Elimination of Marijuana Laws Smart, But Will Fail

  Elimination of Marijuana Laws Smart, But Will Fail

Posted by CN Staff on March 26, 2008 at 06:27:22 PT
By Matt Jividen, The Daily Cardinal 
Source: Daily Cardinal 

USA -- Welcome back, everyone. I assume many of you spent your breaks working on your suntan in some exotic locale. Personally, I stayed in Madison and watched snowfall top the century mark for the season. I did, however, between my long-hibernation-style sleep cycles find the time to watch a rather interesting episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher.”The episode featured a panel discussion, during which Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said the following: “It’s time for the politicians to catch up with the public on [the issue of marijuana].” He continued, adding his plans to introduce a bill to address the problem this week.
The proposed legislation, dubbed the “Make Room for Serious Criminals Act,” would supposedly end the federal government’s ability to arrest and prosecute responsible cannabis users.The new proposal would eliminate all federal penalties prohibiting the personal use and possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana. Adults who consume cannabis would no longer face arrest, prison or even the threat of a civil fine.In addition, this bill would eliminate all penalties prohibiting the not-for-profit transfers of up to one ounce of cannabis between adults. This bill will also cease federal law enforcement agencies targeting those using marijuana as a legal medical treatment under California law.Many are doubtful of the bill’s passibility, yet at the very least it is a step in the right direction. Although the medical marijuana issue has been hot as of late, this is the first decriminalization bill introduced in Congress in the last quarter-century.Even so, on a local and state level, several areas have replaced criminal sanctions with fines, including Madison and Milwaukee. Furthermore, a number of states, which collectively are home to over 1/3 of the nation’s population, have passed decriminalization legislation. These include Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon. New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts are expected to join the ranks within the year as well.Outraged yet? Apparently, you’re in the minority. A CNN/Time Magazine poll found that 76 percent of U.S. citizens support changing the marijuana policy so responsible adults who enjoy marijuana are no longer subject to humiliation, arrest and incarceration. Many people support changing marijuana laws on the basis that it is no more dangerous than other state-condoned substances. For others, it is a financial and social issue—perhaps people have realized that taxing a $6 billion-a-year underground industry could be an economic boon in tight financial times.Others are tired of paying for prosecution and incarceration for nearly 830,000 Americans who are arrested on marijuana charges each year, 89 percent of which are guilty of no more than simple personal possessions. And let’s not forget the large number of people who are productive and otherwise law-abiding citizens who don’t wish to be marginalized by the outdated and counterproductive prohibition.In theory, Frank’s bill should pass. However, Washington hypocrisy may once again stymie any progress. And before you start pointing any fingers, it is coming from both sides of the aisle.In theory, Republicans should support this legislation. The bill is, at heart, a state’s rights issue. States would be given the autonomy to make decisions based on the general constituency of the state, rather than be limited under the umbrella of federal mandates. Many readers may be too young to remember, but the Republicans are theoretically the party of small government and less federal oversight. The bill would decriminalize marijuana on the federal level, yet it would still theoretically leave the states with the final say. For example, there’s no federal law against mugging, yet mugging is illegal in every state because of a decision by the individual states. The prohibition on marijuana, on the other hand, is a federal law that supercedes any law made by individual states. Big government, anyone? Unfortunately, I assume the “moral obligations” of congressional Republicans will once again subvert the theoretical foundations of the party.Did you think I would let the Democrats off that easily? Not a chance. What they have done, in many circumstances, is literally criminal. Remember the 2004 presidential campaign? In a 2003 debate, John Edwards, Howard Dean and John Kerry practically fell all over each other admitting to past marijuana use. Joe Lieberman, who denied any allegations of drug use, did so apologetically. In 2000, Gore openly admitted to frequent marijuana use to calm his nerves while in Vietnam. Before Gore, former President Bill Clinton allegedly would have gotten high had he understood the mechanics of a joint—but, in all fairness, he was only a Rhodes Scholar.Given the circumstances, how is it then that the law remains? Is it not silly to keep a law on the books that the highest elected officials break with impunity, or even pride? Is it fair that the majority of users are more likely to end up in an eight-by-eight cell, while others unabatedly are free to become president? I would be less upset if these previous users made any attempt at legitimate decriminalization while in office, but, more often than not, the opposite happens. Even Clinton’s “attempted” drug use did not stop the marijuana arrests from soaring during his administration, nor did it stop him from signing a bill into law that revoked federal financial aid to students who had been convicted of drug offenses—no matter how small.Even current Democratic golden boy, presumptive nominee and self-described “frequent inhaler” Barack Obama has been hypocritical and inconsistent on the issue. While running for Senate in 2004, Obama told Illinois college students that he supported eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana use. Fast forward to October 2007 when, in a presidential debate, Obama joined other Democratic candidates in opposing the decriminalization of marijuana. I can’t remember the 2004 election too clearly, but I believe the Republicans had a hyphenated phrase describing that sort of thing…Hopefully Frank’s proposed legislation will start a long-overdue discussion in the country. Hell, maybe it will pass, but I wouldn’t count on it. Regardless, I’ll still write my senator and tell him to support the bill—and you should too. On the bright side, even if the bill does go “up in smoke,” I’m sure some of the more creative congressional democrats can find some use for all the wasted paper.Matt Jividen is a senior majoring in history. Note: Matt Jividen claims this legislation can be beneficial, even though it will not pass.Source: Daily Cardinal (U of WI, Madison, Edu)Author: Matt Jividen, The Daily CardinalPublished: March 26, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Daily Cardinal Newspaper CorporationWebsite: http://dailycardinal.comContact: opinion dailycardinal.comRelated Articles: Time To Legalize Marijuana Defends Proposal To Decriminalize Marijuana Frank Defends Proposal To Decriminalize 

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Comment #40 posted by FoM on March 27, 2008 at 06:28:52 PT

Paint with Light 
Thank you.
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Comment #39 posted by Hope on March 27, 2008 at 03:57:56 PT

Thank you! Now if I can get some of those to download.
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Comment #38 posted by Paint with light on March 26, 2008 at 23:38:23 PT

I'm teleporting some good vibes and positive energy your way.May you get all you need.Equal with alcohol is all we ask.
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Comment #37 posted by aolbites on March 26, 2008 at 19:51:52 PT

hope... here ya go, some b&w memories
I remember our first color tv it was a heathkit [sp?] it was so cool that my dad built it from a kit. Loved that thing ... think it might even still work wherever it is...----------------------------Bobby Darin American Bandstand: other named acts arn't there but the unlisted ones?
here ya go, there should be a few here:
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Comment #36 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 18:41:45 PT

Friendly Reminder: Beer vs. Weed 10: 30 PM
Lewis Black's Root of All EvilBeer vs. Weed - Ah, substance abuse. Though pot remains illegal, is it really worse than beer? Is it more evil to imbibe or inhale your vice? To decide, Paul F. Tompkins and Andrew Daly go head to head in the court of the honorable judge Lewis Black, the ultimate evaluator of evil.
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Comment #35 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 15:31:59 PT

That sounds like a good idea to me.
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Comment #34 posted by rchandar on March 26, 2008 at 15:00:58 PT:

What I Think
This article makes some convincing points. It is reasonable to assume that both Republican and Democrat would oppose decriminalization on moral grounds, because they are afraid of appearing "soft on crime." It's pretty hard to gauge Republican "laissez-faire" to the purpose of drugs laws because drugs challenge their conservative way of life; many exceptions, but the bulk of Republicans are middle or upper-middle class people who want to create an endless cycle of financial speculation around their new technologies and products, which are not "sinful" in nature and stand to earn them big bucks--the SUV, the iPod, the cell phone, the new housing project at $500,000 a house. In short, their philosophy is that materialistic things are good, are part of an ideal life that God gave them.The Democrats have always pussy-footed the issue of drugs legislation; they are characteristically afraid of appearing "soft on crime" in the post-Reagan Era. Many of our actions, and much of our sense of ethics, comes from Reagan; many people accept his dictates on social policy without question. The best thing to do is foster a bipartisan movement to decriminalize, away from the most powerful pols and based on politicians with a strong record of domestic/local service to the citizenry. Then the bill could be advertised, to generate public support. So then,clearly you have the people fighting "big government," and political ideology will be useful, not useless, to our purposes. We are getting close; MMJ bills have earned as many as 170 votes in the House, so we're chipping away.--rchandar
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Comment #33 posted by augustwest on March 26, 2008 at 14:22:34 PT:

nice festy ekim
That's a sick lineup. Will be doing this one for sure. The first year is usually the best for these mega festivals after 3 to 5 they usually start sucking. I'll be the guy selling the etched glass nug jugs, renegade of course. Should be a happy independece day to say the least. I'm stoked.
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Comment #32 posted by aolbites on March 26, 2008 at 13:54:43 PT

Marijuana Arrests For Year 2006 – 829,625 Tops Record High...Nearly 6 Percent Increase Over 2005 hadn't realized... 'doh
Marijuana Arrests For Year 2006
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Comment #31 posted by aolbites on March 26, 2008 at 13:49:09 PT

Impeach Bush!!
where did he get that 830000 number? last i saw was 730000?hahahaha the twist... my mom still does that now and then its hilarious. [sorry but it is *grin*]-----------------------------------------------------------send impeachment faxes at the expense of a long time republican:'s hoping for a multi-thousand dollar phone bill. $$$ quote:
“I’ll make a bold prediction right here and now.Get five digits worth of signatures on this petition and you give me a mid-four-digit phone bill this month.” …
“my cost isn’t much higher than 3 cents/minute - I have a very attractive bulk pricing plan on that line.A single run of THIS petition, because it hits the committees, tends to be an ALL DAY phone marathon.”
Impeach Bush!!
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Comment #30 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 13:46:13 PT

Yes it was first out of Philadelphia. We lived near Philly. 
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Comment #29 posted by ekim on March 26, 2008 at 13:43:56 PT

July 3, 2008 - Sunday, July 6, 2008 Rothbury FestivalDouble J
Rothbury, Michigan 49446 
(Yahoo! Maps, Google Maps)Category
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Comment #28 posted by Hope on March 26, 2008 at 13:33:37 PT

Memories in Black and White
It seems odd or artsy now.
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Comment #27 posted by Hope on March 26, 2008 at 13:31:41 PT

American Bandstand
So very many music legends performed on that show. I remember seeing many of them.Bobby Darin. Roy Orbison. Neil Sedaka. The Big Bopper. The list just goes on and on.
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Comment #26 posted by Hope on March 26, 2008 at 13:27:11 PT

My son's father was on American Bandstand one time
That is so cool!Philadelphia is where American Bandstand was televised from, wasn't it? It was so fascinating and wonderful to me.
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Comment #25 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 13:17:12 PT

I loved the twist. That was great exercise too. My son's father was on American Bandstand one time. That was a good show.
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Comment #24 posted by Hope on March 26, 2008 at 13:14:24 PT

Remember all the news reports and articles
of that time, referring to sacroiliac and other back damage from doing the Twist?
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Comment #23 posted by Hope on March 26, 2008 at 13:12:13 PT

at our age... or really any age, you have to be careful and not injure yourself.Don't forget to do the Twist... carefully...and warmed up, every once in a while. It's good for you, too.The Twist reminds me of being eleven and summer afternoons watching and dancing with American Bandstand.
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 12:59:34 PT

Yes I could but it is much more fun for me to dance to Rockin' in The Free World. I play a mean air guitar. No that's not true. LOL!
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on March 26, 2008 at 12:55:45 PT

You can dance to it. It is good for you.
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 12:53:06 PT

Thank you. I am not sick of it all yet. 
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on March 26, 2008 at 12:52:46 PT

Comment 16
True and beautiful.Thank you. 
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 12:52:07 PT

I don't know anything about him but since it is Rap music that would be why I haven't heard him I don't think. Rap is for younger people and I'm like Gallagher and am Stuck in the 60s! LOL!
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on March 26, 2008 at 12:47:01 PT

I like the Snoop,
He's a wonderful entertainer. He doesn't seem to be a particularly bad guy, to me. He reminds me of Bill Clinton, somehow. Probably both their reputations of renown as "Lady's Men" and "Womanizers". Even the Republican likes Snoop. 
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 12:39:16 PT

People that I have grown to love like you become the state in my mind. I am so glad we have become friends and shared so many moments of our lives. Can I say Yee Haw! I hope I spelled that right.This is Texas to me.Neil Young & Willie Nelson - 'Working Cowboys'
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on March 26, 2008 at 12:18:31 PT

There's no water within a hundred miles.
I done been bit by a rattlesnake... but don't count me out. I ain't dead yet!
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on March 26, 2008 at 12:17:12 PT

"We ain't dead yet!"
That sounds like Texana. I do declare, FoM, I believe some Texana has rubbed off on you!
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on March 26, 2008 at 12:13:38 PT

We do need some showers of blessings and any miracles are very much appreciated. You need some blessings, and perhaps some "Miracles", in the health department, no doubt. I'm praying, "Godspeed" to those blessings to your health and well being, FoM.Many will agree with me.
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Comment #12 posted by Dankhank on March 26, 2008 at 12:13:28 PT

great comments ...
I like the Snoop, but don't listen to his music. Afraid I would hear him sing approvingly about guns.I saw a tour film about him and it was pretty good.He is a laid-back stoner whenever I see him. Is it real? So far I give him the benefit of the doubt.Sam, your comment about jealousy is so good. It instantly made sense to me as I thought of Gnewt getting pissed, cause Clinton wouldn't let him go to the front ot AF1.Smarmy, snarky and nasty little men, (and women), who weren't the center of attention and have spent 40 years trying to prove it was bad. They shot all of OUR visionaries. What has to drive 'em batty is the burgeoning influence of the Sixties from then to now that can't be stopped.Obama is proof that movements from the sixties are still strong.
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Comment #11 posted by Sam Adams on March 26, 2008 at 12:10:58 PT

Fom, sorry to hear that - you mean sick as ill, or as in "sick of it all"?  Either way, I am sending positive thoughts and vibes your way!  You know how much we all appreciate your work on this great and important website.I know we'll win this struggle for change. You have to believe that goodness inside the human heart will triumph over the evil in the end.  That's what I believe. the process is already well underway, we are delivering ourselves from bondage right now, it's just a slow process.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 11:41:41 PT

I really like you. I believe things will change now. I have been very sick for a long time now. Only Hope knows how bad it has been. I want to see real Hope for this next generation so people can get affordable health care and decent jobs. I want all people to love living in America again.
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Comment #9 posted by Sam Adams on March 26, 2008 at 11:29:37 PT

FOM, as usual just being sarcastic, Snoop Dog is a notorious rapper/stoner who would be a terrible spokesperson.  But to the current young generation, he is probably the biggest symbol of cannabis use.Hey, I love Jimi and all the music from Woodstock. My point is, why are they punishing people for their cultural wars from 40 years ago? Must today's kids pay for the hatred people felt back in the 60s?  The right wingers are STILL jealous that the hippies got all the attention back in the 1960s. We all know that is the biggest reason cannabis is still illegal.Even with the shots of kids toking up, we still won the poll at 64%, I think people here see thru that stuff now.They don't have any video of people in business suit toking up because they'd lose their jobs. Hopefully at that will change in November. I think people will be coming out of the closet in droves once the maximum penalty is reduced to $100.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 11:23:36 PT

I have never listen to Snoop Dog (is he a singer) I really don't know. and I never liked Hendrix. What I mind in the video is showing young people smoking. That turns off people. They don't show people drinking in alcohol commercials.PS: My generation is still alive and there are many of us so Woodstock still means something. We ain't dead yet!
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on March 26, 2008 at 11:12:51 PT

Mass. video
this does include some prohibitionist babble, but overall seems like good coverage: wbz.dayport.comJust wondering - how long will we have to put up with the Jimi Hendrix/Woodstock stuff? Apparently it has lasted into another century, will they still be showing it in 2100?  can't they at least show a shot of Snoop Dog or something? 

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Comment #6 posted by unkat27 on March 26, 2008 at 11:02:24 PT

We need to debunk the lies and propaganda
Poiticians, like over-protective parents who don't quite get it, too often succumb to the pressure of the big lie promoted ad nauseum by the prohibitionists and drug warriors. The big lie they succumb to is the idea that cannabis is a gateway drug which could turn anyone and everyone's kids into hard drug users. I've given this plenty of thought and I am convinced that this big lie is the one that appeals to the prohibitionists more than any, because it appeals to the motherly instincts of millions of dumbed-down parents everywhere. No matter how it is spinned or debunked, in the end there is still the doubt, and its the doubt that gets to the mainstream moms and dads. When in doubt, they usually opt to play it safe, and in the case of cannabis, playing it safe to them means leaving it alone and not making any changes. Most that support decrim reforms have some adverse and dysfunctional experience with the bad laws against cannabis. All those that have no experience tend to oppose reforms out of dumbed-down doubts created by the endless stream of lies and propaganda.The vast majority need to understand the truth and so long as they are being dumbed-down by the lies and propaganda and can't see the truth, they may not support reforms.We need to stay vigilante and continue to push the truth. Legal cannabis under proper regulations is safer than illegal cannabis because it is not in the hands of greedy, careless and irresponsible black-market dealers.Cannabis is NOT the gateway to hard drugs, the greedy black-market dealers are. Take cannabis out of their hands and they won't continue to push crack and heroin on unsuspecting cannabis users.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 10:49:29 PT

I Love This
The Tide Is Turning
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 08:59:13 PT

Me too.
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Comment #3 posted by RevRayGreen on March 26, 2008 at 08:57:27 PT

Just once
I'd like to see an editorial by a college paper that is pro legalization but doesn't carry the 'doubting Thomas' message in the title/article.
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Comment #2 posted by goneposthole on March 26, 2008 at 08:01:35 PT

Irresponsible Politicians
The 'do as I say, not as I do' finger in the wind so-called politician does nothing except make things worse rather than better. "Yeah, I smoked cannabis, but it is more important to lie, cheat, and steal from the suckered taxpayer than it is to be honest and trustworthy."Obama is one of those politicians. Hillary is another. McSame is another. None can be trusted. Although, Ron Paul is excluded."Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools that don't have the brains to be honest." - Ben FranklinThey don't want to live up to their end of the bargain after they are elected. The supreme moral hazard at play. Suddenly, you don't count. I don't expect anything more from them. They need to be held accountable. They don't hold up their end of the deal. The propaganda machine against cannabis never stops. Politicians exacerbate the problem. At some point, it becomes a crime of omission.It's all good though. It can and will become a positive, in spite of untrustworthy politicians.Vote Ron Paul if you want leadership. Vote for the rest if you want to be deceived and swindled.Good to 'see' you all. Back to the real world, whatever that is.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 26, 2008 at 06:29:39 PT

Just a Comment
I know one thing that when we get a Democrat in power and more Democrats in congress this will pass in time. I believe in Hope and refuse to think that this can't happen. Yes We Can! 
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