Yes, on Decriminalization of Pot, But . . .

We hear that business is booming in the legal marijuana trade in Colorado.

That’s good news, right?

Well, maybe yes, maybe no.

When it comes to legalizing the use of recreational marijuana, and decriminalization of the same, it’s a little like the invention of the Internet. Beware of what you’re getting into.

You can be of several minds on the issue: there is no question in our minds that when it comes to policing and the justice system, the heaviest burden -- in terms of prison time, incarceration and policing -- has befallen young black men in America. So, for certain, something has to be done about sentencing, those penalties exacted for using and buying. Those kinds of inequities should not be abided.

We do feel that some proposals on fines for just walking or smoking in public are too light. There should some more disincentive.

Lots of people worry about marijuana and its uses. So goes the argument: people will start smoking again and become addicted and even move on to stronger things like cocaine. Those claims are questionable. You have to smoke a lot of pot to get into the cancer territory, although the danger exists. The leap from strong to stronger is debatable, too—marijuana and coke are two very different kinds of drugs and usually don’t go hand in hand.

But marijuana, like alcohol, is impairing. Smoke enough and you can miss your turnoff, while driving, and end up in Ohio—or, for that matter, miss seeing that stop sign or red light. That’s no laughing matter, and police have complained already that there is no way of testing for its use.

There should be, however, some studies done on the use, control and economic effects in such places as Colorado, Washington or Oregon. But economic success—big bucks for entrepreneurs—shouldn’t override common sense and legitimate concerns.

Would legalizing marijuana be the end of the world as we know it? You bet. But our world is ending every day and becoming something else. Just ask the people who miss Jay Leno so badly. ★

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Tue, 2 Sep 2014 22:11:23 -0400

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