Our Half-Baked Drug Policies

Our Half-Baked Drug Policies
Posted by CN Staff on April 04, 2008 at 06:18:52 PT
By Jeff May
Source: Michigan Daily
Michigan -- Regardless of whether Hash Bash is held this year on the Diag, every U.S. citizen should critically evaluate the continuation of America's failed drug policy, exemplified by the War on Drugs. Michigan and our country as a whole are facing economic and fiscal problems with no clear solutions in sight. But we continue to spend billions of tax dollars on policies that are proven failures. The War on Drugs is nothing but a financial blackhole. In fact, America's War on Drugs under the reign of George W. Bush has actually led to a two-fold increase in cocaine production worldwide.
The benefits of fully decriminalizing marijuana far outweigh the supposed consequences of its existence - this viewpoint does not call for the decriminalization of more severe drugs like cocaine, crack-cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines. According to a 2000 estimate, prior to a spending increase by the current administration, the federal government alone spent roughly $19 billion annually on the War on Drugs. This number increases drastically when you factor in spending on drug enforcement by state and local governments.But consider the many ways that our money could be better spent. For example, a city/state restoration fund could be established to finance renovations in struggling areas across the country (think Detroit or New Orleans). The money could also be re-routed to assist overburdened government programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. It could be spent on public education, humanitarian work in developing countries, alternative energy sources, college financial aid and renovation of America's crumbling infrastructure. And don't forget our never-ending adventure in Iraq.The damage caused to this country by the War on Drugs is not limited to its pocketbooks - it affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens every year. According to The New York Times, about 800,000 people are arrested every year for marijuana possession, with an outrageous majority receiving criminal charges for possessing tiny amounts of marijuana. Having such charges on peoples' records can prevent them from receiving higher-paying jobs - hurting employment rates and consumer spending - and can even cause some people to lose their right to vote in certain states. The right to vote is the essence of our government and should not be revoked under any circumstances, otherwise how will those who are wronged by the system have the opportunity to change it?Given Michigan's dismal economy and budget problems, I'm surprised at the astonishing lack of practicality displayed by Michigan's legislators. It is going to take innovative solutions to bring Michigan back to national prominence, so here is one to consider: Full legalization of hemp and marijuana. The United States is the only industrialized country in the world to make hemp production illegal. Growing hemp would provide Michigan farmers with a versatile product that could be used in a wide variety of products.I'm not implying that legalizing hemp would be the cure-all for Michigan's problems. It would have only a tiny impact on Michigan's overall economic situation. However, to be blunt, any step forward would be a good step right now. Legalization is beneficial in two ways. First, it saves the state money by reducing the costs of law enforcement. Second, it brings in revenue from the sale of growing licenses to individuals and from a tax on the marijuana sales by companies.Enough is enough. Both the Michigan and the United States are going to have to wake up to the economic and fiscal realities they are facing. We have too many problems that need to be addressed to be wasting billions of dollars annually on policies that give no return on investment except to certain weapons contractors. And please, don't cling to the "moral" argument that marijuana is illegal because it is bad for you. There are roughly 16,000 alcohol-related deaths and even more tobacco-related deaths - yet, these substances are legal, even when there has never been a single recorded death due to marijuana.America became great because of its innovation, I hope it does not continue its fall from grace because it desperately clings to outdated and irrational polices beautifully clad in the cloth of "moral superiority."Jeff May is an LSA sophomore.Source: Michigan Daily (MI Edu)Author: Jeff MayPublished: April 4, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Michigan DailyContact: daily.letters umich.eduWebsite: Related Articles & Web Site:Michigan NORML a Pot Movement Bash Might Not Be Able To Secure Diag
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Comment #16 posted by Dankhank on April 05, 2008 at 16:27:28 PT
Hash Bash
went off, OK ...good Thanks to FOKUS for allowing John Sinclair to speak ...Peace to all who believe in compromise, not conflict ...oh yea ...think Hash Bashers will be in Monday to reserve for next year??????
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on April 05, 2008 at 13:33:38 PT
Sunny Day, Sinclair Draw Big Crowd To Hash Bash
April 5, 2008Pushed out of its traditional spot on the University of Michigan Diag by student group, the annual Hash Bash took place in a compact 30-minute format Saturday.The modified pro-marijuana event was worked into the student group's program in what organizers of both activities said was in the spirit of getting along.The student group, Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Sucess - or FOKUS - reasoned that Hash Bash speaker John Sinclair was suitable to the spirit their organization's goal of connecting U-M students with art and music.A poet and former Ann Arborite, Sinclair is of course best known for the marijuana conviction that led to a 1971 "Free John Sinclair" rally at U-M's Crisler Arena. That that featured the late John Lennon. Complete Article:
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Comment #14 posted by whig on April 05, 2008 at 12:36:00 PT
To stop sending young black men to prison for marijuana "crimes".
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Comment #13 posted by museman on April 05, 2008 at 10:20:02 PT
that's $500 screwdrivers.
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Comment #12 posted by museman on April 05, 2008 at 10:17:52 PT
" $100,000 purchase of two battery-powered "unmanned aerial vehicles."LOLreminds me of the %500 screwdrivers the Army was buying in the 80's.Wake up and smell the money, it stinks. Bad.
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Comment #11 posted by John Tyler on April 05, 2008 at 07:57:54 PT
Unless you have a homemade radar system you won’t even be able to see them, much less hit them. It would probably be better to go with camouflage netting if you are in danger of aerial surveillance. 
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on April 04, 2008 at 20:04:39 PT
I probably wouldn't have the nerve to do it... but I've got enough sense to know that a lot of other people would.
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on April 04, 2008 at 20:03:08 PT
Another drone done gone.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on April 04, 2008 at 20:02:16 PT
That's exactly what I was thinking!Boom!
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Comment #7 posted by BGreen on April 04, 2008 at 19:27:05 PT
There are people around here that will even shoot a bald eagle, so I doubt if an unmanned model airplane would have any chance of survival."Look at the ... " BOOM!The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on April 04, 2008 at 18:59:16 PT
Sam Comment 3
"Aerial drones will hunt California pot growers in national forests"Right. I suspect it will be another cost in the how much money can we waste government plan and, of course, enrichment of aerial drone makers. I also suspect that, "Open season on the hunt for aerial drones", is the unwritten headline to this headline. 
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Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on April 04, 2008 at 18:24:46 PT
more drug war stuff
Great letter. It was full of good common sense. I would also like to mention something I saw on another web site… Some representatives of the California cannabis industry have supposedly offered the State of California $1 billion as a donation to the state’s cash strapped treasury if the state would legalize cannabis. This was followed with a promise of a steady stream of tax revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars range after legalization. When big money talks the politicians will listen. The cannabis industry representatives stated that first state to have a legal cannabis industry would make billions of dollars.
In another almost Karmic news tidbit… the same Gulfstream jet that the CIA used to take kidnapped suspected Arab terrorist to a third country for serious interrogation crashed in Mexico on it’s way back from Columbia, South America. It had an estimated 3 tons of cocaine on board.  
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 04, 2008 at 15:20:54 PT
OT: Bob Barr
Ex-Congressman Weighs Presidential Bid
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 04, 2008 at 15:07:17 PT
Those days are gone sadly. People accept so much now. This administration did a good job of getting people in line. That is why I mind anyone using fear as an argument anymore. Using fear is the best way to control others and I won't buy it.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on April 04, 2008 at 14:22:18 PT
It's hard to believe this is only a blip on the radar - the media doesn't even care, govt now using spy drones against Americans: when people used to get upset about the military being used on civilians? How quaint.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 04, 2008 at 09:33:58 PT
OT: Drug War Called ‘Abject Failure’
April 4, 2008
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