Opinion

I voted to legalize marijuana, but then I got high…

Attention potheads around the U.S.: You may soon be able to roll all the joints and smoke all the marijuana you want without having to spend over a thousand dollars for a trip to Amsterdam. Where is this new weed-friendly neighbor? Well, just keep in mind you may have to use your lighter for heat.

Montana and Oregon both have referenda on their state ballots this year regarding the legalization and expansion of medicinal marijuana. Alaskans, however, are going a step further, placing a statewide referendum asking voters to decriminalize the drug completely. The referendum would place the same type of regulations on the growth, sale and use of marijuana now placed on alcohol and tobacco, such as an age limit and bans on public use. Though in Oregon the measure is lacking wide support, those in Montana and Alaska look like they will pass. How did the U.S. fall behind so quickly in its homeland struggle against drugs? For one thing, it probably never believed the democratic process would be its worst enemy.

Pro-marijuana activists say the drug’s decriminalization will help ease the overpopulation of prisons and lead to safer marijuana through regulation. Anti-marijuana proponents argue that the negative effect of smoking one joint is equal to smoking ten cigarettes at one time. Many also use U.S. Drug Czar John Walters’ argument against medical marijuana, saying, “People’s suffering is being used for legalizing drug use beginning with marijuana and moving forward.” I’m not a fervent supporter for either side, but if this issue were on the Florida ballot, I would probably vote for decriminalization.

Mr. Walter’s argument isn’t too strong. For one thing, you don’t see any national effort to legalize cocaine or heroin, and I do not believe that will change with the decriminalization of marijuana. Also, regulation would be beneficial to those who do smoke it because it would guarantee that their joint will not be full of extra toxic chemicals, meaning the joint would be safer. Government revenue would also increase with taxes like those on cigarettes. This is an important point because those taxes could be used to help pay for any extra public health costs incurred because marijuana use. Personally, I have not and do not plan to smoke marijuana, but I have had friends that have and it’s not my choice whether or not they do it. It’s better that it be regulated than made in some back alley.

Pierre Gaunaurd can be contacted at p.gaunaurd@umiami.edu.

October 19, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It’s the play Miami Hurricanes fans will never forget — and Florida State fans are trying to forget. ...

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

An ACLU report authored by UM sociologists documents racial and ethnic disparities in Miami-Dade Cou ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.