Apparently, the retail rollout of marijuana in Colorado was a success, so much so, that the stores ran out of product, and – more troublesome for them – they now have all this cash that they don’t know what to do with, since banks are not willing to do business with the retail stores. The rationale at the banks is that they can’t be associated with an industry that is illegal on the national level.
I understand the conundrum the banks find themselves in, and if I were in charge of a bank, I would keep my hands off the stuff, too. Our legal system needs to sort this out. Having something legal in one state, and soon many more, no doubt, and having it illegal at the federal level is simply not sustainable. Something must give, and I hope it’s the federal government that gives.
It has never made sense to me that we are arresting people for mere possession of marijuana. Bill O’Reilly suggested in his show The O’Reilly Factor that nobody is actually being arrested for marijuana. I don’t know how he can possibly make such a statement on national TV, when the evidence is overwhelming. Just google “how many people are arrested for possession of marijuana” and you get plenty of it. In 2012, 1,552,432 people were arrested for possession around the nation, that’s one ever 42 seconds, the referenced article claims.
The math didn’t seem to make sense to me, so I checked. There are 365 days in a year, each with 24 hours, each with 3600 seconds. That makes 31,536,000 seconds in a year. That makes for one arrest every 20.31 seconds, 24 hours a day.
Ok, whether it’s an arrest every 42 seconds, or 21 seconds, Bill O’Reilly doesn’t know what he is talking about. The fact is, we’re likely still arresting a person every 20 seconds in the rest of the 49 states, outside of Colorado, for something that the majority of American’s don’t think should be a crime in the first place. No wonder our prisons are full!
Then O’Reilly insinuated that we’re sending the wrong message to our kids, that it’s ok to smoke pot, by making it legal.
My question to that is: what universe does O’Reilly live in? Back when I was in high school in upstate New York in the mid 1970s, I went to a small school with only about 220 kids per class. If I had wanted pot, I could have walked up to any of some 10 kids that I knew in the halls where I could have bought it. It was readily accessible anywhere, at the time when Bill O’Reilly himself was in high school in the sixties. I have no doubt the situation is the same now. Any 14-year-old that wants to get pot can get it, and he has to pay street prices, and of course, incriminate himself to do it.
However, he can’t buy beer. Because beer is legal. It’s only sold in stores that check your ID. It’s not sold out of high school lockers. Beer is definitely harder to get for a 14-year-old than pot, yet it’s much cheaper. We have regulated alcohol for such a long time, we’re used to it, and we’re not sending a weird message, per O’Reilly, to our youngsters about alcohol.
The whole argument about messages to our youth make no sense to me. Arresting people all over the country makes no sense to me and is a misuse of our law enforcement capacity. Giving people criminal records for something that will be completely legal everywhere in a few years makes no sense to me.
One day, not far in the future, we’ll look back to the age of criminal marijuana like we do now to Prohibition. A winning step in our “war on drugs” would be to legalize marijuana. Much of the crime surrounding it would evaporate.
And Americans would not smoke one puff more of it than they do now.