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Matt

Legalization

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I agree with Shanenin and bozodog. Just imagine, if certain drugs were legalized, illegal drug lords would have no business because they're "customers" wouldn't need them anymore. Without business they would lose their "power" and reduce crime.

But I also believe that pot is no worse than alcohol... and it makes no sense to have alcohol legal if pot is not... and the other way around.

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I can think of one reason to legalize some drugs like marijuana. People will use pot whether it is legal or not. ...

People commit all sorts of crime whether it is legal or not. If you make anything legal that's currently illegal think of all the money we'd save in police, investigations, prosecutions, incarcerations! We spend too much on that stuff anyway!

Of course far more people will commit those acts. Many don't right now simply because it's illegal, or they are deterred because they don't want to get caught. but if it was OK they'd be doing it for sure. Are we supposed to say "So what" if it harms them or endangers others? And I guess we would have to ignore any cost to society in general.

"People do it anyway" and "law enforcement costs money" are not good arguments IMO.

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Ineffective law enforcement costs too much money. It certainly could be better spent elsewhere. People ARE doing it anyway, even with all the bucks being tossed down the drain.

It ain't working, FIX IT! There has to be a better way.

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Just imagine, if certain drugs were legalized, illegal drug lords would have no business because they're "customers" wouldn't need them anymore.

No, they would just move on to other sources of income. Did all the stills dry up after the end of prohibition? Some did, but the larger 'businesses' just converted to pot. Make pot legall, they will just move on to harder drugs.

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"I should be free to do whatever I want regardless of the consequences to myself or others" isn't an argument, it's a philosophy.

The legalization debate is a philosophical debate.

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The legalization debate is a philosophical debate.

Agreed.

There doesn't seem to be a lot of "middle ground," does there? :)

Since there doesn't seem to be any middle ground, that is, you've got people who view the question from two entirely opposing viewpoints, I don't believe there CAN be any "convincing" going on.

The original question was what we thought about the subject: Thanks for letting me have my say! :D

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What do the former sheriff of San Francisco, a retired Orange County judge, and an assemblyman from S.F. have in common? They all believe that the legalization and taxation of California's so-called largest cash crop could bring in around a billion dollars in tax revenue to the state coffers.

The proposed act would:

"Remove all penalties under California law for the cultivation, transportation, sale, purchase, possession, and use of marijuana, natural THC and paraphernalia by persons over the age of 21," "prohibit local and state law enforcement officials from enforcing federal marijuana laws (more on that later)" and establish a fee of $50 an ounce on marijuana on top of whatever pot will cost in a legal future - which legalization advocates say is about half what it costs now.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/comments_b...uana-legal.html

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Why is pot illegal?

From about.com:

Top seven reasons pot is illegal

1. It is perceived as addictive.

Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug on the basis that is has "a high potential for abuse." What does this mean?

It means that the perception is that people get on marijuana, they get hooked and become "potheads," and it begins to dominate their lives. This unquestionably happens in some cases. But it also happens in the case of alcohol--and alcohol is perfectly legal.

In order to fight this argument for prohibition, legalization advocates need to make the argument that marijuana is not as addictive as government sources claim.

2. It has "no accepted medical use."

Marijuana seems to yield considerable medical benefits for many Americans with ailments ranging from glaucoma to cancer, but these benefits have not been accepted well enough, on a national level. Medical use of marijuana remains a serious national controversy.

In order to fight the argument that marijuana has no medical use, legalization advocates need to highlight the effects it has had on the lives of people who have used the drug for medical reasons.

3. It has been historically linked with narcotics, such as heroin.

The first piece of federal legislation to formally regulate marijuana was the Narcotics Act of 1914, which regulated heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. The only trouble is that cocaine and marijuana are not technically narcotics; the word "narcotic," when used in English, has historically referred to opium derivatives such as heroin and morphine.

But the association stuck, and there is a vast gulf in the American consciousness between "normal" recreational drugs, such as alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, and "abnormal" recreational drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Marijuana is generally associated with the latter category, which is why it can be convincingly portrayed as a "gateway drug."

4. It is associated with unfashionable lifestyles.

Marijuana is often thought of as a drug for hippies and losers. Since it's hard to feel enthusiastic about the prospects of enabling people to become hippies and losers, imposing criminal sanctions for marijuana possession functions as a form of communal "tough love."

5. It was once associated with oppressed ethnic groups.

The intense anti-marijuana movement of the 1930s dovetailed nicely with the intense anti-Chicano movement of the 1930s. Marijuana was associated with Mexican Americans, and a ban on marijuana was seen as a way of discouraging Mexican-American subcultures from developing.

Today, thanks in large part to the very public popularity of marijuana among whites during the 1960s and 1970s, marijuana is no longer seen as what one might call an ethnic drug--but the groundwork for the anti-marijuana movement was laid down at a time when marijuana was seen as an encroachment on the U.S. majority-white culture.

6. Inertia is a powerful force in public policy.

If something has been banned for only a short period of time, then the ban is seen as unstable. If something has been banned for a long time, however, then the ban--no matter how ill-conceived it might be--tends to go unenforced long before it is actually taken off the books.

Take the ban on sodomy, for example. It hasn't really been enforced in any serious way since the 18th century, but most states technically banned same-sex sexual intercourse until the Supreme Court ruled such bans unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas (2003).

People tend to be comfortable with the status quo--and the status quo, for nearly a century, has been a literal or de facto federal ban on marijuana.

7. Advocates for marijuana legalization rarely present an appealing case.

To hear some advocates of marijuana legalization say it, the drug cures diseases while it promotes creativity, open-mindedness, moral progression, and a closer relationship with God and/or the cosmos. That sounds incredibly foolish, particularly when the public image of a marijuana user is, again, that of a loser who risks arrest and imprisonment so that he or she can artificially invoke an endorphin release.

A much better argument for marijuana legalization, from my vantage point, would go more like this: "It makes some people happy, and it doesn't seem to be any more dangerous than alcohol. Do we really want to go around putting people in prison and destroying their lives over this?"

I say legalize and sell it in stores that say you must be 21 to enter and then concentrate enforcement on the powders and pills.

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... A much better argument for marijuana legalization, from my vantage point, would go more like this: "It makes some people happy, and it doesn't seem to be any more dangerous than alcohol. Do we really want to go around putting people in prison and destroying their lives over this?" ...

Comparing it to alcohol is not a good argument as we all know that alcohol is exceedingly dangerous, repsonsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people year after year. By making that comparison you are describing marijuana as being at least somewhat dangerous, and that places the onerous responsiblity on marijuana supporters to define exactly what "less dangerous" means. Not that I support legalization, but I believe you would be better served if you were to defend the product on it's own merits, if any.

There's also a problem with the incarceration argument, which could be resolved by a change in current law regarding overly harsh sentencing for marijuana possession and use. That wouldn't imply or require a recommendation for the legalization of the product.

"Narcotic" is from a word meaning "numb" and was only (relatively) recently associated specifically with opium. If a drug company introduced a drug for medical problems that marijuana has been associated with positively, but that had the "side effects" of marijuana, that drug would be rejected or classified as a narcotic, with all that means. It would have to be proven to be superior in many ways to currently available treatments, and that is not likely to occur, and even if it could be done, it wouldn't make the product any more available than the current laws allow for the use of THC or other derivatives.

This reminds me of the arguments for stealing software; trying to justify the unjustifiable by throwing any argument against the wall to see if any stick. Some things just CANNOT be justified.

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That doesn't wash with me.

There is not a single recorded death by weed.

As a former long time smoker I know from first hand experience it is not addictive.

Gee I wish I had one is about as bad as it gets.

Why was it outlawed in the firat place?

From the link in my first post:

Alcohol Prohibition and Federal Approaches to Drug Prohibition

During this time, the United States was also dealing with alcohol prohibition, which lasted from 1919 to 1933. Alcohol prohibition was extremely visible and debated at all levels, while drug laws were passed without the general public's knowledge. National alcohol prohibition happened through the mechanism of an amendment to the constitution.

Earlier (1914), the Harrison Act was passed, which provided federal tax penalties for opiates and cocaine.

The federal approach is important. It was considered at the time that the federal government did not have the constitutional power to outlaw alcohol or drugs. It is because of this that alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment.

At that time in our country's history, the judiciary regularly placed the tenth amendment in the path of congressional regulation of "local" affairs, and direct regulation of medical practice was considered beyond congressional power under the commerce clause (since then, both provisions have been weakened so far as to have almost no meaning).

Since drugs could not be outlawed at the federal level, the decision was made to use federal taxes as a way around the restriction. In the Harrison Act, legal uses of opiates and cocaine were taxed (supposedly as a revenue need by the federal government, which is the only way it would hold up in the courts), and those who didn't follow the law found themselves in trouble with the treasury department.

In 1930, a new division in the Treasury Department was established -- the Federal Bureau of Narcotics -- and Harry J. Anslinger was named director. This, if anything, marked the beginning of the all-out war against marijuana.

Harry J. Anslinger

Anslinger was an extremely ambitious man, and he recognized the Bureau of Narcotics as an amazing career opportunity -- a new government agency with the opportunity to define both the problem and the solution. He immediately realized that opiates and cocaine wouldn't be enough to help build his agency, so he latched on to marijuana and started to work on making it illegal at the federal level.

Anslinger immediately drew upon the themes of racism and violence to draw national attention to the problem he wanted to create. He also promoted and frequently read from "Gore Files" -- wild reefer-madness-style exploitation tales of ax murderers on marijuana and sex and... Negroes. Here are some quotes that have been widely attributed to Anslinger and his Gore Files:

"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others."

"...the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races."

"Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death."

"Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men."

"Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing"

"You smoke a joint and you're likely to kill your brother."

"Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."

And he loved to pull out his own version of the "assassin" definition:

"In the year 1090, there was founded in Persia the religious and military order of the Assassins, whose history is one of cruelty, barbarity, and murder, and for good reason: the members were confirmed users of hashish, or marihuana, and it is from the Arabs' 'hashashin' that we have the English word 'assassin.'"

Yellow Journalism

Harry Anslinger got some additional help from William Randolf Hearst, owner of a huge chain of newspapers. Hearst had lots of reasons to help. First, he hated Mexicans. Second, he had invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didn't want to see the development of hemp paper in competition. Third, he had lost 800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa, so he hated Mexicans. Fourth, telling lurid lies about Mexicans (and the devil marijuana weed causing violence) sold newspapers, making him rich.

Some samples from the San Francisco Examiner:

"Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days -- Hashish goads users to bloodlust."

"By the tons it is coming into this country -- the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms.... Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him...."

And other nationwide columns...

"Users of marijuana become STIMULATED as they inhale the drug and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are laid to users of that drug."

"Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim's life in Los Angeles?... THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country today are committed by DOPE SLAVES -- that is a matter of cold record."

Hearst and Anslinger were then supported by Dupont chemical company and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis. Dupont had patented nylon, and wanted hemp removed as competition. The pharmaceutical companies could neither identify nor standardize cannabis dosages, and besides, with cannabis, folks could grow their own medicine and not have to purchase it from large companies.

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"Narcotic" is from a word meaning "numb" and was only (relatively) recently associated specifically with opium. If a drug company introduced a drug for medical problems that marijuana has been associated with positively, but that had the "side effects" of marijuana, that drug would be rejected or classified as a narcotic, with all that means.

Possibly. I don't believe narcotic is well-defined in a medical context.

This reminds me of the arguments for stealing software; trying to justify the unjustifiable by throwing any argument against the wall to see if any stick. Some things just CANNOT be justified.

It reminds me of those arguments as well. Probably for different reasons.

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What is a "narcotic" drug?

The first thing you should understand about the word "narcotic" is that it is used incorrectly more than it is used correctly. One good, quick way to tell whether someone actually knows anything about this subject is to listen to their use of this word. If they tell you that marijuana, cocaine, and meth are "narcotics" then count them among the vast legions of totally clueless people on this subject.

The word "narcotic" comes from the Greek word "narkos", meaning sleep. Therefore, "narcotics" are drugs that induce sleep. Specifically, that means the opiates such as heroin, morphine and related drugs. This is the correct meaning, so you should accept no other.

Cocaine and meth are not "narcotics". They are "stimulants", the exact opposite of a "narcotic". They cause people to be more awake and more active, not sleepy. Calling them :"narcotics" makes as much sense as calling coffee a "narcotic".

The classification of other drugs such as marijuana, alcohol, and others is open to question. (That is a subject for another page.) Some might call them "tranquilizers", "depressants", or even "hallucinogens". Marijuana and alcohol may even have a tendency to induce sleep at times. However, calling them "narcotics" simply shows a lack of understanding of the different effects.

The problem is that US Government officials, and others who enforce and support drug prohibition, tend to refer to all illegal drugs as "narcotics". They do that for three major reasons.

One reason is that they are genuinely ignorant about these drugs and their effects. That may sound like a strange thing to say about our top drug law enforcers -- people supposed to be the top experts in this field -- but I can assure you that it is 100 percent true. After years of talking to them, I haven't met one yet -- from the official United States Drug Czar to the local narcotics officers on the street -- who could pass the most basic factual quiz on the subject.

The second reason is that "narcotic" sounds dangerous and makes good headlines. Consider how attractive newspaper headlines would be if government officials proclaimed the dangers of "tranquilizers" (which narcotics are, in some respects). It just doesn't have the same sex appeal.

The third reason is that it blurs the line between things like marijuana and heroin. Police can't take a lot of credit for busting someone with an ounce of pot, so they call it a "narcotics bust."

Watch for how people use the word "narcotic". It will tell you instantly whether their opinion on the subject is really worth the puff of air it takes to speak it.

Source

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...
This reminds me of the arguments for stealing software; trying to justify the unjustifiable by throwing any argument against the wall to see if any stick. Some things just CANNOT be justified.

It reminds me of those arguments as well. Probably for different reasons.

LOL! I'll bet! :lol:

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That doesn't wash with me.

There is not a single recorded death by weed.

As a former long time smoker I know from first hand experience it is not addictive.

Gee I wish I had one is about as bad as it gets. ...

So no one who's ever been involved in an accident resulting in a fatality has had marijuana in their system? No one who's been high has ever died or caused a death? I call BS.

And do you not see the irony of saying it's not addictive while stating you're a long time user? Hey, I smoke cigarettes, have for close to twenty years. Sometimes I'll be at a friend's house where no one else smokes, so I don't either. I might think, "Gee, I wish I had one," but that's about as bad as it gets. Is that proof that it's not addictive? I'm not saying marijuana IS addictive, I don't care enough about the subject to do any research (if it's even possible to find an unbiased source, which is unlikely), I'm sayin' personal anecdotes are not proof of anything.

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So no one who's ever been involved in an accident resulting in a fatality has had marijuana in their system? No one who's been high has ever died or caused a death?

Substitute alcohol for marijauna in that statement and tell me why it is legal?

So no one who's ever been involved in an accident resulting in a fatality has had marijuana in their system? No one who's been high has ever died or caused a death?

NO, I have said that there has never been a death certificate issued listing cause of death as marijauna use.

Change marijauna to alcohol in that statement and tell me why it's legal?

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Yes indeed, lets talk of cigarettes and booze and bullets and cabbages and kings and sealing wax.

Anything but the subject at hand.

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Amid grim news of record deficits unveiled in the US budget, marijuana advocates are welcoming legislation in US states they say could blossom into billions of dollars in tax revenue.

San Francisco state lawmaker Tom Ammiano introduced a bill last Monday projecting a 14-billion-dollar tax base for the full retail treatment -- buying, selling and growing cannabis.

The leading legalization advocacy group behind Ammiano's bill, Washington-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), says recession is prompting otherwise skeptical state houses to revisit the ban on marijuana.

Over the last few months NORML has been drafted to work with state lawmakers -- even in conservative locales like Texas -- on budgetary analysis and review how legalization may enable governments fill yawning deficits.

More Here

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Thanks for posting that. I assume Beck's a conservative commentator (I could be wrong, I don't watch FOX NEWS) and it's quite telling if and when conservatives start accepting that marijuana should be legalized.

I'm not completely convinced (and how strong would my convictions be if one editorial could change them?), but it was presented in a thought-provoking way. You might even say it was a Fair and Balanced report. (Joking! -- technically they didn't present an opposing view.)

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Yeah, he's conservative-leaning. He had a show on CNN a year or so ago, then recently left for Fox News.

I agree, it's certainly a good thing that your opinion isn't changed by one report. That shows you've really thought about the issue! :thumbsup: And many of the points you've made against legalization are strong as well. I think this is a very interesting topic, and as more and more states begin looking at it, it may start getting more attention--for and against.

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I don't recall if Obama has a point of view on this. What with his popularity and Democrats in the majority of both houses he should be able to ram through any ol' thing he wants.

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Obama is not for legalization.

“Will you consider legalizing cannabis/marijuana/hemp so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a multi-billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?â€â€”DJ C, Chicago, IL

Response, 12/15/08: “President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.â€

http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/open_for_...und_2_response/

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