Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Washington and Colorado legalize recreational use of marijuana after voting. Could decriminalization mean less spent on state prisons?

Editorial by Doug Glass, Backgate Website

Last night votes were tallied in both Colorado and Washington state that will now pave the way for legalized recreational usage of marijuana. Although the measures were passed by voters in both states, the Federal Government may have something to say about it being that federal drug laws still apply. Unlike California, and Montana,and 15 other states that have some variation of the laws that allow medical usage based on a doctors prescription, Washington and Colorado would both approve sales to anyone over the age  of 18 without a prescription for recreational use. A move that both states see as taxable ways to boosts the states income. Not ever having been a marijuana user, i can't say whether or not the drug provides any relief from medical and or any other issues, but there are doctors and scientists who say it does.

 The next question would be " Has the Federal Government been effective in preventing the importation of the drug, and has it been worth it?" Millions of dollars in tax payer money, many lives lost in the U.S. and abroad over the trafficking of the drug. It's a war many U.S. drug agents, and other law enforcement agencies have openly stated we can't win. Others compare the drug to alcohol and remember back when prohibition drove up the costs and made the transport of alcohol what it is for marijuana today. Of course eventually, as history indicates, alcohol made a comeback and was taxed with great success. Just look at the latest major beer label stocks to see for yourself. There are also the groups that want to keep it illegal. Their reasoning is just as convincing as all others.

  In Texas, stats show that many convicted felons have seen the insides of state prisons and jails based solely on the possession or usage of marijuana. With state budget cuts looming once again this session, is it cost effective to use prison and jail cells for marijuana users ? That's anywhere from 50-100 bucks per day, per offender, in every prison or jail. That doesn't include the costs to prosecute such crimes in court at tax payer expense. After being involved in both the law enforcement side, and corrections side of the coin for nearly 30 years, i think it may be time for the discussion to take place at the capitol either way. I have presented both sides of the issue for our readers to consider. Whats your thoughts ?


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