Things that Make You Go Hmmmm…

Just legalize marijuana.  It’s a harmless drug and there aren’t any repercussions of legalizing it.  In fact, the states that do will be rolling in dough from all the taxes and regulatory fees they collect on it!

It’s a compelling, if incredibly shallow, argument.  But this little article from the New York Times points up some of the challenges of simply legalizing marijuana.  Most people – most people unfamiliar with marijuana, at least, assume that it is just a matter of growing some plants or smoking some funny cigarettes.  But there are other ways that people seek to tap into the potency of the drug, and some of those ways are extremely dangerous – not just to the health of the person(s) engaged in it, but to everyone around them as well.

Does legalizing marijuana give a person a right to utilize the substance in any way they like?  Can they put themselves, their neighbors, and their respective properties in danger in order to use the substance the way they choose?

Are there laws against distilling your own liquor at home?  Home brewing seems to be quite the rage these days – is home distillation also an option?  I don’t hear about people blowing up themselves and their homes with homemade distillation processes, but perhaps it happens.

What struck me in the article is the legal morass that is created simply by legalizing something that was illegal before, can be used in a lot of unpredictable ways, and does indeed have far-reaching repercussions on people and communities.  How much are the legal costs for dealing with people who accidentally blow up themselves and their houses – or someone else’s house that they’re renting – all because marijuana is legal?  Between court costs and incarceration costs (if that is the outcome), how will this affect the bottom line of states like Colorado who legalize marijuana?

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