The battle for and against the decriminalization of marijuana has been raging for years. The idea has been gaining support from both sides of the aisle in congress as well as from every walk of life on Main Street.
The fight would appear to be at critical mass with states such as Colorado passing laws decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis for personal use.
Recently, Rand Paul (R-KY)has come out in support of decriminalization. Saying folks should not have their lives ruined due making such choices early in life. “I don't want to promote that but I also don't want to put people in jail who make a mistake," Paul explained. "There are a lot of young people who do this and then later on in their twenties they grow up and get married and they quit doing things like this. I don't want to put them in jail and ruin their lives." Paul said.
The Senator from Kentucky makes a good argument here. Many folks who smoke marijuana are young and make some bad choices and it ruins their future. So it begs the question should your entire life be tossed away for making the choice to smoke marijuana?
You do not have to support the activity to see the validity of Mr. Paul's argument. It seems a bit extreme to lock folks up for some small youthful transgressions.
The issue is what about those who smoke it and they are not young. Should we lock up grandma down the street for smoking a joint for ease her pain after other drugs from the major drug manufacturers have failed? Or should we lock up the guy who smokes it to calm his anxiety disorder due to the side effects of his proscribed meds?
To many that answer is a resounding yes. But, to a majority of Americans the answer has become an even louder NO.
The problem is much like banning guns our war on drugs has created a black market that leads to crime. Also, it has led to a stigma and shame dumped on those who find themselves on these drugs. This shame at times lead a person do a path to stronger drugs.
Other nations such as Portugal have decriminalized all drugs and opened drug rehab centers. These actions have lessened the stigma of drug use and fear of getting jailed and folks have received the help they needed. Also, this lowered overall drug use in the country.
So if it can work for all drugs in other nations why can we not at least try it here for marijuana?
Once and for all lets come to our senses on the prohibition of cannabis in our great land. Lets stop sending folks to jail over smoking joints. Lets end the stigma attached to drug use and move to helping solve the issues that lead to drug use in the the first place.
This is part one of a multi-part series I plan to write on this subject over the next month. So if you liked what you read here check back soon to catch part 2.