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Dismantling the 5 Big Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists
04-24-2010, 06:58 PM,
#1
Dismantling the 5 Big Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists
Dismantling the 5 Big Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists
By Tony Newman and Stephen Gutwillig, AlterNet
Posted on April 23, 2010, Printed on April 24, 2010
http://www.alternet.org/story/146594/

The war on drugs will be on the ballot in California this November. The nation will watch the state decide whether to tax and regulate marijuana or continue to arrest adults for possession of this plant.

The vote on the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 will impact many of the most important issues in the country today. Californians will express how they want police resources used, if adults who consume marijuana should be criminalized, how best to deal with the tragic violence in Mexico, and what our priorities should be in tough economic times. It’s no wonder that seven months out, this issue has already generated thousands of news stories around the world.

Opposition to this reform has crystallized within the drug war establishment, and so has their spin. Here are their top five talking points and the truth beyond them:

Drug Warrior Spin #1: Why would we authorize another harmful substance in our society?

The reality is that marijuana is already widely available in our society. Like it or not, it’s a mainstream recreational drug consumed by millions, including one in ten Californians last year, according to federal data. The California ballot initiative simply acknowledges that marijuana is here and that it’s more sensible to regulate this massive market, like we do with even more harmful drugs like cigarettes and alcohol. Prohibition of highly popular substances never works and brings terrible collateral damage. Alcohol prohibition didn’t keep people from drinking, but it did give us Al Capone and gun battles in the streets. No one dies over sales of Budweiser today.

Drug Warrior Spin #2: Regulation will cause marijuana consumption to skyrocket with addiction rates to match.

The truth is rates of marijuana consumption aren’t determined by penalties against it. If they were, the U.S. – which arrests an astounding 750,000 people for marijuana possession every year – wouldn’t have double the consumption rate of The Netherlands, where marijuana sales have been tolerated for decades. That principle holds true across this country as some states that lowered penalties against marijuana possession years ago have among the lowest rates of use while some states that retained harsh marijuana laws have among the highest. As for addiction, the risk of becoming dependent on marijuana is mild compared to most other drugs including alcohol and tobacco. In fact, most people who enter treatment for marijuana addiction in this country today are referred by the criminal justice system, but 65% don’t even meet the standard criteria for dependence.

Drug Warrior Spin #3: Regulating marijuana will aid drug cartels.

It is practically Orwellian to claim that state regulation of marijuana would benefit criminal cartels. More than 20,000 Mexicans have died in the last three years thanks to prohibition. There is nothing inherent about the plant that has caused these brutal murders. Banning marijuana makes it worth more than gold, so valuable that people are willing to kill each other over the right to sell it. By regulating marijuana and beginning to bring its production and distribution under the rule of law, we would eliminate the cartels’ existing monopoly and dramatically siphon their profits. They would be the biggest losers in this reform.

Drug Warrior Spin #4: Regulating marijuana would cost society more than the taxes it generates.

Taxing marijuana like alcohol statewide would generate $1. 4 billion in California alone, according to the state Board of Equalization. Californians will also save hundreds of millions in scarce law enforcement dollars currently devoted to enforcing these futile laws. Yet opponents say that drugged driving, increased health care costs, and lost productivity will end up costing much more than taxes would generate. By that logic, alcohol, which causes nearly 100,000 American deaths annually, should be illegal and warrant life without parole. The bottom line is that marijuana is California’s largest agricultural commodity, freely consumed by millions with no regulations or protections, and with no financial benefit to the state. In this economic climate, this is a reality we literally can’t afford to ignore any longer.

Drug Warrior Spin #5: What kind of message does regulating marijuana send to kids?

The irony is that failed marijuana prohibition does nothing to protect kids. Despite 30 years of “Just Say No,” half of high-school seniors admit to trying marijuana. Students are more likely to smoke marijuana than cigarettes and say it’s easier to buy marijuana than alcohol because drug dealers don’t ask for ID. Even more chilling, of the 78,000 Californians arrested for marijuana offenses in 2008, one in five was a child under 18 and half were under 30. Out of control access and mass arrests are prohibition’s true impact on our youth. State regulation will reduce that access, separate marijuana from harder drugs, and allow us to focus on effective youth drug education programs.

We will see these arguments play out repeatedly over the next six months. In the end, California will get to choose between two very different models of dealing with marijuana in our society.

Tony Newman is communications director for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Stephen Gutwillig is the California state director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/146594/
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04-24-2010, 07:14 PM, (This post was last modified: 04-24-2010, 07:28 PM by yeti.)
#2
RE: Dismantling the 5 Big Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists
While I disagree with the approach he used, I can understand it.

IMO pot is not harmful, nor should it be taxed or controlled by the government.

The Canadian government figured out decades ago that trying to control the pot industry wouldn't work, unless it was for medical use. Too many people would just avoid paying taxes on it. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has been advocating decriminalizing it for many years. Decriminalization bills were put forward in the House of Commons before, only to die before a vote could be cast.

In the mean time, cops all over Canada have been using a tolerance policy when finding small quantities on people - they won't even bother charging the possessor. I can verify this from personal experience dating back to the 1970s.

Around 2002, I was arrested for falling off my bicycle while drunk in front of a cop. While in the cop station being prepared to be thrown in the drunk tank, the cop found ~ 3/4 gram of primo bubble hash. He said "What's this?" I immediately said "I have no idea!" He threw it in the trash with a disgusted look on his face, and that was it.

If I had have admitted what it was, it may have been a different story...
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04-25-2010, 12:46 AM, (This post was last modified: 04-25-2010, 12:57 AM by ---.)
#3
RE: Dismantling the 5 Big Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists
the war on the war on drugs. the green revolution. Hats off to kazakstan for coming up with such a reputedly amazing medicament. truly amazing, i hope they legalise it, anything else is spectacularly fucked up i suppose.
leaving sf the one time i was there on an airoplane internal flight irecalled i had a nice bud in my pocketwhich i hadn't stowed, a gift at a party, nah well, and so painfully disgarded - it was original cali orange bud i recall..- it in an artificial plant (possibly real) luckilyclose to teh gatein a queue. i have a bunch ofthoseexperiences.
wouldn't be swell if we could just talk andnot have to think about snoopy snooper keeping tabs on this place. it is schoolyard stuff really.evenwhenitgets to chinaes firingsquads or what have you imo-

likeevil brats they'll blow peoples brains out all across the world peoplewilldo that shit somehow then the construct of these nations is psychotic. no one can say america is anydifferent.america is a barbarian and not inthe cool way like the opposition to ancient rome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGNxKnLmOH4 bleh
pot is decent.prohibiting it is indecent
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04-25-2010, 02:55 AM,
#4
RE: Dismantling the 5 Big Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists
(04-24-2010, 07:14 PM)yeti Wrote: IMO pot is not harmful, nor should it be taxed or controlled by the government.

Clap
&Alice laughed, &There's no use trying,& she said: &one can't believe impossible things.& &I daresay you haven't had much practice,& said the Queen. &When I was your age I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.&
- Lewis Carroll

&Things are seldom as they seem ... Skim milk masquerades as cream.&
- Gilbert and Sullivan (Pinafore)

At NASA, it really is rocket science, and the decision makers really are rocket scientists.
But a body of research that is getting more and more attention points to the ways that smart people working collectively can be dumber than the sum of their parts. .. Irwin Janis? &Groupthink:& is a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' striving for unanimity override realistic appraisals ? It is the triumph of concurrence over good sense, and authority over expertise.&
-John Schwartz & Matthew L. Wade
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04-25-2010, 09:35 AM,
#5
RE: Dismantling the 5 Big Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists
In fact the people singing "legalize it" are practically government agents, knowingly or unknowingly. There should be a new song "deregulate it" or "government, keep your hands off of it".
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04-25-2010, 08:53 PM,
#6
RE: Dismantling the 5 Big Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists
While I understand the sentiment, it plainly wouldn't happen that way. How would anyone expect politicians to do anything even remotely like allowing its sale legally without them getting a cut out of it? It's just not possible.

My expectation is that once CA passes this legislation, much of the pot trade will move along the same non-regulated distribution lines that it does now - friend to friend, tax free and unregulated...

This is a means to an end, where people don't get into in any trouble for possession, and the most people could get busted for is tax evasion, which CA won't have enough $ to enforce until the economy picks up... which isn't going to happen any time soon - That is, until there's serious state governmental reform where they are actually able to pass a budget before the previous one expires.

Government agents? give me a break... This just makes it easier for people to get their herb and subvert the government.

I wish it could be some other way, some way where people could be honest about the fact that there's no need for regulation of a plant, but let's be realistic... There's no way that that's going to happen. Do you really think the medical movement would have succeeded if the majority of advocates were vocal about what their real motivations were?
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04-26-2010, 12:50 AM, (This post was last modified: 04-26-2010, 12:51 AM by ---.)
#7
RE: Dismantling the 5 Big Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists
(04-25-2010, 09:35 AM)Hans Olo Wrote: In fact the people singing "legalize it" are practically government agents, knowingly or unknowingly. There should be a new song "deregulate it" or "government, keep your hands off of it".

good point
(04-25-2010, 08:53 PM)h3rm35 Wrote: While I understand the sentiment, it plainly wouldn't happen that way. How would anyone expect politicians to do anything even remotely like allowing its sale legally without them getting a cut out of it? It's just not possible.

My expectation is that once CA passes this legislation, much of the pot trade will move along the same non-regulated distribution lines that it does now - friend to friend, tax free and unregulated...

This is a means to an end, where people don't get into in any trouble for possession, and the most people could get busted for is tax evasion, which CA won't have enough $ to enforce until the economy picks up... which isn't going to happen any time soon - That is, until there's serious state governmental reform where they are actually able to pass a budget before the previous one expires.

Government agents? give me a break... This just makes it easier for people to get their herb and subvert the government.

I wish it could be some other way, some way where people could be honest about the fact that there's no need for regulation of a plant, but let's be realistic... There's no way that that's going to happen. Do you really think the medical movement would have succeeded if the majority of advocates were vocal about what their real motivations were?

good point
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