Thursday, October 14, 2010

About a Ridiculous Argument Against Legalizing Pot

In an article entitled "Legal Pot in California a Big Mistake," (apparently verbs no longer en vogue) columnist Ruben Navarette, Jr. asserts

If you legalize any kind of undesirable behavior -- from vagrancy to prostitution to identity theft -- you'll remove the stigma and get more of that behavior.
I disagree. First of all, it's not as if access to marijuana is terribly restricted. Ironically, it's easier for kids to buy pot from an illegal vendor (i.e. drug dealer) than it is to buy beer from a legal vendor (i.e. Rajeeth at 7-11--I'm not being racist here. My local 7-11 is owned and operated by a man named Rajeeth. Were it not for my beard and my being a regular customer, he'd card me every time). Illegal vendors don't card their customers. When I was in high school, my buddy Garreth R., no, that's to specific, let's call him G. Ritz, used to hook us up through an old boss who would buy us beer and try to sell us pot at the same time.

Also, it's incorrect to suggest that legalizing something reduces the stigma and leads to greater demand. All legalizing something does is permit those who demand it to trade for it openly. As far as I understand, eating my dog's feces is legal, but there's still plenty of "stigma" attached to doing so. Were it legal to marry my sister, I wouldn't.

What Navarette means is that legalizing something in demand leads to people legally (and thus visibly) consuming it. Such is not the same demand increasing.

Few people who have never tried pot have abstained simply because it is illegal. It is already readily available. The illicit trade is the cause of much violence on the streets and tax-payer burdens in the form of court costs and prison accommodations.

Legal pot stops the violence and tax-payer burden. There is no argument valid to suggest that it will lead to more people smoking pot.

Besides, suppose that pot smoking becomes a bigger problem. Can't its legal status simply be repealed?

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