Time To End The War on Drugs
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Time To End The War on Drugs
Posted by CN Staff on November 20, 2012 at 05:46:57 PT
 By Katrina vanden Heuvel
Source: Washington Post 
Washington, D.C.  -- With his final election behind him, and the final attack ads safely off the air, President Obama now returns to his regularly scheduled programming — governing. Yet, the chatter about his second term agenda, from deficit reduction to immigration reform, ignores one critical issue: ending our nation’s inhumane, irrational — and ineffective — war on drugs.Since its launch in 1971, when President Nixon successfully branded drug addicts as criminals, the war on drugs has resulted in 45 million arrests and destroyed countless families. The result of this trillion dollar crusade? Americans aren’t drug free — we’re just the world’s most incarcerated population. We make China look like Woodstock. We’re also, according to the old definition, insane; despite overwhelming evidence of its failure, our elected officials steadfastly refuse to change course.
But on November 6, citizens in Colorado and Washington became the first to approve ballot initiatives legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Their success illustrates growing tolerance and, indeed, support for a smarter approach that could change, and even save, countless lives. Now, the question is how the federal government will respond to these new state laws, since they directly conflict with existing federal restrictions on drugs. Recreational use might be legal in the eyes of Colorado and Washington, but Uncle Sam can still put the boot down. President Obama has a choice. He could direct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to crack down and prevent the two states from moving forward. Or he could finally, fully embrace sensible drug laws.There are reasons to be encouraged. During the 2008 campaign, Obama pledged to leave state medical marijuana laws alone. He seemed to sympathize with the African American and Latino communities, disproportionate casualties of the drug war. Surely, Obama knew that one chance run-in between his youthful “choom gang” and the police years ago would have deprived him of the office he holds today. In October 2009, the DOJ declared that the federal government would not prosecute individuals, including distributors and cultivators, found in possession of marijuana, as long as they were complying with state medical marijuana laws.The following year, President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which dropped the five-year mandatory minimum sentencing for simple possession of crack cocaine. The law also reduced the unjust disparity in federal sentencing for crack and powder cocaine.But in October 2011, the DOJ began large-scale raids on medical marijuana cultivators and distributors, state law be damned. Federal authorities have since raided and shut down 600 dispensaries in California alone. A fine use of law enforcement resources in these austere times.Enough is enough. The president should instruct the DOJ to de-prioritize marijuana-related cases in states that allow for medical marijuana, and to allow Colorado and Washington to move ahead with implementation of their new laws. He should ensure that federal appointees dealing with the issue, including U.S. Attorneys, are fair-minded. And he should take the fight to Congress, where members of both parties might be able to find common ground. Obama can lead across party lines by seeking out libertarian members of the GOP to join him in crafting better drug policies. In fact, in May, Democratic Reps. Sam Farr (Calif.) and Maurice Hinchey (N.Y.) joined with Republican Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.) on a bill that would have cut federal funding for the Justice Department’s marijuana busts. And Senator Rand Paul recently indicated he might work with Democrat Pat Leahy to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana possession.Meanwhile, if left free of federal intrusion, Colorado and Washington might become a model for legalizing and taxing marijuana. If successful, the experiment could yield millions in tax revenues and drastically decrease incarceration rates, while giving members of Congress more incentive to change federal law. It could even help improve U.S. relations with Latin America, and help demilitarize our hemispheric policies with our closest neighbors, particularly Mexico. If Congress fails and, four years from now, a new president instructs the DOJ to crack down again, any such reforms would be at risk. But if Colorado and Washington show positive results, the public, which already believes the drug war has failed, might support wider implementation, and perhaps force a federal solution. To be sure, Colorado and Washington are not the final battlefields of the war on drugs. Marijuana is not the sole drug behind our astounding incarceration rate for nonviolent drug-related crimes. We’re a long way from a just system that addresses drug use with treatment rather than punishment. Still, we might be one step closer to ending our failed attempt at marijuana prohibition, much as, in 1933, public opinion finally brought an end to alcohol prohibition. In the first proclamation of Thanksgiving, President Lincoln acknowledged the many gifts bestowed by a god who, “while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.” This holiday, as President Obama pardons the traditional turkey, let’s hope he also considers the millions of Americans trapped in a cruel, senseless system. May he heed Lincoln’s words and offer them forgiveness and, above all, hope.Katrina vanden Heuvel: Editor and publisher of the Nation magazine, vanden Heuvel writes a weekly column for The Post.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Katrina vanden HeuvelPublished: November 20, 2012Copyright: 2012 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on November 22, 2012 at 05:42:11 PT
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone
I hope everyone has a wonderful day. It is going to be Sunny and around 60. We're having a family dinner here on the farm. We have a lot to be thankful for. 
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Comment #8 posted by afterburner on November 21, 2012 at 23:54:28 PT
Living in Thanksgiving
Thinking of 5 things to be thankful for at the end of each day builds spiritual strength.Happy Thanksgiving everyone!One Love!One Love Bob Marley official video HD
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on November 21, 2012 at 20:14:56 PT
For sure!Everyone have a good one... and I'm sooo thankful for sooo many things... including the initiatives and the votes that busted down the door into taking back some of our stolen liberties and freedoms!It's open! It's down. It can't be closed. We've breached "The Wall"! We're going through! I'm so thankful! It's so sweet. They are going to soon have to stop killing, imprisoning, terrorizing, invading people's homes, ruining lives, arresting, bullying, and persecuting people over cannabis.Hallelujah!It's wonderful and I repeat. I am so thankful.Everyone have a totally wonderful Thanksgiving!
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on November 21, 2012 at 19:26:34 PT
Can plants actually be drugs? Can drugs be plants?
I think drugs can be derived from plants and fungi, either through some sort of processing or synthesizing elements of some plants. There are many many plants, fungi, and even animals that have elements of their makeup that can be useful, helpful, medicinal, beneficial, or deadly to humans or animals. There are plants that have effects, some profound, including deadly effects, but I think they are not drugs. There are drugs that are and have been derived from the cannabis plant. Sativex and drobinol come to mind. But I think it's a swerve from reality to call the plant a drug. Is tobacco a drug? Is the coca leaf a drug? Is a grape or a kernel of corn a drug? Is the opium poppy a drug? Is the belladonna plant a drug? Is the aloe vera plant a drug? Is the coffee bean a drug? I don't think so.I think people that call cannabis a "drug" speak in error.
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Comment #5 posted by ekim on November 21, 2012 at 12:54:08 PT
Jesse Venture on True TV tonight 11pm
Dir TV ch 246
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on November 21, 2012 at 07:54:38 PT
I don't like it either.
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on November 21, 2012 at 07:43:54 PT
Reminder: 2 different wars.
The lingo being used to manipulate. And who's doing the manipulation?I'm not comfortable and never have been, at using the word "drug" when speaking of cannabis. It is less the "war on drugs" that is the problem and more the war on the green plant cannabis, which is the problem.I wish hard to not support those who try to manipulate the issue by using or allowing the use of the word "drug"when speaking about the plant. I don't want to support activists from either side of the effort to RE-legalize cannabis that uses the word "drug" to further their cause.They are separate.  The dubious agenda to join the 2 should be exposed to eliminate greed and ulterior motives.I'm suspicious of all who use or allow the use of the word drug, instead of what it honestly is; A PLANT.And then there's that "W" word, to begin with.
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Comment #2 posted by Billy Bob Bad--- on November 21, 2012 at 00:30:28 PT:
The War
Is slowly coming ending. Uruguay is heading the way of legalization, Mexico could push for it, 4 east coast states are talking about it. It is a sweet dream to me.
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Comment #1 posted by FiddleMan on November 20, 2012 at 13:39:30 PT
Nixon Did Much Worse!
Don't pull the punches on Nixon! Nixon's evil went far deeper than this..."President Nixon successfully branded drug addicts as criminals"No! - Tell it like it is...President Nixon successfully branded ALL (illicit) drug users (non-addicts included!) as criminals! -
President Obama, please make a step in the right direction for humanity and the world and end the Schedule 1 status that Nixon’s War illegally placed Cannabis into!The U.S. Government is violating both U.S. Laws AND the U.S Constitution with the War on Cannabis. Science has proven that Cannabis cannot possibly be a Schedule 1 substance, yet the Government refuses to acknowledge Science - so the U.S. Government keeps Cannabis listed as a Schedule 1 drug illegally.I don't believe that even States have the right to criminalize a "vice-at-most (I don't even believe Cannabis to be a vice at all - it is beneficial to good health!)" activity such as using Cannabis - and the Federal Government certainly doesn't!
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