December 18, 2009 · 11:51 AM
State Rep. Sherry Appleton is right, it's time to have a conversation about pot.
Not the conversation parents have with their kids about illegal drugs, alcohol, sex, tobacco and other perils of adulthood.
The Poulsbo Democrat wants a public debate over ending a prohibition on a plant, arguably no more harmful than Coors Light, which has its own booming production industry and culture of ever more mainstream books, music and film.
Marijuana can be addictive. It can impair drivers. It can have a deleterious effect on the health of families. It can lead a person down a path toward harder drugs.
It has the potential, like alcohol, tobacco and gambling, to ruin a person's life.
It's also been used as a political tool, its dangers have been comically exaggerated and eradication measures have failed.
Despite the many valid concerns of those satisfied with the current laws, it's time for the U.S. to legalize the manufacture, distribution and use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
Legalization would create new social challenges, and it's reasonable to imagine the disaster that could follow.
But, so far, the ends have not justified the means.
Marijuana prohibition erodes the faith of young and old in their government, it saps money and manpower, it damages the environment and jeopardizes public safety with clandestine grows and has resulted in the arrest and prosecution of otherwise law-abiding citizens.
Compared to the danger and damage done to society by alcohol, marijuana prohibition makes us hypocrites.
Appleton is also right about legalizing marijuana so it can be regulated and taxed, a bonanza and a safety measure impossible without action from the federal government.
With marijuana use common and otherwise conscientious people earning criminal records for possession, growing and dealing, it's the only reasonable thing to do.