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The Great Weed Debate

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 15, 2010
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      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      The Great Weed Debate: Legalize it
      Marijuana prohibition is more dangerous than you think.
      By Dan McQuade
      Jul. 13, 2010

      It’s Christmas Eve and I want some pot brownies. Problem is, my dealer
      got pulled over last night for speeding. The cops found his bowl in the
      center console. Dumbass.

      Now what? Well, I’m out of pot and I got no connections. Shit. I sigh.
      This is going to be a long Christmas.

      Weed smokers are being cited, arrested, locked up. And for what?
      Something that grows naturally in the earth? Marijuana prohibition needs
      to end. Now.

      In the onslaught of the War on Drugs in the ’80s and ’90s, marijuana
      legalization was a pipe dream. In fact, anti-marijuana rhetoric has been
      the most visible drug policy issue in the U.S. since Ronald Reagan. It
      was only 12 years ago the United Nations held a conference calling for a
      drug-free world by 2008. Now, though, it’s closer than it has been since
      the 1970s. California—whose medical program is almost de facto
      legalization for many—will hold a referendum in November on whether to
      fully allow it.

      Smokers, unite. The end of marijuana prohibition has got to be on its
      way. Sure, it would be a complicated transition to a legal marijuana
      market, but just think of the benefits: No more drug corners. No more
      waiting. No more getting pinched for an eighth. No more guesswork. Just
      good old legal weed.

      Now let’s lecture you for a paragraph. Just because your drug of choice
      is definitely the most awesome—suck it, beer geeks—doesn’t mean you can
      go smoking it 24/7. You need to sleep.

      It’s not a good idea to wake-and-bake every day, either. Yes, one can
      smoke enough marijuana to ruin your life (or, at least, lose your job
      and girlfriend and get fat thanks to a too many days of pot, pizza and
      Law & Order marathons). Even if it can’t cause an overdose, one can
      smoke too much weed.

      Fortunately, “smoking too much weed” about the worst-case scenario for
      marijuana use. There’s no evidence it causes cancer, but marijuana smoke
      isn’t good for the lungs. Driving while high is a bad idea. Pretty much
      everything else marijuana is blamed for—brain damage and memory loss,
      crime, a gateway to more dangerous drugs, “amotivational syndrome”—has
      been debunked. (There’s a whole book on this: Marijuana Myths, Marijuana

      So, yeah, weed can make you fat if you consume half the Wawa every time
      you smoke. Is this something we should be fighting a war on?

      Marijuana prohibition is far more dangerous than marijuana. Weed dealers
      can’t settle their differences through the courts. The media calls it
      “drug-related violence,” but in reality it’s drug prohibition-related
      violence. Sometimes innocents are caught in the crossfire. Far too
      frequently, people (or their pets) are killed by SWAT forces raiding a
      house where the police believe there is marijuana. It’s impossible to
      overdose and die on pot, but pot laws kill.

      In 2008, the most recent year data is available from the FBI Uniform
      Crime Reports, police arrested 847,864 people for marijuana law
      violations; 89 percent of those arrests were for simple possession. No,
      most of those arrested do not go to prison. UCLA public policy professor
      Mark Kleiman estimates there are about 30,000 people behind bars for
      cannabis law violations.

      Some may not have sympathy for those killed in drug raids or the
      thousands arrested for weed. After all, they broke the law. But we have
      to be realistic. Cannabis is much less harmful than both our two primary
      legal drugs; hell, it’s much less harmful than speeding. These pointless
      arrests harm the lives of hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-abiding
      productive citizens. They have to suffer the experience and
      embarrassment of an arrest and possible criminal record. Some may lose
      federal funding because of a simple pot arrest. And for what?

      There are almost too many arguments against marijuana prohibition. It
      does tremendous collateral damage. It blocks people from a medicine that
      works wonders on certain debilitating ailments. It prevents farmers from
      planting industrial hemp. It festers a black market that allows
      marijuana to be sold in every high school in the country. It costs a
      ton. It doesn’t even really stop anyone from smoking pot. You’d have to
      be stoned out of your mind to want a system that has failed so
      spectacularly continue.

      And then, one day, we can maybe have a second drug celebration event in
      this town. It’s just a dream, but who wouldn’t enjoy Philly Weed Week?

      Dan Clore

      New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      All laws are good, to those who draw a salary for
      their enforcement.
      -- Clark Ashton Smith
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