The New York Times Debates Marijuana Law Reform — NORML Weighs In

Today’s New York Times online features a round table discussion on the subject of marijuana law reform.

Two years ago we ran a quorum debating the pros and cons of decriminalizing marijuana. Since then, a largely theoretical debate has moved quite substantially toward the realm of reality, with a growing number of states and municipalities having changed their laws.
… So we asked a group of people — Paul Armentano, Mike Braun, Joel W. Hay, Jeffrey Miron, and Robert Platshorn — to think about a national decriminalization of marijuana … and answer the following: What would be some of the most powerful economic, social, and criminal-justice effects?
Here are their answers.

You can read all of the responses, including mine, and leave your feedback for the New York Times here.

0 thoughts

  1. The absolute, number one, biggest obstacle to legalization is to somehow (SOMEHOW) convince the moron fundamentalists that legalizing pot won’t lead to a “decline in moral values”, that we aren’t going to be in for pure bedlam if weed is legalized. If we can make it clear to these people that pro-weed is NOT anti-morality we will make that last stride we need to make!

  2. The fact that we flood our representative’s offices with our request to decriminalize MJ should be enough to change MJ to be decriminalized. Unless you have a representative that thinks they can get better voter support via the non-user’s of MJ. It’s all about banging their doors till your knuckles bleed.

  3. Leagilize it!
    What is thought of the idea of getting the word out to set a date up (ahead of time) to get the word out to as many peep’z as possible, and inform em’ that we’re all going to go to our local bookstore and purchase that months copie of “high times.” Have the wholle nation sale out and see what the politicans gonna say about that?

  4. The public uproar in favor of cannabis legalization is a joy to watch and participate in. Many of us have been activists for decades, sending futile letters to political leaders, drug czars, editorial pages, always with the same dismissive response…until this year. What a dramatic, sudden shift in public opinion! Change is happening so quickly now that I’ve begun to believe that this versatile plant will soon regain it’s rightful place as an abundantly utilized helpmate for humanity.

  5. wolf: wow, great post. peace, brother and never ever give up the fight.
    “This is no time to turn away and drink
    Or smoke some vials of crack
    This is a time to gather force
    And take dead aim and Attack”
    Lou Reed

  6. if anyone has vets in their family or knows of any, that smoke get them to visit this site and leave their thoughts here with us. we cant do this by ourselves, but we can if we draw to gether and fight prohibithion as one. the feds can only keep us down for so long, but the time is a-coming for all of us brothers and sisters to unite. we will win this. ninety years of oppresion, unjust laws, and the destruction of our families is ninety years too long.
    peace be with you all,
    lets win this.

  7. What is the deal with obama? obama has been asked about legalization of marijuana and this is what he had to say
    after asked these 2 questions:
    “With over 1 out of 30 Americans controlled by the penal system, why not legalize, control, and tax marijuana to change the failed war on drugs into a money making, money saving boost to the economy? Do we really need that many victimless criminals?”
    these where his quoted answer:
    There was one question that voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation,” he said. “And I don’t know what this says about the online audience, but … this was a popular question. We want to make sure it’s answered. The answer is no, I don’t think that’s a good strategy to grow our economy. All right.”
    Personally I and a whole lot of others out their helped get him into office under the promiss that he is for the people and would stop the war against the people which in all reality is the war against legalization of marijuana . Why did we support him again? Was it to support the terrorists & acrtel being that is what he is doing knowingly or not. Yet I ask Does this make any senece to you? It does not to me….. After all why waste BILLIONS UPON BILLION of taxpayers dollars fighting against our 1 st amendment while their are worse things going on.

  8. K chek it. im watchin the debates n cali on same sex marriages . and i cant help but notice how similar the gays plight is to us stonys. The way i see it is i myself dont know how i feel about same sex marriages. i think im against it. so how do i avoid it? By not marrying another man! and thats all that shood be done. Weather u argee with gay or not they are supposed to be FREE ppl living in a FREE country. Same with us smokers. We are free ppl livin in a supposedly free country. The only thing ppl shood hav a right to do is disagree with us. Course, homosexuals dont get incarcerated for bein gay so they got that on us. Gay or straight. Smoker or non. LETS TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK FRIENDS!

  9. Here is a version others may find use full of a letter to submit ti your congressman hope this helps and feel free to modify it if needed.
    Dear (congressmans name),
    I did vote for you in this previous election and believe that my faith in your ability to hear the voices of the people in our great state, and to let them be heard.
    However, there is one particular grievance that I would express to you, but first I would like to tell you a little about myself. I am a United States Marine. I dont have much at all, I am also trying my best to find gainful employment, and at the same time getting progrssively sick more with each passing day.
    This country has fallen to shambles, more and more people are out of work, with no health insurance.
    There must be some way to fix these problems, and i believe that the best way to solve these is to help re-legalize cannabis for medical usage, clothing and fuel industries, and private cultivation and purchase by responsible adults 21 or older. You and I both know that our great state, the state of (the state you are in) was the 13th state to approve of medical cannabis and is also one of the few states that are being hurt by the economy . Why not use these resources of legalization and taxation of marijuana to stimulate economical gain, by for one helping reboot the economy ,protecting our 1st amendment and ending the 60% profit that the cartel is gaining from keeping marijuana in prohibition? If our founding fathers thought it right to industrialize cannabis, then why cant we do the same? Sir, it is your duty to let the people’s voices be heard, not just yours. And when sixty three percent of our your people wish for one simple law to be changed for the betterment of their way of life, shouldnt you listen?
    I hope you take this letter seriously and so do all the millions of cannabis activists nationwide that will be on the side of helping defend our nation as well .
    We will overcome senator, but not without your help. So please consider your people and our wishes. And also remember we put you in the government, we voted for you. We own YOU, not the other way around. we make sure that YOU get a paycheck. We just want ours and the rest of the Americans voice heard in return in regards to this issue, and ask that you support us by helping us end prohibition and end the waste of Billions of taxpayers dollars that can go towards helping out great nation in this desperate time. Please do what you know is right for America and present congress with a reasonable bill that is for the people to legalize and tax marijuana. Let us help you to end the reign of the cartel and provide Billions annually that can be used for good instead of supplying the cartel / black market.
    a U.S. Marine that went through sand, barbed wire, losing friends, and a family so that you had a comfortable seat so sit in.
    thank you.

  10. The main reason cannabis must be re-legalized immediately is that not to do so, continues to violate God-given freedom and liberty as acknowledged in the Constitution of the United States. Then, prohibitionist “war” criminals must be held to account for their crimes against humanity, and serve lengthy prison sentences. Justice also demands “war” reparations be paid to all victims of this vicious, failed “war” of choice, including the more than a trillion dollars of tax payers’ money wasted trying to impose the will of a dangerous minority, the religious-inspired, moneyed, political and power elite who stated and waged this “war.”

  11. Your right Jake I hate the right wing religious people. They think they should tell you how to live your life…
    Thank God Obama put a liberal on the supreme court.
    We don’t need more nazies dictating how we live and making decisions based on the Christian religion. Just because I am Cherokee and worship mother earth these people think I am a sinner. I am not I feel we should live and let live and not base our liberty on religion or right wing beliefs.
    Cherokee Fred Jesus

  12. to mike, i appreciate the fact thay you are trying to help, but at least ask me next time first.
    no hard feelings.
    the wolf man

  13. I feel that it should be leagle too.
    Besides, how do I know that some of theses governmant ppl don’t puff. Please the police do.
    That would be cool if NY leaglized weed. It’s not like you cant get it, its NY.

  14. Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary 30th edition
    marijuana 1. Cannabis sativa 2. a crude preparation of the leaves and flowering tops of C. sativa, usually employed in cigarettes and inhaled as smoke for its euphoric properties.
    If this plant is harmful why doesn’t it say so in the medical dictionary? Because it is not. For me it is that simple. Dorland claims to be the first and the last word in medicine. It is the higher education standard and its definitions are universal. That is good enough for me.

  15. Mike Braun like his reefers laced with LSD, but I think that’s more effective when freebased

  16. #66 Cherokee Fred Jesus Says:
    May 27th, 2009 at 4:03 pm
    Your right Jake I hate the right wing religious people.
    They think they should tell you how to live your life…
    Thank God Obama put a liberal on the supreme court.
    We don’t need more nazies dictating how we live and
    making decisions based on the Christian religion.
    Just because I am Cherokee and worship mother earth
    these people think I am a sinner.
    I am not I feel we should live and let live and
    not base our liberty on religion or right wing beliefs.
    Cherokee Fred Jesus

    Cherokee Fred,
    This reminds me of a bumper-sticker which read,
    “The Christian Right is Neither”
    – I’ve always found it ironic that SOME people professing
    “Bible Belief” ignore and / or negate instructions from
    the very first chapter of the very first book!!!
    Genesis 1:29
    (New King James Version)
    And God said,
    “See, I have given you every herb that
    yields seed which is on the face of all the earth,
    and every tree whose fruit yields seed;
    to you it shall be for food.”

    – I believe “food” also refers to the essential-oils,
    (INCLUDING cannabinoids),
    secreted by plants.
    (As well as the seeds…)
    An EXOGENOUS source of
    ENDOCANNABINOID supplementation…)
    – Those responsible for and / or in favor of
    keeping cannabis illegal
    are guilty of grave-injustice,
    or at best,
    Biblical and Botanical ignorance.
    1 Timothy 4
    (New King James Version)
    The Great Apostasy
    1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times
    some will depart from the faith,
    giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
    2 speaking lies in hypocrisy,
    having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

    3 forbidding to marry, and
    commanding to abstain from foods which God created
    to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
    4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused
    if it is received with thanksgiving;

    5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
    Cherokee Fred,
    – The right-wing Christian-religion
    which seeks to make cannabis
    and its partakers extinct is
    A Religion Against Marijuana
    (Christians Against Prohibition blog-article)
    Be NORML, NOT deceived
    2 Corinthians 3:17
    (New King James Version)
    “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and
    where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

    I am a Mantisite. I believe my creator and his gift to his creation of Manna as Holy Sacrament for CDXX Communion.
    Genesis I:11,12
    Genesis I:29,30,31
    Genesis IX:3
    No matter what religion one practices, if one believes in the above scriptures, which are found in every Bible, one is a Mantisite (omni-distinctional), but only if one claims to be so.
    I Have faith in my creator, my Constitution, and myself. If a single Mantisite plant him or her self
    indomitably on his or her instincts, and there abide,the huge world will come round to him or her.

  18. To me its clear.If I can drink until my liver turns into crystal or smoke 4 packs a day until my lungs turn into rotted meat then why cant I smoke weed.We all know the moralistic right wing in this country blames pot for the anti war movement that got us out of the war in SE Asia.they dont care if they are hypocrites they will admit it.This is the time to push on while social conservitives are the minority otherwise we cant win.
    Lets stop drug testing in this country the evil trick the Regan’s used to make pot smokers second class americans.

  19. I went to the First Baptist Church in Sumner Washington
    from 1979 to 1981 and the people there were good people but being a evangelical church they told me I was going to hell if I kept smoking pot.Well they were right.The Ronald Regan started his witch hunt called the war on drugs which basically got me thrown out of a promising drafting position at Boeing due to drug testing.Never mind that I was doing a great job.This was only 3 months after I bought a house.Glory to god the fanatics were prophets.I feel closer to god when I smoke and if it makes you stupid the how did the progressive rock band Yes play the most complicated music possible.Yes people can be smart and moral and still smoke pot.

  20. Great quorum. It is refreshing to see this debate happening in the “mainstream.”
    But the most frustrating thing about debates like this is when individuals who are anti-decriminalization (like Joel W. Hay, Mr. Pharma) spew the most vapid, unsubstantiated, hypocritical bullshit and no one calls them on it.
    He didn’t provides sources for ANY of his arguments. His argument would get a big fat FAIL in any university. He has nothing to back up his opinions and his statistics are ridiculous, i.e. “Daily pot smokers have a 30 percent increased risk of accidents, and one study found that more emergency-department trauma admissions were associated with pot use than alcohol.” Wow Mr. Hay, thanks for letting me know about “one study,” without providing any info about the study. How about a title, an author, a date? Maybe you could tell me who sponsored this study? Does this study even EXIST? I have no way of knowing because clever Mr. Hay chose not to back up any of his claims.
    But the saddest thing about all of this is: people accept arguments like this anyway. The mainstream news continuously exalts unsubstantiated claims about cannabis (and other things) and we just eat it up. It’s an insult to every reader’s intelligence and it is a brazen disregard for accuracy and objectivity.
    So thank you, Mr. Armentano, for being the only person in the debate to cite your sources.
    P.S. I also find it interesting that whenever a prohibitionist finally cites a source/study, it’s often 15-20 years old, and when someone arguing for decriminalization cites a source/study, it’s recent (0-5 years). Also, the 15-20 year old study has usually been subsequently debunked. Hilarious.

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