End Marijuana Hypocrisy To Save Nation Billions

End Marijuana Hypocrisy To Save Nation Billions
Posted by CN Staff on June 11, 2005 at 22:49:00 PT
By Nolan Finley, The Detroit News
Source: Detroit News
USA -- Faced with two bad choices, I'd druther kids celebrate their 21st birthdays with a bag of pot than by pouring 21 shots of cheap liquor down their gullets. Again, both are poor choices. But a poor choice made with alcohol is far more lethal than one made with marijuana. Binge drinking, drunken driving and booze-induced recklessness continue to leave empty seats in college and high school classrooms. Marijuana has its own set of negatives, but it is rarely directly connected to a teen death.
And yet we treat marijuana as public enemy No. 1 when it comes to children. At the same time, we welcome a stream of beer commercials into our homes and don't blink when liquor companies sponsor spring break blowouts. Parents who roll their eyes and giggle when young Johnny stumbles home tipsy go into complete despair when they find a baggie in a dresser drawer. It's a very expensive hypocrisy. State and federal governments spend $8 billion a year on the war on marijuana. The latest education campaign will spend another $125 million to convince children that pot will rot their brains. We should save our money. Teen pot use is as cyclical as the auto industry. Some decades it goes up, some it goes down, with no correlation to spending on anti-drug programs. Nearly 40 percent of teens say they've tried marijuana, the same percentage as the general population. While hopefully teens understand that pot isn't good for them, they know first-hand that it is no more harmful -- and perhaps less so -- than loading up on vodka. Trying to convince them otherwise will just make them ignore warnings about the more dangerous drugs. Before dismissing me as a leftover '60s pothead, let me say I have no interest in marijuana, even if it were legal. But I am a taxpayer who expects a return on his investment. The drug war is delivering none. Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman joined 500 respected economists last week in endorsing a Harvard University study that said federal and state governments could realize a $14 billion gain by regulating and taxing marijuana as a legal product. There is a growing acceptance that this war is not only unwinnable, it is irrational. Despite spending $35 billion a year to battle illegal narcotics, drug use here is about the same as in the European countries with more liberal drug laws. But still we fight on. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed a major victory to drug warriors by declaring federal authorities can prosecute those who grow and use marijuana for medical purposes. The ruling fits the national ideology that in the name of the drug war, the Constitution can be tossed on the garbage heap. But nothing will keep desperate people from seeking relief, or teens from experimenting. The war against pot is lost. Surrendering isn't a defeat. It simply ends our national hypocrisy and leaves more money for more pressing battles. Nolan Finley is editorial page editor of The News. Watch Nolan Finley at 2 p.m. Sunday and 5:30 p.m. Friday on "Am I Right?" on WTVS-TV (Channel 56). Source: Detroit News (MI)Author: Nolan Finley, The Detroit NewsPublished: Sunday, June 12, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Detroit News Contact: letters Website: Related Articles & Web Site:The Miron Report Let Congress Legalize It The High Cost of Prohibition Friedman: Legalize It! 
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on June 19, 2005 at 10:39:39 PT
 Reader Debate: from The Detroit News
 How Government Should Treat Medical MarijuanaSaturday, June 18, 2005 Last week's question:State laws allowing medical use of marijuana don't protect users from being prosecuted under federal law for use of a banned substance, the Supreme Court has ruled. What action should the federal government take in light of this ruling?***Prosecute more medical marijuana users...16%Change federal law to allow medical marijuana use...82%Do nothing...2% *** How many people die each year from aspirin and how many people die each year from pot? The illegality of marijuana cannot be morally or rationally justified. Our nation came to its senses after that abominable experiment called Prohibition. What is our excuse now? John Cruz Taylor  Authorities need to prosecute medical marijuana users just as long as marijuana is a banned substance. There shouldn't be any exceptions as to who may or may not use a banned drug. Either it is good for one and all, or not anyone. Dee Macko Misery Bay  Government is not going to limit drug use with tough laws. A free market will show that the drug cartel gets richer with more regulation. An open market will reduce use and cost. Of course, Congress will not stop or limit illegal drug use. Look at the liberated Afghanistan for proof; there's a 70 percent increase in illegal drug production and export. Andrew T. Linko Brownstown  Quit wasting time and money on pot busts. How many billions of dollars are going to be spent nailing cancer patients while the poor starve and the homeless freeze to death? This ruling proves what a sick and backward country we have become. Ken Farhat Sterling Heights  The federal government should keep the ban on the use of medical marijuana. The Dr. Timothy Learys of our country don't have the right to put pot into anyone's lungs, including their own. America already has enough drug problems. Martin Yanosek St. Clair Shores  It is such a shame to hear that medical marijuana is being banned. I've been hearing reports from the Food and Drug Administration that there have been drug companies whose medication poses a dangerous health risk of a heart attack, pregnancy complications and other health risks. Why don't Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court do something about getting those banned too, or are they for big drug companies? Samuel Allen Detroit  This is just one more sad story in the never-ending dark comedy that is the war on drugs. We're talking about the same government that treated anti-drug-war crusader Peter McWilliams, riddled with AIDS and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as if he ran a drug cartel. The same government that prohibited him, during his sham of a trial, from taking the only drug that would help him keep his AIDs and cancer medications from being thrown back up due to nausea. The same government that told him that Marinol would work just as effectively. Only it did not. Ryan Meray Sterling Heights  Michigan doesn't even enforce its own law which prohibits cigarettes and other tobacco products. Until we do, quit worrying about lesser drugs like marijuana. Ned Franks  "Physician"-prescribed use of marijuana should be allowed. The solution to this problem for like-minded individuals is to demand that your congressperson and senator reschedule marijuana from a Class 1 drug to a Class 3 drug. Steve A. Redder Petoskey  We are not talking about "pot." We are talking about a law to authorize medicinal use of a product to eliminate pain. Let Congress do its job. But I hold no hope. It seems to be immersed in attacks on each other for the next few years. Congress has no time to deal with real issues for the people. Beatrice Scalise Plymouth Township  In Detroit, we are lucky. If we need marijuana or if we want it, we just go across the river to Canada and enjoy it. Bill Jackson  We should not be selective in which laws we enforce. If you think a law is unfair, work to elect representatives who will change the law. Or, if you're a liberal, convince some renegade judge to declare what the "new" (more enlightened) law is, and the rest of us can stand, stunned at the awesome power the Constitution has endowed on one man. Don Schmittdiel Clinton Township
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Comment #13 posted by b4daylight on June 13, 2005 at 21:54:02 PT
I just got a canned letter from my senator. I love it I send a canned letter, and he sends one back almost like he even reads the thing...One day one day....
I will not be proscuted for what I belive in. 
till then it is nothing more than your modern day witch hunt. Either make everything illegal or legalize everything. 
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Comment #12 posted by mayan on June 13, 2005 at 03:26:28 PT
That figure is shrinking as I type. Those that make up the minority are either ignorant, have a job which depends upon cannabis prohibition, or are dealers themselves.
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Comment #11 posted by AgaetisByrjun on June 12, 2005 at 09:34:33 PT
Something that just came to me while reading your post: if those who benefit from hypocrisy are hypocrites, are those who rule by hypocrisy hypocrats?
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Comment #10 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on June 12, 2005 at 08:25:17 PT
Sirs,  I couldn't agree more with Nolan Finley's concise analysis of why marijuana prohibition is wasteful and counterproductive. There are many other good reasons to change the law. Respect for, and cooperation with, law enforcement would increase if ordinary citizens no longer have a reason to feel like criminals. The only thing that keeps organized crime in the weed-growing business is the artificially high prices caused by prohibition; once legal, the price would plummet and black marketeers would lose one of their most profitable items. Instead, prohibition ensures the criminals a monopoly and the kind of outrageous price inflation which Enron executives could only dream of.  It astounds me that it's almost four years after 9/11 and the federal government still considers marijuana the botanical equivalent of Osama Bin Laden.
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Comment #9 posted by kaptinemo on June 12, 2005 at 08:05:45 PT:
Something Stick said
Essentially, it's about re-allocating disposable income; he's dead-on. Think about it: why pay so much...for a weed? Lower costs for a legal end-product, relieveing the States of the need to p*** away money trying to stop the unstoppable, putting a sword in the guts of organized crime and creating industries to service the demand, the States could begin accumulating revenues instead of bleeding them away, along with their tax base, as their populations leave looking for work. (Many, many cars I see on the road have license plates from clear across the country, but they work the same place I do, and live in the same general area. That says something, and mainly what it says is DESPERATION.) It's so friggin' simple...and many of the pols know it, but are afraid of the screech-monkey antis. (As one old animal handler for a major Gub'mint agency I know put it: "Monkeys is common bastids; dey crap in theah han's an t'row it at ya." No diff from many of the antis spewing their lies.)The only way to allay their fears is to show we've got more reasonable people than the antis have spastics. I'll say this again: We ALWAYS had the numbers. It's time we proved it.
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Comment #8 posted by kaptinemo on June 12, 2005 at 07:39:51 PT:
But the key to it all is this
This author has stood up and said the "H" word - hypocrisy.Those who practice and benefit from hypocrisy are hypocrites. Plain and simple, and no need for much embellishments. This is one of the main prohibitionist vulnerabilities being exposed. Mr. Finlay has called both the policy AND it's defenders out as hypocrites. As we saw last week, the antis really, REALLY hate that, because that gets them where they live: they draw a paycheck from the lie.History goes round and round, and the names and places may change but the same old song is sung again and again. Take a look at these cartoons; they come from the days of Prohibition 1. a look at the cartoon character "Mr. Dry", the nationally adopted caricature of the rank prohibitionist of the day. See any similarities with today's hypocritical drug warriors? See all the innocents dead, and the parties the criminal elements have at the behest of the well-meaning (or viciously determined) but clueless supporters of Prohibition 1? All that's changed are the drugs and the dates, folks. The madness is cyclic. But cycles come to an end, and this one may be ending as we watch, for Mr. Finlay has spoken what millions of his colleagues think privately but were afraid to say publicly. This is why LTE's supporting Mr. Finlay are so crucially important. They provide encouragement to other journos (who haven't been gelded into stenographer's positions) to speak up. That's why I wrote my kudos LTE as soon as I finished reading this article. Let them know they're on the right track, and watch them get bolder.
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Comment #7 posted by global_warming on June 12, 2005 at 07:11:25 PT
re:comment #3
" the 20% who oppose MC REALLY oppose it and would be willing to vote a politician out of office on this issue."I think you would find, that the same 20% have some vested interest in the prohibition of cannabis; Law enforcement, and their dependents,.., prison guards, judges and lawyers,..and all of their dependents..For them to consider any change, is like trying to take a bone away from a hungry dog.These same 20% would continue to lock people into cages, as long as their pay check is paid by this madness we call prohibition.These same 20%, refuse to understand, that it is the prohibition, that is feeding the cycle of violence, and is allowing the most ignorant of thugs to achieve places of power and great wealth,..the cartels and modern day Al Capones, those with no honor, who will sell to any young child, who give it away, to hook innocent youths, and I am not referring to cannabis, it is the stronger stuff, meth, heroin..Ending prohibition, will end the cycle, it will bankrupt the cartels, it will take away the local dealers job.Hopefully to be replaced by a saner and regulated and taxed system to obtain drugs, which will also be treated as a medical problem rather than a criminal problem.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on June 12, 2005 at 07:07:19 PT
Hey Stick
I love you man!PS: I just had to say that! 
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on June 12, 2005 at 06:50:22 PT
More Words of Wisdom from The Detroit News
I'm amazed! A newspaper of the people. A border town that sees the genuine facts. A city that amended its charter to authorize medical cannabis. Murder city. Motor city. Motown. They've lived the hard reality of real vices, they've watched the city burn, the young people die in shootouts and shooting-galleries. They know the truth and they're not afraid to say it. "Say it loud!"
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Comment #4 posted by Stick on June 12, 2005 at 06:21:14 PT
Big Bucks,,,
In the future we will walk to the corner packie,lay down 2 twentys for a 4/5 oz of good herb, maybe 50 for "the cronic" , much like beer or wine. The part that goes over their heads is with legal sales this "consumer" now has a spare $200 or so for a car payment, heating bill, mortgage, you name it. Now your talking a real boost to our economy, think of the farmer, the man with a job at the plant where they make the machines to sow and harvest the new crop, DELIVERY MEN, on and on, etc, etc. So in conclusion, one day they will say we were the culture that bailed out the economy by demanding changes. See, that was easy, wasent it? Over and out.
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Comment #3 posted by charmed quark on June 12, 2005 at 06:14:08 PT
Why won't Congress recognize medical cannabis?
Polls show up to 80% of the US population supports medical cannabis - the other 20% hasn't yet had a friend or family member stricken with one of the diseases cannabis helps :-)So it would seem politically safe to support medical cannabis (MC). Why don't they?I think they read it like this - the 20% who oppose MC REALLY oppose it and would be willing to vote a politician out of office on this issue. Most of the 80% who support MC don't consider it important enough to treat it as a single issue vote, so won't vote them out for not supporting MC. Other issues, like taxes, etc. take precedent in deciding whom to vote for.If the Feds misbehave and start shutting down medical cannabis centers, arresting patients, threatening doctors who recommend, this may change. The economic issues are always important, too. So articles like this are important.BTW - the author missed something: European countries with relaxed cannabis laws have much lower levels of hard drug use than the USA. In fact, you can make a nice chart showing the use of hard drugs rising the more restrictive the cannabis laws are. -CQ
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on June 12, 2005 at 05:23:29 PT:
And needless to say, another suggestion
I don't want to seem a noodge, but I can't emphasize this enough. Editorial sentiment is being echoed by the general public, courtesy of the polls that show overwhelming public support for medicinal cannabis. I repeat that: *overwhelming support*. The number of positive editorials we have seen the past week on CNEWS is not from selecting only the good ones. The ratio of positive to negative we've seen here demonstrates the public is on our side, or many of these editors would have gone along with the prohib's blather, nodding sheeplike while swallowing it and then shat it out whole . We've seen that happen with distressing regularity. They haven't this time because the public itself is tired of this craziness.This is the time. These are the days. And Tuesday will be THE day. If you haven't then write your Congresscritters and Sin-a-tors and tell them to support Hinchey/Rohrabacher and Barney Frank's H.R. 2087. Call 'em! Fax 'em! Clog the switchboards and the hallways if you can. Let them, people. Great Maker knows we have reason to be angry enough. But mind your manners.Here are the links to the various organizations providing letter writing pages. Consider adding your own comments at the beginning so it won't be pitched like some astroturf letter. DRCNet: Policy Alliance: sending a few sawbux won't hurt, either...
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on June 12, 2005 at 04:06:58 PT:
And there it is
The first REAL shot from the media across the bow of the USS Prohib. The core of the matter - prohibition in general - has been addressed. Another authentic journalist tells the truth(s) and is daring the antis to start throwing their slime...which they will, in short order. But guess what? The Rubicon has been crossed. For not only do we have here a journalist who *knows* the facts about relative safety of cannabis compared to alcohol, makes his conscious choice, and refuses to kow-tow to DrugWar orthodoxy but a p***ed off taxpayer is speaking here, at a time of increasing budget tightening for governments at all levels. If he had mentioned the idiocy of arresting a kid for possession and ruining his or her chances of the school loan, or the horrors of prison, it would have been perfect. But he's bang-on-the-mark.Letter time, folks: I'm letting let this brave journalist know I find his candor refreshing in challenging DrugWarrior dreck and to ask him to stand fast in the face of the prohib's version of the "Mighty (propaganda) Wurlitzer" that's about to turn it's noise horn in his direction. May I suggest we all do so?
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