Marijuana: Puerto Rico Ex-Officials Say Legalize It

A former health secretary and an ex-university president are calling for the legalization of marijuana in Puerto Rico in a bid to reduce the prison population and prevent young people from being exposed to criminality. According to a report by the Associated Press late last week, their plan to tax marijuana sales, with proceeds going to drug treatment programs, is also supported by other former public officials and a medical doctor.

"The fight against drugs, using punishment, has not worked," said José Manuel Saldaña, former president of the University of Puerto Rico. "This is a social reality." People should not go to jail for smoking pot, he added.

According to the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections, 24% of the island territory's 13,500 inmates are doing time for drug offenses. The department estimates that 80% of crimes are "drug-related." More than 21,000 minors under age 18 were arrested in "drug-related" incidents between 1990 and 2005, according to police statistics.

The proposal for marijuana legalization comes as part of a broader package that includes tougher penalties for drug traffickers. It comes as the island is getting ready to begin drug treatment programs aimed primarily at the abuse of heroin and crack cocaine.

Saldaña was joined by former Health Secretary Enrique Vázquez Quintana in pushing for legalization. They have been discussing the proposal with prison officials and legislators, he said.

But lawmakers have said they only want to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes -- if that. Corrections Secretary Miguel Pereira told the AP he favors drug treatment programs legalizing marijuana, but only for medicinal, not recreational, use. "It's a proposal that we should be open to discussing," he said.

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!

/MariJuana/Hemp Drugs Commission 1894

To forbid or even seriously to restrict the use of so gracious an herb as hemp would cause widespread suffering and annoyance and to large bands of worshipped ascetics, deep-seated anger. It would rob the people of a solace in discomfort, of a cure in sickness, of a guardian whose gracious protection saves them from the attacks of evil influences, and whose mightly power makes the devotee of the Victorious, overcoming the demons of hunger and thirst, of panic, fear, of the glamour of Maya or matter, and of madness, able in rest to brood on the Eternal, till the Eternal,possessing him body and soul, frees him from the haunting of self and receives him into the Ocean of Being. These beliefs the Musalman devotee shares to the full. Like his Hindu brother, the Musalman fakir reveres bhang as the lengthener of life, the freer from the bonds of self. Bhang brings union with the Divine spirit. "We drank bhang and the mystery I am he grew plain. So grand a result, so tiny a sin."

"In his devotion to bhang, with reverence, not with the worship, which is due to Allah alone, the North Indian Mussulman joins hynming to the praise of bhang. To the follower of the later religion of Islam the holy spirit in bhang is not the spirit of the Almighty, it is the spirit of the great prophet Khizr, or Elijah. That bhang should be sacred to Khizr is natural; Khizr is the patron saint of water. Still more, Khizr means green, the revered color of the cooling water of bhang. So the Urdu poet sings, "When I quaff fresh bhang I liken its color to the fresh light down of thy youthful beard." The prophet Khizr, the green prophet, cries, "May the drink be pleasing to thee." Nasir, the great North Indian Urdu poet, is loud in praises o his beloved Sabzi, 'the Green One.'

Compared with bhang spirits are naught. Leave all things thou fool, drink bhang.

From its quickening the imagination, Mussulman poets honor bhang with the title Waraq al-Khayal, 'Fancy's Leaf.' And the Makhazan or great Arab-Greek drug book records many other fond names for the drug. Bhang is the Joy-Giver, the Sky-Flier, the Heavenly-Guide, the Poor Man's Heaven, the Soother of Grief." http://khidr.org/cannabis.htm
On the Island Of Puerto Rico Juana y MaryJane to go!
ecoavila go your own way!

what would the world be?

what would the world be without marijuana? health secretaries are calling for it, doctors have called for it and now the people are calling for it! how can they restrict us from doing what we want to our bodies and to our minds? people aren't causing harm...only thinking, and to our governments this is a problem. God forbid someone should leave the flock! smoking the herb reveals you to yourself!!
peace on earth

PR ex-officials say: legalize? or misdemeanor first?

Smoking marihuana is a serious crime in PR. You can face up to
5 years in prison although drug courts and rehabilitation alternatives
exist for FIRST TIME OFFENDERS. Stealing less than $200 is considered a misdemeanor, while posessing a small amount of pot is a felony, even when in the first case the suspect is affecting somebody else's life and finances.
Most marihuana smokers spend less than most people spend on legal cigarretes and phisiological addiction has not been proved. Consequently, marihuana users do not face the same effects than cocaine, heroine or pills users.
Some courts in Puerto Rico spend more than $5000 prosecuting marihuana users and make those caught with even small amount also spend about that same figure. It is a lose-lose situation for the government as well as small time users. If they impose a fine of say $300-500, the state makes some
money and spends less as well as the small time user. This is common sense, but the establishment is blind or perhaps stupid.

Legalize it already!

I think it's safe to say there are too many people in jail who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong amount of a wrongfully illegal substance, thus resulting in a life ruining sentence. So you smoke pot, who *explitive* cares! You sit there on the couch and don't hurt anybody, or go for a drive at the speed limit, god forbid. Literally billions of our dollars have been spent on fighting "the war on drugs" and keeping these "wrong-doers" in our jails. All it has done is remove professionals from their jobs, destroy families, take moms and dads away from their children, cause people financial hardships, social ostracization (is that a word?) and of course it's all just a huge waste of our time, money and jail space. The cop that's arresting you for having a bag of pot on you just missed a call for a little girl getting kidnapped up the street. This is ridiculous, people. Pot does less harm than cigarettes and tobacco products, both which are legal and taxed in our country. It has been estimated that legalizing marijuana would create 30-50,000 jobs across the country. Combine these jobs with the money we won't spend on a hapless police force searching for these harmless people, and the revenue generated by its sales and we might just break even on our costs on the "war on drugs" in about fifty years. WHAT IS THE HOLD UP?!?. I'm down right disgusted with the way people view marijuana as a "gateway drug." It wouldn't be a "gateway drug" if it wasn't so wrongfully associated with hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, opium etc... It's f*cking harmless! You know what happens when you smoke too much pot? You fall asleep and wake up reaching for a bottle of water. If you drink too much alcohol, you die, but that's apparently just fine with our government; but god forbid you smoke some pot, you awful person you. Well, I just finished rolling a joint, and I'm going to go step outside and harmlessly smoke it with another positively contributing member of society, and you know what, I'll have a beer and a cigarette too.

marijuana - legalize it

OK, this is 2008, not 1968. All the testing has been done and marijuana is not a killer, unlike alcohol. I know more dead people from alcohol than I have fingers and toes. I know of no one dead from marijuana. If marijuana would have been as available as alcohol, perhaps those dead friends would still be alive because an alternative would have been available instead of drinking themselves into the grave. As far as a "gateway" to other drugs argument, that is as stupid as saying "if you drink beer you will end up drinking overproof rum because beer is a gateway to it". Ridiculous. Stop the persecution. Amsterdam style!

NO MAS ABUSOOO...

En Puerto Rico "la isla del encanto" en estos momentos pasamos por una crisis no tan solo economica ni de gobiernoo, tambien con problemas de justicia. En nuestra isla vemos muchos abusos de guardias y agentes solo por consumir el fruto q nos brinda nuestra madre tierra. Mucha gente rechazada de trabajos y alejados de sus familias siendo condenados a ciertos años de carcel y teniendo q pagar mucho dinero para salir de las mismas y los mismos tribunales invirtinedo mucho dinero para hacer q estos sean culpables. Mucho dinero desperdiciado por algo natural q te puede ensenar de la vida y demostrale a la gente lo q somos y q seremoss... Hagan conciencia y dejen la ignoranciaaaa.... no abusen masss... y a prender por la vidaa!!!

No Sean Un Chorro de Anormales!!!

Ps Esto es lo q yo pienso,LA MARIHUANA,no es mala,y si la eh usado,y no tiene nada de malo,si te da ojos rojos(wow q crimen),te da hambre(pecado!) y te pone a reirte(diablo eso es una delito),ps enverdad q este pais esta mal,cojen a los q fuman,los meten al tribunal,les dicen ps q escoges carcel o sentro de reabilitacion?ellos ps es obvio q van a esoger el centro,despues dien q los jovenes estan adictos a la marihuana y q chekeen aver los centros de reabilitacion,ps claro si es la unica opcion q tienen,tmbn tienen la de no acerlo,la de no fumar,pero uno no puede controlar la vida de otros,uno ase su propias decicsiones,los q fuman cigarrilos,estan peores,si kisas da~e un poco los pulmones(la marihuana)pro el cigarrillo es PEOR!,AY MAS DE 50,000 usuarios de la marihuana,50,000,y todavia siguen,y Diganme dnde estan los cuerpos de esas personas?dnde estan los muertos?NADA,Y kisas aigan muertes,pero es pol q en la calle se matan pol dicha droga,y POR ESO AY Q LEGALIZARLA!!!,para q en la calle no aigan mas muertes por esta supuestamente droga,ay peores ,la heroina,la cocaina,manteca,pastillas,alcohol,todo eso,es Peor!,y Si ay una crisis,y Ay cosas mas impoltantes en este pais en Puerto rico, Aora mismo la economia,los desempleados,todo eso,si es verdad,pero Les aseguro q si ustedes LEGALIZAN!la marihuana,Van aver menos crimenes,El gobierno tendra Mas Dinero,por que aora la gente se va a salir de las calles,y diran oye aora es mas seguro,ySi Kieren cobren Taxes tmbn,Mas Chavos pal Gobierno por que eso es lo que ellos Quieren,Ay Personas cn condiciones que Tiemblan,no pueden ni Ablar Casi,Se Fuman un poko de marihuana,y Estan Ablando como una persona normal,dejan de temblar,Es Algo increible,
Es Bueno para el cancer
Se Pueden aser papeles cn la marihuana en ves de da~ar a los arboles
Ropa
Todo!
Es Una Planta q ha existido por a~os
Yo Pienso que estar metiendo personas por usar marihuana es injusto y estupido
y dejando q mas gente en la calle muera por una bolsita de algo que no ase ningun daõ a la sociedad ni a la salud,es tan askeroso
y dejar que la gente que esta enferma,sigan poniendose peor por que unas personas en este mundo piensan q es una droga,Pol q ni la an probado,ablan sin saber,
Ps NO es una droga
Miren en amsterdam los crimenes bajaron un monton despues de que la legalizaron en un solo a~o,y aqui en puerto rico solo sigue aumentando
Si LA GENTE QUE DECIDE ESTO FUERA JUSTA,REAL Y INTELIGENTE LA LEGALIZARAN,Y No decidieran mas que por que mi amigo q esta en el mismo partido mio,decidio no legalizarla,ps yo are lo mismo,ps no todo el mundo tiene sus diferencias,y unos fuman yerba y otros no,ya,si la legalizan,no significa que puerto rico estara cn una nube de humo por siempre no sean estupidos(cn to el respeto)
Uno escoge sus deciciones y ya!
Informencen,LEGALIZENLA!

Reason, compassion, truth!

I have, over time researched this subject quite extensively, since, for a number of personal reasons, it is one that has captured my interest for most of my life, and based on the knowledge I’ve accrued over the past 30 years (or more), I have become quite convinced of the following:

No one has ever died from the use of marijuana.

Not a single human death has ever been directly linked to the use of or ingestion of marijuana. If there were a lethal dose, it would take extraordinary effort to ingest it, so much, in fact, that the act of ingestion is more likely to kill the subject, than the substance itself.

Cannabinoids are a naturally occurring component of most living beings.

Since cannabinoids are the neurotransmitter regulators that enhance and regulate all communications between the brain and almost all of the vital organs of the body, they are essential to the health and wellbeing of a great many species of creatures, including all existing species of mammals, and man himself. It is naturally manufactured by the body itself, and is used to regulate the metabolic functions that sustain life. In fact, in a fairly recent commercial attempt at producing a new weight control treatment based on the suppression of appetite by blocking cannabinoid receptors, the resulting deterioration of the subject’s health was so dramatic (including several deaths) that the products were immediately withdrawn from the market. Indeed, life itself may be unsustainable without the supporting structure of the endocannabinoid system. Further experiments in laboratory animals showed that blocking the regulating effects of cannabinoids resulted in a dramatic increase in the development of malignant tumor growths and cancer.

Cannabinoids are an essential part of an organism’s holistic defensive systems.

They not only fight diseases, they are responsible for coordinating the body's defenses to prevent the development of a host of conditions that are deleterious to the organism's health and wellbeing.

Side effects are negligible and nontoxic, (See above).

The side or secondary effects associated with the use of cannabinoids are well within the threshold of tolerance for other habitually used substances such as alcohol, which is more addictive, and tobacco, which is more noxious. In fact the side effects associated to the use of cannabis can be and are described as positive, at least by the overwhelming majority of its users, which incidentally, are a very considerable number of individuals nationally, and supported, even approved of, by a considerable and growing number of professionals in the medical and scientific community. Furthermore, these positive and non-toxic, non-harmful effects have been observed and documented by a staggering and ever growing number of regular and habitual users throughout the entire time that the use of cannabinoids has been outlawed by the controlled substances act, and indeed, in spite of it.

No other modern medical treatment exists that is as effective and less harmful.

Although many substances and treatments have been developed within the law to treat conditions that seem to be treatable with cannabinoids, each of them has more toxic side effects, and produce more undesirable results, and in some cases are not even as universally effective, than time and experience has proven would result from the use of cannabinoids alone.

It may cure cancer.

Cannabinoids attack the cancer cell mechanism, ordering cancer cells to die, while protecting normal cells from being harmed and without causing all of the noxious side effects of other, apparently less effective cancer treatments. This has been demonstrated in clinical tests, under controlled conditions and is even among the official findings acknowledged and published by the government. (Antitumor Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids, National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health, http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/healthprofessional/page4)

Also, I have personal knowledge of quite a few people, who have for several reasons, opted for the illegal, cheaper relief that cannabis can offer to their illness. I have seen them struggle through with prescription medication and other therapies, sometimes for years before they finally had the courage, most of them from sheer desperation brought about by their pain and suffering, to decide to seek relief, by breaking the law, and I can tell you there is no comparison. Cannabis is a far superior medication than anything they were taking before. It may not be a scientific study, and I have no way of knowing if their lives were indeed extended or not or whether it helped their illness in any way, but I can tell you this: in general terms they lived better lives.

In light of all that has been stated before, not making these substances available for further research is simply unconscionable, and denying free access to cannabis is inhumane.

The government’s continued resistance to legalization is no longer supported by an ever growing sector of the population, (already close to, and very likely surpassing, half of the national population), who no longer accept, based on their own personal knowledge, the government’s dogmatic support for further prohibition. This in turn breeds further discontent and distrust among the people towards the government and may even come to threaten the unity that is the foundation for our strength as a nation. In this issue, at least, the government is no longer representative of the people’s will.

Even so, in light of the fact that the alleged dangers of the free and unrestricted use of cannabinoids is not supported by either experience or evidence, and in light of the fact that even those dangers that may be demonstrable are, to all appearances, far less worrisome than some of the dangers associated with already legalized, habitually and widely used substances, the government’s interference with a free people’s individual choice of whether or not to use this substance for whatever purpose they choose, in full knowledge and acceptance of the possible consequences of such actions is not appropriate for a country whose founding principles are the individual freedom and responsibility of its citizens.

Furthermore, forcing seriously ill citizens to submit to inferior and even ineffective medical treatments, when such a simple and relatively harmless alternative is readily available is a totally amoral policy that this great country must abandon at once, and repudiate henceforth.

Such are my thoughts on this matter. I offer them to you in the spirit of openness that our country loves, with the deepest hopes that they shall serve to help you reach a decision that would make us a better nation tomorrow, than we are today.

Be well. 

P.R. Voters

I need to be informed as to what act would be a move toward the legalization on the ballot for tuesday, if someone can inform me of that the help would be much appreciated to help my island and home for once make a good move politically in legalization for medical use. The fact that it hadn't yet been legalized is idiotic to me. If ever there is a day that I can become a part of congress or the president my whole platform would be a 'sea of green' method so to speak. I would set up a platform based on the decriminalization of marijuana the legalization for both medical and recreational use and make california become one of the leading growth and cultivation of both seeds and buds on the western hemisphere. So that the united states could make money by shipping these things throughout the world and compete with amsterdam, the UK and other such countries with truly successful economies if the united states widespread grew cannabis throughout the air there would be healthier than anywhere else in the world. The positive attributes of marijuana are not only limitless but truly haven't been seen yet. Then I would continue my platform in creating jobs in growing these plants, cultivating, and lighting them, creating loan programs to finance the home cultivator. This would not only create literally millions of jobs it would create unforeseen growth in the amount of marijuana available to the sick, you could tax it like cigarettes. You could even sell them in packs of twenty in the same size as cigarettes and it would be so much healthier that would lower the national debt. You could also sell seeds throughout the world. If cannabis was legalized in this way and used like tobacco was it would stimulate the economy in a way never before seen.

P.R. Voters

I need to be informed as to what act would be a move toward the legalization on the ballot for tuesday, if someone can inform me of that the help would be much appreciated to help my island and home for once make a good move politically in legalization for medical use. The fact that it hadn't yet been legalized is idiotic to me. If ever there is a day that I can become a part of congress or the president my whole platform would be a 'sea of green' method so to speak. I would set up a platform based on the decriminalization of marijuana the legalization for both medical and recreational use and make california become one of the leading growth and cultivation of both seeds and buds on the western hemisphere. So that the united states could make money by shipping these things throughout the world and compete with amsterdam, the UK and other such countries with truly successful economies if the united states widespread grew cannabis throughout the air there would be healthier than anywhere else in the world. The positive attributes of marijuana are not only limitless but truly haven't been seen yet. Then I would continue my platform in creating jobs in growing these plants, cultivating, and lighting them, creating loan programs to finance the home cultivator. This would not only create literally millions of jobs it would create unforeseen growth in the amount of marijuana available to the sick, you could tax it like cigarettes. You could even sell them in packs of twenty in the same size as cigarettes and it would be so much healthier that would lower the national debt. You could also sell seeds throughout the world. If cannabis was legalized in this way and used like tobacco was it would stimulate the economy in a way never before seen.

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