Voters Approve Marijuana Law 

Voters Approve Marijuana Law 
Posted by CN Staff on November 04, 2005 at 07:59:26 PT
By Jenny Mason
Source: Tiger
Colorado -- Denver, Colo. made headlines this Tuesday when they became the first American city to legalize the possession of marijuana. Approximately, 56,001 voters, 54 percent of total voters in Denver, voted to allow a resident over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. The law is entitled "The Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative" and is the first act taken to draw comparisons between the effects of alcohol and marijuana.
The campaign for the initiative focused on reports showing alcohol relating to violent crimes and a high overdose death rate, compared to marijuana which, according to the initiative, has no connection to violent crimes or any overdose related deaths.The initiative itself states that "the National Institutes of Health reports that an average of 317 Americans die annually as a result of alcohol overdoses. There has never been a single fatal marijuana overdose recorded in medical literature, as noted by the British Medical Journal in September 2003."The Surgeon General warns of possible effects of marijuana use, however. Among the known or suspected chronic effects of marijuana use, warned by the Surgeon General are short-term memory impairment, slowness of learning, impaired lung function similar to that found in cigarette smokers, decreased sperm count/sperm mobility and interference with ovulation and pre-natal development.In a Health People 2000 campaign, the National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention reported that nearly half of all deaths from motor vehicle crashes are alcohol-related. It also found that victims are intoxicated in approximately one-third of all homicides, drownings and boating deaths. Mason Tvert is the campaign organizer of SAFER, Safer Alternatives for Enjoyable Recreation, a Colorado-based non-profit organization that aims to educate about the harmful effects of alcohol use compared to the effects of marijuana use. Tvert has been lobbying for the legalization of marijuana for some time now. He believes that using marijuana has less harmful effects on someone as opposed to alcohol. "We educated voters about the facts that marijuana is less harmful to the user and society than alcohol," said Tvert in a CNN press release. "To prohibit adults from making the rational, safer choice to use marijuana is bad public policy."Students at Clemson are divided over whether or not to make possession of marijuana legal. "Doesn't it make you wonder why we are practically the only country left in the world with such antiquated, strict laws against marijuana use?" said junior Spanish and international trade major, Rebecca Dawsey. Some, like junior architecture major Dale Felton, argue that legalization of marijuana will not decrease crime rates, as Tvert believes it will, but add to the problems of society."Well i think it will only cause the further degradation of our society and create another problem like we already witness with alcohol," Fenton said.Though Denver is the first to make marijuana possession legal, other areas are taking actions against stringent marijuana-related laws. Currently, Oakland, Calif. and Seattle, Wash. with a few other college towns have already produced laws making possession of marijuana the lowest priority of law enforcement. Also, there are ten states, including Colorado that legalized marijuana for medical uses. There is currently legislation pending in S.C. for the legalization of marijuana for medical use. H.R. 2592, entitled "The State's Right to Medical Marijuana Act" was introduced in July of 2001 to provide medical use of marijuana. It also seeks to amend the federal Controlled Substances Act to allow physicians to prescribe and recommend marijuana for medical use where permitted by law. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that patients possessing marijuana for medical uses are not exempt from federal prosecution from the Justice Department for violating the Controlled Substances Act. It is yet to be seen how Denver's decision will affect the existing laws regarding marijuana in America.Source: Tiger, The (SC Edu)Author: Jenny MasonPublished: Friday, November 4, 2005Copyright: 2005 The TigerContact: editor thetigernews.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Safer Choice Is First City To Legalize Pot Voters, Issue was Freedom of Choice Issue Gives New Meaning To Mile High City 
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Comment #2 posted by Jim Lunsford on November 06, 2005 at 02:59:14 PT
Remember when?
They changed the speed limit to 70, and the police said, they would no longer allow people to get away with speeding? As if they could stop everyone from going over 70!When a decision is made, there will always be those who do not like it. Things are said, but after a bit of cool-down, the will of the people is obeyed. Unless, of course, it truly isn't the will of the people. I suspect that the police will discover the sky won't fall with the legalization of marijuana, and in fact, their job may become easier, and more full filling, as a result. All great ages appear to be the result of an increase in communication ability. This Information Age is simply the latest example. For most of us, if not all of us, these influxes of new ideas threaten at least some aspect of the skies of our lives.For so many people, ideas which used to be considered good, and which they supported as part of their "code" for living, are now considered unpopular, or even evil. Yet, I have discovered that I don't know any evil people. At least, not once I get to know them a bit better.I do know a lot of "ignorant" or "fearful" people. All of us fall into that category in some area(s) of our lives. For myself, the changes in this age have been far more than I would have ever imagined. Imagine the impact all of these changes have had on your life, and multiply that by about 6 billion (my guess on the world's approx. population). Is it any wonder the world is perceived as so chaotic, and evil by so many people?This flow of information has also historically changed those definitions of good and evil. With understanding, we change those distinctions. The interim, while notions or in their "death spasms" are often confused with our physical deaths. Sometimes this is true; examples can always be found to support any argument as "moral,” but usually people discover that it was just their ideas, and not themselves which were dying. In this age of ever-increasing complexity, there are many norms being changed.For myself, I have attached the symbolic meaning of compassion towards the use of Cannabis. In reality, it could have any meaning I choose to apply to its use. Perhaps, if we listened a bit to a message sent by the original Christian, we would learn loving our enemies is the same as loving ourselves. And that would be a really cool thing with me.I don’t believe I am evil. However, I am woefully ignorant and quite defensive of all of my ignorance. As are most people. Just a thought, how about hugging that person in the mirror today? Peace, Rev JimRev Jim LunsfordFirst Cannabist ChurchStranger: In “primitive” societies often the same word as “Enemy”
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 04, 2005 at 19:00:23 PT
AP: Columbia Pot Law Compromise in Works
 November 4, 2005 
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- One year after voters handily approved an ordinance that sharply reduces the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana, city police officers and prosecutors have joined the measure's chief backer to quietly push a compromise.The former opponents are saying little about their negotiations, which began earlier this year after Columbia police started a petition drive to overturn the new law. But the original supporters say the revised ordinance _ which will likely require City Council approval _ is designed to prevent repeat offenders and those charged with committing other crimes while holding pot from taking advantage of the more lenient sentencing guidelines.The new law, which was approved by nearly 62 percent of voters in November 2004, requires police to treat those possessing up to 35 grams, or 1 1/4 ounces of marijuana as low-level misdemeanor offenders subject to municipal court fines of no more than $250 _ a punishment essentially equivalent to receiving a speeding ticket.Should the offender stay out of legal trouble for another year, the conviction would be dropped.A related measure that allows seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana within the city limits was approved by nearly 70 percent of Columbia voters last year.On Tuesday, voters in Denver, Colo., approved an even more lenient pot possession law that allows residents over 21 years old to possess up to one ounce of the drug. The change may be little more than symbolic, though - authorities in the Mile High City said they plan to instead enforce more stringent state laws.University of Missouri-Columbia junior Bailey Hirschburg, a leader of the campus marijuana reform group, said the compromise is far better than the alternative of a ballot initiative generated by the measure's opponents."One of the things we had on our side last year was the (high) turnout," said Hirschburg, a Cape Girardeau native and local chapter president of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.The status of the police-driven petition drive is uncertain. Sterling Infield, president of the Columbia Police Officers Association, declined to comment, citing a mutual agreement with Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane and local civil liberties attorney Dan Viets. The police organization would need 2,275 signatures to put a repeal measure on the ballot.Hirschburg said supporters fear the results might be different in a non-presidential election, particularly if it were held in the summer when many students leave Columbia.That was the case in April 2003, when Columbia voters rejected a similar measure to effectively decriminalize pot possession.Crane, who represented Columbia police in negotiations with Viets, also declined to discuss the new proposal. Viets, though, said the compromise effort is driven by a desire to avoid another election on the merits of marijuana."Both sides would prefer not to have to go back to the ballot," he said.Should elected leaders approve the modified proposal, Viets said he doesn't anticipate further efforts by either side to tighten or weaken the city's pot laws."There is an element of trust that has to be involved in any negotiations," he said. "If we have an agreement, we anticipate both sides will abide by it."Mayor Darwin Hindman said he anticipates the measure will win approval by the city's elected leaders, given the advance work done by former foes Crane and Viets."That gives it pretty strong credentials," he said.Hindman said he has received a joint letter from Crane and Viets outlining the proposed changes but could not immediately locate it in response to a public records request by The Associated Press. State law gives public agencies up to three business days from the time a request is made to respond to such requests.Copyright 2005 Associated Press
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