California: It’s Time to Legalize the Use of Marijuana
BY Andrew Reclusado, Times Staff
Marijuana legalization has been a controversial subject for years but recent developments could change all of that. On Wednesday, May 6, Gov. Schwarzenegger said that he is open to a public debate on the legalization and taxation of Marijuana. According to www.reuters.com, 56 percent of California voters support the idea of legalizing marijuana for recreational use and taxing its proceeds. Hopefully by next election we are able to vote on the possible passing of proposition that will make marijuana legal. Before immediately accepting the legalization of marijuana, Schwarzenegger said, “I don’t think it is time for that, but I think it’s time for a debate.” This is the right way to go for many reasons. Even if these debates only decriminalize the drug then that will save the state money by not having to incarcerate people with non-violent crimes.
Not only will the legalization of marijuana make lots of pot smokers happy, but that means people who actually need the drug for purposes will be able to get better and not have to worry about the stigma of doing something illegal.
“Medicinal marijuana for AIDS patients, for chemotherapy patients, etc. It is truly a wonder drug without having terrible side effects,” said J.P. Change (SJCC director of Student Health Services). “We can’t demonize the whole drug. ... There is no better medication than medicinal marijuana.”
Regardless of what happens with the legalization of marijuana, it isn’t going to stop the illegal drug trafficking into the U.S. “If you think of the times of prohibition and how people went around and got alcohol anyway, that is almost the same as marijuana,” said Toni Moos (SJCC Medical Director). If marijuana was legalized then we could harness hemp which can be used for textile materials. Hemp can be turned into biomass which can be turned into gasoline and save us from using up precious fossil fuels.
Even though the initial legalization of marijuana would be controversial, with time and proper laws it has the the probability to work out well in the end. “Given the fact that alcohol is legal there are laws regulating its use meaning in terms of drunk driving and the safe legal limit, you can probably follow that same path with marijuana,” Moos stated. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol for many reasons and as long as people use common sense and don’t abuse it, legalization of marijuana could be in store for the people of California in the not so distant future.