Drug haters keep looking for ways to end marijuana use or just punish marijuana users. Now Florida has made the second offense for possession of marijuana paraphernalia a felony. Marijuana users can now be severely punished even if they do not have any marijuana. A felony conviction would take away their right to vote, eliminating their voice from the political process. Consider that Florida is a 3 strikes law state and that if a person had a bong, a couple of pipes and a one hitter but no pot they might receive a life sentence. While I realize this scenario is very unlikely, this is still an extremely draconian law designed only to punish people for a crime that they didn’t get caught doing or to further punish people for a crime past the sentencing that is dictated by law. Its like punishing beer drinkers for having an ice chest or a bottle opener. The hatred of marijuana and marijuana users is not based on science or facts but driven by emotion, and that emotion is hatred.
When the argument that marijuana is of great harm to society is used, it must be accompanied with the argument that marijuana is a gateway drug which leads to the use of harder drugs because there is just not enough evidence that shows marijuana causes harm to its users or to society. Granted many lives are lost or otherwise damaged by drug abuse in aggregate, but the damage to individuals or society from marijuana use alone is negligible. There is very little evidence that the gateway theory has any merit. Almost all studies that consider the gateway theory, say that the gateway effect is likely caused by marijuana being illegal and sold on the black market along with other illegal drugs, not because marijuana use makes people desire other drugs. Statistically, most marijuana users never go on to use other drugs. No one even considers that alcohol is just as likely to be a gateway to drug abuse as anything else. I believe the real reason people insist on continuing the failed prohibition of marijuana, is that they can’t stand the idea that people are getting high. No one really wants a drug free society. That would eliminate alcohol as well as all medicinal products. Making marijuana paraphernalia a felony is just a desperate way to punish people for marijuana use, even when they don’t have any. Similar to the way the federal government attempts to punish marijuana users with denied employment by mandating drug testing. Prohibiting marijuana allows them to live in an imaginary world where no one ever alters their consciousness with anything other than alcohol. They would likely prohibit alcohol as well if they could, but that would be a hard sell, considering the number of people who enjoy alcohol and the large sums of money our government receives in taxes from alcohol sales and the money funneled into political campaigns from the alcohol lobby.
We are losing the constitutional protections of the fourth amendment against illegal searches largely due to the war on drugs. Now a search can be authorized by a dog. Soon molecular scanners may replace the dogs and our government seems to think that all electronic communication from phone and email communications to banking and health records are theirs for the taking. Soon nothing will be beyond the prying eyes of Uncle Sam, not even our DNA and the war against marijuana is on the front lines of this assault on the fourth amendment. Millions of people use marijuana on a regular basis and evidence shows that it is a much safer alternative to alcohol use. In fact, states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes have seen a 9% reduction in traffic fatalities. The reasons for the reduction in traffic fatalities is not clear but it seems to be caused by people substituting alcohol use for that of marijuana. Why not let people choose a safer alternative to alcohol? Legalize marijuana.