Marijuana Prohibition: Required or Ridiculous?

Apr 27, 2012

Recently, the Huff­in­g­ton Post ran an arti­cle stat­ing that accord­ing to more than 300 econ­o­mists, the U.S.  gov­ern­ment could poten­tially save $13.7 bil­lion dol­lars by not enforc­ing the pro­hi­bi­tion and tax­ing it like tobacco and alco­hol. As some­one who has always been pro-legalization, I found this inter­est­ing and saw it as a ray of light through the thun­der­storm that is this ridicu­lous mar­i­juana pro­hi­bi­tion. So, if it could poten­tially save the States bil­lions of dol­lars, what about Canada? Accord­ing to the 2009 Angus Reid poll, 53% of Cana­di­ans were in favour of legal­iz­ing cannabis. Obvi­ously, pos­ses­sion, traf­fick­ing and grow­ing of mar­i­juana is ille­gal in Canada. Sim­ple pos­ses­sion ( any­thing under 30 grams ) can result in a max­i­mum $1000 fine or six months in jail, and traf­fick­ing can result in any­thing from a slap on the wrist and a fine to jail time. Drug pro­hi­bi­tion in Canada started in 1908 with the Opium Act.  It for­bade the sale, man­u­fac­ture and impor­ta­tion of opium for any­thing other than med­ical use, and it later expanded to include mor­phine and cocaine in 1911. It wasn’t until 1923, when the Opium and Nar­cotics Act came in, that cannabis was added to Con­fi­den­tial Restricted List. While it was crim­i­nal­ized in 1923, it didn’t start get­ting atten­tion until the 1930s, and the first arrest wasn’t made until 1937.  Even in the next two or three decades, it was barely a blip on police radar. Between 1946 and 1966 cannabis only accounted for 2% of drug arrests in Canada. In 2002, Jean Chretien’s Lib­eral gov­ern­ment intro­duced a bill that would have decrim­i­nal­ized the pos­ses­sion of small amounts of mar­i­juana.  Pos­ses­sion of a half ounce or less would have only resulted in a fine, and those pos­sess­ing up to a full ounce would be either tick­eted or charged.  Up to seven plants for per­sonal use would have also become a sum­mary offence, but any more than that would have a more severe pun­ish­ment. It looked like the bill might have been able to pass, too, but it died when Par­lia­ment pro­rogued. Not only that, but the DEA sup­pos­edly put a lot of pres­sure on our gov­ern­ment, threat­en­ing to slow down border-crossings along the bor­der just in case some­one decided to try to smug­gle our legal weed into their coun­try.  As if that wasn’t hap­pen­ing already. An iden­ti­cal bill was intro­duced again in Novem­ber 2004 by Paul Martin’s Lib­er­als, but it got shot down too. So should it be ille­gal? There are reports of cannabis use for med­i­c­i­nal pur­poses as far back as 2727 BC in China and appar­ently even Queen Vic­to­ria used cannabis to relieve her men­strual cramps. In 1937 it is crim­i­nal­ized in the United States, and by 1965 over 1 mil­lion Amer­i­cans had tried it, and that num­ber jumped to 24 mil­lion by 1972. Now, mar­i­juana is America’s num­ber one cash crop, rak­ing in around $36 bil­lion per year. In 1996, Cal­i­for­nia intro­duced Propo­si­tion 215, mak­ing mar­i­juana legal for med­i­c­i­nal use, and since then around 14 other states, and Canada, have fol­lowed. Of course, it’s not as easy as just flip­ping a switch and legal­iz­ing it.  There are a few things that would need to be con­sid­ered: what about the price? The qual­ity? It makes sense that the ille­gal­ity of the sub­stance has influ­ence on the price because of the risk fac­tor.  If it was legal, would the price go down? Would the gov­ern­ment employ grow­ers that are already in oper­a­tion? And will the qual­ity increase or decrease if the gov­ern­ment gets their hands on it? Recre­ational mar­i­juana users and those who need com­pas­sion­ate care ser­vices ( med­ical mar­i­juana – for more infor­ma­tion, visit www​.med​ical​mar​i​jua​nacure​.com ) obvi­ously want it to be legal­ized, and I would have to say that I agree with them. Sure, weed is a drug, but so are alco­hol and tobacco.  Peo­ple are get­ting smarter since the “Reefer Mad­ness” days, where every­one was afraid that one toke of weed would turn their poor inno­cent chil­dren into rav­ing homi­ci­dal mani­acs. Any­one who has ever ingested the drug knows how false those claims are. Mar­i­juana is not phys­i­o­log­i­cally addic­tive like alco­hol or cocaine; it can be habit-forming but nor­mally users do not report with­drawal symp­toms like those of alco­hol or other nar­cotics. Also, to those of you that say that if it’s legal, more peo­ple will use it, I have this to say: In Hol­land, where mar­i­juana is legal, it was reported that once it became legal, usage of mar­i­juana and hard drugs dropped sig­nif­i­cantly. As it is, there is prac­ti­cally unlim­ited access to weed whether it’s legal or not, so peo­ple are going to get it no mat­ter what. If it was legal­ized, the soft drug trade would stop feed­ing orga­nized crime, stop con­gest­ing our prison sys­tem with non­vi­o­lent offend­ers and make obtain­ing the drug safe and risk-free, espe­cially for those look­ing for com­pas­sion­ate care. The way I see it, mar­i­juana is just like alco­hol.  Some peo­ple come home and relax on the couch with a beer, and some do it with a joint. It has even been proven that alco­hol does more dam­age to your body than mar­i­juana does, and there have been no recorded deaths that could be directly attrib­uted to using mar­i­juana. Besides, I don’t know about you, but I would rather be in a room full of stoned peo­ple than a room full of drunk peo­ple. You never hear of a mar­i­juana user get­ting high and com­ing home and beat­ing his wife and chil­dren; the most dam­age he is likely to do is to his refrig­er­a­tor. So what do you guys think? Should it be legal­ized, decrim­i­nal­ized, or should the laws stay the way they are? Source: Fairview Post (CN AB) Copy­right: 2012 Fairview Post Con­tact: http://​www​.fairview​post​.com/​f​e​e​d​b​a​c​k​1​/​L​e​t​t​e​r​T​o​E​d​i​t​o​r​.​a​spx Web­site: http://​www​.fairview​post​.com/ Author: Jacquie Maynard

c0fc42f37aijuana.jpg 150x84 Marijuana Prohibition: Required or Ridiculous?

Orig­i­nal post:
Mar­i­juana Pro­hi­bi­tion: Required or Ridiculous?

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