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Colorado's pot experiment - Essay Example

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Wall Street Journal article entitled “Colorado's Pot Experiment” published on January 02, 2014 is controversial. It basically contained news that the previously dreaded and illegal is now legal to be consumed. It is even state sponsored as Colorado’s state-licensed marijuana stores opened for business signaling the beginning of a great social and economic experiment in drug legalization. …
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Colorado's Pot Experiment Wall Street Journal article en d “Colorado's Pot Experiment” published on January 02, is controversial. It basically contained news that the previously dreaded and illegal is now legal to be consumed. It is even state sponsored as Colorado’s state-licensed marijuana stores opened for business signaling the beginning of a great social and economic experiment in drug legalization. Considering the controversy around pot, does the experiment entail that the government is making an addict out of us? The answer is no and the new state policy as contained in WSJ article actually makes economic sense. Experts actually have the opinion that the prohibition of drugs by the state is hinged more on speculation and fear mongering rather than empirical evidences. The fear that marijuana is destructive to health is in fact a myth according to Dr. Lester Grinspoon, professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School who reported that nobody died in the 10,000 years of known use of marijuana and yet, there were hundreds of thousands of people died from other medicines such as aspirin. In addition to its harmless nature to health, marijuana has a medical benefit to a lot of diseases. According to Dr. Tod Mikuriva , a former national administrator of the U.S. government's marijuana research programs, "After dealing with about 10,000 patents in the last 15 years, I'd say about 200 different medical conditions respond favorably to cannabis". Of those diseases that responded favorably to marijuana treatment was Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, arthritis, depression among the 200 diseases that it can possibly treat. The draconian measures imposed against the distribution and use of marijuana is not only pointless but economically costly as well. The most stringent law nor the broader use of the state’s police power have not deterred people from its used and this only manifests that the escalation of control and police enforcement is a wrong response and therefore pointless. It only pushed the industry into the black market which begets another set of problems. Worst, the medical benefit of the regulated use of marijuana is foregone by banning it as illegal. It only makes cartels rich just like what happened to alcohol when it was banned. It was the mafia who got rich. It is also economically costly because maintaining law enforcers to go after marijuana distributors and users needs funding which will be taken out from tax payers. In addition, there is also an opportunity cost associated in banning marijuana. The taxes that should have been collected in regulating marijuana was lost because making it illegal meant that the state has no intention to collect taxes from it. The opportunity cost is aggravated by the fact that the industry is moved in the black market pushing its prices higher with no taxes going to the government. Socially, banning marijuana also begets violence and again entails economic and social cost. This was also the case when alcohol was still prohibited. Banning a substance out of fear will only make people want it more just like alcohol and gambling. When alcohol was legalized, violence associated with alcohol consumption become virtually non-existent. Violence becomes a natural consequence of a prohibitive policy because it creates black markets where the law cannot supervise where shady characters make money from it. And just like the case of alcohol, violence associated with marijuana also became prevalent because of its illegal nature. Again, this has economic cost in terms of police enforcement to restore peace and order and social cost for disrupting peace and tranquility in the community. Just recently, Uruguay legalized not only the distribution and selling of marijuana but also the growing of it. As expected, controversy arose from it but the move made other countries receptive to the debate of legalizing marijuana and away from the usual hardline stance of banning it. The debate may still be long and bitter but the mere fact that it is being debated indicates an openness of accepting marijuana as harmless and medically helpful that could be a good source of revenue for the government. The Wall Street Journal article may invoke shock and even disbelief to those who are accustomed to the idea that pot is addictive and bad for our health. But the good thing about it is that it led people to consider the studies that concluded that pot is not actually addicted and even medically beneficial. Government can also profit by it by regulating it and in the process collect tax. Doing so will also save them money in terms of removing the need to fund law enforcement against the use and distribution of marijuana. Works Cited Colorado's Pot Experiment. (2014, January 2). Opinion. Retrieved January 3, 2014, from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB100 Smioth, D. (2012, August 12). Medical’ Marijuana: 10 Health Benefits That Legitimize Legalization. International Business Times. Retrieved January 3, 2014, from http://www.ibtimes.com/%E2%80%98medical%E2%80%99-marijuana-10-health-benefits-legitimize-legalization-742456 Read More
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