Although I'm a big fan of Bill Maher, there is one issue I am in opposition with him on. That issue is the legalization of marijuana. Whenever he starts discussing anything medical, well, let's just say Bill gets a little ranty and extreme. In light of the present economic downturn, many have been suggesting we should legalize marijuana as a source of monetary gain. Let's explore that idea, shall we?
In my view, there are two schools of thought in favor of legalizing this substance. The first, and more legitimate proposal in my opinion, involves using marijuana for medicinal purposes. The second and more troubling proposal is legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Unfortunately, one group uses the other to advance their cause. I think you know which one.
Although marijuana when thought of as a pharmaceutical product has shown benefits in medical practice, smoking the drug does not come without its pitfalls. Some of the unwanted effects include short-term memory loss, impaired lung function comparable to that of cigarette smokers, cancer, decreased sperm count and motility, interference with ovulation and prenatal development, altered immune response, and may cause detrimental effects on heart function. The well known amotivational syndrome has become the source of humor and represents the common image of the run of the mill stoner. This syndrome is a rather serious consequence of substance abuse and is not entirely desirable, nor funny. Let's not forget the association this drug has with schizophrenia.
So given that background information, smoking this particular product does not appear to be the ideal method of administration. These effects alone are enough to convince physicians that its use as a recreational drug is simply not a good idea. In the world of medicine, physicians will be geared towards getting you to quit whether the drug is legal or not.
Let's look at marijuana as a cash crop at this point in time. It is grown in foreign countries and smuggled across borders. Anyone with seeds can start up their own crop. The number of varieties out there resemble coffee and tea selections.
Now let's legalize it and examine the market as a recreational drug.
What are the proposed benefits?
Stimulation of the economy
Decriminalization and reduced strain on the judicial system
Reduced border security issues
Reduced funding of criminals abroad
Let's look at the problems from a business perspective.
It will have to become centralized through a company here in the US. Why? A better infrastructure for growing and handling this crop is already in place in other countries. Smuggling will turn into importing and that money will go abroad, not stay at home. Remind me again where the "good stuff" comes from. Why wouldn't a centralized company work? Anyone can grow the stuff. A licensing system will have to be put into place. Consider it similar to having a liquor license. What company would want to grow a crop easily grown by regular people?
There's just no money in it once you legalize the stuff, unless of course, you're the government taxing it.
Ah taxes. That is your proposal, isn't it? The current proposal for economic growth does stem from government taxation. Proponents preach how pot will help reduce the national debt, etc, etc. Yep. Let's tax the substance. You already know how well taxes have gone with tobacco smokers. How much are you paying for a carton these days because of taxes? Do you really want to start paying more for your pot? I didn't think so. Dealers won't like the idea either. They'll have to start paying the IRS for the money they make. Keep it illegal, and all that money stays under the table.
The proposal to legalize marijuana as a recreational drug is nothing more than a notion that if major drug companies are allowed to push their substances, we ought to be able to have our pot too. The problem is, it's not a viable business proposal.
You think it will result in decriminalization? If you do anything under the influence, you will still be treated as a criminal. Possessing it will not be criminal, but daily activities performed under the influence most certainly will. I doubt you'll be able to have the stuff out in the open in your car. Underage possession will still be criminal as well. Places of employment are still going to piss test you. They still don't have to hire you if you test positive. Could be a bigger bureaucratic nightmare than it already is.
So if you want to legalize marijuana for recreational use, show me a business model that works. If anyone can grow it, I'm not sure how profitable marijuana will be as a crop. I just don't see it guys.