The following is a submission for The Hub Debate. Participants in submit 500 words or less in support or opposition to a statement.
Participate in the comments below or submit a response for publication to UtahPoliticoHub@gmail.com. Submissions can be no longer than 500 words and will be published on Friday.
Resolved: With the passage of HB105, Utah has embarked down the slippery slope of legalized marijuana.
Our family spent some good years in Colorado. Raising children and enjoying the natural resources and outdoor opportunities Colorado has to offer was a little piece of heaven. We keep in touch with close friends in and visit often. One unfortunate and recent theme we hear is the concern over the changes that are sweeping across their communities since the legalization of Marijuana. If Utah wants a test case for legalizing the number one gateway drug, just look one state east. It is a place that has lost touch with common sense.
We must briefly mention that marijuana is illegal nationally. Any state passing legalization laws are in direct conflict with federal drug laws. The President will take a stand on anyone upsetting the PC issue of the day but shows no intention of addressing issues that support a liberal agenda. True accountability has not been a part of the administration’s agenda anyway.
If Utah were to seriously consider legalizing marijuana, there are major problems at every level. First is the nature of the drug itself. A prime de-motivator and gateway drug to harder drug usage, there are imminent dangers of use and abuse associated with marijuana. Research supports the severely addictive nature of marijuana.
Despite the fact that THC works on different brain receptors and is less impactful than opiates such as morphine and heroine, the psychological workings and ultimate dependency are similar. Dependency on any substance, legal or otherwise is no recipe for high achieving, successful individuals. The negative effects are substantial.
And consider legal and political ramifications. The Feds are ignoring Colorado, for now. But if politics changed such a law could cripple the state. From withholding of federal funds to massive DHS and DEA interventions, the feds could open up an arsenal of retribution.
Next are economic considerations. Love it or hate it, Utah is well known for an abundance of young, well-educated, clean and hardworking people. I truly cannot think of a business that is looking for young, educated and intoxicated employees. No amount of revenue from legalizing the drug will counterbalance indirect costs. With half of America already relying on federal assistance, what happens to the ranks of the unemployed and dole-dependent with widespread marijuana use?
And don’t forget the sociological implications. Families and society suffer enough today without adding additional stress from drug dependency. Dependency and addiction bring serious problems, from abuse and the breakup of marriages to crimes perpetrated to feed ongoing addictions. This is simply documented fact. Further, addictive behaviors only make the everyday challenges of life even more difficult. Societal degradation is real.
Drugs are illegal not because of false tradition or paranoia. They are illegal because of their potential deleterious effects on the individual and society. To pass a legalization law in the name of convenience or political correctness defies logic. When and where have common sense indubitably fled? We have often dreamt of returning to Colorado to revisit younger days. It seems the concerning changes in Colorado may never allow us to truly go home again. Heaven help us if Utah were to follow suit.