Dear Assemblyman Hawley and Senator Ranzenhofer,
I am writing you today as a constituent of your districts, but more importantly, as a citizen who is deeply concerned about the effects that a certain 9 decade long misguided policy is having on our communities, state and nation. It has costed us on an economic and human level, but fixing it is entirely possible and doing so presents great opportunities.
Gentlemen, it's time to legalize marijuana for all purposes, recreational and medicinal, because the pros of doing so are just plain trippy.
"Whoa, pot, I dunno, I don't like drugs and that's definitely a gateway drug." I'm sure you're thinking to yourselves, and given your more conservative than most constituencies even if in your hearts you favor this change, you're worried about the political impact. So this is where you can convince them otherwise. The notion that Cannabis is a gateway drug and therefore should be completely illegal is absolutely laughable given that alcohol is widely available and prescription barbiturates are just a visit to the doctor's office away
. There's five leaf smack down number one. Given the provably negligible effects that come with pot use compared to the others, maybe it's time to just chill, man.
The reason for it's ban in the first place? 20th century newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst was threatened by the possibility of hemp being a cheaper alternative to the paper that his advertisers specialized in. Given that it was at the height of the also failed alcohol prohibition, it was easy to convinced an already whipped into a frenzy public that there was some imaginary danger to 'reefer madness'.
Yes, underage use is a concern, but does underage drinking a cause for ceasing sales of booze? Nope, didn't think so. Don't get too buzzed yet, though, we're just getting started.
While you're putting that in your pipe and smoking it, bringing doobie out of the shadows will create an entirely new industry and greatly grow those that exist agriculture (wink wink, nudge nudge to farmers making up their minds on this), processing companies, distribution, retail and logistics. Someone has to grow, move around, secure, store and sell the plant and it's various paraphernalia, and what do all of those activities end up producing? Jobs, for every background and educational level, capital investments, construction and economic growth.
Business could boom in a rural area between Buffalo and Rochester like Batavia and I happen to know that both of you love private sector growth. There are no silver bullets but it sure would be a boon. Look at the states that have opted for full legalization, Colorado
have both lowered their unemployment rate, and Colorado to one of the lowest in the country. Rocky mountain high employment, so how long before we get in on the workforce pass-around?
Still unconvinced about an update to the greenest of the green code? Also, consider the cost of locking people over a plant product no more psychoactive than alcohol. Hate excessive government spending? How about $60k per year per inmate in New York State Correctional facilities
in the sort of people that might end up becoming the American dream? Our prisons are filled with offenders that enter prison for illegal possession of a non processed product and come out hardcore criminals who, guess what? Re-enter prison and re offend, and end up costing us all another hefty amount of money to 're-habilitate' behind bars with violent offenders.
Not cool, dudes. How is this productive? Is this a proper use of taxpayer dollars? Or could we find a way to generate revenues and encourage an entrepreneurial spirit that could revitalize our local economies? States that have legalized marijuana have seen decreases in youth use rates for the drug, arrests and vehicle fatalities. Roll up crime and put it up in smoke.
New York State and the taxpayers that support it would stand to make tremendous gains from a financial perspective. Colorado has seen over $66 million in extra sales tax revenues
and imagine the impact in a much more populated state like ours, and add an additional value added tax to help treat people addicted to hard-drugs like prescription painkillers (which unlike marijuana are dangerously addictive yet baffingly under-regulated), could provide some real relief to John Q. Taxpayer. Don't all of you Republicans just love delicious, fat, juicy tax cuts? I'll bet you've got the munchies. How about aid to local governments trying to pay their bills and deal with an economy that's changing around them? Give them a shot in the arm and then maybe leave some money left over for hippie dippie stuff like hiring teachers. Boring, I know, but that's the Democrat in me.
Finally, in my hopes of converting conservatives like you both to this cause, I point you both to the free-market. Good Republicans like you both shouldn't favor over-regulation, so why trample on personal choice in buying cannabis when alcohol and tobacco are flying off the shelves? This time of year, people are getting boozier than ever and crashing their cars while drunk like this is a giant game of Mario Kart
and puffing cigarettes like carcinoma never existed. If that's going to be legal, whether you personally agree with this choice or not, why not at least be consistent? We emphasize moderation in substances just as dangerous, so perhaps we can exit a non-working strategy and allow for some sweet sales tax revenue along with it.
Your colleague in the Assembly, Crystal Peoples Stokes
and in the Senate, Liz Krueger
, are both carrying this bill in the New York State Legislature. It would do them some good to get some help from self proclaimed free-market conservatives like yourselves to join with progressive Democrats in putting an end to needlessly locking people up for non-violent offenses, allow for lower unemployment and business growth and supporting local governments. It's a victory for everyone, so put your lighters in the air even if you don't inhale.
Daniel B. Jones
Non pot smoker, but pass the Cheetos (and the bill) anyway
Town of Batavia