California has a right to legalize marijuana

Forget about the negative persona marijuana received in the 1936 movie “Reefer Madness.” Dismiss those articles debating the social implications of weed, (including  those that have appeared in this newspaper for the past few issues.)

For pro-reefer residents of California, now it’s all about cash.

In California’s November ballots, a voter initiative will be presented that, if passed, would make possession and sale of marijuana legal. The taxing of this drug could raise almost $1.4 billion advocates say.

Currently, national groups are raising money on the internet, asking donors to give $4.20 at a time to pass this bill. Over 56 percent of Californians support this legislation and this issue will affect the gubernatorial race.

However, opponents of this bill are holding onto the negative perception of the drug, such as being the cause of increasing tardiness and absenteeism.

But what is worse, taking a moral stance on a recreational drug that is less addictive than nicotine or California paying its vendors with 29,000 IOUs totaling $53 million?

From a simple economic standpoint the answer is obvious: legalize it.

Just take a look at Greece. In an article titled “State Debt Woes Grow Too Big to Camouflage,” The New York Times compared California’s situation to this bankrupt country. The similarities, among others, included both having unbalanced budgets and public workers whose benefits are getting harder to pay.

In addition to being a money source, legalizing marijuana would also cut cost. The illegal status of the drug has lead to an underground economy that law enforcement spends millions fighting against with few results.

The trend toward legalization is appropriate. Since 1996, 14 states have legalized marijuana for medical use. In other states, the use of the drug by anyone has been decriminalized.

The ability to decide if marijuana is appropriate for the people of California should be decided by its state government.

In reality, the legalization of weed will probably not increase the amount of pot heads in California.

The evidence? Just look at prohibition, if people really want to do something, they will find a way around the barriers. If so, the state of California might as well be getting their cut from it.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial staff.