cannabisnews.com: Scuttling Toward a Plan To Legalize Drugs





Scuttling Toward a Plan To Legalize Drugs
Posted by CN Staff on December 14, 2005 at 10:13:13 PT
By Bruce Ramsey, Seattle Times Editorial Columnist
Source: Seattle Times
Seattle, WA -- Whether to end drug prohibition was not an issue at the King County Bar Association's drug-policy conference in Seattle Dec. 1 and 2. The Bar Association agreed on it, and its guests, former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper among them, did too.Prohibition had failed. Drug laws had not stopped Americans from getting drugs; it simply made them get drugs from criminals. But if not from criminals, then from whom? On marijuana, they could not agree.
Ethan Nadelmann, the nation's most prominent legalizer, advised them to figure it out later. First convince people to end prohibition. That's how our great-grandparents had done it with liquor. Then "fight it out."But marijuana prohibition is not ending the same way  cleanly, with a president's signature. It is crumbling here and there. Washington voters have authorized marijuana use for medical purposes. Seattle voters have voted to make marijuana the lowest police priority. We scuttle toward legalization but cannot arrive at it.In the Netherlands, they have gone further. There, adults may buy 5 grams per person in private cafes. Retailing is legal and wholesaling is illegal, with the product supplied openly by smugglers. That is, the system is legal and not legal  a contradiction that may bother Netherlanders but does not move them.The Seattle conferees yearned for a system that made more sense, that was progressive and therapeutic as well. There was an urge to keep corporations out."The idea of any corporate control is troubling to me," said Deborah Small, a New York activist who proposed to give marijuana distribution to the government.Jeff Haley, of the Drug Policy Foundation in Bellevue, said, "People who are selling need to have no incentive to sell." How to remove the incentive? "The only way we could think of," he said, "is to make these people state employees."With hard drugs, there was a case for that. But with marijuana? Some thought so. Roger Goodman, who heads the King County Bar Association's efforts, agreed that corporations should be kept out. He said they should have been kept out of liquor, wine and beer.An image flashed in my mind: "Beer" brand generic beer. I remembered drinking it in my college days. It had not been brewed by the government, but it had tasted as if it had. Kris Nyrop, executive director of Street Outreach Services, had a similar vision of no-brand cigarettes. "I like having choice in brands," he said. "I'm afraid we're heading too close to paternalism in our conversation here."Much of the crowd was tolerant of intoxication but not of profit. They would replace police and jailers with doctors and social workers. The Dutch scene, with private-branded marijuana in private-sector cafes, was too commercial for them. Too fun. They would give marijuana oversight to the Washington State Liquor Control Board.Merrit Long, chairman of that august monopoly, told the conference the state's profit was $200 million on $600 million of sales. One might work out from those numbers what the state's profit margin is, and compare it, for example, to Wal-Mart's. The state's is 33 percent, Wal-Mart's 3 percent.I thought Rick Steves, the travel guy, had the most-sensible idea. Maybe it was because he was a businessman in a crowd of social reformers. For Americans, he said, "The viable thing will be capitalistic, with some regulatory stuff."But I, too, fall into the trap of looking for a system that would align the rules with what Americans actually do. Americans don't want that. Drug prohibition reflects our ideal of a sober America, and it is politically impossible to abandon that.Yet life continues. We legislate nationally and ignore locally. We have our own version of Holland, really, except that ours is harsher than theirs, and does not attract tourists.Bruce Ramsey's column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times. Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author:  Bruce Ramsey, Seattle Times Editorial ColumnistPublished: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 Copyright: 2005 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: http://www.seattletimes.com/Related Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Alliancehttp://www.drugpolicy.org/Dutch Politicans Seek Marijuana Ruleshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread21351.shtmlDutch Back Plan To Regulate Marijuana Farminghttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread21350.shtml
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on December 14, 2005 at 19:56:27 PT
ekim
Thanks. I bet the lavender was well pretty! LOL! That's one of my favorite colors. 
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Comment #6 posted by ekim on December 14, 2005 at 19:45:02 PT
my screen showed a lavendor color up top left
gee i am not receiving the shaded area now.must be some close incounters:)or just that this ol box is gonnen 
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Comment #5 posted by runderwo on December 14, 2005 at 17:33:10 PT
umm
"We have our own version of Holland, really, except that ours is harsher than theirs, and does not attract tourists."Harsher? That's an understatement. We use it as an excuse to throw nonviolent people into jail, to enact mandatory drug testing, to throw out 4th amendment rights, etc. More like Nazism, compared to the Netherlands where only the growers remain shrouded in illegality.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on December 14, 2005 at 12:34:31 PT
ekim
Hi ekim, you lost me. What new color?
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on December 14, 2005 at 12:28:01 PT
Non-Sequitur
"Drug prohibition reflects our ideal of a sober America, and it is politically impossible to abandon that."We already abandoned sobriety when we repealed alcohol prohibition because that prohibition, like the current one, *did not work*!.
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on December 14, 2005 at 12:22:07 PT:
Planting seeds.
Seeds of change. Every mention of an injustice plants a seed. Seeds of consciousness. Seeds take longer but are stronger in the game of cosmic change.
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on December 14, 2005 at 11:51:53 PT
hey FoM i like the new color-------
happy holidays 
http://www.minorml.org
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