Wacky Weed and DC

by Chris Markham. 0 Comments

A storm came to the District of Columbia at the end of March. No, it wasn’t a snowstorm or polar vortex or tsunami; rather it was a storm about legalized marijuana. Yep, Mary Jane, Pot, mari juanna, whatever you call it, at the end of March it’s legal in our nation’s capital. While it’s true that, for the most part, possession of a small amount of wacky tobacky isn’t going to be prosecuted, legalizing the sale of the drug will be a whole new ballgame.
Problem is, even though the District of Columbia government has legalized the plant, the U.S. Congress has said that it won’t allow DC to legalize pot. Congress has that prerogative. So what will happen next? Well, a Wild West gray area is what’s going to happen next. Apparently, under the law that DC passed, regulations for the sale of Marijuana needed to be promulgated (that’s written and passed to you and me) by February 28, 2015. Even though the law is in flux, the regulations still need to be drafted. These regs would set forth how pot can be sold and distributed. Think of a law as being a room; regulations instruct you as to what kind of furniture, carpet, painting and windows you can have in the room. If I haven’t written about it to date, another column will be the difference between a statute (a bill or act) and a regulation.
This is just an entree into my idea for solving the drug war, as well as any budget deficit the good old US of A may have at the time of my incredible plan’s implementation (hat tip to an article I read when I was a youth in Omni Magazine – can’t remember the author or the year, but it forms the back bone of my plan). In any event, this is what I propose. (Another disclaimer – I don’t do drugs – never have. My college experience revolved more around the legal drugs – alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. I really didn’t even have friends that took drugs. For more information regarding my college years, I wrote a column about the “three-strikes” phase that gripped the nation back in the go-go 1980s)
First and foremost, make all drugs legal. That would eliminate a significant amount of violence on our streets, and could possibly save many lives as a result. Of course, this legalization would have a ton of strings attached. Any “illicit” drug sales would have to go through the government. Thus, drug prices would be controlled, further decreasing street violence.
Now, if you believe a great many studies, a majority of people that are incarcerated in jails and prisons are there as a result of drug offenses. Now, if those offenses are connected to, or are a result of, violent crimes against others, by all means, keep them in there. Throw away the key for all I care.
But for those that are in the can for just possession of a small amount of illegal substances, they can be released, and the remainder of the prisoners consolidated. With there being a bunch of (I’m assuming) empty jails and prisons hanging around, we’ll need something (or someone) to fill them. So the government makes this offer – If you want to do heroin, cocaine, PCP, pot, whatever, come and do all you want at our new facilities! Of course, there will be reams of waivers and disclaimers these folks will have to fill out and, in exchange for the ability for them to get as wrecked as they’d like, they simply have to sign over all of their worldly possessions to the government. Prior to entering the facility.
As a result, I would think that their time in the prison of their choice would be short, and vacancies will never be an issue. With new arrivals coming every day, if not every hour or minute (I think the demand for this service would be huge), the government will have more money than it will know what to do with. Now, if you’re caught using outside of the user homes, criminal penalties will apply. You can either go to jail, or sign away your possessions and go to a facility.
My plan isn’t perfect – there are kinks that should be worked out along the way. But it may have a chance at reducing both crime and the deficit, and, at this point, anything is better than what we have now.


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