In drug war, failed old ideas never die

By Bernd Debusmann
February 26, 2010

Here’s a stern warning to the U.S. states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. A United Nations body is displeased with your liberal medical marijuana laws. Very displeased.

The U.N. rarely takes issue with the internal affairs of member states, and even less with those of the United States. But that’s what the International Narcotics Control Board has just done in its latest annual report, published this week. Without mentioning by name the 14 American states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes, the 149-page report says:

“While the consumption and cultivation of cannabis, except for scientific purposes, are illegal activities according to federal law in the United States, several states have enacted laws that provide for the ‘medical use’ of cannabis. The control measures applied in those states for the cultivation of cannabis plants and the production, distribution and use fall short of the control requirements laid down in the 1961 Convention (on narcotic drugs.)

“The Board is deeply concerned that those insufficient control provisions have contributed substantially to the increase in illicit cultivation and abuse of cannabis in the United States. In addition, that development sends a wrong message to other countries.” The Board’s concern doesn’t end here. It is equally worried over “the ongoing discussion in several states on legalizing and taxing the ‘recreational’ use of cannabis.”

California, the most populous state in the U.S., stands out in that discussion. In mid-February, a California legislator, Tom Ammiamo, introduced a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana (by most estimates the state’s largest cash crop by far) much in the same way as alcohol. In addition, California backers of marijuana legalization say they have collected more than 700,000 signatures for a ballot initiative likely to be voted on in November.

There’s not the slightest hint in the U.N. report of rapidly growing support for more liberal laws on marijuana, the world’s most widely-used illicit drug. The latest U.S. poll on the issue, in January, showed that eight out of ten Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use and nearly half are in favor of legalizing the drug, in small quantities for personal use, altogether.

Countries that have done that come in for harsh rebuke from the Control Board, which singles out Mexico, Argentina and Brazil for having sent “the wrong message” by passing legislation that takes the crime out of drug use and replaces prison sentences with treatment and education programs.

U.N. OVERSTEPS THE MARK

In the eyes of two liberal think tanks, the Washington Office on Latin America and the Transnational Institute, lecturing the U.S., Mexico, Argentina and Brazil on the way they handle drug use are way off the mark. The rebuke, said a joint statement by the two groups, “clearly oversteps the INCB’s mandate and constitutes unwarranted intrusion into these country’s sovereign decision-making.”

The 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs placed marijuana in the most restrictive category, alongside heroin (as does the U.S. federal government) and for years was seen as a major obstacle to domestic reform in signatory countries. But a follow-up treaty in 1988 provided a measure of flexibility on whether or not drug possession should be treated as a criminal offence.

In the United States, for decades the spiritual home of rigid marijuana prohibitionists, President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, last October issued new policy guidelines that marked a milestone in a long-running dispute over whether federal law trumps state law on matters of marijuana. Holder announced that the Justice Department would stop raiding medical marijuana facilities set up under state law.

That was the most high-profile move on drug policy so far in the presidency of Obama, who is on record saying that “the war on drugs has been an utter failure. We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws…” He made the remark  in 2004, when he was running for a seat in the U.S. senate. Speaking about drug policies as a whole, not only on marijuana, as a presidential candidate, Obama said he believed in “shifting the paradigm, shifting the model so that we can focus more on the public health approach.”

In the long-running global dispute over drug strategy, that means treating addicts not as criminals but as patients who deserve care in a public health system. To hear Obama’s drug czar, former Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowski, tell it, that shift is underway. But is it really?

The answer is no, judging from just-released highlights of the national drug control budget for Fiscal Year 2011, which begins in October. It provides for $15.5 billion in overall spending, a 3.5 percent increase over 2010, and allots vastly more money to law enforcement ($ 9.9 billion) than to addiction treatment and preventive measures ($5.6 billion).

Like drug control budgets under President George W. Bush, the figures do not include the vast cost of arresting drug offenders and putting them behind bars, a practice that has helped turn the United States into the world’s biggest jailer. Factoring in those costs would show that 73 percent of overall spending goes to law enforcement and controlling the supply of drugs, according to John Walsh, a senior expert at WOLA.

Aaron Houston, director of government relations at the Marijuana Policy Project, sees the budget as evidence of recycled Bush policies rather than the paradigm shift Obama promised.

It’s Bush wine in Obama bottles.

34 comments

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Considering that all of the evidence so far collected points to cannabis being safer than alcohol or tobacco, there is simply no reason for cannabis to remain illegal.

It is safer than many prescription drugs and does not itself induce criminal behavior. There is no logical reason for it to be illegal. We have massive debt right now and this harmless plant could play a major role in getting ourselves out of this problem.

Posted by Benny_Acosta | Report as abusive

Hey, Obama is Bush III. Re: foreign wars, serving the banks, you name it. We now have to ooze around these ossified place holders like the “war on drug” types and act locally. This includes local action to avoid use of federal reserve notes and banks also i.e. “starve the beast”.

Posted by gramps | Report as abusive

The “war on drugs” is meant to be perpetuated, not won. Just like the “war on terror”.

Posted by Miltdog | Report as abusive

75 years ago, following the failure of Prohibition, John Anslinger led the charge to demonize Cannabis with a campaign of fear & hysteria.

75 years of Cannabis prohibition has resulted in millions of lives ruined, not by Cannabis, but by being persecuted under draconian laws which incarcerate otherwise harmless and innocent citizens.

This UN organization obviously has WAY too much time & funding on it’s hands, just as Anslinger did 75 years ago.

There are SO many ‘problems’ in this world which warrant the attention of the UN. To waste precious resources on continuing the hysterical battle against this fairly benign substance is not just wacky, it’s tragic.

Posted by TheKindG | Report as abusive

Cannabis laws are only popular among the criminals that have a monopoly on distribution, don’t fall for this BS about concern for health concerns, as mentioned tobacco and alcohol are both more dangerous and we deal with those.

Posted by jstaf | Report as abusive

Used to be, only the UN Security Council was throttled by servants indentured to the industry of perpetual war. Now it’s more like the whole UNine Yards.

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive

Eliminate all drug laws and all drug money being squandered by politicans who scream broke.
What happens to all of the money the gov. gets for drugs and duis?

Posted by Anna123 | Report as abusive

The war on drugs is a war on personal freedom. If the purpose is to improve safety to the general public, all drugs should be legalized and regulated. Currently regulation is left up to the drug dealers who have successfully evaded drug laws for decades.

It makes you wonder why they still teach kids about prohibitions failure in the 30′s, yet at the same time contradict themselves by saying THIS version of prohibition is just fine.

How many more lives have to be lost in the border wars before politicians admit they were wrong? Of course that’s a rhetorical question, politicians are never wrong, they are as infallible as the pope, aren’t they?

Posted by Cali099 | Report as abusive

Drug money is sloshing all around the world and the cartels have it hidden in more spots, it makes Madoff seem insignificant. I work for http://storyburn.com and the mess that lands on our doorstep is crazy bad. We have the most read home foreclosure story on the web and plenty of job hunting stories. We also have a financial fraud story involving a Mexican drug cartel and a high profile New York money manager.

Posted by hambo | Report as abusive

[...] original post here: In drug war, failed old ideas never die | Analysis & Opinion | Reuters Tags: alaska, california, colorado, hawaii, jersey, maine, mexico, michigan, montana, nevada, [...]

If someone drives or tries to work stoned, how do they check for too much? Sounds like opening a can of worms to me.

Posted by LuckyGrad68 | Report as abusive

legalize all drugs, then tell anyone doing business with the FED goverment and anyone get federal tax dollars they have to have a no tolerance policy on the current illegal drugs and random drug screenings. The states and local goverments will follow suit and then the adults that want to be adults to work and better their lives and adults that want to get stone in mommas basement can decide between good jobs and drugs. Give Insurance breaks do those employers with no tolerance policies to. Have DOT audit them. Get all non-violent drug offenders out of prison and make them feed themselves (or stay in mommas basement and we will save 30k a year on each of them by kicking them out of prison. Only the crooks don’t want drugs legal they make to much money on them and if regulated they would be SOL and never get a LIC to sell them, just like we don’t let them open bars once they have a felony.

Posted by BOZ | Report as abusive

It is frustrating to see so much being spent on this ‘war on pot’ when the problem, the one that is a real burden on public health and society, is the use of heroin, cocaine, and crystal meth. If marijuana is legalized, taxed, and therefore regulated the money may be used to treat addicts and put away the dealers. Most people who use marijuana earn a living, and pay taxes. Heroin addicts are dysfunctional, they get sick often and cram up the ER. Cocaine leads to violence, crystal meth makes people crazy. Addiction IS a disease, not a choice. Seems to me the real problem is not being addressed.

Posted by Chanfle73 | Report as abusive

Interesting. It is now common knowledge as to the actual reasoning as to why cannabis became illegal in the first place. We have entered the information age. You can only fool the masses with old tricks for so long. So a new question now emerges. What does this specific UN council have to gain from keeping cannabis illegal? Perhaps we should investigate further. Are there certain ties to specific industries? Perhaps we should “Follow the Money”…

Posted by Natheya | Report as abusive

The Government should legalize all drugs- across the board.

Besides, the Government is hypocritical in its stance, otherwise sleeping would be illegal because it causes hallucinations.

Someone should feed the Government medication so they stop having seizures.

The UN is an extension of this ultimate evil against everyone except the Establishment, and this brainwashing Modus Operandi, that is used by “the Beast 666.”

Posted by snitzel | Report as abusive

Wow, really interesting article. I had no idea that the UN had any say in sovereign nation drug policy making. Seems they have more influence over the US when it comes to arresting kids smoking pot than trying to get them to stop torturing brown people. The tide seems to be growing to decriminalize, too bad gov’t spending doesn’t seem to reflect public opinion. http://theendisalwaysnear.blogspot.com/s earch/label/marijuana

Posted by nahummer | Report as abusive

The real problem today is subscription drug abuse, these are new junkies of course, numerically and in terms of severity, socila cost etc.

But Big Pharma makes Big Money from big drugs, yet there seems to be no impetus to curtail that trade.

Now why might that be?…

Posted by Dwight_Jones | Report as abusive

Legalize pot and I’ll have to sell my shares of Anheuser busch/ 52 week high 53.70 ???

Posted by life4takin | Report as abusive

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has a good summary of the effects of Marijuana. The research can be found on many other websites that report on valid biochemical research. For those of you that think another legal drug is a great idea and the country needs to allow your personal freedom, read the medical information.

The USA has many problems from tobacco and alcohol use. If you read any health cost reports you know that users of legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco cost billions in higher medical insurance costs, lost work days, and alcohol is a factor in most domestic violence cases.
Marijuana has the same issues.

Many of the comments are focused on legaizing the drug so people can “do their own thing”. Of course, everyone else pays for the side costs.

We are going the wrong direction on the drug war and legalization. Personal accountability and responsibility is the issue.

I can agree on letting people use marijuana. Just tax it to death, and change the drunk driving laws to 6 months in jail for any intoxicated driver no matter what drug for the first time, and the second offense is lifetime ban on driving and two years in prison. Several Nordic countries have these types of laws since alcohol abuse was so bad.

And for those of you who smoke and want to take more drugs, you should know that make you twice as expensive for medical insurance. Smoke grass or tobacco. Fine with me. Look up the health costs for smokers.

I employ over 100 people and have for 20 years. I pay for group medical insurance.
The smokers and heavier drinkers have higher medical bills and they are absent from work way more often.
The smokers are only at their best right after getting their hit of nicotine.
By all means, have personal freedom. Do your thing.
But I want you to have to pay your own way. That is freedom to right?
That would mean you pay about twice as much as everyone else for medical insurance. Are you on board? Or should I and the other non drug takers have to keep subsidizing you?

I copied the NIDA page on marijuana for anyone who wants to read it. We should be spending billions to discourage drugs, including tobacco and alcohol. As for drug trafficking of harder drugs, I favor Singapore and Malaysia and China’s approach. A speedy trial and execution.

NIDA PAGE ON MARIJUANA
How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?
Scientists have learned a great deal about how THC acts in the brain to produce its many effects. When someone smokes marijuana, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body.

THC acts upon specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, kicking off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the “high” that users experience when they smoke marijuana. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thoughts, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.1

Not surprisingly, marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory. Research has shown that marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off.2 As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a suboptimal intellectual level all of the time.

Research on the long-term effects of marijuana abuse indicates some changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term abuse of other major drugs. For example, cannabinoid withdrawal in chronically exposed animals leads to an increase in the activation of the stress-response system3 and changes in the activity of nerve cells containing dopamine.4 Dopamine neurons are involved in the regulation of motivation and reward, and are directly or indirectly affected by all drugs of abuse.

Addictive Potential
Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction; that is, compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite its known harmful effects upon social functioning in the context of family, school, work, and recreational activities. Long-term marijuana abusers trying to quit report irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which make it difficult to quit. These withdrawal symptoms begin within about 1 day following abstinence, peak at 2–3 days, and subside within 1 or 2 weeks following drug cessation.5

Marijuana and Mental Health
A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be a factor, where early use is a marker of vulnerability to later problems. However, at this time, it is not clear whether marijuana use causes mental problems, exacerbates them, or is used in attempt to self-medicate symptoms already in existence. Chronic marijuana use, especially in a very young person, may also be a marker of risk for mental illnesses, including addiction, stemming from genetic or environmental vulnerabilities, such as early exposure to stress or violence. At the present time, the strongest evidence links marijuana use and schizophrenia and/or related disorders.6 High doses of marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction; in addition, use of the drug may trigger the onset or relapse of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals.

What Other Adverse Effect Does Marijuana Have on Health?
Effects on the Heart
Marijuana increases heart rate by 20–100 percent shortly after smoking; this effect can last up to 3 hours. In one study, it was estimated that marijuana users have a 4.8-fold increase in the risk of heart attack in the first hour after smoking the drug.7 This may be due to the increased heart rate as well as effects of marijuana on heart rhythms, causing palpitations and arrhythmias. This risk may be greater in aging populations or those with cardiac vulnerabilities.

Effects on the Lungs
Numerous studies have shown marijuana smoke to contain carcinogens and to be an irritant to the lungs. In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50–70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke. Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which further increase the lungs’ exposure to carcinogenic smoke. Marijuana smokers show dysregulated growth of epithelial cells in their lung tissue, which could lead to cancer;8 however, a recent case-controlled study found no positive associations between marijuana use and lung, upper respiratory, or upper digestive tract cancers.9 Thus, the link between marijuana smoking and these cancers remains unsubstantiated at this time.

Nonetheless, marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections. A study of 450 individuals found that people who smoke marijuana frequently but do not smoke tobacco have more health problems and miss more days of work than nonsmokers.10 Many of the extra sick days among the marijuana smokers in the study were for respiratory illnesses.

Effects on Daily Life
Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana has the potential to cause problems in daily life or make a person’s existing problems worse. In one study, heavy marijuana abusers reported that the drug impaired several important measures of life achievement including physical and mental health, cognitive abilities, social life, and career status.11 Several studies associate workers’ marijuana smoking with increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers’ compensation claims, and job turnover.

Posted by JackAllan | Report as abusive

Jack, do you realize how stupid you make yourself sound when you try to preach to marijuana users about what the effects are? If there was a study on the effects of watching Fox news I’m sure there would be a far greater level of mental damage from that filth than smoking pot!

Posted by Cali099 | Report as abusive

Not Bad!

Posted by messi_gerrard | Report as abusive

Broken logic 101:

“If people keep committing an action which is a crime, then the correct solution is to stop that action being a crime. Then they will no longer be criminals.”

Posted by Anon86 | Report as abusive

JackAllan

You make very intelligent points. Very factual. Also those facts are based on abusive use of the plant. Keep in mind also, that in all of recorded history not one single human being has ever died of marijuana poisoning. It is impossible to smoke yourself to death.

In cultures where it was accepted it was said to be used for good health and long life. And many people who use it responsibly would agree. If the points you are attempting make about the health issues are intended as justification for keeping it marijuana illegal, you will be disappointed to know that the argument carries no weight for that purpose.

Alcohol is so addictive that a person under its grip cannot simply stop drinking. Doing that would kill them. Marijuana poses no such danger. Yet alcohol is legal and marijuana is not, (drink responsibly). There are studies that show cannabinoids may actually protect against cancer. So let’s not try to paint a picture of this substance as being some kind of demon weed.

Tobacco kills people by the millions all over the world. And to spite aggressive educational campaigning in this country, tobacco still kills millions abroad. But it’s legal and very profitable. The only groups that have anything to gain from keeping marijuana illegal are drug cartels both legal and illegal, alcohol producers, and tobacco producers.

Meanwhile legalization could open up markets in counseling, education, medicine, manufacturing, and a whole host of technologies. But for the sake of political pride people in control refuse to acknowledge the truth that the war on drugs is a failed endeavor. We have real problems facing us and this pursuit to save political face is getting in the way.

Posted by Benny_Acosta | Report as abusive

Marijuana is an herb and according to Genesis everyone has a
God given right to use it despite the Establishment and their evil gun toting pigs.

Posted by snitzel | Report as abusive

Good analysis. In this case the U.N. is both overstepping it’s boundaries and wrong in its conclusions.
The question is how to change the current irrational U.S. drug policy. I thought that voting for Obama would be a step in the right direction but in this issue and many others have been disappointed by our President’s actions. Voters in this country do not really have a choice at the ballot box…they can vote for “crazy” or “slightly less crazy”. The two-party system ensures that any other vote is wasted. No wonder so few in this country bother to vote.

Posted by jjg | Report as abusive

Cali099, Yes, Cali, I do know how stupid it is to preach about the effects of Marijuana to people who want to use it. I learned that when I was completing my undergraduate degree in BioChemistry at the University of California and was a volunteer at the local free drug counseling clinic doing drug testing and counseling.
I learned more about the futility of “preaching” after I graduated from law school and for 15 years volunteered part of my time as a supervising lawyer for a domestic violence center helping women get out of domestic violence situations. Over 90% of the thousands of clients I saw reported drug and alcohol use as part of the problems. Alcohol and Marijuana were the most common drugs. In my experience, preaching is not very effective.
My point was not to preach, but simply to state basic known medical information about the biochemistry of marijuana and the known effects. Much is not known.
I do not believe that we should waste resources on a losing drug war, but advocates for the legal use of marijuana are not lobbying for the right to work or free speech or some lofty goal. You simply want to get high and alter your brain chemistry, and very few advocates want to intelligently discuss the economic, social and medical costs of using this drug.
I saw the same type of thinking with alcohol abusers.

I agree with you about Fox News. I use to watch it and eventually found myself marching around the room singing German marching songs and shouting “Death to Liberals”.
Luckily my family did an intervention and I switched to CNN. However, I then would sit in a lotus position and say UMMMMMM for hours after the news.
Finally I switched to watching the crystal meth of news, Keith Olbermann. I started throwing things at the end of his program when he throws the papers at the camera. One night I threw the TV across the room. Since then I stay away from those addictive programs and get all my news from feeds from news services.
To get high, I watch my favorite movie. The Big Lebowsky. Call me The Dude or Duder, or El Duderino.
Chill Man.

To Benny: Thanks for your thoughtful response. I am aware of most of the recent scientific research on marijuana, and I agree that marijuana is not the demon drug. That would be crystal meth. I also agree that legalalization may have some benefits including freeing law enforcement to work on other problems and the ability to tax the users and perhaps more research.
I thought I made it clear that I was ok with legalizing the marijuana use, I just want the users to pay the freight for the fall out. Based on my limited experience at the university and as a lawyer working with families who were affected by drug use, including alcohol and marijuana, I would much prefer we spend time, and money trying to discourage the use by education, and taxing the use heavily to pay for the damage to society. Raise taxes on tobacco, which is more addictive as well.

Posted by JackAllan | Report as abusive

On the alcohol vs marijuana discussion, here’s a useful link:

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/20 09/07/23/driven-to-drink-by-marijuana-la ws/

Posted by Komment | Report as abusive

I find it ironic this was posted the same day as an article detailing the connection between prolonged use and psychosis.

However, I am in favor of all victimless crimes being legalized, and I agree that the UN is butting in.

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive

First of all, the UN needs to stop sticking their noses in States’ business. I understand that it is difficult for that opportunistic cartel of European aristocrats, Russian mobsters, and Asian communists to understand that our States laws often take (or at least should take) precedence over Federal laws, but they should be sent a very clear message by the aforementioned States to BUTT OUT.
Second, I grow tired of the Marijuana users and their endless claims of how great Marijuana is compared to other drugs, how misunderstood it is, etc. Whether Marijuana is good or bad has no place in this discussion at all because the real crux of the issue is the Imperial Federal Government wasting mega sums of taxpayer money on a victimless crime. Let’s talk about that and keep the discussion moving forward. Dope smokers and their ridiculous claims only stain the debate and turn many people away from our viewpoint. In addition, I am tired of being associated with pot heads when this topic of discussion arises among my peers. So, I am asking the pro pot smokers out there to please stop hijacking this discussion whenever it comes up. This is not (or should not be) a forum on the merits of recreational Marijuana use.

Posted by Zacs | Report as abusive

Legalized Drugs? Just watch ABC news commercials to see the latest designer drugs. You can’t find beer, wine, or whiskey ads. Just drug ads. The money used for the drug war will help to provide health care for children, but the congress would just say no.

Posted by fred5407 | Report as abusive

Gee, Prohibition in the 20′s was such a smashing success! The War on Drugs has been such a valedictorian victory! Why stop something that has done so much for the triumph of Western Civilization!

Posted by EQReynolds | Report as abusive

There have been some thoughtful posts on this topic.

Personally, I’ve used pot daily for over 30 years. I graduated with a 3.8 GPA, learned to build computers before you could buy one pre-built, and have never drawn a single unemployment check. I make over $50K a year as a skilled laborer, where I have never filed a workman’s comp claim.

I’ve held the same job for over 16 years. During that time, I’ve missed a 14 days of work – 5 days for knee surgery, and 9 days for a seasonal flu which developed into viral bronchitis and nearly killed me. Neither was work-related.

About a third of my co-workers use pot, and about two-thirds use alcohol. The small percentage who abuse one or both are, in general, more accident-prone, less productive, more often tardy and far more aggressive. They tend to have very short careers. The vast majority are adults who don’t drink or smoke before coming to work, pay their bills and their taxes, and are – in general – a great bunch of folks to work with. Many of my co-workers are also my closest friends. About half of my friends smoke pot, and the rest don’t care that we do, as long as we don’t care that they don’t smoke.

This isn’t a scientific study, but based on my observations:

1. Drugs are not the underlying problem. Alcohol doesn’t “make” someone violent, and pot doesn’t “make” someone irresponsible. People are who they are, and drugs merely peel away the outer facade to expose the inner person.

2. I have never met a pot smoker who didn’t try alcohol first.

3. People who sell large quantities of pot want to keep it illegal, and therefore expensive, as long as possible.

4. Hemp fiber, hemp paper, and hemp-seed oil are very attractive alternatives to petroleum-based fiber, wood-pulp paper, and cottonseed oil. (Fact: The Model-A originally ran on biodiesel from 100% pure hemp-seed oil.)

5. Numerous studies by the Federal Gov’t and others have pointed out that drug and/or alcohol treatment costs far less and works far better than incarceration.

6. I’ve lost dozens of friends over the years to cigarettes and alcohol. My stepfather died from cihrrosis of the liver, two co-workers died of alcohol poisoning, dozens have been killed by drunk drivers or while driving drunk, several have succombed to cancer and heart failure tied to drinking and smoking. No one I’ve known, nor anyone any of my friends have known, has ever died from smoking pot.

7. At least 75% of all the adults I know have tried marijuana. Of those who don’t smoke, none have ever reported feeling “addicted” to pot. They – in their own words – “just gave it up,”, or “didn’t care for it.”

Make of these what you will – I made my own decision long ago, and I’ll stand by it.

Posted by rhoadie | Report as abusive

I want to know this, if California passes the vote of legalizing marijuana .. will it be top “primo” grade or dirt weed (stuff so disgusting and poor grade won’t get a fly high)?
I’m not really in support for the legalizing of marijuana for recreational use .. but for medical reasons yes!

Posted by MetalVixxen | Report as abusive

[...] In drug war, failed old ideas never die by Bernd Debusmann [...]

I am a 47 year old mother of an 18 year old college student and business owner. I have recently gone back to college to earn my BCIS and I hear a lot from the kids in my classes and I have to say very nearly every single one is all for legalization of marijuana. These kids are smart kids, the classes they take are not easy. The general opinion is that the money we spend on fighting it is ridiculous and the laws that support the fight are antiquated.
I won’t quote any more facts or figures, that has obviously already been done. I will say it is far past the time for marijuana legalization. What we are doing here in California is none of the UN’s business. We are wasting millions upon millions of dollars on the marijuana drug war that could be spent on far better things. It’s just a plant! An herb that has great medicinal value that could be used to generate a great deal of money for programs and other things we need, instead of taking the money out of our pockets that we cant’ afford to lose. I am not a kid or a pothead but I am all for the legalization and taxation of marijuana. In the long run it will save many lives from being ruined by incarceration for such a ridiculous reason.
As for the ridiculous claims that legalizing marijuana will increase crime or turn our state into a bunch of pot smoking hippies, well that is a hilarious yet hysterical statement that comes from those who only read and quote facts from science or medical journals and have never lived in the real world. Limber up people!
Relax and enjoy your lives! Get out and walk among the people who enjoy the marijuana cafe’s and talk to them.
They are just people like you and me. As for the fed and UN….KEEP YOUR NOSE OUT OF OUR STATE!…We don’t need your help on these kinds of matters. As for the ridiculous raids on medical marijuana facilities.STOP IT! really…

Posted by charlie1002 | Report as abusive

And why are we going by laws enacted in 1961?
Really….

Posted by charlie1002 | Report as abusive