The state of Michigan has the chance to be an early adopter, to help lead a movement that will undoubtedly bring legalized marijuana into the forefront of American consumerism in the near future.
Following the city of East Lansing's correct decision to decriminalize marijuana, The State News calls for the state of Michigan to join Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon as the next state to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Yes, a college newspaper asking for the decriminalization of marijuana is seemingly a tiresome cliche. Colleges and marijuana have nearly gone hand in hand, but now the drug has never been more studied or more supported. Legalization is no longer a fanatical pipe dream cast aside as teens just wanting to get high. The legalization of marijuana produces a multitude of benefits.
Currently, the state of Michigan allows for the use of medical marijuana. While a correct first step in allowing those afflicted with crippling illness to relieve pain, the state needs now to legalize the drug.
Legalization favors research. A state favorable to marijuana would undoubtedly bring marijuana research to the state, allowing for new jobs and to become a state on the forefront of marijuana policy.
In a state languishing from a loss of manufacturing jobs, a burgeoning industry still in its early stages could bring renewed life into the job market and the economy.
Marijuana legalization would further be a boon to the economy. The legalized sale of marijuana could be taxed, allowing for new revenue avenues for the state. The state of Colorado saw millions of dollars from taxes that were later used in a variety of ways.
For a state having trouble paying for education, the millions of dollars reaped from the sale of marijuana could be used to bolster the state's education funding and provide better assistance to underfunded schools.
Legalization would also harbor a safer and legal way to buy marijuana, cutting down on the dangerous avenues people currently track to buy marijuana.
Even further, and perhaps most important, legalization would further cut down on mandatory sentencing with hotly unfair jail times. The current drug policies have been unjustly handed down, coming down harder on the black community while those in white community are given vastly lenient sentencing when it comes to the possession or selling of marijuana. This would also cut the overpopulation of the state's prisons.
The State News does not call for a completely unregulated exercise of marijuana, but would like to see the state follow Colorado's path of regulation, in which an adult at least 21 years of age is the only one legal to buy, possess and cultivate in small amounts and must do so in private.
Further, The State News would support legislation that enforced strict zero-tolerance for driving while under the influence of marijuana.
Like all things, marijuana best consumed with limitations and in moderation.
The economic implications of legalization are too clear to ignore and too great to pass up. The societal impacts are too positive to deny. Marijuana is an emerging industry. Michigan would be foolish to not be on the leading edge of it.
The State News Editorial Board is made up of the Editor-in-chief Jake Allen, Managing Editor Cameron Macko, Campus Editor Rachel Fradette, City Editor Josh Bender, Sports Editor Casey Harrison, Features Editor Connor Clark, Copy Chief Casey Holland, Diversity Representative Alexea Hankin and Staff Representative Stephen Olschanski. Cameron Macko did not sit in on this editorial board.