Does Decriminalizing Marijuana Make Sense?

Does Decriminalizing Marijuana Make Sense?
Posted by CN Staff on November 26, 2007 at 08:42:53 PT
Point - Counterpoint
Source: Daily Iowan
Iowa -- Point: Enforcing Pot Prohibition a Waste of TimeWhile marijuana continues to be illegal under federal law, certain cities across America have taken local measures to decriminalize the intoxicant. Of course, these local ordinances are overridden by a national law that appears to make them pointless. But because marijuana is such a low priority for federal agents, it is not likely they will put much effort into enforcing the law. As such, it is beginning to seem that, in the eyes of law enforcement, the costs of marijuana's prohibition are greater than those of its legal use.
Even if unsuccessful in legalizing the drug within city limits, the effort among local governments to decriminalize marijuana are successful in sending a message to national lawmakers. We can only stand idly and watch as endless tax dollars are wasted on the enforcement of marijuana laws. Because it is unlikely that this will change at a national level any time soon, local politicians have taken matters into their own hands, as well they should. Time and again, the facts show that the health and social costs of marijuana are nowhere near substantial enough to validate the economic costs associated with prohibiting the drug. However, it seems the reluctance to campaign for the legalization of another intoxicant has thus far prevented national lawmakers from admitting the fatuous nature of the law.So, an obvious question presents itself: Should Iowa City join others in assigning marijuana the lowest law-enforcement priority? If it is in the best interest of the city to avoid the high and unnecessary costs of cannabis prohibition, then the answer is an unequivocal yes. Federal lawmakers have made it clear that such a law is, on a national level, not likely to be voted on - much less passed. As such, it is necessary to demonstrate to Congress that the country supports such a law. To that end, these local ordinances are not only citywide methods of saving tax dollars, they are a necessary step in the effort to decriminalize the drug on a national level. However, until more cities join in the fight, it seems we will continue to pour unnecessary funding into the black hole that is cannabis prohibition.* Erik Hovenkamp, DI Editorial WriterCounterpoint: Marijuana Laws Have Problems, But Rules are RulesSmoke; thin, vaporous, and without substance. A more apt description couldn't be made in regards to Denver's recent vote that made it legal to possess small amounts of marijuana or to Seattle and Oakland laws already on the books that make possession a low priority for police. What's lost in the haze of Denver's vote is the fact that it is still illegal to possess marijuana in the state of Colorado, which means people will continue to be arrested and charged for marijuana-related offenses. Municipalities may adopt laws that are stricter than the states', but not weaker; state authority presides over local.Occasionally, studies on the medicinal value of marijuana prove intriguing, as do studies explaining the drug's "safety" in terms of abuse potential or addiction potential in relation to cigarettes or alcohol. No matter the results of any research or how convincing such results may be the bottom line is this: Under U.S. law, pot is defined as a schedule I drug. The first two findings required for such a definition are that a substance has a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medicinal use in the United States. Arguments to the contrary are simply inconsequential, as are powerless local edicts. Federal law is the law of the land and until changed, must be observed.I agree that much more damaging drugs are being used in Iowa City and across our country and that resources used on apprehending marijuana users, sellers, and growers could be better spent on preventing assault, rape, and even terrorism. The problem is that current federal law exists for a reason, and until such law is eliminated or altered, it needs to be enforced out of principal and reason. Crime is crime, and there are no more or less acceptable forms of it.* Nate Whitney, *DI* Columnist and Editorial Writer Source: Daily Iowan, The (IA Edu)Published: November 26, 2007Copyright: 2007 The Daily IowanContact: daily-iowan uiowa.eduWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #14 posted by afterburner on November 26, 2007 at 21:58:27 PT
Fungible, D*mn It
CN AB: PUB LTE: Impaired Logic, The Calgary Sun, (24 Nov 2007) within to discover the folly of cannabis prohibition. The deadly consequences of current drug testing vs. a targeted approach.The question isn't legalize anymore. It's how legal? It's what boundaries are we comfortable with?
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on November 26, 2007 at 20:07:55 PT
You're welcome. I really have hope now. 
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Comment #12 posted by fight_4_freedom on November 26, 2007 at 19:51:59 PT:
Just what I would have expected
Thanks for the look up on that one.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on November 26, 2007 at 19:02:18 PT
I wanted to know if Jyl Lutes was a R or D so I did a google search and just as I thought she is a Democrat. 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on November 26, 2007 at 18:38:43 PT
They sure are changing. I am patiently waiting. 
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Comment #9 posted by fight_4_freedom on November 26, 2007 at 18:32:05 PT:
Medical marijuana worthy of supportJyl Lutes, city councilwoman
Salinas, CAThis Tuesday, the Salinas City Council will consider adopting an ordinance which will expressly prohibit the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries within the city.While this proposed ordinance does not prohibit qualified patients from possessing or using medical marijuana as prescribed by a physician, it will prohibit legal patients from getting their prescriptions filled at regulated dispensaries within city limits. The number of patients in California who rely on medical marijuana for treatment continues to increase as physicians have expanded the use of marijuana to treat symptoms of diseases such as headaches, spinal injuries, cancers, heart disease, arthritis, anorexia and depression.In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, which allows for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana. As of October 2006, 26 cities and seven counties in California have enacted ordinances to allow for the operation of dispensaries with stringent regulations in place to ensure both the protection of the community and meet the medical needs of legal patients.
Interestingly, additional regulations and police presence have prompted residents in Kern County, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Oakland, and Santa Rosa to report safer street environments with fewer drug-related problems than before the dispensaries operations were permitted within the area. I believe that local government does have a responsibility for the legitimate and legal medical needs of residents by providing patients with a safe means of acquiring prescription marijuana.-Wow, a city councilwoman making these statements?? Things are slowly changing for the better.
Salinas, CA
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on November 26, 2007 at 16:14:19 PT
Thank you for sharing it with us.
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Comment #7 posted by RevRayGreen on November 26, 2007 at 16:08:32 PT
Reply from Obama camp
via a myspace message I sent him :)Hi,Thanks for getting in touch about the
Senator's position on allowing severely ill patients to use marijuana
for medical purposes.Many states have laws that condone medical marijuana, but the Bush
Administration is using federal drug enforcement agents to raid these
facilities and arrest seriously ill people. Focusing scarce law
enforcement resources on these patients who pose no threat while many
violent and highly dangerous drug traffickers are at large makes no
sense. Senator Obama will not continue the Bush policy when he is
president.Thanks, Francesca   Obama HQ
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Comment #6 posted by observer on November 26, 2007 at 14:50:59 PT
re: Rules are Rules
re: Rules are RulesI see. His argument may be summarised as follows. "The law is the law." The actual question under consideration (i.e., "should the law be changed?") impinges not upon Nate Whitney, because, like the laws of the Medes and the Persians, the Law Changeth Not. (Etc.) To put it in a nutshell, Nate Whitney simply evaded the question. The question was whether or not the laws should be changed. The question wasn't whether or not anti-cannabis laws exist or not. 
Any fool can make a rule, and Every fool will follow it. -- Henry David Thoreau
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Comment #5 posted by RevRayGreen on November 26, 2007 at 14:43:49 PT
I'm all over
this one.......daily-iowan will now be on my email list.
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on November 26, 2007 at 13:07:02 PT
Smoke; thin, vaporous, and without substance.
Such is Nate Whitney's argument.Rules are rules?.....even if they are based in historical racism, corporatism, aimed at profiteering off of U.S.'s own citizens, even if the rules are corrupt, illogical, ill conceived, ineffective, unreasonably punitive, extremely costly and wasteful of money, detrimental to families and individuals?No, you are sadly mistaken Nate. A law is not necessarily justified by its own existence. 
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Comment #3 posted by BGreen on November 26, 2007 at 13:06:54 PT
Wow, both are really FOR decrim of Cannabis
The second writer believes cannabis could have medical benefits and that "resources used on apprehending marijuana users, sellers, and growers could be better spent on preventing assault, rape, and even terrorism."The second writer's conclusion, however, is not only a cop out, but it's a violation of our constitutional rights.Yes, it's illegal because the big bad federal government SAYS it's illegal, and even though I (Nate Whitney) have have shown there's no real good reason to criminalize this plant, we MUST continue to arrest and cage these cannabis criminals (that I (Nate Whitney) don't even believe really ARE criminals,) just because there's some unreasonable, irrational and therefore barbaric federal law that says we must.There are a lot of arcane laws still on the books that are comical in their absurdity, yet common sense prevails at every level of government and these laws are summarily ignored, NOT enforced solely because they remain the law.Boy, when the only reason left to arrest somebody for cannabis is because "it's the law," then there exists NO REASON WHATSOEVER to continue to arrest people for cannabis.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #2 posted by ekim on November 26, 2007 at 11:15:43 PT
Jack keeps going and going
http://www.jackherer.com II of Renewable Energy in America: A Global Outlook
Nov 28, 2007 through Nov 29, 2007
Washington, D.C.
The 2007 conference will broaden our perspectives once again, now looking at the global outlook on renewable energy and putting U.S. development in the context of worldwide circumstances.
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Comment #1 posted by boballen131313 on November 26, 2007 at 10:12:44 PT:
 The problem is that current federal law exists 
The Constitution provides for the States to have jurisdiction in this matter, NOT FEDERAL LAW. So if you want to get all warm and fuzzy about following the law...lets get serious about it and give back to the States the right and responsibility our Constitution provides them. Its as easy and simple as that and no matter how hard the DEA may bellyache about it, the law is the law...right?
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