November 25, 2002
THE VOTER--NO DOPE:The smoke clears: Across the nation, pro-pot initiatives went down in flames (Brian Morton, 11/13/02, Baltimore City Paper)
Drug-policy reformers have known for years that if legalizing pot were ever put on the ballot, thumbs up or thumbs down, it would lose. Surveys over the better part of the last decade have shown that Americans don't want to legalize drugs, usually by margins that come close to 80 percent. That pot failed to pass in a libertarian-minded state like Nevada has got to be a cold dash of water in the movement's face.
And all other drugs aside, and no matter what your personal sentiments are about the weed, there are a few things to contemplate about the wholesale legalization of pot.
Let's stipulate that drugs are a public-health problem; that they are readily accessible and addictive puts a tremendous strain on this nation's resources. Then consider that the most dangerous drug in America--alcohol--is already legal. Think of what adding one more psychoactive drug to the mix would do.
Legalizing marijuana would make it more accessible, and more access means more users. More users mean more problems, and more problems mean more stress on the system.
The rising costs of prescription drugs aren't slowing down, the stuttering economy isn't helping the escalating costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and still too many Americans have no health care at all. And many of us think we can afford to legalize another drug?
On top of that, if there's one thing we know, it's that letting Madison Avenue sell addictive and psychoactive substances is something we don't need. Already, the liquor industry has begun violating their decades-old pledge against TV advertising. Why? Because revenues are down--people aren't drinking hard liquor like they used to--and the promises the industry made had an expiration date that came due the minute the profit margins started heading south.
Part of the general shift Right on Election Day was the devastating rout of the pro-drug forces. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 25, 2002 3:22 PM