Interesting piece on THE BEAST this morning regarding President Obama's curt dismissal of marijuana legalization:

[T]he usually long-winded president—who famously admitted to his own youthful inhalations—answered with little more than a dismissive “No”...[saying] he doesn’t think legalization is a good strategy to grow our economy.

Why not, Mr. President? Is our current strategy appreciably better?

Legalizing marijuana, besides being a boon for the economy, would make for more clearly delineated lines of legal and illegal. Wouldn't this place more pressure on those who attempt to traffick more illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, etc? Wouldn't this step make it somewhat easier on law enforcement? Maybe the dirty little secret here is like Chris Rock said: We won't legalize it because we'd get killed by the importers (considering how we're getting pwn'd in the car manufacture game in just this fashion, this fear is reasonable enough.)

What's the difference between marijuana and alcohol? Both are technically poisonous to the body if consumed regularly, but only one is said to be a "gateway drug." Is it possible that marijuana leads to harder illicit drugs because it's in league with illicit drugs in the first place? In my experience, I've found that where you can find marijuana you can probably find lots of illegal things. To think that marijuana's intrinsic properties open the door of ill-repute is far-fetched. I can't see it doing so any more than alcohol does. In fact, I'm willing to bet alcohol kills more people per year than marijuana. But alcohol is legal, so related deaths are acceptable in that they allow us to maintain our tenuous moral high ground.

Rather than scare tactics, information and regulation would promote responsible marijuana use in society, just as it has with alcohol consumption. Sure; there would be those who abused the privilege, but they can't be allowed to speak for the group anymore than alcoholics speak for whether or not alcohol should be legal. If Prohibition showed us anything it's that it's probably better to monitor and tax rather than wag the finger while the citizenry finds furtive means to get what they want, creating multiple criminal enterprises in the process.

Legalize it, tax it, and inform properly on it and the peculiar institution of marijuana in America will take care of itself.

--JONATHAN PITTS-WILEY

MORE BROWNTABLE: Legalize It?