LEAP Looks To Make Marijuana Legal Across U.S.

Apr 9, 2013

The legal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana is becom­ing a topic that is sweep­ing the nation.  Wash­ing­ton and Col­orado recently legal­ized mar­i­juana use and sev­eral other states have or are look­ing into the issue as well.  In Nevada, a bill intro­duced by Demo­c­rat Joe Hogan would allow res­i­dents 21 and older to own up to one ounce of mar­i­juana for recre­ational use and up to six mar­i­juana plants as well as tax­ing mar­i­juana sales. The group Law Enforce­ment Against Pro­hi­bi­tion ( LEAP ) is hop­ing Nevada joins Wash­ing­ton and Col­orado in the legal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana, though the group’s rea­sons may sur­prise you. LEAP LEAP is com­prised of for­mer law enforce­ment offi­cers, attor­neys and judges who all took part in the “war on drugs,” which Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon began in the 70s.  But LEAP argues that the war on drugs not only hasn’t been effec­tive, it’s actu­ally helped fuel the ille­gal drug trade in the United States. “The war on drugs causes what it was designed to pre­vent,” for­mer pros­e­cu­tor James Gier­ach said.  “It works in reverse and what seems like a good idea is a bad idea.  It keeps the price of drugs high, but sim­ple laws of eco­nom­ics tell us as we increase the price of drugs, the more some­one is will­ing to sup­ply it so there’s more drugs instead of less of it.” Gier­ach said the war on drugs is actu­ally doing more harm than good because of some basic rea­sons.  The first rea­son is because pro­hi­bi­tion ensures that large num­bers of unreg­u­lated drugs will be avail­able for peo­ple The sec­ond rea­son is because Giearch said the drug car­tels them­selves are in sup­port of pro­hi­bi­tion.  Mar­i­juana is the most widely used drug in the world, Giearch said.  And accord­ing to LEAP, by choos­ing to ban all use of the drug, it dri­ves up the demand for the car­tels. “In 2011, a drug threat assess­ment was issued,” Gier­ach said.  “The DEA said car­tels are pro­duc­ing 25,100 tons of mar­i­juana a year.  Sixty per­cent of the money that goes to car­tels in Mex­ico is from mar­i­juana.” But LEAP’s rea­son­ing for sup­port­ing the reg­u­la­tion and tax­a­tion on mar­i­juana rather than its pro­hi­bi­tion goes fur­ther.  Whether it’s gun vio­lence, gang vio­lence and crimes, hav­ing to build more pris­ons, a blan­ket pro­hi­bi­tion on drugs makes those issues worse. “You name the cri­sis, the war on drugs makes it worse,” Gier­ach said.  “It cor­rupts the police, the kids, we fund ter­ror­ism and put guns in the hands of kids=C2=85The law enforce­ment agen­cies are work­ing for the car­tels and gangs to ensure they are the only out­lets for these sub­stances.” Gier­ach said that by pro­hibit­ing the use of sub­stances, it has led to the cre­ation of syn­thetic drugs, which can be dan­ger­ous to the user’s health. “The sub­sti­tutes are much more dan­ger­ous, result­ing in death, dis­ease and paral­y­sis,” Gier­ach said. LEAP also believes that free­ing up money that is spent on by often lengthy inves­ti­ga­tions into drug charges and cases could be used else where to other types of cases. Nevada What action Nevada takes on legal­iz­ing mar­i­juana remains to be seen.  In the past, peo­ple have been in favor of the war on drugs because of dif­fer­ent enti­ties get­ting to keep part of the drug bust money.  But it also needs to be stopped, Gier­ach said. “Al Capone was in favor of pro­hi­bi­tion,” Gier­ach said.  “The car­tels are.  The street gangs are.  Pro­hi­bi­tion is the foun­da­tion for the busi­ness and helps it become the most valu­able com­mod­ity on the face of the earth.” LEAP is opti­mistic that the national con­scious­ness about mar­i­juana use is chang­ing and he hopes to see all states adopt reg­u­la­tion laws on mar­i­juana use=C2=85and sooner rather than later. “The pen­du­lum is swing­ing in reg­u­la­tion con­trol land tax­a­tion of drugs,” Gier­ach said.  “Nation­ally and locally on a state basis, we can’t pay the price tags that come with pro­hi­bi­tion.” Mar­i­juana has hit White Pine County with two grows found last year with an esti­mated worth of more than $30 mil­lion.  But whether AB 402 will make any move­ment this ses­sion remains to be seen.  Oppo­nents to legal­iz­ing mar­i­juana say that it can lead to addic­tion and that it could send the wrong mes­sage to chil­dren that it’s OK to do drugs. State Sen­a­tor Pete Goicoeceha is one who opposes legal­iz­ing mar­i­juana and said that he will not be sup­port­ing AB 402. “I’m very con­cerned about it, espe­cially the tax they’re impos­ing,” Goicoechea said.  “It will allow you to have one ounce in your pos­ses­sion and it will be decrim­i­nal­ized.  It opens it wide open for more ille­gal nar­cotics.  You’ve got to pay a thou­sand dol­lar a gram tax on it, we’ll start see­ing black mar­ket mar­i­juana.  It’ll throw the gates open.  I will oppose the bill.  I think it’s a gate­way drug.  I know it’s for peo­ple 21 and older, but it’s ille­gal for kids to smoke and they find their way.  It’s just a mat­ter of time.” Goicoechea also expressed con­cerns pass­ing a bill that goes against cur­rent fed­eral laws. It’s clear the debate sur­round­ing legal­iz­ing mar­i­juana is far from fin­ished.  Whether Nevada joins Wash­ing­ton and Col­orado is an issue that is likely to see strong opin­ions on both sides. Pub­date: Fri, 05 Apr 2013 Source: Ely Times (NV) Copy­right: 2013 The Ely Times Con­tact: editor@​elynews.​com Web­site: http://​www​.elynews​.com/ Author: Lukas Eggen

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LEAP Looks To Make Mar­i­juana Legal Across U.S.

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