Marijuana Debate Isn't Just Legalization
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Marijuana Debate Isn't Just Legalization
Posted by CN Staff on January 12, 2013 at 05:46:41 PT
By Patrick J. Kennedy and Kevin A. Sabet
Source: Denver Post
Denver -- Colorado residents are holding their breath for President Obama's announcement regarding recently passed measures legalizing marijuana. Whatever the decision is, it is sure not to end the debate about marijuana, especially since some Colorado counties are banning marijuana operations already. And marijuana use and sales remain illegal under federal law.Sadly, this debate has been mainly confined to two very simplistic notions of policy: incarceration and legalization. These words have dominated the marijuana policy discussion over the past decade.
And they are both wrong. They represent a false dichotomy that overlooks more complex and promising solutions in favor of simplistic and risky ones.Though touted by legalization advocates as a cure to ailing state budgets and a crippling of drug cartels, it is clear that marijuana is good for neither. Legal alcohol and tobacco provide examples: For every dollar the government brings in from taxation, it spends $10 on social costs. We know that the costs of today's highly potent marijuana include 400,000 emergency room visits, increased incidence of mental illness, car crashes, and learning problems for kids. These costs will only increase as more people use easily obtainable, heavily promoted, cheap marijuana in such a permissive environment. And we are confident marijuana will be promoted widely. Already, talk of creating the Starbucks equivalent of marijuana and pop-star promotion of the drug has begun. But we also know one more segment of private industry might be interested in cashing in: big tobacco. A consultant's report to Brown and Williamson uncovered in court read: "The use of marijuana ... has important implications for the tobacco industry in terms of an alternative product line. [We] have the land to grow it, the machines to roll it and package it, the distribution to market it." Big tobacco lied to America for 80 years about the dangers of smoking. They deliberately targeted kids. Why would we think it would be any different for marijuana?SnippedComplete Article: Denver Post (CO)Author: Patrick J. Kennedy and Kevin A. SabetPublished: January 12, 2013Copyright: 2013 The Denver Post Website: openforum denverpost.comCannabisNews  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on January 21, 2013 at 12:26:11 PT
Comment 18
I wish the Denver Post would print those letters in ink, too.
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on January 21, 2013 at 12:22:43 PT
Terry Buswell, Denver (comment 18)
"Yet I question whether hazards are being as closely observed."Believe me, Terry Buswell, they have been, and are. The "hazards" have also been fabricated, assumed, and imagined. The worst "hazard" of all, many people are finally beginning to recognize, is what getting caught by the prohibitionists and their government agents can do to one's life and future.Some people must live in bottles stuffed with cotton. How can they know so little of what is going in the world?
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Comment #18 posted by The GCW on January 20, 2013 at 21:23:51 PT
4 Related letters to the Editor,
Patrick Kennedy's Criticism of Legalizing Marijuana (4 letters) “Marijuana debate isn’t just legalization vs. incarceration,” Jan. 12 guest commentary.Thanks for publishing this guest commentary by Patrick J. Kennedy and Kevin A. Sabet. I encourage everyone to be wary of overblown statements made by members of either side of cannabis debate. The plant is unlike alcohol or tobacco, so alleged parallels require extremely cautious interpretation. Many of the purported consequences of the plant actually arise from prohibition itself, economic factors, or biases in the interpretation of scientific research.The citizens of Colorado voted to legalize the plant for many reasons. They chose a chance to devise a regulatory scheme that would save law enforcement and the court system valuable resources, increase respect for other laws, and eliminate inconsistencies in the messages provided to children. This kind of regulation cannot continue if legalization is undermined.Development often causes growing pains. There is no need to return to a flawed system because of exaggerated fears of a new one.Mitch Earleywine, Albany, N.Y.The writer is a professor of psychology at the University at Albany-State University of New York.This letter was published in the Jan. 21 edition.-0-Re: “Ex-White House adviser Kevin Sabet joins anti-pot effort,” Jan. 10 news story.Don’t be fooled by Patrick J. Kennedy’s vision of a kinder, gentler drug war. His reefer madness revival campaign is an insult to Colorado voters. There is a difference between occasional use and chronic abuse. Just as most people who drink an occasional glass of red wine with dinner don’t need mandatory substance abuse treatment, the vast majority of marijuana users don’t either.In terms of daily use, many marijuana smokers have turned their lives around by putting down the bottle and picking up the marijuana pipe. These former alcoholics no longer wake up with debilitating hangovers. They are no longer at risk of overdose death. Because they have chosen a safer alternative to alcohol, they now lead productive lives.Forcing pot smokers to relapse into alcoholism is not a good use of tax dollars. The war on marijuana is a cultural inquisition, not a public health campaign.Robert Sharpe, Arlington, Va.The writer is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy.This letter was published in the Jan. 21 edition.-0-I appreciate the thoughtful commentary by Patrick J. Kennedy and Kevin A. Sabet. Marijuana is not cotton candy. Jailing people for using or possessing does not prevent its sale or use. One of my concerns: secondhand pot smoke. How do we protect people like me in a condominium from unwillingly sharing our neighbors’ pot smoke as it filters through our shared air? If limits are set for driving under its influence, what happens to drivers who have involuntarily breathed smoke at a concert or party?Medical benefits have been proven. Yet I question whether hazards are being as closely observed.Terry Buswell, DenverThis letter was published in the Jan. 21 edition.-0-Former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy and Kevin A. Sabet have gone to great lengths to spread fear about the recent marijuana law changes in Colorado with plenty of warnings about all the bad things that could befall us. Unfortunately, they spend no time on things that have already happened.Thousands and thousands of lives have been ruined with and billions and billions of dollars wasted incarcerating nonviolent “offenders.” Many people have profited from this war, but not the country. Also, many thousands, if not millions, of these smokers have spent 30 to 50 years in normal careers and full productive lives without causing any problems for society.Kennedy and Sabet also fail to mention other things that could happen. People now have a non-narcotic option for treating pain, insomnia, hot flashes, etc. It could also be that many would stay away from harder drugs by choosing the legal and far safer option and surely many will choose to drink less alcohol, which would also mean less domestic violence.Another possibility is that Charlatans will succeed in continuing the insanity of ruining lives, filling prisons, and spending billions on a false “war” when they should be trying to get those people out of jail so violent criminals can be kept at bay.Max Lowe, Colorado SpringsThis letter was published online only.
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on January 14, 2013 at 23:46:59 PT
Rethinking the problem... it may be poverty.
Pot Use-Low IQ Link Challenged in Study
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Comment #16 posted by Had Enough on January 14, 2013 at 22:49:56 PT
I found Waldo…
I have to agree with the others that posted here about this bunch being a good thing to help end prohibition…They are going to look like fools and become a laughing stock…Let their games begin…again…but in the meantime…let the political prisoners (POW’s) free to go home…it’s not a game to them…
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Comment #15 posted by Had Enough on January 14, 2013 at 22:34:46 PT
Where in the world is Waldo…???
Can anybody really take these guys seriously…???Of all people to barnstorm with prohibition…Patrick Kennedy…If John, Robert, or Ted was still with us…I’m sure they would take him out to the woodshed and make him pick out a switch…And I also believe if JFK weren’t taken out…we would see a different world than the one we see today…************Kennedy Brothers Tribute "Abraham, Martin & John" (Bobby + Teddy too)
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Comment #14 posted by afterburner on January 14, 2013 at 20:47:15 PT
"bigger fish to fry"?
Huffington Post / By Molly Davies.
Dear President Obama, Why Do You Want to Imprison My Husband for Legally Growing Pot?
Molly Davies' husband Matthew faces 10 years in prison for providing medical marijuana to sick people in California, where it is legal. 
January 14, 2013
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Comment #13 posted by Canis420 on January 13, 2013 at 23:09:22 PT:
# 10
You said:"slobbering, worthless blob of gelatinous protoplasm"This keeps making me laugh.Thanks
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Comment #12 posted by gloovins on January 13, 2013 at 22:21:02 PT
good article here & anthr WH petiton hope this one gets 25k sigs and they have to answer with more BS. Ha, our system is so lame oh well....
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Comment #11 posted by ekim on January 13, 2013 at 15:57:33 PT
ck transcript 2011 700,000 stoped
--wonder how many had cannabis on them. tonight Piers Morgan has on DR OZ 
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Comment #10 posted by Dr Ganj on January 13, 2013 at 15:10:17 PT:
Drug Spew From An Alcoholic Loser: Patrick Kennedy from this man is worth reading. He is a slobbering, worthless blob of gelatinous protoplasm.
Notice every time we read articles like this, there is no mention why hemp is schedule I, right along side with LSD & heroin. 
Just the same mindless blather from idiots.
Go watch "The House I Live In" to really understand what is going on. I saw it two nights ago. Made me ill.
The United States is a police state, and it's only going to get worse. 
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Comment #9 posted by The GCW on January 12, 2013 at 20:59:12 PT
runruff got the arrow-splitting bull's eye!
Colorado has heard it all before. And voted.
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Comment #8 posted by Quax Mercy on January 12, 2013 at 12:55:08 PT:
Cannabis & Tumors
It is especially sad that Patrick has no glimmer of awareness that Cannabis has a contribution to make medically across a broad range of chronic & acute conditions currently draining our health care resources, including the condition that killed his father (inoperable glioma). We don't yet have this knowledge & experience due to the mindless embargo on research kept in place these 75 years by clueless reformers (or, in Nixon's case, vindictive tyrants). It is not just UnAmerican, inhumane, but criminal.  
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Comment #7 posted by schmeff on January 12, 2013 at 12:17:05 PT
And This Is a Classic:
"Big tobacco lied to America for 80 years about the dangers of smoking." Ergo, cannabis is as dangerous as tobacco The writers of this 'editorial' are charlatans, hucksters and con-men.
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Comment #6 posted by schmeff on January 12, 2013 at 12:11:28 PT
Quick! Lock The Barn Doors!
The horses have escaped!Methinks the best time to have a debate about a ballot measure is BEFORE it passes. I'm starting to wonder if "Mad Rush" Patrick is from the Bush side of the Kennedy clan.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on January 12, 2013 at 10:21:43 PT
A word from John. Well, a few.
Poems, Prayers, and Promises! Colorado! Thank you!
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on January 12, 2013 at 10:14:06 PT
The useful idiots don't seem to know.
They must think they are saviours of our culture. they must believe their own nonsense.Truth is, they are only helping spread the smoke screen that hides the real threat to capitalist regimes,industrial hemp. 
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on January 12, 2013 at 10:07:07 PT
Colorado has heard it all before.
And voted!
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on January 12, 2013 at 08:07:43 PT
having fun yet?
after the initial frustration of seeing this group get started, let's face it, the only thing they're going to do is provide humor over the next 5 years. This is like a couple people running on the tarmac just as the space shuttle is taking off and yelling "no, wait!!!". The cannabis industry is going to take off like a rocket. It's already well underway.Opinion has changed so fast, I think there are many states polling at 55% and up in favor of legalization, and not just the usual suspects. There are several slam dunk referendums out there waiting to be done, nothing from SAM is going to make the slightest difference.It will be fun to watch them embarrass themselves. What will their right-wing funders force them to do? Will they be walking around cannabis growers' conventions and tasting events, hectoring the people laughing and smiling and making money? 
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on January 12, 2013 at 07:50:15 PT
This article is total BS!
Thanks Patrick, it's like the pot calling the kettle black!Are you trying to make up for the bad karma of your liquor producing family?
Let's Go Farming!
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