The following is an op-ed piece and does not necessarily represent the views of the site owner or contributors: The more I research it, talk about it, and hear others opinions on the subject, I’m starting to think that marijuana legalization is going to become a reality in the United States in my lifetime.
This could take many different forms, from relaxing the laws a little bit to allow police to focus on other things – as was done in Seattle, for instance, or in London, too. It could mean laws would be passed that allowed people to carry a certain amount without breaking any laws, as is the case in some areas of California already, and most recently, in all of Mexico. This type of legislation, in cooperation and in combination with the police not being concerned about chasing users or growers, would amount to “defacto” decriminalization. However, this means only drug growers and sellers would be making revenue from this business. I think the draw of money for the state and federal government means we won’t ever see an underground “decriminalized” culture, but rather, one that’s out in the open, and most importantly, taxed at the state and probably even federal level, eventually.
The proliferation of marijuana shops in California, technically selling marijuana only to those with a valid medical reason to need such a substance, shows the possibility of how big a business this could be. The state makes something like 20 million already from the legal dispensing of such medicine. But what if things were taken to a whole new level – full scale legalization and regulation, on par with that of alcohol and cigarettes?
The amount of money to be collected from tax revenue for the state would be astounding.
And, like a pig and a puddle of mud, I don’t think the governments would be able to resist that money. This would lead to California, for example, becoming the first state to try out such a thing. If they were able to pull it off, without scandal or anything dramatic happening, then other states would fall in line, probably those with liberal or , pro-individual, anti government vibes, such as Washington and Alaska, respectfully. The rest of the country would watch and see what happens. Assuming it would be no more dramatic than the sell of liquor in the grocery stores and government run ABC shops, it would probably be just a matter of time before dozens of states adopted legalization and taxation laws. Those that didn’t would still end up being flooded with marijuana, but would make no money.
Similar situations like this exist with other things. States that don’t have the lottery, but border states that do, watch for years as their citizens give up their money to the next states lottery, funding their highways and schools, but not the ones in their own border. This typically only goes on for so long until everyone throws their hands up and decides they want to keep the money, and accordingly, the state opens their own government.
My guess is the same thing will happen if and when marijuana becomes legalized in, most likely, California first, and then 2-3 other key states next, followed by a dozen or so more states. The others will hold out for years until they can’t take seeing the money go to the others.
This is, at the very least, as least one plausible scenario towards how marijuana legalization could take hold in the USA in my lifetime. What do you think?
This article is by Ben Jacobs. Check out his recent piece on at home drug tests from Walgreens being used as a counter measure against drug abuse, giving parents the ability – for the time – to easily drug test their children privately and securely.