A Smarter Way to Deal with Pot 

  A Smarter Way to Deal with Pot 

Posted by CN Staff on November 17, 2008 at 07:06:44 PT
By Paul Armentano, NORML 
Source: AlterNet  

USA -- According to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control, fewer Americans are smoking cigarettes than at any time in modern history. "The number of U.S. adults who smoke has dropped below 20 percent for the first time on record," Reuters reported. This is less than half the percentage (42 percent) of Americans who smoked cigarettes during the 1960s.Imagine that. In the past 40 years, tens of millions of Americans have voluntarily quit smoking a legal, yet highly addictive intoxicant. Many others have refused to initiate the habit. 
And they've all made this decision without ever once being threatened with criminal prosecution and arrest, imprisonment, probation, and drug testing.By contrast, during this same period of time, state and local police have arrested some 20 million Americans for pot law violations -- primarily for violations no greater than simple possession. And yet marijuana use among the public has skyrocketed.By contrast, during this same period of time, state and local police have arrested some 20 million Americans for pot law violations -- primarily for violations no greater than simple possession. And yet marijuana use among the public has skyrocketed from an annual rate of 0.6 million new users in 1965 to some 2.5 million annual new users today. There's a lesson to be learned here, of course. Tobacco, though harmful to health, is a legally regulated commodity. Sellers are licensed and held accountable by federal and state laws. Users are restricted by age. Advertising and access is limited by state and federal governments. And health warnings regarding the drug's use are based upon credible science. By contrast, marijuana remains an unregulated black market commodity. Sellers are typically criminal entrepreneurs who, for the most part, operate undetected from law enforcement and are free to sell their product to any person. Unlike tobacco, marijuana's packaging carries no warning label, and government "education" campaign's regarding pot's use are based almost explicitly upon hyperbole, propaganda, and laughable stereotypes. Is it any wonder why use of one drug is going down at the same time that use of the other is rising? If federal lawmakers truly wished to address marijuana use, they would take a page from their successful campaign to reduce the use of cigarettes. This would include taxing and regulating cannabis -- with the drug's sale and use restricted to specific markets and consumers. While such an alternative may not entirely eliminate the black market demand for pot, it would certainly be preferable to today's blanket, though thoroughly ineffective, expensive and impotent criminal prohibition.Paul Armentano is the deputy director of NORML and the NORML Foundation in Washington, DC.Source: AlterNet (US)Author: Paul Armentano, NORMLPublished: November 17, 2008Copyright: 2008 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters Website: -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #2 posted by museman on November 17, 2008 at 12:27:15 PT

legal poisons and illegal health
For 33 years I smoked tobacco. I remember the Marlborough Man. Bought my first pack of cigarettes at the age of 14 from a cigarette machine in a laundromat (but didn't actually get hooked until the USN)Thank God I smoked cannabis for 29 of those years.33 years of smoking, and 6 months after I quit my lungs were examined and declared by my doctor ("I don't understand why, but...") to be 'pink and healthy.'Poison is legal, like tobacco and alcohol. You can legally commit yourself to a slow death, but heal yourself? Not without the Big Brother stamp of approval.All six of my adult children smoked herb at one time in their life, but they are mostly not smoking it now, except when the occasion calls for it. And they vaporize, cook it, or put it in tinctures mostly. They do not drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco, though they experimented with alcohol.And believe me their choices concerning cannabis have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Big Brother, but on the contrary, I managed to teach them to be responsible for themselves, and not to rely on third parties, or second-hand information.The Truth. The facts. Reality. Not included in prohibition.FREE BONG HITS FOR EVERYONE (and jesus too)
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Comment #1 posted by Graehstone on November 17, 2008 at 08:14:07 PT

Coffin nails
Paul, there you go making sense again, lol.
I smoked cigarettes for twenty four years, two packs a day and quit cold turkey using Cannabis to help me through the detox period. I have now been tobacco free for ... gosh, I don't even remember how many years now as it is no longer a part of my life and give it no thought whatsoever.
Many blessings being sent your way for all that you do for "all" of us.
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