It is such a beautiful, unseasonably cool August morning, crisp, cool and a tad cloudy. I picked up the Sunday papers on my way back in from walking our dog, Charley. I opened the Times, put it down and glanced at the front page of the Sun, below the fold on the right hand side. “Community in shock over Harford man’s drug charges … Ecologist, decades long teacher revered by residents.”
My gut told me this was not some heroin dealing, gun toting, cocaine smuggling outlaw swaggering through the
A sixty-two-year-old man who spent his life teaching kids about nature, our environment and love of life. He smokes marijuana and it appears as if he might consume some psilocybin mushrooms sometimes. He must really be an evil man. Pretty soon, all the kids in Harford will be smoking dope, dropping acid, snorting cocaine, having sex and god knows what else. Known as Ranger Bob to all the kids, why, if there ever was a contrived name, Ranger Bob is it. Look, he even has a beard and plays Santa Clause on his Christmas tree farm. That’s how he snares all those kids. The devil in disguise. You think he is really teaching about the earth, nature and our history, respecting life and the planet we live on…
OK, enough with the sarcasm, but this is just madness. I don’t think anyone should go to jail, or have their home or children threatened with seizure, or livelihood taken away from them for smoking, growing or even selling marijuana. Most Americans who are 62 and lived through the counter culture world of hippies, slogged through a rice paddy in
Most people I know, at some point in their lives, smoked dope. There is a reason why we call it dope. So, most of us don’t do it anymore. Most of us don’t get drunk anymore. We have more important things to deal with then people’s personal behaviors.
People should not go to jail for using marijuana. We should legalize it, tax it and let it be. Grow hemp so we can stop cutting down trees for paper, and let marijuana bloom like we grow tobacco for cigarettes and hops for beer and barley for whiskey. Many Indian reservations want the chance to grow hemp for industrial uses. It could help our environment, create new jobs and new industries.
Harvard Economist Dr. Jeffrey Alan Miron produced a highly acclaimed study, "The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition," which was endorsed by hundreds of economists, including conservative leaders like
Dr. Milton Friedman of the Hoover Institute, Dr. George Akerlof of the University of California at Berkeley, and Dr. Vernon Smith of George Mason University. He concludes that “replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of legal regulation would save approximately $7.7 billion in government expenditures on prohibition enforcement — $2.4 billion at the federal level and $5.3 billion at the state and local levels for a combined savings of $10 to 14 billion dollars."
Bob Chance, by all accounts from the former Mayor of Bel Air to the head of their county library, is a good soul who loves children and a defender of our environment who loves teaching. He should not have his life destroyed because he likes to smoke pot on his own time. He should be able to wake up on this unseasonably cool August morning not worrying about going to jail or losing his beloved farm.