The Farcical War on Marijuana

The Farcical War on Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on May 10, 2005 at 06:56:19 PT
By Rich Lowry
Source: Press-Telegram 
As the nation's "drug czar," John Walters is supposed to be saving us from the ravages of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. At least that was the original sales pitch for the "war on drugs' in the 1980s. But the war has evolved into largely a fight against marijuana, which no one has ever claimed is a hard drug. Walters is nonetheless committed, Ahab-like, to arresting every marijuana smoker in the country whom law enforcement can lay its hands on.
It used to be that drug warriors denied that marijuana was much of a focus for them, because they understandably liked people to think they were cracking down on genuinely dangerous, highly addictive drugs. No more. We are waging a war on pot, a substance less addictive and harmful than tobacco and alcohol, which presumably friends of Walters enjoy all the time with no fear of being forced to make a court appearance. According to a new report by The Sentencing Project, in a trend Walters heartily supports, annual drug arrests increased by 450,000 from 1990 to 2002. Marijuana arrests accounted for 82 percent of the growth, and 79 percent of that was for marijuana possession alone. Marijuana arrests are now nearly half of all the 1.5 million annual drug arrests. Marijuana-trafficking arrests actually declined as a proportion of all drug arrests during this period, while the proportion of possession arrests increased by two-thirds.Has the use of other drugs declined, prompting the focus on marijuana? No. According to The Sentencing Project: "There is no indication from national drug-survey data that a dramatic decrease in the use of other drugs led to law-enforcement agencies shifting resources to marijuana. Indeed, there was a slight increase in the use of all illicit drugs by adult users between 1992 and 2001. Over that same period, emergency-room admissions for heroin continued to increase." Drug warriors simply think it's a good thing in and of itself to arrest marijuana smokers.Their crusade bears little or no connection to law enforcement. Crime generally has been declining from 1990 to 2002, even as pot arrests have increased. Are we to believe that crime is at its lowest rates in 30 years, but the nation is beset by rampaging marijuana smokers who are kept under minimal control only by ever-increasing arrests? Every major county in the country, except Fairfax, Va., saw an increase in marijuana arrests during the past 12 years. That Washington, D.C., suburb has not been notably overrun by hemp-crazed hordes.The fight against marijuana isn't even working on its own terms. According to The Sentencing Project, since 1992, the price of marijuana has fallen steadily, declining by 16 percent. In 1990, 84.4 percent of high-school seniors said it was easy to get marijuana. In 2002, 87.2 percent said it was easy. Daily use by high-school seniors tripled from 1990 to 2002, going from 2.2 percent to 6 percent  the same level as in 1975.As Allen F. St. Pierre, executive director of the pro-decriminalization group NORML, puts it, "Increased arrest rates are not associated with reduced marijuana use, reduced marijuana availability, a reduction in the number of new users, reduced treatment admissions, reduced emergency-room mentions, any reduction in marijuana potency, or any increases in the price of marijuana." Besides that, the war on marijuana is a smash success.Marijuana is not harmless, and its use should be discouraged, but in the same way, say, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day should be discouraged. The criminal-justice system should stay out of it. Twelve states have decriminalized marijuana to varying degrees, fining instead of arresting people for possessing small amounts. They recognize that  as the authors of a new study for the conservative American Enterprise Institute argue  "the case for imposing criminal sanctions for possession of small amounts of marijuana is weak."John Walters, of course, will have a ready answer for the ineffectiveness of the war on marijuana. It's the answer drug warriors always have  even more arrests.Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review. Newshawk: MayanSource: Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA)Author: Rich Lowry Published: Monday, May 09, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Los Angeles Newspaper GroupContact: speakout presstelegram.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:NORML Sentencing Project Becomes Focus of Drug War Behind 45 Percent of U.S. Drug Arrests 
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Comment #14 posted by RadicalRuss on May 12, 2005 at 17:01:38 PT:
So what are we gonna do about it?
40% of the American population admits to having at least tried marijuana at some time in their lives. 10% smoked at least once in the past year, 6% are "regular users" who've smoked at least once a month.6 out of 10 North Americans believe criminal penalties for simple possession and use are wrong. 10 states have regulated medical marijuana and 31 states have recognized the medical efficacy of marijuana.We've got the numbers. We've got the truth on our side (go see for tons of stats). So what do we do?1) Whenever, wherever possible, come out of the smoky closet. Let people know you're a stoner and not some awful, stinky, unproductive, Cheech & Chong stereotype (if you *are* a stereotype, then STFU). Gays didn't start getting rights until they "came out"; we won't either.2) Program your state and federal senators and representatives office phone numbers into your cell phone (or write 'em down on a Post-It near your landline, if you're still in the 20th century.) Call them and tell them how you feel. Right now is a good time to call your Rep., because Barney Frank has a bill in the House to reschedule marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II. If you're complaining about the law and you've never called a legislator, I have no sympathy for you.3) Donate money to leading marijuana political causes. Go to or or whatever pro-pot cause suits you best. Most will take donations over the net, auto-deducted from checking or PayPal. If you can afford that $300/oz weed, you can afford a $5 or $10/month contribution to the cause.4) Know your rights. Go to and get the DVD "Busted: A Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters". Make every single potential marijuana arrest a nightmare for law enforcement. Or just remember these three simple sentences:  a) Why are you pulling me over, Officer?
  b) No, I do not consent to any searches.
  c) Am I free to go now, Officer?5) Educate yourself. Knowledge is power. The truth shall set you free."Radical" Russ Belville --
Radical Writ - Because Freedom & Liberty are Non-Negotiable
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on May 11, 2005 at 08:53:18 PT
 Rick Steves: A Voice Of Sanity 
Thank you, Afterburner.
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Comment #12 posted by afterburner on May 11, 2005 at 01:12:37 PT
Happy Trails, Discover the World
US: Web: Rick Steves: A Voice Of Sanity{"Getting High is a Little Like Cuba: When the Government Says 'No', You've Just Got to Go There" {Rick Steves is a travel guide and writer who lives in Edmunds, Washington, and spends about 100 days a year in Europe. His TV shows on PBS are seen by millions of viewers like you. He is in his late 40s; sandy-haired, bespectacled, intelligent, and so calm that he seems slightly bemused even when he's expressing outrage. A family man, a church-goer, pragmatic {Two years ago Allen St. Pierre of NORML noticed Steves's name on the membership list and invited him to join the advisory board and to talk at the annual meeting. "I took my pastor out for a walk," said Steves on that occasion, "And I explained to him that there's a lot of good Christians who find marijuana actually helps them get closer to God... I think that was an accomplishment there: to find a leader in your community who respects you, but would be disinclined to understand what you're doing, and take the time to explain to him. I'm trying to do that and I think we all need to do that." {At this year's NORML meeting in San Francisco, Steves reprised his practical advice in a keynote talk, excerpted below. Is there anyone better suited to begin guiding this country towards sanity?}
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Comment #11 posted by goneposthole on May 10, 2005 at 21:02:42 PT
In 1970
It was 10 dollars an ounce for good pot. 500 dollars for a pound of Mexican is still too much. I don't buy whole ounces at 480 dollars an ounce. In 1970, a VW was priced at 1199.00 dollars, now one is 19.000 dollars. Your dollar is worth 1/10 and less of what it was in 1970. Hence, the increased cost. In 1970, an ounce of gold had a value of $35.07, today it was 427 USD.  427/35 = 12.2. Your dollar is worth one-twelfth of what a dollar was worth in 1970 for an ounce of gold. Gas was 19.9 cents.I suppose you can buy Nebraska feral hemp for little or nothing, but you won't enjoy the smoking experience nearly as much.I smoke less of the killer bud, not because it costs too much (although, the cost is way too high), but because it is good. One hit is plenty. It also does wonders for my aching back and my teeny, tiny brain. Smoke a 1/16th or 3/4 of schwag, what would you rather have?Canned Vienna sausages aren't New York strips.
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Comment #10 posted by b4daylight on May 10, 2005 at 16:14:28 PT
Comment #1 posted by goneposthole on May 10, 2005 at 07:05:45 PT
price of marijuana is down 16%?
 a dime is still a dimealthough I think wholesale is cheaper.The dea quoted saying 500 bucks a pound in Arizona
most likely brick bud.I actually belive this I would guess more like 800 bucks 
that would be 50 bucks an oz. As for how easy pot is to aquire here I would say for me impossible since I do not use it or tried to buy it here in the United States.
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Comment #9 posted by runderwo on May 10, 2005 at 15:13:05 PT
Here in Missouri, it's been $40-50/quarter, whether it's kb or ditch weed.
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Comment #8 posted by AgaetisByrjun on May 10, 2005 at 14:01:41 PT
I might add...
Virginia is smack dab next to DC, right under the Feds' noses.
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Comment #7 posted by AgaetisByrjun on May 10, 2005 at 13:58:34 PT
Prices are completely unchanged where I am
$50/eighth, $240/ounce in Virginia for nuggets, $30/eighth and $160/ounce for brick weed (although brick weed can be better than KB, I've found: got a cheap eighth the other week and it was the best pot I've ever had). This is the same as when I first started (although $20 grams have completely disappeared, which means it's actually much cheaper).Of course, if you've got the right connections, you can get fresh nugs for free...
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Comment #6 posted by goneposthole on May 10, 2005 at 10:45:34 PT
and so, it has come to this
The Republic is gone as we once knew it. The District of Crime is as corrupt and vile as any in all of history. The President, a pariah in Europe and Russia, and the ignorant Congress have made things worse across the entire world by waging war on anything and everything. When US forces come near a village in Iraq, the entire town switches out its lights and becomes black to warn other villages that the US forces are coming. They are planned and ready for the American invaders. They have had enough. They know that they are not liberators, but are now heavily armed bandits. It is not going to get better in Iraq, only worse... until the Americans are gone.The price of gasoline in London is 8 dollars per gallon. That, without a doubt, is hyper-inflation. When you have laws that punish those who are non-violent users of a harmless plant, you become the violent criminal. The deaths of people like Tom Croslin, the couple in Wisconsin that committed suicide, the high school youth in California that committed suicide after being arrested with some cannabis and the other 720,000 people each year who are arrested for minor possession is State sponsored terrorism and criminal from the getgo. You are among the victims like the Iraqi population that is rejecting the US presence in Iraq. Make no mistake about it, no matter how much the MSM sugar coats the events in Iraq, it is not the real situation, no way, no how. The use of picture phones in Abu Ghraib brought forth the evidence of the abuse and torture of Iraqi nationals at that prison. Donald Rumsfeld has ended the use of cell phones with cameras.NEWS, AUSTRALIA - Mobile phones fitted with digital cameras have been
banned in US army installations in Iraq on orders from Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld, The Business newspaper reported today. Quoting a
Pentagon source, the paper said the US Defence Department believes that
some of the damning photos of US soldiers abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib
prison near Baghdad were taken with camera phones.the link is now dead, don't want to get damning stories out there about evidence that exists to prove guilt of wrongs committed:,10117,9643950-401,00.htmlThe same kinds of stories exist and take place in American prisons every single day in the United States and never make the light of day.It all has to end. The drug war, the war in Iraq, the corruption that exists in the US government that is over-flowing all must stop. It is enough to choke an ox, and yet it goes on and on.At 480 dollars per ounce for good bud, I'll buy it to regain my sanity. What is happening to America is insane. Enough is enough.
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Comment #5 posted by jfrolang on May 10, 2005 at 10:09:31 PT
perhaps the price is adjusted a percentage of the GDP or corrected for inflation. That's the only thing I can think of, because I've never seen the actual price go down.
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Comment #4 posted by stoner spirit on May 10, 2005 at 09:37:09 PT:
Price of cannabis
Haa!, when I was living in Austin about a year ago, I had to pay at least $60 in oz. That's the shwaggy stuff, and $20 for a gram of the really good stuff. The price of cannabis isn't at an all time low, if it was, then I'd be paying much less for the junck, and maybe a few dollars more for the good buds.
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on May 10, 2005 at 09:34:08 PT:
What GonePostHole said
Maybe in weed-drenched California it's cheap, but 15 miles from Beast HQs it's still too bloody expensive, up to $500 an ounce. While heroin is $4 a pop. Yessir, lotta great efficiency in our DrugWar!
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 10, 2005 at 08:59:05 PT
Same Article from The National Review
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Comment #1 posted by goneposthole on May 10, 2005 at 07:05:45 PT
price of marijuana is down 16%?
That is a bald-faced lie. The price of cannabis is at an all-time high.
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