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Decriminalizing Pot in Cook County Make Sense 
Posted by CN Staff on July 23, 2009 at 11:37:55 PT
Editorial
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Illinois -- The last three presidents of the United States all smoked a little weed. Obama, Clinton and Bush were young and curious and, fortunately, never got busted. A criminal record tends to put a damper on White House dreams.And yet thousands of Americans are busted for pot each year, even now in 2009, ironically arrested by cops who (let's call this a safe guess) may have smoked a joint or two themselves in their time.
We are such a nation of hypocrites.But let us not give up hope. We are also creeping, if ever so slowly, toward a more honest and workable approach toward regulating pot. Case in point: The Cook County Board on Tuesday, to its credit, voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana -- 10 grams or less -- in unincorporated areas of Cook County. The Cook County sheriff's police, when patrolling those areas, would give first-time offenders a $200 ticket rather than charge them with a misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to 30 days in jail.The County Board's measure, which must be signed by board President Todd Stroger, came out of the blue on Tuesday, and some wary officials -- most notably Sheriff Tom Dart -- said the measure should be suspended until public hearings are held. But we see no overriding reason to wait. We urge President Stroger to approve the measure now. The county measure is essentially a variation of pot decriminalization laws that have been popping up across the country, and reportedly working well. In Illinois, Sugar Grove, Springfield, Carbondale, Normal and a number of other towns have decriminalized pot, lightening the load of our overburdened court systems and bringing in extra revenue. Last year, more than 40,000 people were charged under state law with misdemeanor pot possession -- less than 2.5 grams.Springfield, for example, decriminalized pot in February to alleviate crowding at the Sangamon County Jail, but also to get a greater part of the fines offenders are paying. In Sangamon County last year, the courts collected $46,000 in fines for misdemeanor pot possession.Sugar Grove in Kane County started issuing tickets for the small pot violations 10 years ago, largely because the return on so much paperwork seemed absurdly small."You arrest somebody for murder and it's not as bad," Sugar Grove Police Chief Brad Sauer said, talking about the hassle of processing a pot arrest. "And for such small amounts. It was ridiculous, time-consuming."And ultimately, Sauer said, the courts imposed "such little fines."Last year, Sugar Grove police wrote six pot tickets.Decriminalizing first-time and second-time pot possessions, the chief said, also keeps the offense off a young person's record, which he said he believes is only fair. "It's a warning on steroids," he said, "but if you're trying to join the military and going for a job, it doesn't show up on your record."All new laws, admittedly, have unintended consequences, and the Cook County measure is no exception. It creates another headache for Dart, whose deputies would have to hand out tickets in unincorporated areas, but make arrests for the same offense, according to state law, in incorporated communities patrolled by the sheriff's office, such as Ford Heights. How big a burden that would be is questionable. In all of 2008, the Cook County sheriff's police charged only about 150 people with misdemeanor pot possession.A more troubling unintended consequence, however, is that decriminalizing pot could create an even bigger customer base for pot sellers. But rather than try to enforce the unenforceable, the solution to that problem might be to decriminalize, regulate and even tax the production and sale of pot.How far should America go down the path of marijuana decriminalization? Incremental experimentation, such as Cook County's new pot policy, will help us find our way.Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)Published: July 23, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Sun-Times Co.Contact: letters suntimes.com Website: http://www.suntimes.com/ URL: http://drugsense.org/url/mZgePpFNRelated Article:Cook County Going To Pot http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread24937.shtmlCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml 
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on July 24, 2009 at 08:57:49 PT
Hope
I'm glad you liked it. I think it is one of those very special songs that Neil has done. It puts life in perspective.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #23 posted by Hope on July 24, 2009 at 08:55:49 PT
A Candle in the Darkness...
There is still darkness.This darkness and more is still upon us as long as this prohibition lives.http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/594/four_dead_in_drug_war_this_month
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Comment #22 posted by Hope on July 24, 2009 at 08:54:19 PT
Comment 14  ... A Candle
Wow.Just... "Wow".Thank you.
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on July 24, 2009 at 08:45:33 PT
Just my opinion...
This Editorial is wonderful good.More people are waking up.I'm so thankful.
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on July 24, 2009 at 08:41:10 PT
ekim
That sounds great. Good luck to you and everyone.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #19 posted by ekim on July 24, 2009 at 08:35:51 PT
little MI info
By Eartha Jane Melzer 7/22/09 10:16 AMhttp://www.michiganmedicalmarijuana.org/node/6544Ronald Higgerson is running as a write-in candidate in the Aug. 4 Flint mayoral raceRonald Higgerson is running as a write-in candidate in the Aug. 4 Flint mayoral raceFlintís leading mayoral candidates, Dayne Walling and Brenda Clack, faced off in a televised debate Tuesday night, but missing from the discussion was a plan by write-in candidate Ronald Higgerson to advance Flintís struggling economy by developing industries related to medical marijuana.MMM Expo 2009 update...
Submitted by MMM Expo 2009 on Tue, 07/21/2009 - 23:23 http://www.michiganmedicalmarijuana.org/node/6495We are just over two weeks out from Michigan's first ever medical marijuana expo. That in and of itself makes this a historic event, but the way this event is shaping up, it could easily become legendary!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #18 posted by FoM on July 24, 2009 at 08:25:20 PT
goneposthole
It is destiny. That's why it so hard for anyone to take credit for any of what is happening. Destiny is always in control. We are making history and it's amazing to be apart of it all.
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on July 24, 2009 at 08:11:23 PT
Blessings, Peace, and Prosperity in all things....
Sounds good to me.Love the "Battle of the Green Bulge", Runruff.All of the fight against freedom is hollow and brittle. It's hollow structure is supported with fear mongering, cruelty, and lies. We're rolling over it and advancing to a new and hopeful future for everyone. We're gradually and surely stomping the repression and oppression out.... completely out....rather like "Stamping out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored". "Glory, Glory Hallelujah!"It's a good day to live!
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Comment #16 posted by runruff on July 24, 2009 at 07:55:10 PT
Sow much hemp!
Who sows thistles reaps thorns!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #15 posted by goneposthole on July 24, 2009 at 07:54:35 PT
Drug Free America
That's what all of those loonie, goony so-called Republicans wanted way back when when it was popular to be a vicious, rabid anti-marijuana propagandist like Bill Bennett.The 'unintended consequence' is cannabis for all.It is more destiny than a consequence.California is going to release non-violent inmates because the California legislature can't afford to even be in session.Cannabis will win this 'war on drugs'.The effort to eradicate cannabis is futile and useless. Might as well abandon the costs now and forget about it. Think 'green' as in money from taxation. If you want 'green shoots', cannabis will lift the bale and tote the barge.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on July 24, 2009 at 07:40:46 PT
We Should Light a Candle
We should shine bright and be full of hope and patience and vision.http://www.neilyoung.com/forkintheroad/lightacandlevideo.html
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #13 posted by FoM on July 24, 2009 at 07:19:24 PT
runruff
Someday you'll find everything you're looking for.Neil Young said that in Bandit from his Greendale CD back in 2003.Back when I heard him sing Bandit I knew someday things will change and the time is now.You can listen to Bandit on this link.http://www.nygreendale.com/
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Comment #12 posted by runruff on July 24, 2009 at 06:54:29 PT
"I think that top quality cannabis is almost.....&
Thanks in large part to Marc Emery and BC Bud!Also however, We have the climate and now the freedom to grow out in the open where plants get full sun. We now can give our plants all the nutrients they need to grow and become large and potent. Way more so than in the past while guerilla farning in the woods.It is my wish that everyone who chooses to do so will be able to grow as much as they want where ever they live. Liberty for all not just some!
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on July 24, 2009 at 06:40:40 PT
runruff
Stick read your comment and smiled. Thank you.I think that top quality cannabis is almost everywhere anymore. Many people bought seeds and planted them and mixed strains and got different types. Cannabis is so different and yet it is the same. What I mean is having different varieties is good and keeps it interesting. The genie is out of the bottle forever.
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Comment #10 posted by runruff on July 24, 2009 at 06:22:04 PT
The gold rush of 1849!
The new green gold rush of 2009, 150 years later.People moving in on the west coast looking for work in the green gold fields. We have squatters in the hills. We have share croppers. We have hired hands, all just like the gold rush of 1849. We could call ourselves the '09ers. There's green gold in them thar hills! It's a bit like the wild west out here!We have many senior citizens getting in on the trade. Many are avid gardners and are not stupid. They can grow a few plants next to their tomatoes. Kids and grandkids sell it for them.
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Comment #9 posted by runruff on July 24, 2009 at 06:12:57 PT
"Cannabis sells and sells fast!"
We here on the west coast are seeing buyers from the east coast and the mid-lands, out here securing product for their communities.They pay higher prices and get higher prices. I am pretty sure that all this talk about cannabis lately, on the news, Pres. Obama, no more, "War on Drugs"[?], states going medical mj, etc. More and more people are trying, liking it! It is inevitable that this should happen to the most valuable, most useful plant on the planet. Mans companion plant on the planet. How long can this secrete be kept?I have noticed in the last ten years around here prices have gone down to 1/2 from the Clinton WoD era $5-6,000 lb. down to $2,500 lb. Lately though with all the attention going to cannabis it is like free advertising, east coast buyers are paying $4-5,000 lb. and glad to get it. Friends and relatives are coming out of the woodwork. It is so funny to hear my cousin in the mid-west ask if she and her husband come out and see me this summer could I score them some good med grade herb. You see , she and her husband are deacons in their church and are republicans. They have always looked down their noses at the herb in the past. Now, he is out of work and they know people who will pay big bucks for herbs so suddenly herb is good. Now, after all these years, they are quoting the Genesis scripture to me. Wall Street could not have done more for the cannabis trade. Vendors here in my home town are popping up every where. If they started busting people in my county it would look like a Nazi internment camp around here. The battle of the bulge! The green bulge! Believe me I we didn't have buyers the quantity of herb would shrink overnight.Good morning to all my intelligent and caring friends out there this day. I hope this day is full of good news for all. Live well and prosper in spirit and in wealth!My Dear Wife and I would like to say hi to Stick and continue to wish him well. He could not have a better partner to look after him. 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on July 24, 2009 at 05:41:09 PT
goneposthole 
It's always great to see you! I still smile at your name.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #7 posted by goneposthole on July 24, 2009 at 04:37:16 PT
Legal Cannabis
"A more troubling unintended consequence, however, is that decriminalizing pot could create an even bigger customer base for pot sellers. But rather than try to enforce the unenforceable, the solution to that problem might be to decriminalize, regulate and even tax the production and sale of pot."The demand for pot is off the charts and it all goes because the customer base is saturated.Cannabis sales are increasing and will continue to increase.That's all the proof you need.Legal or not, cannabis sells and it sells fast.The customers are there and the base isn't going to shrink.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 24, 2009 at 04:34:51 PT
Illinois Governor Open to Decriminalizing MJ
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn Open to Counties Decriminalizing MarijuanaJuly 23, 2009Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says he's open to local efforts to decriminalize marijuana.The Cook County Board voted Tuesday to decriminalize small amounts of the drug in unincorporated parts of the county. But Quinn stopped short of endorsing the plan.QUINN: I think it's important that counties assess what their law enforcement priorities are. Crimes that are not grievous crimes against persons need to be looked at.The Cook County measure must still be approved by board president Todd Stroger.Meanwhile, Quinn says the state needs to review corrections policies, including the early release of some inmates near the end of their prison term. That move could save the state more than $100 million.Copyright: 2009 WBEZ Alliance, Inc. URL: http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=35734
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Comment #5 posted by anunlikelyally on July 24, 2009 at 03:40:21 PT:
On Mayor Daley
He's just pissed because it wasn't his idea to begin with. I'm sure he would love to pull a Michael Bloomberg, but that's Windy City politics for ya. Daley will keep his iron fisted grip on the city, and rule the way his father did. As it was, as it ever shall be. On a side note, however, he is doing wonderful things to make Chicago the greenest city in the US, and has a very ambitious sustainability program. Too bad it's not the "green" we're looking for. :/
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Comment #4 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on July 23, 2009 at 21:36:16 PT
The Drug Czar's High Math
How phony statistics about cocaine prices hide the truth about the war on drugshttp://www.reason.com/news/show/134481.htmlincluding -How the War on Pot Hooked the Country on Cocaine
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on July 23, 2009 at 16:16:00 PT
Paul
I do post Reuters articles but it is on a blog and I can't find it as a Reuters article. If I did one blog I would have to do many blogs and I just can't tackle that physically anymore.
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Comment #2 posted by paul armentano on July 23, 2009 at 16:05:45 PT
Reuters:Driven to drink by marijuana laws?
FOM, Reuters news wire today is running an excellent commentary (below) by Bernd Debusmann, entitled "Driven to drink by marijuana laws?" Bernd was inspired to pen the column after reading a galley proof of the forthcoming book Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink (Chelsea Green, August 2009), which he mentions prominently in the story and of which I am a co-author. Here is the link to the Reuters article, and I'm hoping you may be able to post the whole column. I think many C-News readers would be interested both in it, as well as the book.http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2009/07/23/driven-to-drink-by-marijuana-laws/July 23rd, 2009Driven to drink by marijuana laws?By: Bernd Debusmann(Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)Tough marijuana laws are driving millions of Americans to a more dangerous mood-altering substance, alcohol. The unintended consequence: violence and thousands of unnecessary deaths. Itís time, therefore, for a serious public debate of the case for marijuana versus alcohol.Finally, fr those interested in additional information regarding Marijuana Is Safer, please visit: http://www.marijuanaissafer.comThere you can access the publisher's press release (also pasted below), download the full introduction (written by former Seattle Chief of Police Norm Stamper), and read endorsements of the book by former Republican Governor Gary Johnson (New Mexico), former WWE world heavyweight champion Rob Van Dam, NYT best selling author Barbara Ehrenreich, former ACLU director Nadine Strossen, syndicated columnist David Sirota, PBS travel host Rick Steves, and many others.
http://www.marijuanaissafer.com
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 23, 2009 at 11:51:50 PT
Related Article From The Chicago Sun Times
Daley Rips County Board for Marijuana StanceJuly 22, 2009URL: http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/1679496,mayor-daley-chicago-pot-marijuana-072209.article
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