5 Reasons Legalizing Pot Might Be Right for California

Less crime, more money, cheaper pot

This article is from the archive of our partner .

This November, California voters will decide whether their state becomes the first to legalize marijuana for recreational use. In 1996, California was the first to legalize medical marijuana and since then 14 other states have jumped on board. There are many reasons to oppose legalization at the state level. Here are the reasons for it:

  • So Many Benefits to Society, writes Nick Gillespie in a New York Times op-ed. "As the history of alcohol prohibition underscores, there are also many non-economic reasons to favor legalization of vices: Prohibition rarely achieves its desired goals and instead increases violence (when was the last time a tobacco kingpin was killed in a deal gone wrong?) and destructive behavior (it’s hard enough to get help if you’re a substance abuser and that much harder if you’re a criminal too). And by policing vice, law enforcement is too often distracted at best or corrupted at worst, as familiar headlines about cops pocketing bribes and seized drugs attest." Also, pot will get cheaper.

  • States Need the Money, writes Lew Rockwell. He thinks all trends point to legalization: "Once the grim reality of tax revenues sinks in, the states will get a lot more desperate than they already are. The property tax revenues still reflect pre-crash valuations. New post-crash property values will start to slash property tax revenues in a couple of years, and then we’ll see a lot more enthusiasm for the Pot Tax."
  • It's Good for Both Left and Right, writes About.com's Economics Blog: "Liberals would get legalized marijuana, conservatives would see less pressure on having taxes rise."
  • It's a Huge Crime Reducer, writes Joe Messerli at Balanced Politics: "Perhaps the biggest opponents of legalizing drugs are the drug dealers themselves. They make their enormous sums of money because of the absence of competition and the monstrous street prices that come from the increased risk. Legalization would lower prices and open competition; thus, drug cartels (that might include terrorists) would lose all or some of their business."
  • Mega Corporations Won't Enter the Market, writes Kevin Drum at Mother Jones. He addresses the threat of having Philip Morris enter the pot business and employ mass advertising campagins: "So what would stop the multinational marketing juggernauts from doing exactly that? For starters, the federal government, which still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug—as it's required to do by international treaty. That means it's flatly prohibited, and even if the feds decided not to bother prosecuting small-time growers they'd almost certainly go after a Fortune 500 corporation that got into the business. Along with the PR damage of being part of the pot industry, this would almost certainly be enough to keep the Philip Morrises of the world at bay."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.