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Marijuana: Washington ACLU Wants to Start a National Conversation

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU-WA) Wednesday launched a multimedia public education campaign designed to stimulate a national conversation on state and federal marijuana laws, their history, and their efficacy. The campaign, "Marijuana: It's Time for a Conversation," includes an in-depth web site, an informational booklet, and a 30-minute video on DVD with travel writer and public television host Rick Steves. Additionally, the material will be available to Comcast subscribers through that company's On Demand service.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/ricksteves.jpg
Rick Steves in ACLU-WA video
"I've traveled throughout Europe and seen how they handle marijuana use and enforcement. I've learned that more thoughtful approaches can work," said Steves. "We need the understanding to go beyond 'hard' or 'soft' on drugs and find a policy that is 'smart on drugs'."

"We spend billions every year and arrest hundreds of thousands of Americans simply for possessing marijuana. We need to ask whether our laws are really working. Are they doing more harm than good?" said Washington ACLU executive director Kathleen Taylor in a statement announcing the campaign.

Each year, roughly $7.5 billion is spent on marijuana law enforcement, and more than 800,000 Americans are arrested on marijuana charges, close to 90% of them for simple possession, the statement noted. Meanwhile, nearly 100 million Americans have used the popular plant.

"Enforcement clogs our courts and criminal justice system, diverting resources from more serious crimes against people and property," said Taylor. "At the same time, an arrest for just possessing marijuana has a life-changing impact on people. We heard of people losing jobs and financial aid for college, and of patients fearing that they may be unable to get medical marijuana even when their doctors recommend it."

"As a parent of two teens I care deeply about this issue," noted Steves. "I have seen how Europe has approached drug use as a public health issue instead of building more jails. I find it interesting that marijuana use in Europe among both teens and adults is actually less than it is here."

"We think this is one of those times and issues where the public knows things aren't working, people have talked about it privately, but there is little or no public discussion," said Taylor. "We intend to engage the public in a discussion. We're excited to see where it goes."

So... anybody want to start a conversation? The Washington ACLU is waiting to hear from you.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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It's about time..

We have a license to carry a GUN
We have a license to ride Motorcycles and Drive cars
We have a license to kill Deers and Elks
We have a license to catch Fishes

Why can't we have a license to grow WEED in our home?

Thank you Rick Steves.

it won't be soon enough!

WE SERIOUSLY NEED TO LEGALIZE I AM CURRENTLY SERVING ON PROBATION OF COURSE BECAUSE I WAS MINDING MY OWN BUISNESS IN MY OWN HOME YES I AM GUILTY OF LEAVING IT OUT BUT THIS IS MY HOME I DON'T DO ANY OTHER DRUGS AND IT SUCKS BECAUSE I DON'T REALLY LIKE TO DRINK THAT MUCH BUT I FIND MYSELF DRINKING BECAUSE IT'S LEGAL. OUR SYSTEM HAS FAILED ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN BUSTED FOR WEED IS BEEING EXTORTED BY THE GOV. BUT YET RESPONSIBLE DRINKING HAS KILLED HOW MANY?YET IT'S LEGAL SOMETHINGS NOT ADDING UP.IT IS SO PATHETIC THAT THIS HAS TO BE DEBATED I THOUGHT THIS WAS A FREE COUNTRY SO WHY ARE WE NOT FREE TO SMOKE OUR WEED. WE NEED TO BREAK FREE FROM THIS SENSELESS OPRESSION. LEGALIZE!

ACLU

YOUR A LITTLE LATE ?DID IT TAKE YOU 85 YEARS TO FIGURE OUT DRUG LAWS ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
HOW ABOUT THE LAST 10 YEARS?PAIN DOCTORS, MEDICAL MARIJUANA.........WHERE HAS THE ACLU BEEN?ABSENT!
ANSLINGER,FBN,DEA,TANDY,WALTERS,MEDIA,AMA,ABA..........IT IS FUBAR!

HELP!!

The ACLU does not help pain doctors. I know by experience! They, like most of the public, assume doctors have plenty of money to pay lawyers. They are sorely mistaken!

Pain patients make poor legal clients. They are not dependable because their pain restricts their movement and their availabilty to get to court.

ACLU

In 1981 The ACLU in Seattle told me they did not have the money to pursue my suit that dealt with the DEA closing my Real Estate Office in Lacy after a failed sting, Then the day I refused to drop the suit I was I was physically disabled by two Pierce County Deputies and a Tacoma police officer, when I refused to sign a pre-written confession. last November my best friend the Reverand Theodore Tucker died of a heart attack after the SPD DEA swat team bashed his door in. It didn't even make the paper. Our lawyer called the ACLU, we never heard back
Thank you Rick Steves for getting these cowards off the couch.

I Smoke Marijuana.

Marijuana is NOT a drug...it's quite simply a very strong Herb!
I smoke Marijuana. I wrote a song about it!
It goes something like this:
I Smoke Marijuana by Jack Grabit 2006

Well I smoke Marijuana. I smoke it everyday.
I smoke Marijuana, and I have smoked it in every way.
Yeah, I smoke Marijuana because it puts my mind to rest.
When I smoke Marijuana, I feel God’s sweet caress.

I smoke it in the morning.
I smoke it after noon.
I smoke it when the stars shine bright.
As I can drift-off past the Moon.

I use Marijuana. I use it like my cane.
I use Marijuana, you know it helps relieve my pain.
I use Marijuana, and I use it when I can.
Well I use Marijuana, and right now that’s my plan.

I use it when I get up.
I use it getting down.
I use it when I sing my song,
And when I sing I’ve just got to say…

I like Marijuana, you know I smoke it everyday.
I like Marijuana, and I like it in every way.
I like Marijuana, because it makes me feel at home.
When I smoke Marijuana, I get so much more than stoned.
Yeah, when I smoke Marijuana, I get so much more than just stoned!

SweetLeaf:))

LOVE THE POEM! I CAN SO RELATE. I CANT WAIT TILL THE DAY THEY LEGALIZE IT. EVEN, I STILL SMOKE IT EVERYDAY! IF PEOLE JUST KNEW HOW HAPPY THE WORLD WOULD BE, AND HOW MUCH YOU FIND OUT ABOUT YOURSELF! MARIJUANA MADE ME WHO I AM TODAY. ITS MY RELIGION. I LOVE IT SO! ANYBODY WHO BELIEVES IN IT, I LOVE YOU TO!
:)

Past Due conversation

Good P.R. desperately needed on that subject.Progress is much too slow.
Hey, liked your song and identified with much of it but I am a much more moderate user! Marijuana Users Past and Present Young and Old Unite to increase acceptance and decriminalization of marijuana use by responsible adults!

ACLU

Please....Get on with it!!!

We have been ready to decriminalize it in our society up here in Canada for a decade at least. Nevertheless; our pragmatic, pussy, politicians have succumbed to the political pressures of your government for too long now.

The studies are in and the polls have been done. Prohibition doesn't work and lo & behold; if you take the mystery out of it as Rick Steves points out in Europe, kids use less.

Hemp & Cannabis are all natural; crystal meth & big drug companies are not. Make the disitinction and you see where the Real crimes are.

It's way past Due

I've voted for Wille Nelson for president, ever since I could vote in 96. I know he dosn't have a chance but I want my vote to count for what I believe in. I guess you could say I'm a single issue voter. I pray for it to be leagalized, I'm a Christian and a consertive, but I LOVE Weed. It sucks that I have a job that tests for drugs, (even though drug testing is just descrimination against pot smokers). So if there is a petition or away that I can help out, please post it on this website so I can see.

Regards,
Justin of Texas

Long Long Overdue

As I have said for decades, you either know the truth or you are part of the propaganda machine.

It is time we legalize marijuana, tax it and use those dollars to help fight real drug problems.

Wayne

Another license?

I think you did a better job of arguing against a license to grow; we already have too many licenses. Just legalize the stuff and save us all a ton of money and heartache.

RHM (www.thecandidacy.com)

TAXES?

We're taxed enough! Marijuana is a natural plant that should be free to grow and use like all plants. The government nor the big businesses behind marijuana prohibition are interested in your taxes! The government needs to install revolving doors with credit card machines to be able to process the hundreds of thousands of pissed off citizens it steals funds from in the name of the drug war. Big corporations are busy pushing their poison but feel very threatened by any group that might compromise their profit margin. Send email to the big business backing the drug war and tell them you will not buy their products until they change their position on marijuana. Make your position known and keep making it known until we win. IF YOU HAVEN'T TOLD YOUR CITY COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVE, YOUR CONGRESS PERSON, YOUR SENATOR, AND YOUR GOVERNOR YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY, what right do you have to gripe? There's only one way we're going to change things and that's to get the majority of the people to understand the truth about marijuana and how and why it unlawfully came to be illegal. We've got to push the truth harder than the other side is pushing their lies. We've got to make the news every time the news is on and let the nation know we've had enough. Open your mouth, get your facts straight and preach the truth. Expose the lies that have been told by our government and the corporations backing marijuana prohibition. Make sure everyone understands that marijuana prohibition promotes crime, violence, disease, corruption, wasted tax dollar spending, criminal / terrorist funding and multitude of other harmful consequences caused by the failed policies of drug prohibition and the drug war. Get behind the activists that are organizing to change drug policy and support them with your contributions and by being active in the movement. I understand that many of you have to be cool about this to stay out of trouble and enjoy your pot but would it kill you to give a few dollars a month or write an email at least once a month to your elected representatives? I don't work for StoptheDrugWar.org but I do what I can to help them... do you? "Just Say Know" is another group that's working hard on your behalf to change drug policy. They need your donations too. Here's how to get to their web site:
If you're using Internet Explorer web browser use this link: http://jsknow.angelfire.com/home
If you're using any other web browser use this link: http://jsknow.angelfire.com/index.html

Together we will make a difference!

Keep it going Steve!!

We were so close here in Canada until we elected a Conservative Government who went along all to easily with Bush and his "dark ages" policies. We have actually gone backwards now. We've crumbled to scare tactics from an IMORAL GOVERNMENT forcing their views on other countries around the world.

Just imagine the difference in the world had they spent all that drug enforcement $$ and $$ they have wasted in Iraq on education and help for the needy around the world. There would be no NEED for homeland security and huge bankrupting military budgets etc. etc. etc.

One can only hope that these polices will one day change for the better!!

Conservatism

uhm, im a hardcore conservative, yet i smoke weed often. i have really bad scoliosis and marijuana is one of the only things that help ease my pain, i dont see why its gotta be illegal. theres nothin wrong with it.

americans

americans.... no comments... smoke too much... the only drug i use is alcohol man.... drinking age 21?? wut the fuck.....

RE "Americans"

I Agree with this statement, I am American,born and raised, But you would smoke alot too if you lived in a country run by a**holes and limited on just about everything you do, we say this is the land of the free,well it is, as long as you dont break our stupid a** laws, they say in other countries people smoke less and I wouldnt doubt it, alot of people smoke cause there rebeling against what we are not alowed to do.
They say that pot smokers dont do anything and lay around all day and rought,
Well this is just not true I know many people that are more functional "high" than they are without it and yes there are allways exceptions to the rule bgut it should be up to the people to decide for themselves
I used to smoke beyond heavy amounts of marijuana, IM talking 1/8th of a ounce of weed for a day at one point, during this time i found that i was a extremely talented person, I quit,......and fell apart, I havent been myself for the past year and a half, I dont do anything anymore,I have gined about 50 pounds
I have severe back problems now and the depression,Dont let me even get started with that.
I used to have a life,I mean yeah i still do but i cant even function now,
when life used to be easy and felt that i could do anything,I dont even remember what that feels like,atleast when i smoked pot I had ambition and drive...remember im not saying pot is everyone,some couldnt operate a pencil sharpener at gun point while high,others could rebuild one that serves you coffee
as you shapen.
My point,... it should be up to the individual to decide if it is right for them and others to advise them that it just does not suit there best intrest, MY OWN MOTHER SISTER FATHER WANT ME TO SMOKE AGAIN,but,.. its against the law and its just to dificult to find it anymore since i quit,I stopped hanging out with those people cause i wanted to get away from it and i wish i could turn back the clock and never quit, now i drink on when i want to relax,.......I HATE DRINKING
FREEEEEE MY WEEEEEED!!!!
If you would like to contact me feel free at [email protected] and if you are contacting me cause of my horrible grammer and spelling errors,..trust me i allready know =)

Marijuana the organic hostage

I know as most that alcohol is more harmful and more debilitating that marijuana, yet it is legal, why? Because it was made illegal once and too many people who were prominent were made criminals for using it. The law was repealed just like the ones against marijuana should be. To start the process there is a very easy thing to do as it is set up a lot different than it was with alcohol all those years ago. A simple move to a lesser restrictive schedule slot in the drug schedule act rating would help tremendously. We have more than enough laws set up to prevent the abuse of marijuana without making the dried organic plant a villain. It's time to use money that goes toward the marijuana fight for other more harmful and processed drugs. How many more productive otherwise law abiding, tax paying citizens, do we have to turn into criminals for simply smoking an unprocessed organic herb?

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