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Friday, May 08, 2009

California considers legalizing marijuana

There's positive news on the war on drugs coming from south of the border, where California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signalled his willingness to debate the issue of legalizing marijuana:

As California struggles to find cash, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday it's time to study whether to legalize and tax marijuana for recreational use.…

"Well, I think it's not time for (legalization), but I think it's time for a debate," Schwarzenegger said. "I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues, I'm always for an open debate on it. And I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs, what effect did it have on those countries?"

Poster

Fortunately, there's a growing body of evidence that experiments in decriminalization and legalization have produced positive results. The Cato institute recently took a look at Portugal's experience with decriminalization and found it to be quite good:

The paper, published by Cato in April, found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.

"Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success," says Glenn Greenwald, an attorney, author and fluent Portuguese speaker, who conducted the research. "It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country does."

Another study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry offers an evaluation of various marijuana policy regimes and makes the case for decriminalization:

The Dutch experience, together with those of a few other countries with more modest policy changes, provides a moderately good empirical case that removal of criminal prohibitions on cannabis possession (decriminalization) will not increase the prevalence of marijuana or any other illicit drug; the argument for decriminalization is thus strong.…

Our judgement, based on review of the research literature, is that at present the primary harms of marijuana use (including those borne by non-users) come from criminalization: expensive and intrusive enforcement, inequality, shock to the conscience from disproportionate sentence and a substantial (though generally non-violent) black market.

Likewise, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health compared marijuana use in Amsterdam and San Francisco and found very little difference in the rate of cannabis use, despite big differences in how the two cities regulate the drug:

If drug policies are a potent influence on user behavior, there should not be such strong similarities across such different drug control regimes. Our findings do not support claims that criminalization reduces cannabis use and that decriminalization increases cannabis use. Moreover, Dutch decriminalization does not appear to be associated with greater use of other illicit drugs relative to drug use in San Francisco, nor does criminalization in San Francisco appear to be associated with less use of other illicit drugs relative to their use in Amsterdam. Indeed, to judge from the lifetime prevalence of other illicit drug use, the reverse may be the case.

If only we could get our politicians talking seriously about legalizing marijuana. Besides issues of freedom and liberty, there are many economic reasons why Canada should get serious about reforming our outdated drug laws. If Canada were to adopt the illicit drug policies of the Netherlands, the costs associated with prohibition would be marginalized in the areas of policing, judicial processes, and health services. If the sale of marijuana were to be legalized in Canada, the respective costs associated with policing would decrease due to the fact that Canadian society would not ensue the corresponding costs of arresting people for the consumption and distribution of the drug. Likewise, the judicial system would not incur the costs of prosecuting and incarcerating individuals for marijuana related transgressions. Furthermore, the corresponding tax revenue that would be accumulated through the legalized sale of marijuana could be used to enhance education and rehabilitation programs that would effectively marginalize the negative externalities associated with illicit drug use.

Update: It's been brought to my attention that a new poll shows that 52% of Americans support legalizing marijuana. While this is promising, there has also been some criticism of how the poll was conducted. More from Reason Magazine.

Update 2: Rob Breakenridge has a great column in the Calgary Herald, which compares coffee to marijuana and highlights the ridiculousness of keeping a plant illegal:

As federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson puts it, coffee is "the currency that is used to bring other more serious drugs into the country."

Accordingly, the government has tabled legislation to, among other things, impose one-year mandatory jail time for selling coffee.

Oops . . . did I say coffee? How embarrassing. Of course, it's quite ridiculous to suggest that we would criminalize the sale or consumption of coffee. Oh sure, prohibiting the sale of coffee would immediately make it the purview of organized crime, thus making it a "currency" of sorts. No doubt such criminal elements would employ violent tactics in obtaining and protecting supply and territory.

Posted by Jesse Kline on May 8, 2009 in Marijuana reform | Permalink

Comments

Jesse,

Don't forget: with some caveats about the poll methodology, slightly more than half of American voters now favor legalization of marijuana.

On a personal note, almost all the students in my philosophy of punishment class -- criminal justice majors! -- seemed to also favor decriminalization, if not outright legalization.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-05-08 7:47:42 PM


So when did California become a separate and independent country? As long as it is an American state, drug laws remain the jurisdiction of the federal government. Why not debate UFOs?

Posted by: Alain | 2009-05-08 8:38:04 PM


The last marijuana poll that I saw was a 2009 CBS poll that showed opposition to legalization by 62%-31%. Also, I heard about a number of conservative Republicans and independents who sat out the last election. Heck, on the Michael Savage radio show(4-8 million listeners), McCain was attacked as a socialist who was no different from Obama. Savage also told his listeners that McCain would sell out to the Democrats on immigration, affirmative action, the gay agenda, and gun rights. From what I have heard, many of his listeners seemed to have followed his advice!
You have a better chance at real legalization in Canada. Despite Obama's election, many political pundits still agree that the average American is politically center-right(and lean socially conservative). This was reaffirmed by a recent Pew Research poll that showed that Americans have moved further to the right on abortion and guns. Interestingly, the poll showed that the 18-29 age group is the most pro-life group with the exception of senior citizens(also they were one of the more gun rights groupings). Amazingly, this is the same group that Obama polled best with so he better pay attention. Most polls that I have seen put marijuana legalization support in the 30's. In Canada, polls have showed majority support.
Americans take more of a hard line on law and order issues than Canadians! We have the death penalty which has about 70% of the population supports(numbers pretty consistent across age groups). The United States has 3 strike laws. The use of a gun in the commission of a crime automatically adds 10 years to your sentence(25 if the gun discharges). 34 states allow for unrestricted use of the castle doctrine. Even in our schools, we adopt a harder line. In 48 states, corporal punishment is allowed in private and religious schools. 22 states allow corporal punishment in the public schools(number of incidents going up).Unlike Canada, we don't have someone(NDP member) trying to pass a ban on parents spanking their children. The United States is just a country where the population is more supportive of order and tough discipline!

Posted by: Jacque | 2009-05-08 9:32:53 PM


.................W A N T E D ...................
60,000 boys to replace the army of
Wipeheads that will go tumbling into
..uh..hell or Vancouver- whatever
-Mother, have you a boy to share ?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

poster tag says its from the 1930s
its actually from the 1890s -
just as the Temperance Movement started
to roll over drunks & stoners of all kinds
- alcohol and drug prohibition followed

when alcohol prohibition was lifted;
an air tight federal state system of
product purity & access laws, inspections
and sin taxes was ready and d smoothly
rolled into place like clockwork and its still there

alcohol prohibition was not a failure-
it was a vacation time out so the government
could retool train an army of ATF officers
and take alcohol over--which they did


and now here comes enlightened marijuana legislation
mainstream alternative yuppy wipeheads holding signs
in block letters that demand without explanation

" Legalize Pot-Tax & Regulate Marijuana"

................................-aka ........................

" Im a user, come and get me I have a wallet and no self control "

zzzz-is cool citizen Jesse Kline under age 25 ?
this post reads like a homework assignment
written from cobbled up Wikipedia clips
and back issues of 90s' Pot magazines-

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-08 10:20:37 PM


419,

To answer your question: no, not under 25. If you read the post, you'll see that it's cobbled together from news reports and peer reviewed journals, not Wikipedia and pot magazines.

Why not tell us why you disagree instead of attacking the messenger?

Posted by: Jesse Kline | 2009-05-08 11:26:53 PM


Careful Arnold, this whole thing could explode into a huge drop in crime.

Posted by: JC | 2009-05-08 11:38:37 PM


ok messenger = I said and i quote- " this post reads like a homework assignment written from cobbled up Wikipedia clips
and back issues of 90s' Pot magazines"

I stand by my review that your report reads like a stoner essay -


As you may have noticed during your research, most North American adults still don't support decrim/ pot legalization. Its a numbers game and the numbers do not point at a legal govt controlled industry of drugging their citizens on demand. The people are saying NO to Dopetopia.If it came to a vote, pot reform would not win

Opinion polls are just opinions,, what you are looking for is the vote and that so far, the last 70 years' four generations most of your fellow citizens do not support a free market in controlled substances. Thats a fact..

Drug.activists are not unified at all, and their messages are vague - some are pro pot and anti other drugs, - others want all drugs legal- others still wants a short list legal and the rest controlled in a different way but they don;t say how. .Others still want all laws regarding control of herbs vitamins and supliments revoked--

Its confusing to see a parade of activists come and go over the years and none of them are elected representatives of any group Each one is a spokesperson for basically - themself. This get either ignored in lawcraft or laughed at in the media

The pro pot activists have not demonstrated a large enough public support to attract any lawmakers to champion any pro pot bills at this time. -maybe someday, but not right now. The ,majority of your fellow citizens will go along with proper access to medical pot for the very ill- but will not go along with lifting the drawbridge for party pot. The California Governor welcomes debate about legal pot- thats his job to keep various balls bouncing in a variety of games - but he is clear that he will _never sign any bill that legalizes pot- he won't support hemp farming based on the evidence he has been presented with

There is a huge deadly drug war going on in Mexico-" right now" and Mexico is just the warehouse for vaster nastier South American drug farming and refinement industry

It is the view of most of your fellow citizens that deliberately making the US market soft for contraband substances and drug crops will be fueling the lawless violent Drug Cartels. Proof? mainstream news-alternative news- international news media- check the obituaries-

There is a world economic downturn in progress- you have felt the effects or at least are aware of it. Many unskilled people are losing their jobs, and they will have to adapt to a rapidly changing world.It is not acceptable that under employed humans join in the manufacture, distribution or use of controlled substances. Proof? the existing drug laws.

Existing Drug laws are complex, comprehensive binding international agreements,. They have been in place for generations, decades-They were signed by mutual agreement- If you want them to become undone, it will have to be by mutual agreement. Can the stoners do this ?? Are they informed about international law , are they prepared to lobby for decades and invest millions of dollars and tens of thoiusands of hours like any other single cause champion>? can they produce better data than Wikipedia ?

The whole world will have to sit down and re evaluate these laws, and frankly- the world is not really that intersted. The world doesn't welcome a future jammed with criminal enterprise supplying millions of recreational wipeheads- and mopping up their excesses.

Secret Domestic Pot production is so deeply entrenched into pirate society in dozens of nations that even if pot was legal, and the governemt sold it- there would still be a vast gigantic international pirate production system to deal with . The police, on behalf of the people would still be hunting these pirate productions down and destroying them- and there would still be tens of thousands of people busted for producting, selling or buying contraband. The courts and prisons would still be jammed with pot offenders..

Consider history- declining societies and legal party drugs-- proof- the Opium wars.. any activity or substance that compromises human societies' ability to feed itself or negatively impacts its means of production is not welcome.

Pot farming, due to its simple, low cost start up plus high cash value would tie up the best food production lands, gobble up water resources and commandeer agricultural workers when they would be most needed to bring in the harvest of food crops.. Not just in North America but worldwide. Third world nations would tear up food crops immediately to plant pot for the export market.

Humanity is making heroic efforts to get off off the tobacco habit - do you really want to replace it with pot?

we don;t- "we" is the majority and the majority prevails in a democracy- & democracy is a numbers game

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-09 12:36:14 AM


Another interesting poll result:

Sixty-five per cent of [British Columbia] respondents would legalize marijuana to minimize violence, compared to 35 per cent who think harsher penalties for marijuana trafficking are the answer.

(h/t Mike Geoghegan)

Also, the indispensible Nate Silver attempts to explain why marijuana legalization is gaining momentum in the US. His theory? Pot use and demographics.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-05-09 1:43:01 AM


There will be no drop in crime or sudden windfall of revenue if drugs were legalized. Such users will not all of a sudden start contributing to the economy. They'll continue to evade taxes because they don't want to pay them. Hence, while drug offenses may drop, tax evasion would rise - and I suggest the penalties for that be just as severe if not more so. In the end, let's continue to prosecute druggies even by vigilante means. If one came to my door, they will leave in a bag.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-05-09 7:07:07 AM


For the first time ever a poll by ZOGBY shows Americans now support the Legalization of marijuana 52% to 47%!!! Not just CA The Majority of people want pot Legalized. The media portrays it as "kicking around the idea" or "thinking about it".. How is it now that 52% of people want Pot legal period and the 47% are running around arresting pot smokers while saying some people are just kicking around the that idea? Peoples live are being ruined as we speak BY LAWS no longer wanted by the Majority.

Posted by: Todd | 2009-05-09 8:09:52 AM


Polls are always right--

100% of the recipients in my poll conducted this morning are against legal marijuana.Number of people asked- 001- me

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-09 8:22:04 AM


BTW Here is the link to the ZOGBY poll Released on May 7, 2009 this way EVERYONE can have the most current and up to date info....http://salem-news.com/articles/may062009/mj_zogby_5-6-09.php.... The time has come

Posted by: Todd | 2009-05-09 8:25:03 AM


Seig heil, 419! Good to know there are people with no experience, but lots of ideas about how everyone should behave according to your limited view.

Hi, I'm Earth, have we met?

Posted by: Ilpalazzo | 2009-05-09 10:05:43 AM


Yo Todd
thanks for the link. your 52% support for pot figure is a telephone survey of 3,937 pre determined mostly Obama voters as stated in the poll results

That is a tiny sample from one small area of the United states. We are not exactly thunderstruck with what 3,937 pre selected for pro pot sentiment Americans have to say- 4000 people is not many in a land of 300,000,000 people. There are more than 4,000 people walking around in one large urban highschool. ,4,000 people is a few miles of a traffic jam on one highway. 4,000 people is a small but busy small town shopping mall.. Some individuals we know have more than 4,000 friends on facebook.

conclusion: super small potatos


The poll question was clearly not neutral, it was long rambling and heavily stacked towards the pro pot opinion..You obtained the results of this poll from a clearly non neutral pro pot activist website

conclusion: wipehead partisan fact fluffing

wash out your bong and try again

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-09 10:24:42 AM


419:

Can I be part of your poll?

I agree with you.

Posted by: set you free | 2009-05-09 10:51:08 AM


set you free, get your own poll...its easy- everybodys doing it,, and then we can have a complete set of polls .. then when we're all done with jerking the numbers to reflect what we want to prevail,,= we can vote..and the satanic fascists will win ( again ) _and the nice people will lose ( again )

I think we have a politcal science class project on deck
free the weed goes to college to team up with free beer

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-09 2:48:52 PM


419,

Your argument seems to be that a majority of people agree with your position and any polls suggesting otherwise are obviously false. Yet, even if this is true, it doesn't negate the fact that there are many good arguments for legalizing/decriminalizing marijuana. Just because the majority can impose their views on the minority, does not make it right.

Many countries have decriminalized drugs without the need to renegotiate international agreements. Also, it is not only stoners who are interested in this issue. This is an issue that libertarians, fiscal conservatives, and progressives can get behind because there are many financial and social benefits to liberalizing drug policies.

The drug war in Mexico and the black market (or "pirate") problems could be lessened by legalization. We could negotiate agreements with Mexico and other South American countries to buy drugs below the cost that it is being supplied by the black market. This would allow farmers in third world countries to make a living and allow us to undercut organized crime here at home by supplying the drugs at a lower cost than can be provided by the black market. Just as ending prohibition got organized crime out of the liquor business, the same would happen if we legalized drugs.

Posted by: Jesse Kline | 2009-05-09 3:38:41 PM


our argument seems to be that a majority of people agree with your position and any polls suggesting otherwise are obviously false.
** fhe one presented today was misleading

Yet, even if this is true, it doesn't negate the fact that there are many good arguments for legalizing/decriminalizing marijuana.

** lets see thm

Just because the majority can impose their views on the minority, does not make it right.

** then is the inverse true?Everybody operates in the most correct sane reasonable way. just ask them

Many countries have decriminalized drugs without the need to renegotiate international agreements.

** a few natioins have, and thy have such great drug problms th majority of the world just let them go ahead and clean house..These narco nations were pretty much run by the drug traffickers anyway- they will use this grace period to reload and thump the traffickers and manufacturers/ This decrim pic nic that appeared so easily can also b easily lifted when required.

Also, it is not only stoners who are interested in this issue. This is an issue that libertarians, fiscal conservatives, and progressives can get behind because there are many financial and social benefits to liberalizing drug policies.

** but do they outweigh the costs of Doptopia ? our guess is no..and same for the majority of your fellow humans.The stoners have a big job ahead of them trying to convince the rest of the world dope is a good thing.

The drug war in Mexico and the black market (or "pirate") problems could be lessened by legalization.

** or a few well places air strikes ..

We could negotiate agreements with Mexico and other South American countries to buy drugs below the cost that it is being supplied by the black market.

** uh-- why would thy sell you dope for less than the market rate? do you have a AK 47?

This would allow farmers in third world countries to make a living

** they already are making a living- farming drug crops, thats the problem,,

and allow us to undercut organized crime here at home by supplying the drugs at a lower cost than can be provided by the black market.

** when Wall mart does that, small nations go bankrupt and they take over the retail landscape.. So SuperSizingdrugs is what you are suggesting? "Do you want uppers or downers with that?" SORRY W;RE OUT OF FRIES...
what will you offer for treat of the week??

Just as ending prohibition got organized crime out of the liquor business, the same would happen if we legalized drugs.

** ORGANIZED CRIME DIDN'T PACK UP AND GO HOME AFTER ALCOHOL PROHIBITION WAS REPEALED- THEY OPENED HOTELS, BARS, DISTILLERIES, BREWERIES.. THE CRIME PEOPLE WERE FORCED INTO SECONDARY ROLES TO THE NEW BOOZE BOSSS- THE FEDS.- government regulated every aspect of alcohol. they didn't enter into business themselves/

the problem with transposing drugs into the old alcohol track is alcohol requires a big infrastructure- vineyards,or grain fields fermentation tanks, bottling factories,, its messy and expnsive to operate, and requires tams.. whereas a few drug crop farmers and a single technician working together can produce a great deal of heroin, cocaine or hash .

Theres the difference- the effort to create a barrel of alcohol is about the same as making 100 kilos of BC bud,, the barrel is of premium alcohol worth maybe $1000, the pot is worth a quarter of a million bucks..Stakes are even higher with coca bushes or opium poppies.

To create the other party chemical drugs no drug crop farming is required--just one person combining simple chemicals , performing basic labratory procedures and running a pill press,,voila- a million units ready to swallow..

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-09 4:40:35 PM


419,

You are forgetting that the high price of drugs is caused by us keeping them illegal. Producers, wholesalers, and retails faced an increased risk from LE and cannot market their products through traditional means. This increases the cost. By legalizing these products, we could easily purchase and sell them below the black market price. This would undercut the gangs and take away issues of health and safety that are inherent in black markets.

Posted by: Jesse Kline | 2009-05-09 4:55:58 PM


illicit drugs are expensive because they are fucking_ illegal
they are illegal because several of them are lethal and the rest errode cognative function - they are _so dangerous that even medicine has no use for them,the traditional way to vend these illicit drugs is through the black market..

The overdose factor thrives in either a legal or an illegal situation- these substances are very dangerous.People die from using them _every minute of _every hour of _every day as it is,, legalizing these drugs would not stop the body count The survivors have the habit or inclination to use these drugs again..
That part won't go away. This stuff isn't silky tofu..

Nobody needs drugs. nobody deserves drugs, nobody once had the free use of drugs and then it was taken away--every human being alive right now has lived their entire lives with these drugs deemed illegal. If they used them, they knowingly trespassed..


Another approach is to quit using this shit and get on with your life. How radical of me to suggest this

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-09 5:14:49 PM


419,

First, the post is about marijuana, which does not cause overdoses or kill anyone. The only way this happens is if it is laced with another drug, which is something that could be regulated if it was legal.

Second, studies show that decriminalization does not cause more people to use the substances and actually gets more people into treatment. I'm not exactly sure what you're so afraid of.

Posted by: Jesse Kline | 2009-05-09 5:25:15 PM


Studies show that North America has lots of highways to be rebuilt. Keeping drugs illegal means there'll be plenty of convict labor to keep that effort going.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-05-09 5:35:33 PM


"...because several of them are lethal and the rest errode cognative function

...I quote myself, 419

marijuana errodes cognative function--
my observation from experience

I fear nothing
but you seem to be
afraid of the facts of drug life..
maybe become familiar with the downside of dopetopia
as this is what you seek
to bring into mainstrem life

maybe this is why so many, the majority, oppose dopetopia
and vote in politicians
who will fight dopetpia til it dies.

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-09 6:43:39 PM


Hey 419, You're a strange cat buddy trying to stoke a fire set upon water. I understand the kind of denial one can go through during such a transition over to more common sense laws. Hey, seeing how I'm one step ahead of you on this issue can I call myself 420:)?

Posted by: Todd | 2009-05-09 8:35:15 PM


bless you Todd, the south will rise again

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-09 9:27:13 PM


public opinion means squat. the public is so dismally misinformed on this topic we may as well ask them what their opinion of astrophysics is. the bottom line is - marijuana prohibition subsidizes organized crime, usurps peoples' basic right to choose, endangers the community, wastes taxpayers' dollars, and deprives us all of a valuable source of medicine and tax revenue. If you support prohibition, you support these bad things.

Posted by: Russell Barth | 2009-05-10 4:47:32 AM


A "growing body of evidence" "of positive results"? The only jurisdictions I know of that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana have either recriminalized (Alaska) or are in the process of tightening laws (Netherlands). Mexico is considering decriminalization only out of sheer desperation for its drug war, which is as bad as it is not because of prohibition but because so many of its own officials and police are on the take. That is exactly how Al Capone and the other Public Enemies were able to remain unchallenged for so long.

Let's face it, people. Today's marijuana smokers already have no trouble breaking the law. If you legalize their product but also slap a tax on it, while illegal growers continue to sell without tax and at a lower price, which do you think these long-term lawbreakers are going to buy?

This entire argument is founded on the premise that you can make a law-abiding person out of a criminal by legalizing what he's doing. That is naive on a number of levels.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-10 8:34:13 AM


Actually, Jesse, drug prices would be considerably higher if they were produced legally. There are safety standards that have to be met, quality control that must be adhered to, business licenses and taxes that must be remitted, and salaried employees that must be paid. And, in the case of this particular product, security that must be maintained. How do you propose to do all of this for less than for what someone can do in their basement with the blinds drawn?

And spare us the crap about "peer-reviewed" journals. First of all, anyone who uses that sentence is an elitist crumb. Second, pot use is rampant in academic circles. It shows, too.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-10 8:40:47 AM


Kalim, marijuana legalization is gaining traction in the U.S. because most of the decision-makers belong to the same demographic that first smoked it in quantity. Of course, that same demographic is also noted for its perpetual adolescence.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-10 8:42:32 AM


Todd, people's lives are "not being ruined." They are the ones ruining them over something they totally do not need. If you play "chicken" on the railroad tracks, it's not the train's fault if you get hit.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-10 8:44:08 AM


Your argument seems to be that a majority of people agree with your position and any polls suggesting otherwise are obviously false.

Argumentum ad populum. A majority of people once believed in separate drinking fountains. That said, a recent poll suggests about 60 percent of Americans (the poll said 61) favour keeping dope illegal. From all fifty states, mind, not just California.

Yet, even if this is true, it doesn't negate the fact that there are many good arguments for legalizing/decriminalizing marijuana.

If there are any good arguments, I’ve never seen them. Most of the ones I’ve seen demonstrate a marked lack of penetrative analysis as well as international legalities.

Just because the majority can impose their views on the minority, does not make it right.

It doesn’t make it wrong either.

Many countries have decriminalized drugs without the need to renegotiate international agreements.

Holland is not “many” countries. And make no mistake, drugs are still illegal in Holland. Get caught smoking dope anywhere but at a licensed coffee shop and you can face prosecution. Those shops, by the way, are blamed for an increase in “drug tourists,” and fewer than half the original number remain as the government quietly closes them.

Also, it is not only stoners who are interested in this issue. This is an issue that libertarians, fiscal conservatives, and progressives can get behind because there are many financial and social benefits to liberalizing drug policies.

Like a nation of addicts? Have you ever read the history of the opium wars, or what it did to China? There were SEVENTY MILLION addicts. It rendered them so completely dysfunctional that they were occupied and oppressed by imperialist countries for a century, a scourge that was eradicated only when the Communists gave addicts a choice—either detox or get a bullet in the skull. Lesser methods would not have worked.

The drug war in Mexico and the black market (or "pirate") problems could be lessened by legalization.

No, because Mexico’s real problem is corruption.

We could negotiate agreements with Mexico and other South American countries to buy drugs below the cost that it is being supplied by the black market.

Or we “could” sit back and do nothing. For that matter, we “could” reinstate the death penalty and make it mandatory for all drug production and distribution. “Could” is not an argument.

This would allow farmers in third world countries to make a living and allow us to undercut organized crime here at home by supplying the drugs at a lower cost than can be provided by the black market.

Do you have any kind of detailed business plan that’s worked out the costs involved, or is this just some pipe dream you cooked up (pun intended) because it made you feel warm and fuzzy and internationalist and stuff like that? This is exactly what I meant whan I said most pro-pot arguments were naïve.

Just as ending prohibition got organized crime out of the liquor business, the same would happen if we legalized drugs.

Yes, legalizing something has a tendency to reduce the crime associated with it, because it’s no longer a crime. Using this logic we could decrease the risk to officers and bystanders associated with grand theft auto and carjacking by making stealing cars legal.

Face it Jesse. Marijuana is not alcohol, nor is it tobacco. The majority of users of those two products are law-abiding. NO marijuana user, with the exception of those with medical exemptions, is law-abiding. That introduces a whole new dynamic to the equation you have not considered.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-10 9:02:28 AM


Citizen Barth: we agree that public opinion means little-- polls are little more than civic sports. Only geniuses should be allowed to shape drug policy, but any asshole is welcome to comment, Thank you for your views.

We embrace the idea of pot prohibition but do not assign the same badness anchors as you do to it. All the evils you describe were in place as human activities long before pot prohibition.
All the sins that you assign to pot prohibition occur because citizens willingly choose to break the law by shopping in the Criminal dope malls, thus patronize & sustain the criminal economy.
Taxpayers dollars are well spent spanking the criminal underclass and chasing away their wipehead shoppers.

Forget about trying to tax pot, its such a long haul corrupt culture of drugged up cheaters. Our taxes are well spent rooting out Wipehead merchant rats knawing on the wires of society. Hooray for wiretaps!

The most effective & easiest to accomplish option to dry up all the evils associated with the pot black market is to- - quit using the shit.
Its not addictive > so give it up, Arrest, fines & prison are your incentive to succeed, Good luck yesterdays Wipehead..we know you can do it..

Med Pot is legally available to these who really want it & need it and has been for almost a decade..Especially so in California. We believe you Citizen Barth are a registered Canadian med pot user.

Happy healing for whatever is wrong with you

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-10 9:08:30 AM


If you support prohibition, you support these bad things. - The other side of that coin is that if you support legalization, you support drug use.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-10 9:11:04 AM


-----advertisement ---------

Anybody want to put down $20 on the office pool. whether 420 superstar potseed flipper Marc Emery walks or swings?

he' in BC Extradition court June 1st, so hurry. Stakes are rising like crazy since his 2 co accused ratted him out last week at the DEA headquarters in Seattle.. they sang like canaries with diarrhoea to the greatest enemies of global Wipeheadism.

.Is it curtains for the Prince of Pot -or- is is this the dawn of the Marijuana Renaissance you have all been waiting for ??

Nonethelss- His Majesty is on his own now with nothing but his ..uh.. raw verbage to fight the entire American Empire. He will accept their surrender during regular office hours.

$20- how can you lose?

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-10 9:35:40 AM


"...Second, studies show that decriminalization does not cause more people to use the substances and actually gets more people into treatment...." -quote Jesse Kline

so you are admitting here that party drugs do indeed damage people so they need to get repaired,, aka decrim " gets more people into treatment "

Well so does" Snap out of it _quit using dope and then the damage stops, the criminal economy dries up. drug crop farms go out of business." ?

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-10 9:48:01 AM


419,

Yes, there are negative side effects to many drugs. I certainly don't think that more people should be using them. The difference is that I understand that telling people what to do does not work. I also understand that people have the right to make their own decisions.

Of course, you've already labeled me as a stoner, so why listen to what I have to say?

Posted by: Jesse Kline | 2009-05-10 9:55:49 AM


To keep Cannabis illegal while tobacco and alcohol are dispensed freely is murderously stupid.

http://tinyurl.com/Henningfield-Benowitz
http://www.google.com/search?&q=tashkin

-- Any questions ???

Richard Steeb
San Jose, California

Posted by: Richard Steeb | 2009-05-10 12:22:46 PM


I presume you have more to offer in support of such a knuckleheaded and inflammatory statement than a couple of links to opinion pieces, Richard?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-10 1:26:22 PM


Yes, there are negative side effects to many drugs.

** true enough

I certainly don't think that more people should be using them.

** fair enough

The difference is that I understand that telling people what to do does not work.

** yes it does.. but maybe show some discression :
BRIDGE OUT- DANGER THIN ICE-NO TRESPASSING- NO SMOKING- SPEED LIMIT XXX- EMPLOYEES ONLY- STOP-
NO PARKING-- I could go on...

I also understand that people have the right to make their own decisions.
** yes unless they are goofs and their decisions are lesser choices-- consider the Stop sign- and decide if you want to stop, or should stop,ned to stop-- and are you doing it just because everyone else is doing it ?

Of course, you've already labeled me as a stoner,

** I would only know if you were a stoner if you said you were a stoner, - but perhaps you are not like the others loud proud easily wowed deep tissue Tntoxicon hobby 420 statesmen who fade in and out of here from time to time to share their version of Dopetopia-
One thing they all seem to have in common: its all about them. ..The longer they have self medicated with marijuana , the more vague, selfish & nuts they are as theorists.

I do however, strongly associate you with mainstream alternative stoner ethics, simply because you display & defend them here for all the world to see.

so why listen to what I have to say?

** you nearly had me convinced you were a solid person,confident in your own views and confident from your research and experiences ready to take your vision into the area of fair debate-- now this, a cheap guilt trip sign off ..
tsk tsk stab me in the compassion bum with a pin

-- well, are you a stoner ? ?

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-10 1:53:14 PM


-- Any questions ???

Richard Steeb
San Jose, California

_______________

yeah-- do you want to join our office betting pool about the outcome of the upcoming battle between Prince of Pot VS the DEA.

My question is do you have $20 -
any answers???

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-10 1:58:36 PM


I'll wager $20 that Emery gets extradited and sentenced to 5 years in a US prison. It's the least he deserves. Maybe spending the time clearing brush and garbage from highways will teach him a valuable lesson in civil responsibility: selling drugs is NOT acceptable.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-05-10 2:50:28 PM


I smoke marijuana at least four time a week and am in residence at a private school in Ontario, my parents live in England. It has had zero effect on my academic performance since I started smoking, I maintain a 84% average, lower than some but still acceptable I feel for a grade ten student who realizes that universities only take grade eleven and twelve marks. My mother and father have been smoking together, about twice a week when I'm with them during the summer, and I admit they are dim, more so than the adults I know who do not smoke up. Of the few other adults i know who burn(smoke pot) none of them I see as quick witted. I would not advocate the legalization of marijuana, long term use in my eyes does cause reduced brain function(almost certainly the wrong term but I'm sure you know what im trying to get across).

419's comment about third world nations stopping food production in search of a cash crop is exactly right, even farmers under the wheat board in canada would likely switch to produce a much more lucrative crop. I know I would, it would just be common sense to put in less effort to get more money.

I plan to stop smoking entirely for my first three years at university, after that when Im in more control of my schedule and what needs to get done it is possible I'll start again, but not as frequently as i do now. Though maybe my parents act stupid to fool my into thinking pot is terrible, somehow i doubt it though.

Posted by: Kov. | 2009-05-10 6:09:35 PM


Kov, sloughing off on grades nine and ten "so you can have fun" and telling yourself you'll just try harder for the last two years is a formula for failure tried by more than one aspiring university student. Because those last two years are college preparatory years, they are MUCH HARDER. Up to grade 11, I never studied in my life and got A's and B's. Grades 11 and 12 were a different story.

Your mother smokes with you around, eh? And you below the age when you're even allowed to smoke tobacco, much less marijuana. It's as I've always said--the baby boomer demographic just never grew up. And now they want to change the law to make this ridiculous and stinky weed legal for all. I wonder if these ageing Clintonistas have any idea just how pathetic and degenerate they look to any non-boomer.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-10 7:27:09 PM


Yes, legalizing something has a tendency to reduce the crime associated with it, because it’s no longer a crime. Using this logic we could decrease the risk to officers and bystanders associated with grand theft auto and carjacking by making stealing cars legal.

I'm not talking about reducing marijuana offenses (ie. smoking the drug). I'm talking about the crimes that are perpetrated by the gangs that run the drugs. Pot smokers don't shoot people, gang members shoot people.

Your argument is flawed because stealing a car is a violation of ones property rights. If my neighbor steals my car, he hurts me. If my neighbor smokers a joint, no harm comes to me. This is called liberty.

Face it Jesse. Marijuana is not alcohol, nor is it tobacco. The majority of users of those two products are law-abiding. NO marijuana user, with the exception of those with medical exemptions, is law-abiding. That introduces a whole new dynamic to the equation you have not considered.

Did you just use the same argument you argued against? Are you saying that marijuana users are not law-abiding citizens BECAUSE they smoke pot? I know lots of people who smoke pot but do not break other laws.

You are correct, however, marijuana is not alcohol. It is less addictive and has fewer adverse side effects.

Posted by: Jesse Kline | 2009-05-10 11:31:39 PM


Pot smokers don't shoot people, gang members shoot people.

But pot smokers fund the gang members' activities by buying their product. Tell me, what does it say about the character of someone who would rather the streets run red with blood than give up a completely useless and unnecessary drug?

Your argument is flawed because stealing a car is a violation of ones property rights. If my neighbor steals my car, he hurts me. If my neighbor smokers a joint, no harm comes to me. This is called liberty.

Your argument is flawed because it assumes you have a right to property. This is a significant grey area in Canadian law. Drugs harm individuals, and therefore society. Granted, marijuana is not crack, but it's not tea, either. Marijuana is illegal because society considers that its downside outweighs its upside.

Did you just use the same argument you argued against? Are you saying that marijuana users are not law-abiding citizens BECAUSE they smoke pot? I know lots of people who smoke pot but do not break other laws.

Ah, no. I think you're a little confused. My point is that you cannot expect people who are used to breaking the law to get a certain product to suddenly go straight when a legal alternative arrives on the scene.

As for marijuana having fewer side effects than alcohol, let's take a look at generations noted for overconsumption of each. The GI generation drank too much, fought World War II, built the interstates, and put men on the Moon. The baby boomers smoked too much dope, did and continue to do incalculable damage to society, and half of them still think they're sixteen years old.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-11 1:15:11 AM


Good Jesse-
if your neighbor smokes a joint
he/she likely obtained that bag of pot
from someone in a gang that often shoots people
they don't get along with. Some are shot dead..
others are crippled for life.

Nobody asked the gangs to shoot anybody
they chose that approach to protect their business model
of force and violence to get & keep what they want -
Gangs do not compete very well - nor do they provide better service, higher quality of cheaper prices to attract new business or keep clients. No gangs shoot their competition so they do not compete against them..

Furthermore, if your neighbor suggests that he/she won't pay for pot he/she feels was underweight- of a lesser quality than advertised, or unacceptable in one way or another-- then the gang may well counter by implying he./she might shoot your neighbor- and possibly shoot to kill if your neighbor suggests that they will contact a peace officer to intervene

It is regular practice for gangs to force indoor pot growers to produce on their behalf frequently under duress, The grower is not a free agent anymore but an unwilling vassal unto the gangs. Gang grown pot frequently steals hydroelectric power off the grid to light their indoor plantations. You and me pay for this wholesale theft with higher electric rates.

So if your neighbor smokes a joint is sustaining the criminal underclass who defraud, and do violence to succeed .Your neighbor is also my neighbor- if we love our neighbors as ourselves- then we will not bless, ignore or make it easy for our neighbor to participate in any activity that harm, threaten or defraud themselves, ourselves and/or everybody else..

so who do you believes deserves your ongoing support -
the criminal underclass -or- law abiding people ?

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-11 1:46:41 AM


who wants to put $20 on california legalizing marijuana within, say one year? thats May 11- 2010 ??

money / mouth, you know the drill

what could be easier and wiser than to just say yes to drugs and start collecting all those lost billions in tax money and fixing everything back to the way it was..all niceness and no badness..

the war on drugs will become, overnight the >pic nic on drugs--you'll see.. you'll see-- you'll just have to see it that way

did anyone keep a list of the prohibitionists so the nice people committees can pick them up and punish them for being mean for all that time ? A few of them here on this blog - richly deserve to be punished for behavior unbecoming of the 420 way of life.. they'll see, they'll see- they'll just have to see

you know who you are- and because mean people suck,
the 420 police are coming with rainbow coloured handcuffs

Posted by: 419 | 2009-05-11 9:48:54 AM


When will you idiots quit using the consequences of prohibition to argue against repeal of that prohibition?

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-05-11 11:05:29 AM


I have an idea: hang drug dealers, and Emery, with hemp ropes. Oh, the irony.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-05-11 11:21:08 AM


When will you idiots quit using the consequences of prohibition to argue against repeal of that prohibition?

When you stop creating those consequences and funding the klllings and violence by flouting that prohibition. But you never will, because you'd rather have your pot floated to you across lakes of blood than admit the problem might be you. If there's one thing I've noticed about most pot smokers, it's that they're extremely selfish.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-11 12:22:49 PM


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