Recently, the state of Oregon has passed Measure 91, legalization of marijuana for recreational use. It was signaled before that this was coming from the legalization in Washington and Colorado. It’s interesting to ask myself that, Is Measure 91 a sign of liberalization or a sign of decadency of our moral value in society?
It’s true that this Measure is going to benefit the state in a way that the government can collect tax from marijuana, and “decrease” the crime rate in a way that people will have more job by selling marijuana, so they won’t mug other people. However, is that the right way to go? Not long after the pass of Measure 91, people started to argue whether marijuana should be taxed more or not (1). According to many people’s argument since the beginning of the process of passing Measure 91, they argued that we can collect tax from marijuana legally, and we can use it for many good things, such as, school funding, drug treatment, prevention and mental health programs, and state and local police (2). However, people already argued that if marijuana is taxed, the price is going to be driven higher until people will turn to black market. Is it actually a good argument for this topic?
Anthony Johnson, a chief of New Approach Oregon, an organization that has been supporting this legalization, “By discouraging retail sales” with high taxes, “you’re then encouraging black-market sales,” (1). Under Measure 91, the tax that is set under the State of Oregon is originally really low to compete with black market. In a way, it’s true that people turn to black market, the legalization of marijuana will be less beneficial, but is it okay to tax marijuana with a really low rate?
Looking at the moral side of this legalization, I discussed about the change of moral values after Measure 91 has passed with my friends, and we were divided into two sides. The side that was against marijuana says that this legalization is going to make people smoke more and people will become lazy. Moreover, in our present society, cigarettes and alcohol drinks, which are greatly detrimental to our health, are legal, and people consume them regularly. The argument was that marijuana is going to be the third substance that will become a part of this list. It’s true that it’s not scientifically proved yet whether marijuana has a bad effect on people’s health or not, but it’s obvious that it will definitely affect people’s lives. On the other side of the argument, as I said before, we will be able to collect tax from marijuana, which will benefit our society for sure. Interestingly, my friend also argued that since marijuana is legal, kids, who want to be cool by smoking pot, won’t do it anymore because it’s legal and it doesn’t make you any cooler when you do something legal!
It’s interesting to see that almost $1.1 million was spent to run ads for legalization for marijuana (3). Interestingly, 98.6% of the funding for No on Measure 91 came from Law Enforcement and rehab profession center. Why? They funded for No because they would gain some money if people are arrested or come to rehab center, as you can see in the picture below (4).
Personally, I come from a place where marijuana will be illegal until at least the next 50 years, unless my country grows liberal exponentially in the next 50 years. I agree that the taxing for marijuana and competing with the black market for marijuana are good things for our society, but I agree even more that in the future, marijuana will become something that people consume regularly like alcohol and cigarettes, which, as I said, are harmful to your health. Is this the direction that we want the next generation to be? You, Americans, are deciding what values are going to be planted into your children’s minds.