This forum is not purely dedicated to legal discourse. While I may attempt to 'raise the bar' with some pieces relating to law and being a criminal defense lawyer in Toronto, I also plan to use this blog as a medium to express my often critical thoughts on the daily grind that is life. Throw in some random videos and internet fodder, and the bar is sure to be lowered.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

"By Legalizing Marijuana, We’re Creating a Country of Young Drug Dealers"?

I have long been an advocate for the decriminalization of marijuana.  The merits of which or based on not only moral grounds, but also on economic justification.

I recently read an article which discussed the enormous revenue potential of regulating marijuana's distribution through legitimate means.  This is the article.  Below I write my initial, reactionary and impulsive thoughts on one aspect of the generally on-point piece.

In the article, Carla Lowe, founder of Citizens Against Legalizing Marijauna (CALM), a political action group in California, makes the following statement in opposition to marijuana's legalization:

“By legalizing marijuana, we’re creating a country of young drug dealers." 

This is the single most illogical statement I have ever read in the debate on marijuana legalization.  Not only is it illogical, it's downright idiotic.  This quite aside from the fact that she needs to get a life and take up a real cause.  But I digress.

So let's break down her theory.  As lawyers, or perhaps more correctly law professors, might say, "let's unpack this." 

Her quote seems to suggest that should marijuana be legalized, it would be open season for drug dealing.  That is, an epidemic of drug dealing youth, now free from legal constraint, would plague society, peddling their evil wares.

Ah yes, much like what happened when alcohol was legalized.  According to her theory, history should be rife with stories of young illicit booze entrepreneurs emerging on the scene at the end of prohibition.  These dastardly miscreants would have poisoned society to the core. 

Yet, that never happened.  History tells a different story.  There were no post-prohibition Al Capone types that I am aware of.

It seems to me that in Canada, we created a central distribution system, controlled by the government, which regulated the sale of alcohol and reeped the benefits of enormous taxation, much to the advantage of all Canadians.  Moreover, the stigma of illegality was removed.

The same could, and should, be the result of the systematic decriminalization and regulation of marijuana.  No longer would the user have to meet his "guy" out front of the local wherever to grab a weekend's worth of chill.  Nor would he have to suffer from the criminal stigma and inherent personal risk of the illicit transcation.  There would be no turf wars, no grow ops, no mass of illegal and often violent activity associated with drug dealing.  The user simply goes to the MCBO (Marijuana Control Board of Ontario) store and makes his purchase.  "That's $20 please.  Cash, debit or credit?" 

The government becomes the "drug" dealer and taxes the product accordingly.  Not to mention the job creation with respect to cultivation, transport, sales, etc.  The street dealer becomes obsolete.  The illegal marijuana trafficker and grower follow down the road of past distant memories.  Voila.
In Canada, there would simply be no "country of young drug dealers."

Then again, her comment has to be understood in the context in which it was made.  She's part of organization which appears to be a (fear-based-and-in-need-of-something-better-to-do?) citizen arm of the United States' war on drugs.  How's that working out for ya? 

That's enough for now.  This subject gives me a headache.

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