alcohol and Tobacco currently is. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by Toker00 on March 05, 2007 at 14:54:48 PT
I hear ya. It's like with alcohol. As a young man I was excited about setting up my little micro-brewery in a five gallon glass water bottle. Now here was a way I could make my own beer and drink it too! My pantry would be stocked, always! Shoot. I wouldn't give you a plug nickel for that set up right now. Messy, boring and not as fun as I thought. Same for gardening. It doesn't matter which plant you raise, it's hard work. Even a flower garden is work. Most people will gladly buy their bud and spend their private time on other cool projects. Not that growing the Herb isn't a cool project and cool can be hard work too, but most people will NOT grow their own. Promise. Some will just grow one or two for show or special events. Let HEMPDOM ring!Toke.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by cannabliss on March 05, 2007 at 14:41:25 PT
I'll give the writer credit for advocating a form of legalization, but the article has a couple glaring errors.First of all, the "gateway effect" is demonstrably false, regardless of the legal status of cannabis. Secondly, the idea that nobody would want to buy pot and everyone would grow their own is far more "absurd" than the contrary. First of all, consumption would rise among certain segments (medical users, recreational users who currently lack "connections", etc), meaning demand would keep the price from crashing too far. Secondly, people (myself included) would pay a premium for having, say, a pack of pre-rolled cigarettes as opposed to spending weeks tending a garden, harvesting, curing, etc. I don't grow zucchini or tomatoes (though I'm sure I could), and I would prefer not to grow cannabis too.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 05, 2007 at 11:30:57 PT
I don't mind ranting at all.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by Truth on March 05, 2007 at 06:40:39 PT
the Kubby's
I've smoked with Steve and had a long conversation with him and Michelle. They are truely outstanding Americans. I hold them both in high esteem.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by gloovins on March 05, 2007 at 05:55:52 PT
I'm not so sure in maybe 2012 or so
after the last real domino has fallen : >*industrial hemp*& all it's 25k uses...corporate run "democracy" we have here in the USA will wilt & be forced thru petitons of regress brought against these corp's - corruption they reek of - amongst them they will HAVE to embrace the undeniable money off it to reverse their carbon monxide spewing vehicles ever since the anti-semite/nazi sym'tzr Henry FORD.... See, once the industrial hemp wall falls, then it will replace *1000's* of toxic unnesessary plastics, oils, whale (yes, the japanese are killing em again :( ) mammal fat/intestines - these industries are replaced by Instrl hemp, dig? & 80% rembr support the medical use of it - we have put truth fwd there & it of course won but it was like, why wage a way against yr own fellow otherwise law abiding SICK & DYING citizens for a plant?This I cannot wait for because I think we will soon embrace it as the so many countries already legal for prsnl amounts in effect & smthing Michelle Kubby once remarked, (& I'm paraphrasing) "The laws of prohibition in the late 20's were the most severe & then got even stricter just right before - a matter of months - prohibition crumbled overnight after passage of the repeal of prohib/18th amndmnt" See, the frickin problems went away ?! Duh...MMM well now, Law enfrmnt would be forced to have to go after REAL crime LIKE ASSAULT/VIOLENT crimes, drunk drivers, sex crimes, forgery, corporate tax cheats/POLLUTERS!, robbries, kidnapping, pedophiles, bank robberies, credit card / mail fraud, etc now mm well that's what they are there to protect & serve -- & I respect police & agree with about 95% of the laws but victimless crimes you need not "protect" us from because it harms no one unless it UN-REGULATED ! Like ok - take prostitution, again, if it was controlled like in Ams'dam - they have the lowest std/hiv rate (b/c of REGULATION/ mndtory testing of prs'tuts which equales REAL CONTROL), correct me if I am wrong on that but I do rembr vaguley a study awhile back...Sorry I ranted tonight FoM, listening to Billie Holiday & in a Dr. HS Thomson/Kerouac mood - Stay well all... 
He may be on the ticket in '08 in ALL states .. think abou it ....
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by potpal on March 05, 2007 at 05:00:11 PT
Free State
Not Police State. Good argument! Which will be the first state to get it done?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by Toker00 on March 05, 2007 at 03:49:58 PT
That L-word sure is prominent these days.
Before any real consensus on a new way forward can be reached, however, citizens would have to face the FACT that marijuana has found a PERMANENT place in the fabric of American CULTURE, and as such, prohibition is a long-lost cause.Not to mention that the War on Drugs is Racial/Cultural/Spiritual Genocide.It could still be a viable commercial product. Sell it in squares like sod. Pre-seeded with select strains ready to Grow. Six inch squares? That would be enough for a back yard plot. Natural fert. included. As many strains as there are tomato variations. Yum.Toke. 
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment