Should Marijuana Be Legal?

Should Marijuana Be Legal?
Posted by CN Staff on July 31, 2008 at 05:59:15 PT
Staff Report
Source: The Daily Voice
New York -- That's a question that will be debated in public now that Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) has introduced a bill that would remove federal penalties for personal marijuana use.Speaking at a press conference Wednesday in support of the legislation, HR 5843, Frank said we "should not lock people up" or use federal resources to stop people from using marijuana unless they are harming someone else or engaging in excessive behavior.
The new bill would eliminate federal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams (about 3˝ ounces) of marijuana, and for the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce of marijuana.Representatives from the drug reform lobby, including the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), all support the legislation. But the Bush Administration does not.Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of NORML calls the legislation "the first time in a generation" that Congress is taking a "serious look" at reforming components of cannabis prohibition laws.St. Pierre also praised Congressional Black Caucus members who took part in the press conference, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and William Lacy Clay (D-MO). The two CBC members argued that marijuana laws unfairly target African-Americans for arrest, and Clay blamed "a phony war on drugs" for "filling up our prisons, especially with people of color."But representatives from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) attended the press conference to rebut the claims that marijuana is safe, even for medical purposes. Groups Say Marijuana Is Safe Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America, behind alcohol and tobacco, according to NORML. The group says nearly 80 million Americans have used marijuana and points to government surveys indicating that 20 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year."Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco," says NORML. According to statistics on the group's web site, more than 400,000 die each year from tobacco smoking and 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. But marijuana, on the other hand, is "nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose."The federal government does not agree. "Marijuana is the blindspot of drug policy," said John Walters, director of national drug control policy. "Baby Boomers have this perception that marijuana is about fun and freedom. It isn't. It's about dependency, disease, and dysfunction," he said in a press release. But cannabis users argue that marijuana can also be used to treat illnesses, including glaucoma, asthma, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDS. Although 12 states allows medical marijuana use, the federal government does not, putting users in a position of legal limbo.Rep. Lee said California law allows medical marijuana and criticized federal policy as "inhumane" and "immoral." The new legislation would allow people suffering from chronic pain or illness to smoke marijuana legally.Talk show host Montel Williams agrees. Williams has spoken out about his own need for medical marijuana to deal with the pain associated with multiple sclerosis. He has said he takes nearly a hundred pills a day to treat his condition, and after serving 22 years in the military, he feels he should not be made to feel like a criminal just because he needs a drug to keep him healthy and out of pain. Costs of Enforcement  Supporters of the legislation also argue that enforcing marijuana laws costs taxpayers $10 billion a year. A marijuana smoker is arrested every 38 seconds, says St. Pierre.Rob Kampia, director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said marijuana arrests outnumber arrests for "all violent crimes combined," forcing police to spend more time chasing nonviolent criminals than violent ones.But the Bush Administration disagrees. Officials from ONDCP issued a preemptive press release on Tuesday to show that "less than one half of one percent of inmates in state prisons are serving time for marijuana possession only."But Rep. Frank responded to this argument at the press conference, "I never understood why people thought it was a defense of a law staying on the books that it was rarely used," he said.  Public Opinion On MarijuanaMarijuana use was outlawed in 1937 in the U.S., four years after the end of Prohibition. But pressure began to reform the law in the 1970s, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.The Netherlands passed a law in 1976 that declared cannabis a "soft drug," which was not subject to "prosecution, detection or arrest" in certain amounts. And in 1996, voters in California approved Proposition 215, which allows sick and dying patients to use marijuana for medicinal purposes."The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government's business," Frank said at the news conference on Wednesday. "I don't think it is the government's business to tell you how to spend your leisure time," he said.Although most Americans support efforts to reduce penalties or decriminalize personal recreational use of marijuana, they do not support legalizing marijuana altogether. A Gallup poll in 1995 found a third of Americans support legalizing marijuana, up from just 12 percent in 1969, but still not a majority.Support for medical marijuana, on the other hand, is much higher, even among older Americans. A 2004 poll conducted for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) found the overwhelming majority of seniors support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. Sixty nine percent of those 70 and older agreed that adults should be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if a physician recommends it.The issue of decriminalizing drug use may be controversial in a presidential election year when candidates are trying not to offend voters. But Rep. Frank's bill is not expected to come to a full committee vote until 2009.Articles written by a Staff Reporter are unsigned reports from a member of the staff.Source: The Daily Voice (NY)Published: July 31, 2008Copyright: 2008,, Inc.Contact: support thedailyvoice.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #27 posted by Paint with light on August 01, 2008 at 01:35:36 PT
Equal with Alcohol
I don't use alcohol.I haven't had any alcohol in over 20 years.I never had a problem with it.I did watch two uncle's, a couple of cousins, and a few friends drink themselves to death.One of my stoner friends from college, while drunk one night, hit a family head on and killed a mother, a father, and a child. He was really a kind and great guy but he couldn't control himself with alcohol. As much as I hated to watch him drink himself to death, it was somehow his "cross to bear", till it killed him. If he had only done it before he hit the family.When I use the phrase, "Equal with alcohol", I am refering only to the laws concerning each.We have legal alcohol.I believe that the legal system can be made to better reflect the wishes of the people.If all goes right this November, that may come pretty soon.I thought a long time before I settled on that phrase. I tried to think of the least amount of words that would describe how I would like to see cannabis treated. I kept coming back to the phrase, "Equal with alcohol".How do I want to see cannabis treated, legally?Equal with alcohol.In the part of the population that still opposes cannabis legalization, alcohol is an accepted product.That phrase will reach them.We don't need to reach the ones who are with us, but we do need to reach those who are against us.I worried that some people might get the wrong idea by the phrase.I really did worry about that.I decided that if anyone did misinterpret my meaning of "my" phrase, it would give us a chance to talk about what I mean.So far this has been the case. Well, almost.If cannabis was equal with alcohol;I could go to 40 stores in a 10 mile area tomorrow morning and buy it.I could buy as much as I want.I could even go to the hard stuff store and but some of that killer stuff that John Walters is always talking about.I wouldn't be in trouble if I had some a certain distance from a school.My doctor could tell me I need it without having to write me a prescription.Patients anywhere could have any amount they want if it fit a medical need. They use a lot of alcohol in hospitals. It is just not the drinking kind.In my state you could be riding down the road and everyone in your vehicle could be toking but you. Now that is a time to keep the windows rolled up.If you met a standard of sobriety, you could even drive after indulging. You could go to sporting events, buy your dose, and do it in the stands, or anywhere.You could tailgate before or after, and get as stoned as you want.You could do the same at concerts.You wouldn't be kicked out of public housing for using any amount you want.If I was a young person(I was once), I wouldn't have to worry about losing a scholarship, student assistance, or housing if I got caught with some.You wouldn't have to worry about your pee being clean.You wouldn't have to worry when applying for a job.You wouldn't have to worry about applying for insurance.You could have a production facility, large or small.You could have a bed and breakfast and serve your own special blend.You could advertise your product if you chose.You could even make you own, and give some to friends.And I could set back this next January and watch as everyone at the presidential reception tokes a toast to the next president of the United States.I've tried to think of most of the cases where we are allowed to have, buy, produce, or use alcohol, legally.I am sure I have missed a few.Sorry about the length of this post. I usually don't do this.You know all I ask though.Equal with alcohol.
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Comment #26 posted by paul armentano on July 31, 2008 at 13:08:56 PT
Nope, Toby Keith on now
must have bumped to the bottom of the hour... Ugh!
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Comment #25 posted by museman on July 31, 2008 at 12:39:26 PT
Yeah, categorizing, naming things so they can be 'defined' into certain people's comfort zones, is a human obsessive disorder we haven't quite realized is a problem, but we will.Names are supposed to represent the actual spirit and essence of a thing. The Tribal peoples all over the world practiced it quite well. Western 'science' is a perfect example of the divorce from reality; my god the names they come up with and label as basis for 'imperical conclusion' is just way out in outer space. That's how the constitution got taken away from us, by creating a seperate system of definition and meaning, carefully excluding it from the common speech and understanding, so that we'd have to have 'lawyers' to 'interpret' it for us. And of course their 'interpretations' are all part of maintaining the illusions that we are all stupid and that you have to 'get a degree' to have any sense. And of course to 'get that degree' you gotta already have the bucks, or sell half your life away to get it, so that by the time you have become an 'accredited professional' you have bought into the errors hook, line, and sinker. Quite a scam. Its been working for them for a long time.I still think the 'Boomin Babies' is a cool name.
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Comment #24 posted by paul armentano on July 31, 2008 at 12:37:03 PT
check that: make that 1pm pst
on the 1260am stream. Those that get the show live in it's usual time slot (11am-1pm), the segment would have already ran.
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Comment #23 posted by paul armentano on July 31, 2008 at 12:29:07 PT
30 minute segment on Dr. Drew live
Just did 30 minutes re: HR 5843 and marijuana prohibition on the Dr. Drew Pinsky radio show. I believe you can stream it here: should be on at 12:35 pst. Or if you archive it, 30 minutes into the program. (
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Comment #22 posted by museman on July 31, 2008 at 12:27:40 PT
The Herb Reknown
coming soon to a download link near you...Let me tell you about the herb renown,It can help you get back up when they got you down.It's come down to the wire, and it's plain to see,Some kind of crazy notion went and made a war on me.Chorus:All because I use the herb, all because I know I'm free, all because I stand for truth, all because, because I see.Don't you listen to their pack of lies,If you stop and think you will realize,It makes about as much sense as burning a fryin’ pan,Over and over in television land.That's the sign of the size of a mindthat could get behind making the herb a crime.It’s not quite clear how they got that way,When I got here, they were already makin’ their play.No matter what your medicine the healing power is within.And cannabis could do so much if they’d open up and let it in.But they got too much pride in their power and control.And they only believe in possession, and in gold.I could never fit into their mold.All because I use the herb, all because I know I'm free, 
all because I stand for truth, all because, because I see.
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on July 31, 2008 at 12:24:17 PT
I personally don't like the name boomers. It sounds like we all are overweight and puffed up or something. Like popcorn. I know that's weird. The generation they put in that particular box spans people born in the early 60s I think and about 1946 was when it began. We have friends that are 15 years younger then us and we get along very well but we have such different ideas about issues. 
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Comment #20 posted by museman on July 31, 2008 at 12:13:15 PT
FoM #18
I think my next band is going to be called 'The Boomin' Babies." whaddya think?
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on July 31, 2008 at 11:10:44 PT
Marijuana Bill Sparks Debate Among iReporters
July 31, 2008
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on July 31, 2008 at 10:55:23 PT
Storm Crow 
I don't like the name baby boomers. I never have. That is way too broad in it's meaning. I prefer the Woodstock Generation. That makes people a little unique that fall into a certain age. A few years when people are young makes a big difference in how issues are perceived in my opinion.
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Comment #17 posted by Storm Crow on July 31, 2008 at 10:48:47 PT
About that quote..
"Baby Boomers have this perception that marijuana is about fun and freedom. It isn't. It's about dependency, disease, and dysfunction" Nice use of alliteration, BUT aren't we "Baby Boomers" ADULTS? Last time I checked, we still had the capacity to make our own decisions without your help! We will make up our own minds, thank you! We aren't senile yet!Mr Walters, I suggest that you look into how to file for unemployment! Or do you believe us dumb enough to allow you to remain in office, acting like some tyrannous societal nanny, any longer than the present administration lasts?
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Comment #16 posted by museman on July 31, 2008 at 10:47:52 PT
Absolutely.Freedom is not about 'special dispensations' and 'government approved' BS. People have the right to commit slow suicide, so they should have the right to get and maintain health as well.When I was young, getting mindless was a common thing. My favorite combination was cannabis and cold duck. Its a wonder I survived. I knew better than to get into a car and drive however, so I was a 'responsible' came a point when I realized that alcohol was literally a dead-end consciousness, and I just stopped. I have known hundreds of 'baby boomer' alcoholics who told me at one point that they became alcoholics because cannabis was too expensive and difficult to keep in supply. If cannabis were legal, alcoholism would drop drasticly.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on July 31, 2008 at 10:37:27 PT
I grew up in a house with alcohol. When I thought about drinking I didn't want to use alcohol when I hit 21 and was legal. I did drink a total of a couple of years and I really can't stand anything about alcohol now. Pot was to be a different way and that made sense to me. I didn't know people who smoked cannabis that liked alcohol. Cannabis was the alternative to alcohol back in the good old days. The point is I don't want alcohol, tobacco or cannabis to be illegal. We should be able to do life our way even if it isn't popular as long as we cause no harm to others. We have an old friend that is drinking himself to death but if that is what he wants to do it's his right. I don't like that he is but he still is our friend.
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Comment #14 posted by museman on July 31, 2008 at 10:32:26 PT
"I do not believe that any politician that doesn't smoke cigarettes should have the right to vote on a tobacco bill. They don't care about people and how difficult it can be when prices keep rising. If they worry about polluting the air of non smokers how about doing something about the pollution that is dumped on us everyday by industry."Well if they did that they would be starting to get real, and be actually using the common sense that most people have, but politicians and other government priests, take great pains to leave common sense, logic, reason, real intelligence out in the street, while they pretend to be something.The momentum is building; the People vs Bullshit. If we can get through this next election without the real terrorists pulling another 9/11 on us, there just might be some change in the right direction. At that point it will be time to pull out all the stops and go for broke while we have the chance, otherwise the powers and principalities will manage to get right back in there, create some more war, more police state, less rights and liberties, and in very little time we will be worse off then we are right now.
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Comment #13 posted by museman on July 31, 2008 at 10:23:29 PT
FoM #8
What a thought! Yes, by all means tax the shit out of alcohol, save some brain cells so that when its legal to smoke cannabis, they can wake up and join the human race.What a gnarly addiction. The half brain-dead drinkers who decide what the status quo is need to go into rehab.You want to know what I think about alcoholic prohibitionists, and alcoholic promoters in general? I think they are afraid -and justly so- that if cannabis were legalized, their little drunken circles of power would not be so popular, too many people would be laughing at the drunks. A whole pack of corporate poisoners would be out of business.
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Comment #12 posted by museman on July 31, 2008 at 10:14:04 PT
"none of the government's business"
Now that's a flag I can get behind.Imagine how fast the national deficit would deflate, if government stopped interfering, controlling, legislating, and regulating peoples lives. They do need to control, regulate, and legislate themselves, and the power corporations that make them rich.Leave the people alone, do the job of protecting the earth, and its life from the exploiters and the carpet baggers. Control and regulate the bankers, legislate away their power over the economy, and give the control of the market to the buyer and trader instead of the manufacturer and advertising.Use the tax, after the rich are taxed into equality with the rest of us, to create new schools that teach human things as a priority instead of how to be a mindless robot for 30 years. Create funding for farmers, not the 'subsidies' that pretty much corporatized the whole farming community in amerika, but funding that helps them grow food in communities so the polluting transportation industry can wind down to sensible levels.Create funding and incentives for people, not corporations to get solarized, and wind-power, and systematicly replace nuclear, fossil fuel, and hydro-dams. The corporations can pay for it themselves, they don't need any more government breast milk.Start a constitutional discussion, about bringing our 'representative' government into actual being, instead of the exclusive 'representation' of the power rich that's going on right now.Real things, real issues, not invented moralities, and regulated values. Once the people are allowed to be involved in their own government (what? isn't this a government 'of the people?') without special government sanctioned permissions and credentials, like 'law' school, and a monetary requirement that makes it impossible for anyone but the rich to run for high office, things like the police state we currently live in will have less and less justification and reason for being, the american dream of 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' can continue from where it was hi-jacked a few hundred years ago. If there is not a struggle for people to survive with an obvious imbalance of resource being hoarded and exploited by the few, wars become un-necessary. If people have what they need, they don't need to become desperate. Since wars are pretty much all about commerce and banking at this point, once those elements are brought under the PEOPLEs control, the key motivations for war become extinct.The catch 22 situation we languish under right now is failing so badly, if we don't straighten out the mess soon, its going to come crashing down on us.
Its a simple thing as putting the constitutional spirit and reality where the hot air is now. Making freedom real in america, not just a commercial theme on TV, is going to be a lot of work, but if a substantial amount of folks keep pushing the envelope further from what we don't want towards what we do, and not be satisfied with the compromises thrown like bones from the masters table, then eventually global sanity might reappear.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on July 31, 2008 at 10:05:36 PT
Non Smokers
I do not believe that any politician that doesn't smoke cigarettes should have the right to vote on a tobacco bill. They don't care about people and how difficult it can be when prices keep rising. If they worry about polluting the air of non smokers how about doing something about the pollution that is dumped on us everyday by industry.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on July 31, 2008 at 09:51:30 PT
Here I Go Again
We need to have term limits on these people who want to financially break the people who want to smoke a cigarette. They are old and it won't cause them any financial problems. We need young people running this country not old out of touch people. I told you I would act like a fool. I really am angry.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on July 31, 2008 at 09:42:18 PT
One More Comment
I am really angry so I'll probably shut my mouth or act like a fool. 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on July 31, 2008 at 09:39:40 PT
Another Thought
I dislike alcohol and I hope they do the same thing for alcohol if they do it to tobacco. Fair is fair. How will all the politicians like that if they can't have their alcohol? 
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Comment #7 posted by tintala on July 31, 2008 at 09:37:31 PT:
Hypocrites and parasites
Everyone know most politician have done blow at one time or another, and dare i say BUSH has probably done his share of it as well. These hypocrites are cancer for a "free society" and democracy. Te curious thing we ought to ask ourselves is why on earth does "MOST" countries still make it illegal but don alcohol as the fabric of social intregration? Every country i have been to caters to alcoholic notions of people with the desire to have that drink at 10:00 am or whenever and wherever they want. there is a bar in ever airport a well as "smoking" rooms for the nicotine addicted. Bangkok is one place that comes to mind. There used to be a smoking room for every block for ppl in transit. Not to mention the hoards of "duty free" 5ths of hard liqour you can purchase, take on a plane, then order up some more hard liqour whilst sitting in your freakn seat, and the stewardess is happy to serve it! WHOLLY SHEEP DUNG!Remember the day when smoking tobacco was legal on PLANES? some still have an ashtray in their arm rest..what about cigarette smoking in restaraunts which was only JUST NOW banned in some cities. WTF? Alcohol was illegal too, but what happened, the legalized it and now, it's on every tv show, every commercial and every billboard there is.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 31, 2008 at 09:30:48 PT
Just a Comment
Soon people will have to grow their own or go broke trying to afford to buy cigarettes. If cigarettes are controlled cannabis probably will stay controlled. House Votes to Let FDA Regulate Tobacco Industry
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on July 31, 2008 at 09:03:53 PT
John P. Walters
is a professional liar. I think that's disgraceful. I think he's disgraceful
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on July 31, 2008 at 07:32:51 PT
Thank you. I am having a terrible time trying to get this video to play. I have no trouble on Youtube but when they use Flash it buffers and stalls. Technology it's enough to drive a person crazy. I did see it last night and I think the show is repeated sometime today and I will try to watch the whole show again. Colbert played a good Neil! LOL!
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Comment #3 posted by OverwhelmSam on July 31, 2008 at 07:23:01 PT
Of Course It Should Be Legal
Hi FoM,Thought you might enjoy this: one of your challenged kids here on CN.
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Comment #2 posted by rchandar on July 31, 2008 at 07:12:09 PT:
Walters (snicker)
"Marijuana isn't about fun and freedom, as the baby boomers think. It's about dysfunction, dependency, and disease."Maybe, if you are party to the hopelessly limited, prejudiced, and tunnel-visioned view that the Bush Administration has of human beings. Myself, I like to laugh out loud. It sounds like Nazism to me, though: whenever a leader tells us that there is only one "right" way to think, to behave, to take care of oneself, a lot of dangerous and racist consequences are usually the result. These people ran for election on the idea of "compassion"; they aren't acting all that compassionate with their world-view, which unfortunately is the most important thing in a modern world. Either you live the "right" life, or you're scum. Short of us decoding the Cardassian cabbalah or curing AIDS, I'm sorry to say that we as Americans haven't come that far at all. We make many mistakes; it isn't right.Now. Put yourself in the driver's seat. So, legally, all I can do is buy beer. I'm not in a good mood. The law says: no limit. I go into the RaceTrac and buy a 24-pack of Budweiser, pay for it, go home. Do no questions run through one's head? Is there something other than drinking to be blamed for the car accident, the fight, the rape, the torching of your neighbor's house, just because you couldn't take it anymore? Is there a clearly defined and researched connection between ONLY drugs and the failings in man's personality? No, of course there isn't. To call MJ "dysfunction" and "disease" applies the useless misnomer of sobriety and government being cure-alls. What Walters is repeating, rehearsing, rewording, is a kind of religion which fewer and fewer Americans have any strong allegiance to. He "has faith" that he "can cure" this disease of marijuana. But we must embrace that "faith", or our great society is "ruined" by the "scourge" of pot.Mr. Walters, we are a nation of 300 million people. You will never win this war without trampling upon the basic rights of the community you govern. Never.rchandar 
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Comment #1 posted by potpal on July 31, 2008 at 06:33:01 PT
The answer is yes
I suppose Mr. Walters would be okay with putting 20 million people in jail or treatment. The man is a cannaphob, scared to death of cannabis culture. To hell with him.Cannabis prohibition is a crime against humanity.Hey, now were talking!
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