Obama Says "No" to Legalizing and Taxing Marijuana

No surprise here, except for those who perhaps expected something different: President Barack Obama today rejected the idea of legalizing marijuana and taxing it:

The query, which received more than three million votes, was: "With over 1 out of 30 Americans controlled by the penal system, why not legalize, control, and tax marijuana to change the failed war on drugs into a money making, money saving boost to the economy? Do we really need that many victimless criminals?"

Obama.... kept his answer brief. "There was one question that voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation," he said. "And I don't know what this says about the online audience, but ... this was a popular question. We want to make sure it's answered. The answer is no, I don't think that's a good strategy to grow our economy. All right."


Via Politico, pot dominated the 90,000 questions posted for the online town hall meeting:

In this moment of national economic crisis, the top four questions under the heading of “Financial security” concerned marijuana; on the budget, people voted up questions about marijuana to positions 1-4; marijuana was in the first and third positions under “jobs”; people boosted a plug for legalizing marijuana to No. 2 under “health care reform.” And questions about decriminalizing pot occupied spots 1 and 2 under “green jobs and energy.”

Update: David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars:

Politico tries to fob the intense interest in the matter off on NORML activists, but that overlooks the real dynamic: the "war on drugs" is a kitchen-table issue that affects millions of Americans in their homes, especially as we watch the tremendous waste of national resources spent criminalizing people who need medical treatment, and we witness the costs to our national and personal security in the form of the raging drug war on the Mexican border.

Update: Paul Armentano of NORML responds to President Obama:

Does the President really think that all of these voters are worthy of his ridicule?

Let the White House laugh for now, but the public knows that this issue is no laughing matter. This week alone, legislators in Illinois, Minnesota, and New Hampshire voted to legalize the use of marijuana for authorized individuals. Politicians in three additional states heard testimony this week in favor of eliminating criminal penalties for all adults who possess and use cannabis. And lawmakers in Massachusetts and California are now debating legally regulating marijuana outright.

The American public is ready and willing to engage in a serious and objective political debate regarding the merits of legalizing the use of cannabis by adults. And all over this nation, whether Capitol Hill wants to acknowledge it or not, they are engaging in this debate as we speak.

Sorry Obama, this time the jokešs on you.

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    If people want these town hall (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by tigercourse on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:36:15 PM EST
    events to continue, they should probablly take them a little more seriously. It's fine to ask questions about pot policy, but to try to dominate the event with that one issue? Thats a silly waste of Obama's time and everyone else's.

    It's a big issue... (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:40:24 PM EST
    a multi-pronged issue...and it's been swept under the rug enough the last 50+ years.

    It's about time it gets the attention it deserves.


    Silly Waste of Time? (5.00 / 6) (#13)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:00:11 PM EST
    Tell that to the people in jail serving time for MJ. Or those who will not break the law but seek relief from medical MJ.

    And, the families and children (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:08:54 PM EST
    caught in the foster system, or sent to relatives while their parents are in prison.

    This is a HUGE problem for everyone.

    Jury duty is a nightmare under all circumstances, but when we're called away from the job only to find they want us to incarcerate a mother because she lived with the father of her children on money he made selling drugs that should be legal, anyway it's even worse.

    The cost of this "war" hits every single one of us in ways few would realize.

    I would have prefered to hear Obama answered with a task force of medical personnel, users, and families looking deeply into the positives and negatives of legalizing some or all drugs. But, a quick "NO" doesn't show an interest in looking at the total picture.


    Where I come from--CA-- (none / 0) (#75)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:08:15 PM EST
    It tkes a lot to be sentenced to prison re MJ--sale of large amt., transportation for sale, etc.  Simple possession is an infraction--no custody. Benefitting from the profits--subject to forfeiture laws--no custody. .

    Or being in prison with a small amount (5.00 / 2) (#95)
    by 1980Ford on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:50:56 PM EST
     Fix Three Strikes'Vote tomorrow

    California's Three Strikes law was intended to stop rapists, kidnappers, and murderers from being freed and committing more violent crimes. Voters enacted it by initiative after a young child, Polly Klass, was abducted and murdered. But Three Strikes was drafted too broadly--nearly 65 percent of people sentenced for second and third strikes were convicted of nonviolent petty offenses, frequently drug offenses or shoplifting. California is the only state where a minor drug offender can get life in prison. One prisoner was sentenced to life for possessing less than two grams of marijuana in a prison facility.


    in the Bible Belt (none / 0) (#85)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:28:37 PM EST
    possessing a roach is a worse crime than being a pedophile or wife-beater...

    mj smokers are treated as the bane of an officers existence in rural areas...
    they are the scum of the earth...


    Is ziie possession puniishable by (none / 0) (#93)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:43:46 PM EST
    Custody in state prison?

    now you are (none / 0) (#98)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:16:22 PM EST
    just pulling stuff from the air. I live in the Bible Belt and have practiced over a fairly wide swath of it and that simply is untrue.

      I have never once had a client charged with simple possession be sentenced to any time in over 20 years. Some spent a night in jail when they were arrested but nowhere in this country is it even slightly common for first time offenders caught with small amounts of marijuana to be sentenced to time.

      Saying marijuana smokers are considered on a par with pedophiles is just beyond the pale.


    Hmmm (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:29:00 PM EST
    In Kansas 1 year for a roach. 13 to 17 years for growing five or more plants.

    Battery is up to 6 months in jail.


    Christ, 13 to 17 years for five or more (none / 0) (#102)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:30:54 PM EST
    plants.  What if they are growing in the ditch in front of my house?

    I suspect (none / 0) (#109)
    by Patrick on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:59:41 PM EST
    those are maximum penalties, and don't necessarily reflect the reality of enforcement in that state.  

    ehhh, I can only speak from my own experiences (4.50 / 2) (#103)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:31:37 PM EST
    and the experiences of people I know who live in rural areas in Missouri...

    it's hard for us to compete for our rights when we are up against the ministers and pastors of churches....

    being treated like a criminal (in any form) for possessing shake (or even a pipe that is legal to buy but contains remnants of past use even without any marijuana at the time) is bad enough...
    I've seen people get 120 days for possessing less than an ounce in St Francois county missouri...

    I have friends who had their lives ruined because they lost scholarships and grants for possessing a joint...it's pretty sad (luckily, though, Columbia MO passed some laws a few years ago that addressed this issue)...I know, I know, they knew the law, but just because a law is a law doesn't mean it's just...

     my bias from my experiences stems too much from the treatment by officers, rather than the treatment by the courts...I can admit that...


    Are there ##%%# cops (none / 0) (#118)
    by Bemused on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 06:43:59 AM EST
    in the "bible belt" and everywhere else? Absolutely. Many of them treat certain classes of people (especially  but not exclusively racial and ethnic minorities) in inexcusable fashion. The thread about the Texans running back is one of countless examples and if he wasn't an NFL player he might not have received an apology.

      But, that lends no support to the assertions that large numbers of people in the bible bely or elsewhere are serving harsh prison sentences for mere possession of small amounts of marijuana.

      It's not necessarty to resort to false propaganda to make a strong argument in favor of legalizing marijuana. Doing so actually hurts rather than helps the cause.


    What I've witnessed from the (none / 0) (#107)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:50:51 PM EST
    jury selection process, showed me how many people are impacted for each one arrested and tried, and that it is exceptionally easy to find yourself in prison.

    Then, it hit very close to home with one of my ex's children. A minimum of 10 people having to pick up pieces of his life on top of their own life responsibilities (financial and physical) during his time in prison...potential of 10 years for

    to grow and sell (he owned the property others were using to grow).

    Women are put in prison, and their children sent to foster care because they lived off the money their small time dealing husbands/boyfriends made off drugs.

    The number of victims one could tally for each one person in prison over small time drug offenses is astronomical. We pick up many of those costs in addition to the prison expenses.

    I know a young adult who was put in foster care while her parents did time for use. She suffers from terrible separation anxiety and probably will for the rest of her life.


    Yes, I think when we are in the midst of (none / 0) (#33)
    by tigercourse on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:40:04 PM EST
    an economic crisis, a climate crisis, a couple of wars and a dozen other things, it's a bit of a waste of time to try to monopolize the President's time and attention on just one issue. Obama himself made the offhand joke (?) about the quality of the people asking the questions. If they want these interactions with the President to continue, they should tru to broaden their horizons. Surely there are some pot smokers who also care about healthcare, the rule of law, our crumbling national infrasturcture, etc, etc.

    Why do you assume... (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:44:58 PM EST
    only pot smokers care about the harm caused by prohibition, and the economic stimulus ending prohibition would create?

    As one, I can say I care about many issues, but only one issue leaves me under the constant threat, however small, of being arrested...which kinda makes it pressing.

    But it's hard to understand tiger until they come for you and your vice of choice.


    Why do you hate Community Organizing? (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:50:54 PM EST
    I wasn't aware that the only people allowed (none / 0) (#80)
    by tigercourse on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:16:01 PM EST
    to engage in the community were people interested in pot laws.

    Again, I'm fine with bringing the issue up, but I don't think it should dominate the conversation between the public and the President.


    it shouldn't dominate (none / 0) (#86)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:29:52 PM EST
    but it would at least be nice if it were a discussion point...

    which it's not...there is no discussion...
    just as there wasn't today...


    We need a more serious President! (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by BrassTacks on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 03:23:58 AM EST
    Someone who doesn't go on television everyday but actually does the tough work of solving problems.  Heaven knows we have enough of them right now.  We could use a President who was actually working.  I have no use for the television star President.  

    hmm (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by connecticut yankee on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:47:10 PM EST
    He must not have got my question about legal prostitution.  Maybe next time.

    Imagine the photoshops if the first black president legalized prostitution and drugs.

    Don't forget gambling!....n/t (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:50:55 PM EST
    the sad part is (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:08:52 PM EST
    if he doesnt do it no one probably ever will.
    at least in my lifetime.
    he is the only public figure in ages with the support to try something so controversial.
    I suppose I never believed it either but the "hope" thing is contagious.
    more of the same.  indeed.
    or worse.  agent orange on the border.

    Concerns over how (none / 0) (#26)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:26:37 PM EST
    the Reich will spin it -- and they'd spin and spin and spin -- trump concerns over doing whats right.

    see comment below (none / 0) (#28)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:27:44 PM EST
    I worry about that (none / 0) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:23:39 PM EST
    and yet I just can't live in that fear driven state.  Our economic situation is not going to improve for a long time and in fact will worsen before it begins to improve.  Once again I find myself desiring to make the most of a situation where we will be REALLY DEALING in the basics of life.  It is my hope that when we must divert attention from the "war on drugs" to take care of basic needs perhaps something will be learned in that process.  I know that my voice will not be silenced.

    Jack Cole, (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:22:58 PM EST

    executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), said in response:

    "Despite the president's flippant comments today, the grievous harms of marijuana prohibition are no laughing matter. Certainly, the 800,000 people arrested last year on marijuana charges find nothing funny about it, nor do the millions of Americans struggling in this sluggish economy. It would be an enormous economic stimulus if we stopped wasting so much money arresting and locking people up for nonviolent drug offenses and instead brought in new tax revenue from legal sales, just as we did when ended alcohol prohibition 75 years ago during the Great Depression."

    The Black Pres selling drugs for cash (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by lilybart on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:24:13 PM EST
    for the treasusry??

    I mean, Obama knows this is what we would hear.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:31:44 PM EST
    Glen or Glenda Coulter would come out with a new one word titled book like "Trafficers" (Why Liberals want your children to take dangerous drugs) and every talk radio jackdaw in the country would be whipping themselves into a frothy frenzy 24/7.

    I would prefer Obama NOT (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by caseyOR on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:34:21 PM EST
    make important policy decisions based on the antics of Ann Coulter and her pals. They're going to go after him no matter what he does. He might as well make good decisions because they won't give him any credit for make safe or timid decisions.

    I don't know about you lily... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:49:33 PM EST
    but I don't act based upon what critics will say about my actions...I act based on what my soul and conscience deem righteous.

    Thus, (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:51:38 PM EST
    you are exceptionally poorly suited for politics.

      That's a compliment.


    and that is a sad commentary on the state (none / 0) (#87)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:30:56 PM EST
    of politics...

    really? (none / 0) (#27)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:27:14 PM EST
    seems to me they have managed to quash that kind of thing pretty effectively when they wanted to.

    THAT is NOT a good enough reason (none / 0) (#31)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:32:33 PM EST
    It isn't about Obama.

    But It Would Be (5.00 / 4) (#36)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:43:33 PM EST
    It is really up to us and our Reps in Congress to change the MJ laws, imo. Considering that there is a seriously misinformed stereotype out there which portrays Blacks as the biggest drug users in the US who sit around collecting welfare and getting stoned. And for some strange reason the police enforce the stereotype by arresting a disproportionate number of blacks while the by far major demographic of drug user is white.

    It is clearly not a battle that Obama should fight. He should sign a bill decriminalizing it if it crosses his desk, if not that would be cause for outrage, imo.


    I am completely unaware of the (none / 0) (#40)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:54:38 PM EST
    stereotype you defined.

    Then, I do think these ideas are much different depending upon where you are in the country.


    Certainly Not Different (4.50 / 2) (#45)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:11:12 PM EST
    Regarding police stats.

    More than 70 percent of those prosecuted in federal courts for drug possession and sale (mostly small amounts of crack cocaine) and given stiff mandatory sentences are blacks. Though the Supreme Court recently agreed to review the disparities in drug sentencing, it hasn't ruled yet and won't for many months. The majority of those who deal and use crack cocaine aren't violent gang members, but poor, and increasingly female, young blacks. They need help, not jailing.


    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's survey on the sex and drug habits of Americans last June further tossed the ugly glare on who controls and uses drugs in America. The survey found that whites are much more likely to peddle and use drugs than blacks. Non-Hispanic whites had a higher percentage of using cocaine or street drugs (23.5 percent) than blacks (18 percent).

    And if you consider that blacks account for 12% of US population and non hispanic whites account for 67% the arrests for blacks are waaaaaay out of proportion regarding statistical drug use.


    Could you be more specific? (3.00 / 2) (#54)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:24:16 PM EST
    And if you consider that blacks account for 12% of US population and non hispanic whites account for 67% the arrests for blacks are waaaaaay out of proportion regarding statistical drug use.
    afaik, the overwhelming majority of drug arrests are for dealing and trafficking and such.

    What are the statistics that show that black dealers/traffickers are arrested "waaaaaaay" out of proportion to non hispanic white dealers/traffickers?


    You Gotta Be Kidding Me (3.50 / 2) (#56)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:28:01 PM EST
    As a long time TL reader these statistics should be rote by now. I am sure that you are capable of doing your own research, since your memory is foggy.

    Feel free to try prove your statement. (1.50 / 2) (#59)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:31:08 PM EST
    But we both know you protest because you can't prove it.

    Wow (5.00 / 3) (#61)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:34:34 PM EST
    Is it like a full moon or something?  I have read so much stuff here about stats and race and profiling, don't have the foggiest idea what to do about it but I know about it.

    The two (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Patrick on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:35:15 PM EST
    statistics are apples and oranges.   That should be easy enough to see.   Like the 800,000 arrests for MJ....How many of those are simple citations, for which only a fine is (and can be) imposed.  

    but just as oft-refuted nonsense that blacks make up ~14% of users but 1/2 (or something) of those incarcerated for drugs.

    Of course the overwhelming majority (95%+) of those in prison for drugs are not in for using, they're in for dealing/trafficking.

    As you said, apples and oranges.


    ehhh, if I lived in the inner city (none / 0) (#89)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:33:35 PM EST
    as an AA and had the choice between being an Indentured Servant for $7/hr (yes, we still live in a period of Indentured Servitude for many of the poor in our country) or taking a chance on being my own employer and selling goods (illegal or not) I know what choice I would probably make...

    OK (4.00 / 3) (#73)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:03:53 PM EST
    Here, here, here, here for historical precedence, here, here, here...  short memory eh sarc.

    This writeup does not provide key information (3.50 / 2) (#1)
    by Think Before You Type on Fri Mar 06, 2009 at 08:18:05 AM PST

    that would be needed to evaluate whether there is actually any injustice involved.

    The writeup says "although African-Americans make up only about 13% of the population and 13% of drug users."  However, it fails to tell us what percentage of drug dealers, traffickers, and other related criminals are African American.  If this percentage is greater than the 13% share of the overall population, one would expect that the arrest rate would also be elevated.

    We progressives should remember that African Americans who engage in drug trafficking or dealing prey on the weakest members of their community far worse than the Klan or other assorted racists do.  Arresting them  and throwing the book at them is the progressive thing to do.


    Yes (3.66 / 3) (#82)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:21:15 PM EST
    And your comments on the threads are equally ill informed.

    Squeaky, (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Patrick on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:22:34 PM EST
    In your last link, you posted this comment...

    A double edged sword. Given the feeling, expressed by Patrick above, and many other law enforcers, that Blacks tend to be criminals, couldn't your plan backfire and land even more blacks in jail?

    If I understand you correctly you're claiming that my comments said, blaks tend to be criminals?   If that is the case, please refer me to the comment that led you to that conclusion.  I can assure you I've said no such thing.  

    To the point at hand, each of those links repeat essentially the same thing, and leave the same questions unanswered.   There is no comparison of which race commits more crimes per capita.  Other factors such as population density, also play a part in my experience, and are also not addressed.   For those reasons, which were pointed out in almost every thread you linked to, none of the studies seems to adequately address the issues you have claimed they prove.  Sorry...  


    Sorry Patrick (3.50 / 2) (#84)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:27:31 PM EST
    I am not going to go searching though six TL posts and the ensuing comments in order to try to find the quote and the quote it refers to (context). If you provide a link, I will be happy to see if I can provide you context for the quote.

    Shorter squeaky: I got nothin'. (1.00 / 1) (#88)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:31:54 PM EST
    The comment (none / 0) (#106)
    by Patrick on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:43:53 PM EST
    string is here.  I kinda figured someone with your capacity to find my comments wouldn't have found my request too difficult.  So now it you would please clarify, retract or defend your comment.    

    OK (none / 0) (#112)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:02:25 PM EST
    First off my comment was not from the last link as you stated, I checked and there was no comment from you. Secondly the comment is not in response to you, it was in response to JSN who pointed out that many Blacks fear the police and if they do call in a crime it has already escalated to the felony level, blood. The reason being is that Blacks are harassed by cops for doing very little, just being black is enough.

    The "feeling" you expressed above is that if you come to a crime you are going to arrest people regardless of color, are even if they are purple. Many other officers may tend to arrest blacks over whites, as the evidence shows, both statistically and fear level of many in the black population . Perhaps the punctuation should be without a comma to separate you from your less colorblind brethren.

    I will rephrase for you:

    Given the feeling, expressed by Patrick above [that he will always make an arrest for a crime without discretion], and [the feelings of] many other law enforcers that Blacks tend to be criminals...

    In any case my response to JSN was that if Blacks were to call in sooner than when blood is flowing, wouldn't that even cause more blacks to be arrested.


    what can be demonstrated (2.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:36:30 PM EST
     is that beginning with the sentencing reform act federal prosecutions focused  inordinately on ditribution of crack cocaine as opposed to distribution of other drugs. There are studies showing that blacks are involved at a higher ratio in crack trafficking than they are in other drug which receive less attention so crack enforcement combined with the extremely harsh penalties for distribution did cause a racial disparity in the prison poulation. (the studies don't show that white crack dealers are receiving lesser sentences)

      In recent years though federal priority has been also focused on meth which has an overwhelmingly white/hispanic distribution network. Some people have even surmised that the meth initiative was intended at least in part to lessen complaints about the racial imbalance which results from targeting crack.

      When you have an imbalance you can equalize it in 2 ways. Reduce the prosecutions of the over-represented group or increase the prosecutins of the underrepresented group. It's probably not coincidence we saw the latter.


    I still wasn't aware of the stereotype (none / 0) (#50)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:16:27 PM EST
    All the recent big drug busts in my area were white middle aged men and Asian men. I've had 4 jury selection nightmares and three were white.

    My frame of reference is in my own personal experience. I don't doubt your statistics. I just don't immediately assign race to the problem.


    Until we get some third (none / 0) (#34)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:41:46 PM EST
    fourth and fifth parties going in this country, it's "about Obama" and whoever the fundie base is aligned with.

    Hmmm (5.00 / 0) (#35)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:42:57 PM EST
      He phrased the question as whether legalizing marijuana is a good strategy for growing the economy. He said no.

      Interstingly, shortly ago several people on another thread confidently asserted legalization would not increase demand. If that is true, Obama is undeniably correct. Legalization wouldn't grow the economy at all if it did not result in more people buying more marijuana.  With taxes it might increase federal revenues (assuming people bought marijuan in lieu of lower taxed products) but if people purchased the same amount or less how is that going to grow the economy?

      He pointedly didn't answer the question of whether he thought marijuana being illegal was a good ide on more general terms.

    A couple ways.... (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:01:45 PM EST
    It would virtually end all importing of it provided American growers can match the skills of their Canadian and European counterparts, imo.

    A cash business becomes a 21st century business...all the credit card swipe machines, transactions fees, new incorporated businesses.  Pains me to say, but the finance industry gets more involved:)

    The retail opportunites provided we adopt an Amsterdam-like coffeshop model.  

    The tourism, until every other country followed suit at least....and they would except for the real totalitarian nations.

    The home hobby growers..the lights, the seeds, the fertilizer, hydroponic systems.  Home Depot makes a killing...or even better your neighborhood garden supplier.

    Just a few off the top of my head...


    also (4.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:11:53 PM EST
    some might it would "help the economy" to not spend a gazillion bucks a year putting people in jail or keeping them there for victimless "crime".
    not to mention the bazillion bucks it would remove from the underground illegal economy.  much of which probably is used to fund people and operations that are not entirely in our best interest. think terrorism.

    We do not spend (none / 0) (#49)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:13:58 PM EST
    all that much money putting people in jail for marijuana. It's the other drugs, particuarly crack which cause the spending.in most places,  you have to be a fairly large seller or grower of marijuana and have a prior record before you are going to see prison.

    35,000 in the Federal system alone (none / 0) (#69)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:56:04 PM EST
    A majority of those for growing. But also simple possessions from Indian Country.

    Am I to understand (none / 0) (#72)
    by Patrick on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:02:59 PM EST
    that you are asserting there are persons in federal prison for simple possession of marijuana?   For personal use?   I'm afraid I'm going to have to see some source documentation before I believe that.   I suspect any examples of that will be accompanied by suspects who are repeat offenders or have a past history of violent crime.  

    simple possession of marijuana (none / 0) (#79)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:15:29 PM EST
    is not a federal felony. Even distributing a small amount of marijuana for no remuneration is treated as federal misdemeanor.

      In my experinence federal simple possession cases are exceedingly rare as unless someone is arrsted on federal property the law isn't even used. I've NEVER even HEARD of a first time offender be sentenced to any time when the drug was marijuana and its usually trated under § 844a as a civil infracton subject to expungement.

      The notion that federal jails and prisons are filled with people whose only offense is smoking pot is simply false. If any can be found I'm also conviced they have significant criminal histories and are serving short sentences (a year or less)


    no jail sentence is a short sentence... (none / 0) (#91)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:36:48 PM EST

    especially considering the fact that it follows you even after you're out of jail...


    i'm not minimizing (none / 0) (#94)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:45:05 PM EST
    even a day in jail.

      my point is that the EXTREME rarity of federal criminal prosecutions for simple possession of marijuana combined with the fact the max sentence is a year (compared to 20 for first-time distribution) obviously means that if there is are any people at all in federal prisons for simple possession the percentage of the population is less than miniscule and those very few almost certainly have significant prior criminal convictions.


    Indian land. (none / 0) (#121)
    by Ben Masel on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 10:53:39 AM EST
    just got a letter from a 3d offender federal simple possession who's been at Oxford Federal Penitentiary for 7 months.

    We have no "Indian Country" (none / 0) (#122)
    by Bemused on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 11:00:09 AM EST
     around my parts, but my understanding is that even though federal jurisdiction to prosecute serious drug crimes (and other federal felonies) is sole (tribal jurisdiction only extends to 1 year punishment offenses) that jurisdiction over drug misdemeanors is concurrent, and that the Feds routinely defer to triabl jurisdiction in meisdemeanor cases. Is there a reason why the Feds chose to exercise jurisdiction in this isolated example?

    spending money (none / 0) (#58)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:29:30 PM EST
     for A v. B doesn not necessarily make a whit's difference.

      Some might argue that spending that results in wages paid directly to people (cops, jusdges, prosecutors, PDs, probation officers, correction officers, peole who build prisons.....) might benefit the economy more than many other possible types of spending.

     Without identifying more beneficial forms of spending THAT WOULD ACTUALLY OCCUR it simply a false assumption to say that reducing spending on those things would benefit the economy.


    well (none / 0) (#47)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:12:27 PM EST
     It would be more likely that if the U.S. legalized it other countries would take that as a cue to legalize growing it and seek to export it here. If we responded with protrctive tariffs or other trade barriers we might have some foreign relations problems.

       As for the model through which it is sold, in the absence of increased demand, it would only result in redistribtion of wealth-- likely to those corporate types whom you adore  who would have a better shot of getting licenses. All the little guys who now profit (illegally) would likely be out capitalized by the big guys even if they don't have other issues which would prevent them from "going legit." The gangsters lost control of booze shortly after prohibition ended and bootlegging and moonshining became exponentially smaller enterprizes

      The taxes would  benefit the government but, I seem to recall you are not enthralled with how the government spends the money..

       Of course, it is also just barely possible that the people who claimed it would not increase demand are simply flat out wrong and it would help grow the economy. But, they can't have it both ways.


    Only growers and big-time... (none / 0) (#55)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:26:37 PM EST
    distributors make any real money in the black market, the low-level guys often are just supplementing income or just eeking by.  And some, if not most, of the big dogs aren't very nice people.

    Legal importing I don't really see happening in a big way for something so cheap to produce that can grow pretty much anywhere...but I guess its possible.

    There would be a transition period where those in the trade now would either have to continue legitimately or find other employment...and corporations getting the lion share of the market probably is inevitable, but an acceptable trade off in my book for the removal of the criminal label for millions of Americans.  Same with the taxes, a trade off, and we can keep on b*tchin' for lower taxes and less, smarter spending.

    My guess is demand upticks slightly or not at all...but its just a guess.  Once the stigma of criminality is removed people might find they prefer marijuana over booze...and that would be a good thing:)


    that means those (none / 0) (#63)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:36:21 PM EST
     guys probably spend almost all their income from it. so, that's not hurting the economy.

      your better point is that it would cut the big guys out of ilegal trades. Regardless of whether they spend their money in ways beneficial to the economy most people probably would rather see other people make money. Of course, there is the likelihood that people cut ot of selling marijuana might turn to other criminal activity to support themselves.



    Not to mention that if the supposed (none / 0) (#57)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:29:29 PM EST
    massive drop in price due to it's new-found legality actually occurred, that would make the economy smaller, not bigger...

    Well i think the idea (none / 0) (#60)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:32:45 PM EST
     is that the drop in price would be offset by taxes. In theory ( a less than plausible theory perhaps), the government could do something with that money which would add more to the economy than what the private illicit profiteers are doing now.



    More sales taxes (none / 0) (#67)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:50:45 PM EST
    are considered growing the economy?

    I said (none / 0) (#70)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:00:36 PM EST
     perhaps less than plausible, but it could be argued that if the government took the tax money it possibly could do something with it that had a greater positive impact on the economy than the money spent by people who get money from marijuana now.

      I think it's a better argument the money could be spent on things with more positive social utility rather than  argue it would grow the economy.


    Of course (none / 0) (#74)
    by Patrick on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:04:23 PM EST
    the taxation argument requires that you believe the production of marijuana can be regulated by the federal government.   I think the current consensus in  here is that they are incapable of doing exactly that.  

    and I think that the privatization of prisons (none / 0) (#92)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:40:29 PM EST
    has pretty much debunked the idea that a private company can run a business better than the government (considering private prisons are LESS efficient than those run by the government)...

    the idea that the market is superior to the government has been debunked, for the market depends on a lot of weak links...

    the conclusion we are left with is that regulation isn't something that works well in any human facility...regulation relies too much on those doing the regulating and whatever motives they may have...


    tgoverment does pretty well (none / 0) (#97)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:11:46 PM EST
    with alcohol and tobacco, not perfect, but most of the taxes are collected.

      If marijuana were legal and the price +tax for legal marijuana of similar quality was equal to or even slightly higher than the price for illegal, the overwhelming majority of users would obviously choose the legal over the risk.

      Stamps or seals on all packages as with alcohol and cigarettes are quite effective. There is some counterfeiting with cigarettes but it's a tiny fraction of the market. (With cigs the common tax avoidance has been state taxes where folks go south to tobacco states where taxes and low and bring them north to bootleg.)

       As for growing and importing, it could continue to be done clandestinely but the incentive would drop because the market would be a tiny fraction of today. (there is the concern the organized element would simply switch to other, worse, drug traffickig or other crimes)

      If licensed distributors who supplied the retail market were required to purchase from government approved sources. The distributors would have little incentive to buy from crooks risking a lucrative business and jail. Retail stores would likewise have little incentive not to buy from legal distributors. and as i said consumers would have little incentive to buy from crooks and risk trouble when they can get the same thing legally.

      I think it would be as easy or easier to collect the taxes on marijuana as with all sorts of things that are now legal.


    I think your solution (none / 0) (#108)
    by Patrick on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:57:59 PM EST
    would be great in a perfect world.  But the costs associated with growing marijuana are pretty minimal.  Any meaningful tax would increase the price enough that the ease and relatively low cost of production would facilitate a black market to avoid taxation.  Trading one problem for the other.  That's just my opinion.  Medical marijuana is supposed to be cheaper and legal, but for the most part, it's exactly the same price as illicit mj.  

    I think alcohol and tobacco production and regulation would be substantially different to marijuana.  Thereby creating another government boondoggle to oversee it.  


    There's business and self-employment (none / 0) (#111)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:12:35 PM EST
    taxes for the grower, remember. Licensing costs, and other expenses just for being in business that go to the states and cities.

    Then, sales tax (of the level of cigarettes I would hope) to the buyers.


    High price in dispensaries (none / 0) (#115)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 10:32:27 PM EST
    Part of that is to discourage resale. The island in a sea of prohibition also raises expenses. For instance, the high street price necessitates larger staff to deter armed ripoffs.

    There are (none / 0) (#119)
    by Bemused on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 06:49:23 AM EST
     tax evaders and other types of criminals in pretty much every endeavor known to man. Health care fraud, for example, is quite widespread and the complexity of the reimbursement schemes and necerssary reliance on the tax obligees honesty clearly contributes to its existence, but we don't argue to do away with the exploited programs because a proportion of people cheat the system.

      Obviously, we need health care and don't need marijuana but I just don't think the fact some amount of people will break the law no matter what it is, is a good argument against a better law.


    Not necessarily... (none / 0) (#64)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:39:24 PM EST
    if the total retail price including taxes winds up less as it should, that frees up money in every pot smokers budget for other discretionary spending to stimulate the economy. And more of the money will stay here.

    Also the associated spending...you go to a coffeeshop for a smoke and buy a drink and a snack, put some money in the jukebox or pool table, maybe pay a cover to see some live music.  

    This could put contractors to work too...building greenhouses, warehouses, renovating boarded-up storefronts.

    One thing for sure...we won't know until we try.  If it don't work we saved some money not enforcing the prohibition laws.


    you're really reaching now (none / 0) (#65)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:44:38 PM EST
      the bottom line is that unless people in the private sectotr make more money selling it than they do now, it won't "grow the economy. to make more money --unless legalization resulted in higher pre-tax prices--- more would have to be sold.

      All the other stuff you talk about is just consumers spending on A or B or C which does nothing to increase anything. That just distributes differently.


    Perhaps... (none / 0) (#77)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:11:10 PM EST
    I'm certainly no economist, and passions get me in this argument...but even if the taxes did nothing else but knock some of the juice off the debt, coupled with reduced law enforcement spending, we're ahead of the game economically...any other fringe benefits are gravy.

    your arguments (none / 0) (#81)
    by Bemused on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:17:54 PM EST
      based on personal freedom, relative lack of harm compare to even alcohol or tobacco  and eliminating a revenue stream for organized crime are much better.

    OMG more WORM? (none / 0) (#43)
    by mexboy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:58:34 PM EST
    How about he just says what he means?

    Easy solution to End ~500,000 cases of injustice (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Smedley Butler on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:13:47 PM EST
    We cannot afford to support the corruption of the drug war any longer.

    Although many problems are difficult and painful to solve, this one is not.

    With the stroke of a pen, the President could undo something like 500,000 cases of injustice.

    We are spending a fortune to the prison industrial complex to lock up non-violent people who simply are not criminals.  


    Maybe the problem in doing that would be (none / 0) (#51)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:18:09 PM EST
    500,000 more homeless/unemployed on the books

    - OR -

    The instant loss of ability to expand the war in Afghanistan.


    He didn't answer the question. (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by lentinel on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:12:30 PM EST
    The question was about legalization, control and taxation of marijuana. It was about ending the jailing of people who smoke or grow this herb. Obviously, taxation would benefit the economy - as well as ending the costs involved in incarcerating people.

    Obama took the easy way out by saying that this wasn't a strategy to grow the economy. But the question was about the injustice and stupidity of keeping this substance illegal. The benefit to the economy would be an incidental byproduct, not the purpose of legalization.

    Obama used to enjoy smoking.
    He is so uptight in so many ways it is unfortunate for him and for us that he doesn't occasionally still take a puff or two.

    During prohibition the Feds would shoot and kill people for brewing beer. Now they do it to people who grow and sell a plant.

    And now Obama wants us to pay for a war on drugs in Afghanistan! He's got money for that!
    I'm gone!

    No (none / 0) (#114)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:25:19 PM EST
    That may be your question but it was not the question Obama responded to. The context was would legalization improve the economy. Taxation would improve the economy, but the massive job loss and revenue in the police/prison industry would more than likely offset the tax gains. This may in fact be true. Keeping MJ illegal is big bucks industry, and not just for the suppliers.

    But to clarify, later in the day Obama unequivocally said, through his press secretary, that he is against legalization of MJ. That suggests that even were legalization good for the economy he would still be against it.


    What a d*ck answer.... (4.40 / 5) (#2)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:38:57 PM EST
    "And I don't know what this says about the online audience..."

    I'll tell ya what is says B.O....they're using their brain, which is more than I can say for you.

    Either you ain't using your brain, you're hopelessly corrupt, or you care more about your prospects in 2012 than you do about our country.

    Well, ya know, kdog (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by caseyOR on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:15:10 PM EST
    just a bunch of DFHs care about the marijuana issue. That was what I got from Obama's response.

    If he doesn't support it, well he doesn't support it. But that is no reason to treat his audience with disdain. It is a serious question, and Obama practically snickered.


    One wonders if he even gets the audience (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by nycstray on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:20:57 PM EST
    he just dissed. Clue to Obama, it's not just a bunch of college kids and DFHs.

    It's OK (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:30:05 PM EST
    If the DFH's and bunch of College kids were stoned, they would have gotten a big laugh at the joke. It is the coke/crack/meth crowd that gets aggressive and may have bashed their computer or teevee.

    My thought too (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:58:27 PM EST
    and I personally don't like weed.  It's not my drug of choice and it never will be unless I'm having to take Chemo, and then after what I watched my grandmother go through I will not hesitate to make use of it. God knows I have got to stop putting people in jail for it and spending my dollars punishing people for it.  It is ignorance to continue on in this warfare vein.

    it's a d*ck enough answer that I'm officially (3.50 / 2) (#12)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:56:15 PM EST
    off the Obama bandwagon....

    just going to throw him on the 'same as all the rest who ruin this country' pile...

    too bad, I had high hopes for change...guess change just means more of the same...


    Maybe he is afraid his (none / 0) (#78)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:12:35 PM EST
    Daughters will see his answer?

    I just told Joshua I had tried pot (none / 0) (#99)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:23:49 PM EST
    because No Bias No Bull is talking about this too with Ron Paul.  Joshua told me that his mother is a criminal :)  Joshua is already like my husband, drug use freaks him out a bit....must be genetic to panic over feeling not in control of everything, yourself, and all others :)

    I'm listening to my husband try to smooth (none / 0) (#100)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:25:33 PM EST
    this over with him.  My husband just told my son that I was wrong but I was just a kid.......sheesh, get a rope....I was twenty-three the last time I toked :)

    your identifying my main problem (none / 0) (#104)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:37:04 PM EST
    with the way drug users are treated in our country...

    we're quick to condemn, not to communicate in a rational manner...

    I blame the preachers....


    I remember the evening conversation (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:07:06 PM EST
    after my son's first day in D.A.R.E. class.

    Having to tell a 4th grader that drinking coffee did NOT constitute being a drug addict and the police officers telling him these things were seriously uninformed was very challenging.


    I'm an ex smoker and tobacco (none / 0) (#105)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:42:56 PM EST
    is mentally soothing, and one of the things involved in giving up the habit is learning to deal with reality again without it.  Pot is a very amped up version to me but what my own son has been led to believe about pot has him thinking it turns people into murderers or something.  Obama is somewhat of a hypocrite in my book because he can't deal with reality without an herbaceous little crutch at his fingertips.

    It's so funny,,, (none / 0) (#4)
    by aeguy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:41:50 PM EST
    Because all the college kids I know voted for Obama because they thought he would decriminalize or legalize marijuana and other drugs.

    But his answer shouldn't be surprising. It's politics.

    They must have been smoking straight (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by tigercourse on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:48:18 PM EST
    though the entire campaign because he never even hinted that he would.

    I practically shouted from the rooftops (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:50:57 PM EST
    that he wouldn't bring change to pot policy or drug law reform. Here's just two:

    Another Change You Won't See From Obama

    Obama Withdraws Support for Marijuana Decriminalization

    It's also why I titled my upcoming talk at the NORML Aspen Legal Seminar in June, "High Hopes and Modest Expectations: Drug Law Reform under President Obama and a Democratic Congress."


    Modest expectations... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:54:28 PM EST
    you're very kind Jeralyn....I've got No Expectations.

    Though it never hurts to hope high!


    ya, modest hopes (none / 0) (#15)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:01:36 PM EST
    would be an open discussion...

    we won't even get that right in the United States of America...


    cmon, (none / 0) (#8)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:48:29 PM EST
    they couldn't possibly have been that gullible.

    I honestly didn't expect a change from Obama (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:00:41 PM EST
    but I had hoped that he at least would be more open to the discussion...

    guess I was TOTALLY wrong there, considering he just insulted anyone who uses marijuana...

    that's all I was hoping for...was an open, reasonable discussion...
    but now I see that's not going to happen...

    he could have talked about states' rights in the United STATES of America...he could have had some kind of discussion...instead he chose to insult...

    I guess the 400M that live in America will never be able to get out of the cloud from the minority of 30M Evangelicals with power that run the country...

    I'm about done...wish I had the money to move to a country of open debate...of reason...but a country of Reason is just a Utopia that will never exist...


    The Question (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:11:32 PM EST
    was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation,

    And the answer was:

    no, I don't think that's a good strategy to grow our economy.

    I would agree that is not a strategy to grow the economy. All those cops and prison guards out of work, not to mention the grower getting less for their crops and the black market sellers being out of a job. Plus it is not a huge amount of tax revenue gained. CA would get maybe $1 billion. A drop in the bucket considering their deficit.

    I would rather the question be:

    Were a bill to decriminalize MJ come from congress would you sign it or veto it?


    dont forget (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:20:23 PM EST
    all the lovely kickbacks going to police departments all over the country.  it is the police more than anyone who want to keep the stuff illegal.
    it is their golden goose.

    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:25:11 PM EST
    And not to mention that busting stoners is super easy pickings. Not so different from hunting Moa's.  

    Yup. Ending the DrugWar would sink (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 06:02:03 PM EST
    the pleasureboat industry. (What's the first thing a crooked cop does with the money?)

    Obama's goal is the (none / 0) (#96)
    by ding7777 on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:09:00 PM EST
    job creation "numbers" so if you legalize marijuana,  drug cops and peripheral drug related personel plus all the MJ users out of prisons will up the unemployment numbers... and Obama can't afford that right now.

    It's hypocritical. (none / 0) (#6)
    by mexboy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 03:47:56 PM EST
    What is his rational for not legalizing it?

    That it will cause crime?
    Make failures out of the people who use them?
    That it is immoral?

    I don't get it. He did harder drugs according to his own admission and he is at the pinnacle of success.

    we don't have to be rational and reasonable... (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:02:51 PM EST
    where do you think we live?  in a free country (that imprisons the most people in the world)? lol...

    Well said! (none / 0) (#41)
    by mexboy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 04:56:41 PM EST
    Unequivocal Update (none / 0) (#53)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 05:23:48 PM EST
    While an early AP wire story sported the headline "Obama says he opposes legalizing marijuana," it should be noted that the president specifically only dismissed the notion that the "cash crop" would significantly boost the economy.

    However, later on Thursday afternoon during the White House press briefing after multiple reporters asked marijuana-related questions, Obama Administration spokesman Robert Gibbs unequivocally said that the president opposed legalization.

    Raw Story

    Glenn Greenwald says Portugal is example (none / 0) (#116)
    by kcbill13 on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 10:32:39 PM EST
    of where legalization not only works, but has made their control of other drugs much easier.

    The success of drug decriminalization in Portugal

    In 2001, Portugal became the only EU-member state to decriminalize drugs, a distinction which continues through to the present.  Last year, working with the Cato Institute, I went to that country in order to research the effects of the decriminalization law (which applies to all substances, including cocaine and heroin) and to interview both Portuguese and EU drug policy officials and analysts (the central EU drug policy monitoring agency is, by coincidence, based in Lisbon).  Evaluating the policy strictly from an empirical perspective, decriminalization has been an unquestionable success, leading to improvements in virtually every relevant category and enabling Portugal to manage drug-related problems (and drug usage rates) far better than most Western nations that continue to treat adult drug consumption as a criminal offense.

    Click here to read article at Salon.com

    We the People want Cannabis Legalized - Now! (none / 0) (#120)
    by FiddleMan on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 02:43:59 PM EST
    The questions about Legalization of Cannabis are valid and important questions concerning our nation's economy and our Constitutional promise of "Freedom".  We the People WANT CANNABIS LEGALIZED and we KNOW that it will indeed help the economy.  Please do not brush off the majority of American citizens with a joke!  This is no laughing matter!  The U.S. Government's policy of arresting nearly 1 million of its citizens per year for Cannabis is no laughing matter.

    Let me tell you "what this says about our online audience" - It says "Mr. President, We the People demand the restoration of our original freedoms to consume Cannabis!  We know Cannabis to be a plant that will solve many of the issues facing this country now, and if you will study real facts you will know this to be true.  We the People want the Medicinal Properties of Cannabis, the Economic Boost from Cannabis, the Green Ecological Benefits of Cannabis as well as a Safe Alternative to the horrible and very deadly Alcohol and Cigarettes that are totally legal under U.S law."

    Not all of us can handle hard drugs like Alcohol (which I hear the U.S. Government can and does drink large quantities of).  Yet we are asked - as they take over ¾ of a million of us yearly to jail - "Why don't you just Drink?"  Alcohol is NOT a safe alternative!

    Cannabis would be great for the economy and would stop much of the violence in the U.S. and Mexico.

    Does this really seem to be a laughing matter?

    Please Legalize Cannabis!