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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 16, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Marijuana legalization

Taxing legal pot would make billions

Anyone curious about the effects of legalizing marijuana should read Norman H. Clark’s “Deliver us from Evil,” a history of the prohibition of alcohol and narcotics [“More are asking: Is it time to legalize pot?” page one, June 16].

Alcohol was legalized — in part — in order to deprive organized crime of money. Over time, the war on drugs has had little impact on drug use.

By abolishing the war we would not only save billions of dollars in expenses, we could earn billions through taxing marijuana. Every scientific study shows that on-demand and court-ordered drug-treatment programs cut drug use more cost-effectively than programs attempting to cut access to drugs.

— Susan McKeehan, La Conner

Will marijuana users really pay taxes?

There is a flaw in the thinking of legalizing marijuana. First, if we tax pot, what says the drug pushers will pay the taxes. Who will pay the cost of enforcement? Next, the so-called savings on the cost of enforcement doesn’t take into account the illegal driving that will occur and need for police involvement. The taxing will not make the drug healthy; lung disease and brain damage is still possible. Finally, taxation will not stem users’ need for more stimulation with more potent and deadly drugs. It is ironic to compare pot’s taxation as used on alcohol and cigarettes, both of which cost us dearly medically and legally.

— Jim Morris, Renton

Effective marijuana test comes before legalization

Your front-page article on marijuana may merit serious consideration subject to just one question: Is there a court-accepted test for measuring the level of marijuana in blood?

I have generally been against the legalization of drugs because of their addictive characteristics and tendency to cause damage to the user. Also, I believe one of the most serious crimes that goes underpenalized is driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, a criminal undertaking that seriously endangers innocent members of society.

Hence, I do not believe that pot should be legalized unless there is an accepted test for the level of marijuana in the blood that the politically correct liberals and civil libertarians will be unable to get tossed out of court.

I disagree with the “me” generation and defense lawyers in that I do not believe individual rights should be placed before the rights and well-being of society. If police officers can test for the influence of pot and drivers can be prosecuted for a DUI, then perhaps it may be time to legalize pot.

— Harvey Gillis, Bellevue

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