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First off, I’m not a pot smoker. I don’t like the buzz, and based upon the potheads I know I honestly believe long-term use of the drug makes you dumber. However, I still don’t get why it’s illegal. If we prohibited everything that stunted intellectual development, all we’d have left is chess and textbooks.

I just cracked open a cool, refreshing lunchtime beer, and I’ll probably follow it up with a cool, refreshing post lunchtime beer. Both are legal, and so long as I don’t leave my house, I can drink as many as I want. I think the same should be true with pot. So long as you’re on private property and don’t drive or linger in a public setting, it should be legalized tomorrow.

Marijuana first became illegal in the decade before the 1920s in Western states. These states had experienced an influx of Mexican migrants, and one of the things they brought with them from Mexico was weed.

Sensational news stories soon followed with lurid accounts of marijuana-crazed Mexicans and blacks getting into all kids of mischief, and the racist public believed every word of it. When the ambitious head of the Bureau of Narcotics saw drug prohibition as a way to increase both his fame and authority, the public was primed to accept it.

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who loves casual racism more than me, but I don’t feel drug policy should be based on it. Some people are always going to want to do drugs, and by making them illegal you only crowd prisons with nonviolent users and empower violent and dangerous drug gangs.