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Opponents of Marijuana Legalization are Wasting Their Time

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One of the reasons marijuana remains illegal is that a dedicated group of drug war profiteers and anti-pot zealots have been fighting pretty darn hard to keep it that way. But when you look at the political landscape surrounding the issue, it's not a pretty picture for those who still place pot atop their list of things to be concerned about. Adam Cohen at Time has a piece this week that gets it right:

In strictly political terms, this is a powerful combination: fast-growing support and solid majorities among the young, who represent where the electorate is headed. (Support for gay marriage polls similarly — which is why it is becoming law in more states.) In a few years, the national discussion may well turn from whether to legalize marijuana to how to do it in the most prudent way.

The political reality of the situation ought to be obvious to everyone by now, but it actually isn't at all. To those who bitterly oppose any change to our marijuana laws, every argument for reform is pure fiction, including the notion that more than a few people dislike our current approach to pot. They'll tell you that polls showing broad support are anomalous, ballot measures that succeeded were won by manipulation, and the debate's visibility on the web is the work of "internet trolls" mischievously disrupting civil discourse.

Yet their biggest mistake of all is telling everyone that marijuana reform will be unspeakably horrible, when you can just watch how well these changes are working wherever they emerge. The good outweighs the bad so obviously that a supposedly "controversial" concept like medical marijuana has nevertheless been replicated repeatedly around the country, gaining support as it goes.

The future of the marijuana debate is, rather clearly at this point, simply a question of how to structure the production and distribution of marijuana in a way that best addresses the flaws of the current system. That's where we're headed, and people who don’t like it are still better off accepting it and taking a seat at the table than continuing to defend the failed war that's falling out of favor right in front of them.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Same old same old

I haven't heard a new or a valid argument from the prohibition side in years.In Colorado,opponents were claiming that legalisation would just give the cartels more customers.How that makes sense to anyone is beyond my ability to comprehend.

Why regulate?

What need is there to regulate 'the safest therapeutically active substance known' and potentially less toxic than potatoes, according to judge Francis Young?

Just let it become a cottage industry like everything should be.

Prohibition, taxation, regulation is all designed to exclude us and leave the corporations in charge of the economy.

The really scary part is that

The really scary part is that there are people out there who are capable of thinking this way and are not ashamed to put in print for the whole world to see.

And worse there will be people who read it and agree.This is why prohibition has lasted so long.To support prohibition you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.

It's not a waste of time, it's a business

Opposing marijuana legalization is a business.  It supports prisons, lawyers, judges, courts, and social workers.  It provides the police department with real estate, cars, recreation vehicles, and flat screen TVs through asset confiscation.  It provides cheap labor to replace the higher illegal immigrant labor being chased out of the country.

criminals all

And all of those people are drug war criminals. They have to fight to keep prohibition.

Just like it was for the mercenaries fighting for Gadafi. There comes a point in the battle when you are no longer fighting to win but just to save your own life.

These people know they have committed serious crimes against humanity and they are not giving up  power just to go to jail. Like the cornered beast, as the end of the drug war draws closer, these people will become more dangerous.

On prohibition being a business

I've been working in the criminal justice system for about 15 years now as an attorney. Jose, if you think that criminal defense attorneys are fighting for pot to remain illegal, you need to look at the positions organizations like the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and their state affiliates have taken.  Most of us think the laws are stupid and pot should be legal. Hardly any of us make that much money from pot cases.  I've handled thousands of pounds worth of pot cases but most of that was as a public defender representing drug mules. Hardly any of those guys can afford attorneys, so they get a public defender who gets the same measly salary whether he represents those guys or not. Public defenders get something like 80% of all criminal cases filed and pot cases only add to their workload. Judges don't make any money off these cases either.  Pot cases just add to their already massive dockets.  Courts make some money from fines, but it's a pain in the butt to collect the fines and these cases tie up a lot of time and a lot of the fines never get paid.  Social workers don't benefit financially from pot being illegal any more than judges or public defenders.

Prosecutors and cops do make money on asset forfeitures in pot cases. But, the ones really cleaning up tend to be those on major drug pipelines like Interstate 40 where the drugs go one way and the money comes back another. They can do pretty well in big cities and border towns, but in most places they really aren't seizing that much pot money.  There are financial reasons for the people to want marijuana to remain illegal, but mostly they really believe pot is bad and they like having any reason to arrest and prosecute people because they like to be able to get bad guys off the streets and if they can't catch them for one bad thing they're doing they like to be able to find something else to bust them on, and when they do bust them they like to have as many charges as possible because the more time someone is looking at the greater the chance he'll shut up and plead and take whatever sentence they want to give the guy.  

Money may have something to do with why cops and prosecutors want marijuana to be illegal, but I think it's more about power and  the genuine belief on many of their parts that marijuana is bad and so are the people involved with it.  They deal with a lot of scumbags, see all the worst case scenarios. They're indoctrinated. A lot of them were probably tattle tales as children. They're in most cases not going to be pot smokers and often are people who didn't smoke it when they were younger either. They see the bong on the table in the cockroach infested home with neglected children. They bust the child molester who lures boys to his home with weed and porn. (Real case-guy fooled around with some teenaged boys and anally raped a 9 year old boy and got five life terms plus a hundred years.) They catch the meth dealing violent thug whose been in and out of prison and find a pound of weed on him when they catch him.  They see the car wreck cases where people die and there's weed in the car and the driver's drug test comes back hot. I deal with these people all the time and know that for the most part they oppose legalization and it's not a money thing. They genuinely believe it would be a bad idea. Some might believe it because they think they're supposed to or will convince themselves to believe it because they want to feel good about their work. Quite a few believe it should be legal, but most keep that quiet as it's a minority view that is not popular at all in their organizations.

Private prisons are a different matter.  The more prisons they build and the more people they lock up, the more money they make, the higher their stock prices grow.  Corporations need to grow to increase in value. They spend piles of money lobbying to make new crimes and increase sentences, and their motives are purely financial. 

I don't think that marijuana has remained illegal as long as it has because so many make money from it being illegal.  It's illegal because the majority in this country have opposed legalization. That is changing, but still older voters are against legalization, as are the old politicians, and the younger ones who are still afraid that they'll become unelectable if they become the pro-pot candidate. Actually there hasn't been a lot of lobbying efforts to keep marijuana illegal because it hasn't been a threat, there's been no chance of it happening. Support keeps growing. We might see some who stand to lose money if it's legalized spending money to lobby against it, but when a strong majority including the older voters who actually go to the polls and vote support legalization, It will happen. I bet it happens on the federal level years before the end of the next decade, and maybe even close to the end of this one.         


try again

WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!! The drug war has always been about one thing and one thing only-TAKING FREEDOM FROM AMERICANS!!! That is it! And now I will tell you how. First it was the hemp farmers. You know why? because they were getting rich and powerful and were able to petition their Mayors, Governors, Congressmen and Senators for redress with thier coin.The existing lumber, cotton, and oil magnates of the time decided that in order for them to have more power over the rest of us, they would have to go about legally taking away our ability to earn coin. As the only employers, they were able to contain wealth by denying people employment. With share-cropping and such going on, they couldn't control the expansion of wealth that was not theirs. The solution was starting with the state level and moving upward in illegalizing these troublesome competitors Hemp-farmers. Ever since then it is been invasion into market controls, after invasion on our personal freedom.


"I don't think that marijuana has remained illegal as long as it has because so many make money from it being illegal. ". If you knew how simple growing decent marijuana is, you would understand. The initial investment can go anywhere from $0 to Thousands, and will be recovered within the first grow cycle. After you have the area prepared, and the program down, your only real expense is water, everything else is all profit! If weed were legalized, do you really think anyone would pay $30 to $50 for one eighth of one ounce of dried plant material? HELL NO! If it is legal to have on a store shelf, it will most likely be legal for an adult to grow a plant or two. That being the case, the only way to prevent growth of an underground market would be to keep the shelf-price w/tax cheap enough, and prohibition of underground sales so strenuous that there simply wouldn't any profit in it.



Isn't the combined annual US

Isn't the combined annual US drug war budget something like twelve to seventeen BILLION dollars?   How about the for profit "treatment" industry that has grown to a huge enterprise as a result of "Drug Courts"? How much money do you suppose a monopoly on whole cannabis medication will mean to G.W. Pharma? I understand from your perspective down in the machinery of the legal system you do not get to see or benefit from the huge sums of money the drug war generates.  That perspective is myopic. Perhaps you're not the recipient of the largess because they have no intention of sharing that sort of wealth with a criminal defense lawyer. My friend, thye hold you in no higher regard than the criminals you represent.

"They see the car wreck cases where people die and there's weed

in the car". Can they or you cite a specific case of this happening? I follow this kind of stuff as closely as I can, and I've never heard of a single case of this happening. I have heard of cops driving drunk and killing people and of cops being killed by drunk drivers. If cops etc are really worried about people dying in car wrecks, why wouldn't they would want a much safer alternative to alcohol to be legal? If they don't know that cannabis is far safer than alcohol, it's because they don't want to know.  

"They bust the child molester who lures boys to his home with weed and porn." Yes, I've read of that, but what drug do the child molesters themselves like, that's the important question. The drug of choice of child molesters is alcohol, sexual perversion is just one kind of depraved violent behavior that 'blossoms' under the influence of alcohol, but not cannabis.

I understand you're not again weed yourself, and appreciate your taking the time to share your perspective on the motivation of prohibitionists. 


Reactionaries Lurk Everywhere

Whether it’s ending slavery or confronting prohibition, opposition remains fixed among those who believe some vile and oppressive institution is the only thing holding society together.  Comfort zones a millimeter thick create fear and denial.  Contemptible prohibitionists are mired in the mud and destined to become fossils for historians who will pick through the remnants of the drug war to reveal more data about the nature of crimes against humanity.

Momentum against the drug war increases every day.  Every botched raid, every sanctimonious lie about the evils of marijuana brings legalization closer.  Once legalization happens, pro-drug-war zealots can go back to doing what they’ve always done, like standing on street corners with picket signs that read ‘The End of the World is Near – Repent!'


That Big Green Tsunami

It`s funny at how the Cannabis Prohibitionists follow the tide out into the Ocean . They`re having a blast at how the sand feels to their feet . Let`s build a dock here so we can enjoy this new ground . Cannabis legalization is gaining ground at a current rate of 2% a year . In 2016 it will be a hefty 60%+  public approval . The Green Tsunami is coming . You either catch a wave or get sucked under , ran over , washed out to Sea , ..what`s next . ?  Cannabis will be legal in at least 1 State in January 2013 . Bet on it .



Copy That! Washington

Copy That! Washington


9/11 a day which prompted 100% checks of all border traffic. so answer me this, why could persons so inclined still buy mexican pot by the dump truck load with such mesures in place? ten years later and its business a usual. this so called war is bought and paid for. I still remember those stupid d.e.a. billboards stating proudly"do you think its dry now?". the answer to the d.e.a. ten years after is NO. you havent even made a dent or a scratch or a ding. there are no heros in this war, if you find a ton, ten more make it here. money money money.

Legalize Marijuana

THC is the most medicinal substance found in nature. It will heal anything to do with mutating cells. Even cancer. Yes, even cancer. Think of all the money the Doctors and the pharmicudical industry would loose if Hemp Oil was available to everyone. Were talking billions of dollars.

Big pharma is at it already

The big pharmaceutical industry  does not want to loose out to ordinary people growing their own medicine but a UK pharma company GWPharma is already selling Sativex cannabis spray to a lot of countries and it is currently seeking FDA approval. The rich are going to be the only people allowed to sell cannabis whilst the poor(peasants the 99%) will go to jail until they learn their lesson if they try to use or grow their own. Jail is currently populated by US citizens who are poor and they are now unpaid slaves for the government. Only extremely large protests(millions and millions) will maybe change the governments minds. At the moment more than 50% want it legalized but the government is now blanking the issue with Obama failing to even recognize the issue. Obama previously joked about the issue, now he won't even bother to answer internet petitioned cannabis question. Will this continue to happen if 70% or 80 % want it legalized, or will the more sinister and disturbing elements in the US like Newt Gingrich wants to have people executed. Hopefully governments sense will prevail and the listen to its people and legalize cannabis instead of listing to big pharma and the extremely rich dictators that control it, but I would not count on it happening soon. Meanwhile we are all suffering for their greed and narrow minds.

what's going to save the day are the states w/ direct democracy

where citizen created initiatives can be put to popular vote relatively unhindered by the government. Governments for now are hopelessly unrepresentative of public opinion on the issue of marijuana prohibition, and to a somewhat lesser and unclear extent the whole war on drugs [on users of the 'wrong' drugs]. 

46.5% in California 2 years ago, maybe 50.01% somewhere in November. Come on rich heads, put your money where your heart, brain and guts are. Matching money donations might leverage your help nicely.

Risky factors like cops not killing you

Risky factors like cops not killing you when they raid your house or stop you on the street or stop and search your car for smoking pot. Risky factors like decreased usage and decreased crime by everyone(Portugal). Risky factors like people having more money(grow your own). Risky factors like not having innocent people in jail with real criminals that can stab, rape and kill nice people. Risky factors like having liberty and freedom. 

Damn those risky factors.

and those other risky factors from America's drug killer alcohol

which in the real world is so much more dangerous than weed that graveyards are well populated with folks who would be alive if cannabis had equal standing with killer alcohol. There is no question that to reduce violence there are quite a few people who should be banned from using alcohol but allowed to use weed to get a buzz.

Not to mention that we, uh, kind of need the money from a reasonable tax and savings from ending our much worse than useless drug law enforcement spending as we hurtle heedlessly towards bankruptcy.

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