Friday, March 23 , 2018, 5:57 pm | Fair 63º


Kids Speaking Up: Tax on Marijuana Could Boost State Revenue

Rather than outlawing the prevalent weed, we should put it to legal use

There exists a certain political faction that feels very worried by the thought that President Obama might be able to legalize marijuana. Frankly, they are a bit late to be worried about that particular problem.

Marijuana (pot, weed, dope, etc.) is incredibly commonly used, when you consider that at the moment it is still illegal. Not only that, but people who are much more intelligent than the ones who make the laws have demonstrated that legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco are just as dangerous, if not more so. Taking that into account, there seem to be only two choices: Legalize marijuana, or outlaw alcohol and tobacco along with it. And the last time we tried to outlaw alcohol, that was called Prohibition. It didn’t really work so well.

With all the pot smokers out there today, it might as well be legal already. In the media today, celebrities can say to the world that they use marijuana without any serious consequences. Even Olympic athlete Michael Phelps only lost a few sponsorships when he was caught taking a bong hit at a party. Other examples of open pot smokers include Seth Rogen and Willie Nelson. You may not find that surprising, but they are still subject to the same laws of society as anybody else.

For me, the scenario hits much closer to home. I cannot go one week without hearing a classmate speak openly about how high they were over the weekend. Last week, an acquaintance turned to me and asked me for money for weed, as he finished a detailed conversation with his friend about his experiences while high. Furthermore, there is barely any punishment for this behavior. On March 20, in my Career Connections class, sheriff’s Deputy Mike Hunter, whose jurisdiction includes my high school, gave us a talk. He repeatedly emphasized how he tries to “get to know” kids who he catches smoking pot and “understand them,” and “come to an agreement.” If that is the way we are going to react to marijuana use, then there is no point in outlawing it.

In addition to all of this, legalizing marijuana could very well be economically viable. Rather than letting the marijuana business go unregulated and untaxed, we could make it legal, let the government give it some oversight, and tax it to make a profit. The situation today can use all the money we can get, and the cause of it is just proof that we need that oversight. It will be safer for everyone, and it won’t change anything. With the knowledge most people have, legalizing marijuana would not cause them to change their minds about marijuana. Were we to make pot legal, we would only be giving those people that choice. They wouldn’t need to use marijuana, but those who already did would be able to make that decision, as well.

— Justin Morris is a Dos Pueblos High freshman and contributor to Kids Speaking Up, a local group working to educate youth on social, national and political issues and inspire them to write.

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