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Legalize it! ("and don't criticize it")

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  • Petros Evdokas
    Legalize it! ( and don t criticize it ) ~~~~~~~~~ Legalize it - don t criticize it Legalize it and I will advertise itun Legalize it, yeah, yeah That s the
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2010
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      Legalize it! ("and don't criticize it")

      "Legalize it - don't criticize it
      Legalize it and I will advertise itun

      Legalize it, yeah, yeah
      That's the best thing you can do
      Doctors smoke it
      Nurses smoke it
      Judges smoke it
      Even the lawyers too" - Peter Tosh, 1975

      Friends of Cannabis all over the world are assembling in the next two
      weekends to put together marches, demonstrations, concerts and
      underground events to promote our demand to Legalize Cannabis globally.
      And to bring an end to all the Drug Wars.

      From tiny Cyprus to Budapest and Brussels, from Amsterdam to New York
      City, from Dublin all the way to Tokyo and back to Jerusalem, our global
      annual mobilization named Worldwide Marijuana March has more than 311
      cities enrolled for this year.

      The 2010 global events will take place over the next two weekends: this
      weekend of MayDay plus the next weekend, May 8-9th. The events will also
      coincide with the Mayday political mobilizations that are taking place
      all over the world to celebrate and commemorate international working
      peoples' solidarity.

      Please see the participating city entries and local contact information
      http://cures-not-wars.org/wordpress/ and here

      The movement to Legalize consists of many different branches, themes and
      campaigns including Decriminalization; Medical Marijuana campaigns;
      promotion of ecological Hemp Industries; and efforts by some to legalize
      *all* substances in conjunction with public education and social reform
      aimed at enabling the people in our communities to know and enjoy the
      difference between appropriate use, wrong use and abuse.

      In this context, the Medical Marijuana legislations we have fought for
      and have won in some countries of Europe and in various States of the US
      are significant victories.

      Also, the bold and broad Decriminalization enacted by Portugal in 2001
      is a beacon for all of us, both as a model to strive for and also as
      repository of scientific and personal experiences, skills, case studies
      and data useful for any country's legislators and for reform campaign
      activists. The numbers don't lie:
      Decriminalization saves lives, reduces harm, reduces abuse, it broadens
      the experience of freedom and improves social and personal self-regulation.

      Please see the article below, originally published in Time magazine that
      conveys some of the experiences and facts assembled over the past few
      years in Portugal. It shows that social and personal benefits for all
      can be achieved easily, cheaply and safely. Whereas all other approaches
      so far that are based on Prohibition have without doubt added to more
      deaths, more cruelty and endless War.

      For an end to all Wars - Free the Herb!
      Petros Evdokas, petros@...
      Cyprus IndyMedia, Universal Life Church

      * Many thanks to Panayiotis Eye who alerted me to the article below.
      And boundless gratitude to Dana Beal who perseveres and endures
      throughout all the decades of the struggle, helping us keep it all together.

      Lyrics above are from the song "Legalize it", by Peter Tosh, 1975


      Drugs in Portugal: Did Decriminalization Work?
      By Maia Szalavitz
      Sunday, Apr. 26, 2009


      Pop quiz: Which European country has the most liberal drug laws? (Hint:
      It's not the Netherlands.)

      Although its capital is notorious among stoners and college kids for
      marijuana haze–filled "coffee shops," Holland has never actually
      legalized cannabis — the Dutch simply don't enforce their laws against
      the shops. The correct answer is Portugal, which in 2001 became the
      first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for
      personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and

      At the recommendation of a national commission charged with addressing
      Portugal's drug problem, jail time was replaced with the offer of
      therapy. The argument was that the fear of prison drives addicts
      underground and that incarceration is more expensive than treatment — so
      why not give drug addicts health services instead? Under Portugal's new
      regime, people found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are
      sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker and legal
      adviser for appropriate treatment (which may be refused without criminal
      punishment), instead of jail.

      The question is, does the new policy work? At the time, critics in the
      poor, socially conservative and largely Catholic nation said
      decriminalizing drug possession would open the country to "drug
      tourists" and exacerbate Portugal's drug problem; the country had some
      of the highest levels of hard-drug use in Europe. But the recently
      released results of a report commissioned by the Cato Institute, a
      libertarian think tank, suggest otherwise.

      The paper, published by Cato in April, found that in the five years
      after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among
      teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by
      sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking
      treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.

      "Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a
      resounding success," says Glenn Greenwald, an attorney, author and
      fluent Portuguese speaker, who conducted the research. "It has enabled
      the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far
      better than virtually every other Western country does."

      Compared to the European Union and the U.S., Portugal's drug use numbers
      are impressive. Following decriminalization, Portugal had the lowest
      rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the E.U.: 10%. The
      most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%.
      Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have
      used marijuana.

      The Cato paper reports that between 2001 and 2006 in Portugal, rates of
      lifetime use of any illegal drug among seventh through ninth graders
      fell from 14.1% to 10.6%; drug use in older teens also declined.
      Lifetime heroin use among 16-to-18-year-olds fell from 2.5% to 1.8%
      (although there was a slight increase in marijuana use in that age
      group). New HIV infections in drug users fell by 17% between 1999 and
      2003, and deaths related to heroin and similar drugs were cut by more
      than half. In addition, the number of people on methadone and
      buprenorphine treatment for drug addiction rose to 14,877 from 6,040,
      after decriminalization, and money saved on enforcement allowed for
      increased funding of drug-free treatment as well.

      Portugal's case study is of some interest to lawmakers in the U.S.,
      confronted now with the violent overflow of escalating drug gang wars in
      Mexico. The U.S. has long championed a hard-line drug policy, supporting
      only international agreements that enforce drug prohibition and imposing
      on its citizens some of the world's harshest penalties for drug
      possession and sales. Yet America has the highest rates of cocaine and
      marijuana use in the world, and while most of the E.U. (including
      Holland) has more liberal drug laws than the U.S., it also has less drug

      "I think we can learn that we should stop being reflexively opposed when
      someone else does [decriminalize] and should take seriously the
      possibility that anti-user enforcement isn't having much influence on
      our drug consumption," says Mark Kleiman, author of the forthcoming When
      Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment and
      director of the drug policy analysis program at UCLA. Kleiman does not
      consider Portugal a realistic model for the U.S., however, because of
      differences in size and culture between the two countries.

      But there is a movement afoot in the U.S., in the legislatures of New
      York State, California and Massachusetts, to reconsider our overly
      punitive drug laws. Recently, Senators Jim Webb and Arlen Specter
      proposed that Congress create a national commission, not unlike
      Portugal's, to deal with prison reform and overhaul drug-sentencing
      policy. As Webb noted, the U.S. is home to 5% of the global population
      but 25% of its prisoners.

      At the Cato Institute in early April, Greenwald contended that a major
      problem with most American drug policy debate is that it's based on
      "speculation and fear mongering," rather than empirical evidence on the
      effects of more lenient drug policies. In Portugal, the effect was to
      neutralize what had become the country's number one public health
      problem, he says.

      "The impact in the life of families and our society is much lower than
      it was before decriminalization," says Joao Castel-Branco Goulao,
      Portugual's "drug czar" and president of the Institute on Drugs and Drug
      Addiction, adding that police are now able to re-focus on tracking much
      higher level dealers and larger quantities of drugs.

      Peter Reuter, a professor of criminology and public policy at the
      University of Maryland, like Kleiman, is skeptical. He conceded in a
      presentation at the Cato Institute that "it's fair to say that
      decriminalization in Portugal has met its central goal. Drug use did not
      rise." However, he notes that Portugal is a small country and that the
      cyclical nature of drug epidemics — which tends to occur no matter what
      policies are in place — may account for the declines in heroin use and

      The Cato report's author, Greenwald, hews to the first point: that the
      data shows that decriminalization does not result in increased drug use.
      Since that is what concerns the public and policymakers most about
      decriminalization, he says, "that is the central concession that will
      transform the debate."

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