Subheading: While Booker’s suggestion will likely be a big hit with the pro-cannabis crowd, he’s completely oblivious on the ramifications of such a law.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has been touted as a potential presidential contender in 2020. The well-spoken junior senator has been a big hit on the Left, and he just may resonate with that base if he’s given a national rollout.
As we’ve learned from previous administrations, deftness at the microphone does not necessarily translate into policies that work for the nation as a whole.
To date, Booker has demonstrated that he’s little more than another in a long line of liberal mouthpieces that’s full of hype – and not much else. He does a fine job of reciting the day’s DNC talking points that the mainstream media crams down our throats on a daily basis, but he’ll need to bring a whole lot more to the table to even sniff a nomination in the current political environment.
Last week, Booker took a stab at showing what he brings to the table in terms of policy ideas. Here’s what he came up with.
Booker introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize pot across the nation. Yes, this is really his idea of a fantastic contribution to society.
Jeff Hunt is the Vice President of Public Policy at Colorado Christian University, and he’s seen firsthand what the legalization of pot has done to the state he calls home.
He penned a powerful piece for USA Today, and he makes it clear that the good times are not rolling in the place that he calls home.
Our country is facing a drug epidemic. Legalizing recreational marijuana will do nothing that Senator Booker expects. We heard many of these same promises in 2012 when Colorado legalized recreational marijuana.
In the years since, Colorado has seen an increase in marijuana related traffic deaths, poison control calls, and emergency room visits. The marijuana black market has increased in Colorado, not decreased. And, numerous Colorado marijuana regulators have been indicted for corruption.
In 2012, we were promised funds from marijuana taxes would benefit our communities, particularly schools. Dr. Harry Bull, the Superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, one of the largest school districts in the state, said, “So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.”
But what about all those claims that legalizing pot would lead to an incredible boon for the state’s coffers? That hasn’t come to fruition.
In fiscal year 2016, marijuana tax revenue resulted in $156,701,018. The total tax revenue for Colorado was $13,327,123,798, making marijuana only 1.18% of the state’s total tax revenue. The cost of marijuana legalization in public awareness campaigns, law enforcement, healthcare treatment, addiction recovery, and preventative work is an unknown cost to date.
Booker claims that his motivations revolve around reducing “marijuana arrests happening so much in our country, targeting certain communities – poor communities, minority communities.”
Alright, so Colorado should be a perfect case study on that line of thinking. It is, but it shows that Booker’s claims are little more than a pipe dream.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Safety, arrests in Colorado of black and Latino youth for marijuana possession have increased 58% and 29% respectively after legalization. This means that Black and Latino youth are being arrested more for marijuana possession after it became legal.
Furthermore, a vast majority of Colorado’s marijuana businesses are concentrated in neighborhoods of color. Leaders from these communities, many of whom initially voted to legalize recreational marijuana, often speak out about the negative impacts of these businesses.
Beyond the effects on these communities, the ramifications are being felt by families across the state.
Senator Booker released his bill just a few days after the Washington Post reported on a study by the Review of Economic Studies that found “college students with access to recreational cannabis on average earn worse grades and fail classes at a higher rate.” Getting off marijuana especially helped lower performing students who were at risk of dropping out. Since legalizing marijuana, Colorado’s youth marijuana use rate is the highest in the nation, 74% higher than the national average, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Report. This is having terribly negative effects on the education of our youth.
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Hunt has used some alarming statistics to perfectly bolster his argument. The legalization of marijuana has not worked out swimmingly for Colorado, and that’s more than enough evidence that the national legalization of pot would lead to even more problems.
Some people like to smoke pot. While there’s no getting around that, it doesn’t mean that it’s a fantastic hobby that should be encouraged. Somewhere along the way, the desires of folks that like to get high has led to a glamorization of cannabis culture.
This is in spite of the clear evidence that marijuana use can have serious mental and physical health consequences – not to mention that it’s a serious drain on the motivation levels of those that insist on lighting up every chance they get.
Add it all up, and Booker’s proposal is downright irresponsible. If he’s so concerned about these communities that he wants to protect, why not devote more of his time to educating those communities and encouraging residents to choose a different path?
The simple answer is because that would take actual work and effort on his behalf, and it may cost him the votes of those that prefer to spend their lives in an altered state.
Source: USA Today