CBS News Series: Marijuana Prohibition And Possible Alternatives

When governments arrest people, it hasn’t stopped people from consuming cannabis.”

In what can be described as a comprehensive journalistic undertaking, CBS News is broadcasting an in-depth review of America’s 72-year old cannabis prohibition called Marijuana Nation: The New War Over Weed and what are some of the possible public policy alternatives that will be supported by the American public in future.
Starting with a broadcast piece on Sunday Morning, and via extensive web reportage,, in my personal opinion, has done a far better job than other major news networks who’ve also recently run either a series, or documentaries, examining the growing public support for ending cannabis prohibition, cannabis as a taxed commodity, and looking into how American drug policies affect other countries’ drug policies.
Both sides, prohibitionists and anti-prohibitionists, are well represented and make their cases for either reform or to maintain the status quo of prohibition.
A transcript from Sunday Morning, examining California’s ever-growing medical cannabis industry and the growing calls in America’s most important state for outright legalization, is available here.
The accompanying article, featuring quotes from NORML Advisory Board member and former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, America’s Love-Hate History with Pot, is read here.

Norm Stamper still remembers the day, nearly six decades ago, when a police detective visited his elementary school class to warn of the dangers of smoking the “devil weed.”
“That was the term he used — and he even brought along a bag of marijuana to show us,” said Stamper, 65, who would later become Seattle’s police chief. “I remember him saying something to the effect that, ‘If you smoke this, it will rot the membrane in your nose.’ He was an authority figure, and so I figured he could tell me something about the dangers of this drug. That was my early education about marijuana.”
By today’s standards, such a warning might sound as dated as the bug-eyed, morally-depraved pot fiends portrayed in the 1936 movie Reefer Madness.
But it was in line with the prevailing view of the 1950s, which considered marijuana to be not just a dangerous drug, but a stepping stone to the use of heroin or even more dangerous controlled substances. In 1979, 27 percent of Americans favored legalization, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll at the time.
A new CBS News poll released today finds that more Americans now support legalization. Forty-one percent said they think marijuana should be made legal and 52 percent are opposed. That’s even more than in a CBS News poll in March when 31 percent said they were in favor of legalization in all cases with another seven percent saying they would favor legalization if marijuana were taxed and the money went to projects.
“They told us that marijuana was a gateway drug,” said Stamper, who these days is a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “It was not.”

America’s Love-Hate History with Pot
With a New CBS News Poll Finding 41% Now Support Legalization, Examines Changing Views of Marijuana in the U.S.
Video: Politics of Pot
Highlights of Presidents and Presidential Candidates addressing the marijuana question.
-Amid Calls for Marijuana Legalization in the U.S., Looks at the Lessons of the Dutch Approach-
This story was written by Brian Montopoli as part of a new special report on the evolving debate over marijuana legalization: Marijuana Nation: The New War Over Weed.

When it comes to the debate over legalizing marijuana, even the president of the United States has a hard time keeping a straight face.
After legalization questions got high ratings in an online town hall in March, Mr. Obama couldn’t suppress a grin and a joke about what the popularity of the topic “says about the online audience.” To the disappointment, if not the surprise, of marijuana advocates, he went on to say that he doesn’t think legalizing and taxing marijuana “is a good strategy to grow our economy.”
Yet there are many Americans – and public officials – who are taking the issue more seriously. In a CBS News poll released Monday, 41 percent of Americans said they favor marijuana legalization. Other polls put that figure as high as 52 percent.
Meanwhile, Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul co-authored a bill to end federal penalties for possession of small amounts of pot. Sen. Jim Webb has put forth legislation to create a commission examining drug policy and problems in the criminal justice system.
In California, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced a bill to legalize recreational use of the drug in order to generate desperately-needed tax revenue – and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he is open to a debate over doing just that.
These are significant steps for American politicians, who have long been loath to take on drug legalization for fear of being labeled soft on crime. But they mark little more than an early effort to prompt discussion around the issue.
For a more substantive look at how politicians are grappling with decriminalization, one must cross the Atlantic and take a look at Holland, where casual marijuana use has been de facto legal since 1976.
Where Pot Is Both Legal And Illegal:
Despite what the typical backpack-toting college student might think, pot exists in something of a legal netherworld even in Amsterdam. While coffee shops in some areas of the country can sell marijuana without risk of punishment, proprietors cannot legally obtain the product for sale. And possession and production are technically misdemeanors that can prompt a fine.
“The Dutch model is a little half baked,” quips Tim Boekhout van Solinge, a drug policy expert at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. “The supply side is still illegal, the production is illegal.”
Experts on both sides of the issue lament the ambiguity of marijuana policy not just in Holland but also in places like California, where there are not clear rules about the distribution of medical marijuana.
Dutch drug policy is grounded in the separation of soft drugs like marijuana from harder drugs like cocaine and heroin. “The policy has evolved slowly over time,” said Craig Reinerman, a sociology professor and drug policy expect at the University of California Santa Cruz. “At first they had a national commission, much like the Nixon administration had. And their national commission said, ‘look, all drugs have risks, even legal ones. Some are acceptable, and some are just too high.'”
Because history suggested people would use marijuana regardless of the limits imposed by the government, the Dutch tried to manage use as part of an attempt to keep transactions as safe as possible. (They have a similar philosophy when it comes to prostitution).
Dutch law enforcement will not go after coffee shops that sell small amounts of marijuana (up to five grams) to people over the age of 18, though the coffee shops can only operate if the local municipality allows it. The coffee shops can only keep 500 grams of marijuana onsite at any one time, can’t advertize, can’t sell alcohol or hard drugs and can be shut down if they become a nuisance to the neighborhood. Customers are permitted to consume the drug on the premises or at their home.

WATCH: Dutch Doctor Frederick Polak talks to about the relationship between repression and use.

WATCH: An American cannabis tour guide talks to about drug tourism in Amsterdam.

In addition, if not for international treaties designed to restrict supply, the Dutch may well have crafted a policy in which the supply side is (at the very least) de facto legal as well, according to Boekhout van Solinge. In the current system the state can only generate tax revenue indirectly, via the incomes of those who run the coffee shops. And many proprietors have little choice but to engage in somewhat shadowy transactions in order to secure the product.
“The fact that production and supply are still left in the underground certainly creates some problems,” said Bruce Merkin at the Marijuana Policy Project.
Over the years, Dutch policy has prompted serious grousing from neighbors. In the 1990s, French president Jacques Chirac suggested the country’s position was weakening Europe-wide efforts to combat drug use. One of his allies in the legislature went so far as to dub Holland a “narco-state.” Holland has long fought illegal drug trafficking, yet remains a significant producer of a number of drugs and a key entry point for narcotics into Europe.
Yet as defenders of the Dutch policy are all too happy to point out, the Dutch actually smoke less pot than many of their neighbors – the French included. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 22.6 percent of Dutch citizens between ages 15 and 64 reported having used cannabis in their lifetime. In France, the percentage in that age group who reported using the drug was nearly four points higher – 26.2 percent.
Among Spaniards the lifetime usage rate for this age group is even higher – 28.6 percent – while among Italians it sits at a relatively robust 29.3 percent. In the United Kingdom, where the sample included 16 through 59 year olds, the percentage who said they had used cannabis was above 30 percent.
For the record, the country with the most liberal drug policy in Europe is actually Portugal – which happens to have the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in the entire European Union. (But that’s a different story.)
In the United States, meanwhile, more than 40 percent of people 18 and older have used marijuana or hashish. America boasts one of the highest pot usage rates in the world.
“If you look at the data, it really dispels any notion that allowing adults to possess marijuana creates a nation of potheads,” Merkin said.
Lessons From The Dutch:
Dutch public opinion over the nation’s drug policy has long been split, with polls usually suggesting that a slim majority favor the coffee shop-based system. In recent years, however, the country has moved to become more restrictive, thanks in large part to resentment over the impact of so-called “drug tourists,” whose partying has long angered locals.
In 2007, the Netherlands banned the use of psychedelic mushrooms (which had essentially been treated as soft drugs) after a drug-related suicide, and several municipalities have moved to close coffee shops to discourage crime and drug tourism. The U.S. Department Of Justice says that 81 percent of the country’s municipalities did not allow coffee shops as far back as 2000. One Dutch professor predicts there will be no more coffee shops in Holland by 2010, thanks in large part to anger over drug tourists.
One of the key debates around pot policy in Holland, the U.S. and elsewhere centers on the question of destigmatization – whether or not giving the drug the imprimatur of legality will drive up usage rates. Joel W. Hay, a Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Economics & Policy at the University Of Southern California and an opponent of marijuana legalization, says yes.
“A lot of people are now getting the clear social signal that pot is not that great because it is illegal” in the United States, he said. “It certainly doesn’t deter use, but it probably deters a substantial amount, and that’s for the good.”
But Reinerman argues that destigmatization is a “tricky question.”
“I interviewed a Dutch parent once and asked about this, and he told me, ‘my son will smoke a little pot now and then, but mostly it doesn’t occur to him to do that. There’s no allure of the forbidden fruit,'” he said.
Reinerman allows that “in the first six months or a year or two [after legalization] there might be an increase” in marijuana use, but says the destigmitization that would come with legalization ultimately works both ways. “Availability is not destiny,” he argues.
Peter Reuter, a University of Maryland professor of criminology, believes that any increase in usage rates if marijuana were decriminalized would be modest. He points to the fact that Dutch marijuana users tend to give up the drug at the same time as Americans do – in their 20s.
“I’m reasonably confident that if we followed the Dutch model we would not see a big uptick in usage,” he said.
That could depend, however, on whether the United States could successfully follow one aspect of the Dutch policy that both legalization advocates and opponents laud: its ban on advertising. Hay notes that under a legalization policy business interests would be incentivized to try to drive up demand.
In the United States, he argues, a policy that bans advertising on legal marijuana would raise questions of Constitutionality. (Congress and the Obama administration did recently pass legislation more strictly limiting tobacco advertising.)
“I think it would be tightly contested whether restrictions could be put on it, because the adverse health effects are not that great,” said Reuter. “Potential producers could bring suit.”
These sorts of complex questions are being seriously considered in some American circles for the first time since the 1970s. The federal government, however, is not exactly joining the conversation. Though new drug czar Gil Kerlikowske has been lauded for his emphasis of treatment over incarceration – and for abandoning the phrase “war on drugs” – he recently told Rolling Stone that legalization is not something worth considering “under any circumstances.”
Hay believes there is simply no good reason to abandon the status quo and emulate the Dutch policy, let alone move to full legalization.
“We have a philosophical question if potheads should be able to [use marijuana], and they sort of already can,” he said. “It’s not really that illegal right now. And I think having society saying this is something you shouldn’t do, but we don’t throw the book at you when you do it, is sort of a socially optimal policy.”
But while medical marijuana use has been decriminalized in some areas of the country, police still arrest between 750,000 and 900,000 people per year on marijuana-related charges, the vast majority for possession.
“It just should be accepted that cannabis is consumed by hundreds of millions of people around the world,” said Boekhout van Solinge. “When governments arrest people, it hasn’t stopped people from consuming cannabis.”
Originally published at

0 thoughts

  1. Did anyone just hear President Obama jokingly say that “we can’t give major league baseball a “bailout” because we’re out of money”? Here’s a solution…tax and regulate the sale of MJ.

  2. Man. I dont know wat to say. Prohibitionists of any kind are cruel. The guy who said its illegal but still smoked freely thus its kinda legal pissed me off. Sure i know ppl who live in Denver and they smoke while sittin on their porch plain as day care free. I however live in small minded small town right across the border and my littlle brother did a week in jail, 6 mos probation and 1200 in fines for less than a gram of regular. Our cops lay awake at night prayin to judas for the ability to kick mucho stoner ass. Im hopin for decrim or legalization but i aint holdin my breath.

  3. Who in the hell teaches people that it’s a correct form of behavior to control your fellow American’s. Reality is people are saved by marijuana medically and it’s just stupid to entertain the feelings of prohibitionist pushing what they think YOU should do or not do in your life time.
    When we get to heaven, everyone that lived on the earth during marijuana prohibition should get FREE MJ for eternity! I’m not kidding, everything that dyes moves on to the next life to live eternally. Only we may not care anything about getting high in the next life.

  4. That was wonderfully put together, and I thank you for doing so immensely. However, I did have one problem with your wording.
    The whole idea of America’s “most important state” just really gets old, especially in the realm of marijuana. While certainly true that California has done incredible amounts to support legalization measures, the fact of the matter is that the other 49 states aren’t always as fortunate, and receive nowhere near the level of support they NEED from groups like NORML.
    Here in the South, for example, there’s quite a large undertone of people who would support, at minimum, the decriminalization of pot. This does not often see the light of day, though, because the focus is only on California, New England, or foreign nations when it comes to matters of cannabis. This is not working for the rest of us.
    In short, NORML, Mr. St. Pierre, we direly need your assistance. We understand that California is the frontline. Really, we do. We just wish that we didn’t have to fight this domestic war without major support from one of the only organizations in the United States with the capability to make a legitimate difference for us. Essentially, what I’m saying is that California is almost won. The momentum of its movement will undoubtedly prevail within a relatively short time span, whether backed by NORML or not. The people have decided there.
    We need you to make it a real issue here, certainly within the media. In states like Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, and the rest of the South, we cannot do this alone, as this is undeniably one of the most difficult areas of the country to win over when it comes to marijuana. This is the section of the US where your fight really begins. The easy part is almost over; the hardest part has yet to begin. The DEA and FBI will undoubtedly shift their focus to states without such amazing laws in place, and the metaphorical hammer will come down on us quite hard.
    We need your help. I can’t stress this enough.
    D. Hughes
    Resident of the Less Important State of Tennessee
    P.S. – Sorry about the borderline rant.

  5. Americans will never respect or conform to a law that is born of racism, perpetuated by greed and supported by lies.
    Cherokee Fred Jesus

  6. While they argue repercussions regarding the Dutch system, it should also be noted that the Dutch recently had to close a dozen or so prisons due to an unexpected reduction in the crime rates.

  7. Oh, another person claiming the penalties for marijuana aren’t all that bad. He’s either ignorant or evil. People losing jobs or getting kicked out of school is a far cry from “socially optimal policy.”

  8. How about the USA legalizes it then the rest of America could buy from its distibuter (California) just a thought

  9. I think it’s funny how prohibitionists still refer to people who consume MJ as “potheads.” Sounds racially driven to me. Who coined that phrase? Oh, that’s right. These “potheads” are the same people who have to live their lives dealing with others, usually the long winded type who are perfect in every conceivable way on paper, who would sell their very soul in order to make everything they touch gold. “Potheads” are 99.9% law abiding citizens that pay taxes (on everything), love their family, friends and other citizens who choose not to think of them as complete dunces that have a clouded sense of judgement. Some have even served “our country” and have paid the ultimate price. It is possible to smoke responsibly and still maintain a lifestyle that can lead to success. You see? “Potheads” aren’t @ all different than the “normal” person who wants to live w/o using it. The only thing that separates the two is that one chooses to believe MJ is ok and the other doesn’t. Wow! If that’s all it takes to make us not see each others point of view then that really says something about each and every one of us. I’d like to think that people can be understanding and see from a different perspective but the more I find out the more I understand how truly mad this entire world is. Some may say it’s me that is mad. It’s all a game and they know what buttons to push and @ what time is most beneficial to them. Elections are coming soon and it’s not wrong to say that our officials that run for a position in office have never said one thing and have done the opposite. Just to appeal to the voters of a group in order to cement their standing. “Do as I say and not as I do.” It’s difficult to say what anyone is capable of. Anyone is capable of anything @ any moment. Good or bad. Right or wrong. Left, Right or anywhere in between. So I say if they want to keep it up with the names then it’s only prudent to give them one as well. Henceforth anyone who breeds hatred for MJ consumers and believes that MJ has no value in ones’ life are deemed “notheads.” I’ve lowered myself to name calling. :]

  10. more people worldwide get killed from drunk driving than smoking pot. AND alcahol has no medical value as marijuana does.It is about time to get these alcholic lawmakers off their barstools and change this!

  11. We should take the time to email the people at CBS and thank them for bringing this discussion into the main stream.

  12. Well that’s the problem Rick Seymour. People actually believe that there is a heaven, and that their “god” say’s its not OK to smoke harmless cannabis. So they influence and vote and take our freedoms away because of their own personal beliefs.
    There is no “heaven”, cannabis is harmless. The more people realize this, the more freedoms we will get back from these close minded individuals.

    11. AND THE LORD SAID…Let the earth bring forth grass, “THE HERB YIELDING SEED,” and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth “AND IT WAS SO.”
    12. And the earth brought forth the grass, “AND HERB YIELDING SEED AFTER HIS KIND” and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and”GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD.”
    29. AND GOD SAID…BEHOLD…I have given you “EVERY HERB BEARING SEED” which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, “TO YOU IT SHALL BE FOR MEAT/FOOD.”
    30. And to every beast on the earth, and to every fowl in the air, and to every thing that creepeth on the earth wherein there is life, “I HAVE GIVEN EVERY GREEN HERB FOR MEAT/FOOD.
    31. And God saw every thing that he had made, and BEHOLD…”IT WAS VERY GOOD,” and the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
    3. Every moving thing that liveth shall be “MEAT/
    FOOD FOR YOU, EVEN AS THE GREEN HERB” have I given you all things.
    Without exemption (circumscription-qualification) no person(s) shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the “FREE EXERCISE” thereof. Genesists are free to profess and maintain their “OPINION” in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or effect their civil capacities. Genesists shall not suffer on account of their religious “OPINIONS AND BELIEFS.” For whosoever would stand on a Genesists
    path of religious freedom (individual freedom) and rattle their sword, such act provokes infringement of the natural right(s) of mankind…the privilages and advantages to which in common with their fellow Genesists he/she has a natural right.

  14. America’s colors are fading
    Freedom is becoming a joke
    I watch my constitution erode
    as it stands for greed, intolerance and power
    rather than liberty, acceptance and unity.
    America is dying, and the War on Drugs
    is making the U.S.A. a type of Fascist Government
    I love my country
    but I am ashamed of it
    and the leaders pointing the way.

  15. What bothers me is that anyone actually still thinks cannabis should be illegal. Almost six out of 10 people are really that dumb?
    What kind of people are these? Are they mindless robots afraid to allow themselves to think for themselves even a little bit? Or cold-hearted sociopaths who find a profit in the status-quo?
    Either way, it’s pretty frightening.

  16. Our current marijuana laws are impossible to enforce. Despite decades of eradication and arresting 800,000 Americans a year, pot is still easier to buy for most high school kids than beer.
    Keeping marijuana illegal does not benefit our children. It benefits special interest groups: the alcoholic beverage industry, the prison industry, police departments and their suppliers, government bureaucrats, and drug cartels.
    It is immoral to prevent responsible adults from choosing to use a less harmful substance in place of alcohol. If pot were legalized, alcohol use would decrease along with its social costs.
    If you live in California, tell your legislators in Sacramento to legalize marijuana now. It’s easy. Visit

  17. I say if Prohibitionists of any kind are cruel and want to keep spreading lies while striking fear into Americans to keep MJ illegal then as American patriots we must be cruel to the Prohibitionists by keeping the pressure on as well as fight for our rights. Prohibitionists do not care about facts or about the rest of us American people or even about are rights and freedom . What we need do is to put people into office who is for the people and not for the prohibitionists . I say we get some one from NORML or some one who NORML and other pro-MJ organizations support that is for the cause and get them into office as president. We are the people of this great nation and do need to continue to fight for our rights and freedom as hard as we must and for as long as we must. Let us keep up the fight and fight hard to uphold our rights as Americans fellow patriots. Lets battle and do our best on air and off air on the net and off the net to continue for what is true a right. Lets get this stupid prohibition to end. They say children are in foster care because of MJ use of the pairent which is BS I know this to be fact the reason why they are in foster care is due to all reasons such as that of abuse due from alcohol as well as sexual to that of dealing pills etc… yet they use American citizens innocent children who are in foster care as a pawn in their sick twisted war against us.. This is wrong and after watching what I did on Fox Business News where a prohibitionists used foster care as a tool pissed ,e off due to the fact that they are getting more desperate and are resorting to using the innocent as a pawn. It is unmoral in which that alone should be a crime. Lets take off the gloves fellow patriots and kick their ass in this fight…. We are strong and out number them and can make a difference together. Lets keep fighting not just for our self but that of our children and their children.. Feel free to do your part either by blogging , writing to your rep or other means such as using the web page to help out or through any and every way we can. Here once again is the url:

  18. I am very glad that we have org.s such as NORML, SSDP , LEAP etc….. that are doing what they can for the American people and their rights. Keep up the good work every one. Also sorry for in post#4 you may seen the ,e I did not catch it till after it was posted when I hit the (m) it went to a (,) instead lol kind of a little funny mistake and will watch out for that when ever I post next.

  19. P.S.
    We the People…we Genesists…who believe in our creator “L,” and his/her gift of Manna as Holy Sacrament for Communion, need to write our own Declaration of Independence. True or False?
    The answer is False. This is already covered in the First Amendment of the Constitution, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act-RFRA.
    We the People…we Genesists…who believe in our creator “L,” and his/her gift of Manna as Holy Sacrament for Communion, need to enforce the First Amendment of the Constitution, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act-RFRA. True or False.
    The answer is True. If we don’t insist on and enforce the laws we have, we will lose them to atrophy.
    Each “individual” Genesist…who believes in our creator “L” andhis/her gift of Manna as Holy Sacrament for Communion, MUST protect their “individual” freedom. True or False.
    The answer is True.
    So it is written…so shall it be. There is truth in action. Use it or lose it.

  20. dude that has got to be the dumbest thing i have ever heard anyone say dont put what you want in front of your god cause hes gonna turn you down brother anyway i dont see why we shouyld be mocking another countries policies at all this is america the home of the free the brave and the proud and i gotta say im not proud you wanna know why our sweet victory is not coming its because of all you smart assed pot smoking idiots we have people out there that are pot smokers and they are professionals in what they do so people quit making stupid remarks and grow up and say something worth saying if were gonna win this thing it means we gotta be adult enough to smoke not just smoke cause its what we like to do of course we do thats why we continue but at least continue in health excess is not rebellion

  21. Government needs more money because another stimulus wave is needed. It’s all over the news. In states that are financially strapped and are not paying their workers and/or are issuing IOUs, the power elite really ought to be careful people do not go on general strikes, sitdown strikes or wildcat strikes. Once people start striking and protesting because they are not getting paid or can’t get anyone to accept their state IOUs, there could be a jump on the bandwagon effect of alls kinds of people striking in solidarity, as well as protests in the streets for more jobs. The whole situation could reunionize the United States, something along the lines as in Europe.
    What would the federal government do if California simply started taxing cannabis sales for recreational purposes and looked the other way legally, in other words never prosecuted or pursued recreational supply, wholesale and retail delicts?
    The feds would have to swoop in for every little cannabis trifle, and would then be criticized roundly for diverting resources from the Mexican border and other more serious non-cannabis areas of law enforcement.
    Holder should announce his administrative decision to make cannabis delicts the lowest priority, not even meriting a ticket. He should slash the budget radically for pursuing cannabis delicts.
    Also, can you get John Gettman, mabye Paul Krugman, and other people together for the math to dispute the prohibitionist argument that like tobacco and alcohol the costs to society from legal cannabis will outweigh the benefits?
    Someone get it into the prohibitionist minds that cannabis is not worse than smoking tobacco or using alcohol, and people who want to relax recreationally should not be forced to choose a legal drug that is far worse for them.

  22. You will be entering the Kingdom of the Most High and I think that says a great deal about what heaven will be like. Prohibitionists want to be GOD over the lives of the common man and woman. They thank GOD for their freedoms and take delight in taking other peoples freedoms away. May the Lord Jesus Christ Judge them because I am too bitter and frustrated for my own good to do it correctly. I look forward to a time when hate and rage and the desire to shed blood are gone from my soul . You see America, Fighting Men (Solders) are damaged goods to protect your Freedom we loose a part of our souls in the process of learning how to kill and control the will as to when we kill. Unfortunately many of us are walking time bombs simply waiting for some unlucky person to Fuck with us. Unfortunately it is our loved ones who have to walk on egg shells around us. I know Cannabis helps me calm the beast inside but I know that I need more help and GOD willing I will get some mental health work done on my mind so I will not harm the People that I love. It is terrible to feel that you are loosing control…. My appointment is for Monday and I hope that they can help me. Please remember me in your Prayers People. God bless you all.

  23. The 800lb gorilla in the room is that Prohibition doesn’t work. No one in authority wants to face that. When the writing on the wall brought alcohol back in the 30’s, they needed a new demon and Harry Anslinger provided one, an easy one. He gave law enforcement a new demon with a brown face that played jazz music. Three demons for the price of one. That poisonous legacy still lives on.
    Taxing pot will bring in lots of money but won’t be the cash cow many folks believe it will be. Only retail pot and the licensed growers could be taxed, it would be a regulatory nightmare to try and tax personal use growers.
    The road to legalization is long and full of pot holes (pun intended). We’ve only just turned the first corner. We can’t afford to get ahead of ourselves this early in the game.
    Hempfest is Aug. 15 and 16th at Seattle’s Myrtle Edwards Park. Be there.

  24. Will watch this show,I just hope that whichever pro marijuana debater speaks,when the prohibitionist goes to health issues and increase of health care,he remembers that pot can be eaten for the medical or recreational use,removing the health issues from the argument. Through education and information,we can reduce marijuana smoking and change them to vaporizing or eating it. More tests are needed on the vaporizer,but testing has proven that it reduces the tars,so that is a good point. Whether smoking or vaporizing,no one can hold their breath long enough to absorb more than 40% of what they take in,before releasing it. When you eat marijuana,it is the only way to get 100% of the drug and requires less to do the same job. For the quick buzz,just bong a couple of hits,then wait for the brownie,or cookie,or a gram mixed with peanut butter to hit.

  25. PS. Caution,if you eat kush or other potent strains,a gram of ground up substance may cause sleep.

  26. If we would cover the bare viable ground of earth with hemp,we could reverse the greenhouse effect,reduce forest depletion,clothe the poor,feed the hungry,reduce oil and coal dependancy and it would be purty as a bugs ear.

  27. By continuing to prohibit marijuana use as if it is something dangerous is only making these people look dumber every day. This movement is something that cannot be stopped. Marijuana is not as dangerous as alcohol or tobacco or any number of pharmaceutical pills. I am deeply disappointed at how many still act as if being rational and acting on this fact would be “soft on crime”. I am also disappointed in how Pres. Obama handled the question of legalization… with a laugh? come on Mr. Obama, calling the online audience a bunch of stoners isn’t going to help you out. Remember, it was that same online audience that helped to get you elected. It is time America pulled its head out of its ass and realized that the so-called “dangers of marijuana” have been grossly overstated and the real harm comes from the perpetual lies spewing forth from the mouths of politicians still hell bent on seeing simple possession cases tried like the murder of children.

  28. Hello D. Hughes,
    Thanks for your comments and observations. A couple of things:
    -While I’m not from CA and have never lived there, the importance of the state politically, economically, legally (i.e. Ninth Circuit), culturally and regarding cannabis law reform is hard to understate. The state’s economy is the 7th largest in the world (in good and bad times), somewhere between France and Italy; 1 out of 8 of ‘us’ live in CA.
    For better, or worse, ‘so goes CA, so goes the country’…
    Your points are well taken re focusing on states beyond CA, notably the 10-15 states that have minimal cannabis law reform activities, aggressive law enforcement and therefore by extension low public support for law reforms–which is distilled into even lower support for reforms by elected policymakers.
    However, from NORML’s perspective, 98% of all positive changes re cannabis law reform since the 1970s has been at the local and state level. These localized reform changes happen largely because citizen-advocates get involved politically, ergo CA citizens wanted reform, they organized and peaceably sought solutions to parts of their cannabis conundrum.
    The question, a chicken-n-egg question, is whether reform groups like NORML focus resources and strategy-making in states where there is a known and/or building public consensus in favor of reform or is it NORML’s grassroots modus operandi of establishing chapters, working the local/state media and engaging in impact litigation that leads to reforms?
    In my experience at NORML circa 1991, because of NORML’s grassroots nature, the organization derives financial, organizational and political support from the lion share of states that are more pro-cannabis law reform (i.e., decrim/med mj states; so-called liberal states) than not. So, states like CA, CO, OR, HI, AK, WA, NY and MA would rightly appear to many observant activists as states that appear the most ‘active’ in cannabis law reform.
    Conversely, states like KS, NE, UT, WY, ID, GA, AL, MS and IA would appear little on the radar of activists as there is (or until very recently) a minimal amount of reform activity.
    NORML’s staff stands at the ready, every day for 39 years, to help citizens in non-reform oriented states as much as states with more tolerant cannabis attitudes and laws. Citizens in TN, GA and AR, etc… are just as free and invited to establish NORML chapters as the good citizens of CA, MA, CO, OR, etc…
    In most cases, serious activists can start a new NORML chapter in their state in two weeks by:
    -checking out the chapters section at:
    -contact NORML’s chapter coordinator with any questions at:
    Lastly, from my own personal perspective, the most strategically important states to re-double NORML’s reform efforts where cannabis reform lags too much are some of the country’s political bellwether states: FL, IL, PA and TX.
    I’d also include so-called decrim states like NY and OH.
    Again, thanks for your comments and support for cannabis law reform!
    # D. Hughes Says:
    July 14th, 2009 at 9:26 pm edit
    That was wonderfully put together, and I thank you for doing so immensely. However, I did have one problem with your wording.
    The whole idea of America’s “most important state” just really gets old, especially in the realm of marijuana. While certainly true that California has done incredible amounts to support legalization measures, the fact of the matter is that the other 49 states aren’t always as fortunate, and receive nowhere near the level of support they NEED from groups like NORML.
    Here in the South, for example, there’s quite a large undertone of people who would support, at minimum, the decriminalization of pot. This does not often see the light of day, though, because the focus is only on California, New England, or foreign nations when it comes to matters of cannabis. This is not working for the rest of us.
    In short, NORML, Mr. St. Pierre, we direly need your assistance. We understand that California is the frontline. Really, we do. We just wish that we didn’t have to fight this domestic war without major support from one of the only organizations in the United States with the capability to make a legitimate difference for us. Essentially, what I’m saying is that California is almost won. The momentum of its movement will undoubtedly prevail within a relatively short time span, whether backed by NORML or not. The people have decided there.
    We need you to make it a real issue here, certainly within the media. In states like Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, and the rest of the South, we cannot do this alone, as this is undeniably one of the most difficult areas of the country to win over when it comes to marijuana. This is the section of the US where your fight really begins. The easy part is almost over; the hardest part has yet to begin. The DEA and FBI will undoubtedly shift their focus to states without such amazing laws in place, and the metaphorical hammer will come down on us quite hard.
    We need your help. I can’t stress this enough.
    D. Hughes
    Resident of the Less Important State of Tennessee
    P.S. – Sorry about the borderline rant.

  29. Just when I thought we were losing the battle by all the veto’s, a news agency actually pulls some good out of their ass

  30. In response to the media zig-zag our new czar is in full spin over the results of the road survey about more stoners than drunks on the road.
    Wonderful splash there of them using saliva and other tests “proving” that people were driving with the metabolites of various controlled substances in their system. Not that they were impaired mind you, simply nailed in road side check point systems for this “study” of intoxication on the American roadways.
    I had hoped for more from this one but it is his job description to spread propaganda. Heck, all of his status quo comments supporting the idea that this increase is good socially acceptable intrusion into people’s lives from grade school on up is the most horrific statements I’ve seen uttered yet.
    So how long until mandatory drug testing enters the DMV and we pay out those fees as well yearly to get our license? I’m still dumbfounded by the DUI laws in AZ in regards to zero tollerance. I’m imagining this is the next step.

  31. – The opposition to legalization of marijuana
    always say the
    same misleading things.
    Look for these in future/other stories on this topic:
    1. Marijuana today is MUCH STRONGER than it used to be.
    That’s a good thing, it only takes one or two puffs to accomplish
    what twenty or thirty used to take. Bacardi 151 is stronger than beer,
    but people don’t drink six cans of it!
    2. Marijuana is addictive.
    Wrong. Tobacco is addictive, there are no physical symptoms
    in cessation of marijuana. It’s proven, but the opposition will say it anyway.
    Pot is such a pleasant experience, it’s only natural to want to use it often.
    P.S, No hangovers!
    3. Marijuana is a gateway drug to harder drugs.
    That’s only because pot has been wrongfully lumped into
    the same category as heroin and cocaine for years.
    When kids find out how harmless pot is,
    they figure adults lied about all of the
    other stuff being bad too.
    Then there’s real trouble.
    Over the coming months,
    listen closely to the “experts” and you’ll see
    these talking points over and over.
    It’s time we stop criminalizing
    a substance safer than alcohol,
    that has been used by
    80 to 100 million Americans
    and that includes
    the last three Presidents.

  32. Mr. St. Pierre, I don’t understand why a petition would not have an affect on current legislation.
    Also, when is the introduction for HR 2943?

  33. NORML I’m sorry and I will tone it down.
    I was just trying to speak with a metaphor that faith can move our mountains.
    And perhaps we can only hammer on this soap box so long.
    Everyone is complaining about the complainer who complaigns.
    My connoisseur beseech thee.

  34. This is for the 52% of UnAmericans who are opposed to “Full Legalization” of marijuana . If you have ever consumed alcoholic beverages you are an evil hypocrit. I am on the brink of destruction of all alcohol manufacturing facilitys. “Save the children”!! How can we save the children when it`s legal for pediphiles to have alcohol and children in the house. How can we save the children when alcohol is legal to drink almost everywhere with children present.
    Alcoholics molest more children than any other group. Yet they run free. Save the Children????? Put all alcohol companies in the ground . And as far as prescription drugs…hahahahaha you idiots are as anti-children as they come….
    Game over!!!! We are a sober nation or we are a free nation. I`m sick of the pill pushing drunken pediphiles control everything. Make your choice child molesting drunks!!!! save the children sober or shut you idiotic mouths.


  36. The thing everyone seems to forget about the main problem with Dutch drug laws (rude tourists going there to party too hard; the kind of people who go look at the prostitutes but not at the art museums)is that it would cease to be a problem (or at least become much less of a problem) if a few other places had the same policies.

  37. My name is Tommy Hawkins Jr., I am 43 years old, and I am a medical marijuana patient living in Fresno, CA.
    I use medical marijuana for a variety of reasons, including chronic pain from a back injury and depression.
    Medical marijuana has changed my life for the better in many ways. It helps alleviate my pain, helps me fight depression, and helps me to sleep regularly. Medical marijuana also helps me to use far less prescription drugs than I would without it, and it helps keep my alcohol and tobacco use lower than they would be otherwise.
    I can’t say enough about how medical marijuana has helped me, and I only hope that current laws will be changed so that all people who can be helped by medical marijuana will have access to this important medicine.

  38. One thing that bothers me is the use of the word drug and cannabis. Cannabis is an herb not a drug!
    drug1??/dr?g/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [druhg] Show IPA noun, verb, drugged, drug?ging.
    Use drug in a Sentence
    –noun 1. Pharmacology. a chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, prevention, or diagnosis of disease or used to otherwise enhance physical or mental well-being.
    2. (in federal law) a. any substance recognized in the official pharmacopoeia or formulary of the nation.
    b. any substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in humans or other animals.
    c. any article, other than food, intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of humans or other animals.
    d. any substance intended for use as a component of such a drug, but not a device or a part of a device.
    3. a habit-forming medicinal or illicit substance, esp. a narcotic.
    4. drugs, a. chemical substances prepared and sold as pharmaceutical items, either by prescription or over the counter.
    b. personal hygienic items sold in a drugstore, as toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.
    5. Obsolete. any ingredient used in chemistry, pharmacy, dyeing, or the like.
    –verb (used with object) 6. to administer a medicinal drug to.
    7. to stupefy or poison with a drug.
    8. to mix (food or drink) with a drug, esp. a stupefying, narcotic, or poisonous drug.
    9. to administer anything nauseous to.
    —Verb phrase10. drug up, to take a narcotic drug: The addict prowled about for a place to drug up.
    —Idiom11. drug on the market, a commodity that is overabundant or in excess of demand in the market. Also, drug in the market.

  39. i am a pot smoker with major physical disabilities.ive been smoking since 1982.back then it was just hanging out with teenage buddies and having a few laughs.none of of ever got in any serious trouble.but now that im disabled ive come to realize just how many benifits there are from cannibus.i could not imagine going through my life without problem is i live in nj and for me to gain access to cannibus is illegal.but its ok for me to go to a doctor and get bottles of heavy duty pain medications.and be so out of it i cant funtion.i was on pain meds for 2yrs after my latest surgery.and coming of them was a living hell…my other point i just wanted to throw out here is the legalization of alcohol.soooo many people dead from being killed by a drunk heart goes out to the families who have had a loved one taken by a drunk.also go to a bar and see how people act,fights happen,that doesnt happen when a few people are using cannibus.there is such a difference between the 2.ive never heard of a cannibus user killing a family cause he was to high….there are so many benifits from making cannibus people like myself who get through the day with a little less pain and being depressed which goes along with being disabled.and not worryng about getting caught purchasing cannibus………..thank you for reading my post

  40. california has been the fore runner in marijuana legalization, its time to start work on the east coast like newjersey with its harsh laws and penalties on marijuana possesion. there isn’t even much of a chance of medical use there any way

  41. Cuba could become the Emerald Isle for the east coast.
    The conditions are ideal, and its location perfect.
    Someone should make up with Cuba…if that’s possible.
    That’s how we could help the people of Cuba. $$$$$$$$

  42. IN the 38 yrs that I have been a recreational user, I have not had one traffic accident,stolen to support my access to weed nor been in a “stoned” brawl. On the other hand I would be embarassed to tell you how many times alcohol has led to anarchy and mayhem. When I read the court section of my local embarassment rag, it shows all arrests and penalties involved, I see so many simple possesion of marijuana charges it make me wonder why we don’t make a stand on this rediculous issue. All the ideas I’ve heard about solving our national deficit,and there aren’t many besides more taxes on necessities, the fact that a cannabis tax would go a long way towards correcting this makes the most sence. You also have to admitt all the people in jail on this ludicress law would be on the street and making money to pay their taxes while the real criminals would have room in the pens where they belong. Imagine the money we would save if we didn’t have so many victimless criminals serving time in our already overcrowded penal system. God bless america and god bless the herbs he put on this earth for the betterment of man as so stated in the book of Genesis.

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