Reefer madness: End prohibition
Incremental reductions in marijuana prohibition's societal harm are welcome. But federal and state laws' resulting conflicts must be resolved — by flat-out federal legalization, taxation and regulation.
Medical use is legal in 18 states and D.C., recreational use in Colorado and Washington state. Pew Research Center data show 52 percent of adults favor legalization, up by 11 points since 2010. Sixty percent oppose enforcing federal anti-marijuana laws in states that have legalized use.
Yet marijuana's politically motivated 1970 federal classification as having “no currently accepted medical use” remains, frustrating researchers. The Obama administration's Justice Department talks vaguely about enforcement priorities, not about respecting states' decisions outright.
Prohibition squanders law-enforcement, judicial and corrections dollars to criminalize otherwise law-abiding Americans while forgoing potential new tax revenues — all in a failed effort against a plant that causes demonstrably less societal harm than legal alcohol or tobacco.
“Having a regulated system is the only way to ensure that we're not ceding control of this popular substance to the criminal market and to black marketeers,” says Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association.
And the only way to do that while resolving state-federal conflicts for all Americans is federal-level reform that reflects scientific and political reality.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- The Stellarwind program: Hardly stellar
- Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes
- The McConway & Torley foundry fight: Eco-wackos & hipsters vs. jobs
- Investing in Connellsville: Support new businesses
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
- The NFL today: Tax-exempt no more
- The power of Marcellus: Real & impressive