No 'Question' About It

No 'Question' About It
Posted by CN Staff on September 23, 2008 at 05:51:27 PT
Staff Editorial
Source: Daily Free Press 
Massachusetts --  This weekend, thousands of demonstrators from Boston and beyond converged at Boston Common to show their support for "Question 2," a proposition on the Nov. 4 ballot that would effectively decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in Massachusetts.Decriminalization of marijuana would certainly free up millions of dollars for a needy law enforcement system. But decriminalization means more to the commonwealth than just freed-up funds and relaxed laws regulating the drug; it means preventing thousands of talented citizens from being from losing career opportunities because of frivolous criminal records.
For nearly a century, the federal government has vilified and outlawed marijuana, and only recently has the practice of anti-marijuana propaganda and prohibition come under individual state scrutiny. Recreational use of marijuana was brought to the United States by Mexican immigrants in the early 1910s. Then, much like today, Mexican immigration faced prejudice. Marijuana became associated with those who brought it, and politicians acted to stop the encroaching what one PBS documentary called the "marijuana menace."Since that time, the drug has faced increasing pressure and political condemnation, and is currently listed as a "Schedule I" - the most severe - substance by federal law, along with such mind-bending substances as LSD and heroin. This headstrong policy history has lead to millions of marijuana-related arrests and billions of tax dollars spent on enforcement.Currently, a first-time offender of possession of the drug - in any amount - faces up to six months incarceration and/or a $500 fine in Massachusetts. This is more lenient than the federal law, which stipulates up to a year behind bars and a $1000 fine, but laws still provide for imprisonment to those who possess the plant. Moreover, the commonwealth still has mandatory sentencing laws, all but guaranteeing a trip to jail for otherwise law-abiding, peaceful citizens. But what may prove most damaging to both the economy and culture of Massachusetts is the long-term effects of the CORI system. The Criminal Offender Record Information system is a streamlined way for potential employers to check the criminal record of any citizen. Though the system is intended to protect citizens from violent offenders, most companies can access the CORI system for simple background checks through a variety of loopholes and legal methods. Despite growing criticism of the system, companies can -- and do -- check the record of applicants that were ever convicted of a marijuana offense, no matter the amount of possession.A simple "background check" may spell disaster for those who have used marijuana. A small-time drug bust decades ago may mean big-time problems for many talented state residents who are looking for honest employment.With Question 2, Massachusetts aims to become the 13th state to decriminalize marijuana. Decriminalization would reduce the penalty for small amounts of possession to those of minor traffic violations, and would nearly do away with jail time -- and costly criminal records -- for most users. It's about time.Recreational use of marijuana is a victimless crime. Those who choose to get high from the indigenous plant are hurting no one but themselves, if at all. According to the the British House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, marijuana is not only considered safer than the much-abused tobacco in terms of physical harm, but also in terms of physical dependance. Users don't deflate into a pile on a couch, and their dogs don't start talking to them, either.With all the costs facing a continued battle against the drug, decriminalization is a no-brainer for the commonwealth. Freeing up funds for other more pressing law enforcement programs is reason enough. Let's breathe the economic and cultural benefits of thousands less "criminals" in the commonwealth as a hit of fresh air.Source: Daily Free Press (Boston U, MA Edu)Published: September 22, 2008Copyright: 2008 Back Bay Publishing, Inc.Contact: letters dailyfreepress.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #17 posted by observer on September 24, 2008 at 13:47:41 PT
DA: Pot Ballot Question: A Deal for Dealers
Plymouth DA: Pot ballot question a deal for dealersFound: Wed Sep 24 09:32:33 2008 PDTSource: Metrowest Daily News (MA)Analysis:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #16 posted by FoM on September 24, 2008 at 11:07:53 PT
I think people can learn to balance stuff and what is important if they try. I never heard of a U-Haul being towed behind a hearse.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #15 posted by museman on September 24, 2008 at 10:55:31 PT
FoM -stuff
"Stuff" is the content of that which seems to distract us from the things in life that actually have value.The smile of a child cannot be measured or compared to the size of a bank account, the state of ones haircut, or the shine of a polished limo.The love of a good man or woman cannot be stacked up to the false value of real estate.The feeling of accomplishment that comes from creating something with your hands, that can be shared and enjoyed by others, has no economic equivalent.The joy of discovering understanding cannot be honestly compared to 'passing the exam' for some kind of fake 'honors' known as 'degrees.' The memories of life that are taken into eternity, do not include the self-satisfaction of 'superiority' and power. God is no respector of persons.The 'stuff' is just dross, and waste, compared to the experience of the wind in the trees, or the mating dance of a blue-tailed lizard.The sunrise is never the same, it is always unique. Yet most amerikans (think they) get more out of 'good morning amerika' than the wonders that God and nature have given us.I once asked myself the question;Is it possible to have consciousness and awareness of the true reality while still dabbling within the fake one, getting entertained? Can one believe as I, and yet still use the tools and devices without some kind of hypocrisy?This is my answer.If the machine needs to be stopped, and you cannot 'pull the plug' you can beat on it with a rock - provided by nature- and eventually the machine will stop (if you don't stop beating on it) or you can use a screwdriver and a hammer -made by the machine, to dismantle it quickly, efficiently, and without the mess.The internet is a screwdriver.FREE RUDERALIS FOR EVERYONE
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #14 posted by FoM on September 24, 2008 at 09:59:48 PT
I keep thinking what's so darn important about Stuff? One thing I have noticed that almost everyone has plenty of toys because of the low cost of goods. What would be wrong if we slowed down? 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by museman on September 24, 2008 at 09:45:54 PT
in my opinion...Unfortunately, as our current economic system is ultra-dependent on the happiness of the rich, and damn all else, the collapse of the stock market puts all the economic power almost completely in the hands of the elite-rich. The collapse of the stock market heralds the collapse of the already falling middle class.As long as even the poorest of people continue to BELIEVE in the false value of money, the ones with the money will always have the power over them.If the stock market collapses, the rich won't even skip a beat in their limo-drivin, billion-dollar real estate, best-of-everything lifestyle. Since they have so much of the power (that their Nephalim ancestors INVENTED) the price fluxuation that has most of us considering whether or not we can afford something, is absolutely meaningless to them.It will afford them the opportunity to buy stock and companies at cheaper prices, so that when they allow the economy to rise again, they will have cleaned their house of 'new money' and be ready to fool another generation into believing in their paper reality.They may not have the same opportunity as they did during the 'great depression' though, a lot of information has leaked out to the people, and though they may force situations upon us, there is a good number of people who aren't going to be so easily duped this time around.Personally, I say let the damn thing crash and burn. And when enough people have been forced into reality because they can't get the lifestyles they are used to any more, maybe then they will be ready to listen to reason, and get even more real by rejecting the false value systems that are destroying the world instead of continuing to support and compromise for the sake of their material comfort.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by FoM on September 24, 2008 at 09:26:10 PT
Plymouth DA: Pot Ballot Question a Deal for Dealer
September 24, 2008
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by FoM on September 24, 2008 at 06:52:13 PT
OT: A Question
Why can't we just let the stock market fail? I don't think it would be that bad for people who aren't into the stock market but I could be wrong. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by FoM on September 23, 2008 at 18:40:44 PT
It could help. So many people are for or against taxing I just don't form a strong opinion. Something needs to change in our government. I have always believed that corporations don't have a conscious and they will do what they want. If it hurts people it doesn't matter to them. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by goneposthole on September 23, 2008 at 18:12:38 PT
Hey, who can afford anything anymore?
Especially cannabis? I know I can't, the economy has inflated prices beyond the pale.The war in Iraq has a cost at the trillion dollar level.Unbelievable. The entire house of cards is falling down.Wall Street is penniless.Legalize cannabis and America can be saved.Everybody wants the stuff, you can't get any, the demand is too high, short supplies, high prices for cannabis.Wall Street can be saved just by legalizing cannabis.Otherwise, it is going to crash.Really? Really!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by Thehubblez on September 23, 2008 at 16:11:36 PT:
Royal Crown of Archer and Armon
I Love Miss Marijuana!
Royal Crown of Archer and Armon
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by FoM on September 23, 2008 at 15:20:39 PT
I've been following the financial crisis and I just thought what took so long. They'll print more money. We pay. Doesn't that make us a socialist type people now? I don't know. Real estate will rise in time along with everything else except people's incomes. To me the stock market is like a gambling casino. Only the big people win. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on September 23, 2008 at 14:28:31 PT:
The finacial chickens are coming home to roost
And the effects that this would have on the DrugWar were predicted, here, 8 years ago.There's no question: the inevitable contraction of the economy is taking place, right before our eyes. This. in turn, is causing the realization that many of the programs that once were thought to be untouchable - like elements of the DrugWar - are now seriously (but very, very quietly) being considered as candidates for the budgetary ax. The fiscal realities are intruding upon the ideology...and the fiscal realities are slowly, quietly winning. And it's happening from the ground up, as towns, cities, counties and whole States are facing the kind of choices our grandfathers faced during the Great Depression, with the added problem of several wars to pay for as well. It truly is guns or butter, as we've tried to have both for decades and we can no longer borrow the money for both at the same time. Something's got to give...and just as we said here long ago, it finally is, and along the lines that were predicted.The DrugWarriors will, of course, scream their heads off ever louder about the danger to kids from drugs; their meal ticket is being threatened, after all. But when Joe Sixpack has to worry more about feeding those same kids, there'll be less patience for wasteful Gub'mint bureaucrats sucking off of Joe's (and everyone else's!) life's-blood via taxes used to maintain hopelessly ineffective Gub'mint agencies that do more damage than any drug ever could.It's been argued that the Great Depression ended alcohol Prohibition through simple economics; Uncle needed all the revenue he had handed the gangsters courtesy of the misbegotten 'Noble Experiment'. The DrugWar faces the same situation, in spades. In the Land of the Dollar Bill, the Bottom Line always rules, and the bottom line is that we can't afford the DrugWar, anymore. It's only a matter of time...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by paul armentano on September 23, 2008 at 13:58:05 PT
The Hill: NORML vs The Drug Czar
FYI... The website for The Hill is:http://blog.thehill.comThe Hill (Round Three): NORML vs The Drug CzarTue, 23 Sep 2008 18:35:04 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy DirectorShare This Article    Drug Czar John Walters believes he can lie with impunity.He’s wrong.Today NORML responds to the Czar’s outrageous claims that few, if any, people are arrested or incarcerated for marijuana violations — and we do so in John Walters backyard: The Hill’s influential Congress blog.***How Can We Discuss Marijuana Policy When America’s Top Drug Cop Won’t Even Acknowledge The Facts?via The HillIf denial is the first sign of addiction, then Drug Czar John Walters is hooked to the gills. He’s addicted to targeting and arresting marijuana consumers, and he’ll do and say anything to keep this irrational and punitive policy in place.***The Hill is providing reformers with a valuable service by bringing our message prominently to Capitol Hill, and acting as a mediator in a high profile debate with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. In the past, the Drug Czar’s office has outright refused to debate spokespersons from NORML or other marijuana law reform groups, but the office has felt obligated to respond to our posts on The Hill, which remains the paper of record for members of Congress and their staff.Because The Hill is widely read by lawmakers and by the national media, it is vital that we demonstrate the popularity of this issue by commenting prolifically. Please post your feedback to The Hill and make a point of disseminating this essay to your friends and colleagues. Previous posts by NORML to The Hill’s blog have received hundreds of readers’ comments — virtually all favorable toward marijuana law reform. Editors at The Hill inform NORML that it’s the highest volume of readers’ response they’ve ever received on any commentary on any topic!The Hill is getting our message; will Congress or the Drug Czar?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by potpal on September 23, 2008 at 10:46:43 PT
police state of mind
We believe public safety is the No. 1 responsibility of government."Yeah, but who protects the public *from* the government and money hungry leo agencies? 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by Dankhank on September 23, 2008 at 10:28:31 PT
still unsure 'bout this guy Barr?  Whoda Thunk?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by mykeyb420 on September 23, 2008 at 09:41:42 PT
CONTROVERSY SURROUNDS SWEEPING 'SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS' MEASUREProp. 6 Backer Faces Possible Prison TermCalifornia's police and prosecutors are asking voters for a 
guaranteed $965 million from the state each year and a slew of tough 
new penalties, but an unlikely figure is championing their anti-crime 
"Safe Neighborhoods Act" on the November ballot.The man who paid to put Proposition 6 before the voters now faces a 
possible 340 years in prison in a pair of indictments that accuse him 
of backdating stock options, supplying meth and cocaine to friends 
and prostitutes, and spiking colleagues' drinks with Ecstasy.Broadcom co-founder and former CEO Henry Nicholas contributed $1 
million to the campaign for Proposition 6, a sweeping measure that is 
nevertheless receiving little attention. The initiative would create 
more than 40 new crimes and penalties, tacking on a decade to gang 
members' sentences and expanding the circumstances under which 
juveniles as young as 14 could be tried as adults. Counties could 
force public housing residents to complete annual background checks, 
and bail would be denied in many cases to undocumented immigrants.The measure was crafted as a crusading effort to fight gangs by the 
authors of "Three Strikes" and "Jessica's Law." Its major financial 
backer has since been saddled with a 21-count federal indictment that 
also includes accusations of lies, fraud and conspiracy. The U.S. 
Attorney's Office reports that during a flight on his private plane, 
the embattled billionaire and others exhaled so much marijuana smoke 
that the pilot was forced to don an oxygen mask."Obviously, he stepped in with us in the beginning and then after 
that got himself into that legal battle," said Sen. George Runner, R- 
Lancaster, one of the measure's chief backers. "The whole issue was a 
bit of a surprise to us."Runner said Nicholas has a history of supporting anti-crime 
initiatives, following his sister's 1983 murder. He has also 
contributed $4.9 million to Proposition 9 on the November ballot, 
which would strengthen victims' rights.Despite the irony of circumstances surrounding Proposition 6's chief 
financial sponsor, California's district attorneys, police officers, 
sheriffs and probation officers are lining up behind the campaign. 
The measure calls for a virtually permanent $965 million funding 
stream from the state's general fund for law enforcement -- a 33 
percent increase over current spending that would grow by tens of 
millions of dollars each year. The measure would require an 
additional $500 million to build jails for all the prisoners snared 
under the new provisions, according to the Legislative Analyst's 
Office. Additional funds would also go toward juvenile justice 
probation and GPS tracking devices. Prevention programs, according to 
the measure's authors, would include $10 million for Police Athletic Leagues.Runner and his wife, Sharon Runner, also a state legislator, co-wrote 
this November's ballot initiative as well as the 2006 measure that 
toughened restrictions on sex offenders. They acknowledge that 
Proposition 6 could be costly to other programs that need funding as 
California emerges from an unprecedented partisan deadlock over 
managing a $15.2 billion shortfall."It's a very simple issue for voters -- do you prioritize money for 
public safety in the general fund or don't you?" George Runner said. 
"We believe public safety is the No. 1 responsibility of government."Adding to the initiative's curious timing, the state's prisons are 
already so crowded and ill-equipped, human rights violations have 
prompted a federal court takeover.Yet Proposition 6 supporters are undeterred, and local leaders are 
among those championing the measure. In a recent pitch to Santa Clara 
County supervisors, District Attorney Dolores Carr and Sheriff Laurie 
Smith hailed the measure as vital for crime-fighting and combating 
gang violence. Carr singled out praise for the provision that would 
make hearsay admissible in court in some cases.She pointed out the heft of the funding being sought, acknowledging 
that "it certainly is a large amount and I understand why people are 
concerned about it." But Carr added: "On the other hand, law 
enforcement really does need a stable source of funding in order to 
keep our communities safe."Opponents say law enforcement agencies clearly need funding, but so 
do schools, hospitals, firefighters and social workers. They also 
accuse proponents of fear-mongering, noting that crime has been on a 
steady decline for decades."Cops support it," said David Steinhart, a leading criminal justice 
expert, "because it opens a pipeline to Sacramento funds the likes of 
which they've never seen."The California Catholic Conference also opposes Proposition 6. The 
group of bishops concluded that while the initiative was introduced 
in good faith, "it offers more of the same criminal justice policies 
which have failed in the past -- and it will cost Californians 
billions of dollars without increasing public safety."
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 23, 2008 at 06:18:33 PT
OT: California Proposition 5
California Proposition 5: Rehab Instead of Prison for Nonviolent Drug Crimes – YES
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment