By Carl Hiaasen

War On Pot Has Gone Up In Smoke

January 8, 2013 12:00 am Category: Memo Pad 29 Comments A+ / A-
War On Pot Has Gone Up In Smoke

The war on marijuana is going up in smoke, and it’s about time. There is no bigger waste of money and resources in all of law enforcement.

Failure is too polite a description for the long campaign to eliminate the pot trade in the United States. A colossal flop is what it is. After four decades and billions spent, marijuana is easier to get, and more potent, than ever.

More than 40 percent of all Americans over 12 have tried it, and at least 30 million people smoke it every year. The most recent national drug survey found that 18.1 million Americans had used it during the previous month.

Pot is now medically dispensed in 18 states and Washington, D.C. It’s the largest cash crop in the nation’s largest agricultural state, California.

A legitimate pain reliever for cancer victims, “medicinal” marijuana is now available for an assortment of other symptoms, some of them conveniently vague and impossible to discount. It’s not terribly hard to get a prescription.

In November, voters in Colorado and Washington dropped the pretense and approved the adult recreational use of weed. Other states will follow in coming years.

Absurdly, the government still classifies pot as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, the same as heroin and cocaine. Federal law prohibits medical marijuana use, and the Obama administration has taken action against dispensaries in California.

It’s a lost cause, and an expensive one. Any true fiscal conservative should be outraged by the waste and futility.

States are rewriting their marijuana laws because that’s what makes sense. Regulate it, tax it, and make a ton of money from it.

Another benefit of decriminalization is liberating overworked police and prosecutors, whose talents are being misspent on dumb, dead-end pot cases — 50 plants in a grow house tended by some hapless bozo who doesn’t even know where the seeds came from.

Most Americans would prefer to see drug agents shutting down meth labs and pill mills, which actually kill people.

Like it or not, marijuana is so deeply imbedded in our culture that it will never go away. You can find it on Wall Street, Main Street or K Street, on any college campus or military base.

Some drug experts fear that more lenient laws will increase consumption and abuse. Others believe a lawful marketplace will prove safer. Regardless, the saturation level of reefer is already high.

In 2011, according to FBI statistics, a marijuana-related arrest occurred every 42 seconds in the United States. That’s how abundant the stuff is.

Some of those who got busted were career criminals who happened to be caught with a joint in their pockets, but many were casual users or small-time sellers.

Those who get prosecuted on minor pot charges disproportionately tend to be Hispanics and African-Americans, not the white college kids who are toking up a storm. Cannabis laws have always been selectively enforced, and lots of people are sitting in jail who shouldn’t be there.

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War On Pot Has Gone Up In Smoke Reviewed by on . The war on marijuana is going up in smoke, and it's about time. There is no bigger waste of money and resources in all of law enforcement. Failure is too polite The war on marijuana is going up in smoke, and it's about time. There is no bigger waste of money and resources in all of law enforcement. Failure is too polite Rating:

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Jones/827014412 Daniel Jones

    “Reefer Madness” was the name of the movie that got made in conjunction with the beginning of this decades long exercise in stupidity.

    In my honest opinion, the movie was so titled as a shot at the criminalizing yahoos.

    I seriously think that Marijuana got to be so put upon due to three factors:

    1) It let police crack down on teens, Hispanics, and Blacks, in order to keep them controlled.
    2) Pot was a threat to Big Tobacco.
    3) it was a reliable cause to be seen. People that made noise about the evil drug “reefer” were automatically assigned a law-n-order reputation.

    It’s almost fifty years later. Give it a rest already.

    • Michael Kollmorgen

      Pot is not a threat to Big Tobacco. People do not smoke Pot as one would Cigarettes.

      It is a threat to Big Booze and the local Bar Scene. And, this is why………..

      People who smoke Pot usually don’t go out and cause trouble, usually stay at home and enjoy their homes.

      Most people I know who smoke Pot know once they get high, know for a fact they can’t drive – wouldn’t even attempt it. Of course, there are a few fools who are just plain stupid.

      You don’t go to any grocery stores or deli either. You make sure you have everything you need for the nights good time right there so you don’t need to get anything, especially the Wine. It must be Chilled:)

      Lots of Take-Out Pizza, etc. gets delivered because of this IF you run out of your favorite Munchies:)

      • alumahead

        I agree, you can’t drive on today’s pot. Hard enough to form a sentence.

        • Michael Kollmorgen

          What we are probably going to see is IF Reefer is more legalized throughout the states, we likely to see Reefer become less powerful, which is good.

          The stuff out today is way too strong. Real old-time Reefer is mild, does not hit you as fast as the new stuff and does not contain all these chemicals in it.

          We’re going to see the re-imergance of the old time Reefer which was a whole lot better and safer.

  • nobsartist

    You must take into account that the consumption of 8 XTRA strength tylenol will kill you within minutes, and ANYONE can buy it yet NOBODY has ever died from using marijuana.

    People need to be held responsible for the damage this FAKE crisis has caused.

  • Michael Kollmorgen

    Study upon study shows Reefer to be a whole lot safer than Alcohol.

    I’ve never met a reefer smoker who also was a wife beater, domestic abuser, driving high (this may change with legalization though), or have a aggressive personality.

    Most people who use Reefer are people who for the most part just get stoned, have some fantastic conversation with your friends, get a good Pizza, drink some real good Wine, watch a good movie or listen to great music, make love with your favorite (not necessarily in this order) and later on crash for the rest of the night – primarily home-bodies not wanting to go anywhere.

    I mean, what better evening could you possibly have?

    Alcohol is the total opposite, yet THIS is legalized. Booze has caused more fights, hurt feelings, deaths, domestic abuse and death on our roads in one month than all the Reefer smoked in one year.

    Plus Alcohol leaves you with one hell of a hangover the next day, sometimes several.

    Get Real America!

    • Sweeeny

      The 2nd para is a completely ridiculous & oft repeated statement. People who smoke pot are a complete cross section of America. Judges, doctors, ditch diggers, wife beaters, social workers, bank robbers, programmers, mechanics pedophiles … can all be found in the pot and alcohol drinking population. Perhaps what you mean is that a drunk is far more likely to be aggressive than someone who is stoned. The pot head and the alcoholic are often is the same person (at different times). Very importantly, alcohol is more physiologically addictive than pot – both are psychologically addictive.

      My opinion is that it is far better to breath clean air and drink pure water than indulge in either but pot is less harmful.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        I stand corrected.

        Yes, these problems exist in any group of people.

        However, with Pot, it’s very much diminished.

        As far as the “addictive nature” of ALL substances, this depends on whether or not you have an addictive personality.

        Hell, I used to know people who were so addicted to Coffee, they eat it raw, instant, right out of the bottle.

        Yea, I suppose you are right here too. It would be much better to breath clean air and drink pure water. I certainly would. But, that ain’t gonna happen all the time.

        The key to anything like this is Moderation.

        • idamag

          Michael, I have a book, “The Addictive Personality.” I agree with you about that. People can get addicted to video games, television, fatty and sugary foods, as well as alcohol or drugs. I know a guy who does not attend any family gatherings, like Thanksgiving, if there is a football game on.

          We don’t seem to focus on treating the problems instead of the symptoms.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Ohhhh KKKKK;

            Does that mean that someday someone is gonna try and figure out a way of BANNING Football because it’s emotionally addictive?

            Got to admit, makes ya wonder……………

            We wouldn’t have so many problems IF people would stop making things they don’t like INTO problems and passing laws against it in the first place.

            There are, of course, exceptions.

            You know, for the “public good”, things can get way out of hand. The War on Drugs, Seat Belts, Trans-Fatty Acids is just a few examples.

            One of these days, people had better start to take responsibility for their own actions or we’re gonna LAW OURSELVES to extinction.

      • idamag

        Beating one’s wife is not caused by the alcohol. He was a wife beater to begin with. Mean people shouldn’t drink alcohol. I like the way the German people view drinking. They do it. They consume lots of beer. However, the consider drunkeness a breach of good manners. A drinker is not looked down on, but a drunk is. Also the penalties for driving drunk, in Germany, are so great that people don’t dare.

  • old_blu

    I’m all for making it legal everywhere, but up in Washington where they have made it legal they have no one to buy it from unless it is the regular old dealers, although they say within a year they are going to figure out how to distribute it, so they are just helping out the big drug cartel without making sure everything was in order first, anyway that is my take on it. If someone knows anything different let me know.

    • idamag

      Soon, they will be raising their own.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        This might not be possible, raising your own that is.

        If Pot is legalized, that means it will be a commercial commodity. I’m pretty sure the Government will mandate that the “product” will be radiated, meaning the seeds won’t be able to germinate.

        But then, there is so much of it out here as it is, this process might not make a dent in growing your own anyway.

        Best advice, get lots of seeds for the time being.

        I am surprised someone hasn’t come along and throw a few tons of seeds out a flying airplane all over the country. The first rain would knock the seeds off all the brush and trees and start growing. Good idea actually:)

        The government couldn’t handle it. It would grow like weeds.

    • http://www.facebook.com/warren.nicholson.77 Warren Nicholson

      Do you know how many years passed between the end of the revolutionary war and the signing of the US Consitution and the Bill of Rights? They didn’t get every thing in order first at that time either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ford-Truck/100003735221640 Ford Truck

    In the attempt to cut government spending, money for the war on pot should be one of the first things to be cut.

    • jointerjohn

      Watch as this unfolds over the coming months and years, the first group who will fight the hardest against legalization will be law enforcement. That’s because we foolishly enacted property seizure laws and police use confiscated drug money to buy themselves new toys. Hence, they are in the business of illegal drugs and they don’t want to give up that revenue source. Second to the battle will be the insanely wealthy beer and liquor industries, as they don’t want to share customers with a competitive consciousness altering drug. I know this, I would be contributing big time to the legalization movement if I was Keebler, Frito Lay or Dominos Pizza. For those companies there’s gold in them there bongs!

      • alumahead

        Ask any ER worker how many lives they see destroyed at the hands of alcohol and I’m sure they will have strong opinions. Then, ask the same question about marijuana use and you’ll likely get a far different answer. Although opponents to marijuana legalization will claim two wrongs don’t make a right, what is right about locking up people who are guilty of smoking a weed?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KOPKDFAUQPIIRAFI3HEXNMSHLQ Ed

    The “war on Drugs” is a farce. America wants it’s drugs! So make it legal, regulate it and tax it! Save us a bunch of money, save a few lives of the enforcement personnel and make a bunch of new revenue. Also reduce the prison population since so many are in for minor drug offenses. OOOPS! Sorry, that might hurt the private prison industry.

  • m8lsem

    It should be regulated exactly as alcohol is, but in state stores whether or not the particular state has state liquor stores. Place of use and, where relevant, hours of use should be regulated like tobacco so that no one would involuntarily be breathing the smoke, distracting the class, whatever. Someone needs to develop some sort of threshold test for presence in the system of a person thought to be driving under the influence, for use by the police.

    The basic point is that prohibition has failed, and the notion of harm through modest use thoroughly discredited. I am not aware of marijuana ever killing anyone directly, without some intervening/additional cause such as driving under the influence, or being otherwise inattentive to risk. Casual use is no more harmful than casual use of alcohol, and likely less harmful. Alcohol is also used to kill microorganisms, and in large enough volume kills people directly, without any external risk being necessary.

  • RobGinChicago

    Because the active ingredients in marijuana can remain in one’s system for weeks (while the high lasts hours only), how are “legalization” states going to enforce DUI statutes? Just having a detectable level in your bloodstream weeks or even many hours after usage should not really be seen as being “under the influence”. Anyone know how states are handling this issue? Any recommendations or suggestions?

    • Michael Kollmorgen

      Actually, hair has Pot in it a year after smoking it. And, so does body fat.

      Also, deciding if someone is too high to drive would probably be graded similar to Alcohol – on a point system.

      I also know from personal experience that a Alcohol high lasts much longer than a Reefer High.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.schiller.1232 Michael Schiller

    Marijuana has been on this planet longer than man. It grows everywhere. Washington must have the best pot. Ever look at Boehner, alway tired, red eyes. McConnell even filibustered himself in the Senate. WTF. Romney ran for President, a job he didn’t want. He just wanted to be the boss. Fear not America it will be legal within five years.

  • Mike Tierney

    The drug war seems like a plan to give tons of dollars to special interest suppliers of arms and equipment. And to support various marginal Central and South American countries. Controlling drug flow wasn’t a seeming top priority.
    I never understood why the US doesn’t just buy the poppies in Afghanistan or the Coke from So America. We have more money than the Taliban or the drug cartels (maybe). We could outbid them and then use the raw drugs for research or burn them or send them to the sun. But regardless, we could then keep the money and power away from those who use it to kill our kids and attack our country.
    And it would probably cost a lot less.
    Maybe another benefit is the citizens of the countries that grow the drugs would be rewarded for their effort instead of targeted with chemicals or guns.

  • idamag

    If pot is criminalized, it spawns illegal drug trade. If we legalize it, we put the drug cartels out of business.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1613527178 Omar Dearal Collins

    In my own personal option its not a good idea to make it legal without first stopping the cartels who control the whole industry that it is. Corporate cartels just seem bad to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000841658853 Robert Cruder

    Funny-mentalists say that contraception is bad because it might lead to more sex. Even if “might” were changed to “does” the argument depends on whether one already considers sex to be evil.

    Narcs say that legalizing marijuana is bad because it might lead to more use. Even if “might” were changed to “does” the argument depends on whether one already considers marijuana consumption to be evil. Indeed, narcs depend on the belief that consumption of every drug is evil regardless of its effects.

    The voters in my state of Colorado stopped believing in the case of marijuana but still fall for the “fool me twice” regarding other drugs.

    Consider that tobacco kills when used as directed. Anabolic steroids “may” injure at dosages far above recommended levels but improve health and extend functional lifespan when used as directed.

    Enforcement can only be justified by proof of great harm. The DEA subsidizes research designed to support their claims and prohibits research that might even fractionally test their claims. An honest judge would refuse to accept such biased and potentially fabricated sources as proof.

    Your state can legalize drugs individually or can cease assisting and cooperating with the DEA entirely unless independent research supports enforcement against the specific drug being charged.

  • ruzes230

    marijuana/cannabis is scheduled as level 8, which is narcotic drugs of dependence. when you have completed your chemistry degree ,you can submit your claim to a peer reviews journal.
    1. respiratory depression – common to all narcotics,resulting in low blood oxygen saturation, coma and death. cyanosis, accumulation of waste in blood.
    1. cannabis is fat soluble. the neurons’ myelin sheath is a lipid that gets clogged up with resinous rubbish..
    young people under the age of 21 will suffer from brain injury or developmental delay, as organic damage. the ability to learn ,decreases dramatically after this age. they will exhibit low intelligence and emotional instability.
    the psychiatrist will confirm that if you smoke cannabis today, he will expect you to remain cannabis free for three weeks before he will declare that you are sober and not intoxicated on drugs and alcohol. This is not convenient for workers.
    The psychiatrist will administer largactil, and the drug addiction can be relieved. four days of observation and three weeks of sleeping tablets is required.billions of neurons in the skull learn that cannabis is not legal.indulged in high doses of sugar the will murder people who threaten the sugar supply. bullies, deranged bullies with psychosis laudanum was a mild opioid tonic used for centuries, cannabis was confined to administration by shamans in primitive cultures. beyers pharmaceuticals in 1836 refined opium to isolate the alkaloids
    morphine and codeine which is modern analgesia. heroin is morphine that has been boosted with oxygen molecules. it was useful as a dental topical analgesia before the advent of the hypodermic needle use which is abuse.

  • http://twitter.com/GargrayGary Gary Graves

    They should prohibit smoking cigarettes to. That is why Medicare cost are going up, but of course they don’t live to long so the cost of Social Security goes down. I forgot we paid for that out of our pockets.

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