In 1986 I was handed a newspaper all about legalization of marijuana (it was actually an early version of the book The Emperor Wears No Clothes), and I have been supportive of legalization ever since. I voted for it a couple times, but it didn’t pass until I left the state. In fact every state I have lived in has legalized it… after I left! Perhaps supporters of legalization in Connecticut should start a fund to get me to move elsewhere.
More recently I read the book After Legalization which outlined the different ways legalization could actually happen, using the end of prohibition as a guide for how it could be done and the implications of the various alternatives. If you are at all interested in this issue, you should read it.
However, I would like to submit an alternative plan for your consideration:
- It would be legal to cultivate as many as 12 plants, as long it is on your own land, or land you lease or otherwise have explicit permission to use (i.e. community gardens).
- It would be legal to buy/sell/trade seeds for cannabis plants.
- It would be illegal to buy/sell/trade/give away any other part of the cannabis plant. Or perhaps just the psychoactive parts of the plants, so hemp fiber could be fully legal.
Thus, the only way you are going to use marijuana is to grow it yourself. This would suddenly become a nation of gardeners! Numerous people would look at which part of their yards could be used for growing and how to construct beds. Everyone would begin talking about compost methods, mulching materials, gardening tools, and breeding strategies. The next thing you know, they would also begin planting some tomatoes or carrots, since it is easy enough to grow another row of plants. Some people would start cultivating more land and maybe start their own farms, earning a bit of extra money, providing fresh vegetables to their neighbors, and getting out into the outdoors.
I will give Thomas Jefferson the last word (in a letter to George Washington, 14 Aug. 1787):
Agriculture … is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals & happiness.
And in a letter to John Jay, 23 Aug. 1785:
Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independant, the most virtuous, & they are tied to their country & wedded to its liberty & interests by the most lasting bands.