STU BYKOFSKY: We need a new stream of revenue, one that will expand rather than shrink. As much as I don’t like the idea, the time has come for Pennsylvania to legalize marijuana. Since it will become legal eventually, we can harvest a major benefit from this crop. Weed is a growth industry. It’ll make what we can get from fracking look like McNuggets. The enabling method is to legalize “medical” marijuana, then expand it, as Washington and Colorado have done. As the potheads have been saying for decades (when not giggling and stuffing their faces with Cheetos) pot’s less harmful than cigarettes and alcohol, and will yield billions once it’s government regulated and taxed. The Philadelphia D.A. has declined to go after tokers, so pro-pot can start in Philadelphia. The U.S. government, while waggling a finger at Washington and Colorado, does not prosecute. Since grass is the (nonalcoholic) drug of choice of most Americans, legalization will deliver a huge blow to criminal drug gangs. As much as I don’t like it – because we don’t need any more mentally fogged Cheeches and Chongs – America is moving toward accepting legalized pot just as it is toward gay marriage. MORE
PHAWKER: Oh the irony of the plant that used to get you thrown out of school now making school possible, but then this is the wages of decades of GOPers telling the American people they could keep their tax dollars and have their cops-teachers-firemen-bridges-that-don’t fall-down cake, too. Be that as it may, we could not agree more that the time has come today to start earning money off the consumption of marijuana instead of draining our coffers in the fool’s errand pursuit of prohibition — although two things need pointing out. First, it’s disappointing, though to be expected given the generational divide, that a man who smokes deadly cigarettes and drinks demon alcohol — as we’ve seen firsthand on many, many occasions — would continue to wave the flag of fear about societal and health effects of a substance that’s been widely used for at least 60 years with no discernible negative effect aside from people laughing a little too hard at Will Ferrell films and getting all weepy-eyed when listening to Pet Sounds at sunset. According to the Center For Disease Control, tobacco kills 400,000 people every year. Alcohol kills 100,000 people every year. MARIJUANA KILLS ZERO PEOPLE every year. Never has, never will. Second, we object the condescending and overly broad stereotype of all stoners “giggling and stuffing their faces with Cheetos.” Some of us prefer Doritos.