INDIANA: I don’t like marijuana, and I don’t enjoy socializing with people under its influence. But what separates me from most elected officials is that I am not so arrogant as to believe that my personal preferences function as divine mandates. Just because I don’t enjoy something, does not mean that you should not have the option of trying it, and if you do try it, you should not face the risk of criminal penalty.
There are many practical reasons to legalize marijuana. It would not only save money, but it also would create a bountiful source of new tax revenue. Governmental regulations would ensure the sale of a safer, healthier product, and once the legal product became available, killers, thieves and other exploiters of human misery would lose a source of revenue. Legalization also would give law enforcement more time, resources and energy to pursue the prevention and punishment of crimes that actually endanger innocent people.
Even if the financial and legal arguments for legalization weren’t sufficient, the moral argument — people shouldn’t face prison for smoking a relatively harmless plant — is grounds enough for Indiana to join the sensible states of Colorado and Washington by making the possession and sale of marijuana legal and taxable.