The Web is humming with stories and discussion from the aftermath of President Obama's response to questions about drug legalization during last Thursday's YouTube forum. While his words this time around are a bit more encouraging than previous signals from the administration, I would strongly suggest that we all, including the president, cut through the platitudes and get to the truth about marijuana prohibition.
If, as the president suggests, it is time for a "serious debate" about legalization, let's get to it, starting with a few questions that beg for truth:
Why, with record federal deficits and states teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, are we spending billions on yet another failed Prohibition that is accomplishing nothing other than making criminals out of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens and fueling drug cartels that threaten our fundamental national security? Is it not time to try something different?
Despite lip-service, about the need for treatment, harm-reduction and other strategies to address drug use as a health issue, why do the federal government's actual policies and budget still treat the situation as almost entirely a law enforcement problem? Let's end the unworkable marijuana prohibition and put our money where our mouth is. Let's solve the problems like border crime. We can do it with pot legalization.
We need to deal with some simple truths. How do we reconcile the fact, that in a supposedly free society, it is legal for a responsible adult to purchase and consume alcohol, while purchasing and consuming marijuana is a crime? I, along with millions of other Americans, are still waiting for a credible answer to that one.
Mr. President, I would suggest the debate has already begun, thanks for joining in. The Feds have been ignoring this issue for far too long.
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