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News (Media Awareness Project) - US IN: Edu: PUB LTE: High Time We Legalize
Title:US IN: Edu: PUB LTE: High Time We Legalize
Published On:2012-01-25
Source:Observer, The (Notre Dame, IN, Edu)
Fetched On:2012-01-31 06:02:17

A couple weeks ago, I was going through the exciting process of ND
Roll Call when I noticed something a little different: a memo to all
students reminding us of the University's notably stringent drug policy.

Of course, we all know the one recreational drug to which this policy
most frequently applies: marijuana. Possession alone can cost you a
year's suspension from the University. It got me thinking, what is it
about marijuana that inspires such widespread fear and evokes extreme
punishment directed toward non-violent offenders, not only at ND, but
throughout the country?

Is it the adverse health effects? The shelves at your local
supermarket are stocked with food and drink items that will kill you
much quicker than weed ever will. In fact, there has never been a
single documented death directly resulting from marijuana use. Is it
the state of mind in which the drug puts you? Not unless rendering
users happy and hungry creates a threat to the public good. Is it the
old argument that smoking it causes a lack of motivation? This can be
said for any recreational activity when one overdoes it, yet video
games and TV remain legal.

A recent report estimates that legalizing marijuana would save $7.7
billion per year in government spending related to the enforcement of
prohibition. Additionally, annual tax revenue from legalization could
reach $6.4 billion if marijuana was taxed at comparable rates to
tobacco and alcohol. This does not include the potential benefits of
the reintroduction of a multi-billion dollar hemp industry to the
U.S. economy. Given the economic state of the country, it is hard to
find an easier way to increase revenue and cut expenses than the
legalization, regulation and taxation of cannabis products.

I can hardly begin to cover the issues related to marijuana
legalization in one Viewpoint article, but I urge anyone who reads
this to take the time to do some of your own research. Question the
entrenched misconceptions about marijuana, and if you come to the
same conclusions I have, get involved and ask your administrators and
politicians for more sensible drug policies.

Matt DePaolo senior off-campus
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