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Legalize Marijuana? It's About Time.

Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 by Andrew Charles Huff

Voters in our state recently decided to legalize the possession and use of marijuana with restrictions, allowing the state to tax and regulate it. As a criminal defense attorney, my response is..it’s about time. I say this for a number of reasons. First, my experience has shown me that very few crimes, if any, are the result of marijuana use, whether it be Driving Under the Influence, domestic violence, assault, etc. Alcohol and other drugs including prescription medication are the primary causes of drug-induced criminal behavior. I cannot tell you how many times assaults, whether they are bar fights or domestic situations, have been caused by alcohol. Marijuana-related crimes aside from simple possession or distribution just do not exist, with some limited exceptions, of course.

Law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys across the state have used so much of their limited resources jailing and prosecuting people guilty of simple possession of marijuana when their efforts are needed elsewhere. To their credit, many prosecutors are now dismissing simple possession charges in light of the new law. I suspect many are breathing a collective sigh of relief as well now that these cases are no longer taking up space in courtrooms.

Many are asking questions about how counties and cities should deal with people who choose to use marijuana legally and how it should be regulated. The answer is simple. Treat it just like alcohol. Parents should educate their kids about it in the same manner as they do alcohol. Government should assume the same role in educating the public about abuse as they do with alcohol, and of course the revenue derived from regulating and taxing marijuana should be the same as alcohol.
Prohibition, history has shown us, rarely has worked. And in the case of a plant already used by millions, legalization will not result in a run to the nearest head shop. The reason is people who want to use marijuana probably already are. Decriminalizing and regulating it like alcohol not only will relieve precious law and justice resources, but from a societal perspective simply makes sense.

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