Posts Tagged ‘legalize weed’

Most Americans Want To Legalize Marijuana: New Poll

Graphic: Misplaced In The Midwest

​Just give me the ganja. A new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found that a majority of Americans continue to believe that marijuana should be legalized, but don’t support the legalization of other drugs.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 1,003 American adults, 55 percent of respondents support the legalization of cannabis, while 40 percent oppose it.
Democrats are the group most supportive of legalizing cannabis in the United States, with 63 percent in favor of ending the war on marijuana. Almost as many Independents, at 61 percent, also support the move.
Republicans were out of step with the majority on the legalization issue, with just 41 percent supporting marijuana legalization and 56 percent opposed.
Marijuana legalization enjoyed big majorities among men (57 percent) and respondents aged 35 to 54 (also 57 percent).

However, when it comes to other drugs, the numbers shrink rapidly.
Screen Shot 2011-08-09 at 2.53.18 PM.png
Graphic: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Clear majorities of Democrats and Independents support marijuana legalization, while a clear majority of Republicans opposes it.
Only 10 percent of Americans support legalizing MDMA, or “ecstasy.” Smaller proportions of respondents said they would approve of legalizing powder cocaine (9 percent), heroin (8 percent), methamphetamine (7 percent) and crack cocaine (7 percent).
Across the country, 64 percent of respondents said they believe America has a “serious drug abuse problem” which affects the entire United States. One in five (20 percent) believe the drug abuse problem is confined to specific areas and people (this would include the racist contingent who are blithely ignoring the facts).
Only one in twenty Americans — 5 percent — think America does not have a serious drug abuse problem.
The War On Drugs has a serious public relations problem, according to the poll.
Only nine percent of respondents believe the Drug War — the efforts of the U.S. government to stymie the illegal drug trade — has been a success. Two-thirds, 67 percent, say the Drug War has been a failure.
“The survey shows a country that is concerned about the effects of drugs, and at the same time deeply disappointed with the efforts of the U.S. government to deal with the drug trade,” Angus Reid Public Opinion offers in the “Analysis” section of their press release.
This is the third year in a row that Angus Reid Public Opinion surveys have shown majority support for marijuana legalization in the United States. The 2009 (53 percent) and 2010 surveys (52 percent) also found a majority of Americans calling for pot legalization.
“Cannabis is definitely not seen as a substance that is as harmful as other illegal drugs, as evidenced in the minuscule level of support for the legalization of cocaine or heroin,” Angus Reid Public Opinion noted.
The margin of error on the poll is plus or minus 3.1 percent, according to Angus Reid Public Opinion.
To see the full report, detailed tables and methodology of the survey, click here [PDF].
Screen Shot 2011-08-09 at 2.58.48 PM.png
Graphic: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Marijuana legalization enjoys majority support across the board when it comes to genders and age groups.

Here’s Why Legalizing Marijuana Makes Sense

Guest editorial: Here’s why legalizing marijuana makes sense
By Alex Newhouse

For the Yakima Herald-Republic

The call to legalize cannabis continues to grow louder despite all of the other problems our country is currently facing. Mainstream polls indicate almost 50 percent of Americans favor full-out legalization, and nearly 80 percent believe that marijuana should be available for medicinal purposes.

No one has ever died from simply using marijuana. In 1972, then-President Richard Nixon appointed the Shafer Commission to study the nation’s rising drug problem. It reported the following: “Neither the marihuana [sic] user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety.” The commission’s findings have withstood the test of time.

The more we learn about marijuana, the more benign it becomes. Marijuana does not cause cancer. Sound scientific studies, such as those done by UCLA’s Dr. Donald Tashkin, have clearly demonstrated this. We also know that marijuana is legitimate medicine. If marijuana has no medicinal benefit, why are so many terminally ill patients turning to it to improve their quality of life? Why, after countless legislative hearings and initiatives, have 16 states and our nation’s capital legalized marijuana for medicinal use? And why does an expensive prescription drug called Marinol, which is a synthetic form of the active ingredient in marijuana, exist? Even the federal government owns a patent for the medicinal use of marijuana. (The patent number is 6630507.)

Marijuana is medicine to many people. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s own administrative law judge, Francis L. Young, held that “marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.” Studies done by the California Center for Medical Cannabis Research and the recent breakthroughs highlighting the antibacterial properties of cannabis extracts also clearly demonstrate marijuana’s potential as a natural and inexpensive medicine.

Unlike most medicines, it is quite safe for marijuana to be used recreationally by responsible and healthy adults. According to the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, over 100 million Americans have tried or use marijuana. If this market were taxed and regulated, crime rates would go down and agriculturally based communities would profit. We easily forget how much disrespect for the law vanished when alcohol prohibition was repealed, or that well over 30,000 Mexican citizens have died since 2006 as a direct result of a drug war fueled in large part by demand for marijuana, or that the U.S. has spent approximately a trillion dollars and 100,000 lives on a drug war that could be reined in considerably with marijuana legalization.

Regulating marijuana would also protect our children. It is easier for kids today to get marijuana than it is for them to get alcohol or tobacco, which is a fact supported by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Drug dealers simply do not ask for ID. Regulation would also lessen the burden on the criminal justice system, making it easier to keep violent criminals behind bars. Washington currently has mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana possession, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports more people are being court-ordered into treatment for marijuana than ever before under threat of incarceration. This is a huge waste of resources.

The legalization movement is not about persuading people to use marijuana, but for giving the sick and responsible the liberty to consume a relatively benign product. Proposed policies within the spirit of the movement are worthy of our consideration.


* Alex Newhouse is a lawyer who lives in the Sunnyside area.

Majority of Americans Are Ready to Legalize Marijuana

As was the case last year, most respondents believe the “War on Drugs” has been a failure.
Many Americans continue to believe that marijuana should be legalized, but are not supportive of making other drugs readily available, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.
In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,003 American adults, 55 per cent of respondents support the legalization of marijuana, while 40 per cent oppose it.
The groups that are the most supportive of making cannabis legal in the U.S. are Democrats (63%), Independents (61%), Men (57%) and respondents aged 35-to-54 (57%).
However, only 10 per cent of Americans support legalizing ecstasy. Smaller proportions of respondents would consent to the legalization of powder cocaine (9%), heroin (8%), methamphetamine or “crystal meth” (7%), and crack cocaine (7%).
Across the country, 64 per cent of respondents believe America has a serious drug abuse problem that affects the entire United States, while one-in-five (20%) perceive a drug abuse problem that is confined to specific areas and people. One-in-twenty Americans (5%) think America does not have a serious drug abuse problem.
Only nine per cent of respondents believe the “War on Drugs”—the efforts of the U.S. government to reduce the illegal drug trade—has been a success, while two thirds (67%) deem it a failure.
The survey shows a country that is concerned about the effects of drugs, and at the same time deeply disappointed with the efforts of the U.S. government to deal with the drug trade.
However, as has been outlined in Angus Reid Public Opinion surveys conducted in 2009 and 2010, a majority of Americans are calling for the legalization of marijuana. Cannabis is definitely not seen as a substance that is as harmful as other illegal drugs, as evidenced in the minuscule level of support for the legalization of cocaine or heroin.
Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Latest DOJ Brief Provides Security For State Employees Enforcing Medical Marijuana Laws

Medical Marijuana Signby Noah Mamber

A funny thing happened on Monday. The Department of Justice filed a brief regarding state medical marijuana laws in Arizona . . . and it was a good thing, and was met with appreciation from the medical marijuana movement! Seriously. After the disappointments of the vague, not very helpful Cole memo, and the expected but still disappointing DEA denial of marijuana’s medical value, it was great to see the Department of Justice (DoJ) doing the right thing regarding medical marijuana, even if it was only in a limited way.

As you may know, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, last seen promoting states’ rights and vowing to fight on when it comes to illegal immigration, and her Attorney General, Tom Horne, had filed a suit as plaintiffs against the federal government, requesting permission to move ahead with Arizona’s medical marijuana program implementation. This was ridiculous, since no other governor has needed federal permission to move ahead with medical marijuana implementation, even though some others have also tried to use the red herring threat of federal action to slow implementation. Apparently, the DoJ also thinks Brewer’s claims are ridiculous, and it said as much in its withering Motion to Dismiss brief, in which it took apart each of the state of Arizona’s arguments, urging the court to dismiss the case. If the court dismisses the case, Brewer’s logical course of action would be to fully implement Arizona’s medical marijuana law, including licensing more than 100 dispensaries, though given her intransigence, that course of action is sadly not a given.

Jan Brewer marijuana leaves

Throughout its brief, the DoJ basically said that the state of Arizona has no case and that plaintiffs Gov. Brewer and AG Horne have invented a controversy where none exists. Further, the brief notes that a state is not allowed to bring a case asking two sides to fight it out, without taking a position on the law in question, belying Gov. Brewer’s claims upon the suit’s filing of being a neutral party seeking “clarity.” The American judicial process simply does not work that way. In its brief, the DoJ’s criticism of the plaintiffs’ complaint was often direct and sometimes even slightly mocking, which was definitely appreciated by this reader.

The brief attacks the premise of Arizona’s suit in several ways. It says that the suit does not raise a substantial federal question (which it must in order to be heard first in federal court) because it asks for a declaratory judgment on the validity of a state law. It is amusing to watch the federal government explain Constitutional Law 101 to Gov. Brewer, noting that, “there is no federal jurisdiction of a suit by a state to declare the validity of its regulations despite possibly conflicting federal law” (p. 6). The brief also states directly that Arizona has not asserted any “actual, concrete controversy” in its complaint. The brief criticizes the plaintiffs for not identifying a controversy between the parties in the suit and notes the plaintiffs’ failure to take a side as a fatal flaw in the lawsuit, accusing the state of Arizona of “attempt[ing] to manufacture disputes among other parties” (p. 9). The brief criticizes Arizona’s decision to create twenty fictitious defendants, ten on one side of the law and ten on the other, states its doubts about the existence of the hypothetical defendants, and notes definitively that “parties cannot have ‘adverse legal interests’ necessary to establish a live controversy, when one party (particularly the plaintiff) professes to take neither side of the dispute” (p. 10). Finally, the brief denies that Arizona even has standing to raise such a claim, as it has not suffered any “injury in fact.” Basing standing on the idea that some Arizonans disagree about federal law’s effect on Arizona’s medical marijuana law will not work, nor will an unspecific suggestion about a “supposed risk that Arizona citizens will lose revenue or property” (pp. 11-12).

More importantly on a national level, this DoJ brief appears to affirm the following interpretation of the Ogden and Cole Memorandums, along with other relevant case law and actual enforcement: that there has been no demonstration that the federal government is interested in prosecuting state employees for implementing state medical marijuana programs and issuing dispensary licenses. The DoJ cites the lack of any “genuine threat that any state employee will face imminent prosecution under federal law” (p. 2) and notes that “plaintiffs can point to no threat of enforcement against the State’s employees” (p. 10). The brief notes that Arizona has no “concrete plan to act in violation of the Controlled Substances Act,” as it has refused to accept dispensary applications and issue licenses (an act that MPP believes, based on relevant court precedent, would clearly not be such a violation). The brief notes that Arizona was not able to produce any threat, generalized or specific, directed towards its state employees, and it points to the omission of any state employee threats in Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke’s letter on the issue (p. 14). The brief dismisses Arizona’s suggestion that Arizona state employees are subject to federal prosecution as “mere speculation” (p. 15). It sums up this argument when it says:

Plaintiffs identify no prior instances in which the federal government has sought to prosecute state employees for the conduct vaguely described in Plaintiffs’ complaint. Without evidence of such prior prosecutions, Plaintiffs cannot credibly show a genuine threat of imminent prosecution in this case. (p. 15)

This message from the DoJ is heartening, along with U.S. Attorney Burke’s clear statement that going after state employees “is not a priority for us, and will not be.” This brief also comes on the heels of the statement of former U.S. Attorney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who said definitively about his decision to implement the state’s medical marijuana program:

I don’t believe the United States Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, given the narrow and medically based nature of our program, will expend what are significantly lessening federal law enforcement resources in the context of the federal budget, on going after dispensaries in New Jersey, our Department of Health or other state workers who are helping to implement this program.

These recent events all suggest that the Department of Justice is interpreting its guidance to mean that state employees can fully implement medical marijuana programs, like those in Arizona and Rhode Island, with no fear of prosecution. So let’s get it done, Governors Brewer and Chaffee! Time is wasting, and people are hurting and need their medicine now.

From Marijuana Policy Project

#AskObama Twitter Town Hall Ignores Flood of Marijuana Legalization Questions

#AskObama Twitter town hall ignores flood of marijuana legalization questions

Republicans were not the only ones flooding President Barack Obama with questions during his “#AskObama” Twitter town hall; the event also generated a huge response from those opposed to the war on drugs.

Data gathered by TwitSprout showed the most retweeted question for Obama was about the legalization of marijuana.

“Would you consider legalizing marijuana to increase revenue and save tax dollars by freeing up crowded prisons, court rooms?” was retweeted 4911 times, according to the analytics service.

A question about letting the Bush tax cuts expire came in second place, with only 1800 retweets.

Although marijuana legalization was an overwhelmingly popular question with Twitter users, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who moderated the online town hall, focused on questions pertaining to the economy, education and space exploration.

“#AskObama why they will answer Rep. Boehner’s question, but won’t talk about #CannabisJobs! Legalize it, start a new job creating industry,” the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws complained in tweet, which was itself retweeted more than 100 times.

During his YouTube Q&A in January, Obama was asked what his plan was to help alleviate the detrimental effects of America’s drug war.

He responded by saying that while he’s not in favor of legalization, he did see room for adjusting the drug war to focus less on incarceration and enforcement and more on medical treatment and other forms of interdiction.

The position expressed by President Obama was largely unchanged from 2009, when he told a community driven Q&A that he did not believe legalizing marijuana was a good strategy to grow the economy. He did not, however, crack a joke about the question, calling the debate over drug policy “legitimate.”

With prior reporting by Stephen C. Webster

How To: Legally Obtain A Medical Marijuana Recommendation

Always wondered how to get a medical marijuana card?

Watch this video, super informative and valid for all states that currently approve marijuana.

Give us your feedback!

Medical Marijuana Community In An Uproar Over Latest Round Of Federal Threats

obama marijuana

Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole issued a controversial memorandum Wednesday in an apparent attempt to clarify federal policy with regard to medical marijuana. Calling marijuana “a dangerous drug,” Cole’s memo threatened enforcement actions against “Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities,” including local and state officials. The memo further underscored that “State laws or local ordinances are not a defense to civil or criminal enforcement of federal law.”

Medical marijuana advocates are decrying this new policy as a retreat from President Obama’s pledge that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws,” and from the spirit of a previous memo issued by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden in October 2009. “It is disingenuous of the Obama Administration to say it is not attacking patients while obstructing the implementation of local and state medical marijuana laws,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, the country’s largest medical marijuana advocacy group. “The president is using intimidation tactics to stop elected officials from serving their constituents, thereby pushing patients into the illicit market.”


Despite the wording of the Ogden memo that federal resources should not be used for “individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana,” Cole claimed that his memo was consistent with that of his predecessor. However, patient advocates are questioning what they call glaring inconsistencies. “How are federal threats against local and state officials who are adopting public health measures warranted at any time, let alone at a time of fiscal constraint?” asked Sherer. The Cole memo rejects attempts by state governments to design laws under which medical marijuana providers could be in “clear and unambiguous compliance.”

Over the past few weeks, U.S. Attorneys have sent letters threatening public officials from at least 10 states with criminal prosecution if they implement laws regulating the production and distribution of medical marijuana. The Cole memo appeared to be an attempt to reinforce those threats. “At the same time the federal government is recognizing the rights of people living with cancer and other debilitating diseases to use medical marijuana, it is also denying them the means to obtain it legally,” continued Sherer.

Unwilling to accept this level of hostility from the federal government, patient advocates are putting energy behind a number of initiatives, including a pending petition to reschedule marijuana from its current status as a drug with no medical value, and a number of Congressional bills that aim to reduce federal restrictions on how states implement their own medical marijuana laws. “Until states and localities have the ability to adopt and enforce their own laws regarding the production and distribution of medical cannabis, federal interference will continue to undermine the rights of the very patients the Justice Department purports to recognize,” emphasized Sherer.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana for patients with physician approval. Laws regulating dispensaries exist in 10 states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont — but some states have suspended those laws as a result of federal intimidation. Notably, the states of Vermont and Delaware recently stood up to federal threats and defied such intimidation by passing laws licensing the distribution of medical marijuana.

Further information:
DOJ memorandum from June 29, 2011:
DOJ memorandum from October , 2009:

Should Medical Marijuana Patients Fight For Recreational Marijuana Legalization?

medical patients have all the fun
By Johnny Green

Last week I wrote an article, ‘When Will Marijuana Be Legal?‘ The purpose of the article was to illustrate to readers that many consumers take the legalization movement for granted, and assume that legalization will come quick and easy. In actuality, due to the election cycle, fragmentation of the coalition, and outright laziness, recreational legalization is going to take longer than people think. Just look at the comments on that article and you will see what I am talking about.

The comments from that article inspired me to write today’s article. To give some background about my perspective, I have been an OMMP patient/caretaker/grower in Oregon since 2006. I have been a recreational consumer since 1993. I use my doctor endorsed medical marijuana often, especially on days where the pain is more prevalent. However, I also consume marijuana for recreational enjoyment as well. Oregon Revised Statutes do not provide guidance to the OMMP on how to differentiate between the two; if you are an OMMP patient you get to consume cannabis in a private area with State protection, whether it’s recreational or medical.

I was fighting for marijuana policy reform since the mid 90′s. Oregon did not get a medical marijuana program until 1998, and it wasn’t until years later that it was expanded to cover my ailments. Maybe I am a little biased due to the fact that I was fighting for recreational legalization before I was fighting for medical marijuana. However, I feel that just because I received my OMMP approval it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t still fight for full legalization.
I have long dreamed of a day when I could consume without any fears of repercussion from law enforcement. Despite the fact that I have my paperwork on me at all times, I still worry that I am going to be confronted by a member of law enforcement that is on a personal mission to inject his/her views on the subject into their job. A cop can do whatever they want to do, and it’s up to the defendant to prove their innocence thereafter, despite the claim that we are a system of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ Just ask anyone that has been falsely accused, and had to pay high legal fees to get their lives to the same status as before the cops’ wrath. I know there will be readers that will say, ‘then you can sue after you win!’ but let’s get serious, you have to have pay more legal fees, and maybe you win the next case as well. That’s not nearly as simple as ‘yes officer, I have cannabis on my person and/or in my vehicle, but it is legal, so kick rocks…’

I hope fellow medical marijuana patients understand that I hear their argument, and it is very valid. This was the comment from my previous article that I think sums up the mood of many mmj patients:

“I focus only on patient needs. We are struggling with just that issue. If you want to throw everything into the equation, you will never win in our lifetime…and patients will definitely lose. Don’t try to win your goal for legalization for everyone on the backs of patients. It’s seriously pissing us off.”

      – Steve Sarich CannaCare

I understand where many patients are coming from when they feel this way. They use marijuana to alleviate their horrendous conditions, and see teenagers at the clinic getting their medical card/prescription when they look perfectly healthy. As with any government program, there are going to be loopholes and people taking advantage of the situation. It is absolutely disgusting to think that there are so many people suffering that need medical marijuana to tolerate living, and that there are people faking conditions to get a card. However, speaking as both a patient and a proponent of recreational legalization, I do honestly feel that we are in the same fight together.

Another reader made a very valid point:

evil cop
“If there were assurances that the program would be left alone, AS IS, I might take your side. However, if you think that the medicinal cannabis business is safe and secure, guess again. The right wingers dismantled the entire system. They just gave the medicinal cannabis program in Colorado some revisions that are designed to make the program unworkable, and the guy who designed that fiasco said that he’s coming to California to “help us with our problem”. – Kevin

I think Kevin is correct. Without the votes of both medical marijuana members/sympathizers and recreational users, both groups are left open to attacks from those that wish to harm safe access. I can’t speak for all jurisdictions, but up here in Oregon, most of the members of one cannabis organization are also members of other cannabis organizations, both medical and recreational. These people also don’t think it’s cool to ‘ride the backs of patients,’ but they realize that there are clear benefits to banding together with like minded people.

Just as there are many in the MMJ community that are not happy about the recreational crowd, there are some in the recreational crowd that feel the same way toward the MMJ community. I have more acquaintances that are recreational users than medical consumers by far. There are not a lot, but there are some nonetheless, that feel the MMJ community turned their back on recreational users once the programs were started because cardholders already had their legal coverage. One guy I know very well always says, ‘We (recreational community) voted for medical marijuana in Oregon, when is it our turn for full legalization? All my card holding friends don’t go to any rallies anymore, they don’t collect signatures anymore, they just protect their own interests instead of going all the way on this thing.’ Like I said, that’s not MY opinion, but it’s something that I think is part of the conversation and comes up often.

Dank Marijuana Nugget
What I do feel is that we are in this together. As a cardholder myself, I feel that medical marijuana should come first out of compassion, but that the fight should go on for full legalization out of a desire to apply logic to government. Anyone that has consumed marijuana, medical or recreational, will attest that it is not the menace that some make it out to be. In fact, it is a wonder plant that can be applied to so many facets of living. I am lucky enough to live in a state that recognizes the medicinal powers of marijuana. I wish it would be more widely applied so we could get the nation off of so many other harmful drugs. I also wish people could use it legally to relax from a long day instead of consuming large amounts of alcohol.

What do readers think? I welcome views from both sides, and as always, even people that disagree with me. I would much rather be wrong and create a constructive conversation than be right and bring zero awareness and education. Do you think that lumping the two causes together hinders the progress of either cause? I look forward to what people have to say.

Legislation To End U.S. Marijuana Prohibition Coming Thursday

Graphic: Drug Policy Alliance

​The first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition is coming on Thursday, June 23. Historic, bipartisan legislation which would end the United States’ war on marijuana — and allow states to legalize, tax regulate and control cannabis commerce without federal interference — will be introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Co-sponsors of the bill include Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)

The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or interstate smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal.

Leading critics of the war on marijuana will explain the legislation’s significance for state and national marijuana policy at a national press teleconference on Thursday.
A group of police and judges who fought on the front lines of the failed War On Drugs is announcing its support for the legislation, which is called the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011.
“Clearly the ‘war on drugs’ has failed, and nowhere is that more clear than with respect to marijuana,” said Neill Franklin, a former Baltimore narcotics cop and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “It baffles me that we arrest nearly 800,000 people on marijuana charges in this country each and every year at taxpayer expense when we could instead be taking in new tax revenue from legal and regulated marijuana sales.
“Making marijuana illegal hasn’t prevented anyone from using it, but it has created a huge funding source that funnels billions of dollars in tax-free profits to violent drug cartels and gangs,” Franklin said. “More and more cops now agree: Legalizing marijuana will improve public safety.”
jimmy carter flip.jpg
Photo: Jimmy Carter Library & Museum
Former President Jimmy Carter:
“Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay
for the war on drugs will help bring about a reform of America’s drug policies”
Last week marked the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s declaring war on marijuana and other drugs. In an op-ed in the New York Times last week, timed for the 40th anniversary, former President Jimmy Carter called for reforming marijuana laws.
The legislation also comes on the heels of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which released a report on June 2 calling for a major paradigm shift in how our society deals with drugs, including calling for legal regulation of marijuana. The report sent a jolt around the world, generating thousands of international media stories.
The Commission is comprised of international dignitaries including Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations; Richard Branson, entrepreneur, founder of the Virgin Group; and the former presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Switzerland. Representing the United States on the Commission are George P. Shultz, Paul Volcker and John Whitehead.
More than 46 percent of Californians voted last year to legalize marijuana in their state, and voters in Colorado, Washington and possibly other states are expected to vote on the issue next year. In the past year, five state legislatures have considered legalizing marijuana, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington state.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, but the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues to arrest people under federal law, and U.S. Attorneys have in recent months sent threatening letters to state policymakers in an apparent attempt to meddle in state decision-making.
Rep. Frank’s legislation would end state/federal conflicts over marijuana policy, reprioritize federal resources, and provide more room for states to do what is best for their own citizens, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
You can write to your Representatives by using this handy form; just enter your state and zip code, and mention that you support the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011:
What: Tele-Press Conference on the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011
When: Thursday, June 23, 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST
Call-In Info: 1-800-311-9404; Passcode: Marijuana
• Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
• Rob Kampia, executive director of Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
• Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)
• Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
• Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)

Former President Carter Urges Marijuana Legalization

JIMmy  carter.jpg
Photo: Jimmy Carter Library & Museum
Former President Jimmy Carter:
“Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay for
the war on drugs will help bring about a reform of America’s drug policies”

​In a new op-ed published in The New York Timesto coincide with Friday’s 40th anniversary of President Nixon declaring “War On Drugs,” former President Jimmy Carter supports recent recommendations for countries around the world to try “models of legal regulation of drugs … that are designed to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens.”

In the New York Times op-ed, President Carter called the recommendations of the Global Commission on Drug Policy “courageous and profoundly important.”

“In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts,” Carter wrote. “I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: ‘Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.’ “
“Those ideas were widely accepted at the time,” Carter wrote. “But in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan and Congress began to shift from balanced drug policies, including the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, toward futile efforts to control drug imports from foreign countries.”
“One result has been a terrible escalation in drug-related violence, corruption and gross violations of human rights in a growing number of Latin American countries,” Carter wrote.
“Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay for the war on drugs will help bring about a reform of America’s drug policies,” Carter wrote. “At least the recommendations of the Global Commission will give some cover to political leaders who wish to do what is right.”
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