Yesterday we had Doug Fine on the show, author of "Too High to Fail."
He told us that weed can help us out of the recession, young-liberal porn if I've ever seen it. His reasoning is sound, by keeping marijuana illegal we're essentially shunning billions of dollars for our economy in production, sales, and taxes. He also uses it as a way to back into an attack on the war on drugs, which has cost this country a trillion dollars over the last 40 years. It's also ruined countless American lives, incarcerating and stigmatizing people for using a drug that is proven to be less dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol.
Obviously, as a 28 year old male from the suburbs - with a degree from a liberal arts college - I happen to agree with Mr. Fine. But even more obviously, NBC puts each one of it's employees through a drug test upon hiring - so nobody in this building partakes in that sinful weed. Nobody.
Now I know what you're thinking: It's a company full of creative types, or people with high-power, high stress sales jobs, or people in live news who work insane hours under national scrutiny - what in the world would they be interested in weed for?
And the answer is: I have no idea. I work in news for MSNBC, every once in a while I enjoy half a beer with a big dinner, wait an hour, and then hail a cab home. I won't even risk the subway for fear of balance distortion and danger on the tracks. Too risky. So personally, I have no dog in this fight. But, I might know a few people, that know a few people that do - and they'll appreciate the points made in Fine's book.
My thing is this - We put a lot of young, black men in prison for weed. And not 'a lot' as in "Oh that number is higher than the number of white people."
'A lot' as in, "Oh hey, we're sending 1 in every 9 black men to prison for primarily minor offenses." The war on drugs has always preyed on young, black kids and young Hispanic kids. It damages their future, it damages their families, and everyone benefits except the American public.
Though, to Fine's point - I'm not entirely sure an abundance of marijuana being available to the general public will give the economy quite the jolt he expects. From what I've... read, it doesn't generally spurn-on industriousness.
Check out the segment from yesterdays show and let us know what you think @thecyclemsnbc