Yesterday was a little known anniversary. It was the anniversary of the the ratification of the 18th Amendment, commonly called the Prohibition Amendment. Nine months later, Congress passed the Volstead Act, or National Prohibition Act, over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. The Volstead Act provided for the enforcement of prohibition, including the creation of a special unit of the Treasury Department. Despite a vigorous effort by law-enforcement agencies, the Volstead Act failed to prevent the large-scale distribution of alcoholic beverages, and organized crime flourished in America.
Today we once more have a failed
prohibition trying to be enforced to no avail. Only this time they call it a war. A war on drugs. It has created gangs who run all aspects of the drug business, while making fortunes off the misery of others. Now don’t get me wrong there are drugs that no one should ever be allowed to use, as they are too dangerous to society as a whole. But on the same token there are drugs that are mostly benign and present no harm to anyone except perhaps the user. We need to step back and take an honest look at the way we try to run this war. This war has gone on for 35 years officially and unofficially for much longer, and has not produced results that satisfy most citizens and analysts. Drugs remain a significant problem at all levels of society, across ethnic, racial, economic, and educational lines.
If I could set the policy the first thing I would do would be to make medical marijuana available to all who need it. Then we would start an open discussion on its classification under drug law. Right now it is on the same level as heroin. Which means officially, by law, it has no medical value whatsoever. Now I know it is quite easy to overdose on heroin and many have done it causing loss of life. But there has never been a recorded incident of anyone overdosing on marijuana. It just doesn’t happen.
We have a failed system of teaching about drugs that I feel leads or can partially lead to other drug use. When a young person tries marijuana and none of the terrible things that they were taught happen to them they then feel like the village where the boy cries wolf. Does one lie, begat another? Marijuana should be legal, taxed and regulated like alcohol is today. No one under 21 should have access to it. And if it were regulated and sold from a real store instead of off the street corner or the back room of someones house where other harder drugs are commonly being used, then perhaps we would not have as many users migrating on to harder drugs. Plus the money from the taxes could then be put to a good use. Treatment of people who are on harder drugs. Our law enforcement officers could focus on the drugs that are actually killing people instead of a harmless plant. No one should be in prison for a crime that has no victim. Smoking marijuana is a victimless crime. Were it up to me all people currently locked away for victimless crimes would be set free, but if you had committed a crime that hurt others your backside better get used to it back there as you are going to be hanging out there a long time.

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