Our marijuana quote of the week this week comes from renowned travel guru, Rick Steves, who has been hosting meetings in Oregon (and elsewhere) to promote legalizing marijuana. This week, Mr. Steves had the following to say about marijuana:
I’m not pro-marijuana. I’m anti-prohibition and pro-smart-law. I think when our society reconsidered the laws against alcohol back in the ‘30s, they weren’t saying booze is good. They were saying the laws against the alcohol were causing more problems than the alcohol problems they were trying to address. And I see that perfectly parallel today in the prohibition of marijuana. The most dangerous thing about marijuana to me is that it’s illegal.
Steves says that his travels have shown him that this country’s approach to marijuana is mistaken, especially when taking into account how enforcement has historically targeted the poor and minorities. He favors legalization because it will mean fewer arrests and more taxes.
Steves’ comments embody what is probably the best reason to vote for marijuana legalization despite flaws in the relevant initiatives and amendments on the table in Alaska, Oregon, Florida and Washington D.C.: prohibition simply does not work. The only groups that benefit from the illegality of marijuana are criminal organizations and those police forces that want to beef up their arrest records. Why should criminal cartels get this money rather than our states? Why not free up police resources to pursue violent criminals?
As Mr. Steves points out, better (and smarter) drug policy hinges on education and control, not ignorance and indifference.