The Many Different Faces Of Marijuana In America
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The Many Different Faces Of Marijuana In America
Posted by CN Staff on June 12, 2013 at 12:13:48 PT
By Gene Demby
Source: National Public Radio
USA -- On Tuesday, Vermont moved to decriminalize the possession of marijuana for quantities up to an ounce, replacing potential prison time for arrests with fines.Peter Shumlin, the state's governor, made a telling distinction between weed and "harder" drugs when he announced the move. "This legislation allows our courts and law enforcement to focus their limited resources more effectively to fight highly addictive opiates such as heroin and prescription drugs that are tearing apart families and communities," he said.
The idea that weed isn't that big a deal and that governments need to readjust their priorities is pretty common. There's little vocal anti-pot government outcry, no temperance movement analog for cannabis. Recent polls have found that a majority of Americans think marijuana should be legalized.Even our mainstream faces of stoner culture are generally silly, harmless and amiable (Jeff Spicoli, Cheech & Chong, Harold & Kumar, and whatever Snoop is calling himself these days) except when they're revered and saintly (read: Bob Marley). On TV, there was Weeds, a dramedy about an upper-middle-class widow who starts selling marijuana to make ends meet. Change the drug to something else like heroin or meth, drugs with more sinister reputations, and it becomes something much darker. You'd pretty much have to go all the way back to Reefer Madness to find a widely seen film that portrayed pot as dangerous or threatening. (And the whole reason we all know about that movie is because the concerns at its center are often mocked as kitschy and histrionic.)Mona Lynch, a professor at the University of California, Irvine who studies the criminal justice system, says that stereotypes of marijuana usage in popular culture don't come across as very threatening. "There's not a lot of uproar around marijuana [as] a crushing problem," she says.But this image of weed use as benign recreation or banal nuisance doesn't square with another great fact of American life  the War on Drugs. And more and more, that War on Drugs means marijuana.Ezekiel Edwards, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Criminal Law Reform Project, says that 10 years ago, marijuana possession arrests made up 37 percent of all drug arrests. And now? "Half of all drug arrests are now marijuana-related," he says  and 9 in 10 of those are for possession.The focus of the continuing law enforcement battle on marijuana lands disproportionately on people of color. The ACLU crunched some Justice Department numbers on drug arrests, and released a much-discussed report last week on their findings. The upshot: African-Americans are four times as likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana than whites, even though blacks and whites consume weed at about the same rate.For blacks  and black men in particular  marijuana is a gateway drug into the criminal justice system."The thing that was shocking about the report was the pervasiveness, that this [disparity in arrests] is happening everywhere," Lynch tells me. "It's happening in small towns, big towns, urban and rural."Both Edwards and Lynch say that part of the reason marijuana is getting more attention from law enforcement agencies is that police departments are being subsidized with lots of federal dollars to stop drugs, but the crack epidemic has since waned. "Institutions don't like to shrink," Lynch says. "It's actually a reverse kind of pattern  drug arrests are going up [even] as crime drops."At the same time that marijuana's become a more central focus of the War on Drugs, there are plenty of business types who are already making their plans for selling marijuana after, uh, all the smoke clears. They're trying to give pot an altogether new face: as a widely available commercial product backed by big business. No one knows what that market might even look like quite yet, but it could be incredibly lucrative.Might you be able to cop some weed at your supermarket behind the counter with cigarettes? Would your favorite coffee shop start selling some "extra special" lattes? What about an over-the-counter headache medicine packaged in a box with a little green leaf in the corner?Seriously  it might not be that far-fetched.Don Pellicer, a company that hopes to open marijuana stores in Washington and Colorado, is looking for investors. Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, was a guest speaker at a Don Pellicer event last week, and has said that he would grow marijuana if weren't against the law. "Once it's legitimate and legal, sure, I could do it," he told reporters. "I'm a farmer. Producers of all types can participate." (Fox, it's worth noting, used to run Coca-Cola in Mexico, and its sales jumped by 50 percent during his tenure.)There are already vending machine companies working on cannabis-dispensing kiosks for retail stores for the people who don't want the hassle of humoring those talky connoisseur types. "The way we see it, when you walk into a shop, you don't need the expert or aficionado to help with selection," says the head of one such vending company. "The people who are using this in the recreational space  they know what they want, and they don't want to hear the whole spiel every time."And there are all the industrial, non-psychoactive applications. Hemp fiber, which is especially strong, is already used in all sorts of textiles. One researcher told writer Doug Fine that a decade after weed became legal, a domestic hemp industry would sprout up in the United States to the tune of $50 billion a year  which would outpace the estimates of what smokable reefer would bring in."When America's 100 million cannabis aficionados (17 million regular partakers) are freed from dealers, some are going to pick up a six-pack of joints at the corner store before heading to a barbecue, and others are going to seek out organically grown heirloom strains for their vegetable dip," Fine wrote.So now we have to reconcile the many different faces of marijuana  a jokey, pop-culture staple, a continuing fascination of law enforcement agencies whose attentions fall disproportionately on people of color, and the potential cash crop of a bright, green future.Which of these will give way? Or will any of them?Source: National Public Radio (US)Author: Gene DembyPublished: June 12, 2013Copyright: 2013 National Public RadioWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by museman on June 13, 2013 at 10:13:17 PT
"The answer extends beyond the inherent evil of men. It confronts the complicit greed of corporations. Only when the last nickel and pfennig of confession and accountability has been recorded--from the smokestacks of Germany to the stately boardrooms of the United States--will powerful global enterprises realize that the worst instincts of humanity cannot be the best investment for mankind. Only then will the mission of The Transfer Agreement be complete. Then I can stop."Yes I share similar sentiments. I of course would go further, and point out that the worship of wealth and power -thus creating, perpetuating, and ensuring that the future generations of 'leadership' and corporate progeny, would inherit the means to finish the long-view of conquest and domination of planet earth, all its peoples, and all its resource.The plan goes way back before Moshe, so -forgive me but- the Jewish Holocaust though horrible, and indicative of the worst humanity has to offer, is but one recorded terror in a long long, unrequited crime against humanity, YHWH, and the earth.Each human being, each individual -of all races- that has suffered torture, death, social ostracism's to the point of seizing assets and property like the Nazis -and the Amerikans- and other sufferings, have witnessed and experienced their own personal Holocaust.The economies of the world are all based in false values, and manifested as negatives; greed, callousness, fear, violence-and-law (two inseparable corrupt lovers if there ever was) and human suffering on a scale that makes the holocaust look tame -its just not recorded well, and it stretches over thousands of years and not mere decades.I'd also like to point out how all these stories like the movies "Schindlers List" and others, though dramatically rendered and evoking emotional response from the viewer, also elicits and rekindles anger and pain that should have been-not forgotten- but left behind. Add to that the innumerable video propaganda's of war, violence, selfish individualism's, false values of propriety and the belief that money is a tool of power to anyone but the elite, and you have a recipe for a population desensitized to all of it. I point to the recent Iraq soldiers who treated their 'war' like a video game. Regardless of the events, humanity needs to learn to embrace forgiveness, love, kindness, understanding, and practice them, before any real justice, healing of nations, and reconciliation can actually happen. As long as the money talks, we all fall down.LEGALIZE FREEDOM 
I am a cynical bastard
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Comment #4 posted by HempWorld on June 12, 2013 at 20:17:13 PT
Zionist concluded a pact with the 3rd Reich...
"Now that the world has confronted the issue of pilfered Holocaust-era assets--Jewish gold, Jewish art, Jewish insurance, and Jewish slave labor--the Transfer Agreement stands out as the sole example of a Jewish asset rescue that occurred before the genocidal period. It was the sole success--and daring in its scope. The terrible choices its negotiators undertook can now be viewed in a new light. And that is why this new edition has been released. It confronted the fiscal Holocaust decades before most thought to ask.But the final leg of the journey I began when I first wrote The Transfer Agreement is not complete. not yet. The pain of that project empowered me to pursue those special villains, not those of the physical Holocaust, but the fiscal Holocaust--Ford and General Motors, Carnegie Institution and Rockefeller Foundation, and British Petroleum. These corporate icons all had their indispensible roles to play. IBM, which co-planned the Holocaust with the Third Reich, headed the list of collaborators and unindicted conspirators by virtue of its great weapon: information technology. From the painful pages of The Transfer Agreement emerged the determination to write IBM and the Holocaust, War Against the Weak, Banking on Baghdad, Internal Combustion, The Plan, and Nazi Nexus, as well as numberless articles touching on the topic. nor am I done.I assure the world that the bastions of commercial collusion with Hitler's Holocaust will be more fully exposed during the coming years. America's business giants wait across the final frontier of Holocaust accountability, hiring many prestigious historians and international lawyers, dreading history's knock at the door. They know their names, those that dwell on the list of American corporations that knowingly cooperated with the Hitler regime, helping it rearm, fortifying its anti-Semitic campaigns, catering to its lucrative plans of conquest and subjugation. It was these powerful corporations that joined the ranks of nazism, frequently through overseas subsidiaries and special foreign partnerships. These American corporations were the grand economic and technologic wizards of Germany's meteoric recovery and her high-velocity, industrialized destruction of the Jews. Only supported by the underpinnings of America's economic might was Hitler able to squeeze the Jews, confronting the Zionists with the painful necessity of engineering heartbreaking trade mechanisms with the devil."I'm terribly sorry if I bore you.From:
Go Figure!
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Comment #3 posted by HempWorld on June 12, 2013 at 19:39:18 PT
History Repeating Itself, in light of the wiretap. IBM did, way back when, was just foreplay...(scroll down and read the intro of the book)Get ready!
The Only Solution!
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 12, 2013 at 15:30:05 PT
I Think Someone Needs To Write An Article
The article should be called: The Many Faces of Marijuana Prohibition.
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on June 12, 2013 at 14:08:37 PT
OMG I'm Sooo Confused...
The Many Different Faces Of Marijuana?Yes, it is all terribly 'confusing'!I, myself don't know what to do anymore, what is hemp? What can you do with it? It has so many uses it is horribly confusing, we should keep it all illegal!Gene, do you have a multiple personality disorder?
Help I'm Confused About The Many Faces!
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