The Sober Way To Legalize Marijuana
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The Sober Way To Legalize Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on August 16, 2013 at 10:56:34 PT
By Reihan Salam
Source: Reuters
World -- As a general rule, Americans don't give much thought to Uruguay, a small South American republic with a population of 3.3 million. But Uruguay has embarked on a new experiment with marijuana legalization that merits close attention. As Ken Parks of the Wall Street Journal reported late last month, new Uruguayan legislation will allow individuals to grow as much as 480 grams of marijuana for personal consumption, and marijuana cooperatives with no more than 45 members will be permitted to grow just over two plants per member. The government will also allow for limited commercial production, but Uruguayan lawmakers have made it clear that they don't want a domestic marijuana market dominated by large for-profit firms.
Might the United States follow in Uruguay's footsteps? Marijuana legalization seems inevitable—but we'd be wise to follow Uruguay's lead and carefully regulate the kinds of legal marijuana operations that will follow.Marijuana advocates have successfully pressed for the legalization of the medicinal use of marijuana in 20 states and the District of Columbia since 1996, when California voters passed Proposition 215. And efforts to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, as in Uruguay's new legislation, are gaining ground. In November, three states — Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — had marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot, two of which passed. Though Oregon voters chose not to legalize marijuana last fall, they will likely get another chance to do so in 2014. Alaska and Arizona could be the next states to follow suit.Support for marijuana legalization isn't just growing in libertarian-minded western states. In April, the Pew Research Center found that a narrow 52 percent majority of Americans support marijuana legalization. This represents an impressive increase since 2002, when only 32 percent supported legalization. Support among adults born after 1981 has reached 65 percent, and as this cohort comes to represent a larger share of the electorate, it is easy to imagine that the pressure to legalize marijuana will grow. And while there remains a partisan divide over marijuana legalization, with fewer Republicans in favor of legalization (37 percent) than Democrats (59 percent), a majority of Republicans (57 percent) and Democrats (59 percent) believe that the federal government should not enforce federal marijuana laws in states that permit its use.But the deeper shift is not so much political as cultural. Pew has found that the stigma against marijuana use is quickly evaporating. In 2006, 50 percent of Americans maintained that smoking marijuana was "morally wrong," a share that has fallen to 32 percent as of 2013. Not surprisingly, marijuana use has increased as the stigma against it has faded. The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime reports that the annual prevalence of cannabis use has increased from 10 percent of the general population (persons 15-64 years of age) in 2007 to 14.1 percent in 2010. By way of comparison, the annual prevalence of cannabis use is less than half as high in Uruguay. Marijuana is no longer seen as a drug for people on society's fringes, or the exclusive preserve of hippies and hip-hop devotees. It is used by an impressively wide range of Americans, many of whom use it for banal purposes like reducing stress.For better or for worse, voters are far more likely to favor marijuana legalization if they think of marijuana users as "people like us" and not "people like them." So I'd guess that marijuana legalization in some form is all but inevitable. The question is what form it will take. Will we see a marijuana industry akin to the alcohol or tobacco industries, or will we try to keep marijuana production small-scale?One common objection to marijuana legalization is that it represents a violation of American treaty obligations. Back in March, the International Narcotics Control Board, an independent agency that monitors drug control policies across countries, raised concerns about the new marijuana legalization initiatives in Washington and Colorado, which it sees as being in violation of United Nations drug control conventions. Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at UCLA who is widely regarded as one of America's leading experts on the regulation of narcotic drugs, suggests that while international drug control treaties limit the scope of federal efforts to tax and regulate marijuana, state governments have considerable leeway. Kleiman and his consulting firm, BOTEC Analysis Corporation, are helping Washington state implement its new marijuana regulations, and one assumes that other states will learn from Washington's experience.My gut tells me that while marijuana legalization has the potential to be a good thing, insofar as it reduces the number of Americans who are habitual lawbreakers, we need to think hard about the kind of marijuana market that will best serve our interests. In an ideal world, the current enthusiasm for marijuana legalization would give us an opportunity to rethink how we regulate all drugs, including alcohol, a drug that does more damage in the United States than any other. Kleiman often argues that while marijuana is in many respects less harmful than alcohol, it does pose public health concerns, and that the large-scale commercialization of marijuana could greatly increase its use and abuse. Rather than take a laissez-faire approach, in which marijuana will be cultivated at industrial scale and marketers will be free to actively encourage and even glamorize heavy use, we should allow people to grow their own marijuana, as individuals or in small clubs, and allow at most very limited commercial production, if any. In other words, let's legalize marijuana, but let's be very sober and sensible about it.Source: Reuters (Wire)Author:  Reihan SalamPublished: August 16 2013Copyright: 2013 Thomson ReutersCannabisNews  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #7 posted by museman on August 17, 2013 at 10:28:32 PT
"And then mainstream people still don't get it?!"Isn't that a major point in the 'logic' of the "Rule of Law."?As long as the majority or even 'near majority' -or mainstream are convinced to do their daily duty to their various lords; employers, landlords, and tax collectors AKA "representatives" and that those same corrupt lords 'just made a little mistake' with prohibition and that they are really 'looking out for the people's interest' so that as soon as the little pot problem is out of the way everything will be hunkey-dory.Yes the mainstream march of the 'upstanding, well groomed, green-lawned, SUV, wide-screen' lemmings will continue. The polits will continue their lies, and wars of global conquest -bringing the entire world into the monsanto fold- while organic people whose health is a terrorist threat to the fake-food monopolies will begin to experience the jackboot in their little food gardens.Children who used to play in the schoolyard will be totally converted into the digital zombies their parents have become, -all the better to exploit you with my dear- but the 3D fake world will abound. the plastic fantastic corruption of everything natural will continue.But let them smoke pot.Some might think that an 'improvement' and be quite happy and content to think their battle for liberty is over, while the NSA compiles their life history (because most of it is now online and updated every day on twitter, facebook, and all those text messages...) and the last vestiges of early 21sr century revolution is brough under heel by the global cop fraternity.Going after symptoms without acknowledging causes, never cured anything. And its not going to with all the current compromises being offered as speedbumps in the road to liberty.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #6 posted by Sinsibility on August 16, 2013 at 19:00:46 PT
He makes an important point
The broader point the author makes is quite valid in my mind, that we simply eliminate legal sanctions and stop judging someone by the content of their urine.That doesn't mean allowing big business to take over with aggressive marketing and advertising. We can let people who want to make the effort, to grow it themselves. Others could join a collective and obtain it that way.This just makes so much sense to me anyhow.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on August 16, 2013 at 18:56:10 PT
CNN is amazing me.
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Comment #4 posted by mexweed on August 16, 2013 at 14:30:25 PT:
  Hemp World, instead of make $igarettes illegal, (1)require the net weight tobacco content be listed on the side of the $igheil at least as large as the brand name, i.e. usually 700-mg; require on the package a picture showing how to use 1/28 of that $igarette (25 mg) in a long-stemmed one-hitter. 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 16, 2013 at 12:27:18 PT
Thank you. I would have missed it if you had posted the reminder.
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on August 16, 2013 at 11:51:06 PT
This Author Has Disqualified Himself!
This article is written by someone (a patsy) who has no clue of the actual death statistics."In an ideal world, the current enthusiasm for marijuana legalization would give us an opportunity to rethink how we regulate all drugs, including alcohol, a drug that does more damage in the United States than any other." And "glamorize heavy use"?This man from Reuters, of course, Reihan Salam, does not know that LEGAL cigarettes kill 500,000 Americans Every Year! Marijuana 0.What has the "International Narcotics Control Board" (another Rockefeller front) to say about that?Yeah, let's make cigarettes illegal because they kill and it is certainly not medicine!And then mainstream people still don't get it?!
Hemp Store
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on August 16, 2013 at 11:47:32 PT
reminder tonight on CNN from 9 to11 et
9 ET Piers Morgan then 10 ET Dr. Gupta on Cannabis reform.
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