Calif. Proposition Could Quell War on Drugs
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Calif. Proposition Could Quell War on Drugs
Posted by CN Staff on October 31, 2010 at 17:54:03 PT
By Cynthia Tucker
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
California -- In 2000, Hollywood released a critically acclaimed and (I thought) important movie, Traffic, about the futility of the so-called war on drugs. I was naive enough to believe it would spark a national conversation about the stupidity of our generations-long policy of drug prohibition. It didn't. We continued as we had since the 1960s: locking up drug offenders, spending countless billions on police and prisons, and abetting the devastating violence that attends the market in illegal narcotics. The United States, with about 5 percent of the world's population, accounts for nearly 25 percent of its prisoners - largely as a consequence of draconian drug laws.
But in Tuesday's midterm elections, Californians have an opportunity to finally give the country a shove in the right direction. If they approve Proposition 19, which would make it legal to possess and grow small quantities of marijuana for personal use, they will start to wind down the war on drugs. Nationwide, marijuana, the most widely used illicit drug, accounts for about 45 percent of drug arrests. If Californians decide to legalize pot, other states will surely follow suit - a development that would free police to pursue more serious offenders, open up prison space, and spur the decriminalization of other narcotics. It might also lead to a new revenue source for cash-strapped cities and states. None of that would happen immediately. State and local authorities in California would still have to sort out countless details, including whether to allow the sale of marijuana and collect taxes. U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has added to the uncertainty by insisting he will continue to enforce federal drug laws. But in a time of tight budgets and redirected priorities, Holder's reactionary stance may prove short-lived. Counting federal, state, and local funds, the United States spends about $45 billion a year to enforce drug prohibition. That's money that we could have spent on education, bridges, bullet trains, and research to cure dread diseases. Meanwhile, Americans continue to demand mind-altering substances. (Among others, the Mexican government complains that it cannot stop drug cartels unless Americans stop purchasing their drugs.) In 1979, according to government statistics, about 25 million Americans over the age of 12 used an illicit narcotic. By 2009 - with hundreds of billions spent and hundreds of thousands incarcerated - 22 million Americans over the age of 12 used an illicit narcotic. This losing war has a high casualty rate, especially in communities of color. Though research indicates black Americans and Latinos are less likely to use drugs than whites, countless studies have shown that they are much more likely than whites to be arrested and prosecuted. The high incarceration rate for black men helps to explain much of the dysfunction in poor black neighborhoods: Imprisoned black men make poor fathers, husbands, and providers. The Drug Policy Alliance, which favors legalization, recently released a study of marijuana arrests in various California municipalities. While Latinos were three times as likely to be arrested as whites, blacks were subject to rates of arrest anywhere from four to 12 times higher than whites, depending on the city. That's why the California chapter of the NAACP, the National Black Police Association, and the National Latino Officers Association have all endorsed Proposition 19. Given the violence associated with the drug trade, especially in poor urban neighborhoods, you might be surprised that any police groups would favor legalizing a narcotic. But the violence is a consequence of the black market. The prohibition of alcohol created criminal enterprises and a wave of well-known gangsters such as Al Capone. Laws prohibiting narcotics have had a similar outcome. Wouldn't legalizing marijuana just lead to more usage? Yes, it probably would. But scientific studies have shown that marijuana use is, generally speaking, no more detrimental than alcohol use. The predictable consequences of increased consumption can be handled by a law enforcement establishment already well-trained in handling alcohol intoxication. Here's hoping California ends its modern-day reefer madness by legalizing marijuana. Cynthia Tucker is an Atlanta Journal Constitution columnist.Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)Author: Cynthia TuckerPublished: October 31, 2010Copyright: 2010 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.URL: Inquirer.Letters phillynews.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #9 posted by museman on November 01, 2010 at 08:29:58 PT
a "narcotic"
Is defined as an 'addictive drug.' Cannabis is an herb, and it has been 'clinically proven' to be non-addictive, though slightly 'habit forming.'The word comes from 'narcos' which means 
'to sleep.' meaning the main 'effects' of a narcotic is sleep inducing.Of course, thanks to the major obfuscation of the WOD, and it's many SQAK supporters (you support the status quo you support prohibition -whether you want to admit it or not) the definitions of terms have taken some major twists and turns since 1936. Now, most people automatically associate 'narcotic' with 'drugs' and 'drug addiction' -a direct 
intention of the powers that be.Lawyers should not be allowed to have an opinion about law, outside of the courtroom -particularly if they are involved on one or the other side of an issue. I believe its called 'conflict of interest' (no doubt many lawyers and SQAKs will argue the point).Cops should not be allowed to speak at all outside of their job requirements, they just make their entire government look as stupid as they are, I know they are stupid, but even I get embarrassed for them sometimes when their rabid dogs bark drivel so incessantly.And no one in the government, or injustice system should have the right to change our language to suit their propaganda and lies, it's unconscionable!Of you listen to enough of it, it could induce an uncontrollable state of narcosis. Hey! Bust those f-kers! They're using narcotics!LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #8 posted by Sam Adams on November 01, 2010 at 06:08:00 PT
>>>I was naive enough to believe it would spark a national conversation about the stupidity of our generations-long policy of drug prohibition. It didn't.So I guess "national conversation" is defined as one conducted by the corporate-owned media. As far as I can tell the actual national conversation on this has been running for over 100 years.If we keep waiting for the 7 companies that own the corporate media or the 500 corrupt Congressmen to define our lives we'll be in big trouble.
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Comment #7 posted by potpal on November 01, 2010 at 05:21:03 PT
OT: zach on mayer
Lil' levity..., legalization and a Giants win...gentlemen (and women) start your engines...!Peace out.
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Comment #6 posted by knightshade on November 01, 2010 at 04:59:32 PT:
Paint the Light beat me to it
I just came here to post a link to that article. The winds are changing! When was the last time we saw an article in the mainstream news that was this much on our side? Rock on :)
awesome reefer music
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Comment #5 posted by DrDunkleosteus on November 01, 2010 at 02:56:02 PT:
At a halloween party last night
I saw a giant pot leaf costume who was teamed up with a girl dressed (barely) as a provocative, medical cannabis nurse. They were quite popular to say the least.I had my face painted-up as a zombie and was sporting my "End Cannabis Prohibition, Vote Yes On 19" t-shirt. Of course our paths eventually crossed and to my surprise, the two ladies were extremely knowledgeable about the current events surrounding cannabis. We had a great discussion about California, the upcoming election, and what we thought would happen on Nov. 3. A fun night for sure.I can barely sleep I'm so anxious. Tomorrow is the day!
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Comment #4 posted by boballen131313 on November 01, 2010 at 01:48:31 PT:
Since Nixon gave the order to WAR on drugs... police have had the green light to intrude into American's lives... shredding our social structure in the name of saving the children! "If you don't like the law... change it!" ITS TIME TO CHANGE IT!! 
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Comment #3 posted by JiMorrison on November 01, 2010 at 00:19:03 PT:
Down to the Wire
Like all good track stars, we can only hope the voters finish strong in this the most pivotal of political issues on the ballots in 50 states. Far more important than the `cult of personality' races between demos & repugs, P19 `Radiates' sanity & intelligence, in the light of almost a century past prohibiton I. Prohibition II perpetuates this insanity, & has tragically become part of our nation, despite our best efforts to rattle people's cages & wake them up from the hypnosis of 4 decades of drug war.
Indeed, I am not hopeful. The latest polls show OUR side losing the edge we had several weeks ago, no doubt due to Barama, neg. campaigning in Calif. by right-wing conservatives, etc.
Not to mention, ball-less Jerry Brown, who could have energized the entire issue, as well as his own campaign, by being bold, & siding with his generation, who were the first to feel the sting of the drug war. No, I fear the worst, but pray I am wrong. That the eve of Nov.3rd, will mark a turning point in American History, where Prohibition II enters the history books as another failed attempt to control American's consciousness.
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Comment #2 posted by Paint with light on October 31, 2010 at 22:18:15 PT
In fact
Latest British study claims alcohol more dangerous than heroin and cocaine. like least.
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Comment #1 posted by Universer on October 31, 2010 at 21:18:06 PT
Imperfect Language
This is useful as a pro-rationality piece, but it does dip into the realm of sloppy writing too."...scientific studies have shown that marijuana use is, generally speaking, no more detrimental than alcohol use..."Actually, dear writer:"Scientific studies have shown that cannabis is, specifically speaking, significantly less detrimental than alcohol."But, thanks for the general reasonableness.
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