Marijuana

As We Wonder Whether Ohio Legalized Marijuana, Here are 3 Reasons to Legalize Pot NOW!

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Voting in southwestern Ohio has been extended until 9 P.M., so it will be a while before we know if Issue 3, a ballot initiative that would legalize pot in the Buckeye State, has passed.

For more on the ins and outs of that controversial measure, read "Why I'm Voting for Legal Pot (Issue 3) in Ohio" and "Why Antiprohibitionists Are Ambivalent About Ohio's Marijuana Legalization Initiative."

And watch the 2010 (!) Reason TV video above, "3 Reasons To Legalize Pot Now!"

The original text:

As the United States enters its 72nd year of marijuana prohibition, it's time to consider legalizing pot once and for all, for at least three reasons:

1. The tax revenue and savings in law enforcement costs. A 2005 cost-benefit analysis done by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron found that legalizing marijuana and taxing it similar to alcohol would generate over $6 billion in new revenue and save nearly $8 billion in direct law enforcement costs. Pot is already the biggest cash crop in many states; bringing it into the open market would pump all sorts of energy into the economy.

2. It's going to happen anyway, so why delay the inevitable? Increasing numbers of Americans realize that pot prohibition is an ineffective and costly policy. A 2009 poll by Zogby found that 52 percent of Americans agreed that marijuana should be taxed and regulated like booze. A Field Poll last year of California residents, who will vote on a legalization ballot initiative in the fall, found that 56 percent wanted legalization. Other polls show historically high percentages favoring legalization. In a world of busted budgets, it's crystal clear that spending time and energy policing marijuana is not worth it.

3. Keep Your Laws Off Our Bodies. Never mind that by virtually every measure, pot is safer and less than disruptive than booze. Pot prohibition in the 1930s was the result of hysteria, not serious threats to society. We own our bodies and should be free to eat, drink, and smoke what we want. And to take responsibility for our actions, whether we're straight or we're stoned.

Approximately 2.30 minutes long. Written and produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie, who also hosts.