Historic Bill to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition Introduced [FEATURE]

Led by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) a bipartisan group of US representatives last Thursday introduced the first bill ever to legalize marijuana at the federal level. The bill would leave it to the states to decide whether to legalize it at the state level. If the bill were to become law, marijuana would then be treated like alcohol, where states decide whether to ban it and/or what restrictions to place on it.

[Update: The bill has been slammed by a key Republican committee chair and the Obama administration. See the end of the article for more.]

For the first time, a bill to free the weed is before Congress. (image via Wikimedia.org)
Other cosponsors of the bill include Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). The legislation would limit the federal government's role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or interstate smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal.

The bill does not reschedule marijuana, which is currently Schedule I, the most serious classification under the Controlled Substances Act; it removes it from the act altogether.

"We are introducing a bill today that is very straightforward," said sponsor Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) at a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday afternoon. "We do not believe the federal government ought to be involved in prosecuting adults for smoking marijuana. That is something the states can handle. We have this problem where those states that want to reform their marijuana laws are prevented from doing so by the federal government. Under this bill, the federal government will concentrate its prosecutorial resources on other things and respect any decision by a state to make marijuana legal," the veteran congressman said.

"We're very excited about promoting a new, sensible approach to marijuana," said Rep. Polis. "We can set up a proper regulatory system, as Colorado has done. It would be wonderful for the federal government to let states experiment. Our current failed drug policy hasn't worked -- marijuana is widely available. By regulating the market, we can protect minors and remove the criminal element so we can focus law enforcement resources on keeping people safe in their communities."

"This has long been an issue of freedom for me," Rep. Cohen told the press conference. "The people are way ahead of the legislators in knowing what the priorities of law enforcement ought to be. The federal government shouldn't be spending its time and money on marijuana, but on crack, meth, heroin, and cocaine. It ought to be up to the states and regulated like alcohol. It should be a matter of individual choice in a country that prides itself on its liberties and freedoms."

The timing for the introduction of the bill is exquisite. Just days earlier, people marked the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of the war on drugs with protests and vigils around the country. Earlier this month, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released its report calling for a radical shift in how we deal with illegal drugs, including calling for the legal regulation of marijuana.

The introduction of the bill also comes as activists in at least four states -- California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington -- are working to put marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot for 2012. In the case of Washington, there are now two competing legalization initiatives, one aimed at 2011 and one at 2012.

And it comes as legalization becomes an increasingly hot topic in state legislatures. In the past year at least five state legislatures have considered legalizing marijuana, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington.

It also comes as the battle between the federal government and states with medical marijuana laws is heating up. Despite the famous Justice Department memo of October 2009, which directed US attorneys to not focus prosecutorial resources on producers and providers in compliance with state laws, the Obama administration is conducting raids at a higher rate than the Bush administration, and US attorneys have recently been on a threat offensive, warning state elected officials their employees could be at risk if they approve the regulation and distribution of medical marijuana.

But while the timing is good, Frank was quick to caution that the bill was unlikely to pass Congress this session. "I don't expect it to pass right away, but given this Congress, I don't expect much good legislation to pass at all," he said. "I think we're making good progress, and the public is ahead of the politicians on this. There is an educational process going on."

Still, that dose of political realism didn't stop advocates, some of whom have been working on the issue for decades, from feeling just a little bit giddy. After all, it is an historic occasion for reformers.

"Adults who use marijuana responsibly should not be treated like criminals," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML. "Marijuana smoking is relatively harmless, is not an act of moral turpitude, and should not be treated as a crime. As a marijuana consumer myself, I've never seen my responsible use of marijuana as a crime."

Noting some 22 million arrests of otherwise law-abiding pot smokers since the 1960s, St. Pierre called for the end of pot prohibition. "Policymakers should recognize the benefits of legally controlling and taxing marijuana," he said. "We need to stop arresting millions of people who use marijuana."

"We're so proud to be standing with these members of Congress in announcing this bill to treat alcohol similarly to marijuana," said Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. "A state-based approach to marijuana should be appealing to Republicans. Most people don't know that for decades after the repeal of Prohibition, many states continued to ban alcohol. With this bill, states could continue to ban marijuana, or they could regulate it if they like. This is also an issue that drives young people to the polls, and that's a huge opportunity for politicians."

"This bill is actually the ultimate bill we've been looking for at the federal level," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "If and when it passes, I expect to close our offices in DC and concentrate on working at the state level. This bill would address some of the stuff we've been hearing about from federal prosecutors threatening state governors and legislators about medical marijuana. If this passes, all the huffing and puffing form US attorneys will evaporate into thin air," he added. "And this bill will have a positive impact on ballot initiatives in California and Colorado in 2012. In the past, opponents said these initiatives wouldn't do anything because the federal government wouldn't touch the issue. Now, we can say the federal government is looking at the issue, and some of the most credible members of Congress are cosponsors."

"Last week marked the 40th anniversary of the failed war on drugs, so this is very timely, and it comes on the heels of the report by the Global Commission," said Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance. "This is a major step toward restoring some sanity and science to our nation's drug policies. There is a growth in recognition among both voters and elected officials that marijuana legalization is not a question of if, but when. The reality is that the war on marijuana is unsustainable -- we're heading toward a perfect storm for this."

Now, marijuana legalization is before Congress for the first time since it was outlawed in 1937. While passage this session is extremely unlikely, this is indeed a step forward.

Update:  After this article was first published Thursday afternoon, reaction from a key congressional committee chair and the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) made it clear that "extremely unlikely" was optimistic.

The bill would have to pass through the House Judiciary Committee, but committee chair Rep. Lamar Smith told the Associated Press there was no way that was going to happen.

"Marijuana use and distribution is prohibited under federal law because it has a high potential for abuse and does not have an accepted medical use in the US," Smith said. "The Food and Drug Administration has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease."

Then he bizarrely claimed legalizing marijuana in the US would help Mexican drug cartels. "Decriminalizing marijuana will only lead to millions more Americans becoming addicted to drugs and greater profits for drug cartels who fund violence along the US-Mexico border. Allowing states to determine their own marijuana policy flies in the face of Supreme Court precedent," he threw in for good measure.

Echoing Smith, ONDCP told the Los Angeles Times legalizing weed was a non-starter. "Our concern with marijuana is not borne out of any culture war or drug war mentality, but out of what the science tells us about the drug's effects. The facts are that marijuana potency has tripled in the past 20 years and teens are using the drug at earlier ages," it said in a statement.

"The earlier a person begins to use drugs, the more likely they are to progress to more serious abuse and addiction --- reflecting the harmful, long-lasting effects drugs can have on the developing brain. Legalization remains a nonstarter in the Obama administration because research shows that marijuana use is associated with voluntary treatment admissions, fatal drugged driving accidents and emergency room admissions," the statement said.

If not this year, maybe next year. If not this Congress, maybe the next one. If not this administration, maybe the next one. There are many obstacles on the path to legalization, but now we are at least on the path.

Washington, DC
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

This is great

This is fantastic -- even if it doesn't pass, it'll move the conversation forward.  Write your rep today and show your support: www.nomoredrugwar.org

It'l only take you about ten seconds!

ONDCP doesn't try to hide their alcohol supremacist bigotry

They're proud of it. Alcohol is so much more dangerous than cannabis that there is utterly no comparison. Hey, ONDCP, how many people does alcohol kill? How many people do you claim that cannabis kills? What's the matter, ONDCP, why won't you answer a simple question?

truth

yes they are and it appears this Obama is useless. If he ever did smoke he did not get the message.

so our kids are getting it and its stronger

isnt that like umm whats that stuff called? oh... alcohol. but how many of our kids are dying from marijuana use as opposed to everything else on the market. when i was in high school clorisedine was the top drug. so now the kids have switched to a less harmful less intoxicating drug that has less harmful side effects than asprin. oh but you get euphoric and that cant be good our kids are actually happy. i smoked pot since i was 12 years old and i am now a certified electrician whos goes into peoples houses on a daily bases and performs exceptional service. as for it being stronger. so back in the day it used to carry a 6-10%thc level but now were looking at an avaerage of 11-16%. oh god what a huge increase. but i can go get a beverage anywhere from 5%-100% alcohol and thats ok? oh and marijuana shops bring crime and distrest to the community. ok heres my question has anyone compaired the crime rates in these areas before dispenceries. cause here in san diego we had high crime rates and now were dispenceries are placed the crime rate is down over the last ten years. but those without hence el cajon,la mesa here in san diego have a ban on them and there crime rate rose signifigant. and wouldnt you want a thief to try and rob a store in a commercial district then breaking into your nieghbors house to steal there only legal way to aquire the medicine. so by banning these commercial buisnesses a zone away from residents they would rather make your backyard a place of possible crime. you opposed to medical marijuana showed do your research and meat those who have and od use pharmicuticals then talk to those who switched to wonderful green plant. my dad is a fine example. its time to give this a place inour lives. if you dont wanna smoke it then dont. you have that choice. just like i chosse not to drink but im not trying to make it illegal cause it doesnt work and never will. and for more kids smoking it then ever. yeah its cause there friends can grow it. but why do you think keeping it illegal would lower this number whenit got this high under prohibition. look at the rise in alcohol use during probition. it sky rocketed.now its down to and average and controlable. everything has abusers and addicts. should we take chocolate off the streets cause you can get a euphoric felling if you eat too much. is that our kids next battle chocolate high? come on people stop the endless war and start protecting our kids from 20 years for a simple plant.

Dear Fellow Human

Dear Fellow Human Beings,

First of all excuse my bad English, please.

As a German or often called nazi, fasicst, racist, genocidal citizen, kraut etc. I´m really astonished about this prohibition.

There are several reasons to treat drugs and their consumers differnt.

1. The war against drugs is lost. We was not able to delete drugs from the planet. We did not achief to stopp people use drugs. We did not stopp people sell drugs.

2. Drugs still pass the borders and/or be made in countries which they are not origin. Drugs are traded on black markets and the governments lose a lot of money because "Drug Dealers" do not give a tax declaration normally.Their profits are unkown.

3. Often just the small fishes of criminals get cought not the bosses. It is like a tree. They cut off some leaves or twixes but the trunk stays and there is a forrest out there.

4. Drug consumers are mostly addicts. They can not stopp to use drugs. They are sick people and it exists no efficient medicine for them. Prison do not heal them. Often they can live a normal life beside their addiction. If they get cought by the police they would lose normally their jobs after they have been locked up.

5. The black markets price for some drugs are so high that addicts, sick people, have just one possibility to reduce their suffering. Drug-related crime and/or drugs with cheap quality is often their only way. Drugs with cheap quality are often more harmfull than drugs with good quality.

6. The prohibition costs more than the legalisation. Regard the Netherlands the relative number of addicts is not higher than in countries with prohibition. Jobless people, police bounded with chasing dealers is a result of prohibition.

7. Criminals and Terrorists are sponsoring their activities often with their profits of the black market.

 

A corollary would be to go an other way. A logical thinking person should understand that the former way does not work.

 

Regards

not Adolf or Fritz

Dither today,Troops in Mexico tomorrow

 Americas approach to the War on Drugs,will detemine the route we take regarding Mexico.No change = More Marida + More violence= U.S.troops in Mexico+ Nation building.  Change of 180 or 1 degree will open avenues, other than(failed) guns and jails, to fight the cartels.Rep Smith will go down with the ship before he will allow a change in current policy,there is simply to much of Texas' economy tied to locking down the border.The discussion should be expanded to include our future support of Mexico,allowing the agendas of the border states can be exposed,and the people can decide if what is good for the Texas border area is good for the rest of the U.S..

Ha! The ONDCP is the most

Ha! The ONDCP is the most predictable legal authority in the U.S. Their supporters are making big bucks by keeping weed illegal. They know the black market is thriving, which leaves only only one explanation: the ONDCP, the DEA, Lamar Smith, and possibly Obama are in on it. Is a conspiracy so unrealistic, considering all the lies they have been telling us? Why won't the American people wake up?? I really hope this passes, but the drug-SS still holds too much power.

Prohibition is the problem and pot is just a small part

 

 

Everyone agrees that marijuana should be a legal substance and comparing it to alcohol is atrocious.Alcohol is the most dangerous drug on the planet.We tried to ban that once with predictable results.Why the government doesn't just repeal drug prohibition is a total mystery.These idiots who claim that MJ is supporting all the other drugs is a joke.Here in Vancouver you can phone for any drug you want with the exception of pot.That you have to get yourself.In Europe many countries have heroin maintenance but cannabis is still illegal.All drugs should be left as a personal choice and drugs like heroin and cocaine should be available through the medical system like any prescription drug.All drugs have a purpose and banning them only makes them so profitable that they are available more readily than beer.I will be glad to see cannabis made a legal substance but think that as long as there are prohibited drugs there will still be the gang problems,killings and lives wasted because a person made a bad choice.No drug does a tenth of the harm that prohibition causes every day.Most of the things the feds cry about would disappear if they just got out of the prohibition business.

why is everyone so dumb?

"Our concern with marijuana is not borne out of any culture war or drug war mentality, but out of what the science tells us about the drug's effects. The facts are that marijuana potency has tripled in the past 20 years and teens are using the drug at earlier ages,"

Do our legislators not realize that legalization and regulation could actually help to solve this problem? Some people are so close-minded and stuck to their beliefs that it's annoying...

America only you can stop this

Dear President , honorable members of state and citizens of the usa you started reefer madness

only the US can stop it . Lead the way be a leading nation again,let the world stop this persection of a wonderful plant . The rest of the world does not have the balls and even the UN is seeing the truth of god .

 

This is gods herb people dont ya get it .  

America only you can stop this

Right On ! ! ! !

Public Hearing

Lamar Smith has already stated this bill wont get past his committee.. It wont see the light of day... Did we expect anything less from this government?

Obama

I don't have to vote for Obama in 2012. I may have Ron Paul to vote for. If not, I'll just stay home. I am done voting for candidates who despise me so much that they can not imagine a world without a gun pointed at my head.

   This argument isn't about

   This argument isn't about our politician's being shortsighted, ignorant of the facts, or even their personal preferences. This is all about the corruption that has replaced our democratic society. Every major politician is backed by a major corporate giant or they don't get the backing to get elected in the first place. The only peaceful solution that I can see is to vote the incumbant out and a new face in for each election. Personally, I see a revolution brewing in our country's future. I don't like that thought, but I'm a Patriot, I went to war for my country in Vietnam, I'll go to war again to restore the Country that I Love to a democratic way of life.

   Look at the parallels to pre-war Germany, runaway inflation, gross unemployment, a government that no longer reflects the voice of the People, the smoke and mirrors tactics of propaganda to misinform the people of the truth, and the most scary of all, black ops night raids of dissenting citizens(Hitler sent his SS to round up all his opposition before he announced he was taking over the country).

   Feedom means nothing if we don't have the right to decide our own future as a country and that has been taken from us by the same people that we elected to represent us. As part of his campaighn, Obama said, if elected, he would not let the Federal Government harass people for Marijuana. He got alot of votes with that promise, but he has failed miserably to come through with anything even close to fulfilling it. Bottom line, HE LIED!!

Obama

Anonymous2: don't sit 2012 out! I am changing my voter registration to Republican so I can vote for Ron Paul in the primaries. You do have a say in this process if you take action now.

You won't have to vote Republican in 2012 if Paul doesn't get the nomination; you can always vote Libertarian as a statement of what you believe, but do not sit this one out!

I know too many people who sat out 2008, or who believed Obama's false promises. All we got is more of the same. Get out and vote for real change.

Ron Paul

Ron Paul and Rand Paul are the only honest politicians in the cesspool of Washington.

Democrats and Republicans are the same. Libertarian is my party; Ron Paul is my candidate.

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson

  I agree about changing my preference for President.  I had heard that Gary Johnson was in favor of legalization - sorry, Pres. Obama. 

State's Rights Could Become No Rights

So, let me get this right.  I just bought a bag in a state where I can legally do that, and I am on a road trip across the country, when I get pulled over in Oklahoma(god those cats are CRAZY!!!) and suddenly I am not only being prosecuted according to Okla. law, but, the FEDS are going after me for interstate smuggeling.  Sounds like a great law to me.   Especially if I inadvertantly forgot what I had in my luggage.

It will be legal when they forget their sick old morality around the plant and treat those that go into business around it like the business men and women they are.

Regulate it like alchohol?  I think not.  Cannabis is not the same as alchohol in any respect.  Tax it like any other business venture would be.

Alchohol laws actually screw up the public's relationship with alchohol, and don't actually solve any problems, but, create more.  Take for instance what Britain found out by going to Spain to ask the questions as to why Britain had a drinking problem.  Britain has a severe problem with public drunkeness and binge drinking(as I can attest to having been there).  Spain doesn't have that problem.  But, then you can drink in Spain at any age, I guess all you have to be able to do is ask for a drink and pay the bar tender.  And the bars are open 24/7.  But, then in Spain drunkeness is rare.  Social thing, in the bars are everybody, and it is de-classe to get drunk.   

On the other hand in Britain, the pubs are open to those 21 and older, and you have to get out by closing time.  I forget when that is, but, it's around 1 or 2 in the morning.  This leads to those in the pubs really putting them away before they can't anymore.

When you deny something to minors, or anyone, you create curiosity around it.  But, that argument, that perhaps you could actually end drug use by legalizing all drugs is not one people want to hear.

Britain recently reevaluated their schedual of drugs and assigned a 0-100 point scale, with 100 most dangerous in terms of damage to individual and society in general.  Alchohol ranked 70, the worst drug, and Cannabis ranked 20, nothing illicit was listed below that mark.

"Adults who use marijuana responsibly...

...should not be treated as criminals."  --Allen St. Pierre

 

Among many good comments this sticks out because it opens the subject of:

* Defining responsible use

* Promoting the technical gadgetry-- objecrtive correlative-- which guides and enables responsible use

 

Can supporters of the Act, during this current debate, step forward with a program which defines how Responsible Use will be promoted once the Act passes?

 

In my view an opportunity exists to promote the use of herbal inhalant dosage reduction utensils in place of wasteful hazardous $igarette rolling papers.  Three main types exist:

 

Vaporizer: heats inserted dry herb to vaporizng temperature (340-390 F).  No combustion effluent ("smoke"), no carbon monoxide, no heat shock, etc.  Top-of-the-line Volcano @$600, many good models around $200.

 

E-cigarette: the "Vapor Rush" was announced in June 2010; available only through selected California dispensaries.  Vaporizes cannabinoids out of a liquid formula in a cartridge as do many e-cig models used to ingest nicotine.  Does failure to progress toward greater availablility reflect intimidation from government offices?

 

One-hitters:  any "smoking pipe" with a screened crater small enough (inner diameter = 7/32" or 5.5 mm) to permit 25-mg single servings ("toke" = a separate smoothly sustained inhalation) of sifted herb (over 900 tokes per sifted ounce).  Free instructions how to make a cheap one-hitter from a socket wrench (the little two-ended metal piece) or a barbed brass hose nipple, with illustrations are posted at wikiHow.com: "How to Make Smoke Pipes From Everyday Objects".  If you can improve this article and others related to making screens, sifting herbs etc., please go there, sign in with a username, edit, rewrite, add better pictures etc.

 

Any joint or $igarette, the moment someone threatens to light it up, can first have a small chunk torn off the tip in this placed in a one-hitter and largely "vaporized" rather than "smoked" simply by holding the lighter flame about an inch below the opening so that hot air but not flame enters.  Don't let the herb catch on fire until the cannabinoids have had 10 seconds or more to vaporize out and the dryness is shown by a partial darkening of the herb (if you have a long flexible drawtube you'll be able to see how things are going).

legalize

My daughter is in prison for activities related to obtaining drugs. Not only are the taxpayers paying for her incarceration, I am broke trying to help her and her friends on the inside who have noone else, live an humane existance in our "plush" prison system. This means less for my children and grandchildren who are "free"  so far. God only knows when they will start stealing to keep up with their friends whose parents can buy thier way out of trouble with the law.She is smart. I am highly intelligent yet refuse to torture myslf by trying to work in a society that is as stupid as this one. At least in other countries the public knows where it stands. We never will as long as the liars are voted in. 

If the U.S. Government

If the U.S. Government Legalizied Cannabis (marijuana),

the "Justice System" would go bankrupt overnight as (1) of it's Main money makers is Cannabis (marijuana) Arrests that lead to Money & Properity Confiscation (which they keep or sell at Auction for 100% Profit) and then Court costs, Jail stay bills & Fines.

You don't honestly think their going to give up free money, Do you?  

I am all for the legalization

I am all for the legalization of marijuana but please check you're facts before spewing undocumented lies. I do agree with you that the court costs and fines from possession tickets really fund states, but the government DOES NOT sell the marijuana the confiscate. The law enforcement agency that took the marijuana tests it, then burns it in an incinerator.

Please, I want to put up a fight to legalize marijuana just as bad, if not worse, than any person on this page. But in order to do this, we must be educated on the facts instead of ranting without fact checking in order to show a researched opinion.

Get rid of Lamar Smith

Agent Smith has to go.

What are the chances of a campaign to unseat him?

Stop buying into the Prohibitionist worldview

Some commentators act like the politicians who are against this bill are just misguided and that things would be better if they could only see that ending prohibition would have benefits.

Cut it out.

The prohibitionist leaders know that marijuana is not harmful, that it does not lead to addiction, etc. They know that the country would be benefited by the end of prohibition. They know all that. They don't care. Ending prohibition means ending an establish profit source. Stop talking about how you wish they would just understand. They know all of your positions, and they are lying through their teeth. Don't buy into their game. Call them out on their BS. The results are in - marijuana does not have a high potential for addiction, it is not a gateway drug, it does have medical benefits, it is far less dangerous than alcohol. They know all that. Prohibition is profitable. Follow the money. Prohibitionist politicians are merely defending that profit system. Public good? They couldn't care less. Protect the children?

---

Some commentators buy into the prohibitionist worldview. They say that prohibition is not the best way "to solve the drug problem." Cut it out. Drugs are not 'a problem'. Drugs are tools to be harnessed and used. Go tell any culture that uses drugs in religious ceremonies that drugs are a problem and that they are addicts. They will laugh at you. If you want to end prohibition, you have to reject prohibitionist ways of thinking.

 

For a sensible view of drugs, their effects, and legal status visit www.egodeath.com

Thomas Jefferson said "Hemp

Thomas Jefferson said "Hemp is of the first necessity for the security of the United States of America". Just look at our fears regarding the security of the U.S. currently and you'll see what is reported in the news and what is conveyed by the politicians is much different than a secure mindset on domestic ground. While Hemp is NOT the same thing as marijuana, decriminalizing marijuana would help those who are in pain ease their burden of physical discomfort as well as help destigmatize the Hemp plant  Why does the government ban the testing of marijuana which has little to no side effects when it allows the testing of so many more drugs that have serious side effects. We need to decriminalize and tax this commodity to help the economy in these dire times. Just in California alone it could produce upwards of a billion dollars in taxes. One man in Oakland alone paid over $300,000 in taxes related to the plant. Just think of what this could do for our economy, as well as helping those who are in pain and no other medication helps in alleviating discomfort. Obama set up Change.gov before he was elected to find out what the people wanted, and decriminalizing was number 1 on the list! The time for change is now, the current situtation is incredibly more detrimental than prohibition was with alcohol. Just look at the Mexican drug war casualties, as well as more than a trillion dollars wasted since Nixon started this whole mess. The definition of insanity is attempting the same thing over and over and expecting different results, well....

Comparison

Drunk drivers kill. Stoned drivers miss their exits.

I like this saying better

An alcoholic blows a red light killing an innocent family of 4. A pothead stops at a stop sign and waits for it to turn green. :)

Comparison

   HA! HA! HA! Too funny Tumbleweeds, but too true also. I remember times driving on the freeways in Cali, so high that I could only drive 35MPH, cuz that's as fast as I could drive and still be in control of my car. Low riders were passing me. Maybe some call that dangerous, but I've also driven while I was drunk, I don't remember thinking about whether I was in control then, I thought I was an amazing driver. On a better note, I haven't touched alcohol in 22 years.

'

good but not enough

It truly is sad that it has taken this long and an economic catastrophe for America to begin to see that the War on Drugs is in all ways a nightmare. Most of the ill-effects that people list when they go on about the dangers of drugs are actually side effects of the War on Drugs. Most ODs happen because the purity of the drug is not known as it was purchased from a street-peddler. The violence of street gangs, criminal syndicates, and private armies owned by Cocaine and Heroine cartels along with the near complete collapse of Mexico, prisons filled with people who tried to do nothing more than what alcohol drinkers do (change their state through consumption of a chemical), and so on and on. Not to mention the hundreds, if not thousands, killed by mistake or as collateral damage by DEA agents and police kicking in the wrong door and opening fire. None of this should be happening-NONE. Even the very worst of the drugs--heroine, meth, and crack (along with alcohol, by the way) do not by themselves cause this kind of pain and suffering. And the least dangerous--shrooms, mescaline, marijuana, and LSD are actually beneficial in more ways than they are dangerous (a recent study involving scientists and doctors across many areas of expertise found shrooms to be the least dangerous, lsd second least dangerous overall with both being basically 'safe' in the sense that they are not addictive, not psychologically damaging, almost impossible to overdose with and do no long term damage).

And yet here we are only arguing for marijuana because we're afraid of a backlash from ignorant people who get their information from a mainstream media that is fed its stories by lobby groups and the government itself. It is time to legalize across the board, set up treatment facilities for those who truly need help, put funding into research on the medical benefits of some of these substances, tax the heck out of the truly negative substances to pay for the above, and put the drug barons and mafias if not out of existance, at least out of the most profitable business of all time. AND, toss every drug conviction (for use, not distribution) out the window and let prisons be a place for violent offenders and child abusers as they should be rather than a for profit industry looking to make everyone criminals. The end.  

But seriously, if we empty

But seriously, if we empty out all the marijuana convictees from the prisons, alot of prison guards will lose their jobs because the head count of convicts will be much lower. Even worse, alot of guards will be scared completely out of work because they'll have to deal with REAL criminals instead of laid-back potheads. Where, in the job market, are they gonna go? Future marijuana farmers? Do you think they'll have to deal with discrimination when they are forced to work FOR their former whipping boys, the potheads? I don't know if I wanna compete with former prison guards for the title of who can grow the best Sativa. If I win, will I have to worry about a group of them visiting my grow room some night to beat me til I agree to let them win? That's a scary thought!

   Have you noticed how well my sentences are structured and how accurate my spelling is. And, even more important, how funny my comment has been up til now? I've smoked pot all my life, and, according to the government experts, my thought processes have been seriously impacted. Imagine how intelligent I would be if I hadn't chosen pot as my drug of choice, and instead I had spent my life drinking alcohol. I could possibly be as rich as Donald Trump, bless his heart, or I could be a Presidential speech writer, spewing out all that bullshit that passes for promises and excuses. NAW! I'd rather be poor and enjoy my bud, rather than rich and full of crap!!

RON PAUL

RON PAUL 2012!!!!

In order to fight this

In order to fight this argument for prohibition, legalization advocates need to make the argument that marijuana is not as addictive as government sources claim. 

reason

What's really keeping marijuana from getting legalized?

It should not be  implemented

It should not be  implemented as legal.I guess,it might affect young  readers mind.

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Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School