Prohibition of pot backfiring

Legalizing and regulating marijuana is the best way to solve drug problems.

Daily Editorial Board

The federal government recently extended its year-long ban on synthetic marijuana to last until August. Here in Minnesota, a legislator wants to take it a step further by creating stricter penalties for the use and sale of synthetic marijuana.

Many view the fairly new, chemically made synthetic marijuana as safe to use because they compare it to naturally grown marijuana. This misconception has proved dangerous, as the synthetic drug has had negative effects on people and has left some in the hospital or even dead.

However, creating harsher consequences or continuing a ban is not the right solution to this problem. Currently, possession of synthetic marijuana is a misdemeanor, and selling the drug is a gross misdemeanor. Rep. Bob Barrett introduced the bill in hopes that prison time as a consequence would stop sales of the drug.

Using prison as a solution simply creates more problems. Our prisons are already full and expensive, so throwing more people in jail for nonviolent, minor drug offenses is not practical for the current situation.

The answer to this synthetic-marijuana problem is to legalize naturally grown marijuana. This would give our government the opportunity to tax and regulate the drug, as it does with alcohol and tobacco. Legal, regulated marijuana would eliminate the desire for less safe synthetic marijuana to skirt the law. Legalizing marijuana would also curb the unnecessary amount of people in jail for nonviolent crimes. It’s more important to use jail space and money on violent, dangerous offenders.

With marijuana legalized in our country, we can forget about issues with synthetic marijuana, as well as rake in tax dollars and pay more attention to real crimes.