The libertarian inside me says that Question 4 on this fall’s state ballot — “Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana” — ought to pass.
We are, after all, talking about an herb that, if not harmless, has done far less harm to human society than alcohol, cocaine and heroin. Heck, if one accounts for the costs of dental disease, obesity and diabetes, a case can be made that refined sugar is a greater scourge on our society than pot.
Marijuana, moreover, has long been known to have beneficial effects.
In her 1931 book “A Modern Herbal,” British botanical guru Sophia Emma Magdalene Grieve wrote that “The principal use of Hemp in medicine is for easing pain and inducing sleep, and for a soothing influence in nervous disorders.”
Grieve cited uses of cannabis for “neuralgia, gout, rheumatism, delirium tremens, insanity, infantile convulsions, insomnia, etc.” Childbirth, painful urination, and even gonorrhea also made the list of circumstances where a bit of cannabis can help out.
Then there are the practical considerations. Why should society spend billions in a mostly futile effort to proscribe its use — including prosecuting citizens who are doing little or no harm to anyone — when we could regulate and tax it?
More Election Day musings from Chris Sinacola: