As a state resident and college student at the University of Maryland, College Park, with an interest in Economics I would like to thank you for your concern for the economic well-being of Maryland and its budget deficit. I understand that it must be a daunting task trying to come to an agreement with the House of Representatives on how to handle and improve our situation. Since you feel it would be unreasonable to hold a referendum on slot machines and allow the people to decide for ourselves, I would like to propose an alternative solution.
While slot machines seem like an appropriate way to increase revenues because our neighbors have them and Marylanders are leaving Maryland to spend millions of dollars across our borders, the idea I propose brings us new income in a new way – it will quickly put our state on tourism maps not only nationally but around the world. I ask that you consider the benefits of legalizing marijuana. It is a billion dollar industry and so far the only people who capitalize on it are criminals. If we allow residents to smoke pot in public we will have far more people visiting Maryland than will be playing slots in Delaware. We would be able to spend less money on jails and punishments for these non-violent criminals currently prosecuted for possession. Cannabis is not as dangerous a health hazard as prescription drugs and alcohol; if we regulate it as we do alcohol, it seems to be a plausible and realistic solution to many problems.
What better way to win the war on drugs than to eradicate the war itself? As a child I was always told that walking away from a fight made me a bigger person than actually fighting it. Right now we are pummeling the low-income residents who smoke pot, but you and I, Mr. Ehrlich, have a chance to help them back to their feet with education rather than punishment. I think that our current war on drugs is comparable to the unsuccessful prohibition of alcohol in the early 20th century. Alcohol was out of control before it was legalized again and I think that marijuana will follow a similar path. Even during the years of Prohibition, alcohol was served at the White House. I don’t mean to imply anything; I am just saying that Maryland has the chance to take a gigantic step in leading this country to economic prosperity.
I hope you read this letter as seriously as I wrote it. We have a chance here to make history. It would be a shame to pass it up.
Thank you for your time,