CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Editorials

November 9, 2012

Up in smoke in America

CULLMAN — Voters in Colorado and Washington approved using marijuana for recreational purposes as part of Tuesday’s election.

Any surprise?

Pot advocates have been pushing for years to legalize marijuana instead of the nation funding an expensive and largely unsuccessful war against drugs. Federal law conflicts with what voters approved in those two states, but whether drug enforcement agents will interfere is uncertain.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana for medicinal purposes, but opening the door to legal recreational use is a questionable move by voters. The fact that federal law views marijuana as an illegal drug should have been enough to prevent such a measure from making it to a state ballot. Nevertheless, the door to unknown territory is wide open.

Aside from a lot of pot users celebrating the right to get stoned, the lust for more tax revenue is deeply entrenched in the legal marijuana movement. Colorado officials are estimating that legal pot could generate as much as $22 million a year in revenue. Nationally, the estimate is nearly $2 billion over five years.

Talk about a way to finance big government. The advocates of large government are having plenty of visions over the prospect of nationwide legal marijuana.

At this point, no one is considering how legal marijuana use would impact drug-testing in the workplace. Would businesses be able to prohibit workers from using pot? What impact on public safety would legalized pot carry? Will children have greater access to pot with mom and dad and older siblings hanging out in the recreation room smoking a roll-your-own?

Would widespread legalization of marijuana lead to greater health issues in America?

Legalizing pot would certainly allow federal, state and local officials to clear out jails. Why not legalize most of the recreational drugs on the street and reduce the prison population by an even greater percentage. Sure would save a lot of money.

And in the meantime, years of parenting attempts at steering  kids away from pot and other drugs will go up in smoke with unknown consequences.

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