Give our governor one thing: Rome wasn’t built in a day, but Arnold can fabricate a sizeable minor league media stink-up overnight. Of course Schwarzenegger both benefits and suffers because of his previous career as a professional killer of humans on film, aka “entertainment.” But sometimes you wish we could keep him in one of those kiddie harnesses for walking toddlers through crowds, so that his handlers could at least yank on it when hot buttons such as “recreational use” start hovering over press events. Apparently a poll from April showed 56 percent of the state’s registered voters supported legalizing and taxing marijuana for recreational use to create needed state revenue. Here’s the Ganja-nator, addressing the media last week: “I think it’s time for a debate,” he said. “I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues; I’m always for an open debate on it. And I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs. What effect did it have on those countries?” One marijuana legalization advocate stated that “What stands out about Gov. Schwarzenegger’s comment is not that he thought it, but that he said it.” Exactamundo. Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, Republican of Irvine, mitigated the reefer madness with this: “I think this shows the governor’s growing desperation over the budget…” So far there’s been nothing from Schwarzenegger on legalized prostitution, aka “entertainment.”Before this thing rolls down a hill and becomes a giant green snowball I’d like to offer five brief arguments against legalizing marijuana for recreational use, agreeing that what we mean in this case is making marijuana easier to obtain so that the state can collect money from the sale and distribution.It’s Not Like State Gambling… or is It?While opening up access to intoxicants is not quite the same as realizing revenue gain from state gambling, information on gambling addiction and its destructive impacts is always neatly left out of ads for state lotteries and Native American casinos. Would we do the same with legalized pot? At a certain point, state governments and voters must own-up to the fact that realizing revenue gain on a legalized activity means the people’s representative government is socializing and endorsing the behavior involved. We’re already playing a hypocritical game of pretend with state sponsored gambling; now we’re going to run “Hey Kids, Don’t Get High at School!” spots on TV with money realized from marijuana sales!?Teachers Will Love YouTheoretically, making it illegal for younger teens to have alcohol prevents any teen drinking problems… right? Drunk driving and teen drinking statistics seems to show some holes in that. Does the governor wish to publicly address school teachers and say “Best of luck with more dope on the streets, you know, because now we’re selling it at Walgreens.” Go ahead with any “They’ll get it anyhow if they want it” responses; one way they won’t get it is by having their older brother or sister buy it from the responsible adults of California. Jeeze, Arnold… we’re having problems keeping diabetes-inflicting sugar and fat out of schools! Do you hang with school teachers at all?Throwing the Baby in with the Bong Water“Hello, Governor? Please explain how legalizing marijuana will reduce teen pregnancy. (PAUSE) Our lines our open. (PAUSE) Governor, please call with that answer. (PAUSE) Again that phone number…” Apparently the Spliff-inator has looked at the stats regarding teen sexual behavior and teen pregnancy and concluded, “What’s needed here is more access to marijuana.” Will Bristol Palin bring her baby to Sacramento and explain how life might have been different if only she’d been too (legally) stoned to have sex?Now We Can Beat China!What’s holding back American manufacturing and productivity? That’s right: Our workers don’t have any state-endorsed pot to smoke during lunch breaks. How different the stories of GM and Chrysler if only we’d had the good sense to make it easier (and revenue producing!) for line workers to smoke a “fatty” with their morning coffee. Of course it would be against company rules and policy, just like drinking on the job, which has never been a problem.Other Experiments Didn’t Quite WorkDestructive behaviors don’t necessarily fluctuate by substance. A drunk driver or husband can bring the pain, whether it was beer or wine or bottle goods. My local hardware store locks up the spray paint so that kids can’t just boost a can and go huff it somewhere. So let me say that it’s not specifically about marijuana. Our nation’s experiments with legalizing the drugs tobacco and alcohol have been less than successful. Drunk driving deaths and alcohol-fueled violence, disease and death from tobacco; the state realizes revenues from these substances yet no one is arguing we should widen access (for more state funds) to either of those. Sorry, Arnold. It’s not really a “debate.” It’s more like, uh, you just talking… again.
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