Time for Serious Talk About Pot

Time for Serious Talk About Pot
Posted by CN Staff on June 25, 2005 at 05:12:39 PT
Source: Metrowest Daily News
Massachusetts -- A recent report that Boston leads the nation in marijuana use seemed to be greeted more with laughter than concern. "Hub goes to pot," the Boston Herald's front-page headline screamed, "We are the highest city in the U.S!"    Other media outlets reacted with a similar mix of bemusement and civic pride at the news from a federal agency that 12 percent of Massachusetts adults had smoked marijuana within the last month. The reaction is perhaps unsurprising, given the numbers. If that many residents are regular users of an illegal drug, it's hard to paint it as a serious threat.
The problem is that the law takes it seriously indeed. According to the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition, more than 2,100 people are arrested each year in Massachusetts for marijuana possession, costing taxpayers some $24 million. The idea that people don't go to jail for marijuana is a myth: Across the country there are thousands of people serving time for getting caught doing what 12 percent of metro Boston residents did in the last month.    As a general rule, when a law is that commonly violated, there's a problem with the law. State legislators, typically too afraid of being called "soft on drugs" to even entertain reform of marijuana laws, should take a lesson from the rate of marijuana use and the less-than-alarmed response to it. Arresting, trying and locking up people for possession of a drug used safely by millions of people is no laughing matter.    There is serious discussion to be had about the topic treated so lightly when the federal report came out. The debate over medical marijuana rages. Emboldened by a recent Supreme Court ruling, federal agents this week raided three California cannabis clubs that for years have been giving seriously ill people the medication they need.    The abuse of marijuana by teenagers is also serious business. There is ample evidence that pot isn't good for brains that are still developing. Local middle- and high-school students report that it's easier for them to get hold of marijuana than alcohol, which should provoke a discussion over which is more effective at protecting children, prohibition or regulation. Marijuana is no joke, and serious leaders shouldn't treat it like one. The Legislature's Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse will hold a hearing Monday on legislation making adult possession of marijuana a civil violation instead of a criminal act. That's a good place to start a serious discussion.Source: Metrowest Daily News (MA)Published: Saturday, June 25, 2005Copyright: 2005 MetroWest Daily NewsContact: mdnletters cnc.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:MassCann Follow Searches in Marijuana Raids Hub Goes To Pot - Boston Herald
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Comment #9 posted by kaptinemo on June 26, 2005 at 04:18:13 PT:
The Great Disconnect, illustrated
We've been talking about this for years; this author has nailed it bang-on.The public's perception of cannabis ("Ha-ha, look at the funny stoners!") has been the same for years. The fact that the most common epithet used against cannabists is the decades-old stereotype of (harmless, incompetent and ineffectual) Cheech-and-Chong is proof of this. That fact is, and this is what's so amazing, that cannabists CROSS ALMOST EVERY DEMOGRAPHIC LINE IN THIS COUNTRY. Indeed, it could be said that cannabists ARE the *single largest demographic* in America. With the commonly repeated (and, IMHO, too conservative) estimate that 70-90 millions Americans having tried cannabis, with no ill effects - save that of being caught.And, as Shakespeare would put it, therein "lies the rub." As the author points out, the legal sanctions against it have grown in ferocity and viciousness far outside of the original 'decrim & fine' scheme that existed back when the vast majority of people first used cannabis. Most think it's still 'slap on the wrist' when it's now 'draw and quarter!'This is The Great Disconnect. And it has been used effectively by prohibs and their LEO allies. The pols have had a large hand in this as well, naively never questioning - or ingenuously feigning ignorance while knowing the ultimate price and seeking to benefit from it - of ratcheting up the penalties for possession and use when there never was any reason for it at all.This is the first author I know that has had the *huevos* to stand up and state what we have been saying for years. More proof of progress. Remember the tale of Br'er Bear, Br'er Rabbit and the Briar Patch? That's just where the antis have thrown us; all the recent attention cannabis has gotten has caused the public to take a look at what has been happening behind their back for years.Well, now, it's not just a briar patch, but a tar baby, too. The media focus on cannabis and the patients will cause the antis to become even more bound up trying to justify their insane policies, demonstrating for the public just how stupid those policies are. And with the advent of Sativex, a major plank of the anti platform has just come into question; they must now concede that Sativex is indeed 'liquid marijuana' and that cannabis therefore ALWAYS HAD MEDICINAL PROPERTIES. The more they fight, the more they get stuck to the odious tar-baby of prohibition. And the more obvious this becomes, the more articles like the above one will be published showing this. As the editorial content of major media outlets have shown (since the SC made it's 21st Century Dred Scott decision of remanding the matter back to the Congress to decide cannabis legality in general) that public sentiment is with us.After all, with 70-90 million Americans technically criminals, and with the public beginning to see what the minions of The State sadistically enjoy doing does to such, they are starting to wake to the fact that there's a target on their back...and the guys drawing a bead on it tend to show no mercy.
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Comment #8 posted by John Tyler on June 25, 2005 at 17:38:25 PT
In my local news
This week in our area, there was a bust of two oriental guys who were operating four grow houses. The garden supply center where one of them bought 1,100 growing containers tipped of the local police. (He should have probably bought in smaller quantities and always paid in cash.) Anyway, the article said the cops were impressed with the professional way the grow op was set up and they characterized the cannabis as being the “good stuff”. And this quote from one of the cops is so strange, “From a distance it looked like they had a fog coming off of them. It’s an awesome thing to see. It’s like they were glowing.” There was none of the usual anti cannabis BS in the article. I thought it was strange that even the cops grudging recognized the power of this wonderful plant before they destroyed them. 
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Comment #7 posted by jose Melendez on June 25, 2005 at 14:58:06 PT
pause for thought: careful what you ask for
Proof: Hard on Pot Means Soft on Cocaine, Heroin from MTF are reasonably consistent in showing a general decline in marijuana use during the period 1979-1992. This is so regardless of what prevalence measure is chosen; regardless of whether past month use (usually referred to as current use), past year use or lifetime use is considered. (snip)The MTF survey has documented that shifts in attitudes about the perceived risks associated with the use of marijuana preceded the downward trend in marijuana use (Bachman et al., 1988). Perceived harm and risk in MTF survey seem to lead prevalence rates by at least a year. When perceived harm and risk go up, prevalence rates the following year tend to decrease; when perceived harm and risk go down, prevalence rates the following year go up.As a final measure of change since 1992, we examined perceived availability of marijuana. Looking first at the youngest in the MTF, the 13-14 year old students, 42.3% felt, in 1992, that marijuana was 'fairly easy' or 'very easy' to get. In 1993 this had gone up slightly to 43.8% but in 1994 it rose dramatically to 49.9% (about one out of two 13-14 year olds responding that marijuana is 'fairly easy' or 'very easy' to obtain). Between 1992 and 1994 the rise is 7.6% and an increase of about 18% over the 1992 base. For the 15-16 year old students, 65.2% in 1992 believed marijuana 'fairly easy' or 'very easy' to get. For 1993 this figure was 68.4% with a large increase to 75.0% noted in 1994. The rise for the two year period is a remarkable 9.8% and the increase over the 1992 base is 15%. Of the 17-18 year olds students in 1992, 82.7% perceived marijuana to be 'fairly easy' to 'very easy' to get. The 1993 and 1994 figures are 83.0% and 85.5%. Thus there is an increase of only 2.8% in the two year period and a 3.4% increase over the 1992 base. Nevertheless, when 85.5% of 17-18 year old students believe an illegal substance is fairly to very easy to obtain there, at a minimum, should be pause for thought.(snip)Since 1985, the data show an increase in cocaine related deaths from 717 to 3910 in 1993 (a 450% increase), and for heroin/morphine related deaths from 1433 to 3805 (a 165% increase). - - -Meanwhile, the very officials sworn to protect and defend us all will look you in the eye from their perch at C-Span and swear that approved drugs are safer than pot. Of course, drug manufacturers support such false claims, even as they make billions covering up harm from dangerous and defective products that kill over a hundred thousand citizens every year:- - -The False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq., provides for liability for triple damages and a penalty from $5,500 to $11,000 per claim for anyone who knowingly submits or causes the submission of a false or fraudulent claim to the United States. The statute, first passed in 1863, includes an ancient legal device called a 'qui tam' provision (from a Latin phrase meaning 'he who brings a case on behalf of our lord the King, as well as for himself'). This provision allows a private person, known as a 'relator,' to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the United States, where the private person has information that the named defendant has knowingly submitted or caused the submission of false or fraudulent claims to the United States. The relator need not have been personally harmed by the defendant's conduct.
Got Corruption? It shows . . .
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Comment #6 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on June 25, 2005 at 14:29:24 PT
"Soft" on drugs
This whole thing about the fear politicians have of seeming "soft on drugs" seems to be the biggest thing about prohibition which is making it drag on seemingly forever. There has to be some way a politician can endorse a policy which is not an all-out drug-war escalation without fearing to look "soft on drugs". Its especially weird considering how many of them receive massive campaign contributions from drug companies...
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Comment #5 posted by whig on June 25, 2005 at 10:28:24 PT
Lessons are repeated until learned
Yes indeed.
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Comment #4 posted by billos on June 25, 2005 at 09:33:31 PT
History repeats again...............
I believe that in the 20's just before the back of prohibition broke there was an all out assault by the fed on liquor manufacturers. One can easily find pictures of agents taking axes to barrels of booze. They really believed thay were doing the right thing.Lessons are repeated until learned. Our government hasn't learned a thing.
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Comment #3 posted by Patrick on June 25, 2005 at 09:33:07 PT
SoberStoner I agree
In my opinion the Supreme Court decision pointed out the flawed logic of prohibition for all to see. All the Supremes did was to confirm the existing law that says “it’s ok to lock people up for marijuana possession.” If we want to change this “poor law” we must elect “lawmakers” willing to change the law. Responsible tobacco and alcohol consumption is not a crime in of itself so why something like cannabis gets treated as such is sheer lunacy and a waste of precious law enforcement resources? Once the law is changed then no patient should ever fear arrest by the police again for responsible self administered use of cannabis. One poll I saw a short time ago said 98% of the people polled agreed that we should not arrest patients on a cannabis treatment program. Politicians will adopt what the people support especially with 98% popularity. It’s not about being soft on drugs and crime it’s about decency and compassion and laws passed with those principles will win out over laws passed with the principles of restriction and control causing harm. Arresting doctor approved patients for seeking relief with cannabis is a bad law and politicians can win by agreeing with that point of view and then changing that specific law for starters and still not necessarily be seen as “soft on crime and drugs.” This was a good article because it calls for some serious discussion. Our laws and the politicians passing the laws won’t change without serious discussion of the facts instead of the lies. In my humble opinion the facts are in our favor not the prohibition camp!
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on June 25, 2005 at 07:27:39 PT
Come Party...
In a field of hemp...Craik,Saskatchewan - Sat,August 20th:
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Comment #1 posted by SoberStoner on June 25, 2005 at 07:16:28 PT
Stories like this make me smile.Slowly but surely, our voices are getting louder, and the government just keeps pushing us to the forefront.More articles like this, and soon our voices will be impossible to ignore any longer.
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