Kristof Asks Readers: Should US Legalize Drugs?

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  Kristof Asks Readers: Should US Legalize Drugs?

Posted by CN Staff on June 01, 2009 at 16:18:43 PT
By Ryan Grim 
Source: Huffington Post 

USA -- Nicholas Kristof wants to know: Should the U.S. legalize drugs?The influential New York Times columnist posted the question, which is being asked in mainstream circles with increasing frequency, on his Facebook page Saturday evening. Opinions have come pouring in.
"I'm thinking of writing this coming week about whether legalization of drugs makes sense. Any thoughts out there or good resources?" he asked.Kristof told the Huffington Post he likes to reach out to readers for help when he's entering into not-entirely-familiar territory."It certainly prompted a lot of interesting thoughts, a lot of references to organizations involved, and one organization also reached out by phone to me. Maybe I would have come across the same organization, or maybe not, but on a topic that I don't know so well it can be a really useful tool," he said. "I find that on some issues it's completely useless, but on topics that especially involve experiences that I don't have, or knowledge that I don't have, then reaching out actually works pretty well."One topic that doesn't work well with crowd-sourcing, Kristof said is the Middle East. "You get half the people with extreme views on the one side and half the people with extreme views on the other, and it's all heat and no light. And it's all arguments that I've already heard before," he said.Tom Angell, a flak for the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, left Kristof a message after a friend at Students for Sensible Drug Policy alerted him to the query."Facebook and other social networking sites like Digg and Twitter have proven to be an essential tool for those of us working to drive the discussion on drug legalization from the political fringes to the upper echelons of the mainstream media in recent months," he told the Huffington Post in a g-chat. Angell, if he connects with Kristof, will encounter a receptive audience."It's been a gradual process," said Kristof about his thinking leading to the decision to confront the issue. "I think that the economy being a particular mess makes me a little more skeptical about spending vast amounts of money incarcerating people on drugs, and then I think the degree to which Mexico has been erupting also has made me wonder."Kristof has traveled widely for his reporting and filed stories from a number of war zones. "The Taliban financing itself in part with opium has made me also wonder about the foreign-policy implications of our drug policies. But it's been something I've kind of wondered about and been ambivalent about for a number of years," said Kristof.Facebookers who responded to Kristof took his question seriously and largely gave nuanced answers, leaning overwhelmingly in favor of a liberalized policy. His Facebook buds suggested he seek out drug-policy experts Mark Kleiman and Lester Grinspoon, along with Glenn Greenwald, who has recently written about Portugal's experience with decriminalization."If you do legalize marijuana, simultaneously implement strict, VERY strict drunk and high driving laws as well as gun laws to try to tame the negative externalities of marijuana use. I believe that the only possible drug to legalize would be marijuana, but I'm skeptical that our culture could handle it. Iowa sure as heck isn't Amsterdam," offered Jacqueline Nalbert Brysacz.Though many of the posters were personally in favor of reforming drug policy, there was skepticism that the nation could handle legalization, much as Brysacz said."I favor legalization/decriminalization in theory, but I wonder how a policy shift of such magnitude would play out in the real world, or if it's even possible," wrote Stephen Wittek. "A lot of deeply entrenched interests, opinions, attitudes and beliefs would have to uprooted or steamrolled, and a lot of people would scream bloody apocalypse. Regardless of whether or not it 'makes sense,' the question at the heart of issue is 'Does America have the stomach for legalization?' And I'm pretty sure the answer is 'no.'"Kristof will be following in the wake of Time's Joe Klein, CNN's Jack Cafferty, MSNBC's Pat Buchanan, as well as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, top House Democrat Barney Frank, former Mexican President Vicente Fox and current Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, all of whom have called for a rational discussion about drug policy that includes legalization.Look for his column in the next few weeks. And look for something that moves the conversation forward."Increasingly, I'm thinking that legalization arguments are stronger and stronger," said Kristof.Newshawk: josephlacerenzaSource: Huffington Post (NY)Author: Ryan GrimPublished: June 1, 2009Copyright: 2009, LLC Contact: scoop huffingtonpost.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #17 posted by heretic on June 14, 2009 at 04:18:49 PT:
Drugs won
Here it is.
Kristof's NYT column
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on June 10, 2009 at 13:46:40 PT
I just found this article and he seems like he appreciates Obama. I really never heard of him before though. Obama and The War on Brains
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Comment #15 posted by heretic on June 10, 2009 at 13:06:58 PT:
FOM #2
FOM (and SAM), FYI, Nicholas Kristof is a heavyweight columnist at the New York Times. In my opinion, he is someone whom Obama can not ignore. If he declares for legalization, the other NYT columnists will feel pressure to contribute their own two cents. This is wonderful evidence of the sea change arriving at the tipping point. Liberty and justice for all.
Nicholas Kristof's profile at NYT
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Comment #14 posted by rchandar on June 04, 2009 at 14:42:23 PT:
"sure the heck isn't Amsterdam."That's a bunch of BULL-SHEE#$%$IT!!! (sorry). Anyone can tell you that the Midwest, particularly when close to the university campuses, were filled with hippies well into the 70's.We elected a President based on "change." And change must happen.--rchandar
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Comment #13 posted by Had Enough on June 02, 2009 at 11:39:24 PT
I did find this…Building Materials of the Pyramids Buildersby Alan WinstonMany of the pyramids were built with a number of different stone materials. Most of the material used was fairly rough, low grade limestone used to build the pyramid core, while fine white limestone was often employed for the outer casing as well as to cover interior walls, though pink granite was also often used on inner walls. Basalt or alabaster was not uncommon for floors, particularly in the mortuary temples and as was mudbricks to build walls within the temples (though often as not they had limestone walls). Egypt is a country rich in stone and was sometimes even referred to as the "state of stone". In particular, Egypt has a great quantity of limestone formation, which the Egyptians called "white stone", because during the Cretaceous period Egypt was covered with seawater. The country is also rich in sandstone, but it was never really used much until the New Kingdom.Limestone seems to have first been employed in the area of Saqqara, where it is of poor quality but layered in regular, strong formations as much as half a meter thick. This limestone is coarse grained with yellow to greenish gray shading. The layers are separated from each other by thin layers of clay and the coloration may vary according to layer. It could often be quarried very near the building sites, and quarries have been found at Saqqara, Giza, Dahshur and other locations.In order to quarry this stone, the blocks were marked out with just enough space in between each to allow for a small passageway for the workers to cut the blocks. The workmen would use a number of different tools to cut the blocks, including copper pickaxes and chisels, granite hammers, dolerite and other hard stone tools.The finer, white limestone employed in the pyramids and mortuary temples was not as easy to quarry, and had to be found further from the building site. One of the man sources for this limestone was the Muqattam hills on the west bank of the Nile near modern Tura and Maasara. This stone laid buried further from the surface, so tunnels had to be dug in order to reach the actual stone quarry. Sometimes these deposits were as deep as fifty meters, and huge caverns had to be built to reach the quarry. Generally, large chunks of stone were removed, and then finely cut into blocks. The blocks were then moved to the building site on large wooden sledges pulled by oxen. The path they took would be prepared with a mud layer from the Nile in order to facilitate the moving.Pink granite, basalt and alabaster were used much more sparingly. Most of this material was moved from various locations in southern Egypt by barges on the Nile. Pink granite probably most often came from the quarries around Aswanmore found here… Feature StoryOverview of Pyramid Constructionby Alan Winston
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Comment #12 posted by Had Enough on June 02, 2009 at 11:28:20 PT
Pyramid Building…
I too am interested. I have always thought that they carved the stones, afterwards, set them in place.I’d really like to know more about this…
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Comment #11 posted by museman on June 02, 2009 at 09:37:27 PT
runruff #9
I am curious. More info on the stones used in the pyramid. Are you saying that they didn't quarry it? I'm historicly confused.
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Comment #10 posted by ekim on June 02, 2009 at 07:28:13 PT
Mr kristof interview Michael Douglas
and you might even find he knows more people willing to talk to you.
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Comment #9 posted by runruff on June 02, 2009 at 06:33:33 PT
I wish I could remember his name!
The engineer who discovered that the stone blocks that make up the pyramids were poured in place. He found by experimentation that lye mixed w/the hemp herds create a type of lightweight concrete [hempcrete]. Because the hemp herds are about 77% cellulose, the hempcrete mixture will continue to harden over time. The only substance in the world one could build an entire navy out of! Fuel, sails, ships hulls, sailor's clothes, even feed the crew! So why is hemp not allowed in the greatest industrial nation in the world? Let's ask the current patriarch up in the inbred idiot family of Du Ponts'
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Comment #8 posted by runruff on June 02, 2009 at 05:53:28 PT
Yes, there is an "r" in there somewhere!
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Comment #7 posted by runruff on June 02, 2009 at 05:51:53 PT
The pyamids were made from hempcrete!
I know! I was there!I was looking great in the little "tiddy-diddies" we used to wear!Ding dang it was hot!!!!
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on June 01, 2009 at 21:25:01 PT
The Harry Anslinger Memorial Highway.
CN ON: End of the Road for 420?Renaming Highway Proposal: New Name Suggestions Rolling into City Hall Would the Rainbow Expressway be the best way to get to the Queen Elizabeth Way? How about the Nikola Tesla Parkway? Father Hennepin Highway? Niagara Falls residents have offered up more than 40 suggestions for renaming Highway 420 since Coun. Victor Pietrangelo first mused publicly about changing the name of the provincial highway that connects the Queen Elizabeth Way to the heart of Niagara Falls. CONT: 
How 'bout, The Harry Anslinger Memorial Highway.
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Comment #5 posted by konagold on June 01, 2009 at 21:07:53 PT
hemp baloney
While INDUSTRIAL HEMP STALK has no THC the plant around it has a small amount of THC which is recoverable and concentrate-ablePro-HEMP folks should grow a pair and embrace THC as a good thing, rather than poo-pooing one of the major uses of the cannabis plant whose attributes they sing As long as Cannabis is prohibited advocates of so called hemp will always have the same enemy that the rest of cannabis advocates have That is an unconstitutional tyranny which has been institutionalized and serves as a profit center for both the cops and the robbersIn fact there is nothing that so called hemp can supply that could not also be supplied by medicinal grade cannabis Low THC Cannabis is inferior to medicinal grade and should not be bred   
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on June 01, 2009 at 19:22:07 PT

Hemp Article From The UK
I thought this was interesting.Hemp Homes To Be Built in Government Drive***Experimental homes made out of hemp are to be built under new government plans.
 By Ben Leach June 1, 2009A prototype three-bedroom house, funded by the taxpayer, will go on show today. The home is part of a government drive to build more housing with a smaller carbon footprint.The "renewable house" features walls made from Hemcrete - a mix of hamp and lime - and was built thanks to a £200,000 grant from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).URL:
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Comment #3 posted by Mark702 on June 01, 2009 at 18:42:44 PT

Hemp Isn't Even Mentioned
While were discussing drug legalization, how about we include INDUSTRIAL HEMP STALK in the discussion? It has no THC, and literally tens of thousands of products and materials that can be created from it. Despite this it is still illegal to grow in the USA. We are still allowed to import hemp, but the US is the ONLY industrialized nation in the world that does not grow this eco-friendly, renewable energy resource. Combating decades of lies and outright propaganda with truth and factual information is central to reforming failed drug policy and ending the War on Drugs.More info: Emperor of Hemp, Hemp Revolution, Emperor Wears No Clothes
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 01, 2009 at 17:25:58 PT

This is different. I don't know who he is either.
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on June 01, 2009 at 17:04:52 PT

Never heard of this guy, his little Facebook adventure sounds like a publicity stunt to me, he knew this would generate a ton of posts on his site.Opponents of reform always say "no one is in favor of this" or "this will never pass in the US" - they are out of arguments based on merits and resort to just bleating what they want again and again in the hopes that it will come true.The LEO's were saying decrim in Massachusetts would never pass. Even after it passed by 30 points some LEO were STILL saying "nobody is in favor of this it will never pass"
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