This is a response to the David Brooks column Been There. Done That. (Link); a meditation of the moral frame work of marijuana laws.
He needs to think harder.
The hyper-tight-collars (I was going to use an anatomical part south of the collar; but that would not be polite) who are against the legalization of weed on moralistic grounds are actually eroding the morals they claim to protect.
Laws are meant to govern us; to keep us from harming each other, and, in extreme cases, harming ourselves. Unrealistic laws will be broken. When enough unrealistic laws are enacted and broken by enough people, all laws come into question.
This is what happened with prohibition of the '20s and early '30s. The hyper-tight-collars got their way and no one could drink. Because it was an unrealistic law, organized crime was able to gain a foothold in booze and other areas. I guess you can say that really worked out well.
Once booze was re-legalized, they outlawed weed. I guess the hyper-tight-collars needed something to whine about and lord over the rest of us.
So with weed, it was claimed it is an entrance drug to harder stuff (kinda like they said with booze) and we proceeded to set our penal system up to efficiently round up as many potheads as possible. The problem is we have jailed too many of ourselves. Enough of our citizens see this as an unrealistic law. The attitude now bleeds over to every other form of crime.
Look at the damage done to our society with white collar crime. Who went to jail for selling out Wall Street? Hey, do some weed -- do some coke -- do some banks. (Didn't this happen in the '20s -- have some bathtub gin and cut some deals at the speakeasy? We really enjoyed the Depression.)
Once you break one law -- the first law -- it is easy to break more laws.
Weed is not an entrance drug to other drugs but an entrance infraction that allows all laws to be broken and government disrespected.
Legalize weed now. These laws are harming our society. Enough of our population is voting with their life choices. It is a quiet revolt of those who choose to partake have made. Many have opted out of society at the moment they need to be involved the most. Government systems have effectively marginalized them with warped moralistic laws.
In return these folks turn their back on the system. This is a large apathetic voting block. Far more people fed up with government sat on the sidelines for the 2008 and 2012 Presidential Campaigns than actually voted. Had the number of folks who sat out been tallied, they would have won with landslides.
If this block wants to activate itself, it has a chance to release those in jail for pot. It can fund letting the 'pot-cons' (those just convicted of pot laws) get their lives together. Revisit our entire penal code to make realistic laws. Revise our judicial and prison systems that are now gamed as a for-profit enterprise. (It is funny how almost the same amount of money went to building state prisons in Pennsylvania as was taken out of the Philadelphia School District.)
We might become a more moral society if we can take care of one another instead of locking ourselves up.