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Legalization Debate Lights Up.


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US WA: Edu: Marijuana Legalization Debate Lights Up

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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v11/n145/a01.html

Newshawk: Kirk

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Wed, 2 Mar 2011

Source: Spectator, The (Seattle U, WA Edu)

Copyright: 2011 The Spectator

Contact:male2('feedback','su-spectator.com'); feedback@su-spectator.com

Website: http://www.su-spectator.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/4150

Author: Spencer Latham

Bookmark: http://www.drugsense.org/cms/geoview/n-us-wa (Washington)

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

 

<P class=clipping>MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION DEBATE LIGHTS UP

 

The effort to legalize marijuana has been seen as a trivial issue that only stoners care about, but recent events have shown that adults are starting to take notice. A bill in the Washington state legislature, a city attorney and The Seattle Times all came out in support of legalizing cannabis this past month. The arguments are simple. It's a drug with overall benign effects, and its prohibition is causing an unnecessary detriment on society. While the clear obstacle to legalization is the drug's standing as being federally illegal, the real battle is a cultural one.

 

The prohibition on weed ( also known as pot if you were born before 1980 ) is the relic of an outdated social policy steeped in prejudice and misinformation. Initially, states made it illegal so they could deport Mexican laborers who were competing for jobs during the Great Depression. In the 1930s and 40s, the drug was associated with jazz musicians and black culture, meaning conservative whites were in no rush to embrace logical thinking. During the 1960s and 70s, pot was seen as a mild hallucinogen that young liberal hippies used. Additionally, the government has and continues to support Reefer Madness-style scare tactics that overly demonize the drug, rendering most Americans to be complacent with its prohibition.

 

The cultural battle is clear and polling reflects it. On the prohibition side, you have conservatives who believe not just that the drug is bad, but that the "wrong kind of people do it" ( i.e. minorities, aging hippies and young liberal radicals ). Furthermore, conservatives are more likely to believe in the sanctity of the justice system and in favor of keeping existing laws in place.

 

On the legalization side are liberals who either used to smoke weed, still smoke or are just aware of the drug's benign effects. Also, liberals are more skeptical of the justice system and believe it can be unfair, illogical and harmful to society.

 

The fact that older people don't take legalization seriously shouldn't stop the push to change this detrimental policy. When someone asks you what does it matter if marijuana is legal, you tell them 800,000 people were arrested last year on marijuana-related charges ( 90% for possession ) and that's an incredible waste of the judicial system. Students can and have lost financial aid due to a single cannabis conviction. An injustice, given a similar alcohol-related charge would not produce as serious a result.

 

Liberals need to court libertarians to support legalization, citing both an argument of states' rights and fiscal benefits. The estimated revenue for the state of Washington is $300 million and $1 billion for California. This is good news as states across the country are dealing with budget deficits.

 

The fact that the movement to legalize marijuana is gaining traction with the mainstream is good, but advocates need to cast off the stigma held by the older generation that this is a trivial issue. The infamous counter-culture phrase "don't trust anyone over 30" sums up the attitude that will end prohibition. However, I would go with "legalize marijuana-for our children and our pocketbooks."

MAP posted-by: Richard Lake

 

 

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The national exposure of the 2012 legalization initiative should help show our michigan politicians as extremest and out of touch. The closer to 2012, the more nervous the MI GOP should get.

 

but as with the actions we saw today with SB17...maybe they totally don't care and will push as far and as hard as they can. Just seems like political suicide. And we will be way in their face on May 25.

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