Those who advocate drug legalization only need to look in the eyes of my six-year old step-son when he realized that his iPod Touch had been stolen. For almost two years, he contentiously took care of his device only to have it stolen by a thief. That sadness was heartbreaking to see.

Drug legalization will not fix society’s ills, where the majority of thefts are fueled by the need to feed a drug addiction.

I realize that the drug trafficking mayhem of murders and kidnappings are much more serious than the loss of an iPod Touch but for those who advocate marihuana legalization the sadness in my stepson’s eyes should be something they should consider before again advocating marihuana legalization.

I know that advocates will argue that marihuana legalization will allow law enforcement to better focus on the harder drugs as if there was a difference, but will it?

Petty thieves are driven by the need to fund a very specific need. The need for the majority, if not all, is the need for the drugs. Petty thieves, those who grab a wallet or purse or those who break into homes for a quick grab of jewelry or electronics do not benefit from the stolen property unless it is to exchange it for drugs.

Today, in America it is difficult to pawn stolen property, either electronics or jewelry because the majority is traceable nationally. Therefore the thieves looking for quick money find it difficult to exchange the stolen items, unless it’s for drugs.

Drug dealers have their own economic system where stolen products fuels further drugs. It is a shadow economy that eventually enters the formal economy through corporate and governmental malfeasance. But petty thieves only benefit from the shadow economy and their only benefit is the drug high.

Legalizing marihuana will drive down the price is the mantra of the advocates of legalization but what they ignore is that the high derived from the marihuana will still make the user a thief because their life will always revolve around the search for the ever illusive high. The users become so dependent on the high that eventually their only motive to life is looking for the next high.

In the search for that high the need to lie or steal will just be another step towards that high.

Legalization will not fix this problem. Instead, it will only make it more palatable and one more excuse for the user when arguing their need to find the next high.

My son’s iPod Touch will eventually be replaced but the sadness in his eyes at the realization that no matter how much he takes care of something; there is always the possibility that a thief, in search of another high, will take it away from him. Unfortunately it is a lesson he needed to learn but one he shouldn’t have had to.

As you advocate marihuana legalization, don’t be selfish; instead consider how a six-year old has to come to the realization that from now on he has to constantly guard against drug users trying to steal his stuff. That is not a life a six-year old needs to live.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...