Pro: Why Morgan Fox Thinks Marijuana Should Be Legalized Nationwide
1 year ago
“No adult should be arrested for the responsible use of marijuana, particularly since it’s safer than alcohol.”
In our Pro vs Con series, we ask two experts to weigh in on a hot button topic. This week, we tackle the legalization of marijuana. Morgan Fox is the communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project.
Loop21: Do you think marijuana use and possession should be legalized in every state of the union? Why or why not?
Morgan Fox: No adult should be arrested for the responsible use of marijuana, particularly since it is demonstrably safer than alcohol, which is legal and pervasive in our society. Marijuana prohibition is an obviously failed policy that costs hundreds of millions of dollars a year in taxpayer money and does not prevent anyone from using marijuana. At the very least, arrest and jail should be replaced with fines or treatment in every state. The Drug Czar himself has said that we cannot arrest our way out of drug use, so it is time that we try a new approach that makes marijuana use a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue. In the end, it should be up to each state to determine how best to accomplish this.
Loop21: Do you see legalization as a states’ issue, or a federal one? Why?
Fox: Making marijuana completely legal and regulated may not be right for the residents of every state, and there will certainly be some differences in the ways different states remove criminal penalties as time goes on, but every state should have the right to shape its own marijuana policy without worrying about federal interference. It is a waste of federal resources to prosecute marijuana violations when every state in the nation has already set up their own marijuana policies and are capable of enforcing them. Federal overreach in this area prevents states from experimenting with their policies and creating a system that is uniquely tailored to their particular circumstances.
Loop21: What are the pros of legalizing marijuana?
Fox: Responsible adult users would no longer have to fear arrest or the complications that come with a criminal record for choosing to use a substance safer than alcohol. Local, state and federal governments could save large amounts of money on enforcement and prosecution while law enforcement would be able to devote more time and resources to preventing and solving serious violent crimes. A legal and regulated marijuana market would provide tax revenue and jobs while taking money out of the hands of criminal gangs. In addition, the barriers to research on the medical properties of marijuana would no longer be in place, allowing scientists to conduct research that may lead to better treatments for a wide variety of conditions.
Loop21: What are the cons of legalizing marijuana?