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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

By the time my 5-year-old daughter leaves for college, it’s quite likely that marijuana use will be broadly decriminalized. Alaska has become the most recent state to move toward legalization, placing an initiative on the ballot for an August vote. If it passes, Alaska would join Washington and Colorado, which have already made recreational use legal for adults.

The trend will probably continue, since 52 percent of Americans support legalization, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s good news — and not because I want my daughter to indulge.

Quite the opposite. Having grown up in the years of cannabis prohibition, I know all about the dangers of the weed. Even though I don’t accept the exaggerations of such propaganda as Reefer Madness, a 1930s-era film that portrayed pot-smoking as the road to destruction, I know that marijuana overuse is dangerous. That’s especially true for adolescents, whose brains are stunted by frequent pot-smoking, research shows.

Overindulgence in alcohol is dangerous, too. Yet the nation learned through wretched experience that Prohibition was worse. It bred a gaggle of violent criminals who trailed death and devastation in their wake. Their crimes were generated by the law itself: Making alcohol illegal did not stop its use; it merely fostered a huge and profitable black market.

The futile War on Drugs has done the same thing, promoting violent crime throughout the Americas and fueling the growth in prison populations. According to the FBI, about half of the annual drug arrests in the United States are for marijuana.

The so-called war has done its greatest damage in black America, decimating whole neighborhoods as young black men are locked up for non-violent crimes, then released with records that will restrict their employment opportunities for the rest of their lives.

At a time when policymakers are struggling to close a yawning income gap — to find ways to support equal opportunity for all — it makes no sense to criminalize a group of people for getting stoned. Not only does a drug record stigmatize them for life, but a prison sentence also forces them into close quarters with hardened criminals, making it more likely that they will graduate to violent crimes themselves.

  • rock dawg

    wake up people the drug cartel wants you stoned so they can take over the united states and you will be living in a third world county .I blame the government for not shutting these pot shops and destroying the plants and make it illegal to own grow and distribute pot we don’t need this in our country my solution bulldoze the plants dig a deep hole bury this stuff and make it an automatic first class felony to own or sell or distribute manditory jail time let take back our streets and go back to being a real amercians

    • jakenhyde

      Wake up rock dawg. The government has spent trillions of dollars that could have been better spent on education and health, trying to stop the use of drugs. It hasn’t worked. Every now and again we hear of huge pot or hard drug busts. But they’re only a drop in the bucket of what’s still produced in this country or imported from lord knows where.
      Those trillions of dollars I mentioned don’t count the cost if incarcerating thousands of folks for simply using drugs.
      I don’t use drugs and I never have. I did drink for years, but I’ve been sober for over thirty years now. And I still think at least pot should be legal. If you don’t want to use it, that’s fine.
      Your point that the drug cartel might take over the USA….that’s already happened. Legalizing pot will slow down the import of pot and the mayhem that goes along with it if folks are allowed to grow their own. Think about it.

      • Duckbudder

        You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him THINK.

    • DirkVanden

      go back under your rock

    • charleo1

      You are so right on, about these drug cartels, man! They would like nothing better than we decriminalize, regulate, and tax pot. Because, they know if we legalize it, we would finally feel free to try it, get stoned, and then, they’d make their move! I can see it all now. A stoned, “Stone,” Phillips would interrupt the Roadrunner cartoons, that had experienced an explosion in popularity with the legalization of pot. Just as the cable news stations went down the tubes. So now, Stone was announcing, that President Richard, “Cheech,” Marin, and Vice President Tommy Chong, wanted to address the Nation about an important matter, having to do with Mexico, or Mexican food, or something from Mexico. Earlier we were able to wake, “Joint,” Chiefs Chairman, Willie Nelson, who said he had heard nothing. But, admitted falling asleep listening to a Grateful Dead tape, thru his headphones. And, ask reporters if they, by any chance, had any Oreo cookies? To which the re reporter reportedly reported, “Asking an American, since we legalized pot, if they have any Oreo cookies, is like asking the Pope, if he still has that funny hat!” At last report, they were asking for milk, a Bic lighter, and a half pint of MD 20/20. Stone Phillips then reappeared, and informed viewers we were being returned to the regularly scheduled, programming, as President Cheech assured a not very concerned public, not to worry, and be happy. And he promised to address the American people, after a short nap.

      • WhutHeSaid

        Thanks for the laugh. I can see the Tea Bigots reviving the old ‘reefer madness’ videos now, because they hate everything and are about as smart as cattle.

      • Allan Richardson

        If it were legalized, we wouldn’t be buying it from the criminal cartels, would we?

        • charleo1

          Exactly! Forgive my little spoof. rd’s comment
          aganist legalization, was to demanding we start
          doing precisely what we have have been doing forever. But the warning about the cartel’s
          wanting us stoned, so they can take over the
          Country, sounded like, James Bond, meets
          Cheech, & Chong, or something. I just couldn’t
          help myself.

    • Lisztman

      I hate to tell you this, dawg, but, per:
      38% of Americans admit to having smoked marijuana. This doesn’t take into account those who, for a variety of reasons (such as professional position), will never admit to having tried it, no matter how “confidential” the survey.

      So, look around you. Nearly two of every five people you see have used it. That’s who you want to jail. Who’s paying the costs of incarcerating 120 million people?

      It would appear that you, yourself, have never tried it. That’s fine with everybody. You also apparently haven’t read any of the literature and statistics that suggest that it’s less addictive, damaging, and dangerous than alcohol (no, not counting children and teens whose brains are not yet fully developed — and that applies to both of MJ and alcohol).

      But you’ve bought into the whole Reefer Madness bushel of crap. Listening to you I’d have thought you to be a conservative with a “keep the government out of my personal life” mindset. I guess you’re thoroughly confused and don’t really know exactly what it is in which you believe…

  • Michael G

    Everyone who has a single ounce of smarts knows that the only ones getting rich off the war on drugs are local and national governments. They do a raid, confiscate the person’s entire life, turn around sell the seizures and keep the money all in the name of making us safer. It would be a smarter move for the government to place laws into effect that aid addiction by creating treatment centers, and making drugs free or cost effective for those addictive personalities that can’t get off of the stuff.

    And for you haters out there – no I’m not one of the ones I’m speaking about here. But I have traveled the world extensively and we in comparison to those countries that have legalized drug use is like night and day. Those countries pay for it through drug taxation. We could too. Instead of creating a system for the fight we should be taxing drugs like everything else and increasing our economy and decreasing our prison populations for victimless offenses (drug use is a victimless crime) which in itself would improve the economy.

    • Robert Roberto

      Their personal property is auction off and that money is used to improve their search for more drugs or better equipment. To provide them drugs legally is what I am reading from you and it doesn’t sound like a good idea because they should be only to make them leave their drug habits, and not keep them as users.

      • zaiger

        People are going to use drugs and there is nothing you or the government or anyone else can do about it. Now we can live in reality or we can keep wasting money and destroying lives. I for one would like to live in a world where people are treated medically for addiction and not thrown in prison.

      • Maryann C. Harbin

        And I still think at least pot should be legal. If you don’t want to use it, that’s fine.

    • joe schmo

      ….and it has really helped the drug problems in those countries hasn’t it….I know this story all to well. Switzerland legalized drugs and the government even provided needles for heroin users…..Well guess what, the problem got worse. So much for that idea…

      • daniel bostdorf

        Please post us the statistical data to back up your opinion. What news source of health webiste did you base this post on. Thanks.

        • joe schmo

          I don’t have to because I tend to believe people who have been there. My best friend lived in Switzerland for several years. They used to walk by one of the rivers where drug addicts hung out. They knew the laws of Switzerland and saw the government officials handing out syringes…… Don’t think that legalizing pot or drugs will make the problem better. I am not a smoker but they are nearly putting you in prison for buying cigarettes. Pot is far worse. What a joke…..

          • daniel bostdorf

            No Joe—you do have to post statistical data, and not opinion as facts. Until you post the actual Swiss health services data to back your opinion up….then…we consider what you posted as an uninformed opinion.

            “thank you for your point of view”

    • daniel bostdorf

      Thank you for your post. Joe Schmo below is to be ignored.

      The statistical data found at Drug War Facts shows that Swiss drug use is down and improving contrary to the unsubstantiated and false post below.

      Here are Switzerland drug FACTS, not opinion taken from the international organization Drug War Facts.

      Please note the word FACTS.

      Here is point #7 of many:
      “(Trends in Drug-Related Mortality and Injection-Related HIV) “Drug-related deaths, most of which are a consequence of heroin dependence, have declined since the early 1990s, from 350-400 per annum to 150-200 per annum in this decade. HIV infections related to injecting drug use have also declined. –

      ” (Success of Swiss Four Pillars Drug Strategy) “Switzerland’s progressive implementation of the Four Pillars policy resulted in a significant decrease in problems related to drug consumption. The rise in heroin consumption, by far the greatest problem in the late 1980s, was halted and has steadily declined since the early 1990s. According to The Lancet, the The introduction of the Four Pillars strategy also brought about a significant reduction of deaths directly attributable to drug use, such as overdose (OD), and of deaths indirectly related, such as HIV and Hepatitis. Between 1991 and 2004, the drug related death toll fell by more than 50% (See figure 3). Additionally, levels of drug-related HIV infection were divided by eight within ten years.”


  • daniel bostdorf

    Get objective FACTS, not opinion, from Drug War facts organization. Here are statistical analysis on marijuana use and other COMPREHENSIVE FACTUAL data in support.

  • Allan Richardson

    Civil forfeiture needs to be declared unconstitutional as a violation of the Fifth Amendment. Before this “gateway to fascism” law was passed, police and prosecutors were often stymied in prosecuting the really BIG drug dealers because their drug cash, fancy cars, yachts, and mansions provided cash to buy lawyers who could stop the prosecution. Rather than improve their police procedures, they asked state lawmakers and Congress to give them a tool to prevent wealthy “drug lords” from paying expensive lawyers. What they got was the ability to confiscate all of the assets which the defendant was BELIEVED to be using in a crime, BEFORE convicting the defendant of committing the crime.

    • charleo1

      As we know, there is a lot of talk about the NSA program, and how it’s violating our 4th Amendment Rights. And, it’s right that we be concerned.. But the fact is, the 4th, and as you correctly point out, the 5th Amendment as well, were already being obliterated by the war on drugs, long before, 9/11, and the Patriot Act. And also the effect it’s had on our Police forces going to battle with well armed, and financed drug gangs, has resulted in a much more militarized Police, employing what are essentially battlefield tactics, in their contact with the general public, And it’s been a PR nightmare for Local Police. Who after all, are suppose to work with communities, instead of putting every citizen on their face, in cuffs, taser at the ready, everybody out of the car, and on the ground, as they search for a nickel bag of weed, and conduct a Nationwide criminal background check. All for failing to properly signal before making that left back there, or whatever excuse they use for probable cause. Personally, I’ve only lived in this Country, So, I don’t know if we are at this time living in a, “Police State.” I have nothing to compare todays Police with, but yesterdays Police. But, here’s what I now have to put up with, I hadn’t had to 20 years ago. I live in FL. and about two, or three times a year,
      I travel I-10 across to TX. My, “sin,” is always, I was speeding.
      I wasn’t, but they quickly tell me, they’re not concerned about
      that. (It’s my FL. tag, that’s gotten their attention.) They want my license, and my wife’s license. And they run them. But what they
      really want is to look in my car for dope. But, before they do that,
      they tell you to step out of the car. Then it’s, where you comin’ from? Where you goin’? What was you doin’ over there? The last
      time this, “Detective,” So, & So, from some podunk, town, said, “I want you to tell me where you stayed last night. And, I want you to be as specific as you can!” of course, then they ask my wife. Our
      stories match, and then sadly, after 45 minutes, they have to let us go. But, I thought, this is America? And I have to stand here on the side of the road, and tell this rude as hell, asswipe, EXACTLY, where I stayed last night? I wanted to tell him to go fuck himself! But, I didn’t want to be in podunk for the next month!