Pot Wins in a Landslide

  Pot Wins in a Landslide

Posted by CN Staff on November 06, 2008 at 12:47:41 PT
By Rob Kampia, AlterNet 
Source: AlterNet  

USA -- On Tuesday, largely under the radar of the pundits and political chattering classes, voters dealt what may be a fatal blow to America's longest-running and least-discussed war -- the war on marijuana.Michigan voters made their state the 13th to allow the medical use of marijuana by a whopping 63 percent to 37 percent, the largest margin ever for a medical marijuana initiative.
And by 65 percent to 35 percent, Massachusetts voters decriminalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, replacing arrests, legal fees, court appearances, the possibility of jail and a lifelong criminal record with a $100 fine, much like a traffic ticket, that can be paid through the mail.What makes these results so amazing is that they followed the most intensive anti-marijuana campaign by federal officials since the days of "Reefer Madness." Marijuana arrests have been setting all-time records year after year, reaching the point where one American is arrested on marijuana charges every 36 seconds. More Americans are arrested each year for marijuana possession -- not sales or trafficking, just possession -- than for all violent crimes combined.And the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, with “drug czar” John Walters at the helm, has led a hysterical anti-marijuana propaganda campaign. During Walters' tenure, ONDCP has released at least 127 separate anti-marijuana TV, radio and print ads, at a cost of hundreds of millions of tax dollars, plus 34 press releases focused mainly on marijuana, while no fewer than 50 reports from ONDCP and other federal agencies focused on the alleged evils of marijuana or touted anti-marijuana campaigns.Walters himself campaigned personally in Michigan against the medical marijuana initiative, calling it an "abomination" and claiming yet again that there is no evidence that marijuana has medical value -- an assertion flatly contradicted by at least four published clinical trials in just the last two years.In Massachusetts, the state's political and law enforcement establishment lined up solidly against the marijuana decriminalization initiative, including both Republican and Democratic politicians and all 11 district attorneys -- several of whom actually admitted to having smoked marijuana. They warned of rampant drug abuse and crime should the measure pass, simply ignoring the fact that no such thing has happened in the 11 other states (including California, Ohio and New York) that have had similar laws for years.Voters were having none of it, giving a thumping rejection to government officials’ lies and hysteria in both states. Americans have taken a hard look at our national war on marijuana and rejected it for the cruel, counterproductive disaster that it is.The voters are right. Of over 872,000 arrests in one year, 89 percent are for possession only.What has this gotten us? Not much. Marijuana arrests weren't the only thing that set a record last year. So did the number of Americans who have tried marijuana. Usage rates came down marginally in the last few years but are still higher than in the early 1990s. Marijuana is our nation's number one cash crop.The one thing our costly and futile efforts to "eradicate" marijuana have accomplished is to create a boom for criminal gangs, to whom we've handed a monopoly on production and distribution. Unlike producers of legal drugs like beer, wine or tobacco, these criminals pay no taxes and obey no rules. Their illicit efforts despoil our national forests and bring violence and destabilization to Mexico.For years, politicians who know our current marijuana laws make no sense have been afraid to change them for fear of political retribution. The voters' thundering rejection of our misguided war on marijuana shows that those fears are misplaced.It's time for Congress and the new administration -- not to mention state governments around the country -- to listen to the public. It's time for a new approach.Rob Kampia is executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, DC.Source: AlterNet (US)Author: Rob Kampia, AlterNetPublished: November 5, 2008Copyright: 2008 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters Website: Policy Project -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #11 posted by konagold on November 09, 2008 at 10:40:45 PT
from the inatitive
(b) The Hawaii County Council shall not support the acceptance of any funds for the marijuana eradication program.
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Comment #10 posted by aolbites on November 06, 2008 at 22:19:21 PT
dirty is as dirty does, and alaska is f'n filthy.check it:
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Comment #9 posted by aolbites on November 06, 2008 at 22:15:26 PT
did it really ban choppers?! wow if so!I thought it was simply lowest priority?got the text anyone?
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on November 06, 2008 at 18:37:25 PT
That is wonderful news!
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Comment #7 posted by konagold on November 06, 2008 at 18:26:58 PT
Big Island votes FOR lowest priority no choppers
AlohaHawaii County voted for 58% to 42% .5% higher than the mayor received
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Comment #6 posted by runruff on November 06, 2008 at 17:27:19 PT
A sunny day in legal land
when Obama appoints some commonsense judges to the Supreme Court Bench and and renders the four fascist irrealavent.
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on November 06, 2008 at 16:03:41 PT
now with Palin we can see how things really work in Alaska government - sleazy. Use dirty tricks to get people fired that you don't like."The district also will continue to enforce its policies that prohibit its students from displaying materials deemed as advocating or celebrating illegal drug use, as permitted by the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court, Choate said."So "The district" gets to control the students even when they're not at school. It controls them even when they're on a public sidewalk. That's what this case established. 
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Comment #4 posted by aolbites on November 06, 2008 at 15:51:08 PT
'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' case finally settled
'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' case finally settled$45,000: Juneau school district will pay student it suspended.The Associated PressPublished: November 6th, 2008 01:47 AM
Last Modified: November 6th, 2008 12:57 PMJUNEAU -- The seven-year Bong Hits 4 Jesus saga appears to be over.In a free speech case that reached the nation's highest court, the Juneau-Douglas School District and former student Joseph Frederick have reached a settlement.Frederick was suspended during a 2002 Olympic torch relay for holding up a banner that read "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" while standing across from the high school.Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the school's position that Frederick celebrated the illegal use of drugs. The district will pay Frederick $45,000. In exchange Frederick will drop remaining claims not heard by the U.S. Supreme Court."We're really happy to have this one resolved," School Board President Mark Choate said. "Every case involves different opinions, but we're pleased to have it resolved so we can focus more on the important work the board has to do to improve schools in Juneau."Frederick's Juneau-based attorney Douglas Mertz says the settlement essentially brings an end to the case as far as his client sees it."It's time I think to close the chapter on what happened to Joe and leave these other things to be resolved in the future," Mertz said.The settlement also calls for the district to spend as much as $5,000 to hire a neutral constitutional law expert to chair a forum on student speech at JDHS. This is to be done before this school year ends next spring.The district also will continue to enforce its policies that prohibit its students from displaying materials deemed as advocating or celebrating illegal drug use, as permitted by the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court, Choate said."The settlement in the case will avoid further litigation expenses, but more importantly will allow all parties to put a long-running, divisive issue behind them and move forward with a better understating of the speech rights of students in the Juneau School District," Choate said.Mertz said he believes the community has learned from this high-profile case. He said civics and First Amendment issues should be an education priority in schools.Mertz said the saddest part of this seven years is what he calls an unfair campaign of retaliation the school district launched against Frederick and the young man's family."Joe stood up for his rights and has been vindicated."
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on November 06, 2008 at 15:47:39 PT

I think the use of marijuana goes up and down when our economy changes. 
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on November 06, 2008 at 15:18:51 PT

usage rate
I wouldn't even acknowledge that usage has gone down - those surveys are some of the most questionable data around.I think they rise and fall as the political winds blow, when we're in the middle of an extremist right-wing regime people don't want to start volunteering pot-smoking information. Especially not to the government guy with the laptop.Great video of the Obama celebration! The horse is out of the barn so bad in California, he's never going back in. Now that Bush/Cheney are leaving, the horse can run free!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 06, 2008 at 14:49:22 PT

OT: I Thought This Was Interesting
Weed Smell At Obama Celebration
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