Some Just Trying To Live a NORML Life

  Some Just Trying To Live a NORML Life

Posted by CN Staff on February 12, 2005 at 18:30:38 PT
By Chris Mcelveen 
Source: Tiger News 

Hopefully you already know the subject of this article; the title should have given it away. By the way, I came up with that title and I like to think it has a nice ring. If you haven't figured it out yet, the subject is the legalization of marijuana. Not some indecipherable, ridiculous rambling by a "pothead." No, this is different. This, my friends, is a well-researched piece filled with the facts that helped me form my opinion.
So what is my opinion? Anyone who knows me can tell you the answer to that one; I'm all for the legalization of marijuana, at least decriminalization. That is not to say I advocate the excessive use of drugs, but to each his own. I also do not think that marijuana, as with alcohol, usage is safe or wise in a variety of situations.Legalization is extreme and, as the name implies, would eliminate any criminal charge associated with usage and cultivation of marijuana. Several European countries have implemented various forms of legalization and have seen surprising results. Abolishing the "black market" for marijuana has reduced crime, and usage rates for youths in The Netherlands are lower than in the United States.A more plausible solution for the U.S., however, would be decriminalization. Decriminalization removes the penalty for personal use of marijuana, but maintains penalties for cultivation and dealing. This is not a new issue for Americans; former presidents have endorsed decriminalization and 12 states, including North Carolina, have decriminalized marijuana since the early 70s. The various bills and referendums in several of these states have passed overwhelmingly, in Oregon the vote was 2:1. No studies have found that marijuana usage increased in the states with forms of decriminalization.It is clear that we are in a new era when marijuana is no longer something to hide. Former president Clinton admitted to using marijuana and our current president has reportedly used much harder drugs. Marijuana is the third (following alcohol and tobacco) most used recreational drug in the U.S. Almost 80 million people have smoked marijuana and 11 million claim to use the drug regularly. The simple fact that so many Americans were willing to respond to these studies suggests that marijuana usage does not carry the same stigma it once did.How did such a popular and doctor recommended drug develop such a bad reputation? Marijuana has been grown for thousands of years and has been part of America's history for more than 400. Originally grown for the hemp used in ropes, sails, clothing, maps, and bibles, marijuana soon became a staple of the American economy. The same "moral majority" that banned alcohol and rears its ugly head again today worked very hard to change marijuana's image.African-Americans adopted the drug into the jazz community and usage picked up among Hispanic immigrant workers during the late 20's. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) began a smear campaign against marijuana shortly thereafter and pressured the eventual criminalization bills into Congress. An example of the misinformation perpetuated by the FBN is a bulletin released in the 30s that claims a marijuana smoker "becomes a fiend with savage or 'cave man' tendencies. His sex desires are aroused and some of the most horrible crimes result. He hears light and sees sound. To get away from it, he suddenly becomes violent and may kill."The only person who spoke before Congress and challenged the bill was Dr. William C. Woodward of the American Medical Association (AMA). Woodward was concerned that the committee had not researched the issue well enough and claimed that there was "no evidence" at that time to prove the dangers, or benefits, of marijuana. One hour, only 90 seconds of which was spent debating in the House of Representatives, was long enough to pass the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Roosevelt signed the bill on Oct. 1, 1937, marking the beginning of the end for marijuana use in the US.After the Vietnam War, it became clear that marijuana usage was part of American culture and was becoming the outlet for frustrated youth. In 1972, Nixon backed a panel that found the dangers of using marijuana to be lower than the dangers of being caught. In other words, as Jimmy Carter told Congress in 1977: "Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use."I simply ask that everyone look at all the facts before they make a decision on marijuana, unlike Congress. The arrest totals per year for marijuana exceed that of all violent crimes and are wasting taxpayers billions in police man hours, legal fees and jail space. I guess it is too hard to ask a president at war with the world to make peace with his own people.Source: Tiger, The (SC Edu)Author: Chris McelveenPublished: Friday, February 11, 2005Copyright: 2005 The TigerContact: editor thetigernews.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #7 posted by cannaman on February 13, 2005 at 09:12:17 PT

Well which is it legalize or decriminalize
This guys needs to be able to make a choice. Should we legalize or decriminalize! Don't be a hedger man, act like you have a pair and pick a side!!! That article was weak at best.
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Comment #6 posted by siege on February 13, 2005 at 06:59:04 PT

Governor Aims to Rehabilitate Prison System! OT
By embracing rehabilitation for felons, a strategy long given the cold shoulder in California prisons, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is veering sharply from the law-and-order mantra of his Republican Party.

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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on February 13, 2005 at 06:22:23 PT

Cut the kid a break. & DEAN.
We are talking, student, here.When the source includes: (SC Edu)it indicates it is a college, usually and We are blessed with them. They are young and represent the new kids who will help make change. Give them help not scorn. Also, those are great places to send letters to the editor.With that in mind, I just thought "Legalization is (NOT) extreme" and there are kind ways of helping the author know it.Those college writers are green but are trying to help while they are also very busy. There is so much to say about cannabis that it is easy to get some wrong or miss something or get them in the wrong order but a thinking kid will keep doing better and better...420Also, just from the headlines it seems Howard Dean is the new Democratic party leader. Let Us not forget this clip that follows since it is an example of someone using cannabis and not being hinderd or cancered etc... the stereotype doesn't fit like the glove the government has sown. CO: Aspen Recalls Dean's Stint As '70s Ski BumPubdate: Fri, 30 Jan 2004
Source: Denver Post (CO)Flashbacks Range From Dishwasher To 'Loser' ASPEN - Like so many other ski bums, the young Yale graduate didn't leave much of an impression on a town where even the biggest celebrities frequently fail to draw a second glance. But now that he is running for president, Howard Dean's 10 months in Aspen during the early 1970s have prompted the residents of Glitter Gulch to dredge their memories and scratch their heads. Continued, but a short time of trying to locate the archive isn't happening...
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Comment #4 posted by Nick Thimmesch on February 13, 2005 at 05:49:23 PT:

What happened to... a further reference that warrants the use of the term "NORML" in the header? No further mention is made of the organization that for over thirty years has already made -- time & time again -- the very points this rookie is awkwardly making in this so-called "opinion" piece. Perhaps the author needs to study his marijuana reform history a bit better and/or his editors should refrain from using the NORML name in the header but ignoring it in the article.
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on February 13, 2005 at 05:42:33 PT:

Uh...Babies and bathwater, folks
Mr. McElveen should get some major points for bringing up the historical context of this madness...and for good reason.Consider: how many articles on this matter ever go that far? How many inform the readership of the prejudicial origins of the issue? Those who read here regularly know it's a rare day indeed when anyone hears of this in any media. It's been said here time and again that if this example from America's past were displayed as the bigoted holdover from an ugly period of our history more often, the minorities amongst us would take umbrage...and do something about it. The proof of the pudding is that *some* of them *have* gotten the message and *are*:Drug War Statement by Civil Rights Leaders (with thanks to Pete Guither's DrugWarRant for republishing it) excerpt from the statement:*We who have participated in the civil rights movement know the power of creative, persistent, nonviolent resistance. We are committed to translating the lessons we have learned into invitations for action now, believing it is urgent to redress the grievances and correct the injustices of our present drug laws. We believe the war on drugs is a continuation of historic institutional racism, aimed at enriching those in power and impoverishing communities of color. The drug war is a war against the American people, particularly those who are young, poor, and people of color. In the words of William Douglas, it is "a slavery unwilling to die."The war on drugs has not only failed in its efforts to make America free of "illicit" drugs, but in the process has constructed laws that are highly unjust, racist in application, a threat to our constitutional rights and a danger to our public health. African Americans are estimated to be 13% of the total drug offenses, 59% of those convicted for drug offenses, and 74% of those imprisoned for drug offenses. The Justice Policy Institute's 2003 report states that 560,000 people are now incarcerated in the twelve state region from Louisiana to Virginia: "Today, the role played by slavery, convict leasing and the Black Codes. In every Southern state, African Americans were incarcerated at four times the rate of whites.*There's lots more, and every bit is good. The audiences whose help has always been needed to end this insanity, the ones most brutalized by the DrugWar - yet never seemed to know why - have heard the alarm clock. Articles like Mr. McElveen's make sure the snooze button isn't being hit afterwards.

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Comment #2 posted by elfman_420 on February 12, 2005 at 21:38:03 PT

Thank you ron
I didn't like this author from the start.
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Comment #1 posted by ron on February 12, 2005 at 21:09:56 PT

Decrim "a more plausible solution" for US?
I don't think so.Alcohol Prohibition is the decriminalization model.There were no penalties for users, just the providers. Not much success with that approach, as we all now know. 
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