Colombia has decriminalized cocaine and marijuana, saying that people cannot be jailed for possessing the drugs for personal use. Anyone caught with less 20 grams of marijuana or one gram of cocaine for personal use will not be prosecuted or detained, but could be required to receive treatment, depending on their level of intoxication.
Colombia is also moving toward legalizing drug crops. The country’s House of Representatives in May passed the first draft of a bill that would decriminalize growing illegal drug plants, allowing residents to grow coca plants, marijuana plants and opium poppies. But representative Hugo Velasquez Jaramillo was quick to note that although the plants would be legalized, “the processing and trafficking of drugs would remain subject to criminal sentencing.”
Tag Archives | Marijuana Legalization
An obvious message to some, perhaps, but there are still those who need help believing that reefer madness is a myth. Tricia Escobedo and Jim Spellman report for CNN:
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A Colorado advocacy group is spending thousands of dollars to convince people that smoking pot is safer than drinking alcohol. It’s an attempt by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol to rally support for a vote in November that would legalize the drug for recreational use. Colorado legalized marijuana for medical use in 2000.
Last Friday, the group aired an advertisement on a local Denver channel during daytime programming encouraging people to “start your conversation about marijuana.” The 30-second spot features a young woman typing a message to her mother on her laptop, explaining that after spending her college years drinking heavily, she now prefers marijuana because “it’s less harmful … I don’t get hung-over and honestly I feel safer around marijuana users.” The marketing campaign aims to “break down the stereotype about who the typical marijuana user is,” explained the campaign’s co-director, Mason Tvert.
"Mr. President, I hope you don’t think I’m out of line here, but marijuana is something that real people care about. The fact that you believe Speaker Boehner when he tells you he still has control of his party leads me to believe that you must be smoking some crazy great weed yourself."
Philip Klein makes a good economic case for legalization of marijuana, writing for the Washington Examiner:
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Over the past week, President Obama spent time promoting the Buffett Rule surtax on millionaires and paid a visit to Colombia in which he reiterated his opposition to legalizing drugs. Though the two issues were unrelated, it’s worth remarking that legalizing drugs would actually do more to reduce deficits than implementing the Buffett Rule.
The Buffett tax, which failed to advance in the Senate last night, would have raised $5.1 billion in 2013 (theoretically its first full year of implementation), according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Yet a 2010 study by the libertarian Cato Institute found that legalizing marijuana alone would save the federal government $3.3 billion in reduced enforcement expenditures per year and raise an additional $5.8 billion in revenue assuming it would be taxed. If all drugs were legalized, the study estimated it would save the federal government $15.6 billion a year and raise an additional $31.2 billion in revenue — for a total of $46.8 billion.
Legalizing pot across the nation would save many lives. The University of Colorado Denver Newsroom explains:
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A groundbreaking new study shows that laws legalizing medical marijuana have resulted in a nearly 9 percent drop in traffic deaths and a 5 percent reduction in beer sales.
“Our research suggests that the legalization of medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities through reducing alcohol consumption by young adults,” said Daniel Rees, professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver who co-authored the study with D. Mark Anderson, assistant professor of economics at Montana State University.
The researchers collected data from a variety of sources including the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
The study is the first to examine the relationship between the legalization of medical marijuana and traffic deaths.
“We were astounded by how little is known about the effects of legalizing medical marijuana,” Rees said.
Suppose we decriminalized hard drugs — heroin, cocaine, and all the rest? The Indypendent ponders the scenario and how we could make it work:
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For heroin, says Eric Sterling, the conundrum is how much use would spread if “the price goes down and the ease of acquisition goes up,” but if a legal scheme set the price too high or made the restrictions too inconvenient, users would go back to the illegal market.
He posits a system in which “addiction management” specialists would supply enough drugs to keep addicts from getting sick, but would not tolerate criminal behavior. Rehab and counseling would be available, and addicts might also be required to work or go to school.
Switzerland, which had close to the highest rate of heroin addiction in Europe in the mid-’90s — with an estimated 30,000 addicts out of about 7 million people — has had some success with heroin maintenance.
Jason Motlagh writes in TIME:
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On the second floor of the downtown campus, a motley group of students listens to a lecture titled “Palliative and Curative Relief Through a Safe and Effective Herbal Medicine.” Not the sexiest of topics on the face of it, but there’s a catch: this is Oaksterdam University, and the medicine being discussed is marijuana. At “America’s first cannabis college,” in Oakland, Calif., the sallow-faced hippy-skater types that one expects to find sit beside middle-aged professionals in business attire, united in their zeal for the pungent green leaf. No one dares speak out of turn, until instructor Paul Armentano, a marijuana-policy expert, cites a news report that U.S. antidrug authorities plan to legalize pot’s active ingredient exclusively for drug companies’ use. “More stinking profits for Big Business,” mumbles a young man wearing a baseball cap. His classmates groan in agreement.
More than 17,000 students have enrolled since Oaksterdam opened in late 2007.
Like any sensible American, I was outraged when I heard a mother of four was sent to 10 years in prison for the sale of $31 of weed.
The mind boggles at this travesty of “American Justice,” and so I encourage everyone else outraged by this egregious violation of basic human dignity to petition President Obama to immediately pardon Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow of any criminal charges and penalties. Let’s get organized and march (is April 20th, on D.C. good for you?). Peacefully of course. If Egyptians can topple their government — I think the least we can do is get this woman out of prison.
Here are some slogans that may or may not catch on:
JUST SAY NO TO THE WAR ON DRUGS.
FREEDOM ISN’T FREE – SO WHERE’S THE FREEDOM?
When it’s all said and done, I think history will show this to be the incident that ‘broke the camel’s back’ in regard to marijuana prohibition.… Read the rest
Welcome to a world in which suburban, big-box superstores sell all things marijuana-related. With pot nearly decriminalized in California, will the burgeoning retail chain weGrow become the Wal-Mart of weed? From Mother Jones:
On a Sunday in early October, Dhar Mann threw a party at weGrow, his hydroponic marijuana superstore in Oakland, California. Trailed by a three-person video crew from Hempire, the reality-show pilot he’s costarring in, Mann gave sound bites to a pack of reporters as he strutted past Ikea-style displays showcasing products for every stage of indoor cannabis cultivation—from Sun Pulse lightbulbs to $700 grow tents and Bud Candy plant nutrients. “It’s the whole supply chain,” said the fauxhawked 26-year-old, self-assured in a tailored gray suit and red silk tie.
Two years ago, Mann says, he had never seen a pot plant. Today, he envisions weGrow becoming the “Wal-Mart of Weed,” a vertically integrated chain of big-box stores perfectly positioned to cash in on California’s booming marijuana industry as it moves from the shadows to the mainstream.… Read the rest