cannabisnews.com: Marijuana Legalization On The CA Ballot

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††Marijuana Legalization On The CA Ballot

Posted by CN Staff on March 27, 2010 at 05:19:56 PT
By Stephen Gutwillig†
Source: AlterNet†

Calif.  -- With a historic marijuana legalization initiative certified for November's general election, California is ground zero for a growing national debate. No matter what you think about regulating marijuana for adult consumption, brace yourself for a blast of alarmist hot air from the drug war status quo, a nine-month onslaught of distortions, half-truths and real whoppers. Marijuana offenses account for over half of all drug arrests nationwide. No wonder the law enforcement lobby is furiously digging in its heels at the prospect of "losing marijuana." Here are three commonsense reasons to dump decades of failed marijuana prohibition. 
(Spoiler alert: Billions of dollars in new state revenue isn't one of them. That's just gravy.)1. Regulation will help bring marijuana distribution under the rule of law.Proponents for maintaining the marijuana ban claim that legalization would aid criminal markets. But it's prohibition that has ceded control to the black market; legalization and regulation would mean the opposite. Ending marijuana prohibition means ending the current state of chaos and implementing real controls on who has access to marijuana when and where.Whether we like it or not, marijuana is a mainstream recreational drug and famously California's largest cash crop. Prohibiting a commodity that popular has simply fueled a massive, increasingly brutal underground economy. Criminal syndicates in Mexico reportedly derive at least 60% of their profits from marijuana sales alone. The horrifying carnage that's claimed 15,000 Mexican lives in three years isn't about drugs, of course, but the drug profits guaranteed by prohibition. While regulating marijuana in California won't single-handedly solve the problem, bringing the market for marijuana into the open will undermine the Al Capones and Pablo Escobars of today by ending the monopoly they currently enjoy over their most lucrative product.2. Marijuana use has little to do with marijuana laws.Drug warriors paint a dire picture of skyrocketing marijuana consumption, especially among young people, if the prohibition on adult use ended. But marijuana use isn't primarily impacted by criminal penalties. The U.S. has the highest rates of marijuana consumption in the Western world despite by far the most severe penalties. Among a stack of international studies of this question, the 2004 findings of the American Journal of Public Health "do not support claims that criminalization reduces cannabis use and that decriminalization increases cannabis use."Adults consume marijuana in huge numbers regardless of its illegality, and American high school students consistently report marijuana is actually easier to buy than alcohol or tobacco. Nearly three times as many American teens under 15 have tried marijuana as teens in the Netherlands, where marijuana is openly sold to adults in coffee shops. Marijuana regulation lowers youth access, separates marijuana from harder drugs, and helps "make marijuana boring" to kids.3. Regulation will make marijuana safer than ever.Get ready for "Reefer Madness" 2.0 as drug warriors try to confuse an increasingly savvy electorate about the harms of marijuana. Since it's now so widely consumed, many people understand that marijuana is safer than alcohol or cigarettes and are increasingly skeptical of laws that treat them so differently. Science backs them up. Marijuana is far less addictive and typically consumed in much smaller amounts. It's impossible to die of a marijuana overdose. Crucially, marijuana lacks alcohol's noxious association with violence, accidents and reckless sexual behavior.Reports that today's marijuana is more potent are often wildly exaggerated, and potency isn't even related to addiction or other health impacts. Nevertheless, the issue of what's in marijuana argues for regulation not against. Marijuana is consumed by nearly one in ten Californians annually. What they're consuming is of widely varying quality and may contain pesticides, contaminants, and unsafe adulterants. Regulation would provide a framework to control potency, provide for labeling and prohibit dangerous additives. Not only does prohibition provide no such protections, it drives consumers underground where the buyer must truly beware.Advocates of a mythical "drug free" world may want to put the genie back in the bottle, but we simply can't pretend, ignore or arrest our way out of today's realities. As this country learned by banning alcohol sales in the 1920s and '30s, prohibition of a widely popular commodity will never work. Marijuana prohibition causes more social harm than good in the form of mass arrests, wasted criminal justice resources, out-of-control youth access, and unregulated products consumed by millions. It's time to regulate adult use of marijuana once and for all.Stephen Gutwillig is the California state director of the Drug Policy Alliance.Source: AlterNet (US)Author:  Stephen GutwilligPublished: March 26, 2010Copyright: 2010 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters alternet.org Website: http://www.alternet.org/URL: http://www.alternet.org/drugs/146199/CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml

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Comment #10 posted by Hope on March 27, 2010 at 12:50:43 PT

It' going to be loud, as well as hot.
"No matter what you think about regulating marijuana for adult consumption, brace yourself for a blast of alarmist hot air from the drug war status quo, a nine-month onslaught of distortions, half-truths and real whoppers."
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on March 27, 2010 at 12:35:21 PT

The Scheduling will have to change...
and change quickly. Many, many of us have realized it is a stupid mockery of the whole thing for a very long time. Many others are realizing it too. If they don't want their big scheduling scheme to simply be a mockable mockery of worthless poppy cock... they'll change it. Hopefully, without making a big political show of showing us all how long they can drag against the really right thing to do.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on March 27, 2010 at 12:17:33 PT

Cheebs1 comment 6
If it passes, I expect it will be praised as the arrival of logic and sanity. Sometimes it's "crazy" bold people, like a lot of Californians, and a lot of both people up and down both coasts of this country seem to be, that make us see what we really need to see. That's why it's so important what happens there. That great, and brave awakening, as some might see it, should it happen, and I hope it will, will be emulated throughout the world. An outpouring of peace in, and into, a furious world, is what it can be. Of course, some places are so furious they can't be reached. But maybe they will learn. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 27, 2010 at 11:38:43 PT

Cheebs1 
It's just a civil citation in my state for under 100 grams and has been since the 70s. The maximum fine is $100.http://northohio.norml.net/law.shtml
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Comment #6 posted by Cheebs1 on March 27, 2010 at 11:12:47 PT:

Quick Question
Hey guys. Not trying to sound negative or anything but I was wondering about something. If California is successful this year does anyone know what that will do to our international treaties? Just wondering if that means that California could/would be invaded by UN troops. I hope this passes and it forces a reschedulization of our controlled substances. I think that if that were to happen we could avoid any problems. That is what most of us have been after for a long time anyway.
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Comment #5 posted by Had Enough on March 27, 2010 at 10:52:30 PT

Missed Part of Fox News Poll info...
Do You Agree With Californiaís Bid to Legalize Recreational Use of Marijuana?FOXNews.com When California voters head to the polls in November, they will decide whether the state will make history again -- this time by legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults. Do you think this is a good idea?

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Comment #4 posted by Had Enough on March 27, 2010 at 10:47:03 PT

Poll...Fox News
Thank you for voting!Yes. This is a state plagued by a budget deficit. If this can help close that gap, Iím all for it. 61% (50,381 votes) No. Marijuana is a drug, and itís illegal under federal law. The state should be keeping it out of reach. 33% (26,950 votes) Maybe, as long as it doesnít worsen the nationís drug culture. 4% (3,661 votes) Other (post a comment) 2% (1,592 votes) Total Votes: 82,584http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/03/25/agree-californias-bid-legalize-recreational-use-marijuana/

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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on March 27, 2010 at 10:45:25 PT

Interesting ?
US GA: Column: Mexico Drug Violence Anything But A New Storyhttp://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v10/n216/a07.html?397Pubdate: Sun, 21 Mar 2010
Source: Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus,GA)In the book "Trial by Fire" author Harold Coyle, a contemporary of Tom Clancy, envisions a scenario in which Mexican drug lords kill American government targets in order to pressure the United States to invade the Northern part of the country and establish a security "buffer zone." It's all part of a plot to discredit the Mexican regime and draw the United States into an embarrassing political fiasco. Does this sound familiar? Actually, the book was written in 1992, but it's an old tale. Certainly most Americans have heard of Pancho Villa, but most don't know that his deadly raid on Columbus, New Mexico, was designed to force an American invasion of Mexico to catch him. And we obliged, sending in General John J. Pershing. The resulting invasion did exactly what Villa wanted us to do: discredit President Venustiano Carranza, a man Villa despised. CONT.
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on March 27, 2010 at 10:27:20 PT

MARCH
US CO: OPED: Medical marijuana slugfest 
 Webpage: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_14766707-0-comments include dislike of having to decide and use only 1 dispnsary and be unable to change
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 27, 2010 at 08:49:49 PT

Off Topic: All Together Now
This weekend Showtime is open and coming on now is All Together Now. We saw the end of it early today and now will watch the whole show. I thought others might want to check it out.http://www.beatles.com/core/love/documentary/
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