Happy International Overdose Awareness Day.
I wrote this story for Tablet. If the responses I’ve received so far are any indication, some of you are going to hate this article. Some of you might accuse me of propagating “reefer madness.” We can have an interesting discussion about that in the comments. My own suspicion is that for whatever reason, there is such a deep-seated cultural attachment to the idea of cannabis being some kind of a wonder plant that many people have a reflexive revulsion to anything arguing otherwise. In other words, I think much of the reaction is emotional. But I can be convinced otherwise.
Read all of this excellent article here.
Why, of course, President Obama is cool towards non-enforcement of marijuana laws.
President Obama says recreational users of marijuana in states that have legalized the substance should not be a “top priority” of federal law enforcement officials prosecuting the war on drugs.
“We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Obama said of pot users in Colorado and Washington during an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Barbara Walters.
“It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal,” he said, invoking the same approach taken toward users of medicinal marijuana in 18 states where it’s legal.
There is precedent with the President not liking duly passed laws and refusing to enforce them. Examples include the Defense of Marriage Act and the Dream Act with regards to enforcement of the immigration laws.
Now, it is federal drug laws pertaining to marijuana.
If the President doesn’t like a law – no problem. It is no longer a priority.
Sounds like dictatorial type of powers to me….
Here is the video:
According to the latest Gallup Poll.
A record-high 50% of Americans now say the use of marijuana should be made legal, up from 46% last year. Forty-six percent say marijuana use should remain illegal.
When Gallup first asked about legalizing marijuana, in 1969, 12% of Americans favored it, while 84% were opposed. Support remained in the mid-20s in Gallup measures from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, but has crept up since, passing 30% in 2000 and 40% in 2009 before reaching the 50% level in this year’s Oct. 6-9 annual Crime survey.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States.” The National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2009 found that “16.7 million Americans aged 12 or older used marijuana at least once in the month prior to being surveyed, an increase over the rates reported in all years between 2002 and 2008.”
It has been made essentially legal here in California with the medicinal marijuana laws and the decriminalizing of personal possession. If you are caught tomorrow here with a small amount, you will be guilty of an infraction and have to pay a $100 fine.
Over the weekend, it was announced the California Medical Association called for the legalization of marijuana.
Eventually, in a generation or two, pot may be legalized, but like alcohol and tobacco there are problems with the drug. The voting public will have to weigh the negative effects of the inebriation versus the benefits of the high.
Here is a chart of the polling demograhics:
In his younger days Arnold Schwarzenegger smoking some weed
The California Governor, Schwarzenegger, who opposes Proposition 19, this morning signed a landmark bill in the state of California which decriminalizes the possession of marijuana. For those wondering, this does not make marijuana possession legal, but it no longer will be a misdemeanor offense. Instead of the mandatory fine of $100 as well as the mandatory appearance in front of a judge, the outcome of being caught with marijuana will now simply be a $100 fine. The new law will be in effect on January 1st and include anyone caught with up to an ounce of marijuana. Basically the possession of the drug is seen no different by California now than speeding is.
Schwarzenegger signed the bill because it will save the state a ton of money since there will no longer need to be a judge and attorneys appointed to each and every one of the misdemeanor offenses involving marijuana possession. Last year alone there were 60,000 Californians caught with the drug, and in the last decade approximately 500,000 offenders.
I am trying not to be cynical here but really isn’t this a ploy to make sure that Proposition 19 which legalizes marijuana on the November ballot will NOT pass? The fact is the medicinal marijuana law is a mockery and the use of marijuana is very common place – like alcohol in California.
I really don’t know how California will EVER solve its numerous problems with more stoned out citizens. But, the current law is really a joke anyway.
A California budget solution?
A measure to legalize marijuana in California has enough signatures to qualify for the November 2010 ballot, advocates say.
The Tax and Regulate Initiative has far more than the nearly 434,000 signatures needed to make the statewide ballot, said Richard Lee, well-known Oakland medical marijuana entrepreneur and the initiative’s main backer. Campaign organizers say they will submit more than 650,000 signatures of registered voters next month.
“People were eager to sign,” Lee told the Chronicle. “We heard they were ripping the petitions out of people’s hands to do it.
Heh….. I bet they were……
Will this be the first Obama Administration step toward legalization of marijuana?
Federal drug agents won’t pursue pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers in states that allow medical marijuana, under new legal guidelines to be issued Monday by the Obama administration.
Two Justice Department officials described the new policy to The Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state law.
The guidelines to be issued by the department do, however, make it clear that agents will go after people whose marijuana distribution goes beyond what is permitted under state law or use medical marijuana as a cover for other crimes, the officials said.
The new policy is a significant departure from the Bush administration, which insisted it would continue to enforce federal anti-pot laws regardless of state codes.
Fourteen states allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
California is unique among those for the widespread presence of dispensaries – businesses that sell marijuana and even advertise their services. Colorado also has several dispensaries, and Rhode Island and New Mexico are in the process of licensing providers, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a group that promotes the decriminalization of marijuana use.
Attorney General Eric Holder said in March that he wanted federal law enforcement officials to pursue those who violate both federal and state law, but it has not been clear how that goal would be put into practice.
A three-page memo spelling out the policy is expected to be sent Monday to federal prosecutors in the 14 states, and also to top officials at the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration.
The memo, the officials said, emphasizes that prosecutors have wide discretion in choosing which cases to pursue, and says it is not a good use of federal manpower to prosecute those who are without a doubt in compliance with state law.
Well, the California laws on medical marijuana are a joke and anyone can obtain marijuana by going to a medical marijuana doctor or clinic. If the Obama Administration wants to legalize hemp then they should just pursue legislation, tax and regulate it.
For now, marijuana use in California will continue to be lack of enforcement, a wink and a nod.
While 49 per cent say no in the latest Rasmussen Poll.
Forty-one percent (41%) of likely U.S. voters think the United States should legalize and tax marijuana to help solve the nationâ€™s fiscal problems.
However, nearly half (49%) oppose this idea, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
These results show little difference from a survey conducted in February that asked Americans about legalization only. At that time, 40% said marijuana should be legalized, but 46% disagreed.
While little movement has been made on the federal level, cash-strapped states â€“ most notably California â€“ have taken the idea of legalizing and taxing the drug into consideration. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state assemblymen are calling for a discussion on the proposal as a means to not only increase tax revenue for the state but to free up large sums of money invested in the legal system as a result of the War on Drugs.
California voters are evenly divided on the issue. A recent survey found that 45% support legalizing and taxing marijuana to help solve the stateâ€™s financial problems, while 46% are opposed to the idea.
A novel idea that pot could help California’s budget problems but it legalization and taxation will not occur anytime soon. In the meantime, California is racking up some serious budget deficits.
So, if anyone thinks marijuana will help California with its government financing operations, they are just blowing smoke.
Gil Kerlikowske, the new White House drug czar, signaled Wednesday his openness to rethinking the government’s approach to fighting drug useWhat a shock!
The Obama administration’s new drug czar says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting “a war on drugs,” a move that would underscore a shift favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use.
In his first interview since being confirmed to head the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske said Wednesday the bellicose analogy was a barrier to dealing with the nation’s drug issues.
“Regardless of how you try to explain to people it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on a product,’ people see a war as a war on them,” he said. “We’re not at war with people in this country.”
Mr. Kerlikowske’s comments are a signal that the Obama administration is set to follow a more moderate — and likely more controversial — stance on the nation’s drug problems. Prior administrations talked about pushing treatment and reducing demand while continuing to focus primarily on a tough criminal-justice approach.
The Obama administration is likely to deal with drugs as a matter of public health rather than criminal justice alone, with treatment’s role growing relative to incarceration, Mr. Kerlikowske said.
Hell, Obama is no longer fighting a “War on Terror.” So, getting rid of a war on drugs is easy.
Flap is looking forward to all of those treatment facilities for marijuana addiction. Come on, Obama is essentially legalizing pot with its failure to enforce the nation’s drug laws.
Who is anyone kidding?
Arnold Schwarzenegger before his political days smoking a joint
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday it’s time for California to study whether to legalize and tax marijuana for recreational use, though he’s not yet advocating for such a change.
The governor was asked about a recent Field Poll showing that 56 percent of registered voters support legalizing and taxing marijuana to raise revenues for cash-strapped California. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, has proposed legislation that would legalize the drug for recreational use, rather than just medical purposes.
“Well, I think it’s not time for that, but I think it’s time for a debate,” Schwarzenegger said. “I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues, I’m always for an open debate on it. And I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs, what effect did it have on those countries?”
He said his native Austria is revisiting some of its marijuana laws, for instance. The Austrian Parliament last year authorized cultivation of medical marijuana.
“It could very well be that everyone is happy with that decision and then we could move to that,” Schwarzenegger said of other nations’ legalization policies. “If not, we shouldn’t do it. But just because of raising revenues … we have to be careful not to make mistakes at the same time.
Schwarzenegger previously has shown a casual attitude toward marijuana. He was filmed smoking a joint in the 1977 film, “Pumping Iron.” And he told the British version of GQ in 2007, “That is not a drug. It’s a leaf.” Spokesman Aaron McLear downplayed the governor’s comment as a joke at the time.
For all intents and purposes, medical marijuana has already legalized “POT” in California. It takes very little effort to get “legal” marijuana in this state.
All Arnold is interested in is to increase state revenues through marijuana taxes to bail out his disasterous overspending budgets.