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The Justice Department And State Pot Laws

The Justice Department won’t challenge Washington State and Colorado’s very liberal pot laws.  So, what’s coming with marijuana?

A man pulls out a bag of marijuana to fill a pipe at the first day of Hempfest, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, in Seattle. (AP)

A man pulls out a bag of marijuana to fill a pipe at the first day of Hempfest, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, in Seattle. (AP)

Last year, voters in Colorado and Washington State went to the polls in big numbers to vote to fully legalize recreational use of marijuana.  First states ever to do that.  And then they waited.

Marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law, right up there with heroin.  What would the federal government say, do?

Last week they got their answer.  The Department of Justice has ruled OK – go ahead.  Have your recreational marijuana.  With some caveats.  Some requirements.  A green light.

This hour, On Point:  The federal OK on state-level pot legalization, and what happens now.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

John Ingold, reporter for The Denver Post, covering the court system and marijuana. (@john_ingold)

Barbara Brohl, co-chair of Colorado’s Amendment 64 Task Force, created by Governor Hickenlooper to work out the policy, legal and procedural issues around Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana.

Mark Kleiman, professor of policy studies and director of the Drug Policy Analysis Center at UCLA. (@markarkleiman)

Andrew Boyens, owner of Natural Remedies, a medical marijuana dispensary in Denver making the shift to also serve the coming recreational market in Colorado.

From Tom’s Reading List

Bloomberg: U.S. Won’t Sue to Block State Marijuana Legalization – “The U.S. won’t challenge laws in Colorado and Washington that legalized the recreational use of marijuana and will focus federal prosecutions on ties to organized crime, distribution to minors and transportation across state lines, the Justice Department said.”

The Denver Post: More Colorado pot is flowing to neighboring states, officials say – “Marijuana is flowing into the black market and out of Colorado in greater quantities than ever before, law enforcement officials say. It’s going by car and by bus. It’s being packed up and shipped through the mail. It’s being found, in small amounts and large bundles, as far away as Illinois, New York and Florida.”

Forbes: New DOJ Marijuana Policy Won’t Fly With IRS – “Given the documented medical use of marijuana and state laws, you might think the feds would respect state law and states’ rights. You might also assume that the sizable federal and state taxes to be collected from the industry would be a prize. Oddly enough, though, the tax law discriminates so badly against the industry that it has had to virtually go underground.”

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  • Charles Vigneron

    In Washington State many of the rural counties have placed moratoriums/ opted out against growing or selling operations.

    My personal opinion is the Feds will swoop in for asset forfeiture with any paltry excuse. (these mj businesses are not Wall Street)

    • Yar

      Feds, state, sheriff, cop on the beat bribes, civil forfeiture is moving us further toward becoming a banana republic. Selectively enforced laws breeds corruption. With global warming maybe we will even grow bananas. Like stop in frisk, civil forfeiture is inherently racist and promotes classism.

  • HonestDebate1

    Now that there are only 29 1/2 hours to the work week, people may as well smoke pot.

    • Yar

      Ever stop to think who exempted part time workers from healthcare coverage? We spend 20 percent of GDP on healthcare, maybe it should be funded with a VAT. But most people don’t want to pay healthcare costs in low wage workers, we prefer to exploit. Universal coverage is the way to go.

    • 1Brett1

      That Obama made sure everybody works 29 1/2 hours soze they can lay around all the time and smoke their maireejewanna. Then, see, they’ll be more dependent on gumment to take care of them, which is all part of his plan to destroy Merka. Damn you, Obama! Damn you all to hell! You darn tootin’ varmint!

      • Ray in VT

        I believe that it is ‘Merika, Brett. That is ‘postrophe ‘Merica.

        • 1Brett1

          Damn that Obama, makin’ everybody put an apostrophe before ‘Merika!

          (P.S.-We say ‘Merka’ down hayere in the South; you makin’ fun a’ mah Southern accent?!)

          • Ray in VT

            A bit perhaps. Do a lot of people that you know really pronounce it that way? Vermonters drop a lot of ts, so it is often said Vermon or Monpelier (or Mount Peculiar).

          • 1Brett1

            I don’t know a lot of Southerners who enunciate poorly, but I hear them at the grocery store, gas station, etc.

          • Ray in VT

            There’s a big generational/educational shift that I see here. A lot of older Vermonters have distinct accents, but those speech patterns are much more uncommon among younger people. I have noticed, though, that younger people with less education have more of an accent.

          • 1Brett1

            I actually like accents, for the most part, from Brooklyn to North Carolina, and so on; and, being a Southerner, I hear a lot of Southern accents.

            I find the Southern patrician accents, the genteel Southern gentleman or grandame pontificating about magnolia, PEE-kayan pie, or mint juleps, etc., or the old professor offering his/her knowledge about the Civil Woah, to be charming. I have a friend named Jillian and many older gentlemen will say, “JiILL-yun.”

            When I was in Western North Carolina, there seemed to be two types of accents; I called them either “slow talkers” or “fast talkers.” The “slow talkers” would take a half hour to tell you where to get a bottle of Cheerwine just down the street, which is a kind of cherry soda (tasting to me like a combination of stomach acid mixed with cherry Koolaide and seltzer). The “fast talkers” tended to sound like Boomhower from King of the Hill.

            I also tend to like the accents in Virginia and Kentucky. I sort of find the accents in South Carolina to be grating. I like Charleston and Columbia, the people, the music, and the accents, but the rest of South Carolina talks with an annoying grunting sound when it comes to pronouncing consonants. I often play music in both Columbia and Charleston, and during the road trips I encounter that grunting sound. TRUCK becomes TRu-u-u [with a grunt at the end and no consonant closing sound]. “I like that” becomes a lazy mess, with the k in “like” and the t at the end of “that” being slurred into respective grunts. “Toilet” is “TAWL-it.” “Tractor” is [with a grunt in the middle] “TRAT-ter.” I once was behind a guy in a convenience store who was buying ice, and he said, “AHD LAHK TO BAH A BAHG A’ AHSS.” It sounded a bit like he wanted a bug of ass.

            There does seem to be some correlation between education, age, and thickness of accent, and with the digital age making us all homogeneous, regional dialects are dying off. That part is kind of sad to me. Add to that those ubiquitous little strip malls with a Radio Shack, an inexpensive woman’s clothing store and a Chinese carryout, and everywhere kind of seems the same when traveling. The big boxing of ‘Merika has served to take a lot of regional charm out of a given place.

            When I went to college, I worked really hard to get rid of my Southern accent. Now, when I get tired, or when I am around a bunch of people all talking with Southern accents, mine starts to emerge again in certain ways. And, hey, if am tired AND around a bunch of Southerners, nobody can understand me!

      • HonestDebate1

        You talk funny. Who talks like that?

  • John Cedar

    When our sleeper cell president figures out that all those blazing blunts are putting CO2 in the atmosphere, he will have a change of heart.

    • Leonard Bast

      Some PhD candidate in psychology should undertake a study of the impulsive need of some people to always blurt out an automatic, anti-Obama comment in reference to every single issue or topic.

      • Bluejay2fly

        It’s mostly racism. Many anti Obama people are not politically intelligent enough to follow an argument hence they just absorb all they hear from Fox News, Glen Beck, Bill OReilly, Anne Coulter, etc. even though it is staged worse than something straight from Pravda. Also, before I get tarred as liberal, I am an Eisenhower republican who is alienated from my party. Why because I who would rather not “believe the picture in my head than come to a logical conclusion through critical thinking” Walter Lippman

        • John_in_Amherst

          You have my sympathies. “Eisenhower Republicans” have been on the outs with the GOP for some time now.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I have been a man without a party for some time now. I am looking at living abroad in my golden years.

          • John_in_Amherst

            In many ways, the further from Ike we get, the wiser he seems to have been.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that it is true that historical opinion has been tilting more in his favor in recent years, especially with regard to how he handled some aspects of civil rights, which he did not often get enough credit for previously.

      • jefe68

        It is an interesting phenomenon.
        I suspect some blame Obama for lightbulbs not working and their pot-roast being burnt.

        • nj_v2

          Damn, that explains it! One of my light bulbs did go out the other day!

        • Ray in VT

          Well, one of my kids is ill today. That is probably Obama’s fault.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Obama care did not arrive soon enough of you Ray.

          • Ray in VT

            Thankfully I still have the health care that my evil union fought long and hard for us parasites to have. He actually just has a stomach bug or something. Hopefully he doesn’t spread that around the house.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I am under an Evil union plan as well. I guess thats why we are not listening to Fox and Friends. That and the fact we have brains that work.

          • Ray in VT

            If I’m going to consume anything from Fox & Friends, I’ll wait for the SNL version. It’s pretty funny, and I think not too far off.

      • Citizen James

        There’s a personality type that needs to be hurtful. They spend plenty of time on being so. Really what they are hurting is the quality of conversation and themselves. The personality type can be found with any political stripe.

      • homebuilding

        It’s in their anti-dark skin DNA. Their brains run on historic prejudice rather than on actual fact. They are at supreme risk to rely on exclusively homogeneous ‘sources’ for reinforcement of their concrete stereotypes.

    • 1Brett1

      Yep, that Obama’ll sure be sorry he ever made that there maireejewwanna illegal. (spits chaw sputum on the ground)

    • John_in_Amherst

      This is a parody, right? are you trying out for a spot on Colbert or The Daily Show? Because there just might be a spot on some show with a humorous slant on the news for someone spouting your over-the-top nonsense. the segment could feature you, maybe in a coat, tie & PJ bottoms or boxer shorts, sparking one up and going off on a tear.

  • Coastghost

    Nice try, Tom Ashbrook: if Washington and Colorado marijuana laws were “very liberal”, Olympia and Denver would be offering state residents either free samples or would already have in place mandatory education modules for public school students on cannabis culture, the evil history of its prohibition, cannabis in the kitchen (offered for home econ classes, plus as a concession to public health advocates who prefer mastication to combustion), et cetera.
    The tag “very liberal” will last only as long as it takes for the industry of commercial marijuana cultivation, grading, licensing, and distribution to take root, at which point it becomes establishmentarian business, with all the advertising and marketing permissible.
    My only question: what existing industry stands the best chance of getting into the marijuana marketplace: 1) the pharmaceutical industry (chemistry is chemistry), 2) the alcohol beverage industry (intoxication is intoxication), or 3) the music/film/entertainment industry (escapism is escapism)?

    • northeaster17

      We need to keep it local

      • Coastghost

        Great good luck, because you’ll need that, too.
        The ambition will be to make the US the leading cannabis exporter by the year 20XX.

        • northeaster17

          Clothes energy rope food building materials medicine etc etc etc. Why not. It is needed

          • adks12020

            Just to clarify…no one in his/her right mind would use medical or recreational marijuana for clothes or rope. Those uses are better suited to industrial grade hemp which doesn’t have enough THC to get a person high.

          • northeaster17

            Correct but tell that to the DEA who will still bust farmers who grow the stuff in most of the country. Thou Kentucky is trying to change that also

          • adks12020

            Yeah, you’re right about that. I can’t wrap my mind around that whole issue. Industrial hemp should be legal everywhere…period. It’s such a useful crop. It makes absolutely no sense that it’s illegal.

          • Yar

            No, not really. They want to grow hemp. They will still bust the other kind of weed.

  • Bluejay2fly

    We are a “war economy” and a “war culture” and this is yet another example of this. Since WW2 our military has fought numerous conflicts against communism and now terrorism. Domestically, our police force has fought prohibitionist and then quickly shifted to the war on drugs. In the end the world is not safer and we do not have domestic harmony ,but a lot of people became rich so I guess that is all that matters.

  • Coastghost

    It may also be worth pointing out for NPR devotees that the population of chronic marijuana consumers in the US is roughly equivalent to the number of Americans who tune in to NPR programming on a regular basis.
    Correspondence? Correlation? Surely there’s some overlap someone can boast of . . . . hark! I hear the advent of a new NPR underwriter and corporate sponsor!

    • J__o__h__n

      Considering the number of right wing conspiracy theorists and the paranoia side effects of marijuana, I’d suggest there is more than the demographic you identified smoking it.

      • northeaster17

        Both you guys need to relax. Ahhhh

    • nj_v2

      [[ Correspondence? Correlation? ]]

      Pointless, trolling coincidence?

      • Coastghost

        I submit you have no reliable sense of humor. Light up.

        • nj_v2

          Yet, in past posts you’ve been entirely serious about things are are patently ludicrous. Go figure.

          • Coastghost

            But you’re clever enough to spot context, on other occasions. Plus, my posts are commonly misconstrued here, as you also well know.

  • nj_v2

    The state has no compelling interest in controlling what people knowingly and willingly put in their bodies.

    • Bluejay2fly

      They can tell you to wear a seat belt in your car while the motorcycle next to you does not have one. How much sense does that make?

      • nj_v2

        There’s a convoluted argument by which it makes some sense, but not to me. I never agreed with the seat-belt law.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Insurance companies that is the bottom line. Money trumps Liberty.

      • DeJay79

        A lot, because a seat belt on a motorcycle makes no sense at all. And you need to take a separate driving test to get a cycle licenses.

        The seat belt law is/was more about getting people to see the benefits of the seat belt. I do not wear my seat belt “because it is the law” I wear it every day every time because I know it can save my life!

        • Bluejay2fly

          If being a human projectile is so dangerous than maybe we should have banned motorcycles as well. Where does this madness end?

          • DeJay79

            this “on point” is about marijuana

            why are you so stuck on Motorcycles? I am now confused about what you are arguing about and what your view point is?

          • Bluejay2fly

            We are rapidly becoming a state where public policy is driven by money. Legalized marijuana will cut into alcohol’s backyard and the War on Drugs budget. It does not matter how harmless or rational your argument to legalize marijuana is. The seat belt analogy was presented to demonstrate how big insurance companies both medical and auto can create policy. The fact that other means of transport is just as dangerous detracts from there BS argument that it is about our safety. It is about them caring about paying for preventable medical injuries. Your Liberty is always secondary to corporate America’s profit margin.

          • nj_v2

            “Becoming”? Wrong verb tense.

    • Ray in VT

      I can mostly agree with that statement, although what people knowingly put into their bodies can and do have impacts upon others (cooking meth, DUI for instance). As for this particular plant in question, I don’t think that it makes much sense in continuing to have it be illegal.

      • nj_v2

        Then punish the resultant behavior. Excess caffeine consumption may cause people to do dumb or dangerous things, too, but no one is considering making coffee illegal.

        • Ray in VT

          But I can’t (at least that I know of) blow up an apartment by brewing a cup of coffee or begin hallucinating or fly into a violent rage after drinking it. My point is that some substances are more likely to result in negative consequences not just to oneself but to others as well. I don’t think that making these substances illegal has worked, but I have grave concerns about the even greater availability of something like heroin.

          • fun bobby

            I bet more than a few coffee junkies have started house fires with the dangerous appliances they use to cook up their fix. do you really think people would rush to buy heroin if it was legal?

    • fun bobby

      unless the state wants people angry and violent then they must prevent access to cannabis

  • Yar

    We already know Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell doesn’t work!

  • Coastghost

    Initially, I expect success for marijuana tourism. To that end, are WA and CO regulators looking at licensing bed-&-breakfast establishments as cannabis dispensaries for the discriminating epicure?

    • Yar

      Is it an invasion of privacy for your employer to test you after that trip to a pot-legal state?

      • Coastghost

        Might be, even though urine tests are worthless. Maybe more of a nuisance than an invasion of privacy.

        • northeaster17

          I present to you our 4th amendment to our battered constitution.

          The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

          • Coastghost

            It’s reasonable for an employer to want sobriety in the workplace, but urine tests are worthless for detecting cannabis consumption.

          • Yar

            It detects consumption, just doesn’t indicate sobriety. They are talking about it now. 5 nano grams per mil?

          • Coastghost

            If urine tests reliably detect cannabis consumption, then employers are disregarding results. Back in the day I smoked the very night before one urine test: either I passed the test or my new employer ignored the results entirely. I think urine tests for cannabis consumption are a waste of time and resources for employers and employees, the only beneficiaries being the labs that push urine testing.

          • fun bobby

            itsa multi billion dollar industry and a great racket. they charge the employer $150-$250 a pop for a test that costs them $1-$2 to do

  • DeJay79

    This is a win win win:
    1. smaller government (state laws over federal laws)
    2. Less tax money spent on fight it and jailing people
    3. More tax income for government and a whole new market place for small business growth

    the only loser I see is the black market criminals. Which is another win.

    • Ray in VT

      Plus fewer people will have their mellows getting harshed.

      • DeJay79

        win to the fifth power

        • nj_v2

          Like, whoa, man, i’m going to need a bigger calculator.

    • northeaster17

      Don’t forget your local police department suddenly unable to confiscate the assets of weed busts.

    • Ziegler45314

      This raises a good point…will the illegal growers “go legit” or will many of them, particularly those in Mexico, simply change their business strategy and continue to sell product in the streets that has a higher potency at cheaper prices and effectively undercut legitimate growers here in the U.S.? Should that happen, won’t the U.S. government be obligated to act?

      • DeJay79

        do to transportation cost and loses due to board protection (regardless of how effective they are) will make it very tough to undercut at a profit.

        A better idea for the cartels would be to setup a wholesale warehouse and turn all the small time local growers into your supply chain.

        • Ziegler45314

          Or as they are doing right now, move their marijuana growing operations north.

  • Yar

    Like that other weed people smoke, if it was legal the farmer will only get about 2 dollars a pound.

    • Ziegler45314

      That is a good point. Those predicting an end to budget woes if we legalize marijuana are doing so based on projected revenues from sales at an artificially inflated price. Once it is legal, the price per ounce will drop dramatically and the revenue won’t be anything like those current projections.

      • Brinnananda

        State revenue is based upon a robust economy. Whether or not cannabis sales provide as much tax dollars as hoped will become inconsequential along side the benefit to all based upon an economy that works for everyone. Small businesses (like those that manufacture hydroponic set-ups) are booming. These businesses pay taxes too.

  • monicaroland

    My questions include: 1.) Do we have tests, such as breathalyzer and blood alcohol, to detect drivers impaired by marijuana? 2.) How will we keep pot away from children? 3.) Will we have marketing/retailing laws as strict as those on cigarettes? and 4.) What is the current science on long-range effects of marijuana use on the body?

    • Coastghost

      Although it’s already ten years old, Dr Mitch Earleywine has an excellent comprehensive survey: Understanding Marijuana (Oxford Univ. Pr., 2002). Great place to start.
      I’d hazard these replies: 1) yes. 2) we don’t, we won’t. 3) more or less, yes. 4) Consult Dr Earleywine for details, the science hasn’t changed in the past decade.

      • monicaroland

        Thank you. I will look for this report online.

    • adks12020

      1.)The problem with tests for pot is that THC stays in your system long after you stop being high. There are no real immediate tests like a breathalyzer that could be administered by police at traffic stops. I’m sure it would be as it is now…if you look really stoned or your car smells like weed they can probably give you a DUI. 2.) How to keep pot away from children? The same way people do now. It will likely be just like alcohol; if kids want to get their hands on it they will. Kids can get their hands on pot any time they want now in most places. The difference is they have to deal with drug dealers.3.) They already mentioned their will be laws about advertising to kids. 4.) Long term effects of marijuana have been studied for decades. The results depend on who you ask. Smoking isn’t great for your body. We know that. There is less poison in pot smoke than cigarette smoke though since tobacco companies add chemicals. Eating pot food hasn’t been shown to have serious long term effects. But again, depends on who you ask, even among scientists.

    • homebuilding

      REACTION TIME !

      If your reaction time is twice the standard for your age (for ANY reason, including the infirmities of old age and/or prescription medication–or fatigue) you have no business driving, and you’re probably unsafe crossing the street as a pedestrian or in negotiating stairs. If you can even remember to cook, you might not turn off the burners, either.

      I’m tired of beating up drunks (and assuming that all street drugs universally and immediately deteriorate mental and physical function), putting them all in jail, and pretending that we’ve made our country “safe.”

      Other countries use reaction time tests–why can’t we learn from them? Oh, right. No lab gets paid for blood work–and no doctors have their fingers in the large, American medical pie.

      The entirety of the current system makes it easy for police (and the ‘justice system’ ) to ruin the lives of young folks whose have suffered from deficit parenting

      • adks12020

        Good call. I didn’t know about countries using reaction tests. That makes a lot of sense.

        • homebuilding

          Read Stephen Lord at the University of New South Wales in the Book: Falls in the Elderly. …a comprehensive look at the topic which generalizes well to driving and other complex physical/mental tasks.
          It’s painfully clear that USA docs don’t use this cheap. effective, very predictive resource. (Imagine how the ‘who’ll take away grandpa’s keys’ discussion disappears when the doc says: “His reaction time is TWICE what is considered safe”)

      • sickofthechit

        One of my best friends from my youth and his step daughter have been dead now for more than 30 years. The serial drunk driver who killed them after midnight going the wrong way on an unlit four lane divided highway with his headlights out was heard to remark after the accident that “…they shouldn’t have gotten in my way”.
        He promptly transferred all his assets to his wife to avoid liability. He Is one of the drunks you are tired of us “…beating up on”. charles a. bowsher

    • Brinnananda

      Monica, those are fair and intelligent questions. This is what I know to be so.
      1.) we have data from states that have already implemented medical marijuana: fatal traffic accidents have been reduced by an average of 9%
      2.) we keep pot away from children (unless they need it as a medicine) by legalizing and regulating its distribution. Illegal dealers have no incentive to stop selling to minors (every sale is profit). Responsible vendors do have incentive to follow the law, since they are working in the sunlight, and are regulated.
      3.) Tobacco use results in 500,000 painful, miserable deaths in the US each year. Cannabis is never fatal. That’s a BIG difference, and it is a difference that should be reflected in our laws.
      4.) Our bodies benefit from the intake on cannabis because the chemicals in the plant supplement or own encocannabinoid system. The ECS regulates all of the functions in our body that keep it harmonized and in balance. However, the body only uses the cannabinoids it needs. It’s impossible to overdose. Plus, there was a Jamaican study that followed children born to mothers who smoked cannabis heavily, and they tested better at birth than cannabis deprived babies. 5 year, 10 year and beyond follow-ups showed the children were never negatively affected by the mother’s cannabis use. Many studies have shown the benefits. You don’t hear about them because you live in America (sorry to say) where corporate media controls the information you have access to.

      • sickofthechit

        Being a current cigarette smoker and a heavy pot smoker in my younger days I have to vehemently disagree with your statement that canabis is never fatal. I think you mean ….as far as we know…..charles a. bowsher

        • fun bobby

          in 5 -10 thousand years of use there have been no overdoses. people have tried. that’s pretty good evidence right there

      • fun bobby

        I am going to use that one “cannabis deprived babies”. I love it

  • Tony Sanders

    I feel this is a great step back toward personal liberty. As long as these legalization laws also push for personal responsibility, I do not think there will be a problem. This is exactly the way the United States is supposed to work, a federation of individual states, banded together under a LIMITED federal government.

  • Bluejay2fly

    We should legalize and allow the sale of marijuana, legalize prostitution, and gambling. Tax and regulate in exchange for the permanent removal of all property tax and school tax for homes and property valued at 1 million or less.

    • PeterBoyle

      One step at a time Bro. Gambling is already there, marijuana is coming, and the next big change will be legalizing consentual short term employment of a sexual nature. It takes time to overcome irrational prohibition.

      • Bluejay2fly

        You cannot even by clove cigarettes ANYWHERE in America because it encourages children to smoke what does that tell you about our politics.

        • sickofthechit

          They sell clove cigs at my corner store and numerous others around town. Where are you? in another Republic? say Texas?

  • PeterBoyle

    The ‘personal growth’ issue is most important to people in the long run. Most people would rather grow their own and know what is in it than trust someone else. Look at the growth of home brewing beer, now an even bigger boom in home growing marijuana. I’m waiting for a warm state to legalize, I don’t do cold.

  • adks12020

    So anyone in Colorado that’s smart and wants to smoke pot will grow their own in their homes. Six plants at a time is more than enough pot for a household even if there are 4 or 5 people living there. People just have to learn how to properly cultivate in cycles so plants are ready for harvest at different times.

  • Tyler Terrell

    In my eyes, there are almost all positive effects and no negative effects from the idea of allowing marijuana to be sold legally. I personally would much prefer to not deal with the black market in an effort to show my support for the legalization of this substance. I would deal with the high taxes in order to show that this is the way to go.
    Negative effects of legalization:
    -Increased cost of regulatory procedure
    Positive effects of legalization:
    -finally dispelling the psychosis surrounding this substance as being an “evil gateway drug”
    -vastly increase tax revenues
    -reducing the number of people occupying prison cells for (in my opinion) non-criminal reasons
    -more data and statistics on how many people use it in general
    -reduction of the “underground market” for this substance, which all economists know is a problem as it is not tracked in GDP or CPI
    And for the record, there is almost no perceivable “influence” associated with this substance as there is with alcohol. They are completely different. There would not need to be a “breathalyzer” as one commenter suggested as this substance does not anywhere nearly as much impair your ability to perform any task.

    • lexpublius

      Tyler! Clear the smoke from your eyes, your mind!!! THINK BOY, THINK!!!

      • Tyler Terrell

        This is typical of the kind of psychosis I’m talking about. I’m stating facts here, and you’re making jokes and stating nothing. Kindly, refute me or agree with me or don’t say anything, because comments like this make you look pretty bad.
        What would you like me to think about? How the prisons are overstocked with offenders for minor offenses which threatedned the rights of no one? (And I’m talking about smokers here)
        Or would you like me to think about the government demonization campaign against this substance which has created people who think (like you do) that it’s evil and terrible, while allowing alcohol a (MUCH more powerful drug) to circulate among the population unchecked?

        • Brinnananda

          When there are no available arguments, folks often resort to lame humor. :)

  • William

    The FDA needs to step in and stop this until they can study the plants, seeds, chemicals, growing companies, etc…set forth strict regulations, inspections, warning labels etc…..it might take a few years, a decade at most, but it’s important that the FDA have a say in this new industry.

    • PeterBoyle

      They have had 70 years of lying. When they want to do the same for the lettuce, onions and corn I grow then I’ll go along with your ideas. In other words when pigs fly.

      • William

        That’s a good point. Perhaps the Dept. of Agriculture should also have a say in regulations too.

        • fun bobby

          perhaps the same departments that regulated it when it was legal should regulate it?

        • geraldfnord

          … and the F.A.A..

      • StilllHere

        If you smoke enough, pigs do fly, no?

    • lexpublius

      FDA “say” is the GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACY voicing its opinion to the LEGISLATIVE BRANCH (Government itself). If we are actually a Government by WE THE PEOPLE, then the majority of CITIZENS, NOT FDA, NOT POLICE, NOT POLITICIANS, should decide this issue. Aren’t we tired of failed laws proposed and enforced by the Government? If the law is not written by the PEOPLE, it is not grass roots, and constitutes a POLICE STATE.

      • William

        That dog has been hung and we have to embrace the various federal, state and local agencies or they will send their own SWAT team out to pay us a visit.

        • Brinnananda

          Those are the words of a defeated man.

    • Tyler Terrell

      I hope you do realize that the vast majority of industries which should be regulated by the FDA are not. The FDA only pays attention to a very small amount of the things we ingest, smoke, and posess.

      • William

        This is a good product for the FDA to regulate.

    • Brinnananda

      William. You seem really sincere in your request. Do you know that the federal government only allows studies meant to prove harm, and that they have been doing these studies for decades, and in spite of that, we are learning that cannabis combats cancer, seizures, MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, trauma, stroke, and generally makes us healthier. And why? Because like all other vertebrates, we have an endocannabinoid system that uses cannabinoids from cannabis (which mimic our own internal chemicals) to heal, balance, and harmonize our bodies’ functions.

      The FDA is not your friend.

    • fun bobby

      we already have protocols and guidelines for herbal suppliments, raw herbs and foods. cannabis was part of the USP for a long time until it was removed.

  • geraldfnord

    This policy us a little incoherent, and this accurately reflects the vector sum of our attitudes toward drugs. First and foremost, a large fraction of our economy is built on the proposition ‘Buy this to feel good’ so banning recreational drugs is kind of funny—I have some sympathy with the notion that they are banned because they put other commercial goods to shame even as they (in effect) satirise them.

    On the other hand, we don’t want any promising suburban youth to become a burn-out due to drugs’ use (ghetto and white trash?—it’s a great way to limit their horizons). On the third hand, we don’t want any promising suburban youths’ college and jobs and not-being-beaten-and-raped possibilities’ limited by a drug conviction (for youths we hate or don’t care-for much, see above—the “Onion” once had a story of an urban youth’s lawyer’s asking that he be ‘tried as a bright young man from the suburbs’).

    And, of course, enough successful people have smoked enough dope now that they feel weird absolutely prohibiting it, though we should never diss the power of ‘Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi’—what’ s the point of power if you can’t get away with stuff weaker people can’t?

    So we’ll leave the laws on the Federal books because it’s too hard to get them out, for now, try not to interfere with states that err on the side of sanity, and to hell with dope-users in the Savage States.

    (This actually worked pretty well in the latter days of alcohol Prohibition: New York and a few other and states didn’t bother with their own enforcement…and some states are still ‘dry’ to this very day, unless, of course, you ‘know a guy’).

    • PeterBoyle

      Once this is settled down some real research can take place, and I’m betting that the role of marijuana in our lives will grow. Even with the strictures placed on research by the government very promising results have been observed, here in the US and abroad. With the Pharmaceutical, Alcohol, and Evangelical businesses staunchly against legalization one has to wonder why this one plant causes so much controversy. Could it be that it poses a threat to their incomes?

  • lexpublius

    Sounds like a POLICE STATE when the guest’s comment that pot law would follow the direction from police because “law enforcement has a major role …” Hasn’t the POLICE’s WAR ON DRUGS FAILED?? Aren’t they already in league with the illegal pot growers to get their share under the table??? Shouldn’t WE THE PEOPLE be the primary DECIDERS of what law to enact???

    • Bluejay2fly

      It has filled prisons and gave the police military equipment and power so from their point of view it’s a success!

    • Brinnananda

      And there is the point that law enforcement is made to carry out the laws, not make them… or even influence them. You cannot turn lawmaking over to the ones with guns and cages.

  • ttllrr

    How can one dept of the Federal gov’t (IRS) collect taxes on what other depts (DOJ/DEA) have deemed illegal? Seems like the Feds are cashing in for their own benefit. Shocking (not).

    The 25% tax will only hurt medical marijuana patients who, by definition, are quite ill and likely cannot afford excessive taxation. Patients rights groups need to speak up loudly!

    • Brinnananda

      The tax does not apply to medical cannabis (at least in Colorado).

  • Tyler Terrell

    Regarding the caller who just spoke about going home to her state and being tested – employers would retain the right to test for whatever they want. Alcohol is legal, but employers don’t allow you to be drunk at work. It would be the same deal – any employer can decide to allow or disallow it. It doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not, as your female guest commented. The employer would decide whether to test for it or not.

    • PeterBoyle

      and that will change over time. The real problem is that the government gives tax rebates and credits for signing on to the Drug Free Workplace program, plus they get cheaper insurance. It will take time to make those changes.

      • 1Brett1

        That is an excellent point and the real reason employers want to make their employees submit to testing for cannabis; it’s all about tax rebates/credits and reduced rates on group insurance.

        • Brinnananda

          Hey, thanks Peter, for that bit of information. I didn’t realize that.

          That is a program that about to be tweaked, I’d say.

  • William

    Can the same lawyers that sued the tobacco companies go after companies that produce this new product too? I guess they can wait a few years and then get a class action law suit against the state, companies and individual growers etc….it should be a good source of revenue for lawyers.

    • Ray in VT

      I don’t know. Are the pot growers loading their product up with known carcinogens and then lying to the public about whether or not it causes cancer? If so, then they’ve likely got a good case.

      • Coastghost

        Oh c’mon, Ray: it’s not as if tobacco growers sprayed their fields or their crops with formaldehyde. No idea what the tobacco companies did with the products they purchased from growers, but to blame tobacco growers for tampering with their product is ridiculous.

        • Ray in VT

          Point taken. Then allow me to rephrase: the pot processors or companies. Although presently it is hard to say who is doing what. In some cases the growers may be the processors, as there exists no sort of distribution and sale system comparable to that of tobacco.

      • geraldfnord

        Some just don’t like high-status people’s being sued, regardless of what they’ve done to the public. Such are often marked by how loudly they tout ‘personal responsibility’, which oddly seems always to work out to normal people’s being fully responsible for the bad decisions they’ve made partially on the basis of lies promulgated by powerful men…who in turn are not personally responsible therefor, both because their status places them among the Elect who are not to be faulted, and because they have an artificial ‘person’ behind ‘whom’ to hide.

        I can’t fault them too much for this, ‘kiss up and kick down’ being a time-tested survival strategy in primate hierarchies irrespective of its flying in the face of the decency and morality that many of the same people claim are the goods provided by that same hierarchy, goods that make it worthwhile for those below its top.

      • William

        It would give parents a good legal recourse for action against growers and the state if they find their children with MJ.

        • Ray in VT

          I think that it is a bad comparison to make between tobacco and pot, given what is known about ingredients and outcomes of cigarette smoking. One would think that research would need to be done to see what the outcomes are for pot, which it would seem would be somewhat hard to reproduce, as people aren’t likely to chain smoke 40 joints in a day.

          • fun bobby

            someone will have to take the hit-for science

        • Brinnananda

          You mean the same parents who should be suing the DEA because they have spent a trillion taxpayer dollars trying to ‘get rid of drugs’ and not made one whit of difference in access for all their incarcerations, and whipping of civil liberties. Now, that’s a class action suit I would join in a heart beat.

        • fun bobby

          only for the person who sells it to them

    • Brinnananda

      Are you assuming that there would be some damages that would warrant a suit? I mean, we are talking about flowers here, that are perfect medicine for the human body, not to mention a great resource for commerce and business? What am I going to sue for? I know: Damn your eyes!!! You made me feel better.

    • fun bobby

      I guess if there was something harmful about it. what do you think they will sue about? weight gain from eating too many cookies after?

  • ttllrr

    Everybody who’s interested in this issue must must must watch the CNN Sanjay Gupta special “Weed”–find it online. Very very informative, especially regarding CBD (the nonpsychoactive portion of marijuana) for medical use.

    • anamaria23

      Yes, that was very enlightening regarding the beneficial medicinal uses. Also, the cautions for smoking “weed” for those sixteen or under due to effects on brain development.

      • fun bobby

        if only it was legal and regulated we could keep it out of the hands of children

        • geraldfnord

          No, but it would be easier: saying ‘It’s o.k. after you’re eighteen’ could help people delay (though a couple if years’ wait at that age can seem eternal), and it could even be an adulthood marker, of which sort of thing the infantilism-encouraging consumer society needs more.

          • fun bobby

            the kids consistently report that alcohol is harder to obtain than cannabis.

  • skelly74

    Give me liberty; or at least a little cannabis now and…yeah that will do, thank you.

    Don’t tread on me!…unless I can consume at little cannabis now and then..

  • Bluejay2fly

    The legalization of marijuana is about in the same place as the year 1864 was for African American rights. Guess what, were are not one year away from total victory.

    • fun bobby

      2016 total victory in MA!

  • OnPointComments

    Is the US a nation of laws? Or does each administration get to select which laws it likes and will enforce, and which laws it will ignore? What should the penalty be when a president, attorney general, or others in the administration decide not to uphold the laws of the United States, as they swore to do when they took office?

    The Beltway Choom Gang
    The President decides not to enforce another law he doesn’t like.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323324904579044771286022400.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop

    Excerpt:
    All states are explicitly barred from regulating the possession, use, distribution and sale of pot and narcotics under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

    A President can’t simply make a blanket declaration that he won’t enforce part or all of a law he doesn’t like. He and the AG are effectively decriminalizing an entire class of narcotics crimes, rewriting a law passed by Congress.

    Not since Nixon have we seen a Presidency so disdainful of the law, but at least Nixon had enough respect for legal appearances to break the law on the sly. This Administration simply declares it won’t enforce the laws it doesn’t like and calls it virtue. The media then give this a pass because Mr. Obama’s decisions mesh with their own policy preferences.

    • fun bobby

      he has flip flopped on this a couple of times already if you don’t like his position today just wait a little while

  • geraldfnord

    I agree with you, but I think it important for those if us on this side of the issue to
    0.)…allow as there are, in fact, potential damages due some people for excessive pot use, with ‘excessive’ varying widely by person, and
    1.)…stress that something need not be harmless in order to be legal.

    Too often I’ve seen arguments of the ‘It’s a plant, not a drug’ or ‘It’ s never hurt anyone’ sort made. These fly in the face of reality, making them easy to disprove, and make us sound like silly stoners—and beside that, telling untruths about drugs is the Prohibitionists’ job, not ours.

    • Ray in VT

      Is your avatar from that original Star Trek episode?

      • geraldfnord

        Clipping images from the Web is a thing to do like smashing melons or feeding Vaal; here I will show you…..

        (Oh, and could you turn that flower _toward_ the troll this time?)

    • Brinnananda

      You started your numbering with zero? I love that!

      • geraldfnord

        Stephan Zielinski’s excellent and under-known “Bad Magic” features (not-really-a-spoiler not-really-an-alert) an army of zombified programmers chanting a Jody that’s 0-based (as in ‘Sound off! Oh One!!/Sound off! Two Three!!’) and I thought, ‘Now _there_’ s a dog-whistling affectation I can slavishly emulate. ‘

    • fun bobby

      its not a plant? what are the potential damages? who has it harmed?

      • geraldfnord

        It is a plant which (in the case of which we’re speaking) is used as a drug—the dichotomy between a ‘plant’ and a ‘drug’ being used is a false one, and an especially bad one because it’s a weaselly invocation of the idea that nothing ‘natural’ can be bad for one. This idea can’t be invoked honestly and bluntly because it is obviously false when plainly expressed (see hemlock, lobelia, Clostridium botulinum, peanuts for some people,….).

        Over-use—which for some people, though they are a small minority, is _any_ use—has sped incipient schizophrenia along, affected the memory, made people stupider and less well-coördinated, helped adolescents avoid learning how to deal with their emotions, caused lung damage, damaged the brain such that Doritos are mistaken for _food_, and damaged the memory. I have seen or experienced (in one case) all of these. They are real: the physical universe is absolutely amoral, and any tool powerful enough to do good is powerful enough to do harm. they are not inevitable, but in real use they do and will happen, as surely as abstinence is actually a terrible strategy against teen pregnancy.

        The damage any tool can do can be minimised by using a tool that has been shaped for generations for our happy use, but in this case Prohibition has induced us to throw away cannabinoid profiles developed over centuries (in the 500 years it’s been smoked) or millenia (for eating), making this plant a drug somewhat different to what it had been.

        So yes, it can harm…but as I wrote, that doesn’t mean it should be illegal, just as in the cases of hang-gliding, walking on pedestrian overpasses, religion, using ladders…all of which have damaged or killed friends and relatives.

        • fun bobby

          a lot of your negative effects have not really been proven but I would not deny that cannabis like almost any other thing can be misused or overused.
          “Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” Judge Francis Young
          people can and have died from an overdose of water but not of cannabis so everything is relative I guess it amazes me that they let people skydive but smoking pot is a crime. they let people drink alcohol for crying out loud and that stuff kills people en masse.

  • Bluejay2fly

    A very heady comment. Read Jacob Needlemen. He states thats laws “should not take the place of individual ethical action”. A democracy should be chaotic and freedom is messy so people will make bad choices. That kind of failure should not be a catalyst for creating a nation of laws which undermine freedom in order to bring about some dubious amount of “safety”. It is illegal in the USA to buy clove cigarettes even though cigarettes are absurdly, strictly regulated because people believe it encourages smoking in children, who have no legal access to them anyway. We are losing our freedom at a phenomenal rate and people are too busy playing with their stupid Iphone 5′s to care. If you want freedom you may have to move.

  • craigarj

    I love Tom’s show. But Tom seems a little out of touch this time re the current state of marijuana. Marijuana is SO MUCH stronger than Tom’s apparent reference. He speaks of “smoke a joint”, “buy an ounce”. These reference an earlier time circa 1970s. Smoking a joint today would a turn a 6’5″ linebacker into a rag doll, unable to walk. An ounce of pot today could inebriate the entire football team.

    “Pot brownies”. Quaint Tom, but out of touch. Today there’s an entirely new class of “edibles”. Lolipops, chocolates etc. Some of these “foods” btw EXTREMELY strong. That linebacker is now unable to speak and considering going to the emergency room (if he can only figure out how to dial 911).

    The whole medical reference btw is a joke. That was merely a backdoor to legalize it. I doubt even 10% “medical users” were actual patients.

    • methos1999

      Um, yeah – where are you seeing this super strong pot? Because that’s sounds more like an opiate than cannabis. I’ve never heard of pot so strong that a joint would make a 6’5″ linebacker into a rag doll… also I’m not sure why a joint or an ounce is out of date – people still smoke joints and an ounce is a measurement of weight, so doesn’t have a specific time period in which to be relevant.

      • craigarj

        Perhaps folks build up a tolerance?
        I haven’t seen anyone smoke an entire joint and.. Heck, I just haven’t seen anyone do that in the last decade.

    • Tyler Terrell

      Your facts are vastly incorrect. But you did a good job of regurgitation in the respect of common arguments against marijuana. By the way, to prevent regurgitation in the future, try smoking some.

      • craigarj

        Cute. I stand by the spirit of my post.
        Marijuana is dramatically more powerful than it was in the 70s. In many ways it’s not even in the same class. Edibles can be extremely powerful.

        For the record I’m not necessarily against pot legalization. I’m merely stating that IMO medical marijuana laws were created as backdoor into legalization. I’m from CA, in my unscientific estimation 90% of “medical marijuana” is used purely for recreation.

    • Brinnananda

      I’m 5’1. I weigh less than a hundred pounds. I live in a medical state. I have access to the most powerful pot available. All I’ve got to say is, linebackers obviously are not what they used to be (even if they are 6.5)…or is it that, given your claim, I should be proud that a whole joint doesn’t ‘rag doll’ me?
      I can see why you love Tom’s show.

      • craigarj

        Wow, you’ve actually smoked an entire joint by yourself and were still functional? I have never seen that in the last 10 years. Best wishes, sorry if I offended. Perhaps regular users build up a tolerance.

        • fun bobby

          maybe you need to stop trying to fill those old cheech and chong rolling papers you have left from the 70s with top shelf medical grade

    • fun bobby

      how would you know how strong the cannabis is? where did you get your statistic on medical users?

      • craigarj

        “how would you know how strong the cannabis is?”
        ‘Smoked it.
        ” where did you get your statistic on medical users?”

        Um, no stats, just opinion. :-)

        • fun bobby

          are you a 6’5″ linebacker? you were unable to walk? were you more impaired than you have ever been from alcohol? perhaps what you got in the 70s was garbage but that does not mean that applies to everyone.
          well everyone has an opinion. in my opinion 100% of cannabis use is medicinal. if there was not something wrong with someone why would they want it?

          • craigarj

            You know, you probably ought to cut back a bit there, Bob.

          • 1Brett1

            Sometimes you’ll see that meme about “pot being a bazillion times stronger now than it was in the ’70s”, which is nonsense. It comes from “experts” comparing domestic stuff from then to domestic stuff now. Nobody knew how to grow in the ’70s, they didn’t have to; Columbian or Acapulco Gold, or Panama Redbud, or Jamaican, were readily available. When Reagan cracked down on imports, domestic growers began to develop their own strains and learned to expertly grow. In fact, Reagan’s drug war did more for increasing and refining domestic growing than any other factor. It also pushed the price way, way up making it a more attractive commodity for those who would want to build a black market enterprise.

            Exotic domestic cannabis today is no stronger than Columbian or Jamaican of the ’70s. So, anybody who says it is more dangerous than the stuff of yesteryear is engaging in propaganda.

          • fun bobby

            yup. hey brett, you and I agree. kind of eerie

          • 1Brett1

            I’ve been enjoying your comments FB, even on other topics re: Syria, etc…I know I can get a bit snarky, but I mean nothing beyond the moment…Besides, hey, when you’re right you’re right!

          • fun bobby

            ditto

  • Yar

    You misunderstand the economics. Eradication Is part price support and part use tax.

  • geraldfnord

    Correction—pacem Dr Kleiman: THC as such is rapidly metabolised into other chemicals, most of them inactive, and all inactive (so far as I’ve read) after a couple of days; it is for some of these metabolites that one does urine tests, though maybe blood tests look directly at THC.

    Fun fact: Henry Ford paid well in the ’20s, but he had men who’d come’ round your place checking for alcohol, improper literature (pornography or pro-union), and general untidiness. (For the insecure, power must be exercised to be enjoyed.)

  • Brinnananda

    The biggest boost to the economy from cannabis is its ability to decentralize wealth, promote self-sufficiency and economic independence. It encourages family industry and small business. That is why it is prohibited on the Federal level, which has put countless rules in place to concentrate wealth and power into the hands of fewer and fewer people.

  • Brinnananda

    Fatal traffic accidents have dropped on the average of 9% in states that have instituted medical marijuana. The whole issue of drugged driving when it refers to marijuana is a red-herring.

    • fun bobby

      excellent point I wonder if the idiot who down voted you knows that cannabis reduces the rates of auto accidents

  • Brinnananda

    Ha ha they assigned the subject of a “marijuana” round-up to Tom Ashbrook, the Bill Riley of NPR. Figures, now that corporations have inserted their corrupting tendrils of evil into public radio. Thank god we have the decentralized internet. It’s making NPR irrelevant.

    • John from Clemson, SC

      WTF are you talking about? Tom is one of the best in the business, and corporations have always had influence over NPR. Congratulations on just discovering the “decentralized internet”, did you just wake up from a coma?

      • Brinnananda

        Yes, I did wake up from the coma that most Americans are in. Though the ranks of the wakeful are growing exponentially.

        • geraldfnord

          How do you know that you are awake now, rather than fallen into a new but still far-from-conscious state?

          I’m a little concerned about the dichotomy you implied because there is an history of people’s using ‘I am awake, most people are asleep,’ as a quick stairway to ‘… therefore I can do as I will to them, their lives’ being not as important as the will of this Enlightened One.’ It’s a standard human mental device, and it’s how vanguard parties can oppress nearly all persons in the name of The People, fruit company heads decide that they should run foreign countries, most colonialism, and how both the Mafia and the triads went from revolutionary groups trying to free people to criminal gangs preying on them.

          But why should you listen to the arguments of just another person in a coma? (That’s the other problem with the dichotomy: it gives you an excuse not to listen to people with whom you disagree.)

      • geraldfnord

        Well, at least she didn’t use the word ‘sheeple’.

  • tbphkm33

    Both sides of this issue are so embedded in mythology and wishful thinking. Sure, the War on Drugs is a miserable failure and draining critical Federal Government resources, few will argue that a new approach is not necessary. Yet, on the other side of the marijuana issue, the idea that legalization will lead to smaller government and be the golden goose in regards to tax collection is nothing but fantasy.

    Reality is that criminal elements will still be heavily invested in the drug supply side of the equation. They will move from marijuana to harder drugs that remain illegal. Yes, as social norms and views toward marijuana become more favorable with the decriminalization of pot laws, the envelope will be pushed, there will be an uptick in the numbers of individuals exploring harder drugs that remain illegal. Certain sub-cultures will see legalization of marijuana as wholesale legalization and social acceptance of any and all drugs.

    There will also be hidden costs, or negative associated costs. Many as of yet not recognized. One will be the perception of social acceptance of any and all drugs. Society, non-profit groups, and government will have to increase drug awareness spending. Informing the public the pros and cons of marijuana and other drugs.

    Overall, I am in favor of decriminalizing marijuana laws and rethinking the overall approach to drug use. Yet, I am disappointed in the hyperbole taken by both sides of the debate. Propaganda from both sides that does little to inform the public and lawmakers of a reasonable path forward.

    • fun bobby

      decriminalization does not solve the problems of prohibition as we have seen. cannabis is not a “gateway drug” legal or not. legalizing it would mean that it would separated from other drugs therefore people would not be exposed to those other drugs when seeking cannabis. also making it less taboo has the opposite of the effect you mentioned it makes it not as “cool” for kids because if its acceptable there is no rebellion in its use. meanwhile we will save billions on law enforcement and incarceration and the devastating multi generational effects that felony convictions have had on so many families. thus saving billions on social services and welfare.

      • tbphkm33

        Liked I said, grand pronouncements – reality will not be as peachy.

        In its infancy, nuclear power was touted to be limitless and would provide energy so cheap it would not be metered. Reality turned out to be something in-between.

        All I am saying is that legalizing marijuana will have its positive effects (maybe not saving billions in law enforcement), and its associated negative costs (perhaps societies transition to view all drugs as “harmless”).

        • fun bobby

          the thing is that other places have tried this and the reality is what I described.

          comparing cannabis which has been in use for thousands of years and never caused any deaths to nuclear technology seems bizarre at best.

          besides idle speculation why do you think” perhaps societies transition to view all drugs as “harmless” will happen? how does lying to people about cannabis telling them its dangerous when its not lend the government and society credibility on the issue? our current policy of crying wolf about cannabis does a disservice to everyone because some drugs may in fact be harmful to use

          • 1Brett1

            Creating a false narrative about the harmful effects of cannabis, in the concentrated sum of propaganda, conflating it with drugs that are actually harmful, gives it an undesirable effect on those who might have a predisposition toward doing harder drugs. This happens in much the same way that anti-marijuana propaganda did in the 1930s, and, again, anti-drug propaganda did in the late 1960s, i.e., if established wisdom, so to speak, is lying about pot, then it is lying about everything else.

            Just like the “reefer madness” stuff of the 1930s, I remember as a kid in the 1960s seeing young people laughing at the anti-drug propaganda, yet, some of it, particularly about amphetamines and cocaine, was true. Even the LSD propaganda was a bit overblown, e.g., people were taking it and jumping out of buildings, staring at the sun and blinding themselves, etc. On Dragnet, there was a young couple who were bathing their baby…they lit up a joint and forgot their baby was in the bathtub, causing the baby to drown. Jack Webb thought his show was performing some valuable public service and presenting entertainment that was also informative with many cautionary tales, but really the show was viewed as a ridiculous, unwitting form of satire. People would get stoned and watch the show. Television and radio were replete with public service announcements about “marijuana” with much the same effect as Dragnet and this created an unintended, opposite to the desired effect.

            I am amazed that people/organizations even still try to state that cannabis is a gateway drug. Because some who abuse hard drugs also smoke pot doesn’t make cannabis a gateway drug, nor will society become open to opiate/amphetamine use as being acceptable should cannabis become legal.

            I think the view that if cannabis is made legal, then it is a slippery slope and will prompt society to view all drugs as harmless might have worked as propaganda thirty years ago, but people are too sophisticated for that in this age.

          • fun bobby

            personally I think all prohibition efforts have failed and made things worse. banning anything is the absence of regulation and always leads to market failure. for example banning cocaine made it expensive and overpriced for many people. this demand created the need for a cheap, domestically available substitute thus the crack and now meth epidemics. we would not have this terrible meth problem if cocaine cost $20 a kilo. don’t get me wrong cocaine is a terrible drug and not good for people but I don’t think there is anyone who would deny that meth is worse.

    • PeterBoyle

      Switzerland decriminalized all drugs in the 1970s, and good thngs happened. Amsterdam has had legal marijuana for many years. No social problems as you describe. Germany decriminalized marijuana in the 1990s, not falling apart. Portugal decriminalized all drugs 5 years ago. The number look good, so far a DECREASE in harmfull drug use. On the whole, decrim of MJ will have a beneficial effect in this country.

      • fun bobby

        in fact MA decriminalized it a while ago and it seems the sky is intact and everyone has not become a heroin addict

    • geraldfnord

      I sense a sensible person, using the term at least in its usual meaning of ‘agrees with me on this’. I find it easier to listen drug warriors than to people on my side who paint unrealistic scenari—in particular, I hope that I shall never again be subjected to the false dichotomy of ‘It’s a plant, not a drug,’ without but especially with the addition of a ‘maaaaan’ afterward.

      Also note: legalisation and taxation that does not drive consumers to the grey market will lower the prices, so some of the tax revenue estimates could easily be off by a factor of five.

  • Brinnananda

    You can bet they have their eyes on it. Federal restrictions are holding them at bay…. which is the one good thing about federal prohibitions. The mega corporations have a problem. They have to figure out a way to only let themselves have access to and control over cannabis agriculture and sales — and not the proles (us). But cannabis and the sense that ‘life is worth living in the now’ is an anathema to corporations. They know their most productive workers are the unhappy ones. I love to see them squirming on their dilemma. :)

  • fun bobby

    when is npr going to change their standards to cease using the loaded Spanish word “marijuana” when they discuss cannabis? are they just racists or what?

    • Coastghost

      An “On Point” staffer with time to kill might also tabulate the number of times Tom used and/or elicited from guests “green light” in this morning’s show. I am sure I heard it more than just three or four times.

      • fun bobby

        perhaps one was supposed to drink every time he said it? pee wee used to also have a word of the day

        • sickofthechit

          Groucho Marx started it I believe.

  • fun bobby

    cannabis while driving reduces accident rates, unless the cherry falls in your lap

  • Otho

    Re: “Marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law, right up there with heroin.”

    Heroin is a schedule 2 substance under federal law, meaning that the federal government recognizes medical uses for heroin, but not marijuana (which is schedule 1).

    • fun bobby

      good point. perhaps they should get their facts straight

      • 1Brett1

        If cannabis is truly going to be decriminalized it has to be turned loose from its Schedule 1 controlled substance classification.

        • fun bobby

          I was thinking today that would be a perfect executive order since the DEA is part of the executive branch. that would be something a member of the choome gang ought to have done first term if he was really not in bed with the military prison industrial complex

ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

 
Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

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Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

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Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

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