Time to Weed Out Marijuana Ban: Klein

Costly US drug policy deserves serious look, not politics as usual
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2009 9:18 AM CDT
Jesse Burke smokes marijuana from a pipe at the San Francisco Patients Cooperative, a medical cannabis cooperative.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – When President Obama dismissed a question recently about the legalization of marijuana, he was “taking the traditional path of least resistance,” writes Joe Klein in Time. In America, anyone who dares to speak seriously about the issue will “be cast into the outer darkness,” assumed forever to be a stoner.  But the irrational policy needs to change, Klein says, for reasons “of economy and simple justice.”

America jails 25% of the world’s prisoners, a third for non-violent drug crimes, at a cost of $68 billion a year. That’s a lot of money, and it doesn’t even consider the windfall, both in taxes and new jobs, legalization would provide. “Obviously, marijuana can be abused,” says Klein. “But the costs of criminalization have proved to be enormous, perhaps unsustainable. Would legalization be any worse?”