But does it therefore follow that the wisest course of action is to empower our government to outlaw addictions and exact punishments, fines, and other retributions; as a strategy to successfully end the scourge of addictive behavior in our society? And do we really want a society when police actions are so draconian?
Or is it possible that our 'war on drugs' has added to the problem of addiction by sending it into desperate hiding? And has the government created a bigger economic problem by incubating a business environment where black market cartels can come in and set up shop? And the inevitable organized crime from black market cartels has therefore led to skyrocketing crime, harming people who had nothing to do with the cartel or the addictive behavior.
A New Path... (Okay, not really new. We did this with liquor, in 1959)
The end of Oklahoma's prohibition brought about 4 big positive changes to our state.
- Cost savings to our law enforcement agencies and correctional facilities.
- Revenue enhancements as black market sales transformed into legitimate business and subject to equitable taxation.
- Human lives rescued, as they came forward to seek treatment for addictions, since the fear of prosecution is gone.
- The departure of black market organized crime syndicates who lost their monopoly on a product.
We need to start somewhere, and I think the cannabis laws are the best place to start studying a new policy. We need measurable data to analyze. I believe Colorado would help us out by letting us study their data. Once we find positive results from a reset of our policy, we can look at places to implement similar reforms. We're going broke as a result of our current policy.
I urge the legislature to create a joint interim study on this matter so the next legislature can be ready to submit a state question on the ballot. Let the people of the state add their voice to this matter.