Pubdate: Sat, 15 May 2010
Source: Lake Wales News (FL)
Copyright: 2010 The Lake Wales News
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?261 (Cannabis – United States)
TIME FOR FLORIDA TO TALK ABOUT MARIJUANA LAWS
If there were a way for Florida to save tens of millions of dollars annually, would you want to know about it? If more than a dozen other states were already enjoying these cost savings and a more than a dozen more were exploring ways to join them, would you want to know what Florida is doing?
If Florida, in fact, were doing the exact opposite of more than half the states in the country, would you want to know why?
We’re guessing you answered yes to all of the above questions, but we admit they were framed in a way that it would be hard to say no.
If you knew the questions involved marijuana laws, we suspect your answers might change. That’s understandable. Marijuana is illegal.
Many believe it is a dangerous “gateway” drug that leads its users to use even more dangerous drugs and to commit crimes to support their drug use.
We’re not convinced past policy toward marijuana use has been effective. Florida and its counties are spending far too much money enforcing existing laws and incarcerating offenders.
At a time when state and county resources are scarce, Florida should join other states in exploring its marijuana laws.
Decades of marijuana law reform across the country and stacks of studies examining the impact of those reforms provide ample evidence on which a reasoned, rational policy could be crafted.
Almost all the studies show relaxing marijuana laws does not lead to increased use among any age group, a common red herring argument against decriminalization.