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Decriminalization and Technology

I was reading something today while it rained that said that if marijuana was decriminalized, it would save the government 10.1 billion dollars per year. The article didn’t say where they got there numbers from, nor cite any of it’s sources, but I can see that number making sense based on the amount jail time some of the convicted are serving. Factor in the cost to police, and it’s probably somewhere in that range when you think about it on a national level.

Now, I personally don’t care one way or another if marijuana is legalized or not. I think the drug probably does more harm than good, but at the same time, I think cigarettes and Twinkies would fall into the same category. What’s has be curious is the concept that decriminalization in some cases saves money, or even better, makes money. Let’s take a moment to figure out some things that *might* do better technology wise, if it was made legal.

  • Online Regulated Poker – This is probably the biggest one. If the government would figure out that they could regulate poker, and tax it like they do casinos, they could be raking in millions of dollars to pay for education. If they actually put it towards education, they might actually be able to teach some kids the math that they need to understand when to walk away from a poker table. Making it somewhat illegal to play online seems just stupid to me, and a waste of money to try to enforce it. Go PPA!
  • Open Wifi Networks – This one isn’t entirely illegal yet, but people who are serving jail time because they hopped on someone’s wide open wifi network makes me sick. I don’t want to pay for those people to be in jail, I want to award them for making use of something that was probably being wasted (bandwidth), which helps to encourage technology to grow! What’s even scarier is the report out of Utah that they are going to make open wifi illegal due to porn… I mean, come on… Let the parents do the policing, not the government. Lets not waste time or money on this.
  • Public Knowledge File Sharing – So this one I am a little more border line on. I believe that artists should get paid for their work. I believe that filesharing to some degree, hurts this, but I also believe that it helps some of the smaller musicians get off the ground. I think what I really mean here is that anything that is publically made available either via radio, television, or the internet by the artists themselves, should be at least somewhat legal to share. I think it’s insanely silly that copyright law is now constantly spending millions of dollars enforcing it on third graders. I think it’s even more silly when someone like the NFL can force churches to cancel Super Bowl parties. Let technology spread as fast as possible, it will mean more of it in the future.

So I’m sure the list could go on for days of things that I think are somewhat silly technology wise that the government has it’s hands in… Then again, a majority of the people we voted for must have wanted them, and therefore we must have wanted them… Right? Maybe these are just things I want to see…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Alex April 22, 2007, 11:28 am

    Yeah, I heard about that guy in the UK who got, I think, convicted for hopping on an open WiFi network. A lot of technology laws are pretty immature, so let's hope they become less draconian once they evolve through some more iterations.