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Should America go green?: Marijuana legalization debate in America is louder than ever
Jordan Hoff
Antelope Staff

The buzz about legalizing marijuana in America is now bigger than ever.  Legalization of the drug has been a movement across the country for years now. And the question still remains: Are we going to see it happen in the near future?

Well, truthfully, it could be much sooner than you think. This coming November could be the first time in history that we will see the legalization of “pot” in America. Last month California lawmakers proposed a historic marijuana reform measure that easily qualified to be placed on this November’s 2010 ballot. This action came after the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 submitted nearly 700,000 signatures to state authorities back in January. In a 2009 field poll, 56 percent of Californians supported taxing and regulating marijuana.

If this proposal were to be passed, it would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol in the state of California. This would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and will allow cities and counties in the state to impose a tax on the sales of the product.

This move seems likely to help the struggling California economy tremendously as they are suffering in over $60 billion in debt.

You think this is crazy? Well California is just the beginning, folks. The movement is spreading like a wildfire and is becoming a discussion everywhere. The state of Colorado is also very pro-legalization of marijuana. Last November in Breckinridge, Colo., the city passed a bill legalizing possession of marijuana and paraphernalia for adults. It passed with an overwhelming 73 percent vote. Back in 2005, Denver became the first city in the nation to make the private use of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older as an alternative to alcohol, a far more harmful drug. The Mile High City is also for completely decriminalizing possession of marijuana as they continue to push for alcohol-marijuana equalization laws.

Natural alternative medicine (medical marijuana) has been a rapidly growing subject for many years now and is currently active in 14 states. With medical marijuana dispensaries everywhere throughout these selected states, patients with a doctor’s prescription card can purchase taxed medical marijuana legally. Medical marijuana has been proven to help conditions such as arthritis, asthma, glaucoma, migraines, muscle spasms and pain. Many people believe in the benefits of medical marijuana and the patients number over 114,000 nationwide.

So I guess people are thinking that we may as well just make it legal for all adults then, right? Well with groups like NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) that have been supporting the decriminalization of marijuana gaining in numbers, it could be only a matter of time before they will finally see their goal happen right before our eyes.

NORML, now the largest marijuana lobbying firm in the nation, has been seen more support over the years throughout various cities and campuses all across the nation­— including ours here at Kearney.

UNK NORML launched by president Matthew Cass, is starting to generate some hype for the group in the area. You can follow UNK NORML on Facebook for further information on scheduled meetings and events on campus.

The time has come now for America to make a decision. Legalization of marijuana will most likely not be the end of the world, but in fact could actually help out our struggling country in many ways.

Instead of spending over $10 billion a year to enforce marijuana laws, think of having all that income back that could help pay off the 12 trillion and counting in debt— more than any other country in the world.

This would also free up jail space and save millions in inmate expenses for nonviolent marijuana criminals. Marijuana arrests now comprise almost 50 percent of all drug arrests reported in the United States. Legalization would force police to spend less time chasing harmless marijuana users and more time trying to solve the tens of thousands of unsolved crimes every year.

So to all you people wondering when or if this was ever going to happen or be an issue in America, the first step to the answer lies right around the corner in this year’s elections. This could be one of the biggest moves America has ever made. I’m saying: Don’t be surprised if you see total legalization happen in our lifetime.

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