Pot and The Pitfalls of Prohibition

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  Pot and The Pitfalls of Prohibition

Posted by CN Staff on May 19, 2009 at 09:17:07 PT
By Mike Lozon, Holland Sentinel Columnist 
Source: Holland Sentinel  

Laketown Township, MI — A Grand Valley State University student recovers from a gunshot wound while awaiting a court date on a charge of marijuana delivery. The career of an Ottawa County sheriff’s deputy hangs in the balance while he awaits a court date on a charge of carelessly discharging a firearm and causing injury during a drug raid at the student’s apartment.This local scenario adds up to just one more depressing tale in America’s ineffective and costly War on Drugs — a campaign that bears responsibility for the excessive violence and extreme profitability linked to an illicit drug trade.
As a society, it’s time to recognize the futility of legalizing certain mind-altering substances — such as alcohol, nicotine and caffeine — while demonizing others.The nation should have learned that demonizing doesn’t work following the disastrous prohibition of alcohol from 1920 to 1933, when crime and violence served to flood the land with illegal booze. Known as the “Noble Experiment,” Prohibition proved that it’s not easy to legislate human nature when it involves the age-old desire to modify one’s perception of reality through drug use.With the end of Prohibition, alcohol was enshrined as America’s drug of choice. The legal drug is controlled through regulation and taxation.But taking the substance out of the hands of criminals didn’t eradicate the irresponsible behavior inherent with the misuse of alcohol. When abused, the substance remains a major source of society’s many ills — aggressiveness, divorce and tragedies associated with drunken driving.Because of those problems, I have spent much of my life preaching against the legalization of other drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin. My reasoning went like this: Legalizing other drugs would condone their use and compound the problems that society already confronts with alcohol.That seemed to be a common-sense stand. But like the puritanical prohibitionists of the 1920s, my viewpoint turned a blind eye to the grim reality of the illegal drug trade.By prohibiting certain drugs, we have no control over their manufacture or distribution. We stand helpless in the face of senseless violence, the corruption of politicians and law enforcement, and a prison system bulging with low-level, non-violent drug felons.My opposition to drug legalization began to erode with the extraordinary publicity surrounding the revelation that Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps had smoked marijuana at a party. The melodrama surrounding this incident, including a decision by the cereal maker Kellogg to drop its sponsorship of Phelps, was a real eye-opener for me. How could I possibly continue to speak out against the legal use of marijuana, a drug that is far more benign than alcohol, with any sense of credibility?In the wake of the Phelps’ media fiasco, we have daily reports of the drug violence in Mexico that is now spilling into neighboring states in America. Of course, that violence is symptomatic of the worldwide turmoil caused by the underground drug market.The incident that finally convinced me that all mind-altering substances should be legalized, regulated and taxed was the GVSU shooting, involving the student and the sheriff’s deputy.Police had made three undercover buys of marijuana from the wounded student’s roommate at their off-campus apartment. Less than two hours before the police raid, a fourth buy was initiated, but this time from the student who was injured.When police charged through the back slider door of the apartment, the unarmed student apparently raised his arms to deflect the glare in his eyes from a police flashlight and was subsequently shot.What struck me about the incident was the absolute insanity regarding the outcome. Because of the illegal status of a commonly used drug, a couple of college students were profiled as dangerous criminals whose capture necessitated an aggressive intrusion by police.It finally dawned on me that the time had come to “just say no” to the inane War on Drugs.Source: Holland Sentinel (MI)Author: Mike Lozon, Holland Sentinel ColumnistPublished: May 18, 2009Copyright: 2009 GateHouse Media, Inc.Website: http://www.hollandsentinel.comURL: -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #13 posted by Hope on May 20, 2009 at 16:20:09 PT
Hello, Slikno420
I don't recall seeing your moniker before. Welcome to C-News.Sadly, they, law enforcement have been shooting and often killing people over cannabis, even rumors of cannabis, for decades now. All done with the egging on and support of the prohibitionists and their war chants. That's what bothers me about it all. That and the humiliating, caging, seizing, stealing in the name of government, and ruining lives and destroying families in the name of their "War". This stuff all happened because they were told they were at "War" and they believed it. They made it as violent and frightening as they could. They were sending a message. They would and could kill you over the stuff. The message was that you were nothing more than "scum"... they were the "good guys"... who would kill you at the drop of a hat... or baggie. This was a message to many fellow citizens... not a message to a drug. It was a message to any citizen who even thought about disobeying them as to what they could or could not consume.Just some of the victims of the not a War on Drugs at Drug WarRant: If you look through them, you will see that many, if not most of them are about cannabis. And it's by no means the full list. I so don't want to see any more of this happen... but obviously, as in the Michigan example, it's far from being reined in yet.
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Comment #12 posted by Slikno420 on May 20, 2009 at 08:31:10 PT:
Its come to people shooting each other over a bag. its just not worth it any more. Instead of prohibition working like they thought it would its just made more crime. Prisons are over filled due to the fact that so many people have been picked up for having a few ounces. $30,000 a year for one person in prison. multiple that by 250,000 (last number of people I read about in prison for pot) $7,500,000,000. Just for acouple of ounces. 
 besides the fact that pot is not a drug, it is an erb. It is not chemicaly alterted. it has medicinal purposes. If we legalized it in California alone 1.3 Billion dollars could be made a year. thats not including the rest of the country. We could be out of debt in 20 years max. Free the plant.
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Comment #11 posted by Paint with light on May 19, 2009 at 21:56:19 PT
Another drop
Another drop is draining........from the river of Denial.Legal like alcohol.
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Comment #10 posted by The GCW on May 19, 2009 at 16:03:52 PT
Mike Lozon:
I was lost but now I'm found.-0-1 prohibitionist down, how many more to go?Notice that one reason people start to change their mind and stop supporting prohibition is due to prohibitionists going too far.
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Comment #9 posted by charmed quark on May 19, 2009 at 15:27:07 PT
Lack of critical thinking skills
What bothers me about people like this is it takes some extraordinary event to get them to review their flawed logic. Even if he believed legalization would increase the use of a drug, why didn't he do a calculus of the relatively light harm of cannabis to the harm of prohibition. Instead, he lumped it in his mind with crack cocaine without ever considering that cannabis use far, far exceeds that of any other illicit drug and so deserved a separate analysis.If we have to rely on people, one at a time, learning how to do basic syllogisms only when forced to, we're in a lot more trouble than just a drug war. 
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Comment #8 posted by Had Enough on May 19, 2009 at 13:56:19 PT
The link in the last post is dead… but these should work…
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Comment #7 posted by Had Enough on May 19, 2009 at 13:48:11 PT
Florida - People United For Medical Marijuana
Announcing a new Meetup for People United For Medical Marijuana!May meeting in TampaWhen…Sunday May 24…10:00 amLocation…Lowrey Park Zoo7535 North Blvd.Tampa, FL 33604813-274-8184How to find us"Go to shelter number 117"Who is organizing? Kim RussellMeetup Description: We are getting the Tampa Bay area organized. If you want to be part of making this happen and meet other like minded individuals, please come.Learn more here: Hope to see you there!And everyone remember.. This is not about hoping for this to happen. This is about making it happen..Here is our opportunity.. 8 months of work collecting petitions and making this big deal news stories, then we will just have to sit back and educate the minority for 10 months about why they should join us in the fight to bring medical marijuana to Florida.. that is unless the Representatives see a huge uprising and decide to write a bill of their own before we even get a chance to put ours on the bill!
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Comment #6 posted by AdaptBones on May 19, 2009 at 11:21:42 PT:
Common sense
It is certainly wonderful to see people coming to common sense realizations like this. It seems like when people actually look HONESTLY at the problem, and not through those tinted glasses of idiolgy or prohibition, they are coming more and more to these conclusions. That makes me hopeful for the future like not much has before. Maybe, just maybe we are entering into an era of common sense and personal I can hope so at least because that truly would be the end of the world as we know it and I would feel fine. Blessed be everyone.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on May 19, 2009 at 10:24:41 PT
I just thought you wondered who he was so I did a search and didn't find anything more on the writer. It takes courage to admit what he did in the column and that takes strength. I hope others might see it's ok to change your mind. Change comes when we look at the social implications of something we believe in and he did just that. 
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on May 19, 2009 at 10:09:27 PT
I meant that in a way that like, "Whoever he is"... we should be grateful. There is one more of us. Not like that he didn't matter because I didn't know who he was... everyone matters... probably especially those with access to be heard by the public even more... because he will be able to bring more people to an understanding of the truth of the matter.So, I'm grateful. It sounds like he really understands now.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 19, 2009 at 09:58:01 PT
ll I know is he is a Columnist for the Holland Sentinel.
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on May 19, 2009 at 09:46:14 PT
Mike Lozon
This is good news... whoever Mike Lozon is. Everyone that realizes the truth of what's really going on is another person that will help us move towards getting this all to saner ground.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 19, 2009 at 09:35:34 PT
Mike Lozon
Thank you.
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