I am in favor of marijuana legalization. I strongly believe the “War on Drugs” has failed. We need to move away from a system that criminalizes addiction to one that treats it as the public health issue it is. Our resources as a state and as a community could be better spent in other ways.
Also, when it comes to marijuana in particular, I think the evidence is very clear that for the majority of users it is no more dangerous than alcohol. Less so, in fact. So why should it be treated the same as heroin and similar drugs? It just doesn’t make much sense.
As we move forward with legalization, I do want to make sure it is done in a careful, thoughtful way that does not create another industry like the tobacco industry. We do not want to create “Big Marijuana”. Rather, I would hope that we can find ways to support small, local producers, just as we do when it comes to our small farms and brewers. There is a real economic opportunity in legalization, if it is done right.