How America Learned To Stop Worrying & Love MJ
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How America Learned To Stop Worrying & Love MJ
Posted by CN Staff on May 28, 2013 at 05:19:31 PT
By Christopher Matthews
Source: Time
USA -- For nearly a century, the United States has been one of the fiercest advocates and practitioners of marijuana prohibition in the world. At the height of the America’s anti-pot fervor in the 1950s and ’60s, one could even receive life imprisonment for simple possession of the drug.But the puritanical fervor that once dominated the national discussion surrounding cannabis has been conspicuously absent of late. Earlier this month, the Colorado State legislature, by order of a November referendum, passed bills to implement the legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana use. Washington State voters also approved legalization by referendum on election day. And these events have recently been followed by more good news for supporters of cannabis law reform. 
The Organization for American States recently suggested that marijuana legalization could be a way to cut down on drug-violence in the western hemisphere. Perhaps most important, the movement has finally found a voice on Capitol Hill, as representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis submitted legislation earlier this year that would end federal prohibition of the drug, and allow states to tax and regulate it as they see fit. As Bill Keller put it recently in the New York Times, “Today the most interesting and important question is no longer whether marijuana will be legalized — eventually, bit by bit, it will be — but how.”Indeed, the feeling that the further liberalization of marijuana laws is inevitable is backed up by the polling trends. According to Gallup, as recently as 2005, two-thirds of Americans opposed legalization of marijuana. Now 48% percent of the population supports it. And a similar poll from Pew puts the number even higher – at 52%. But what exactly explains this sudden change in American attitudes towards pot?Undoubtedly, part of the reason for the increased acceptance is demographic. It might make you feel old to read this, but on Friday, both Bob Dylan and Tommy Chong celebrated birthdays, turning 72 and 74 respectively. The aging of these counterculture icons hasn’t directly changed American attitudes towards marijuana, of course, but it does underscore the fact that the vast majority of Americans living today came of age during a time when marijuana was widely in use. The data bear out the prevalence of marijuana use in today’s society, with 48% of Americans claiming they have tried the drug at least once.But familiarity with marijuana isn’t by itself going to drive changes in the legal code. Political consensus is necessary too. And while national political leaders aren’t necessarily falling over themselves to endorse marijuana legalization, there isn’t a lot of room in the current political climate to defend it, either. The political right has done an excellent job over the past thirty years convincing the American public of the limitations of government. They have argued that even when the government has the best of intentions it can be astoundingly ineffective at achieving its stated goals, and often creates unintended and pernicious consequences to boot. This is the same argument that has led to deregulation of industry, historically low tax rates, and legislative efforts like welfare reform. It’s only logical to extend it beyond social welfare programs to something like drug policy.And supporters of ending marijuana prohibition do indeed point to the unintended consequences of the policy as reason to legalize. According to the FBI, in 2011, 1.5 million people were arrested on drug charges, and roughly half of those were for marijuana, costing billions per year in law enforcement and court costs. And that doesn’t count the human toll on those arrested, like potential loss of work, government benefits, the right to vote, and student aid. Meanwhile, the government simply hasn’t come anywhere close to achieving the stated goal of marijuana prohibition, which is to prevent drug addiction. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, since the beginning of the so-called war on drugs, the addiction rate in America has remained steady at 1.3%, despite the fact that each year state and local governments spend more and more money – over $1 trillion in total – fighting the drug war.What’s more, the unintended consequences of marijuana prohibition do not stop at our borders. In fact, the brunt of the side effects may be being felt in places like Mexico. And as my college Tim Padgett wrote this week, it would appear that America’s allies in the Western hemisphere are looking seriously at ending marijuana prohibition as a strategy for reducing the drug violence that is ravaging much of Latin America. A study issued this month by the Organization of American States declared that it’s now time to seriously consider legalizing pot in order to cut down on this violence. It’s estimated, for instance, that legalizing marijuana in America could eliminate one-third of Mexican cartel’s $30 billion annual haul.We are in a political moment where social conservatism has been somewhat sidelined as a political force by the growing influence of libertarianism in the Republican party. This dynamic emphasizes the tension between liberty and morality that has been with us since the founding of our country, and at this moment liberty appears to be ascendant. But make no mistake, the puritanical impulses that once made America the leading voice in marijuana prohibition haven’t gone anywhere — and advocates of reform should know that pendulums, once set it motion, swing back again.Source: Time Magazine (US)Author: Christopher MatthewsPublished: May 28, 2013Copyright: 2013 Time Inc.Contact: letters time.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #10 posted by ekim on May 29, 2013 at 09:32:45 PT
C-Span MJ debate 5-29-13 at 2pm
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on May 29, 2013 at 07:37:09 PT
How Obama Can Escape Quagmire of Marijuana War
AlterNet / By Kevin Zeese. 
How Obama Can Escape the Quagmire of the Marijuana War.
Marijuana prohibition is a failure: after decades of a “war on marijuana," use is increasing and perceived risk declining.
May 23, 2013, they're talking!
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Comment #8 posted by firedog on May 28, 2013 at 19:31:08 PT
The pendulum
What I'm seeing (as a San Francisco resident) is an ever-increasing acceptance of marijuana, coupled with an ever-decreasing acceptance of alcohol. People here know the harm that alcohol does to people. We see ravaged, strung-out homeless drunks on the street every day here. And increasingly, alcohol is being treated as a hard drug - legally, and also socially.Perhaps people can only accept a certain level of intoxication in the population - and the only way for marijuana to win is for alcohol to lose.This is probably best, overall. Just an observation.
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Comment #7 posted by Swazi-X on May 28, 2013 at 19:27:29 PT
Avoiding the Truth
WE are the country that threatened, intimidated, lied, killed and forced this insane prohibition of a plant on the rest of the world, against their wishes and often counter to thousands of years of their culture. WE are Criminal Zero - the source of all the heartbreak, death, and wasted lives sacrificed to the God of Greed in the form of Harry Anslinger and his ilk.The only reason our citizens are finally waking up to the lies, and finally letting the idea of cannabis as a helpful rather than addictive, harmful plant sink in is the power of the internet in making the truth known to whomever wants to bother to find it. That and the normalization that has happened in MMJ states - almost everyone knows someone who uses cannabis in those states, and by far the vast majority are normal, regular people doing normal regular people stuff - holding jobs (you'd be amazed at the number of prosecutors and judges who enjoy cannabis, but not amazed at the cowardice of almost every one of them when they're asked about it), marrying, raising kids, on and on. The lies we've been told by our government are getting clearer every day even to those of us not paying attention.The D.E.A. is unresponsive to science and common sense just as our masters are unresponsive to the truth - and this is no accident. The Drug War is the perfect vehicle for the control of the citizenry - even in MMJ states, those who use it are on guard because of the brutality of the federal response, and the selective prosecution of those who are brave enough to speak out against this insane situation.Our masters in government realize that once cannabis is legal, their biggest "enemy" will disappear and along with it the reason to spend such a crazy amount of money on our domestic military. Cannabis legalization is a direct threat to the Imperial Powers that were handed to Obama, and that Obama has "forgotten" to relinquish. And the complexity of the law is the perfect vehicle for continued oppression - only those rich enough to afford pricy lawyers have any hope of justice, which is exactly the situation those who own government want. It's the political/governmental version of the old religious practice of buying "indulgences". That was when the church let those who could afford it pay their way out of their "sin" while those without vast wealth were hung, tortured and worse for their sins. Sound familiar?Democracy has become the bastard stepchild of this country, berated, ignored, and shoved in a dark corner to wither and die by the liars and cheats who now decide our fates in their favor.
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on May 28, 2013 at 16:58:24 PT
Colorado marijuana regulations signed into law
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Comment #5 posted by ekim on May 28, 2013 at 11:57:42 PT
Willie please get this 86 yr old on Farm AID
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Comment #4 posted by HempWorld on May 28, 2013 at 09:23:12 PT
Compounds in marijuana evidently help people metabolize sugar. Current users were found to have a lower incidence of diabetes; 16%-lower levels of insulin (measured after a nine-hour fast); lower insulin resistance (a condition in which cells don’t respond normally to insulin); lower body mass index; and higher levels of HDL-C (“good” cholesterol). 
 Mittleman et al analyzed the records of 4,657 adults who had taken part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (which included a drug-use questionnaire) between 2005 and 2010. Among them were 569 people (12.2% of the total) who acknowledged that they were currently using marijuana. To determine whether marijuana use accounted for this group’s relative thinness, the researchers s controlled for sex, race/ethnicity, age, educational level, marital status, tobacco use, alcohol use, income, and physical activity. 
Back in 2003 Mittleman provided talking points to prohibitionists when he published a study indicating that marijuana smoking induced heart attacks. But the wheel of Science turns. The American Journal of Medicine introduced the paper by Mittleman et al with an enthusiastic editorial by Joseph Alpert, MD: 
“These are indeed remarkable observations that are supported… by basic science experiments that came to similar conclusions. We desperately need a great deal more basic and clinical research into the short- and long-term effects of marijuana in a variety of clinical settings such as cancer, diabetes, and frailty of the elderly. I would like to call on the NIH and the DEA to collaborate in developing policies to implement solid scientific investigations that would lead to information assisting physicians in the proper use and prescription of THC in its synthetic or herbal form.” 
While I was writing this for CounterPunch on Thursday, May 16, Laurence O’Donnell broke the story on MSNBC. Laurence’s “Marijuana as a Diet Drug” segment featured an interview with Mittleman, who came across as very reasonable. 
Cannabis May Protect Against Bladder CancerEtc. etc. etc.That that Time Mag!
Beyond THC!
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Comment #3 posted by museman on May 28, 2013 at 09:15:25 PT
Smoke and mirrors
Blah blah, blah blah blah.Believe the experts, the 'academics,' the various paid media of this establishmentarian society. Believe the tripe that passes as 'journalistic reporting.'And then go out and vote for the 'reps' that keep putting these illusions in front of reality.Disgusting.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on May 28, 2013 at 09:08:50 PT
This article is either patronizingly arrogant and
ignorant or it is pure propaganda, more of the same from Rocky and his ilk!Well, this time, this time! or this Time! I am telling you that it is different, and I believe the polls bear this out, loud and clear!You can ignore it but sooner or later you will have to get out of the way or join us, join science and common sense and decency. Prohibition = fascism.
Beyond THC!
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on May 28, 2013 at 08:29:30 PT
This Whole Piece! Moralistic Bla, Bla
"... advocates of reform should know that pendulums, once set it motion, swing back again."Really? And how about this "Sudden change in American attitudes towards pot?"Not so sudden if you look at the polls since 1975, a steady trend upwards currently at about 55 to 60% in favor and still climbing.How about that Time Mag?Also Time Mag attempts to explain this 'sudden change' to familiarity (But familiarity with marijuana...) just like all other things that are now 'familiar' like murder?!Wrong Time! How about pure science? How about the Dr. Donald Tashkin study that moderate cannabis use reduces the incidence of cancer? Or how about the Rick Simpson story and related to this that of Michelle Aldrich (see: about science and anecdotal facts that are finally creeping in, despite the ban on research that still applies today. Never mind that people got saved from death and cured, never mind that marijuana or cannabis is now legal in almost half the country, still can't do research.Why is that?Why does Time not touch on the SCIENCE of it all!Go figure!
Cannabis Cures Most Types of Cancer! That's Why!
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