Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

July 5, 2013

MARK HEINIG: Clearing up marijuana misconceptions

What effects would legalization have on teenagers?

Early in June, the American Civil Liberties Union published a study on the illegal use of marijuana in the United States. The media in Indiana reported the findings of the study for both the nation and the Hoosier State. That doesn’t surprise me at all. I would be surprised to learn the media in any state omitted the local findings. Both nationally and locally, two of the ACLU’s conclusions confirm our expectations. They tell us what we thought was true really is true.

First, race is a key factor in determining who is prosecuted for allegedly violating marijuana laws. At the risk of oversimplifying the study’s findings, you can get in more trouble for smoking pot if you’re black than if you’re white. Make that a lot more trouble! Second, the costs of prosecution are skyrocketing. That presents us with the problem of reducing those costs without diminishing the effectiveness of our marijuana legislation. Wait a minute! Who thinks our marijuana laws are effective now?

The ACLU examined a mountain of statistical data in reaching those conclusions. I can’t challenge the organization’s contention that blacks are scrutinized much more intensely than whites when it comes to possible violations of marijuana laws. The evidence seems incontrovertible. Is that unfair to African-Americans? Absolutely!

I am apprehensive about the ACLU’s other conclusion. I must wonder how more lenient marijuana laws and less severe penalties would reduce the unfairness. Subjecting black people to closer scrutiny than white people remains an injustice no matter how much we relax the marijuana laws and reduce the penalties. What’s right is still right, and what’s wrong is still wrong!

Despite the organization’s opposition to unfair treatment of blacks, urging a state like Indiana to soften its stance on marijuana may not be the best solution. The arguments for moderating or abolishing marijuana legislation seem to revolve around money. Providing due process for marijuana offenders is undeniably expensive.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • DAY: God trusted us with them Well, you heard about my wife and I, and our families from the past, so it is time for me to tell you about two of the prettiest girls I have ever known. They are our daughters Debbie and Patty. They are the greatest gifts from God that we have had i

    April 19, 2014

  • LoBianco: Bigger ethics questions raised in House Turner review

    Members of the House Ethics Committee who will take up Rep. Eric Turner’s case face daunting tasks as they try to answer two questions: Did their powerful colleague violate any ethics rules in privately lobbying against a measure that would have hurt his family’s business?

    April 18, 2014

  • Letters to the Editor: April 18, 2014

    Attendees at the Tipton County Board of Commissioners meeting April 7 were treated to an appalling lack of both action and concern by the commissioners.

    April 18, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor: April 17, 2014

    On March 20 of this year I attended a public meeting of the Tipton County Economic Development Alliance. Members of this group include the three county commissioners, a member of the county council, two members from the city council, and the mayor.

    April 17, 2014

  • Hicks: Measuring the unmeasurable

    One aspect of economic research I think is especially powerful is the ability to measure or monetize the things that humans clearly value but for which a market price is not necessarily apparent. This is one of the aspects of economic analysis that gives it such dominance over other social sciences.

    April 17, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Bush presents 'The Art of Leadership'

    On April 5, “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” opened at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The display, which runs through June 3, boasts “portraits of more than two dozen world leaders” painted by Bush, according to the official literature.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bohanon: ‘Economics is fun’ in Vegas or in Bible study

    I am writing this on an airplane to Las Vegas. I’ll be attending the annual conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education along with two of my colleagues and six of my students.

    April 16, 2014

  • Letters to the Editor: April 16, 2014

    At the time the agenda for the April 7 commissioner meeting came out, I was happy to see that the neglected commissioner board appointments were finally going to be addressed. These appointments had been in limbo for months on end.

    April 16, 2014

  • Hayden: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids

    The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards.
    That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation data were released last week.

    April 15, 2014

  • Letters to the Editor: April 15, 2014

    In a recent “public eye” article written by KT columnist Scott Smith about the proposed industrial wind turbine project; mention was made of the “new deal” brokered by Howard County Commissioners with E.ON.

    April 15, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll