Monday, May 5, 2008

Five signs that pot might become legal soon -- and five reasons why it probably won't. - Alternet

Disabled Homeless Vietnam Vet
Santa Cruz California

H/T Stan @ Feral Scholar, who comments:
for the legalization of the “demon weed
5th May 2008, 11:13 am by Stan

For those who don’t think this is serious, or that some of us would just like to have a legal joint now and again… you are half wrong. Prison, the attendant ruination of lives, and billions of dollars spent harrassing harmless pot smokers is very serious. And it would be nice to have a few joints now and again that didn’t cost a paycheck. I won’t even mention cannibus is a seriously useful medicinal herb.

The linked commentary says pretty much all of it… except how we can unite more people to strike down this cruel and idiotic prohibition.

Will Pot Ever Be Legal in This Schizoid Country?

By Steven Wishnia, AlterNet
Posted on May 1, 2008

Marijuana occupies a bizarrely paradoxical place in American culture. Its use is widespread, commonplace among the young and ubiquitous in popular culture. Yet it remains highly illegal, and talk of legalization is usually deemed political suicide.

Here are five signs that pot should be legal soon -- and five reasons why it probably won't.

1. Pot is indelibly a part of the cultural mainstream. The stoner comedy Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay grossed $14.6 million in its first weekend, making it the second most popular movie in the country. Most pro basketball players blaze, according to sources as diverse as the ganjaphile Mavericks player Josh Howard and the anti-drug ex-Knick Charles Oakley. And on April 20, thousands of revelers turned out at the University of Colorado and the University of California at Santa Cruz to celebrate the 4/20 herb holiday.

As of 2002, notes Keith Stroup, legal counsel with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 47 percent of American adults had smoked marijuana at some time in their lives, according to a CNN/Time poll. By today, he adds, "it is likely there are more living Americans who have smoked marijuana than who have not. Approximately 26 million Americans smoked marijuana just in the last year. All of these people know it did not cause them any real harm and that it did not keep them from having a successful life and career."

2. Increased medical acceptance. In February, the American College of Physicians, the second-largest medical organization in the country, urged the federal government to move cannabis out of Schedule I, the category for drugs with no legal medical use, "given marijuana's proven efficacy at treating certain symptoms and its relatively low toxicity." The group also strongly urged legal protections for doctors who prescribe cannabis and patients who use it.

Last year, more than 3,000 articles on cannabinoids were published in scientific journals. These have explored their possible uses for a host of ailments, from easing the pain of arthritis to inhibiting the growth of brain tumors.

The development of vaporization technology -- pricey devices that heat cannabis to a point where the THC can be inhaled, but don't incinerate the plant matter -- has eliminated one of the main reasons for doctors to be uncomfortable about the medical use of cannabis: that smoke contains toxic compounds. "Vaporization of THC offers the rapid onset of symptom relief without the negative effects from smoking," the ACP noted.

3. A federal decriminalization bill was introduced last month. HR 5843, sponsored by Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Ron Paul, R-Tex., would eliminate federal penalties for possession of less than 100 grams or for the nonprofit transfer of less than one ounce between adults. The bill is the first decriminalization measure introduced in Congress since the early 1980s.

4. The state budget crunch. With the recession battering their treasuries, many states are taking a second look at the price of incarcerating thousands of drug prisoners. Legal cannabis would eliminate the costs of arresting, prosecuting and jailing cannabis users, growers and dealers, and could be a major new source of tax revenue -- especially in states like California, where it is estimated to be the most valuable cash crop. And cannabis farming could revive rural economies, whether by hemp production in the Great Plains or marijuana cultivation in Appalachia.

5. There are no rational arguments against legalizing cannabis under regulations similar to those for alcohol. I've been covering drug issues for almost 20 years (and smoking the green since? Well, I went to Woodstock when I was 14, you do the math), and I haven't heard any. The most common, the "gateway theory" and the idea that today's pot is so much stronger than Woodstock-era weed that it's essentially a different drug, are based on distortion and misinformation. They aren't even valid rebuttable presumptions like "abortion is murder," "the government should not interfere with the free market by regulating rents," or "the U.S. government had to depose Saddam Hussein by any means necessary." And the "send a message to the children" argument is akin to espousing the resurrection of Prohibition because legal alcohol encourages underage drinking.


On the other hand, I strongly doubt that cannabis will become legal in the near future, for the following reasons...

In Full @ Alternet

Also See: Introducing...... Police States For PotHeads: U.S. to dispatch drones to hunt pot over California - McClatchy

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