Don’t be quick to legalize pot
No matter what states do, possession of marijuana for recreational use is banned by federal law. And no matter how widespread its illegal use, serious questions remain about its safety.
Apparently, Ohio state Rep. Robert F. Hagan, D-Youngstown, has not thought much about those two factors.
Hagan has introduced a bill to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Ohio. To sweeten the deal for lawmakers preoccupied with fiscal concerns, he proposes a 15 percent tax on marijuana sales.
No doubt that would raise a substantial amount of money for local and state governments. But legislators more responsible than Hagan will not be swayed. They recognize that the science concerning marijuana intoxication remains uncertain, at best.
They also understand marijuana is a gateway drug leading to use of provably dangerous substances such as painkiller pills and even heroin.
There may be valid arguments for medicinal use of marijuana, under strictly controlled circumstances. There is no acceptable claim to be made for recreational use of the drug.
Hagan’s plan is to seek voter approval of wholesale legalization of marijuana. His fellow legislators should spare voters the aggravation and reject the proposal.