The Oklahoma Daily – Editorial – Follow Western states’ lead, legalize weed

by The Daily Editorial Board


Our View: Oklahoma should follow Colorado and Washington in legalizing recreational marijuana.

You may have missed it amidst all the giddy cheers and apocalypse woes of election night, but voters in Washington and Colorado chose to legalize recreational marijuana use within those states.

It may seem that, left toitself, Oklahoma will be the very last state to consider such a move. But that shouldn’t be the case.

Oklahomans like to say they support limited government, and it certainly seems to be true in many circumstances. So shouldn’t the Sooner state rally around an individual’s right to control his or her personal behavior — just as the state recently rallied in support of open carry?

Though the field of research is complicated and in places incomplete, it is clear that marijuana is less addictive than cigarettes and less harmful to the body than both tobacco and alcohol. Given the similarities marijuana shares with these legal and largely culturally accepted products, marijuana prohibition seems irrational.

It looks even less rational when you consider the resources involved in the marijuana segment of the drug war. In 2010, police made 853,838 arrests for marijuana-related offenses, according to the FBI’s annual report. Of those charged with marijuana violations, 88 percent were arrested for offenses involving only possession, not manufacture or sale.

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