Many good reasons to support Question 1 come up in discussions, but too often, one of the strongest reasons to legalize marijuana is overlooked. Legalization takes the marijuana business out of the hands of organized crime. We should all agree that this is a good thing.

The situation in today’s world requires marijuana users to personally contact and become clients of drug dealers in the underground market. Buying from these contacts ends up helping and financing the whole violent criminal drug network: the dealers, the narco-traffickers, the drug cartels and the money launderers. Clients established through marijuana sales are a handy group for the network to push toward cocaine, heroin and meth use as well.

Responsible marijuana consumers don’t want to enter this dark underground world and seek out a drug dealer on the street. Who would? They want a regulated and taxed system of safe marijuana distribution similar to that of alcohol.

Of course, marijuana legalization will not put an end to drug crime, but it will be an important step in the right direction. Taking this product away from drug dealers will make our communities safer. Law enforcement officials will be able to spend more of their time and limited resources addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed prohibition laws.

John Benziger, M.D.

South China

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