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AdLib On March - 27 - 2010

The Grateful Dead must be rolling in their joints. As described in the NYT:

On Wednesday, the California secretary of state certified a November vote on a ballot measure that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana, a plan that advocates say could raise $1.4 billion and save precious law enforcement and prison resources.

Indeed, unlike previous efforts at legalization — including a failed 1972 measure in California — the 2010 campaign will not dwell on assertions of marijuana’s harmlessness or its social acceptance, but rather on cold cash.

“We need the tax money,” said Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University, a trade school for marijuana growers, in Oakland, who backed the ballot measure’s successful petition drive. “Second, we need the tax savings on police and law enforcement, and have that law enforcement directed towards real crime.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/us/26pot.html?sq=california%20marijuana&st=cse&adxnnl=1&scp=2&adxnnlx=1269709254-nlBZAkB3cWx5qZPbg8cRaw

It’s been a while since the last time CA voted on legalizing pot but as we all know, the state was a leader in legalizing medical marijuana. It does seem like an opportune time for this choice to be presented to the public…munchies are cheaper than ever.

Seriously, though, today’s society generally accepts that there must have been good reasons for marijuana originally being made illegal in the first place, there is nothing historically that backs this up.

The history of marijuana criminalization is a mix of wrongheaded theories, fear and racism towards Mexicans.

From The History of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 By David F. Musto, M.D., From the Child Study Center, School of Medicine, and the Department of History, Graduate School, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1972:

The anti-marihuana law of 1937 was largely the federal government’s response to political pressure from enforcement agencies and other alarmed groups who feared the use and spread of marihuana by “Mexicans.” Recent evidence also suggests that the Federal Bureau of Narcotics resisted the enforcement burden of the antimarihuana law until mounting pressure on the Treasury Department led to a departmental decision, probably in 1935, to appease this fear, mostly in the Southwest and West, by federal legislation. Previously unpublished documents clarify the role of medical research in the campaign for a federal anti-marihuana law and in the Treasury Department’s preparation for congressional hearings.

Dr. Hamilton Wright, a State Department official who from 1908 to 1914 coordinated the domestic and international aspects of the federal antinarcotic campaign, wanted cannabis to be included in drug abuse legislation chiefly because of his belief in a hydraulic model of drug appetites. He reasoned, along with numerous other experts, that if one dangerous drug was effectively prohibited, the addict’s depraved desires would switch to another substance more easily available.

When the great Depression settled over America, the Mexicans, who had been welcomed by at least a fraction of the communities in which they lived, became an unwelcome surplus in regions devastated by unemployment. Considered a dangerous minority which should be induced to return to Mexico by whatever means seemed appropriate, they dwelt in isolated living groups.

Although employers welcomed them in the 1920s, Mexicans were also feared as a locus of crime and deviant social behavior. By the mid-1920s horrible crimes were attributed to marihuana and its Mexican purveyors.

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/history/mustomj1.html

For a great documentary about the history of marijuana, If you haven’t seen Grass, roll a fatty, fire up the lava lamp, order a pizza, sit back and enjoy:


via videosift.com

Now, many may support this measure for self-gratifying reasons, there are some hugely important reasons for the ball to start rolling on legalizing marijuana in America.

1. The Economy

Billions of Federal, State and local dollars are spent enforcing laws against growing, selling and possessing marijuana. Add to that the billions spent trying cases and incarcerating people for all of these non-violent crimes.

Instead, there are billions to be gained in tax revenue annually if it is legalized and taxed as alcohol is. Combining the billions saved with the billions generated, it could be a huge help in balancing the budget in CA and elsewhere.

If it’s legalized, growing marijuana could also be a timely income stream for those unemployed.

Cost alone is not the reason to legalize a substance. Is it addictive? Does it cause violent behavior? Does it have medicinal uses? Is it exceptionally harmful to one’s body? How does Jack Daniels stack up on all of these questions?

2. Society

Prisons are overcrowded and make a huge dent in state and federal budgets. Billions need to be spent on building more prisons to reduce overcrowding. The Prison Industrial Complex has been insatiable and a huge beneficiary of the futile Drug War. In California, more is spent on prisons than universities.

Add to that the inequity of people being imprisoned for the substantial possession, use, sale, purchase or growing of marijuana…alongside rapists and murderers.

Marijuana is a plant that naturally grows on planet Earth. How sensible is it to make laws that outlaw nature? Relatively harmless nature, at that.

I certainly understand laws against the manipulation, processing or distilling of natural substances into deadlier forms, such as processing poppies to create something destructive like heroin. Yes, there are plants that are poisonous too but we seem to be able to deal with many of them being in our gardens (Azalea, Belladonna, Foxglove, Larkspur, Lily of the Valley, Nightshade, Oleander, Periwinkle, Rhododendron, Lantana, etc.)

3. Crime

Gangs in America, gang wars and criminal operations are financed by dealing marijuana. There is a crisis with drug lords and crime in Mexico threatening to undermine that nation’s stability and increasingly spilling over our borders. The majority of the revenue that finances the operations, bribery and crime networks of these Mexican drug lords is generated by marijuana.

Legalizing marijuana would slash the price, kill the black market and thus cripple gangs in the U.S. and drug lords in Mexico and South America overnight.

Of course, there will be powerful forces out to stop this proposition in CA, religious, right wing Republicans, pharmaceuticals and politicians who are more fearful of how supporting this bill could be used against them in elections.

Still, the time may have come for the people to resist the forces who have painted us into this corner. CA has taken the first step with medical marijuana and the horrors of potheads roaming the streets like Night of the Living Dead Heads, as predicted by some, never occurred.

All I can say is that if it does pass, I want to be at the official party celebrating that! Actually, those in neighboring states may get a contact high that night.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

149 Responses so far.

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  1. Chernynkaya says:

    Not Feeling Well? Perhaps You’re ‘Marijuana Deficient’

    Scientists have begun speculating that the root cause of disease conditions such as migraines and irritable bowel syndrome may be endocannabinoid deficiency.

    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/146151/not_feeling_well_perhaps_you%27re_%27marijuana_deficient%27/

    It’s GOOD for us!

  2. Kalima says:

    C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A here I come! :)

  3. choicelady says:

    I may be the only one here who loathes the stuff -- smoked twice and hated the feeling -- so in a thousand ways this is my “no skin in the game” moment. That said, my ONLY issue with this is that if it qualifies, my board will have to take a position on it for our ballot recommendations, and that will be VERY fun! Ten progressive clergy and two lay people all trying to figure out how to say YES without pissing off our more mod members!!! Several of our member denominations have pietistic or temperance legacies, but hey -- we ALL know that prohibition generates crime, so… I’m going to enjoy this a great deal!

    And yes, since everyone but me is doing it, why NOT make money off it?

    MY vice of choice is no longer available since it’s chocolate cake or pudding, and since I’ve grown wheat intolerant, and there is usually flour in both, I can’t do either of those things. One square of dark chocolate a night -- yeah, tax THAT and see how far you get!

    I think this is an excellent idea. My only question is whether it will generate tax dodging rather than law evasion as the next criminal issue? In the immortal words of the immortal Gilda Radner: it’s always something.

    • PepeLepew says:

      I actually don’t like it. It just makes me depressed and hung over.

      Still, it seems to genuinely help lots of people and I think it should be legal. If cigarettes and alcohol are legal, there’s no logical reason for pot to be illegal.

      • Khirad says:

        There’s no accounting for chemical reactions in different people. It’s a very personal thing.

        For me, it also depends on my emotional state. If I’m anxious, for instance, it will only exacerbate that.

        I use to love the stuff, but the last time I was too paranoid being caught to enjoy it like I once did.

  4. msbadger says:

    You guys are so funny! I was one of the “generally useless” when I used to smoke or do brownies- just set me in a corner and water me once a week! That was my biggest reason for not doing it. My addiction danger was coke. Good thing I didn’t have the money. I am at heart a hyper-responsible person too, and I had a son to raise, and I don’t like the idea of being addicted to anything, anyway. My “drug of choice” is carbs! I truly hope they legalize pot; it’s gone from ridiculous to truly criminal how they have enforced these laws, and it’s definitely ruined our society more than legal marijuana ever could. As a Californian, who would love to have the legal choice for pain control and insomnia (boy, does it fix my insomnia!) I really, really hope so. BTW- thanks to those who replied to my first post. I might be able get a scrip but it’s so frowned upon, and I still hope to be employed sometime in future. Drug testing, etc. Also, I can barely afford the meds I’m on right now. I definitely would if I were totally disabled and couldn’t work. Thanks, folks!

    • Khirad says:

      Actually in my high school job I would get high on break. It was funny too, ’cause I ran a shift. One or two managers knew, and came to the conclusion that me happy was better than me snapping at lazy people. I still got it done. I only needed a little to chill me out from not losing it at times.

    • PepeLepew says:

      Sorry for your problems. I feel so lucky that I’m as healthy as I am when I hear these stories. And if you can legally smoke dope, then this will make sense:


  5. KQuark says:

    This is what I sounded like last time I got high (years and years ago that is).

  6. Chernynkaya says:

    Welp, all this talk of pot gave me contact munchies. And the movies are starting. Thanks for the fun!

  7. PepeLepew says:

    True, cuz I got this stuff memorized

    Annual deaths every year in the U.S. from legal tobacco: 440,000

    Alcohol: 110,000 (includes DUIs and murders blamed on alcohol)

    Pot: ????????

    No one knows. No one has ever done a real hard and fast study pinning down that number. It’s probably a few hundred, maybe up to 2,000 a year, mostly from people getting behind the wheel of a car while loaded.

    And two are legal and one is illegal? Still? Decades after William Randolph Hearst is dead?

  8. Chernynkaya says:

    Can’t help myself. I think I’ve posted this before. The best marijuana “overdose” call!

    “I think I’m dead.”


  9. Khirad says:

    Speaking of all the plants we’re okay with above, has anyone ever gotten Morning Glory seeds to work?

    Just curious.

  10. escribacat says:

    I don’t smoke pot any more (alas) but it should be legalized. People on booze do a lot more damage than people smoking dope. It’s just stupid to put people in jail for this.

    However, I know a lot of legalization proponents seem to think that legalizing all drugs, including meth, is a great idea. I think that’s insane. I had to watch someone very near and dear to me go down the horrifying road of meth addiction. Luckily, he escaped and he’s okay now — although he’s told me he feels like it damaged his brain in some ways. I had a wild wild wild wild youth but the stuff I was doing was nothing compared to meth as far as being destructive and dangerous.

    • SueInCa says:

      Nor do I Ecat, but like Peter Tosh says, legalize marijuana so when I see the cops I don’t have to jump no fence.

      I would much rather be around someone who is high on that than a drunk.

    • AdLib says:

      As I mentioned in my article, I am totally with you on that.

      I find it hypocritical for people to condemn tobacco but support legalization of all drugs.

      Laws should protect individuals and society from harm. Meth is nothing but total devastation in powder form. Coke, crack, heroin, all of the processed and concentrated drugs are poisons.

      I don’t think that marijuana should be legalized so people can use it frequently. I just think that there is no legitimate justification to make this relatively harmless and non-addictive substance illegal and criminalize those who choose to relax with it as opposed to far more damaging alcohol.

      It’s an injustice that has in itself been destructive to our society and this prohibition fuels the spread and continuation of violent crime.

      • Khirad says:

        Did I forget to mention that the anti-pot guy was playing up the dependence factor on Marijuana?

        Again, are they for outlawing booze on the same grounds?

        I really wish they’d just come out and say it. At least be consistent.

        • AdLib says:

          Add coffee, chocolate and television to the list.

        • escribacat says:

          Actually, I know a few people who seem to be addicted to pot.

          • AdLib says:

            I know people addicted to Fox News. Wish we could outlaw that!

            People can become psychologically addicted to anything. That doesn’t make the object of their addiction literally addicting.

            As we know, there are though some substances that are chemically addictive but marijuana is not one of them.

            Alcohol, cigarettes, there are lots of legal substances that are chemically addictive but they’re legal.

            That’s why I was focusing in my article on the fact that the criminalizing of pot was never based on a legit scientific basis.

            It really was fear and racism more than anything else.

          • Khirad says:

            I was one of ’em! 😆

            Still, is that the same grounds to outlaw alcohol?

            I’m not being fussy with you, by the way. I know what you meant. 😉

          • Chernynkaya says:

            E’cat, my ex got high every single day of his life-- starting in college--except for a brief period before a new job that was drug testing. And he is the VP of a HUGE engineering firm. He functioned perfectly well, although never got high before work. I didn’t smoke that much--hardly ever. It was interesting!

            • escribacat says:

              That’s amazing. I used to smoke when I knew I didn’t have to get anything done. I generally became pretty useless — but certainly enjoyed it.

            • escribacat says:

              Khirad, acid was my drug of choice (and booze).

            • Khirad says:

              e’cat, that was more the case with acid with me. To this day, I’ll swear that they really were profound -- even if it didn’t quite translate nor was legible on paper… 😆

              And oh yeah, I’ll never remember what those ‘profound’ ideas were!

            • escribacat says:

              Khirad — And writing down “amazingly profound” ideas and then reading them the next day and thinking WTF?

            • Khirad says:

              You and me both. It started out getting creative before doing art or music and basically devolved into just smoking more.

            • AdLib says:

              I know people on both sides of the fence, some who are very successful and some who at 42 were living with their parents.

              I tend to think that the 42 year old would have simply been drinking and living with his parents if he wasn’t getting high.

              People are either responsible or they’re not. They either recognize that moderation is the key to being in control of one’s life or they don’t.

            • Khirad says:

              Has anyone heard of the Meth problem on Wall Street? We all knew about coke, but I think meth became popular a while back. I remember one stock broker talking about his recovery once, and he said it was very prevalent.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Adlib-- those are only the elderly stoners! :-)

            • AdLib says:

              “They drive so slow.”

              With their blinker left on.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              The last donut and they drive soooooo slooooow!

            • AdLib says:

              That’s the real BS, alcohol is at the root of so many violent crimes.

              And pot? Maybe someone steals the last donut but…

            • SanityNow says:

              “People are either responsible or they

            • Chernynkaya says:

              No AdLib-- alcohol is no way better! Aside form health risks, it is indirectly responsible for most crimes.

            • AdLib says:

              Cher, many top artists in all types of art and entertainment get high.

              Just as many CEOs on Wall Street drink a lot.

              Alcohol is better?

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Agreed. He was incredibly responsible about everything! Just loved getting high. He is also very good-natured. 😉

  11. SanityNow says:

    mmmmmm. looks like the roofs off at a family compound visit in Mendocino.

    nice.

    (and it really is the ONLY serious source of revenue in Mendo and Humbolt Counties. Logging has evolved.)


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