Countering argument against legalizing pot
This is a response to Scott Bohn’s comments on legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania.
Bohn is the director of the Pennsylvania Chief of Police Association and has served on a state advisory board regarding medical marijuana.
His concerns are honest, logical and accurate and include the challenges to law enforcement in enforcing any legal marijuana law and the unanticipated consequences it may have on crime and safety.
He states that legalization will put it in the same category as alcohol and tobacco, and there is insufficient data on how legalization will affect crime and safety.
However, he then goes on to the conclusions of an admittedly limited Colorado study. Bohn believes there will be difficulty in establishing legal marijuana operations, which will affect search and seizure procedures.
There are no methods for field testing methods for determining impaired driving regarding marijuana.
I propose some logical responses to Bohn’s concerns.
1. To place marijuana sale in the same category as alcohol and tobacco with the sale regulated like Pennsylvania liquor would generate income for the state. In fact, the Pennsylvania Legislature is currently considering this action.
2. Establishing regulatory control of the production and sale of marijuana could alleviate the concerns over high potency THC.
3. Legal medical marijuana growth and sale operations already exists, the closest one being in Saxton.
4. Legalizing marijuana and controlling its supply should reduce the illegal importation from elsewhere. This could have a positive financial impact on law enforcement efforts.
5. Legalizing marijuana could create new industry by converting the currently illegal operations into legitimate business.
6. Legalization would reduce the prison population, probably to the dismay of the private prison industry, but it would alleviate the public cost for the county jail.
7. Impaired driving is a legitimate law enforcement concern. Drunken driving can be determined with sobriety tests, marijuana cannot. This is not enough of a reason to offset the listed positive results.
8. The current legal system is attempting to operate as it did during Prohibition from 1920-33. That law was unenforceable and abandoned.
The challenges to law enforcement is a very limited perspective. It cannot determine or affect social trends, nor should it attempt to.
It can only react to their negative impacts.
Lawrence D. Carter