Using the Prohibition against alcohol in the 1920s as a basis of comparison, only thirteen years for alcohol–over 40 for marijuana, their belief, as states have been attempting to reclassify the drug several times, is to put the decision in the states’ hands:
There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization. That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.
They go on to advocate the regulated use and dispersal of the drug by suggesting regulating it as we do alcohol and tobacco, by saying buyers should be at least 21 years of age. Further, they suggest that the time to repeal this “version of Prohibition” has come:
Creating systems for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing will be complex. But those problems are solvable, and would have long been dealt with had we as a nation not clung to the decision to make marijuana production and use a federal crime.
It is an important position to consider when you think about arrest statistics for marijuana alone, versus those for cocaine, heroin, and others like that.
The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives.
Colorado has experienced over $10 million in revenue, according to a six-month status report from The Daily Chronic. Almost 2 million of the 40 Colorado wants to raise to update schools has been. In six months’ time. That’s a lot of money; that’s a lot of people. It seems The New York Times may not be breaking such shallow, new ground after all.