It's official: smoking pot is now legal in Washington state. Twenty months after voters legalized recreational marijuana, pot stores are open for business and apparently doing quite well. Washington becomes the second state to legalize recreational marijuana, with Colorado being the first in the nation, after voters in both states approved legislation in November 2012.
Colorado and Washington will serve as examples for other states to legalize marijuana in the future. Quite frankly, the war on drugs has been a colossal failure since its inception during the Nixon administration. The delusional thinking on this is obvious and embarrassing, yet the United States government continues spending billions every year trying to stop American's from getting high. Apparently we're so stupid we need to be saved from ourselves.
It's astonishing that for 236 years Americans were smart enough to change the world through innovation, technology, and independent thinking, yet our own government doesn't believe we're smart enough to manage our own lives. Didn't we learn this lesson during prohibition? The 19th Amendment outlawing alcohol was as big a failure as the drug war, the only difference is we repealed prohibition after 12 years. Where is the critical thinking in believing the drug war would be any different? After all, isn't alcohol a liquid drug? Marijuana creates a softer affect than alcohol, yet our jails are full of people who like to use and sell it. The drug war philosophy is a zero-sum equation, which is, who owns our bodies? If you say the United States government owns our bodies, that would give them the right to ban substances that harm us. But I don't think anyone would say the government owns our bodies. So if we own our bodies, shouldn't we have the right to drink, smoke or ingest anything we choose?
Beyond that, here's the most encouraging news of all to come from the legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: the critics were wrong! Crime in Denver has dropped by more than a tenth, local law enforcement data reveals, and the state as a whole is expected to collect around $30 million in revenue this year as a result of weed taxes.
Instead of spending billions of dollars pretending they can squelch demand, the government should legalize drugs and invest a tiny fraction of the savings in educating people on the dangers of drugs and helping the addicted. Not only would legalization save billions and empty half of our jails, it would also save tens of thousands of lives around the world from the vicious drug cartels. And the proof is in Colorado thus far.
"It's obvious that as people see the concrete benefits of legalizing marijuana with their own eyes, support will continue to go up," said Marijuana Majority's Tom Angell. "A convincing majority of Colorado voters opted to end prohibition on Election Day in 2012, and now that real jobs and real tax revenue are being created, it makes sense that more and more people who were previously skeptical are starting to get on board."
The people that say hard drugs cannot be legalized are kidding themselves. Millions of Americans are using them every day. The only logical solution is to stop spending money trying to slow them down. It isn't right and it doesn't work. I'm not advocating drug use. In fact, drugs scare me. What I'm suggesting is applying critical thinking on an issue where none exists. The government should use our tax money to protect us, not to tell us how to live.
Critical thinking says if you remove the profit you remove the violence, but logic and reason don't always prevail in America. The moral police do. These are people who believe they know how to run our lives better than we do, and they are here to save us from ourselves. These crusaders believe they are morally and intellectually superior, and they have blessed us with their presence so we too can see the light. These are the same clowns who can't balance the budget and stop themselves from emailing lewd pictures to college girls, but... they are here to guide us. What a joke.
We're in a time of change. Just as equality and gay rights is becoming more accepted by society, so too will the public opinion on legalized marijuana. It's only a matter of time before you can legally light up anywhere in America. It's time for critical thinking rooted in logic and reason to replace delusional thinking based in emotion.