Take drug dealers out by legalizing marijuana

Ernesto Lopez and Ernesto Lopez

If marijuana was legalized tomorrow, maybe, it would help the U.S. economy get out of the hole we are in and we would all be happy campers with more money in our pockets.

Putting aside money issues, legalizing marijuana is more about saving lives by taking if off the hands of irresponsible dealers that sell it to minors and make thousands of dollars without paying taxes.

I grew up in the hood, the projects, the apartments down the street people refer to as “ghetto,” and I have seen marijuana and other drugs roam freely in these neighborhoods.

Just recently, I saw a teenager smoking a blunt near my apartment. I had to walk right in front of this fellow and cover my three-year-old son’s nose and mouth to avoid him getting a hit.

It was sad to see that this young man did not look a day past 15, and he’s already a habitual user, a pot head. Does he have a bright future if he continues this habit? Probably not.

I’ve seen him walk into the neighborhood drug dealer’s apartment to buy drugs. The neighborhood dealer has weed plants, which he produces and sells to mostly young people. I’ve seen his plants through the cracks of his fenced yard.

I’ve been tempted to call the police but I don’t want to get shot. The entire community of pot heads in the neighborhood will come after me if they were to find out I reported him to the law.

I politely say good morning and good night when I see this drug dealer, but he makes me want to get in front of his face and call him an irresponsible piece of shit for selling drugs to minors.

If you’re an adult and want to smoke pot, then go ahead, continue with your vices, but minors should have no business consuming it. These minors are altering their futures at such an early age because of the easily-accessible drug.

Legalizing marijuana should be like alcohol: it should only be purchased by 21-year-olds and over. I don’t want to see another teenager walking around my apartment complex all high and stupefied on marijuana.

There could be licensed shops at every street corner, just like Starbucks, only instead of selling it with a high tax, it would be sold closer to street price.

That way, people wouldn’t resort to buying from illegal pot dealers. Also, it would drive illegal pot dealers out of business forcing them to discontinue their illegal activities.

Consumers will need to be licensed as well; they should only be able to purchase half a pound per week. None of this buffet style marijuana shops, where people can have all they want for a small price.

But this will only work if the laws put in place are enforced. If we are going to make marijuana legal and make a profit out of legalizing it, it should be taken seriously. Like harsh punishments for those selling illegally and for selling it to minors.

My vote is to legalize it, but not to have pot-smoking parties.

Ernesto Lopez is the City Times managing editor