Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Can't Believe I Haven't Mentioned this Yet...

I can’t believe that I haven’t mentioned the huge changes that my state made in the last referendum vote yet. 

In the last referendum vote, the people of Washington State took some huge leaps in two currently controversial topics:

1.      We voted to legalize the personal, recreational use of marijuana, and set up legal marijuana exchanges to supply the demand.
2.      We voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

5 Reasons That I am Glad That My State Legalized Marijuana*

1.      Law enforcement officials throughout the state have gone on record as saying that they will be happy to stop “busting” people for marijuana possession, and many have chimed in to say that the only societal damage caused by marijuana in our state has been problems springing from the fact that it is illegal.  Once legalized, many LEOs feel like marijuana will be less troublesome than alcohol.  Time will tell, but I’m tuning in to this massive experiment with great interest.
2.      I don’t believe in punishing victimless crimes.  Any recreational drug use, no matter how damaging to the individual using the drugs (meth, I’m looking in your direction) is harmless to other people until the drug use starts causing other problems that don’t necessarily need to be coupled to the use of the drug.  Case in point: use of drugs may lead to violent episodes or thievery in order to finance the habit.  The point is, those things are already illegal, regardless of whether triggered by a drug or not, so let’s de-couple the drugs from the crimes, punish the crimes, and get help for the user instead of locking him up.  If a meth-head hasn’t hurt anyone or stolen anything, I don’t think we have a right to hurt him by arresting him and throwing him in jail simply because he used a drug.  This is a step in that direction.
3.      I’m tired of spending immense amounts of tax dollars to fund our legal system prosecuting and incarcerating marijuana users.  There is no societal benefit to this, whatsoever, and a huge societal cost as people’s lives are uprooted, and their life choices narrowed by the shiny new criminal record that they now carry around for smoking a little weed. 
4.      I have close personal friends who use marijuana, and every one of them is a highly productive member of society, and I love the fact that they are no longer criminals in my state and we don’t have to worry about the ramifications of a small business owner that employs 40 people getting thrown in the slammer because he got pulled over with a bit of weed in his ashtray.
5.      It is a huge step in the right direction as regards personal freedoms.  We’ve been doing a good job of taking down laws recently that fly in the face of self-determination and personal freedom.  It has only been in the last decade that many states removed their “sodomy” laws from the books, making it legal in those states, for the first time in history, to get a BJ.  The more we can get the government and its laws out of our personal lives, and instead focused on capturing and punishing the harmful predators among us, the better.  In item #1, the LEOs in my state almost unanimously said that they are glad to now have more time and resources to go after the real bad guys. 

*Just to clarify, I don’t have a dog in this hunt.  The only thing I smoke are cigars, occasionally.  I have no personal interest in smoking weed, and to boot, it is still not legal for me to smoke weed because I have a commercial driver’s license, and get randomly tested to keep it.  Also, the company that I work for has a “no drug” policy because we are in heavy commercial construction and really don’t need stoned dudes running around our jobsites.

4 Reasons that I’m Glad My State Legalized Same-Sex Marriage

1.      See #5 above.  The point made there fits here as well.  Personal freedom is personal freedom, regardless of the issue.
2.      I’m still not sure how the hell the government got involved in marriage at all.  I’ve posted on this point before, and still maintain that the people fighting for the government’s permission to get married are fighting the wrong fight and asking the wrong questions.  Their questions shouldn’t be “why can’t we get married?” and rather should be “Who the hell gave you permission to say whether someone can get married or not in the first place? Why is that any of your business, and why are you involved in this at all?”  That being said, this is a positive step in the direction of getting people to ask those questions.
3.      On a completely selfish note, I’m sick to fucking death of hearing about it, and I’m hoping that now that its legal here, it won’t be “all gay marriage, all the time” on the TV news anymore. 
4.      Consenting adults should be allowed to do whatever the fuck they want as long as it doesn’t cause harm to another individual.  Our government needs to figure that out, and this is a good step in that direction.

All that being said, I want to reiterate that none of this is meant to be an endorsement of drug use, or of being gay, or any other thing any more or less than it is meant to denigrate those lifestyle choices – I’m not making judgment calls on whether any of these things are good, bad, or neutral to each person’s individual situation.  I would be disappointed if my daughter decided to use pot, for instance, and will do everything I can to keep her from doing so, regardless of its legality.  My points above all revolve around the fact that these are personal decisions, which don’t harm any other person, and so should be decisions left up to the people making them – the individual. 

That being said, if you want to see what my opinion is on these things, I’ve written about them all at length in other postings. 

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