Have you ever legalized Marijuana ?

There’s an excellent, insightful and very funny article by Steve Yegge on his blog about complexity. Well worth a read. While clearly in favour of legalizing marijuana, Steve suggests that next time anyone actually suggests legalizing marijuana they should have to answer at least these preliminary questions first :
  • Is it legal to drink alcohol in a TV commercial? No? OK, what about marijuana, then? Can you smoke it in a commercial? Can you SHOW it? Can you talk about it? Can you show marijuana smoke at a party, without anyone actually being seen smoking it? Can you recommend its use to children under the age of 9? What exactly are the laws going to be around advertising and marijuana?
  • Do we let everyone out of prison who was incarcerated for possession and/or sale of marijuana? If not, then what do we tell them when they start rioting? If so, what do we do with them? Do we subsidize halfway houses? Do we give them their pot back? How much pot, exactly, do they need to have possessed in order to effect their judicial reversal and subsequent amnesty? A bud? An ounce? A cargo ship full?
  • Is it legal to sell, or just possess? If the latter, then how do we integrate the illegality of selling it into the advertising campaigns that tell us it’s legal to own it?
  • If it’s legal to sell it, WHO can sell it? Who can they sell it to? Where can they sell it? Where can they purchase it? Are we simply going to relax all the border laws, all the policies, all the local, state and federal laws and statutes that govern how we prioritize policing it? All at once? Is there a grandfather clause? On what _exact_ date, GMT, does it become legal, and what happens to pending litigation at that time?
  • Are we going to license it? Like state alcohol liquor licenses, of which there are a fixed number? What department does the licensing? How do you regulate it? Who inspects the premises looking for license violations, and how often? What, exactly, are they looking for?
  • Is it OK to smoke marijuana at home? At work? In a restaurant? In a designated Pot Bar? On the street? Can you pull out a seventeen-foot-long water bong and take a big hit in the middle of a shopping mall, and ask everyone near you to take a hit with you, since it’s totally awesome skunkweed that you, like, can’t get in the local vending machine? If it’s not OK, then why not?
  • Can you drive when you’re stoned? What’s the legal blood-THC level? Is it state-regulated or federal-regulated? For that matter, what is the jurisdiction for ALL marijuana-related laws? Can states override federal rulings? Provinces? Counties? Cities? Homeowners associations?
  • What exactly is the Coast Guard supposed to do now? Can illegal drug smugglers just land and start selling on the docks? Are consumers supposed to buy their marijuana on the street? What happens to the existing supply-chain operations? How are they taxed? Who oversees it?
  • Can you smoke marijuana on airplanes? Can airplanes offer it to their customers in-flight? Is it regulated in-flight more like tobacco (don’t get the smoke in other peoples’ faces) or alcohol (imbibe as you will, as long as you don’t “appear intoxicated”?) What about marijuana brownies? Are you allowed to eat it in areas where you’re not allowed to smoke it?
  • Can an airplane captain smoke pot? A ship captain? A train conductor? The driver of a car? An attendee at a Broadway musical? A politician in a legislative session? What is the comprehensive list of occupations, positions and scenarios in which smoking pot is legal? What about eating pot? What about holding it? What about holding a pot plant? What about the seeds?
  • Speaking of the seeds, are there different laws governing distribution, sale and possession of seeds vs. plants vs. buds vs. joints? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • What laws govern the transportation of marijuana in any form into or out of countries where it is still illegal? What policies are states able to enact? Is it OK under any circumstances for a person to go to jail over the possession or use of marijuana? If so, what are those circumstances?
  • Are there any laws governing the use of marijuana by atheletes? U.S. military personnel? Government employees? Government contractors? U.S. ambassadors, in title or in spirit? What are our extradition laws? What do we do about citizens who are subject to the death penalty in countries like Singapore for the possession of sufficient quantities of what we now consider to be legal substances?
  • What about derivatives? Are the laws the same for hashish? How do we tell the difference? What if someone engineers a super-powerful plant? How do the new laws extend to a potential spectrum of new drugs similar to THC?
  • For driving and operating machinery, do we have legal definitions that are equivalent of blood-alcohol percentage, and if so, what are these definitions? How do we establish them? How do we figure out what is actually dangerous? How do we test for these levels? When they are established, do we we put up signs on all roadways? Do we update the Driver’s Education materials? How do we communicate this change to the public?
  • How does legalization impact our public health education programs? Do they have to immediately retract all campaigning, advertising and distributed literature that mentions marijuana? How does legalization interact with the “Say no to drugs” programs? Do we need extra education to differentiate between a drug that is now legal (but wasn’t before) and drugs that are still illegal? What’s our story here? What about other drugs that are even less addictive and/or less intrusive than marijuana?
  • Monsanto is eventually going to sue the living shit out of someone for using genetically-engineered pot seeds. Can they sue individuals with a single plant in their windowsill? (answer: yes) Will Oprah step in and help that beleaguered individual? (answer: we’ll see!)
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