Dean Rohrer

Cuando la marihuana es legal

BRISBANE – ¿Qué pasará si los californianos votan el próximo noviembre para legalizar el consumo de marihuana por parte de un adulto mayor de 21 años? Dejemos de lado por el momento las polémicas cuestiones constitucionales que se plantearán si un estado norteamericano implementa legislación que entra en conflicto con la ley federal. Concentrémonos más bien en lo que puede suceder si la ley cambia como propone el referendo.

Si hemos de creerles a quienes respaldan el referendo, todos los californianos saldrán ganando. El cambio legitimará el estatus legal de facto de la marihuana desde la sanción de la Propuesta 215 en 1996. Por lo tanto reducirá el gasto del estado en hacer cumplir una ley ampliamente violada; eliminará el cultivo de marihuana y la venta del mercado negro; permitirá que todo adulto que desee usar marihuana así lo haga, e introducirá un impuesto a las ventas legales de marihuana que llenará las arcas del estado con ingresos que anteriormente iban a parar a manos de los cultivadores ilegales (siempre que no haya una evasión impositiva a gran escala).

Por el contrario, los opositores predicen que el cambio incrementará los índices de consumo de marihuana y, por ende, aumentará el daño que produce ese consumo. Entre las consecuencias adversas que mayor preocupación generan están una mayor cantidad de accidentes y muertes de tránsito vinculadas a la marihuana; más psicosis y otros problemas graves de salud mental entre los consumidores asiduos; y un mayor uso de marihuana entre los jóvenes, que afectaría negativamente sus posibilidades de vida. Estos efectos, sostienen, superarán por demás cualquier rédito a partir del ingreso impositivo y el dinero que se ahorra por no tener que dedicar recursos a hacer cumplir la ley.

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