Lynne Abraham's Costly Reefer Madness
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Lynne Abraham's Costly Reefer Madness
Posted by CN Staff on May 17, 2010 at 05:26:57 PT
By Chris Goldstein
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Pennsylvania -- In recent testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee, former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham displayed dangerous ignorance about America's marijuana market, engaged in bombastic Reefer Madness rhetoric, and made demeaning generalizations about marijuana users. The truth is that countless area residents choose cannabis for medical therapy or as a form of recreation that's safer than drinking. They are otherwise law-abiding citizens who represent every neighborhood, class, ethnicity, and walk of life.
Abraham also implied that local marijuana consumers are funding cartels. But much of the pot consumed in the United States, particularly in the Northeast, is grown within the country. Most of those who consume cannabis and believe in ending its prohibition are hardworking, freedom-loving Americans. This month, more than 1,200 peaceful marijuana consumers marched on South Street with a police escort. There was absolutely no violence, and there were no arrests. Similar events took place in Seattle, Boston, and hundreds of other cities on the same day, offering a striking contrast to Abraham's offensive statements. Abraham made her comments in response to a decision by her successor, Seth Williams, to treat possession of small amounts of marijuana as a minor offense, moving such cases out of the criminal courts. This is a pragmatic, procedural shift that was supported by other city officials and the state Supreme Court. It is not marijuana legalization, as Abraham claimed, or even the decriminalization that has happened in other states and cities. It simply aligns Philadelphia's procedures with those in the rest of Pennsylvania. We at the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) analyzed the city's 2008 arrest data and found that its approach to marijuana offenses was unique and expensive. We estimated that minor pot cases cost the city $3 million that year and almost certainly contributed to the clogging of the city courts. Under Abraham, the enforcement of laws against minor pot possession had become harsher and more costly than in any other municipality in Pennsylvania. Abraham was right when she said there are some who will applaud Williams' decision, but they aren't the "local gangs" and "drug cartels" she mentioned. A poll in April found that more than 90 percent of those who responded were in favor of the new policy. So the new city slogan Abraham coined - "Welcome to Philadelphia, Light Up a Joint" - may indeed prove accurate. The poll result suggested that many non-consumers of marijuana welcome the change, too. Few residents want to spend the city's precious resources on minor marijuana offenses during the worst recession in memory. Williams' procedural shift could increase the justice system's efficiency and humanity while saving millions. In short, it makes sense for the city. Abraham's mischaracterizations of marijuana consumers were gross and out of touch. Many social justice and civil rights achievements have had to overcome such stereotypes and falsehoods. If Abraham held these almost fanatical views while in office, it's no wonder the city ended up with such bad policy. We at PhillyNORML are working every day to change the law and end marijuana prohibition, which is now a subject of healthy debate locally and nationwide. The marijuana consumers of Philadelphia hope Lynne Abraham will reconsider her derogatory statements after conducting some genuine research. Chris Goldstein is the communications director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Philadelphia Chapter. For more information, see: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)Author:  Chris Goldstein Published: May 17, 2010Copyright: 2010 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.URL: Inquirer.Letters phillynews.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #13 posted by afterburner on May 17, 2010 at 21:18:13 PT
Bravo, Chris Goldstein
Good article. I agree that changing cannabis laws is a civil rights issue, despite the mockery of the prohibitionists. Yes, it is a safer relaxant. Yes, it is for many a preventative health aid, a palliative, an adaptogen, an adjunct to mainstream medical treatments.Legalize it! Don't be afraid. Decriminalization and fines are timid baby steps. They do not address the supply side and therefore support the black market. 
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on May 17, 2010 at 20:24:09 PT
Charmed Quark
Thank you for the link!
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on May 17, 2010 at 16:52:15 PT
charmed quark 
Thank you for the link to the article.
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Comment #10 posted by charmed quark on May 17, 2010 at 16:31:55 PT
link to abraham's comments on marijuana reform
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on May 17, 2010 at 09:24:50 PT
Good Job! 
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Comment #8 posted by nic on May 17, 2010 at 09:23:33 PT
Lynne Abraham and Michele Leonhart similar ducks
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Comment #7 posted by Nic on May 17, 2010 at 09:18:45 PT
I bet that this rankles the prohibitionists drink parties spread panic among authorities
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on May 17, 2010 at 08:46:24 PT
seem to have fixed my c
It's on the laptop and I tried to peel the cap off... didn't come off like a regular cap, but I pulled it up in the front and back and it snapped back and seems to be working fine now.Yay for me! I fixed something!
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on May 17, 2010 at 08:27:22 PT
That's ok...
We've heard enough mockery and insults to imagine what it was pretty well.The letter C is not responding on my keyboard well. I don't see anything in it. It kind of komplikates matters. Sometimes I an get it to type it after repeated efforts... other times I an't.:o(
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on May 17, 2010 at 08:01:33 PT
I did a quick google search and can't seem to find an article. Maybe I missed it.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on May 17, 2010 at 07:24:50 PT
Where, I wonder, can we read
the ugly stuff this woman said about people who use cannabis?
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Comment #2 posted by josephlacerenza on May 17, 2010 at 06:25:14 PT
NORML on ABC Today
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Comment #1 posted by Nic on May 17, 2010 at 06:06:27 PT
what a b-tch with the old and in with the new.
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