Marijuana Is More Mainstream Than Ever, So Why Is Legalization Still Taboo?

As voters in several states head to the polls today to decide Governor and city council races it seems appropriate to ask: “Why are most politicians still inexplicably silent on marijuana law reform?”
The recent legislative hearings on cannabis regulation in Massachusetts and California notwithstanding, the fact remains that these debates are the exception, not the rule. In fact, voters in Maine and Colorado will decide on marijuana law reform ballot proposals today (Note: Check back here tonight for the results.) precisely because their elected officials outright refused to vote on the issues when they were put before them.
In short, prominent politicians continue to run away from sensible marijuana law reforms at the same time that the public is demanding them. Two longtime NORML allies, former High Times editor Steve Wishnia and former NORML Board Member Richard Evans, recently explored this phenomenon and offer some insight and possible explanations:

Pot Is More Mainstream Than Ever, So Why Is Legalization Still Taboo?
Almost every voter under 65 in this country has either smoked cannabis or grew up with people who did. Among its erstwhile users are the last three presidents, one Supreme Court justice and the mayor of the nation’s largest city. The pot leaf’s image pervades popular culture, from Bob Marley T-shirts to billboards for Showtime’s Weeds.
So why is actually legalizing it still considered a fringe issue? Why haven’t more politicians — especially the ones who inhaled — come out and said, “Prohibition is absurd and criminal. Let’s treat cannabis like alcohol”?
One reason for the lack of urgent political pressure, says Deborah Small of Break the Chains, is that the people most likely to get busted for pot are the ones who “don’t have a political voice” — young people of color from poor neighborhoods.
… Washington State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles says that many legislators, particularly in the state’s more conservative rural areas, “buy into the cultural stereotypes about marijuana,” such as the idea that it’s a gateway to harder drugs. The Seattle Democrat, who is sponsoring a bill to reduce the penalty for less than 40 grams of pot from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction, says … that law enforcement has largely opposed her decriminalization bill.

Writing locally in the Massachusetts Daily News Tribune, Evans questions why none of the state’s major party candidates have reached out to the 65 percent of state voters who elected last year to decriminalize marijuana possession statewide.

The Senate race and marijuana prohibition
via The Daily News Tribune
Odd, isn’t it, that all the U.S. Senate candidates, and the people who ask them questions trying to elicit their positions on issues people care about, seem to have forgotten that in the last election, a whopping 65 percent of the voters went for marijuana decriminalization?
If that many voters care about the marijuana laws, why do these candidates, who claim to have their fingers on the public pulse, ignore the subject?
Politicians report little “noise” on this issue, mistaking silence for indifference, not fear. People are justifiably fearful about writing a letter, showing up on a mailing list, even sending an email with the “m” word in it. They have to be very careful about their jobs, their drivers licenses and the kids in school whose parents will talk. But put them in the privacy of a voting booth, and stand back!
… No living person is responsible for the marijuana prohibition laws. They were conceived three generations ago in a cultural and racial climate far different from our own, and very different from that to which we aspire.
Are we ready for a serious, sober discussion about repeal, without the usual winks, smirks and puns? Can we handle it? Will someone lead it?

And finally, speaking of “serious discussions,” it doesn’t get much more serious — and mainstream — than the persuasive and well-articulated arguments from longtime NORML-ally Jessica Corry, who has an amazing ability to tongue-tie both probitionists and Fox News hosts within three minutes! I’m just glad that she’s on our side.

0 thoughts

  1. wow. someone smart on the republican side…Republicans i think you found your new presidential canidate for 2012….I’D DO HER…I MEAN ID VOTE FOR HER!

  2. Even though 14 state have medical marijuana laws with doctors and patients that say marijuana is medicine,every federally funded study of marijuana since 1972 has recommended marijuana be removed from schedule 1.and has noted that marijuana needs to be tested as a therapeutic medicine,numerous studies have shown cancer blocking and treatment attributes,the drug is still schedule 1,with no medical uses.
    The reason is that if marijuana is moved to any other level,the DEA lose their monopoly and control of the clinical studies and the material necessary to perform
    the tests required by the FDA for approval of pot as a medicine.
    Once the studies required by the FDA are completed,the house of cards built by the anti-marijuana cartels falls down,and their money train derails.
    The anti-marijuana cartels are any organization that makes its living off marijuana because it is illegal,to wit: D.A.R.E. ,Drug Free America,and other organizations that support prohibition and provide anti-drug ads and school propaganda programs.
    The pharmaceutical companies,the banks(you don’t actually think they carry those billions of untaxed dollars across our borders in suitcases do you?
    The alcohol and tobacco industries also lobby against and fund the anti-marijuana organiizations.
    And finally,the DEA and the ONDCP,because over 1/2 their budget is used to interdict and keep marijuana illegal. Once it is removed from schedule 1 and approved as a medicine,it will reduce their budgets.

  3. # 53 – Let’s not forget big pharma. Look at what happens when people actually get on the MMJ program in their respective states – virtually all of there prescriptions cease to get filled.

  4. Why is marijuana still illegal? Ill tell you. There exists in this world a shadow government. That means all of our politicians are just pawns, puppets on a string. The truth is that no more then 13 people truly govern this world. They are members of a satanic cult called the illuminati. They’re number one goal is to destroy god, religion, freedom of thought. They seek to create and rule over a race of slaves. Marijuana has the potential to restore the world to peace and tranquility. If this happens the illuminati will fail. I fear they will destroy the world before they legalize marijuana. If the people have spoken then why dont they listen? Well the answer to that question is simple as well. WE THE PEOPLE are cattle, nothing more. Anyone who opposes this order’s plans will no doubt be thrown into a concentration camp in the near future. America is in trouble ladies and gentlemen. It’s been high jacked by follows of the devil himself, and its all happening right behind the peoples back. Marijuana is a gift from god. People of America, the end is upon on us, we must trust in God, ourselves, and the little good that still remains in this world. These animals will not stop at marijuana legislation. They are beginning to attack our freedoms as well. The ones who rallied us against the terrorists ARE INFACT terrorists themselves. We must open our eyes and do something and then perhaps we will live in a world where marijuana is sacred along with life itself.

  5. Its not the government or the dea or the fbi, or any of those puppets. Marijuana is illegal because it poses a threat to the “New World Order.” Go ahead, look it up. We have to stop pointing fingers at the branches and just cut down the tree! Then plant a new one.

  6. you guys are missing the point..even though marijuana is less harmless than all them other drugs, that dont mean it should be legalized cuz the effect of the drug is still the same as other drugs.. you lose awarness and consciuosness of self with marijuana… juz cuz that dumb lady is talking that other drugs are more dangerous marijuana has the same altering affect..and then young kids will think it will be okay to smoke it when theyre taught not to

  7. where is are the actual numbers on this,(from ben belwo) marijuana of high quality takes way more than $50 an ounce to cultivate, i actually do not know the numbers but medicinal in cali out door (cheapest besides hawaii), way closer to $160 an ounce, taxes need to happen but lying is not a good thing, cannibus needs to be legal, we do not need to lie ever, peace is truth. peace is truth, peace is truth…noy saying taxes are not way tooo high but earleier facts are fucked
    skye berns
    The taxes for the MA measure seem excessively high. $250 for an ounce of dro? That’s WAYYY too much. In a legalized world an ounce should not exceed $100 with taxes, so 50 for the pot, 50 for the taxes. This would undercut the criminal market by more than half.
    One thing I am concerned about is when a state legalizes cannabis, then that state would basically become a breeding ground for supplying cannabis to other states, enriching cartels who use the decrim law to grow the plant legally in a state but then smuggle it to another state. Other states would be forced to legalize, or other states could pressure Cali, or MA to make it illegal again. Anyone have any thoughts on this.

  8. HEMP FACTS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW REDUNdanceS of above and other eviDENCE AgainST IGNORance at DOmain Names as PRINTed above & hERe ALL aRe forwarded to Primary PageS at Click Links shAIR INFO aGAINst big brother oil co.pharm an OThers for MORe visit hemp-sisters nutiva fuellessengine eagle-research hemp and marijuana myths & realities also have LINKS to more

    Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol
    Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971
    United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988
    To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
    This is the goal stated within the United Nations Charter.
    Yet since 1961, in complete contradiction of their stated purpose, the UN has
    established, strengthened, and help enforce a Convention, which has actually
    created “international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or
    humanitarian character”.
    Authority established by the THE SINGLE CONVENTION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS, has been directly causing the destruction of multitudes of lives by making criminals out of persons harmlessly involved in the use of marijuana.
    The most common sense observation plainly reveals, that all international problems presently associated, with cannabis, are not caused by the usage of the plant, but are directly influenced by enforcement of law.
    Cannabis having been overwhelmingly proven, to be safer than alcohol remains on Schedule I with much more potent, much more dangerous substances, like cocaine and heroin. Both drugs highly addictive and proven to be devastating, have earned their place within the schedule. Cannabis within Schedule I, is like placing a petty offender in a cell block with convicted murderers, rapists, and other violent felons. Which, is precisely what occurs on a daily basis by the agencies of member states, who enforce drug laws against casual and medical cannabis users. Otherwise law abiding people are jailed with violent offenders, merely because they have possessed a plant.
    Moreover, the hypocrisy, of a global double standard exists when the majority of persons involved in the incarceration of users of the plant. Many of them go home and consume alcoholic beverages which are far more narcotic than cannabis. There exists no rationalization today,for the continued prohibition of cannabis, which alcohol use does not exceed by substantial measure.
    In today’s world, legalization of cannabis would do far more to promote economic growth, than diminish it. Eliminating millions of public expenditures, now used to enforce drug laws, on the cannabis trade, would enable this spending, to be for much more productive agendas. Billions would be returned to the open market as cannabis would be removed from illicit commerce.
    Regulations and taxation could then, generate much more revenue, and ease the public burden by adding to the Coffers of their State.
    The time is now, for Article 3 of this Convention to be utilized in altering the Schedules, and using modern science to re-assess and determine the dangers associated with certain drugs, and not stereotypical fears of a bygone era.
    This petition hereby declares that all undersigned are in agreement with these stated principles, and demand that the basic human freedom of utilizing nature’s gifts to our perceived benefit, without bringing harm to another individual be recognized and upheld.
    The Undersigned
    Please make copies of this petition
    Collect signatures, give each signer a copy
    Ask them to do the same.
    Mail your signatures to the World Health Org, and the United Nations on April 20, 2010

  10. To number 58 – actually, his facts aren’t fucked. Current taxes in proposed legislation such as the MA legislation, as well as prices in dispensaries, are still based on black market prices. Think about it: if a medical user in CA wants to get an ounce, but can’t grow it himself, and does not want to pay dispensary prices, where else will he go? The only other way to get it is still the black market. Why would the dispensaries lower their prices very far below black market prices? They’re operating openly and don’t need nearly as many customers at such high prices to turn the same amount of money.
    In an open, legal market, the retail price should much more closely reflect the cost of production, which, for an ounce of high grade, would be far below $50. Growing outdoors, the only costs of production are seeds (which can be produced for next to nothing and, in an open market, should not be anywhere close to $10 a seed), dirt, compost, and additives. Even a large hole won’t take more than $10 to $20 to fill, and if you put that much good soil in a hole, your plant should be huge. Although some strains require variations in nutrients and, therefore, soil mixtures, these costs should hold about the same for every plant.
    Most of the variability of cost will stem from how much bud a particular strain is capable of producing on a single plant. If you have one plant which, under good conditions, will produce a pound, and another which, under good conditions, will produce 2 oz, then an oz from the larger plant will be cheaper. Even if you use $5 of soil for the 2 oz plant and $20 of soil (a rather high estimate) for the lb plant, an oz of the first will cost $2.50 and an oz of the second a little over $1.
    Other costs, such as land to grow on, storefront space, and permits, will still exist, but in a legal market entrepreneurs will be able to get business loans, which, unlike investments in the black market, don’t need to be recouped immediately. Rather, the cost will be spread out over time, reducing how much return the investor absolutely must realize with any given crop. Additionally, operating in the open will allow producers to make more efficient use of their growing space (particularly outdoor fields), producing more per acre than illegal grows, which must avoid detection. Fifty acre farms are rather easy to spot from the sky. Given the economies of scale that even a small scale, legal hundred acre farm could produce, I wouldn’t expect a legal oz to cost more than $10 to produce, on average, and it should cost less.

  11. Way to go, I wish more forward thinking people would stand up and say what they realy think. Lets loosen the strangle hold, free up our courts and jails, get the tax dollars, and enjoy the FREEDOM to get high. This my friends is not rocket science WTF. Law or not I fire up any way. We need to organize a national march on DC and let the White House see what 10,000,000 people look like on the mall.

  12. why is it everytime we talk about marijuana, they bring up another drug like heroine and cocaine? bringing up those drugs in the conversation just make marijuana look bad. anytime i hear this i think of all the prescription drugs and i wondered how is it these drugs don’t come into mind after hearing the word marijuana. and it’s simply because the government or the FDA approves of them. i’ve seen some commercials about pills that have side effects including suicidal thoughts and health problems left and right. and i wonder why don’t that person just smoke a joint, they’ll be fine and they don’t have to worry about any hardcore side effects. and as far as marijuana making you unable to drive or have good hand eye coordination, that’s complete bullshit. marijuana helps you focus and focusing on what you’re doing gives you better reactions.

  13. I and millions more Americans would vote Republican for the rest of our lives if they got behind marijuana legalization. The right to bear arms.. less goverment intervention… free markets…. and the right to grow & consume a plant.
    In the next decade, Republicans are in line to lose election after election because of national minority growth, today’s freethinking youths and the moronic national spokespeople they choose to represent their party.
    I want my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Whichever party wants to give it to me first is the winner.

  14. the biggest reason more politicians don’t take on this issue is there more concerned that they are committing political suicide and wont be reelected even tho the majority of the public is for decriminalization there more concerned about there image rather then the good of the country. This country needs all the extra cash they can get ,so between all our taxes being spent combating this comparatively harmless natural growing plant,and Incarcerating thou’s who use it. I think we would save a big chunk of change ending this war on cannabis and open it up to the free market put a reasonable tax on it and start climbing our way our of this astronomical national Debt our last “president” got us into.

  15. obama needs to step up and endow our country with liberty, by freeing all nonviolent pot offenders, he needs to say something along the lines of, xxmillions/thousands/ of people are to be freed today, for a crime that is not a crime, for doing something that was as american to our founding fathers as freedom itself, and then quote the quotes of it being illegal to not grow weed in virginia, its use as a fuelthat doesnt pollute ( the real answer to become independent of foreign oil) NOT TO MENTION THAT THIS PLANT IS THE ONLY PLANT CAPABLE OF PRODUCING ENOUGH BIOMASS RAPIDLY ENOUGH TO STOP GLOBAL WARMING BEFORE IT SETS US UPON A PATH OF CATALCYSMIC DESTRUCTION THIS MUST BE DONE SOON OR WE WILL FACE MAJOR DEVESTATION EVEN IF IT IS NOT AS BAD AS THE MOVIES IT WILL BE DETRIMENTAL TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AND MANY SPECIES OF ANIMALS (not to mention this viable comparison, if diesel = satan [in the oceans] then biodiesel = jesus]) maybe nto that much but it seriously doesnt hurt the ozone so it cantb e bad on the ocean. PROMOTE THE TRUTH THE ACTIVE INGREIDENST ALSO CURE CANCER CANNABSI SHOULD BE GROWN EVERYWHERE

  16. Concerning costs of production, in Jorge Cervantes Medical Grower’s Bible there is a case study that illustrates a 33x8ft indoor garden that by the third crop is producing at $68 per pound. So, grown on a larger scale the costs to produce would be cheaper. (added by Mobile using Mippin)

  17. glenn shapiro, from omaha ne. successfuly defended me on a bogus search and seizure that occured driving through the cornhusker state. he comes highly recomended. many thanks glenn, and thank goodness for lawyers like him that stick up for the little guy.

  18. Politicians still inexplicably silent on marijuana law reform because they have nothing to gain from it. I predict a tipping point some time in the next decade. Reason will eventually win.

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