Some Potent Arguments For Legalizing Marijuana
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Some Potent Arguments For Legalizing Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on September 12, 2009 at 17:31:28 PT
By Robert McCartney, Metro Columnist
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. -- As Maryland weighs legalizing medical marijuana, it should consider my experience when I visited the student lounge at Montgomery College's Rockville campus at lunchtime last week and began interviewing randomly selected students about their views on weed. Among the first group I approached, one of the four young men volunteered within minutes that he not only smoked marijuana but also sold it. He told me his price list: $10 a gram for "middies," the least potent and most readily available variety; $20 a gram for "headies" with more THC; $35 for the strongest, "exotic" types, like "white widow."
The youth's matter-of-fact attitude highlights a reality that's under our nose but is often overlooked in the oh-so-earnest debates over drug policy. When it comes to marijuana, American society has lost the war on drugs--and that's okay. We should stop squandering time and money trying to reverse history and instead legalize both medical and recreational use of this mild narcotic widely seen as no more harmful than alcohol. Here are some facts: Pot is widely available. A sizable chunk of the population thinks that's not a problem. In many locales, including Montgomery, prosecutors routinely send offenders caught with small quantities to a few days or weeks of drug education rather than prison. California and 12 other states will let you buy marijuana for health reasons, such as to control vomiting or relieve glaucoma. Four of those states permit collectives in which members grow their own. In our region, advocates in Maryland and the District are pushing to legalize medical cannabis. (Virginia is sitting it out for now.) Maryland's policy recently attracted attention when a little-noticed 2003 law, which sets a maximum fine of $100 for medical use, was applied in two separate cases Aug. 27 in Rockville. Otherwise the penalty for pot possession in Maryland is up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. My campus interviews indicate that the younger generation overwhelmingly favors legalizing cannabis. Fifteen of 20 students said they supported it, and the opponents acknowledged that they were in a small minority. This, mind you, is the generation raised since the onset of well-financed, high-profile, anti-drug education campaigns, such as DARE. Students offered numerous thoughtful reasons for legalization. The most frequent, by far, was the common-sense point that current laws aren't working. "For most people my age, it's a popular thing. People are going to do it anyway," said Simone Brewer, 17, a freshman from Rockville. Several also argued that the economy would benefit. The government should tax marijuana and save the money now spent on prosecuting and imprisoning users, they said. "People are doing it every day, but the government isn't making money off of it," said Billy Vivian, 19, of Wheaton, who is studying criminal justice. "The prisons wouldn't be so filled up with nonviolent offenders." All the students who supported legalization also favored keeping laws against such stronger drugs as cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and methamphetamines. They said those can cause severe mental and health problems or even kill you. They said legal marijuana should be subject to restrictions similar to those on alcohol, with strict prohibitions against underage use and driving while high. Many of the students said they thought alcohol is more harmful than pot. It is more dangerous to drive drunk than stoned, they thought, and pot makes people mellow while alcohol makes them belligerent. "When's the last time you heard about some guy on marijuana coming in and hitting his wife?" Anthony Thompson, 18, of Silver Spring, said. In my view, there's one strong reason for keeping marijuana illegal. The risk of getting caught discourages some people from trying it or using it regularly. That's a plus for public health. But that's outweighed by the social and economic benefits of legalization. Moreover, the current policy leads people to be cynical about the law. "If you have laws that are not effectively enforced, or are flouted as openly as some of these are, I think it undermines public confidence," said a senior Maryland law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to be candid about a controversial subject. Some of the young people who support legalization now will doubtless change their minds as they get older, especially when they start to worry that their own children will smoke as they -- or their friends -- did. Given the other trends, though, there's a good chance that the rising generation will change the laws when it comes to power. We should change them now. It would save millions of dollars and countless hours of police officers' time and eliminate a source of hypocrisy about what we as a society actually tolerate.  Maybe She Does Walk on Water  The good news keeps coming for D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. After city schools opened without major disruptions, the system reported that enrollment was close to surpassing that of the previous year. If the number is confirmed in early 2010 after an audit, it would be a vote of confidence from parents. It also would embarrass Rhee's detractors on the D.C. Council, who were skeptical when she predicted that enrollment would be so high. On Friday, we learned that she's moved closer to a contract with the union. Let's just hope that there aren't too many mysterious erasures on the next round of standardized tests. Source: Washington Post (DC)Author:    Robert McCartney, Metro ColumnistPublished: Sunday, September 13, 2009 Copyright: 2009 Washington Post Contact: letters URL: CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #9 posted by rchandar on September 17, 2009 at 03:52:08 PT:
Boggs's Children
Florida: less than 20grams
1 year, $1000
Georgia: less than 20 grams
6 months, $500
Louisiana: any amount
6 months, $500
Tennessee: less than 14 grams
2 years, $2000
Alabama: any amount
2 years, $2000
Mississippi (shocking, isn't it)
$100, no jail
Missouri: less than 35 grams
30 days, $500
Arkansas: less than 28 grams
1 year, $1000The Mississippi one was a bit surprising: no one I know ever got in their car to drive to Miss-hippy for some homegrown, and it's way at the bottom for growing. Point is, these are laws enacted before really any large number of people--other than African-Americans--were smokin' a hoot or anything of that nature. It's a bad system because, as we all know, the South is the fastest growing part of the country, and increasingly modern in the same way other parts of the country are modern. The justice system does not need tens of thousands of parolees anymore: these are working people whom we need in the workforce and in our communities.Take That, Unkah' Sam!--rchandar
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Comment #8 posted by rchandar on September 17, 2009 at 03:46:12 PT:
This Article Isn't Bad
"we should change (the laws) now."Are you guys simply referring to the end of the thing, where they went off-topic to "good news"? It doesn't matter; whether the columnist actually believes pot is good for us or not isn't the issue, but the change in the laws. The Dutch, for example, don't really like weed, though they had and have an awesome pot culture that goes back about 450-some odd years. Their policy is more like this: "we don't actually like this, but we should be in control of it, not the crooks. It isn't good, but is no worse than drinking beer." The article points to that trend. May I mention one other thing, to y'all: dis hyah Mary-lan' is smad' dack in dah middle of dah South. It gonna be a hard clamb' to chaynge da law in dah South, bwah!(Translation, if you're not Southern, and please no offense as I've lived there before and it isn't that bad): Pot laws may change nationwide, but the strongest opponents to MJ policy reform are probably in the Southern states. That's where the laws are the most severe and most punitive. A step towards legalization in MJ will open eyes, make people see, give ideas that never had a chance, a chance.--rchandar
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Comment #7 posted by josephlacerenza on September 15, 2009 at 15:16:28 PT
Some News out there to chew on
I found this tid-bit. Here we have another reason that cannabis "Hemp" should be legal. I see a major shift happening with the "advent" of some new LEO toys/tech like, the device that can detect THC and other substances in quantities of ppm in a hand held device.So, now WE can detect ppm quantities, i.e. sobriety meters, and genetically distinguish different varieties, i.e. THC or no THC.I have been in "school" for far too long and remain unhealthily optimistic, but this is a GAME CHANGER!!!!The excuses of the past are no longer relevant!!!The End of Prohibition is at hand.FREE CANNABIS FOR ALL 
New DNA 'Fingerprinting' Technique Separates Hemp From Marijuana
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on September 14, 2009 at 05:55:02 PT
I was setting up that article to post and the more I read the less I saw it as anything good or important. I decided to just post a link and let others decide if they like it or not.
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Comment #5 posted by Canis420 on September 14, 2009 at 00:35:34 PT:
This Article
Was this article written by a third grader?
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on September 13, 2009 at 19:38:52 PT
How Did NYC Become The Pot Arrest Capital 
New York MagazineURL:
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on September 13, 2009 at 05:00:02 PT
Please Say a Prayer For Jack
Marijuana Guru Jack Herer Collapses After Stage Appearance at ...URL:
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Comment #2 posted by Brandon Perera on September 12, 2009 at 19:35:39 PT
 That just shows you how messed up our country is when we have to pay 35 a gram for sum bomb that we can grow our own indoors and people who don't ever smoke have there reasons for smoking and let them keep them reasons for not smoking when it gets legal?
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on September 12, 2009 at 18:26:53 PT
It's articles like these, and where they are publi
shed, that signify to me that we are moving forward into brand new territory ... this is very exciting, provided we keep moving forard.
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