cannabisnews.com: Legalization Will Not Stop Problem Addiction Cause





Legalization Will Not Stop Problem Addiction Cause
Posted by FoM on June 08, 2000 at 21:21:14 PT
By Andrew Jones, Daily Bruin U. California-L.A.
Source: U-WIRE
It seems that after the heyday of the anti-drug Reagan and Bush administrations, America is starting to rebel against the War on Drugs. The change, if real, has been influenced in no small part by our own "free love, free pot" president, who, when asked by an MTV audience member in 1992, "If you had to do it over again, would you inhale?" replied boastfully, "Sure, if I could. I tried before." 
("Choose or Lose Special," MTV, June 16, 1992). This supposed discontent is summed up by one pundit's sound bite, "We're not in a war against drugs, we're in a war against our own people!" Unfortunately, as is the case with most revisionist thought, such an idea is a gross simplification. The main objection to our current drug laws is the large amount of "non-violent" prisoners who clog our court and penal system. One statistic bandied about is that one out of every three black men in America is currently in some stage of the correctional system -- the presumption being that "unjust" drug laws put most of them there. True or not, details of the crimes that place "one out of three" in the penal system are never presented in this argument. Apparently, everyone has forgotten just why drug offenders are in prison -- and moreover, why we as a society choose to make drugs illegal. Look behind most serious, violent offenses, and guess what cause turns up time and again, like the proverbial bad penny? Yes, those pesky, "non-violent" drugs seem to be the cause for many a stabbing, shooting, robbery and child abuse case. But why let that sort of realization cloud your indignation of America's "war on its people?" Ponder the issue a while and you'll realize that we have gone to war against drug users because drugs have gone to war on our people. In all likelihood, our justice system does send minorities to prison for drug offenses more often and for longer terms. It's inequality at its worst. But here's the solution: Don't use drugs. Yes, it's as simple as that! The Man won't have any cause to lock you up. But perhaps that's too simple for "community activists" ? they'd rather spend time tilting at windmills, trying to legalize drugs and pursuing other hare-brained schemes. If a community feels it is being targeted by drug laws, the one sure way to avoid being mistreated by our "unjust" criminal system is to obey the law. Drug laws don't require you to do anything. They simply require that you not do something. Tough-on-crime laws would no longer be a problem if minority communities chose to avoid drugs and the violence that comes with them. But that's a difficult idea for activists, because it requires thinking of people as independent beings, capable of avoiding what a higher power has deemed illegal. There is an especially damaging counterpoint to this simplification: many people who are in prison for drug offenses are in fact innocent. The police corruption which leads to such undeserved imprisonment is the real "war on our people." There is no punishment too harsh for corrupt police officers. But if being shot in the leg and stripped naked was considered appropriate punishment for Sierra Leone rebel leader Johnny Paul Koroma, then it's a good start for officers who abuse their privilege. Not only have allegedly corrupt officers in Los Angeles tainted themselves, their city and civilized society with their actions, but their actions have given every social critic license to question the very foundations of our society. Perhaps it's social utopianism to imagine honest police forces, but trustworthy cops seem much more plausible than winning the war on poverty or creating total social equity. Moreover, a drug-free society will by nature create greater social equity than any other change within our means. But the question still remains: Why do we as a society choose to fight drugs? We do so not only because they are so often the cause of violent crime, but because their effect on all humans, not just users, is documented in voluminous detail. Drugs really do have serious mental and physical effects. No, we're not talking about marijuana here -- we're talking about speed, coke and heroin. These are not harmless substances that provide a temporary high; they are a debilitating force on users and the user's community alike. One rhetorical question posed about drugs is that high-fat foods contribute to more deaths than all drugs combined, yet we don't outlaw high-fat foods. It is a tantalizing question, tailored to those who don't think. The crucial difference between drugs and fatty foods is that fatty foods only affect the consumer of Twinkies and Ho-Hos. But can you say with a straight face that crack cocaine is a "personal lifestyle choice" that affects nobody else? We've seen the images of pestilent inner-city apartments holding neglected children abandoned by their drug-addled mothers (or, less often, their parents). The effects are felt nationwide, in all social classes -- the crank epidemic currently devastating Native American reservations is just one example. Such cases are not wild aberrations; they are textbook examples of just how quickly and completely drugs destroy any semblance of normal life, and how they eat away at the foundations of a community. A good deal of drug use, mostly marijuana, does occur in private, with no real effects on anyone else. But our law enforcement for the most part turns a blind eye to such innocuous consumption. Most police officers, off the record, will acknowledge that when they discover a small baggie of pot in a car, they will simply dump it out and give its owner a stern lecture. When was the last time you heard of someone being sentenced to hard time for marijuana possession? Even if a person does have the hard luck to be given a prison sentence for simple possession, sympathy for them is misplaced. We as a society have been warned, and those who choose to disobey must stand ready to face the consequences, unlikely as they may be. In truth, marijuana enjoys this special status in law enforcement because it is generally acknowledged to be benign. Smoke it long enough and you'll become an idiot, as well as experience the same negative consequences that tobacco users do, only quicker and in greater force. But on balance, marijuana will only decrease your quality of life, instead of taking it altogether. The logistics of a drug-legalized America are mind-boggling. Only the Netherlands currently runs such a system, and those who know acknowledge that the system there is deeply flawed. Visualizing just how hard drugs would be distributed to Americans is rather creepy. It's bizarre enough to see tobacco companies grudgingly running anti-youth-smoking commercials. But the reality of this "legalized paradise" is a neighborhood pharmacist dispensing a vial of cocaine to a beaming 21-year-old. Drugs are a problem, no doubt, but pie-in-the-sky legalization is not the answer. (U-WIRE) Los AngelesUpdated 12:00 PM ET June 8, 2000 (C) 2000 Daily Bruin via U-WIRE Copyright  2000 At Home Corporation. CannabisNews Articles On Legalization:http://alltheweb.com/cgi-bin/search?type=all&query=cannabisnews+legalization
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Comment #5 posted by Suspect S on June 09, 2000 at 17:34:03 PT
Excuse me...??
>"In truth, marijuana enjoys this special status in law enforcement because it is generally acknowledged to be benign. Smoke itlong enough and you'll become an idiot,"A bit of news for you Jones. Some people are idiots all on their own. It is obvious that you have never smoked pot, but still, you're not the sharpest knife in the drawer, are you?The law isn't arresting you just cause you are cerebrially challenged. It was once said--something to the effect that if you give enough monkeys enough typewritters they will eventually crank out Shakespere.I don't know but I think this one needs some fiber in his diet cause he sure is constipated. Too many 'nanas, maybe.Jonsey seems to have poured out his frustration at the other knives for being so much sharper and still being able to enjoy MJ. I hope he will excuse my mixture of metaphors. You know us dope smokers. Can't pour piss out of a boot. yuk yuk yuk(sigh)Poor AndyPoor, Poor AndyI wonder if his parents ever told him they loved him. (without snickering)que lastima
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Comment #4 posted by CD1 on June 09, 2000 at 13:18:38 PT
Is this guy kidding?
The author obviously promotes the Conservative Republican agenda. His second paragraph refering to President Clinton as "free love, free pot." If the author had done any real research, instead of spouting the usual DEA rhetoric, he would know that more drug offenders have been imprisoned during the Clinton presidency than any Reagan or Bush. I found the "pesky 'non-violent' drugs statement. It is true, those pesky non-violent drugs seem to be the cause for many stabbings, shooting, robbery, and child abuse cases. I also include Domestic violence and man-slaughter cases in this category. Too bad ALCHOHOL is legal.The author's simplistic solution of "Don't use drugs....The Man won't have any cause to lock you up." Tell that to the citizens of Los Angeles, where LA's finest are accused of planting cocaine on minorities in order to prosecute. Tell that to the man in Kentucky, who soley because he had the misfortune of renting a trailer on a property where marijuana was found growing, is being forced to pay over $1 million dollars in "back taxes" for alledged drug dealing, even though he was never arrested or even indicted. Tell this to the woman in Mobile, Alabama, who was arrested, and had her children placed in a foster home, because an ex-live lover, trying to weasel out of a mandatory sentence, claimed she had once stored drugs in her home, even though there was no evidence that she had done this, or had ever even used drugs. The author further says that "Drug laws don't require you to do anything." I disaggree. They require you to give up your personal freedoms. Police can be given a warrant to search your home if you happen to buy potting soil for your rose bushes in your garden with a credit card, or if your electric usage increases. Police can search your home if a bank teller thinks they smell canabis on your deposit to the bank. The author's real colors (no pun intended) really come out with his statement that "minority communities chose to avoid drugs and violence that comes with them". I am appalled by such a racist statement. Drugs are being used by all communities; police find it easier to target minorities. One must remember that Racism against blacks and hispanics was the main reason marijuana prohibition was passed in the first place. The violence that comes with drugs are very rarely caused by the drugs themselves, but by the prohibition placed on drugs. Most crimes involving drugs are actually "turf war", on who will distribute the drugs, not by someone turning violent because of the drugs. Finally, while The Netherlands system may be flawed, they have less murders, less robberies, less violent crime and fewer prisoners per capita, than the U.S. Mr. Jones should quit listening to Rush Limbaugh, and open his eyes. The Republicans he admires are always clamoring about "Big Government" crowding into our personal lives(Which, by the way, was exactly what George Wallace was saying in 1964.) Let's end the War on Drugs and get our lives back. (And save some tax money, to boot.) 
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on June 09, 2000 at 05:29:17 PT:
Get 'em while they're young
Would you accept advice on sex from celibate priests? I doubt it. And would you adhere to the suggestions of a marriage counselor who has never been married? Probably not. Or listen to a child psychologist who has no kids of her own? I don't think so.Because, in the end, it all comes down to experience. Being in the trenches. And it would seem that Mr. Jones has no mud on his feet to prove he's been there.After reading this wordenshijt, I took the time to do a Web search on Mr. Jones. You might be surprised at what you find. If you would like to read more of his material (providing you possess sufficient control of your regurgitative reflex, that is) I invite your perusal of the below link. It even has his email address (or at least a 'post office box', as I am quite sure that given the content of his offerings, he must get a lot of flames) should you feel inclined in correcting his mis-statements.Given his relative youth and inexperience, it might be a good idea to apprise Mr. Jones of the value of withholding from the urge of advising his elders how to suck eggs. Yours truly has been involved with the entire matter of the effects of illicit drugs, and drug policy on society for almost 20 years... which, judging from this gentleman's picture, is approximately how long he has been alive.Yep, this looks like another example of the old line of "Teach up a child in the way he is to go, and when he is old, he shall not stray." It looks like the Rockefeller Wing of the Republican Party has been hard at work on this kid.
http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/db/articles.asp?ID=333
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Comment #2 posted by observer on June 08, 2000 at 23:58:07 PT
Just 'Cause ?
This whole piece is a howler.Andrew Jones is really quite a joke. Note the way he uses weasel wording throughout. When was the last time you heard of someone being sentenced to hard time for marijuana possession? Recently.``Mandantory sentencing guidelines are ruthless. A first offense of simple marijuana posession now carries a five-year federal penalty.234 Escalator clauses take advantage of the repetitive nature of drug use. First-time possession of crack can be punished by five to twenty years if the amount exceeds five grams. A second offense brings the same punishment if the weight exceeds five grams. And a third offense brings the same punishment of the weight exceeds one gram. "Three felony convictions for drug offenses carries mandantory life with no parole, and it is a felony to commit a drug offense within 100 feet of a pinball or video arcade containing more than 10 games."235 Possession of a marijuana cigarette is such a felony. Federal law permits a $10,000 fine for possessing one marijuana cigarette.236 An Oklahoma man received a life sentence for felony possession of marijuana, 0.005644 of an ounce.237 ''(Richard L Miller, Drug Warriors and their Prey, 1996, pgs.63-64) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0275950425/Cannabisnews/(None of the above Federal laws has been repealed; they have only been made more harsh since 1996. There were 700,000 marijuana arrests in 1998.)When was the last time you heard of someone being sentenced to hard time for marijuana possession? http://www.hr95.org/Foster,W.html``Will was a productive citizen who paid his taxes, served in the US Army, and had his own computer programmer/analyst business for five years. He, his wife, Megan, and their three children were leading ordinary lives in Oklahoma until he was arrested for using his medicine of choice. "We were a happy, typical family that had a life and had dreams, but the Tulsa Police Department had different ideas," Will wrote.Will has crippling rheumatoid arthritis in his feet, hips, lower back, and hands. He did not like the side effects of the drugs his doctors prescribed, which were mostly codeine-based and highly addictive. These drugs left him moody, tired and edgy, making it difficult for him to enjoy his family and perform his work. Will found that medical marijuana controlled the pain and swelling associated with his condition, so he grew his own medicine.On December 28, 1995, based on a secret tip from a confidential informant,' police entered the Fosters' home with a 'John Doe' search warrant for methamphetamine. They found no meth, and no evidence of meth or anything listed on the search warrant. What they did find was his basement garden - 66 cannabis plants - and $28 cash.''http://www.hr95.org/Foster,W.htmlWhile no student of logic, young Andrew seems to been a eager student of propaganda technique.Butchering cause and effect, he serves up slices of still-warm smear.Look behind most serious, violent offenses, and guess what cause turns up time and again, like the proverbial bad penny? Yes, those pesky, "non-violent" drugs seem to be the cause for many a stabbing, shooting, robbery and child abuse case.(Note the weaseling here: the use of the question to insinuate.) ... they are so often the cause of violent crime ... ... because drugs have gone to war etc.The logistics of a drug-legalized America are mind-boggling.Oh brother. The whole sorry piece is chock full of little propaganda phrases like this. Sheer scare tactic. And propagandistic, too. It offers no information. (What is "mind-boggling"?) Only the Netherlands currently runs such a system, and those who know acknowledge that the system there is deeply flawed."those who know" (the Dutch people, say?)``Recent accounts in the U.S. press about the Netherlands drug policy have included incorrect and misleading statistics about drug use and drug-related crimes in the Netherlands. What follows is a short list of facts and comparisons to refute those accounts. ...''http://www.netherlands-embassy.org/c_drugstat.htmlRoyal Netherlands Embassysee also:http://www.csdp.org/ads/dutch.htmhttp://www.csdp.org/ads/pinocchio.htm etc.Ponder the issue a while and you'll realize that we havegone to war against drug users because drugs have gone to war on our people.Oh, what a gem!"Ponder the issue a while", says Andrew Jones. (He's so smart! He's thought to "ponder" the issue. You people out there, the little people, you need to "ponder" this issue too. Like Andrew Jones. He's pondered the issue, you haven't. So there.) And what did Andrew Jones "ponder"? Well, he a-pondered that "we have gone to war against drug users". (Hey, at least he admitted that this is really a war against people, users! I suppose we should be happy even for such a concession.) And why this war on "users"? Andrew Jones knows. Andrew Jones will tell us. It will become clear, when the Wisdom of Andrew shineth upon the situation. Here's what Andrew pondered for us all. We "war" against "users". And why? "Because drugs have gone to war on our people."Talk about reification! The metaphor of "war" against inanimate objects justifies (in The Mind of Andrew) real war of the non-metaphorical variety against real people. No, "drugs" do and have not "gone to war" against anything, any more than tree bark or gravel has "gone to war on our people". A bag of plant material can't go to war: it is just plant clippings. Same for a bag of heroin. It just sits there. If you happen to accidently purchase some, just flush it: it won't counter-attack. It will just act like anything else you may flush. So no, Indian hemp and opium or whatever have not "gone to war on our people." Drug warriors have done that.
William Foster, 93 years for a 5x5' basement medical cannabis grow
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Comment #1 posted by Dan B on June 08, 2000 at 23:38:38 PT:
Check the Facts, Mr. Jones
The author does make a valid point in differentiating between marijuana and hard drugs, like cocaine, heroine, and the like. However, the author seems terribly misinformed with regard to several key points in his article:(1) "But our law enforcement for the most part turns a blind eye to such innocuous consumption. Most police officers, off the record, will acknowledge that when they discover a small baggie of pot in a car, they will simply dump it out and give its owner a stern lecture. When was the last time you heard of someone being sentenced to hard time for marijuana possession?" Frankly, this is a bald-faced lie. The fact is, "Of the 682,885 marijuana arrests in 1998, approximately 88% (600,938) were for simple possession," according to FBI statistics (quotation from the NORML site linked at the bottom of this page). This is a far cry from looking the other way.(2) "Look behind most serious, violent offenses, and guess what cause turns up time and again, like the proverbial bad penny? Yes, those pesky, 'non-violent' drugs seem to be the cause for many a stabbing, shooting, robbery and child abuse case." According to a study conducted in New York City, 74% of all drug-related murders were the result of the war on drugs, while only 14% were related to drug use, and only 4% related to the desire to get money for drugs. (See "Our 'War On Drugs' Is The Direct Cause Of Almost Half Of All Murders In The U.S." at www.cannabis.com)(3)"The crucial difference between drugs and fatty foods is that fatty foods only affect the consumer of Twinkies and Ho-Hos. But can you say with a straight face that crack cocaine is a "personal lifestyle choice" that affects nobody else?" Does the author really believe that obesity does not affect other people? Try explaining that to the families of over half a million people who die each year from complications related to obesity. Try explaining that to family members who try everything they can to get their loved ones to stop eating too much food and to begin exercising. Try explaining that to the hundreds of thousands of Americans currently in 12-step programs because their weight problems have severely impacted their own lives and the lives of those around them. The author's argument here is hogwash.(4) "The logistics of a drug-legalized America are mind-boggling. Only the Netherlands currently runs such a system, and those who know acknowledge that the system there is deeply flawed." Let's see what the Dutch have to say about this statement: "According to the Dutch figures, hastily produced by a health ministry spokesman, there were roughly 160 heroin addicts for every 100,000 inhabitants in the Netherlands. In the United States, by comparison, there were around 430 addicts per 100,000 people, the spokesman said. Dutch prison statistics tell a similar story. According to the ministry, 73 people out of every 100,000 are serving a jail sentence in the Netherlands, far below the 645 recorded in the United States. Cannabis consumption among 18-year-olds is also much lower in the Netherlands, according to the health ministry" (see "DUTCH, U.S. TRADE STATISTICS ON DRUGS, CRIME" at the following URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n655.a05.html/all )(5) "...marijuana enjoys this special status in law enforcement because it is generally acknowledged to be benign. Smoke it long enough and you'll become an idiot, as well as experience the same negative consequences that tobacco users do, only quicker and in greater force. But on balance, marijuana will only decrease your quality of life, instead of taking it altogether." Has this author researched his topic at all, or is he merely spouting what he has heard from the mainstream propaganda mill? I don't have space enough here to answer every medical and psychological question related to marijuana use. Note to the author: check out the book "Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts" before making such a ridiculous claim.(6)"Visualizing just how hard drugs would be distributed to Americans is rather creepy." What is creepy is how they are distributed now. Because these drugs are illegal, only those willing to break the law are selling them. This means that the government has created a market in which criminals can make ridiculous amounts of money, and it also means that when people buy drugs they run the risk of obtaining contaminated substances. It is often these contaminations that result in the death of the drug user. In short, this article brims with misinformed, faulty rhetoric. Any thinking person will recognize this fact.I don't think anyone at this page would argue with the fact that hard drugs can cause serious harm. What is at question is whether the current anti-drug policies are the answer. When a rational person examines the facts, that person must conclude that the methods currently used are not working and, as a whole, are actually causing more harm than good. Switching from our current criminal model to a more reasonable medical model (such that drug addicts are provided treatment, not incarceration) will do much to get America on the road to recovery from the current "war on drugs." Let's stop leaving decisions about health to lawyers and judges and start letting our medical and mental health professionals treat real drug problems as they arise.
War Against Marijuana Consumers
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