Legalizing Pot Would Benefit Every American

Legalizing Pot Would Benefit Every American
Posted by FoM on June 09, 2000 at 21:10:40 PT
Letters To The Editor
Source: Mountain Xpress
Judging by the way cigarette smokers have responded to years of countless, incessant warnings that cigarettes may cause complications during pregnancy, may be harmful to your health, are more addictive than crack, and will kill you, I don't think Mr. Howard's revelation that pot may adversely affect testosterone and serotonin levels is going to alarm any pot smokers. 
If they are not afraid of lung cancer or the possible loss of brain activity, an abnormal serotonin level certainly won't scare them. Besides, even the most harmful reported affects of marijuana are no worse than the known adverse affects of alcohol and tobacco. If our government can rationalize the sale and taxation of these drugs, why not tax marijuana, too? As for his second argument – that marijuana buyers contribute to cartels and criminals – this is one of the best arguments for legalization, not against legalization. The fact that drug dealers are getting rich off of their drug habit is of no concern to the potheads. Drug users don't care where the drug comes from, only that it comes. If pot were legalized and taxed, however, the money would go to the American farmers, companies and government – not cartels and criminals. Until then, the billions of dollars drug users spend on pot each year goes right to drug dealers. This is of tremendous benefit to the drug dealers, but does nothing for you and I, the taxpayers. The public needs to realize that the legalization of pot doesn't just benefit the potheads; it also benefits every other American citizen. This is a plant for which pot smokers are willing to pay up to $100 for a quarter ounce, yet it is easier (read: cheaper) to grow than tobacco. Imagine marijuana cigarettes rolled and packaged just like tobacco cigarettes, 20 in a pack. Twenty cigarette-sized joints of high quality pot would easily sell for $100, and $99 of that would go to the government in the form of a sin tax. This would generate billions of dollars in additional revenue for our local, state and federal governments each year – paid for by the potheads. The result? You name it: well-funded public schools, improved infrastructure, health care for everyone, zero national debt and lower taxes. If you don't smoke pot, all of this costs you nothing. If you do smoke pot, you're spending as much now as before, but the money you spend benefits the farmers, companies and taxpayers – not the criminals. Beginning to see the picture? I agree with Mr. Howard that the legalization of marijuana for the sake of smoking marijuana is trivial. The legalization of marijuana to decrease government spending while simultaneously increasing government revenue, however, is anything but trivial. This is money that could be used to improve every conceivable government program and service. It could change everything. It could benefit everyone. I say let the hippies have their pot, and let them pay for our free ride. Support the Community of Compassion. Support NORML. Write a letter. Do something. The sooner this ridiculous prohibition ends, the sooner things will improve for everyone. NORML– J. Schultz AshevilleLegalizing Drugs Would Collapse, Not Strengthen, International Drug Cartels: This is a response to Joseph Howard's following quote: "Additionally, if you buy marijuana, there is an excellent chance that you are supporting international drug cartels, composed of some of the most homicidal and psychopathic human beings in the Western Hemisphere." This is one of the primary reasons for legalizing drugs. If drugs were legalized, the international drug cartels would collapse. They depend upon the high prices for drugs created by their illegality, with resulting scarcity. If drugs were produced by legal farmers, chemists, etc., we would also benefit financially in three ways: First, legal producers would make a profit. Second, we would get sales tax [revenues] off the stuff. Third, we could reduce taxes by a sizable amount in the ending of the horribly expensive war on drugs. I agree with Mr. Howard that it would be best if people didn't do pot, and I will go further that they not use prostitutes, drink alcohol, etc. We cannot prohibit every activity known to man. A man has the right to be stupid. It is not for me or Mr. Howard to tell them how to live their lives, as long as they harm no one other than themselves. This is basic Libertarian thought, and that of the founders of our country. I am not, nor have I ever been, a drug user. Read more at my Web site:– Clarence Ervin Young Libertarian candidate for the 28th District North Carolina Senate"Skip The Pot" Letter Defies Logic: [Joseph] Howard's letter contains several errors in logic, the most serious of which is the implication that marijuana legalization would somehow benefit international drug cartels. It is the illegal status of marijuana and other drugs that benefit the cartels by making their sale so obscenely profitable, and legalization – accompanied by true government regulation, like we have for tobacco and alcohol – that would put the drug cartels out of business. As for his remark that people who oppose marijuana prohibition sound like they are "struggling through a stint in the old Soviet Gulag," perhaps he could explain how handing out sentences of 20-to-life for growing a plant for one's own personal or medical use fits our American system of fair and appropriate punishment. Many things we do in life are not good for us. Illegal marijuana is arguably less harmful than legal tobacco or alcohol – or many prescription drugs, for that matter. The founders of our country said that the pursuit of happiness was a right, but were wise enough not to prescribe how we might pursue that happiness. It's time we regained a little of that wisdom. – Alan Mason Aguanga, Calif.Take The Rap, Joe: Joseph Howard writes that, although he used to smoke pot, he eventually saw the detrimental effects and decided to quit. He goes on to explain his reasoning on why marijuana prohibition should continue. That's all well and good; everyone's entitled to an opinion. But Joe should do the right thing. He did the crime, now do the time. Joe, if you really believe millions more Americans need to be imprisoned – including some of my friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers, etc. – please show us that you are not a total hypocrite by turning yourself in and insisting on a long sentence. You are, after all, an unpunished criminal – maybe even a felon (did you ever sell a few doobies to a pal?). And, while you're there, maybe you can minister to the other marijuana criminals you meet. There's hundreds of thousands of them in prison already, and they need your guidance. – Matthew Katz New Haven, Conn.Mellow Out With Melatonin: Adverse effects of cannabis can be largely eliminated via careful use of the common supplement melatonin. The symptoms of fogginess and memory loss Joseph Howard blamed on pot [letters, May 24, "Skip the pot, get a life"] are even more evident with the legal substance ethanol. We call it a hangover, and sublingual melatonin – twice a night – knocks that out, too. Ditto the crash of speed, "E", and the toxicity of over-caffeination, which we've all suffered from. Almost all psychoactive substances – legal and illegal – strip the system of melatonin, producing a nation of irritable, nasty-tempered insomniacs. Melatonin replaces the dream sleep lost through marijuana, alcohol and other "party drugs," and – as researchers are now finding out – REM sleep is vital to consolidation of long-term memory, reduction of cravings and proper mood. One in 20 people has to discontinue use, however, because the dreams are too vivid. Wouldn't a medical approach of treating the problem with supplements and vitamins, instead of prisons, save a lot of money? Or am I missing something here? Joe should mellow out. – Dana Beal Cures Not Wars New York City Miracles of Marijuana: This [letter] is in response to an article I found posted [online] in the Media Awareness Project: called "Skip the pot, get a life" by Joseph Howard [letters, May 24]. First of all, I want to thank Mr. Howard for expressing his feelings about the subject. This is a free country and people can say whatever they want about anything, but then I can respond to it in kind – which is what makes our First Amendment freedom so wonderful! Mr. Howard states that he feels people like me, who support "cannabis liberation," are "whiners." Well, I have tried to live without cannabis, but life was completely unbearable for me. I am now an extremely grateful member of the OMMA program (Oregon Medicinal Marijuana Act, card #1019), and it has given me my life back. I no longer have to support the "evil" element that prospers because of our current worse than useless anti-drug (marijuana) laws, and technically be a "criminal" – while I'm also having to spend most of my available money on "black-market medicine." Now, I can grow, use and possess a reasonable amount of medicinal marijuana legally! As far as the pro/con arguments about marijuana use go, I've read the research available online, and continue to follow the progress of it as medical researchers are gradually doing more and more experiments with marijuana. The research that Mr. Howard alluded to pertaining to marijuana's influence on seratonin and testosterone is still inconclusive, but, if anything, it points to reasons for marijuana's positive potential. I have no doubt that many valuable drugs will be isolated from the plant in the future, now that medical researchers are being allowed to experiment with it. Mr. Howard states that legalizing cannabis is "trivial" and that I'm "misguided." I honestly don't understand how any rational, intelligent person could come to that conclusion. Apparently, he had a bad experience with marijuana himself, and now he is sure it's bad for everybody, and he doesn't want people like me –who need it – to be allowed to legally [use it]. I find his attitude both selfish and self-righteous, but this is America and he is welcome to express his beliefs, just as I am. I would hope that he will have a more open mind about the subject in the future – and perhaps even give it another chance himself – because he sounds like someone who needs to get high and chill out. Another aspect of marijuana's medical use is the healing properties it has for psychiatric illnesses. Besides all the physical ailments it heals for me, the change in my mental attitude is so radical that any competent psychiatrist would have to recommend whatever it was I took that made me feel so much better (if they thought it was a "pill" that is; many of them would probably be horrified to know that a little green bud could do so much good!). Hopefully, the healing properties will soon be researched more, and then we'll all know more about it. The influence on seratonin that Mr. Howard mentioned is related to its influence on the brain, and may be responsible for the phenomenon of "munchies" (appetite stimulation) and "crashing" (sleeping) – and there are many other chemicals at work, too. I couldn't begin to go into that stuff here, but all the information is easily available to Mr. Howard (and all of us) online. There are so many extraordinary healing properties of cannabis that it's really miraculous! I would recommend to Mr. Howard that he do a little more research online, and then he might be a little less inclined to slam marijuana and its users. As far as all the many other incredible uses for cannabis besides medicinal, I would "highly" recommend reading a book called Hemp: Lifeline to the Future, by Chris Conrad. His eloquent little book is a classic! I am personally convinced that cannabis is the most valuable plant on planet Earth, and mankind would do well to start making use of it again, as we did for thousands of years previously! I wish Mr. Howard peace, and hope he finds happiness. He sounds like such an unhappy person. I'd personally recommend that he get high, but he says that marijuana doesn't work for him anymore, and that it makes him feel "stupid" etc. I think that he's fooling himself by blaming the marijuana for that. I can function just fine on it myself! He sounds like someone who's been brainwashed, though; if he would give marijuana another try, it just might work for him again! KEEP ON GROWING! PEACE!!! – David Malcolm Currie No address providedMarijuana Prohibition a Counterproductive Fraud: It was fascinating to read Joseph Howard's diatribe against all things marijuana [letters, May 24, "Skip the pot, get a life"]. In typical fashion, befitting many finger-wagging baby boomers, Mr. Howard smoked his share in the 1970s – "back when everyone was doing it" – and now delivers his condescending sermon upon the current crowd of cannabis freedom fighters. Mr. Howard asks: Why fight for marijuana legalization when there are so many other urgent concerns in the world today? For starters, America currently has the largest prison system in the history of the world. Twelve million Americans have been arrested [on] marijuana [charges] since 1970. Would you be better off today, Mr. Howard, if you had been among these hapless individuals – who may have lost their jobs, driver's licenses, college loans, or custody of their children? There are numerous laws that single out and punish marijuana smokers, uniquely, with no corollary statutes addressing violent crimes – i.e., California's "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your License". As for concern that purchasing marijuana supports drug cartels in foreign countries: Let people grow their own. Gee, why didn't I think of that? Oh wait, I did. It must be that marijuana clouding my reasoning abilities again. Mr. Howard, how would you feel if drug agents kicked in your door in the middle of the night and blew away your loved one while looking for pot plants? Whoopsy daisy, wrong address! It happens frequently. Your chief concern seems to be that marijuana is not a "safe and harmless drug." My chief concern is that marijuana prohibition is a counterproductive fraud, start to finish. It was born of racism, it is sustained by denial, and it brings more harm and violence into the world than legalizing marijuana ever could. If you ever get to feeling terribly guilty for your past indiscretions with marijuana, Mr. Howard, you are always welcome to turn yourself in and serve a few years in prison, in solidarity with the "law." – Kevin Nelson Bow, Wash.Editor's Note: A letter printed in our May 24 issue by Joseph Howard – "Skip the pot, get a life" – apparently created a firestorm of controversy across America, after being posted on Web sites such as the one run by the Media Awareness Project. Because of the number of responses, some of the letters are appearing only online.Media Awareness Project The Pot, Get A Life©2000 Mountain XpressAsheville, N.C.CannabisNews MapInc. Archives:
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Comment #1 posted by Kanabys on June 11, 2000 at 19:31:52 PT
The Judge said........
In the movie, Judge Roy Bead said, "There's nothing more self-rightous than a reformed Whore." Get the picture Mr. Howard?
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