Marijuana legalization should become a topic of conversation

Discussion in 'Marijuana Legalization' started by kjd1987, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. Found this today thought it was very informative. Here is the link as well.Marijuana legalization should become a topic of conversationEditorial: Marijuana legalization should become a topic of conversation

    Published Nov. 15, 2011
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    Two petitions on the legalization of marijuana were approved Monday for the 2012 ballot. While we don't want to condone or condemn the use of marijuana, we think it's especially important for this issue to make the ballot so that public opinion on the topic can be known.
    This topic, fraught with numerous social, economic and political effects for either legalization or criminalization, is a recurring one in public debate. Now there is an opportunity to end that debate and put the question to an official vote in the state of Missouri. Whether you partake or not, this is a very important occasion.
    The issue should be on the ballot because, even if the vote is significantly against the legalization of marijuana, it will clearly and officially state public opinion on the fact in an unbiased manner, on a topic that seems to be associated with a lot of biased “facts.”
    The initiative seeks to either amend the Missouri Constitution and Missouri law so that marijuana is legalized for people 21 or older, medical marijuana is available to people with a physician's recommendation, individuals incarcerated or on probation for cannabis-only offenses would be cleared of those offenses and the legislature would be allowed to enact a tax on the retail sale of dried cannabis up to $100 per pound.
    The discussion of whether or not to legalize marijuana is taking place regardless of whether students want it to be or not. According to a 2011 Gallup poll, the public is presently divided on the issue, with half of the population in support and half of the population in opposition. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have had similar initiatives already and voted to legalize medical marijuana. Six more states currently have legislation concerning the legalization of marijuana pending.
    Whether or not to legalize marijuana has stirred so much conversation, it's inconceivable that the conversation hasn't been put through a medium where people can actually take a stance and say something. If we are to live in a democratic society, we have to be open to democratic discussion, and if we are to live in a society that is concerned with improvement, important issues need to be resolved.
    We therefore encourage students to sign the petition so the issue of legalization of marijuana is put through an official democratic process. Whether students are in support of the initiative's aims or not, everyone needs to sign the petition.
    Opinions on the matter need to be voiced. For opposers, refusing to sign the petition does not guarantee that it will not pass. The petition might still receive enough signatures from those who do support it. If students are opposed to the legalization of marijuana, signing the petition to ensure it is put on the ballot creates an opportunity for voting against legalization and ending further attempts.
    For those in support of legalization of marijuana, signing the petition is an important step.
    We acknowledge there are numerous economic, social and political factors involved, and they makes the question of legalization a very difficult one.
    Some speculate positive effects from legalization. They say it could end the large amount of government money spent on enforcing prohibition, allow for tighter regulation on the production and provide opportunities for new businesses.
    Others list negative effects. Legalization could encourage usage, which would increase possible negative health effects, and testing for drivers under the influence would be difficult because it is difficult to measure how much marijuana a person has consumed.
    We can continue to list numerous assumptions given by either side of the argument. The point is, all the complexity surrounding the issue means students must educate themselves in conjunction with signing the petition. That way, if the initiative passes, votes can be made based on educated arguments, rather than leaving the topic to speculation in a discourse that goes nowhere.
    We also acknowledge a decision to legalize marijuana isn't the end of the discussion. There will be a long difficult process involved for drafting the legislation concerning it. Questions such as how much marijuana an individual is allowed to carry, what the procedures will be for obtaining medical marijuana and what kind of punishments should be given for those who drive under the influence will need to be answered.
    For now, those questions bear negligible weight. If this petition does not pass, the unresolved issue will stay an unresolved issue. If the initiative is passed and the topic is put on the ballot, the citizens can voice their opinion and make a decision once and for all, or at least put it to rest for a couple years. Then, all of the questions concerning the legislation and policies can be made.
    It's a long, grueling process but it has to start somewhere. This initiative is that beginning point. Educate yourself and sign the petition so that you can make an informed vote. Take that first step.

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