#441 Legalized Pot? Like Getting Bonged In The Head

Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2010
Subject: #441 Legalized Pot? Like Getting Bonged In The Head



DrugSense FOCUS Alert #441 – Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

The column below illustrates that a columnist may cover a topic

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Pubdate: Tue, 13 Jul 2010

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)

Webpage: http://mapinc.org/url/H11qQ2tj

Copyright: 2010 PG Publishing Co., Inc.

Contact: http://drugsense.org/url/pm4R4dI4

Author: Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Cited: Proposition 19 http://www.taxcannabis.org/

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/topic/Proposition+19

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?261 (Cannabis – United States)

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?253 (Cannabis – Medicinal – U.S.)

Legalized Pot? Like Getting Bonged in the Head

In November, Californians will have the opportunity to vote on a
ballot initiative legalizing all marijuana use, whether medicinal or

According to the latest poll of likely California voters, Proposition
19 will pass. This will put the Obama administration in an awkward

The federal government is already suing Arizona for its recently
enacted immigration law. What will the Obama Justice Department do
when a state goes rogue by establishing its own rules when it comes to
licensing and taxing the sale of weed?

California law will be in opposition to federal law as well as in
violation of a 1961 international treaty that prohibits the
legalization of cannabis. The U.S. is a signatory to that treaty.

In a surprising move, Alice Huffman, the president of the California
State Conference of the NAACP, threw the prestige of her organization
behind Proposition 19.

Citing a new study by the Drug Policy Alliance, Ms. Huffman insisted
last week that the legalization of marijuana is, among other things, a
civil rights issue because blacks are more likely to be arrested for
pot possession than whites, even though blacks use it at far lower

In California, blacks make up 22 percent of those busted for marijuana
possession despite being less than 7 percent of the population.
National NAACP Chairman Julian Bond applauded Ms. Huffman’s stance, as
did the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and the California
Black Chamber of Commerce.

Shortly after Ms. Huffman endorsed Prop 19, a group of black religious
leaders called for the civil rights leader’s head. “Why should the
state NAACP advocate for blacks to stay high?” asked Bishop Ron Allen
of the International Faith-Based Coalition. “It’s going to cause crime
to go up. There will be more drug babies.”

Closer to home, a bill to legalize medical marijuana use continues to
languish in both chambers of the state Legislature despite polling
that puts voter support for it at 81 percent.

The Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates oppose medical
use of marijuana, no matter how restrictive Pennsylvania’s laws would
be compared to California’s.

(It’s interesting that the leading politicians of our state favor
liberalized gun laws, expanded gambling and the expansion of
controversial hydraulic fracturing techniques to extract natural gas
from below ground in ways that could adversely affect the state’s
water supply.)

There’s also concern that the revenue stream created by legalizing
marijuana in California and other places is overstated. The Rand
Corp.’s Drug Policy Research Center said that the state’s premium weed
could drop from a high of $450 an ounce to $38. California would have
to slap on a consumption tax to double or triple the price to get a
workable funding stream.

The criminal black market for marijuana would collapse, but it could
be replaced around the edges by law-abiding folks growing and selling
their own weed. Why is that such an unacceptable outcome?

A state highly skilled at slapping on taxes like Pennsylvania could
use the legalization of marijuana as an opportunity to provide a
“gateway service” to the Liquor Control Board as it transitions out of
the liquor control business.

Overnight, the LCB could become the Legalized Cannabis Board. The LCB
could bring the benefit of generations of condescension by bored
clerks to a sector of the economy that desperately needs it. Dealing
with the culture of the LCB would be such a bummer for most potheads
that demand for marijuana would drop precipitously. It is an elegant
way to deal with both sides of the demand curve.

There would be those who would rather grow their own weed and avoid
paying any taxes than buy it from state middlemen. As someone who
doesn’t personally indulge, the thought of neighbors growing a patch
of Mary Jane in their back yard for private use doesn’t exactly terrify me.

For most of our history, Americans grew and consumed marijuana in
various forms. Aren’t we politically mature enough to go back to the
days of deciding what merits watering in our own back yards? If
dealing with hemp was good enough for George Washington and the
Founding Fathers …

Only ideologues are unable to admit what is obvious to everyone else:
The Drug War has been an unmitigated disaster. It has resulted in the
fattening of profits for drug lords, the destabilization of nations,
the corruption of law enforcement, the reallocation of dwindling
national resources down rat holes, the expansion of the
prison-industrial complex, expensive wars overseas and national hypocrisy.

You don’t need to smoke a bong to see that.


Suggestions for writing letters are at our Media Activism Center

For facts please see Marijuana: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/node/53


Prepared by: Richard Lake www.mapinc.org