Reefer Redux 

Reefer Redux 
Posted by CN Staff on September 22, 2006 at 09:05:28 PT
By Marshall Allen, Las Vegas Sun
Source: Las Vegas Sun
Nevada -- Although Nevada is known for normalizing alternative lifestyles, it has not been a kind place historically for pot smokers. In 2002 voters defeated an initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use by a 61 percent to 39 percent margin. In November they'll experience an electoral flashback when they decide on a similar ballot measure that would provide adults with legal access to the mind-altering drug.
The Regulation of Marijuana Initiative would make it legal for adults to purchase, for private use, one ounce of marijuana - the equivalent of a pack and a half of cigarettes - from special 21-and-over mini-marts. If passed by a majority of voters, it would regulate and tax the manufacture and sale of marijuana, with the revenue to be divided evenly between drug treatment and education programs and the state's general fund. The initiative also increases penalties for providing marijuana to minors and driving under the influence of the drug. The effort to legalize marijuana for recreational use is being financed by the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization striving to legalize pot nationwide. In Nevada, the Marijuana Policy Project is working through the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana. Neal Levine, the committee's campaign manager, said pot should be legalized because current laws banning the drug don't work. Marijuana is the most frequently used illegal drug in America, with an estimated 83 million Americans having tried the drug at least once, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Statistics show that almost half of 12th graders have tried marijuana, and about 20 percent are regular users. "We're not saying that marijuana is a good thing and people should do it," Levine said. "But since people do it, it creates an enormous criminal climate that finances bad people." Because there's apparently no way to stop marijuana use, and because so many people use the drug, it makes sense to remove it from the criminal market and put it in a tightly regulated, controlled market, Levine said. Selling marijuana still would be against federal law, but Nevada has a right to opt out of the prohibition, Levine said. While initiative opponents argue that could spawn a federal crackdown, supporters of the ballot measure dismiss that possibility. Levine said the Marijuana Policy Project chose Nevada to make inroads in legalizing marijuana because the state has a long history of being pragmatic and showing a libertarian streak. Nevadans have taken a live-and-let-live approach regarding brothels, for example, and gambling is the mainstay of the state's economy. "The people here are inherently more individually minded, willing to hear both sides of an issue and make pragmatic decisions," Levine said. But Nevada's Western brand of libertarian values have not historically extended to smoking pot, said State Archivist Guy Rocha. In the 19th and 20th centuries, when Nevada was the frontier, though marijuana was part of the cultural landscape, drug users were considered deviants, Rocha said. The frontier attitude, Rocha said, was: "You can drink, and you can gamble, and you can whore, but you better not be smoking dope." Between 1979 and 2001, Nevada and Arizona had the nation's toughest penalties for marijuana possession. In Nevada, it was a felony for the first offense for possession, for any amount of marijuana. The penalty was one to six years in prison and a $2,000 fine for offenders 21 and older. Nevada is "an unfriendly place for pot smokers, long-standing," Rocha said. Patrick Smith, the spokesman for a coalition that includes anti-drug, law enforcement and business groups called the Committee to Keep Nevada Respectable, called the Regulation of Marijuana Initiative "devastating" to what the organizations are trying to do. "In no instance is legalizing more drugs a solution," Smith said. Legalization proponents point to the burden that marijuana arrests place on the prison system, but pot users are not necessarily a large portion of the inmate population, Smith said. Under current Nevada law, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $600 fine. According to the Committee to Keep Nevada Respectable, only 200 of more than 17,000 offenders under supervision of the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation are charged with a marijuana offense. But marijuana use contributes to domestic violence, burglary, theft and other crimes, Smith said. "We've got so many social issues we need to talk about right now," Smith said, "and bringing more drugs into the home is not the solution." THUMBS UP:Legal marijuana could be regulated and taxed. And the revenue would be split between drug treatment and education programs and the state's general fund.THUMBS DOWN:Legalizing pot would send the wrong message, especially to young people. Foes argue that the drug contributes to domestic violence, burglary and theft.Note: Recreational pot initiative similar to failed 2002 measure.Source: Las Vegas Sun (NV)Author: Marshall Allen, Las Vegas SunPublished: September 22, 2006Copyright: 2006 Las Vegas Sun, Inc.Contact: letters lasvegassun.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Site:Regulate and Control Marijuana Screens - Las Vegas City Life Initiative: Internal Poll Finds Support Activist Criticizes Vote 
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Comment #8 posted by whig on September 23, 2006 at 13:17:07 PT
Let's host an online debate right now.Tell me what you think the format should be. I want to put together some ground rules and make people aware of it, and we can put them up on a blog.Challenge these liars to come show themselves and ridicule them if and when they do not.I'm doing a little bit by responding to the ONDCP propaganda so far, but you are right we need to take this farther. We need to put this right square in their faces and in everyone's sight.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on September 23, 2006 at 08:47:23 PT
I agree with you. I don't think any serious activist appreciates this. Oh the games people play.
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on September 23, 2006 at 08:14:58 PT:
'Playing games'...and playing people for suckers
FoM, all I have to do is use the search facility included in your front page, plug in the word 'stutman', and I get this: Stutman being the name of the ex-flunkie I mentioned. Notice the dates of the first 40 listings. This bulls**t has been going on for at least 5 years!IMNHO, this tomfoolery has been going on for far too long, and it plays into the hands of the opposition; Hagler ought to knock it off. The only person benefiting from playing the 'black-face' part in this latter-day minstrel show is himself. It's intellectually dishonest, demeaning and insulting of everyone who is behind bars tonight because of prohibition. 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on September 23, 2006 at 07:42:08 PT
A few years ago someone here on CNews said what you are saying about that debate series. I think it's a way for them to make money and also by now the DEA dude should be a convert and if he is playing a role that isn't what I am interested in. I don't play games.
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on September 23, 2006 at 07:35:21 PT:
Freewilks, many, many thanks for the link
And largely because I had made the same criticism that the author there makes of that misleading 'debate' show, and for the same reason, many years ago.It is not a true debate. It is a dog-and-pony show masquerading as one. And it does all reformers a terrible disservice.When the top leadership of both sides (not buffoons and ex-flunkies) stand on a moderated stage behind podiums before a live audience and national TV and let fly with everything in their arsenals, in knock-down, drag-out-with-trails-of-blood-on-the-floor verbal battles, then and only then will I grace it by calling it a debate. Because, a true debate is, above all, consequential. It settles, once and for all, any arguments in the public's mind. And that is, in a large part, why the prohibs are mortally terrified of doing just that. Because in the span of a single debate, a 92-year long multi-billion dollar national disgrace will be lifted up to the public's awareness and subjected to the scorn and ridicule that it richly deserves. It, and those who have supported it, will receive an equal measure of derision. The author of that article is bang-on target, and I cannot underestimate the importance of what has been written there. In the strongest sense possible, I urge that the reformer readership here avail themselves of Freewilk's generously provided link and read it themselves. And, and you prohibs? That "Heads versus Feds" roadshow doesn't represent the cognoscenti. What you're reading here does. Don't think that your little game can be encompassed by that execrable modern-day minstrel's show, in which I expect the 20th century version of 'black-face', the burnt-out hippie, to be trotted out at any moment. You're not dealing with clichéd Cheech-and-Chong 'heads' anymore.(Which, BTW, was always a parody and never meant to represent reality but to lampoon your version of it; that you took it seriously and used it as a means of propagandistic stereotyping is a measure of your ignorance and gullibility)'re dealing with us, now. And we're spoiling for a fight. If you truly have the strength of your convictions, then meet us in debate. Or, as my old Marine Da used to say, "admit you got nothin' 'tween your legs but air". C'mon, prohibs! Show us what ya got!
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Comment #3 posted by MikeEEEEE on September 22, 2006 at 11:59:26 PT
Drug War Vital Signs
As the drug war patient dies expect intense anxiety, increased respirations and heart palpitations. The drug war beast will scream, yell, create confusion, and lie in the final stages of life. It will go as far as associating the children with the issue in its final gasping breath. It's doubtful anybody will visit at the funeral. Not many people cared for a policy that has failed for decades.
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Comment #2 posted by MikeEEEEE on September 22, 2006 at 11:44:12 PT
Hiding behind the kids
The common policy of the prohibitionists is to cloud the issue using the kiddies. It has something to do with parent emotions and how they're manipulated.Remember Hitler used the kids when his last days were numbered.
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Comment #1 posted by freewillks on September 22, 2006 at 09:26:43 PT
The Great Marijuana Debate: Heads vs. Feds
I found this blog and it makes for great reading. kinda like a page out of Mason Tyvert's play book.Snipped:
Make the drug prohibitionists defend drug prohibition!A few choice harshing points for the thoughtful reformer's arsenal:If you support the war on drugs, you are in favor of our children having easy access (black market dealers do not ask for I.D.) to drugs that have gotten steadily purer, cheaper and more plentiful since the 1970s. If you support the war on drugs, you also support the cartels, kingpins, mobsters and gangs. Politics making for strange bedfellows, those whose livelihoods depend upon the protections and benefits of prohibitionist policies, are among the staunchest prohibitionists.
If you support the war on drugs, you must want yet another generation of our inner city youth to grow up fast and die young in an atmosphere of crime, degradation and fear, for the benefits of the long-established retail drug trade far outweigh any possible risks to those who are born into circumstances of limited opportunity. If you support the war on drugs, you also support organized crime and all the violence of gangsterism, which prohibition has enabled to become a highly diversified, multicultural enterprise.Don't let drug warriors get away with that "soft on crime" routine that frightens so many of our politicians. Prohibition is not just soft on crime, it creates it and it's helpful to it because the "war on drugs" is the ultimate de-regulation policy.Snipped:A realy good read.
The rest of the story
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