The Weeknd – “Loft Music”
If you hadn’t heard…
Connecticut’s House of Reps has passed the final vote on SB 1014, which states that possession of less than 14 grams of marijuana [half an ounce] is a non-criminal violation for adults. Carrying any more weed would result in a 150 dollar fine for a first offense, and 200-500 dollars for a second offense.
Clearly this is a very controversial bill. In my opinion there are two sets of people on this matter, with two subsets–people who want de-criminalization of marijuana and people who are completely against the practice completely. The subsets of each? Morons who want/don’t want de-crim, and knowledgeable people who want/don’t want de-crim.
The morons who want de-crim are simply that. Morons. They want de-crim for all the wrong reasons. They think this is cheef up centre, permission from the government to smoke all day, and have fun! But it’s not about that; decriminalization, and legalization of the herb we all love is not the government allowing weed as a free for all and morons who want decrim don’t understand WHY this is fantastic news. They don’t understand why smoking weed legally isn’t the only benefit. Ironically, that’s also my issue with morons against de-crim. They just don’t understand why…they just don’t understand that this is more than the holy matrimony for pot smokers everywhere.
There are major benefits to de-criminalization of marijuana but let’s go over a few facts first. The war against drugs has FAILED. Countries are putting billions of dollars into slowing and stopping drug trafficking. They’re putting people behind bars for crimes that are non-malicious, instead of focussing on real criminals who rape and murder. There are more drugs on the street than ever before; more drug trafficking, and more sales despite billions of dollars to fight it. Money is being wasted, and the drug war has FAILED; nearly all countries have realized this.
Considering the failed drug war, we have to take into account alternatives. De-criminalization is a huge first step and ends quite a few practices. Under current CT law, possession of marijuana is a crime that prohibits students from receiving any kind of student loans. With de-criminalization we can, and will eliminate this. Common sense tells us that drugs are trafficked in urban areas, and the government has been targeting these areas [chock filled with minorities mind you] as spots of interest for ending continued drug trafficking. Don’t believe me? The crack-cocaine debate that has just recently been changed says otherwise.
What does all of this mean? How about, criminalizing drugs, especially marijuana, has the largest effect on our inner cities and urban areas? How about, let’s keep criminalizing poor black youth for having a gram of weed on them to keep them out of college. How about drug laws are maintained to put minorities behind bars? It’s not an exaggeration to believe, really. In 2007 according to the Department of Health & Human Services 9.5% (3.6 million) of blacks and 8.2% (16 million) of whites said they had used illicit drugs in the previous month. Still, despite there being four times the amount of white drug users, blacks represent more than HALF those on drug charges in state prisons according to an article by Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald.
Connecticut’s Governor Malloy touched on this point in his statement after the bill had passed.
““Final approval of this legislation accepts the reality that the current law does more harm than good – both in the impact it has on people’s lives and the burden it places on police, prosecutors and probation officers of the criminal justice system. Let me make it clear – we are not legalizing the use of marijuana. In modifying this law, we are recognizing that the punishment should fit the crime, and acknowledging the effects of its application”
The punishment should fit the crime, and stopping students [black, white, spanish, whatever] from going to college for possession of drugs does not fit the crime. Period.
But I digress. De-criminalization of marijuana is only the first step in what I hope America accomplishes as a nation. My end game for drugs in America? Legalization.
I know that sounds asinine for some people but hear me out. Legalization of ALL drugs saves countries billions of dollars. Countries like Portugal have focussed on rehab centers for drug abusers rather than putting them behind bars. Not only are rehab centers cheaper than putting abusers behind bars, but they’re more beneficial to stopping an abuser use drugs. Our economy would also see a rise–more jobs for people to create and produce these drugs, black market dealers moving off the streets and getting real jobs, and the taxes would certainly benefit Uncle Sam. I know people will say that legalization could continue drug trafficking but think about this in the light of alcohol…prohibition ended, and there are still black markets that sell alcohol [CT residents are well aware of bootleggers that sell alcohol after 9PM.] But who goes to the black market to buy alcohol before 9PM? No one. Who even knows where to go to reach the black markets in CT for alcohol? Not many. Who will go to the black market if heroin, or marijuana were legal? My guess? No one.
And Portugal isn’t the only country legalizing drugs. Argentina and Norway are in the process, Uruguay has never made drugs illegal, and the Czech Republic allows for 15 grams of marijuana, and 1.5 grams of heroin respectively without prosecution. It’s not an unheard of practice…just not one with a lot of fans. There are negatives–potential backlash, what if the hopes of less users just makes more users, cultural differences in Portugal and America, etc. But I think it’s worth a shot. Regulations would be in place to slow these sort of things as there is with alcohol and cigarettes such as age, licensing and limits on advertising. I know it seems like a farfetched plan, but it’s just a thought…one that deserves heavy consideration from the U.S. government.