I am what some would call a typical Summit County guy. I am a young male, enjoy the outdoors, drive a Subaru and even own a dog. I am, however, separated from my demographic by one major difference of opinion: I am against legalization of marijuana. Other young Coloradans coat themselves with rasta colors, stick a blunt in their mouth and hurry to their nearest street corner in stoned pursuit to legalize marijuana without ever stopping to realize what a good thing keeping marijuana illegal is. I think marijuana should remain illegal for three reasons.
First, money. A person purchases marijuana from a friend every two weeks or so. In addition to a person receiving a high-quality product, the friend earns extra income in exchange for extra work. As marijuana climbs higher up the legal ladder, the government makes more money on taxing the product. With taxes come less income for the Summit County grower and higher prices for the buyer. Why introduce the hand of the government into an already seamless business transaction?
Second, children. Young people have far more exposure to pot if they can open a newspaper and see an ad for a $300 ounce. Awareness precedes action; as more young people know about and become comfortable around marijuana, more young people will use marijuana. Youth should grow up learning that smoking pot has negative health and social effects (which it does), and then make a decision as an adult whether to refuse marijuana or use marijuana and accept the consequences. Children should not grow up thinking pot is a regular and acceptable component of their society.
Third, reputation. A recent study by the Department of Health and Human Services listed Colorado as the second highest (behind District of Columbia) drug-using state in the US at 10.9 percent of the population. Simultaneously, pot leaves occupy Colorado flags, bumper stickers and body art, funneling statistics into a statewide culture. Marijuana culture, however, is not as sexy as Coloradans think it is. The reality is our great state is becoming widely known as one of the top states in the nation for drug use, replacing our previous titles as healthiest, sunniest, and least-populated states in the US. Does that sound like a victory to you?
For all you rasta-wearing blunt smokers out there, I welcome your feedback on the issue. Chances are, we share this great state for many of the same reasons. Perhaps I am overlooking something. Or perhaps you are.