The current useless Congress is unlikely to tackle marijuana reform, but the Justice Department could do all taxpayers a favor by letting each state decide for itself.
Making pot legally available to adults will require caution. Colorado and Washington are wrestling with the logistics of sales and supervision. Tough penalties are planned for driving while stoned, or providing the drug to minors.
Inevitably, though, more states will ease their marijuana laws. Money is why; potential revenues from taxing pot cultivation and sales are too substantial to forego. Even the boneheads in Tallahassee will one day figure that out.
Watching America’s legalization movement with gloom are the Mexican drug cartels, whose vast profits from grass smuggling will wither with the loss of their most lucrative market.
Pot smokers would just as soon buy it from a licensed dispensary, but they will definitely keep buying it, no matter what the government does.
I recall sitting in an unmarked car with a DEA agent at a motel parking lot in Homestead. Other agents were positioned nearby.
They were all waiting to arrest a guy who was supposedly coming to deliver three bales of Colombian weed. An undercover team had set up the deal.
Time dragged on. Radios crackled. Everybody grew restless and bored.
A barefoot teenager happened to roll up on a bicycle. If he saw us — and I don’t know how he didn’t — it didn’t seem to matter.
The kid pulled out a joint and lit up. Broad daylight, people all over the place.
If the windows hadn’t been rolled up, the smoke would have filled the DEA car. The agent looked over at me and shook his head. All we could do was laugh.
The boy rode off on his bike. The guy with the bales showed up empty-handed, so the deal didn’t go down.
That was 30 years ago. Nothing has changed.
(Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Readers may write to him at: 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132.)
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