Marijuana Laws Need To Go Up in Smoke

Marijuana Laws Need To Go Up in Smoke
Posted by CN Staff on November 15, 2005 at 07:22:18 PT
By Taylor Williams
Source: USF Oracle
Florida -- I’ve been saying it for a while, but nobody wants to listen to me. Now, lawmakers in Denver, Colo., are starting to perceive marijuana the same way I have for years: a sound alternative to alcohol. Before critics come screaming from the rooftops, I’m not claiming that marijuana is good for you, just that it is socially harmless.
The debate about whether to legalize pot has been going on for decades. Actor Robert Mitchum was arrested in 1948 and thrown in jail for a few months for marijuana possession. Since our parents’ generation got stoned on the fields of Woodstock, people have been pining over the decriminalization of marijuana. While Denver is among the first municipalities to legalize pot smoking, it is not the first to establish possible advantages of marijuana use. In 1999 and 2001, Illinois and Hawaii, respectively, passed resolutions that allow researchers to study the industrial and economic advantages related to marijuana and the plants it comes from. Since 1965, more than 11 million Americans have been arrested for possession of pot. The Moscone Act of 1976 took the offense of possessing a small amount of marijuana out of the court system and many states are continuing to put minor possession on the bottom of their law enforcement’s “to do” list. According to the Human Rights 95 project, aimed at minimizing sentences for individuals arrested for minor drug charges — with marijuana charges as one of its tops priorities — it costs taxpayers an average of $38.01 per day to house inmates at a minimum-security jail, as of the 1994 fiscal year. Minimum-security jails and prisons are where the authorities stash petty criminals, such as a woman arrested for possession of one-eighth of an ounce of pot. Let’s see: $38.01 per day times a 100-day sentence equals $3,801 per average sentence that taxpayers forfeit to keep the pothead at bay. Just think of the schools or soldiers who could benefit from an increased budget with the money the state saves from letting Jane Doe smoke her pot in peace. Instead of putting Miss Doe away on my tax dollar, why don’t we reserve that jail cell for the rapist, the murderer or the thief? Also, studies have proven marijuana may have some medicinal benefits apart from reducing pain. According to BioMed Central Medicine, THC, a class of active constituents in cannabis, has been proven in laboratory mice to prevent cancer-causing viruses, such as gamma herpes, from spreading through white blood cells. Prior research has also shown THC to exclusively target and stop the production of other types of cancerous cells, including prostate cancer and breast cancer. I have a dear family friend in her early 60s who spent her law career working for legal equality. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a painful disease characterized by intense muscle and skeletal pain. She described to me marijuana’s effect on her physical and emotional health in battling this ailment, but wished to remain anonymous. “I used marijuana through the ’60s, ’70s and until mid-80s basically as a recreational drug (usually) and occasionally at parties with friends,” she said. “When I contracted fibromyalgia and other auto-immune system conditions, with no exceptions, every rheumatologist that I saw (including the head of rheumatology at the Mayo Clinic) would, at some point in the consultation, get up, close the door and say ‘I don’t know if you have ever used marijuana.’ I would indicate that I had, and they would say, ‘It would clearly soften the pain. I can’t tell you that officially, but I tell you that unofficially.’ I smoke daily, and it does soften the pain. And I have smoked daily since I was 43 years old (I am 63 now), and it hasn’t led me to any other drugs.” The Food and Drug Administration simply needs to establish strict standards around the manufacturing and usage of marijuana. A pot smoker should be 21 years old to legally purchase and consume the substance, akin to the legal drinking age. And just like you cannot roam the streets of Ybor with an open container of alcohol, the pot smoker would have to smoke in designated bars or in the privacy of one’s own home. Just as one cannot produce bootleg alcohol for distribution — one must hold a license — the marijuana vendor would have to be held to the FDA’s standards. Denver is already establishing these criteria in their landmark decision, and it’s time the rest of the state — nay, country — followed suit. I spoke to a student about this matter, who also wished to remain anonymous. He’s 18, and under my proposed hypothetical conditions, he wouldn’t be able to legally smoke pot for another three years. He seemed eager to see how the Denver decision influenced the rest of the nation. However, he added that just because the government sets age regulations on substances doesn’t mean underage people will not consume them. “I would definitely be all for (decriminalization), but just like with alcohol and tobacco, you will still have underage people using the drug. They’ll just find older friends to buy it for them, like with cigarettes and beer.” As I indicated previously, I think pot is socially safer than alcohol. It may seem absurd, but consider this: Ever heard of a man getting stoned and going home to beat his wife and kids? What about a stoner picking a bar fight? I think the only real danger of legalizing marijuana is the poor potatoes that are doomed to become Frito-Lays and devoured by potheads. Taylor Williams is a junior majoring in English education. Source: USF Oracle (FL)Author: Taylor WilliamsPublished: Tuesday, November 15, 2005Copyright: 2005 University of South FloridaWebsite: oracleopinion Relatd Articles:Speakout: Time Has Come To Legalize Marijuana Is First City To Legalize Pot 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #15 posted by Jim Lunsford on November 18, 2005 at 16:59:58 PT
Thank you so much! That was such a lovely thing to say. I'm caught with nothing to say in response, except that I'm glad to accept and return that love. Peace, Rev JimRev Jim LunsfordFirst Cannabist ChurchLove: What God is before we get a religion
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #14 posted by runruff on November 18, 2005 at 09:01:09 PT:
Don't I just love............
Jim Lundsford? Yes I do. I don't know where you've been but I get a sense of where you are now. I feel the spirit of Jim in the things you say. I can say I love the spitit of brother Jim.Namaste 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by Jim Lunsford on November 18, 2005 at 04:55:14 PT
Don't you just love 
spiritual debates? With me, it's about overcoming the era of judgement and embracing compassion. I agree with you whole-heartedly that these people have no dominion over anyone. Yet, if they have no power over us, then we also have no power over them. To judge a fruit bitter, we fall short. For all fruits are of the One Source. And all are equal before this God (I have no idea of what to actually name such a force). So, who has the right to judge anyone other than theirself?I am not condoning all that has gone on. Nor am I calling for a continuance of this government. In fact, I would prefer this form of government be abolished and replaced with one more concerned with improving our societal base and helping one another get through the day. And how can we call ourselves better if we use the same tactics and thoughts of oppression and punishment as those before us?Power corrupts, yet compassion over-rides all. If you can't love your enemies, then who can you truly love? How can one say that compassion is only reserved for those who already possess compassion? Didn't the Christ hang out with those in need of his services, rather than the ones who claimed purity? I realize there is much more to that parable, but this context is good enough for this debate.I believe in forgiveness and redemption. No crime is above it. Once we have someone without sin in power, then I will approve their calls for judgement. I have been just like these people you call evil. I call it a phase in my path. Had I been sent to jail after being judged, I might have turned out differently. Instead, I hope I am a kinder person. One less judgemental.An old Zen exercise has a novice to pretend that everyone else in the world is "enlightened" and all are trying to help you become enlightened. In this exercise, one learns much about theirselves. I leave judgement to God. My task is to encourage compassion in myself so that I may find it in others. If we use the same mind-set of judgement and punishment in the repeal of prohibition, then Cannabis will be just as brutal a tool of oppression as oil. I would prefer that scenario not play out. Instead, I hope that we can learn to be "Above the Influence" as the ONDCP ad campaign pushes.I find it impossible to hate much anymore. It's just such a self-destructive emotion. Though I do feel anger as much as anyone. But, I am unfit to judge anyone. Even myself. I also find it impossible to hate anyone because, to me at least, I find that a miserable person has their worst punishment (and tool for their own interpretation of salvation) in residing in their own skin. Imagine being the person who ticks you off. How miserable they must feel. It is difficult to hate then. I am not nearly as saintly (I fall way short of the mark in many ways) as these words may imply. I do have my own petty and spiteful moments as well. But, I seek improvement in myself and in that way I find less and less evil in others. Peace, Rev JimRev Jim LunsfordFirst Cannabist ChurchLove thy enemy and you will love God as well
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by runruff on November 17, 2005 at 19:01:38 PT:
Turning a little cheeky.
You may be suprised to know that I have turned the other cheek even to a weaker subject. I am loving and generous. Even to strangers. I live by a simple code. Stay off my toes and I'll stay off of yours. Street lingo for the golden rule. I have a lot of trouble loving someone like Bush or Nixon or Stalin or Hitler Or Ted Bundy. These people fail to turn on my warm fuzzies. Why? Because I don't believe one human being should have the power to bring so much misery to the world without resistance. I see nothing wrong with putting this defective human being down in order for the rest of us to live in peace. Why stand by and allow one such as this to carry on unhindered? Take him out and move on. In my belief system God will understand. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by Jim Lunsford on November 17, 2005 at 17:43:55 PT
In Response
The phrase "Judge not, lest thy be judged in a like manner," is one of the most telling phrases in the Christian Bible. At least to me. The evil we see is that which we most fear in ourselves.I've met people whom I had considered evil. But they weren't. We are much more complicated than some simple scale of good and evil. How can a perfect God create such a simplistic model? I state this as an opinion, and though I believe it, I don't wish to appear to force anyone else to abide by my beliefs.I've never met anyone who thought they were evil either. Troubled souls, poor choices, fear, and the list goes on. I believe that our natural state of being is one of happiness. These "evil" traits are merely the result of a judgemental society. And that will be decided by a society which forgoes the overthrown old testament policy of an eye for an eye for the New Testament policy of those without sin please cast the first stone. Go ahead. I dare you.Our society is in a period of great turmoil. Information spreading more and more easily, to more and more people, has increased our understanding to the point where this societal structure is no longer adequate to the task. Yet, we have many different views and many different schools of thought that are in apparant conflict. It's not so much that, as it is the growing up of our species. We know better now. Not everyone, but more people do.Many people feel threatened by this change. The unforseeable future threatens their sense of identity in this world. It can go any direction, but I believe we are mature enough now to work for a more compassionate system. One which places understanding in place of judgement.I am sorry for this rather long sermon, but I am passionate about the subject. I believe it to be central to the Christ teachings and the Buddhas' as well. Compassion and understanding are the hallmarks of both, while the judgemental philosophy was of the Pharisees of Old Testament days. That would also be known as dualism in the ways of the Buddha.We are all connected together in this great drama of the world. Why can't we all just get along? Just my faith in a nutshell, the Reverend Jim LunsfordReverend Jim LunsfordFirst Cannabist ChurchEvil: Another point of view
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by Hope on November 17, 2005 at 11:38:59 PT
I don't want to change their minds about anything or enlighten them. I just want to take away their power to hurt people...and they do.If they must, they can go to their graves thinking that it's right to hurt people over their choice of drugs...and that they're some sort of super righteous, know all, all wise, doing it to them for their own good, "rulers" or something, of other people who also are adults and happen to disagree with them on these matters.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by Hope on November 17, 2005 at 11:31:03 PT
Makes sense to me...and I agree with you."You can tell them by their fruit."Prohibitionists can be prohibitionists all they's that stinger that worries me. We've got to defang or de-stinger the dang thing.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by runruff on November 17, 2005 at 10:55:44 PT:
The bitter truth.
Jesus taught that the bitter root produces bitter fruit. That is where I got it from. He also says this is a way to recognize good from evil. I don't think we are ment to go through life with our collective heads in the sand. I know a scorpion for what it is and what it can do I have not been called upon to coddle this thing and allow it to sting me to death. namaste
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by Jim Lunsford on November 17, 2005 at 06:47:11 PT
Forgiveness and Redemption
are the hallmarks of an enlightened society. By vilifying Nixon, we alienate ourselves as a society from our complicity in the enforcement of his personal policies. I hope that our society has advanced beyond such a view.Was there greed involved in his decisions? Possibly. But most important was his a fear-based decision? The sixties were seen as a threat to the American way of thinking. He feared (as did a generation of Americans) the change symbolized by the "hippies" of that era. Peace, love, and an end to the American concept of society (at that time) posed a great threat to the way of thinking of that time.Life is a journey, there is no end destination beyond death, and in journeys we learn about ourselves. I have found that no one has any more power over me than I allow them to have. And my way of thinking has evolved in so many profound and unpredictable ways over the years.Life is a journey of self-discovery and possibilities. When we judge others, we judge that within ourselves, which we see as flaws. This threat of punishment which many of us in the Cannabis movement seem to desire for those who do not share our views of legalization only creates more strife and discord and lengthens the amount of time in which society is prepared for such a dramatic change as the repeal of all prohibitions.I support whole-heartedly the legalization of all drugs, and the repeal of all victim-less crimes. Also, an end to the "fair trial and a quick hanging" mentality of the world's judicial system. Our government reflects our values, and it is within ourselves that we must first look and heal before we can help others. Rev Jim LunsfordFirst Cannabist ChurchGod: Loves my enemies as much as myself
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by runruff on November 16, 2005 at 10:10:41 PT:
Nixon the poison root.
From the bitter root is born bitter fruit. What good then could possibly come from a corrupt man such as Richard Nixon. Like the Bushsnake he slept well at night while millions slept hungry. In the mud. Or was killed in their sleep. He didn't start the war but he fanned the flames of war for about six years. Then not to be satified with commiting murder and mayhem abroad he declaired war on the American people at home and called it innocently enough, the conrolled substance act. think about it. Controlling substances! With guns. With murder! With mayhem! With stealing rights and liberties. Against all prudent advise.
Against all scientific evidence to the contrary. Against all constitutional rights and liberties. He declared war on the American people! These are the bitter fruits born from the tree of Nixon.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by Jim Lunsford on November 15, 2005 at 20:49:26 PT
It doesn't matter
how they get it legalized. Phillip Morris couldn't control it if they tried. Once the door is open, it's going to be a flood of weed out here.I believe that our voices will be heard in the Supreme Court soon. The CSA could possibly be ruled unconstitutional. In this religious use trial, we choose whether our pursuit of happiness is more important than law. Politics doesn't stop at the courthouse steps. Even for Supreme Court Justices. They await our voices. Though I think they have their answer already. It is time for the repeal of prohibition.Denver spoke and the world took note. Pharmaceutical companies are under intense legal pressures at the moment, as well as the on-going scrutiny given to the oil companies. Note the movie "Syriana" coming out soon to a theatre near you. Multi=fueled vehicles are being imported from Brazil (corn ethanol sounds a lot like hemp to me!). Medical advances are being noted daily from the round-about investigations into the medial effects of Cannabis. The big news flash of Peyote having no adverse effects immediately after the Supreme Court case goes to trial was no accident either.The ONDCP's new ad campaign features the sobering reminder of "If you allow others to make decisions for you...". While they are probably not pro-legalization, the message is true for me. I make my decisions, or perhaps some higher power, but what man/woman has any right to restrict my spiritual path. Heaven is everywhere and everytime. What person has the right to keep me from finding heaven the way I choose to seek it? For myself, meditating while I am in an altered state due to Cannabis use, helps me appreciate the wonder of it all so much more easily.Of all the reasons there are to repeal all prohibitions, there remains only one reason to retain it. Fear. Fear of change, fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear of punishment. All fears which could be realized by a judgemental society. Which we presently are.Perhaps it is time to move beyond this age of judgement. Instead, perhaps we should try a bit of compassion and allow those violaters to redeem themselves by using their expertise to help turn our world into a better place. One in which Cannabis is the new oil. Or not.Prisons are a shame upon a society, and we simply have too many of them. If we look upon prisons for those who have held contrary viewpoints than ours, then Cannabis will only become the same old beast as oil. All about power.Cannabis is central to my true cause, but it is not the cause itself. I subscribe to the Dali Lama's plea for a spirtitual revolution. One in which we all learn to work together, to practise compassion to our neighbors, and to explore the possibilities which lay all around us. Just a thought. Peace, Rev. JimReverend Jim LunsfordFirst Cannabist ChurchCompassion: Good enough for Jesus, good enough for me
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by runruff on November 15, 2005 at 09:41:10 PT:
The pot calling the pot green.
Illegal pot. Give me a break. Conversation over heard at
friends house. 1st teen, Hey, lets get some pot to party with this weekend. 2nd teen, How you going to do that? Pot is illegal, [tounge in cheek]. 1st teen, from John he has an indoor. 2nd teen, cool let's go. Here in the great northwest so many high school kids grow their own herb in the woods every summer it is a running joke among adults that the best place to score some weed is from on of the high school kids. It is already illegal so what more can be done to stop them? Even the athletes and the 4.0 students use it. This year the Courgars are unbeaten. If they get caught it is only a slap on the wrist if even that. The irony here is she is talking about kids having an adult buy it for them. Then as now that simply would not be needed. The kids around here trade clones the way we used to trade baseball cards. I don't know how long it will take our society to realize the lies and "old wives tales" attached to this plant. Maybe 20 or 50 years.
In the mean time I think "the kids" would say, "party on dude". "Roll em fat we've got plenty". 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by whig on November 15, 2005 at 09:28:52 PT
Homegrown, it's the way it should be.
"Just as one cannot produce bootleg alcohol for distribution — one must hold a license — the marijuana vendor would have to be held to the FDA’s standards. Denver is already establishing these criteria in their landmark decision, and it’s time the rest of the state — nay, country — followed suit."Nay. This is just a recipe for Philip Morris and other Big Tobacco firms to have special permission to make "marijuana cigarettes" that contain some fractional percentage of natural pot.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by runderwo on November 15, 2005 at 08:42:51 PT
"I would definitely be all for (decriminalization), but just like with alcohol and tobacco, you will still have underage people using the drug. They*ll just find older friends to buy it for them, like with cigarettes and beer."As opposed to under prohibition, when youths can buy it directly (with 90% availability) without needing a go-between. Now the scare story doesn't sound so bad, does it?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 15, 2005 at 07:33:50 PT
Canadian News Article: Courtesy of
BC: City Faces Lawsuit Over Raid on Legal Marijuana Growers
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment