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.
The passage of HB 105 during Utah’s 2014 general legislative session isn’t the slippery slope to full marijuana legalization.
But I would argue that it should be.
Marijuana legalization is similar to the issue with gay marriage. Opponents seem to think it will be the moral downfall of society, and next thing you know the world will be coming to an end. However, I feel that full marijuana legalization can be, and should be accepted by one of the most conservative states in the country.
Now before you ride me out of town with pitchforks and torches, let me explain.
- The legalization of marijuana has many benefits for those who have terminal illnesses and diseases. For far too long we as a society have practiced “better living through chemicals” where we use harsh chemicals for pain management, and treatment. All in the name of “health” ignoring the fact that there are all natural supplements that can better solve serious issues for individuals who have these diseases which can help restore them (as much as possible) to normal daily activities.
- It would be a tax windfall for the State of Utah. After marijuana was legalized in Colorado, the state saw a $6.17 million increase in tax revenue in the first two months of the year, with projections of $98 million of income, directly from the sale of marijuana. Colorado has plans to use $40 million of that specifically for school construction. (Source) Washington, which also legalized marijuana in 2014, projects $190 million over four years. (Washington sets their budget in two year increments, so they project $51 million for 2015-2015 biennium, and $138.5 million for the next cycle that ends in 2019) (Source)
- We have stopped allowing adults to make decisions for themselves, all in the name of protecting them from some boogie man known as “marijuana.” Where the public health impacts are negligible. (How many times have you heard of someone who smoked pot taking out a small family while he or she was driving?). Alcohol is more dangerous, yet more socially accepted than someone smoking marijuana in the comfort of their own home.
The police in Utah have spent way too much time focusing on marijuana violations. We spend money and resources on fighting a problem that if we would just let it alone would free up rooms in jails, and prisons across the state for more serious, and harmful violations. It also reduces the crimes associated with obtaining marijuana; eliminating the stranglehold on Mexican cartels who make a killing off marijuana.
Full marijuana legalization makes sense. We allow people to go out and buy tobacco that has been treated by harsh chemicals, and make a killing off the profits. We have a virtual monopoly on alcohol that has horrible negative social side effects when used incorrectly. Why do we not do the same for marijuana? A product with vast benefits, and little downside. (Look at all the industrial uses from hemp as well).