Marijuana legalization is going smoothly in Colorado and Oregon, state officials recently told the Justice Department as it prepares for a shift in federal law enforcement priorities that could include changes to marijuana policy. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a staunch drug opponent, nevertheless is considering reversing the Obama administration’s relaxed approach to state legalization, and may resume strictly enforcing federal laws, which still regard all marijuana use as illegal. Sessions in February named a task force to review U.S. enforcement of laws surrounding immigration, drug trafficking and violent crime. Colorado and Oregon, among the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, submitted lengthy reports to Justice Department officials, detailing well-regulated legal marijuana industries that generate vast tax revenue and no measurable increase in crime or health problems. The task force forwarded its proposals last week, Sessions said, but the Justice Department wouldn’t disclose what they are.
Silly me; I’d always assumed law enforcement to be an agenda-free zone focused solely on serving and protecting the public. I can be SO naive at times…. Jeff Sessions being the country’s top law enforcement official, it doesn’t take much to understand his office is where facts and truth go to die.
Despite the experience of states (Colorado, Washington, Oregon) where marijuana is legal, the Attorney General has decided drugs are bad and their consumption should under no circumstance be allowed or even condoned. “Reefer Madness” is alive and well in today’s Justice Department. This despite the truth that most pot smokers are threats only to themselves. Yes, marijuana is evil…while alcohol gets a free pass even as it destroys far more lives and poses a far greater threat to public health.
Colorado and Oregon ― among eight legal-weed states that know the issues best ― produced detailed reports on their experiences, officials said.
A 140-page report from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s (D) office contains data and analysis from six state agencies, showing that the state’s 2012 marijuana legalization didn’t significantly increase youth drug abuse, school dropouts or juvenile arrests.
Statistics do show a rise in car crashes and fatalities involving motorists testing positive for cannabinoids. But Colorado’s report notes the statistics may not prove more drivers are intoxicated, because inactive marijuana compounds can be detected for more than a month in some individuals. Marijuana DUIs have declined 21 percent in the first six months of 2017 from the same period a year earlier.
The available data comes down pretty favorably on the effects and impact of marijuana. Besides being pretty mellow, the only real threat posed by a pot smoker is to a bag of Doritos or a Domino’s pizza.
Beyond the negligible deleterious impact to public health, legalized marijuana has been a boon to the tax base of states which have legalized it. An entire industry and ancillary services have sprung up literally from nothing. People are making money, and states are realizing a significant increase in taxes collected.
Colorado has collected $495.9 MILLION as of the end of May, and Oregon collected $60 million dollars in marijuana taxes in 2016.
So the down side would be…?
Legalization has “facilitated the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars into the Federal Reserve System that would otherwise exist outside of the nation’s banking system,” the report says. Even though federal banking regulations continue to force the industry to rely on cash, the report says, legalization helps ensure the money is “not diverted to criminal enterprises.”
A 19-page report prepared by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s (D) office gives a positive view of legalization that safeguards public safety, and describes the state’s robust system tracking weed from seed to sale. The document was first made public in June following a records request by Oregonian reporter Noelle Crombie.
Oregon’s report acknowledges the continued existence of a marijuana black market. It also notes legalization’s hiccups, including “overproduction” and new laws it needed to place limits on growers and to increase penalties for marijuana-related crimes.
No, it’s not a perfect system, and marijuana is not without its (real or potential) negative effects. When compared with alcohol, however, marijuana seems positively benign. The difference, of course, is that alcohol is socially acceptable and has the lobbying power of a major industry behind it. Marijuana still has the “Reefer Madness” aura so many anti-drug warriors take as Gospel.
The resources of the Justice Department could arguably be put to far better use than destroying the burgeoning marijuana industry. Yet Attorney General Sessions is making noises about crushing an industry which so far has proven largely harmless…especially when contrasted with alcohol.
Remember, it’s not about the truth. It’s not about facts. It’s about one Conservative’s self-serving and moralistic anti-drug agenda…and his willingness to ignore reality in order to satisfy that agenda.
DRUGS ARE BAD, MMMKAY???