Legalized Marijuana? We May Already Be On The Way
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Legalized Marijuana? We May Already Be On The Way
Posted by CN Staff on October 25, 2009 at 18:44:51 PT
By Kristina Wong
Source: ABC News 
Washington, D.C. -- With the Obama administration's decision not to prosecute medical marijuana dealers and users, even though they violate federal law, the country is "probably in the process now of legalizing marijuana," conservative columnist George F. Will said today. Speaking on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," will compared what has been happening with marijuana with the gradual changes in laws regarding alcohol, gambling and even prostitution.
"We have legalized gambling in this country over two generations. It used to be considered a sin and a crime. With no national debate, and no decision moment, we just did it," Will said. "We legalized prostitution as anyone who opens a telephone book and looks under 'escort' can tell you. And we may be doing, probably in the process now of legalizing marijuana." It is not just the new Obama administration policy on marijuana, but the expanding definitions of medical applications for the drug in the growing number of states that allow pot to be grown, sold and used as a treatment for various conditions. "Now medical use can be marijuana to cure anxiety, to cure insomnia, all the rest," he said. The new policy -- a striking shift from the hard line taken by the Bush administration -- sparked a wide-ranging discussion today on "This Week." "Woody Harrelson is really happy about it," joked Fox News contributor and radio show host Laura Ingraham, who appeared on "This Week" as a guest commentator. She called it the "Cheech and Chong initiative" of all the Obama adminstration's initiatives. Last week the Obama administration announced it would not seek to federally prosecute individuals or dispensaries who use or provide medicinal marijuana, as long as they complied with state law. Instead, a Justice Department memo said state prosecutors should pursue "significant traffickers" of illegal drugs, including marijuana. "We will not use our limited resources in the fight against the marijuana trade against those people who are using it consistent with state law and to fight serious illnesses, such as cancer or other diseases," Attorney General Eric Holder said last week. The new policy is a significant departure from the Bush administration's, which called for enforcing federal anti-marijuana laws, regardless of state laws. Using and providing medicinal marijuana is legal in 14 states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Marijuana Is a 'Mixed Bag' for Many  But John Podesta, who was White House chief of staff for President Clinton and is the president and CEO of the progressive think tank Center for American Progress, said the attorney general is looking at a broader picture. "I think that what Eric Holder did was to say look, we have scarce resources. We're not going to go after people with glaucoma or cancer or whatever on medical marijuana. They're still going with a vengeance really against the Mexican drug cartels. So I think there's -- this is kind of a mixed bag," said Podesta, who also served on President Obama's transition team. "The United States has the highest prison population of any country in the world, and I think that largely has been the result of mandatory prison sentences as a result of junk laws, and I think that these changes that we're seeing now probably will ripple back," he continued. "And I think that's a place that people really have to consider whether they want to incarcerate this large number of people and the cost of that in our society." Al Hunt, Washington, D.C., bureau chief for Bloomberg News, agreed that resources could be better spent elsewhere. "Well, now that I no longer have a teenager, I have a little bit different view, a bit more permissive," he said. "I don't think it's a great utilization of scarce federal resources to be prosecuting pot. "I am not sure if it's going to lead to what George suggests [eventual legalization]. I'm not sure that would be a bad idea," he said. "But I was at the University of Mississippi a couple of years ago and it's interesting, they grow marijuana on the campus. So, times are a-changing." Taxing Pot to Pay for Health Care? However, there was one circumstance under which Podesta thought "full legalization" could occur. "I think we won't see a full legalization of marijuana until somebody figures out that if you tax it, maybe you can pay for health care," he said. Will also said taxing marijuana could be a way to go after Mexican drug cartels. "Eighty percent of the revenue of the Mexican cartels is marijuana. If you really want to go after the Mexican cartels, and I'm not saying that is the only criterion for public policy, you'd legalize marijuana," he said. Public Sympathy on the Side of Medicinal Marijuana Legalizing marijuana remains controversial, but the public is less divided on medicinal marijuana. A March 2001 Pew Research Center poll showed that nearly 75 percent of those polled were in favor of allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for medical purposes to treat their patients. "I think all of us have either gone through cancer or family members, and it's a terribly painful disease. I think you have a lot of sympathy. There's a lot of public sympathy for medical marijuana use," Ingraham said. Cynthia Tucker, political columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, called for a broader view of the administration's policy change. "I really think instead of just acting in a small way to say, marijuana isn't such a bad thing, let's relook at all of our drug laws, the way we fight the so-called war on drugs, because it isn't working," she said. Note: New Obama Administration Policy 'Probably' Part of Process, Columnist Says.Source: ABC News (US Web)Author: Kristina WongPublished: October 25, 2009Copyright: 2009 ABC News Internet VenturesWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #10 posted by Dankhank on October 26, 2009 at 11:14:03 PT
Joe #9
good point, but we aren't faced with that possibility, now.The mindlessly opposing neo-Cs and others seem to put any idea of heterogeneous political ideas, unattainable.
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Comment #9 posted by JoeCitizen on October 26, 2009 at 08:37:47 PT
Universer, #3, Good comment
I agree. And I don't have to like any of those neo-conservative types to make common cause with them. That's how big, heterogeneous movements get formed.JC
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on October 26, 2009 at 06:24:35 PT
"Somewhat heartened", indeed.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on October 26, 2009 at 06:22:02 PT
Funny thought
Thinking about the busy busybody minds of prohibitionists right now. They have to pretty much know that we, the people against the injustice and hideous collateral damage of these expensive and deadly prohibitions by our government, just might be looking like, maybe, the new political "Juggernaut" in town.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on October 26, 2009 at 06:15:18 PT
This article.
"... the country is "probably in the process now of legalizing marijuana," conservative columnist George F. Will said today. ":0)Very good. 
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on October 26, 2009 at 06:08:23 PT
That's a very good article.It's kind of funny that they would call growing plants in five gallon buckets with hoses on the floor a "Sophisticated" operation.It is neat and clean and that's a nice looking light rigging.
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on October 26, 2009 at 05:18:57 PT
US CO: Summit County Sheriff's Office wastes its resources on medical pot busts
 Webpage: 26 Oct 2009Source: Summit Daily News (CO)-0-What, where, when, and how.
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Comment #3 posted by Universer on October 25, 2009 at 22:32:42 PT
In our favor...
The correction of the unethical prohibition of responsible cannabis consumption is favored by followers of at least two distinct schools of thought: liberals and libertarians.There is some philosophical intersection there, but not too very much.Libertarians would contend that cannabis ought to be legalized as a function of governmental noninterference, as a consequence of the exercise of individual freedom.Liberals would present a rationalist argument, that cannabis is by far the least harmful of any illicit substance, less addictive than the nicotine of tobacco and easily less deleterious than the societal impact of alcohol. So...duh.Though most readers here, I reckon, would be Obama-voting, Kucinich-admiring liberals with libertarian overtones (like me), they (like me) should be somewhat heartened when a dyed-in-the-wool (neo)conservative like George Will or Bill O'Reilly or the late William Buckley publicly supports cannabis non-illegalization.Yay.
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Comment #2 posted by Dankhank on October 25, 2009 at 21:06:45 PT
tired of waiting ...
let it come damn soon ...agree re: Obama. may he be reelected ... for All of our good.
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Comment #1 posted by MikeC on October 25, 2009 at 20:35:07 PT
Legalizing marijuana...
It's coming sooner than we think. In the past couple of weeks I have read dozens of articles, watched debates, and have seen media reports all in favor of not only medical marijuana but all out legalization. President Obama did the right thing by calling off the federal jackboots but this movement goes way beyond that. It's happening and I am thrilled that we will get to see it in our lifetimes. However, we need President Obama in office for four more years as a shield from the republican party. They would reverse this latest decision by the Department of Justice protecting medical marijuana patients and dispenaries.Crumblin' Down: 
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