Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sullivan County To Outlaw Synthetic Marijuana? How About Legalizing Marijuana?

So, our county legislature is seriously considering outlawing synthetic marijuana...if you look upon the face of this idea there is some merit...any substance, real or synthetic when abused and misused is dangerous.  All one has to do is look at the number of people who abuse alcohol, get in a car and drive under the influence to realize this basic truth.  Problem is, prohibition does not work, while legalization of certain substances (alcohol and prescription drugs) and the regulation/taxation of them over a period of decades has proven to be a far more effective means than criminalization.

One has to ask, if marijuana were legalized, regulated and taxed, would there even be a need for synthetic marijuana? One also has to ask if law enforcement, the courts and a public/private prison system have a very vested interest in keeping marijuana an illegal substance, if they don't have a vested interest in passing a law to make synthetic marijuana illegal.  

Busting people, charging them, trying them in a court of law, incarcerating them is BIG BUSINESS which generates millions and billions of dollars a year on a local, state and federal level.  Would you rather have American Farmers growing marijuana and hemp as a cash crop that is taxed and regulated, or instead have billions of dollars (of our tax dollars) a year being spent to fight the drug war against Mexican and South American drug cartels?  65 percent of the profits earned by these cartels comes from selling marijuana to American citizens...eliminate their profit stream, you eliminate the cartels.  Does it make sense to arrest people for possessing/using a small amount of marijuana when many of those enforcing the laws against its use are users in their off time...isn't there a certain hypocrisy in that?  The last three presidents (Clinton, Bush and Obama) had their own brush with drugs...what would have happened if any of these three had been caught, arrested, charged and incarcerated as young adults?  Three lives ruined, three men who never would have become president, and a nation denied their minds and intellect.

Perhaps our county legislators should spend their time finding ways to deal with far more egregious crimes going on in our county, rather than worrying about banning another substance (which is actually the job of the FDA).  How many employers in Sullivan County are paying workers OFF THE BOOKS, skipping out on paying unemployment insurance, workers comp, Social Security and Federal Taxes? How many summer businesses pop up in our county that are unlicensed?  How many times are zoning violations ignored, no citations ever being issued?  Perhaps it is time for our elected officials in Sullivan County to start finding ways to tackle our serious issues, rather than looking for low hanging fruit that will get them into the paper so they can pretend they are doing the peoples work.