cannabisnews.com: Should Congress Make Using Marijuana Legal?





Should Congress Make Using Marijuana Legal?
Posted by CN Staff on February 24, 2003 at 08:06:35 PT
Commentary By Keith Stroup
Source: Duluth News-Tribune 
Marijuana prohibition is a failed public policy that is wasting valuable law enforcement resources, and needlessly destroying the lives and careers of hundreds of thousands of good, productive citizens each year in this country. The costs of prohibition are far worse than any harm that may be caused by marijuana itself.We spend an estimated $10 billion annually in a futile effort to identify, arrest and prosecute marijuana smokers and those from whom they purchase the drug.
This is an almost unbelievably stupid use of resources that should instead be fighting serious and violent crime, including terrorism. Is anyone really more frightened by marijuana smoking than by violent crime? Who decides these priorities?The result is that more than 700,000 Americans are arrested on marijuana charges each year, and 88 percent of those arrests are for simple possession of marijuana, not cultivation or sale.We have declared war against a whole segment of our population, without cause. The vast majority of marijuana smokers are good citizens who work hard, raise families, pay taxes and contribute in a positive manner to their communities. They are not criminals, and we must stop treating them like criminals.Treating the responsible use of marijuana by adults as a criminal matter is a misapplication of the criminal sanction and invites government into areas of our private lives that are inappropriate.Most of us agree that the government has no business coming into our home to learn what books we are reading, the subject of our personal telephone conversations, or how we conduct ourselves in the privacy of our bedroom.Similarly, the government has no business getting involved in the decision of whether we smoke marijuana or drink alcohol when we relax in the evening. In a free society, those are decisions we permit the individual to make, free from government interference.In 1977, President Carter, in a speech to Congress calling on lawmakers to decriminalize minor marijuana offenses, said, "Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use."Carter's words remain true. It is time we stopped arresting responsible citizens who happen to be marijuana smokers.Additionally the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws supports the establishment of a legally regulated market for marijuana, with age and quality controls, where consumers could buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source.As we learned with our failed experiment with alcohol prohibition in this country, only a legally regulated system will eliminate the crime, corruption and violence associated with a "black market."Let's end this misguided war against our own citizens and stop arresting responsible adult marijuana smokers.Keith Stroup is the founder and executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws based in Washington, D.C. Complete Title: Pro & Con: Should Congress Make Using Marijuana Legal?Source: Duluth News-Tribune (MN)Author: Keith StroupPublished: Monday, February 24, 2003Copyright: 2003 Duluth News-TribuneContact: letters duluthnews.comWebsite: http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthtribune/Related Article & Web Site:NORMLhttp://www.norml.org/The Other Perspective - Counter Pointhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread15542.shtmlCannabisNews NORML Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/NORML.shtml
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Comment #5 posted by Nuevo Mexican on February 24, 2003 at 15:51:19 PT
Wellstone was murdered, he did not want to fly!
Will Ed Rosenthal have to fly somewhere, and will he make it?Inquiry on Wellstone Crash Finds Oddities About Pilot
Read between the lines:
 February 22, 2003
Inquiry on Wellstone Crash Finds Oddities About Pilot
By MATTHEW L. WALD 
ASHINGTON, Feb. 21  Safety officials looking into the charter-plane crash that killed Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota and seven other people in October have found a trail of oddities in the past of the pilot, as well as a vivid glimpse of preflight anxiety, but as yet no clear cause of the accident. According to documents released today by the National Transportation Safety Board, Mr. Wellstone often sought the services of the pilot, Richard E. Conry, because Mr. Conry was sensitive to the senator's fear of flying.Senator Wellstone, a 58-year-old Democrat seeking election to a third term, was on a campaign flight when he was killed along with his wife, a daughter, three aides, the pilot and the co-pilot on a cold, wet Minnesota afternoon. There were no survivors, and the plane, a Beech King Air, did not carry a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder.snipped
'The safety board's investigation is not yet complete; reports on the plane's airworthiness and maintenance have yet to be released.But according to the documents issued today, investigators conducting interviews after the crash found that as the passengers awaited boarding at an airport in St. Paul on Oct. 25, Mr. Wellstone was characteristically anxious about the flight, all the more so because of the weather.To reassure Mr. Wellstone, Mr. Conry sought out the pilot of a corporate plane that had just flown through the Eveleth, Minn., area, the Wellstone group's destination, and brought him over to the senator. Earlier, Mr. Conry had almost canceled the trip himself. In a taped conversation with a Federal Aviation Administration office that provides weather briefings, the captain was told that the ceiling, or level of the lowest clouds, was down to 500 feet, and he replied, "O.K., ah, you know what, I don't think I'm going to take this flight."Eventually, though, the ceiling lifted to 900 feet, and Mr. Conry took off with the Wellstone party.Steven Thornton, the F.A.A. employee with whom Mr. Conry had spoken about the cloud cover, told investigators that he had seemed adamant about not making the flight. After the crash, Mr. Thornton told the investigators, he became concerned that someone might have pressed Mr. Conry to go ahead'
 
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/22/politics/22WELL.html?ei=1&en=f8aeeacecdccb6db&ex=1046979427&pagewanted=print&position=top
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 24, 2003 at 15:34:17 PT
Max Flowers 
Welcome to CNews!
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Comment #3 posted by Max Flowers on February 24, 2003 at 14:35:31 PT:
Yes, and SOON
Hi guys, I'm new here as a posting member, but have been loving this site for quite a while.Should Congress make using marijuana legal? Yes they should, to right a massive wrong their Washington forebears have done because the laws making it illegal in the first place were enacted by deceit, disinformation, and manipulation. Also because any activity that I do which has no victim (other than myself) and which I do in the privacy of my own home cannot by its very nature be illegal, and is supposed to be protected by Constitutional right of privacy. (As if there is any of that really left)Also because the DEA's maintenance of schedule one classification for cannabis in the face of overwhelming evidence for medical use is criminal, willful misrepresentation.Then there is the fact that cannabis laws are illegal to start based on my right to free religion under the first amendment to the constitution. For any forgetful feds reading this, it goes like this: **Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;**Okay well my use of cannabis is spiritual and part of the free exercise of my religion. Therefore, the law that Congress has made which PROHIBITS my freely exercising my religious rituals is fundamentally and Consitutionally illegal.And finally, as simplistic as it sounds, because it is literally "cruel and unusual punishment" to lock up medical users and then deny them the medicine that their peers would swear under oath helps them. Doing this is also a flat-ass violation of alleged constitutional protections (Amendment VIII), as is fining anyone any significant sum of money for merely growing or possessing a plant ("...nor excessive fines imposed,").Man why isn't anyone fighting this stuff on constitutional grounds?? It seems like the causes of action are many and varied!cheer,
MF
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on February 24, 2003 at 11:04:47 PT:
Who, Indeed?
We spend an estimated $10 billion annually in a futile effort to identify, arrest and prosecute marijuana smokers and those from whom they purchase the drug. This is an almost unbelievably stupid use of resources that should instead be fighting serious and violent crime, including terrorism. Is anyone really more frightened by marijuana smoking than by violent crime? Who decides these priorities?ego destruction or ego transcendence, that is the question.
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Comment #1 posted by Dark Star on February 24, 2003 at 08:17:46 PT
Comparison
Keith sounds like the voice of reason compared to the clown in the prior story.
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