Why are the government and politicians so reluctant to address the use of marijuana in America?
Twenty states have now approved marijuana for medicinal use. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have voter approval for legalizing the recreational use of pot and are in the process of dealing with licensing and logistic procedures for the legal sale of marijuana.
The use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational use is still against federal law. The federal government appears to be avoiding this issue. There is legislation in the House of Representatives that would prohibit the federal government from prosecuting complaints against pot-users and providers in states where the herb is legal. House Bill 689, the States Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, is stuck in committee and has only 20 sponsors. There is no equivalent legislation in the Senate.
A FOX News poll in March of this year showed 80% of Republicans believe marijuana should be legal, if it is prescribed by a doctor.
In 2009, the Attorney General’s office issued a directive to federal prosecutors to not focus any federal efforts and resources on individuals, who appear to be in compliance with existing state laws legalizing medical marijuana. However, a report shows the Justice Department has spent nearly $300 million prosecuting alleged medical pot users in states where it is legal.
Furthermore, President Obama campaigned on the idea that the federal government would allow states to establish their own policies regarding the use of marijuana. The Obama Administration has obviously failed to fulfill this campaign promise.
It can be argued that politicians representing the 20 states, that have legalized the medical use of pot, are ignoring their constituents. Why are those in power so reluctant to honestly address the issue of marijuana use?
Is there a concern that recognizing the legal use of marijuana would contribute to what many perceive as America’s permissive society? Are politicians so afraid of a major change in our drug policy that a reasonable approach to legalizing marijuana is impossible? I cannot find a legitimate reason to continue America’s collective hysteria over legalizing pot.
There is concern that marijuana is a gateway drug that will lead to stronger, more serious drugs, but there is no overwhelming consensus about that concern. There is also the concern that young people will smoke pot. News Flash: Young people are smoking pot and today’s Establishment was the generation that first made pot famous. Young people should not drink, but alcohol is legal.
To further demonstrate the federal government maintains a selfish and unrealistic view of legal pot, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) claims the marijuana plant lacks medical attributes and has the potential to be as physically harmful as heroin. The DEA has essentially ignored the opinions of tens of thousands of physicians, who recommend pot for some patients. How can the government claim to know more than doctors, when it comes to the medical benefits of marijuana?
Our country is broke and yet, our government continues to spend billions of dollars to fight a drug war it continues to lose. A Cato Institute study shows the government could save over $41 billion a year in enforcing drug laws. In theory, and maybe in reality, legalizing marijuana would take the pot trade out of the hands of criminals, thus making many neighborhoods safer for citizens.
The fact is Americans, who want to smoke pot, can buy it and smoke it, even in states where the use of pot has not been legalized. The only exception would be those who would like to “hit the pipe,” but can’t because of anti-drug rules in their workplace. The question of whether businesses have the right to restrict employees from using legal substances is a topic for another blog and another show.
I am not promoting the use of marijuana or any other drugs, but I do think it’s time for Americans to pressure the government, and that means YOUR elected officials who are not addressing this issue, to elevate common sense above long-standing traditions in this country. We seem to be a nation so resistant to change that we cling to ideas and policies that are completely outdated. Change is the basis of everything.
(BTW – I don’t smoke pot and would not start, if pot became legal. My opinion is consistent with my opinion on many other issues and is not personal.)
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Who mandates your opinion?
"My opinion is consistent with my opinion on many other issues and is not personal."
If your own opinion isn't personal, what possibly could be?
when I said my opinion about marijuana was not "personal" I was referring to the fact that I don't smoke pot and have nothing personal to gain.