Defeat synthetic marijuana by legalizing real marijuana


| lpenner@queenscourier.com |



Lawmakers attempting to stamp out the rapidly growing use of new designer drugs or synthetic marijuana by outlawing its consumption will not work. The only way to significantly reduce consumption of new designer drugs or synthetic marijuana is to legalize consumption of real marijuana. The crusade against tobacco, marijuana, pornography, adult entertainment and unhealthy food still continues by both government and those who believe they know best what is good for you is doomed to failure.

Consumption of marijuana for both medical and recreational use has been part of mainstream America, transcending generations. If anyone ever conducted any anonymous survey, results would reveal many members and staffers of state and federal public officials just like Governor Andrew Cuomo, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, State Assembly Speaker Shelson Silver, members of the State Legislature, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, members of the City Council along with former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama have in their younger days “inhaled” or consumed illegal substances. Who knows what some of them may do on their own time after work hours and on weekends today? Despite the best efforts of both government and the Moral Majority social police to outlaw marijuana consumption  — just like alcohol prohibition in the 1920s — both have been total failures.

Creative entrepreneurs will always provide the citizens desire, regardless of government approval. Consumers have voted with their dollars, making marijuana consumption a multibillion dollar enterprise today. Legalize it and add a sales tax. Revenues will more than cover the costs of any abuse. Our tax dollars would be better used if police and judges spend more time prosecuting those who commit real crimes against individuals or property than going after those who consume or distribute marijuana. Citizens have more to fear from murder, arson, rape, muggings, robberies, auto and identity theft or home break-ins along with ever increasing levels of confiscatory taxation and debt by government than individuals who get high in the privacy of their own home. Law enforcement authorities should be free to pursue those who commit real crimes against citizens and property.

Organized crime is always looking for new opportunities. They were delighted to hear about tax increase on cigarettes last year. The underground economy will make even more money selling tobacco products in addition to marijuana. New York State continues to lose tens of millions of dollars in uncollected tax revenues, on top of what is already lost on a yearly basis. This happens every time so called “sin” taxes on the legal purchase of cigarettes have been increased. Both the New York City Council and State Legislature have repeatedly used this vehicle as a revenue generator to plug shortfalls in annual proposed budgets. These tax revenues have also been used to support increased spending.

At 18, you are old enough to vote, be a parent, pay taxes, own a car, take out a bank loan, serve in the military and die for your country — but not consume marijuana makes no sense. The underground economy will make a fortune continue selling marijuana and tobacco products to those both under and over 21. New York City and New York State will lose tens of millions of dollars in uncollected tax revenues. Why sell hard drugs, when you can sell cigarettes with no penalties?

There continues to be a steady stream of insane and expensive legislation coming out of Washington and Albany that is infringing on both our economic and civil liberties.

What consenting adults consume, inhale, perform, read or view in the privacy of their own home or private social club isn’t the concern of government. Individual economic and civil liberties prosper best when government stays out of both the bedroom and marketplace. Let us hope that we have finally learned from the obvious failures of Prohibition. It is time to permit consenting adults to access any so-called illegal products or substances without fear from government harassment.