Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Leading In Latest Polls

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Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Leading In Latest Polls | Paul Armentano

Voters favor legalizing the adult use of cannabis in the five states where the issue will appear on the ballot this Election Day. Here is a summary of the latest polling data. ARIZONA: Half of Arizona voters intend to vote ‘yes’ in favor of Proposition 205: The Arizona Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana Act, according […]

Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Leading In Latest Polls | The Daily Chronic

The Daily Chronic

Pot Smoking Stats Real Eye Opener

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Do you smoke pot? According to stats I saw this week, 12 per cent of Ontario residents 15 and over smoked marijuana at least once over a recent 12-month period.  Which is about 1.3 million Ontarians.  Or about 130,000 people here in York Region.

This is according to Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey for 2012, which asked Canadians over 15 if they used cannabis or hash.

Keep in mind these were only the people willing to admit to using pot.

The real numbers could be a lot higher, pardon the pun, considering this is a type of behaviour not everyone would readily admit to on a government form.

For political prognosticators, that’s a lot of Justin Trudeau supporters.  Maybe that’s why Stephen Harper’s poll numbers seem to be going up in smoke.

And here I thought some people were just really happy, really hungry, or had the giggles.

Next time someone laughs at one of your jokes, you’ll be tempted to ask, “Did you actually think that’s funny, or are you just high?” And stop eating those Cheesies.

Obviously it can’t be just teenagers, whose current slang words for cannabis or getting high – according to this thing called Google I have on my computer – include to get blazed, chief, burn one, bent, kush and, well, by the time someone like me is using them in a community newspaper, they may already be obsolete.

Point is, considering the stats, there must be professors, lawyers, MPs ( such as the aforementioned Mr.  Trudeau ), journalists, the Ford family, and many others out there, who you would not think of as your typical pot smokers, who are, in fact.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have a whole lot against people who smoke up.

They used to bother me more, when I thought of all the mayhem created by the people growing the pot, with law enforcement chasing them – all in the quest to supply herbal refreshment to people who rationalized that their little illegal indulgence was harmless.

But as the pot laws become more relaxed, particularly in the U.S., the people who smoked up despite the laws and the negative consequences for society, seem a little less selfish, a little more mainstream.

Things are being legalized, taxed, in some U.S.  states, including Colorado and Washington.  In Canada, we are just getting a sniff of this brave new world.

So now, there is a rush by all kinds of people to get into Canada’s “medical” marijuana business.  Why?

Because of several recent court decisions, the projection in the next few years is that up to 400,000 Canadians will have gotten themselves permits to use medical marijuana, as in daily, up from 40,000, which now must be supplied by government approved growers ( think $ signs ), with Canada’s doctors forced to take part in the approval process for “patients”.

This despite what the Canadian Medical Association says is a lack of scientific evidence that marijuana is anything other than a recreational drug, even if it is, anecdotally – for some – helpful dealing with illnesses that cause pain or seizures.  Fine.  But 400,000 people?

Maybe, like the U.S., it’s time to give everyone the right to smoke pot ( responsibly – no driving ) and leave the doctors and Ottawa out of it.  Something to put in your bong and smoke before the next federal election.

John Paul Stevens Thinks MJ Should Be Legalized

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Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens believes marijuana should be legalized by the federal government, predicting that the public will soon decide prohibiting the substance is “not worth the cost.” In a Thursday interview with NPR’s Scott Simon, the retired justice was asked if he believes the drug should be legal at the federal level.

“Yes,” Stevens said. “I really think that that’s another instance of public opinion [that’s] changed. And recognize that the distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages is really not much of a distinction. Alcohol, the prohibition against selling and dispensing alcoholic beverages has I think been generally, there’s a general consensus that it was not worth the cost. And I think really in time that will be the general consensus with respect to this particular drug.”

Click over to NPR for the full interview:

Recent polling has shown that most Americans agree with Stevens. Last October, a Gallup poll found that 58 percent of Americans are in favor of legalization, marking the first time in the poll a clear majority has been in favor of legal pot. And in a Pew Research Center survey released earlier this month, 75 percent of respondents said they believe legalization is inevitable.

“Justice Stevens is right. Public opinion is shifting rapidly in favor of marijuana legalization,” Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, said in a statement. “Polls now consistently show that a clear majority of the public supports ending prohibition and, as this trend continues, we’ll start to see more prominent people and politicians saying it’s time to change the laws.”

Stevens, who stepped down from the bench in 2010, is currently promoting his new book, Six Amendments, in which he details the changes he would make to the U.S. Constitution. Among his proposals are abolishing the death penalty, imposing stricter campaign finance reforms and changing the Second Amendment to allow tougher gun control laws.

This post has been updated to include Angell’s statement.

Source: Huffington Post (NY)
Author: Mollie Reilly, The Huffington Post
Published: April 24, 2014
Copyright: 2014, LLC
Contact: [email protected]

Marijuana Should Be Legal, 55 Percent Say

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In a dramatic switch from recent decades, a clear majority of Americans say smoking marijuana on a recreational basis should be legal. In fact, a new CNN-ORC International poll indicates that the moral stigma attached with smoking the drug has plummeted, too, and now fewer find fault with the activity in terms of seeing it as a sign of subpar values.

Specifically: Fully 55 percent of survey respondents said marijuana should be legal. Only 44 percent said it should remain illegal.

CNN said Americans have been slowly but steadily embracing the idea of legalized marijuana for the last 25 years. In 1987, about 16 percent supported legalizing the drug. In 1996, that statistic was 26 percent; in 2002, it was 34 percent, and just a couple years ago, it was 43 percent.

But this is the first time a clear majority found sense in legalizing the drug.

Still, there are several key demographic differences, CNN said.

“There are big differences on age, region, party ID and gender, with senior citizens, Republicans and Southerners the only major demographic groups who still oppose the legal use of pot,” said CNN polling director Keating Holland.

For example: Two-thirds of those between the ages of 18 and 34 said pot should be legal. Only 64 percent between the ages of 34 and 49 felt similarly, CNN reported.

The findings show a major shift in American culture since the days of President Nixon, who declared drugs “public enemy Number One,” and 65 percent in the country agreed that marijuana use was a serious problem.

“Attitudes toward the effects of marijuana and whether it is morally wrong to smoke pot have changed dramatically over time,” Mr. Holland said. “That also means that marijuana use is just not all that important to Americans any longer.”

Source: Washington Times (DC)
Author: Cheryl K. Chumley, The Washington Times
Published: January 7, 2014
Copyright: 2014 The Washington Times, LLC
Contact: [email protected]

Marijuana Likely To Be Decriminalized in D.C.

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Before long, smoking a joint in the nation’s capital might get you in even less trouble than parking on the wrong side of the street on street-cleaning day.

Ten of 13 members of the D.C. Council and Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) have endorsed a plan to make small-time marijuana possession a civil rather than a criminal offense. That means recreational cannabis users wouldn’t face arrest, charges or jail time — any of which can destroy their lives — as long as they aren’t caught with more than an ounce of the drug. Instead, they would have to pay a fine, perhaps as low as $25. (The mayor also wants criminal penalties to remain for anyone caught using it in public.)

Much of the debate over the idea has focused on an American Civil Liberties Union report that suggests that the District and many other jurisdictions enforce their anti-marijuana laws unfairly, disproportionately arresting African American suspects. On these pages, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier pushed back, insisting that factors such as a geographic concentration of tips about marijuana users, not biased policing, are responsible for the city’s arrest figures.

That debate does not need to be resolved to conclude that maintaining criminal penalties for small-time users of any race doesn’t make sense.

Enforcing criminal penalties against those who aren’t involved in trafficking or selling the drug would be too harsh and a waste of government resources. As it stands, very few people in the District are prosecuted for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana, unless there are other charges to go along with it. But even an arrest can make it difficult to find a good job.

Refraining from enforcing criminal penalties, on the other hand, would promote disrespect for the law.

An all-around better policy, long championed by District lawyer Paul Zukerberg, would be to slap small-time users with a civil fine, which is a measured way to send a message that the government does not condone or tolerate marijuana use. No one’s life would be permanently marred by getting caught with a joint. But violators would still have to pay, literally. In that vein, we would suggest that $25 — a smaller fine than that attached to low-level parking violations — is too modest a penalty. Maryland lawmakers considered setting a $100 fine this year, the same level that New York state approved last year. That sounds like the right size.

Attitudes about marijuana are changing, and quickly. A recent Gallup poll found that an astonishing 58 percent of Americans now favor legalizing the drug. Colorado and Washington state have both tried to do just that by changing their drug laws. Federal law still treats marijuana as an illicit substance, but Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced a policy this year that aims federal resources at high-level offenders. And now the District government is poised to join the 15 states that have decriminalized small-time pot possession.

Of all the official reactions to changing mores on marijuana, decriminalization is the best.

Source: Washington Post (DC)
Published: October 27, 2013
Copyright: 2013 Washington Post Company
Contact: [email protected]

MJ Debate Catches Fire Among College Students

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Support for marijuana legalization has reached a new high — and young adults are fueling the flames.

A Gallup poll released Tuesday revealed a majority of adults back cannabis legalization for the first time since Gallup asked the question in 1969.

58% of the respondents supported the idea, but among 18- to 29-year-olds the figure jumps to 67%.

Michael Kenney, professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, says supportive attitudes were inevitable among Millennials who came of age in the midst of the legalization debate.

“Every year, millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens are using cannabis,” Kenney says. “It’s not necessarily looked down on by young people. It’s no big whoop.”

Karilla Dyer, a junior at the University of Florida, meets very few people who haven’t tried the drug. Smoking should be considered a lifestyle choice, she says.

“If someone wants to smoke marijuana occasionally in a social setting or just to relax, it should not be more illegal than having a glass of wine,” the 21-year-old says. “Pot is not something that ruins lives.”

Currently, 20 states and Washington, D.C., allow smoked marijuana to be used for a variety of medical conditions. Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational use.

This is in stark contrast to the “just say no” mentality spearheaded by First Lady Nancy Reagan in the ’80s, says Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project.

“The federal government and anti-marijuana crusaders have been exaggerating the harms for decades,” he says. “Young people are hearing more about marijuana and marijuana policy than ever before and realizing it’s less harmful than alcohol.”

Kevin Sabet, co-founder of Project Smart Approaches to Marijuana and author of Reefer Sanity, says not all college students are bowled over by health claims.

“Students really don’t want to jeopardize their future prospects,” he says. “Marijuana can cause problems in the classroom and job performance.”

Sabet also says Gallup’s poll doesn’t take into consideration how Americans feel about marijuana sales.

“I think students are wary of another industry like the tobacco industry, another corporate interest that is going to live off people’s addiction,” Sabet says.

But Carlan Loeb-Muth, 22, thinks the financial prospects are bolstering support.

“I feel the legalization would significantly help America’s economy,” the Georgia State University junior says. “A good chunk of the profits go towards taxes.”

Arguments for legalization cross party lines, says Alex Kreit, associate law professor at San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

He says decriminalizing marijuana benefits traditional right-leaning tenants like limited government and Democratic concerns like the racial disparity in drug-law enforcement.

“It makes me think that this issue especially has the potential to drive politicians,” he says. “Parties have an inherent interest in appealing to young people early, and there are compelling arguments on both sides in favor of reform.”

Despite the increased support for legalization, young adult marijuana use has decreased, according to poll data.

Millennials reported smoking less than their parents, with Gallup reporting 36% admitted to trying weed compared to 56% of youths in the late ’70s and ’80s.

Joey McGuire, a senior at Minnesota’s Winona State University, says even for students who don’t smoke, current laws reflect a troubling limitation of personal freedoms.

“The government is designed to protect us from each other and should have no rights deciding what we can or cannot do for ourselves,” the 21-year-old says. “I should be able to make any decision for myself as long as it doesn’t negatively affect others.”

Tvert says in some ways, young adult attitudes toward marijuana legalization mirror their feelings about marriage equality.

In March, a joint Washington Post-ABC survey put same-sex marriage approval rates at 70% among Millennials — 3% above the weed approval rate.

“The same reason a heterosexual person might support marriage equality is why someone who doesn’t smoke might support legalization,” he says. “They recognize it’s the right thing to do.”

Source: USA Today (US)
Author: Shayna Posses, USA Today
Published: October 25, 2013
Copyright: 2013 USA Today, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Contact: [email protected]

Texas Voters Want To Legalize Marijuana

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MarijuanaA majority of Texas voters support marijuana legalization, according to a recent survey. Public Policy Polling found that 58 percent of Texans “support making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it like alcohol.” Even more — 61 percent — were in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession and instead punishing violations with a civil citation.

Texas law currently views possession of marijuana, even on a minute scale, as a criminal offense, punishable by $2,000 in fines and up to a year of jail time. The PPP survey of 860 randomly selected Texas voters was released by the Marijuana Policy Project.

“Most Texans agree that marijuana sales should be conducted by legitimate businesses instead of drug cartels in the underground market,” MPP executive director Rob Kampia said in a release.

In addition, the poll found that a majority of Texas voters support changing state law to permit critically ill and terminal patients to use medical marijuana — only 31 percent said they were opposed.

“People suffering from cancer and multiple sclerosis should not face the threat of arrest for using medical marijuana if their doctors believe it will help ease their suffering,” Kampia said.

Nationwide, support for marijuana legalization is on the rise, with 52 percent of Americans in favor of legalizing marijuana use, according to a recent national Gallup survey.

Last November, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana through referendums, catalyzing similar efforts in California, Arizona, Oregon and Alaska heading toward the 2014 midterm elections. Is Texas next?

Source: Huffington Post (NY)
Author: Shadee Ashtari, The Huffington Post
Published: October 8, 2013
Copyright: 2013, LLC
Contact: [email protected]

The Many Different Faces Of Marijuana In America

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On Tuesday, Vermont moved to decriminalize the possession of marijuana for quantities up to an ounce, replacing potential prison time for arrests with fines.

Peter Shumlin, the state’s governor, made a telling distinction between weed and “harder” drugs when he announced the move. “This legislation allows our courts and law enforcement to focus their limited resources more effectively to fight highly addictive opiates such as heroin and prescription drugs that are tearing apart families and communities,” he said.

The idea that weed isn’t that big a deal and that governments need to readjust their priorities is pretty common. There’s little vocal anti-pot government outcry, no temperance movement analog for cannabis. Recent polls have found that a majority of Americans think marijuana should be legalized.

Even our mainstream faces of stoner culture are generally silly, harmless and amiable (Jeff Spicoli, Cheech & Chong, Harold & Kumar, and whatever Snoop is calling himself these days) except when they’re revered and saintly (read: Bob Marley). On TV, there was Weeds, a dramedy about an upper-middle-class widow who starts selling marijuana to make ends meet. Change the drug to something else like heroin or meth, drugs with more sinister reputations, and it becomes something much darker. You’d pretty much have to go all the way back to Reefer Madness to find a widely seen film that portrayed pot as dangerous or threatening. (And the whole reason we all know about that movie is because the concerns at its center are often mocked as kitschy and histrionic.)

Mona Lynch, a professor at the University of California, Irvine who studies the criminal justice system, says that stereotypes of marijuana usage in popular culture don’t come across as very threatening. “There’s not a lot of uproar around marijuana [as] a crushing problem,” she says.

But this image of weed use as benign recreation or banal nuisance doesn’t square with another great fact of American life — the War on Drugs. And more and more, that War on Drugs means marijuana.

Ezekiel Edwards, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Criminal Law Reform Project, says that 10 years ago, marijuana possession arrests made up 37 percent of all drug arrests. And now? “Half of all drug arrests are now marijuana-related,” he says — and 9 in 10 of those are for possession.

The focus of the continuing law enforcement battle on marijuana lands disproportionately on people of color. The ACLU crunched some Justice Department numbers on drug arrests, and released a much-discussed report last week on their findings. The upshot: African-Americans are four times as likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana than whites, even though blacks and whites consume weed at about the same rate.

For blacks — and black men in particular — marijuana is a gateway drug into the criminal justice system.

“The thing that was shocking about the report was the pervasiveness, that this [disparity in arrests] is happening everywhere,” Lynch tells me. “It’s happening in small towns, big towns, urban and rural.”

Both Edwards and Lynch say that part of the reason marijuana is getting more attention from law enforcement agencies is that police departments are being subsidized with lots of federal dollars to stop drugs, but the crack epidemic has since waned. “Institutions don’t like to shrink,” Lynch says. “It’s actually a reverse kind of pattern — drug arrests are going up [even] as crime drops.”

At the same time that marijuana’s become a more central focus of the War on Drugs, there are plenty of business types who are already making their plans for selling marijuana after, uh, all the smoke clears. They’re trying to give pot an altogether new face: as a widely available commercial product backed by big business. No one knows what that market might even look like quite yet, but it could be incredibly lucrative.

Might you be able to cop some weed at your supermarket behind the counter with cigarettes? Would your favorite coffee shop start selling some “extra special” lattes? What about an over-the-counter headache medicine packaged in a box with a little green leaf in the corner?

Seriously — it might not be that far-fetched.

Don Pellicer, a company that hopes to open marijuana stores in Washington and Colorado, is looking for investors. Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, was a guest speaker at a Don Pellicer event last week, and has said that he would grow marijuana if weren’t against the law. “Once it’s legitimate and legal, sure, I could do it,” he told reporters. “I’m a farmer. Producers of all types can participate.” (Fox, it’s worth noting, used to run Coca-Cola in Mexico, and its sales jumped by 50 percent during his tenure.)

There are already vending machine companies working on cannabis-dispensing kiosks for retail stores for the people who don’t want the hassle of humoring those talky connoisseur types. “The way we see it, when you walk into a shop, you don’t need the expert or aficionado to help with selection,” says the head of one such vending company. “The people who are using this in the recreational space — they know what they want, and they don’t want to hear the whole spiel every time.”

And there are all the industrial, non-psychoactive applications. Hemp fiber, which is especially strong, is already used in all sorts of textiles. One researcher told writer Doug Fine that a decade after weed became legal, a domestic hemp industry would sprout up in the United States to the tune of $50 billion a year — which would outpace the estimates of what smokable reefer would bring in.

“When America’s 100 million cannabis aficionados (17 million regular partakers) are freed from dealers, some are going to pick up a six-pack of joints at the corner store before heading to a barbecue, and others are going to seek out organically grown heirloom strains for their vegetable dip,” Fine wrote.

So now we have to reconcile the many different faces of marijuana — a jokey, pop-culture staple, a continuing fascination of law enforcement agencies whose attentions fall disproportionately on people of color, and the potential cash crop of a bright, green future.

Which of these will give way? Or will any of them?

Source: National Public Radio (US)
Author: Gene Demby
Published: June 12, 2013
Copyright: 2013 National Public Radio

A Smarter Federal Path on State-Voted MJ Laws

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The time is at hand for the Obama administration to stop dithering, to take a clear position on the rights of Washington state and Colorado — and by precedent all others — to experiment with legalized marijuana.

That’s what Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and John Hickenlooper of Colorado are asking the Justice Department to do — even though they personally opposed the marijuana legalization measures their voters approved last November.

The governors insist they can make their states’ new laws work well through responsible regulations that license, regulate and tax the production and sale of marijuana. New state labeling laws, say supporters, will also remove confusion and dangerous use levels by showing the potency in terms of THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, analogous to the labeling of alcoholic beverages.

Clearly it’s a direction the American people — who favor marijuana legalization 52 to 41 percent in recent polling — would approve.

A collaborative approach would be consistent with President Obama’s own marijuana history — a substance he tried himself as a youth. Asked last December about the Colorado and Washington legalization votes, he told Barbara Walters “It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal,” because “we’ve got bigger fish to fry.”

But Mr. President, there are serious issues to resolve. As personal purchase and use of marijuana are permitted in some states, can the practice really be contained at state borders? Will television, Web and print advertising be allowed? Will the legalizing states allow many small or just a few large suppliers? How much marijuana will be eligible for sale at one time? How will “marijuana tourism” — out-of-state visitors coming just to stock up — be handled? Will retail outlets be allowed near a state’s borders?

And then questions that undecided states may want to hear answered: Will the big tax revenues that marijuana supporters predict actually come true? Will driving under the influence of marijuana prove a real problem — and if so, how will it be controlled? Or on the health front: Will freely available marijuana help returning veterans suffering from PTSD? And generally, will it lead to more or less use of a substance we know is clearly dangerous: alcohol?

Those are the types of intriguing questions that journalist-scholar Stuart Taylor Jr. probes in a newly released Brookings Institution policy paper — “Marijuana Policy and Presidential Leadership: How to Avoid a Federal-State Train Wreck.”

Central to his case: the argument for an early, upfront agreement by the Obama administration and the states. Because the opposite — a fierce federal crackdown on Colorado and Washington state’s licensed marijuana producers and sellers — could well “backfire by producing an atomized, anarchic, state-legalized but unregulated marijuana market that federal drug enforcers could neither contain nor force the states to contain.”

And back to Obama — what about the U.S. Justice Department? It could use threats of conspiracy prosecutions to scare off applicants for state licenses to grow and sell marijuana. But there are federalism barriers: Washington can’t directly force states to enforce federal law. And there are only 4,400 federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents — “nowhere near enough,” Taylor suggests, “to restrain the metastasis of the grow-your-own-and-share marijuana market” — with small-time criminals crowding in — “that state legalization without regulation would stimulate.”

The recent precedents aren’t good. Faced by 18 states’ laws already allowing marijuana for medical use, the Justice Department has swung back and forth from general permissiveness to cracking down unmercifully in individual cases.

A crux of the problem is the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which insists that marijuana has no medicinal properties — an assertion “on its face nonsensical,” says Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.

But the law’s criminal sanctions for cultivating, possessing or distributing marijuana aren’t alone, notes Taylor. The statute also instructs that the attorney general “shall cooperate” with states on controlled substances, with power “to enter into contractual agreements … to provide for cooperative enforcement and regulatory activities.”

This is the opening, Taylor argues, that the Obama administration should take to negotiate with the states legalizing marijuana use — a process that would lead them toward careful regulation and standards, and away from the threat of irrational federal prosecutions.

In a more sensible world, Congress would be rewriting the Controlled Substances Act to reclassify marijuana as the relatively low-risk drug it clearly is. But who’d expect this Congress to do anything so rational?

That leaves states to regulate carefully on their own. And a clear challenge for Obama. Here’s a president who’s been bold enough to jump ahead of Congress on issues ranging from gay marriage to amnesty for DREAM Act immigrants. So now, why not smooth the way to marijuana reform when states choose it?

Copyright: 2013 Washington Post Writers Group

Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Author: Neal Peirce, Syndicated Columnist
Published: April 27, 2013
Copyright: 2013 The Seattle Times Company
Contact: [email protected]

The Conservative Pro-Pot Argument

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If you want smaller government and you want the government out of people’s private lives, you need to support the legalization of marijuana.  It’s the logically consistent viewpoint for a conservative.

I write this in the leadup to the annual 4/20 marijuana marches where otherwise law-abiding citizens who consume, grow or trade the substance will take to the streets nationwide to show their love of pot.

It’s absurd that we have laws making it mandatory to toss someone in jail for six months if they have six plants or more.  And that’s one of the lighter sentences.

Let’s look at some of the data from QMI columnist Thane Burnett’s multi-part feature on pot last December.  The piece was inspired by Washington State and Colorado voting in support of legalization.

In an Angus Reid poll done at the time, 57% of Canadians supported legalization.  Only 39% opposed it.

According to Health Canada, more than 40% of Canadians have used cannabis.  In a poll on the Sun websites – though not scientific, certainly informative – 81% of readers voted for legalization.


My view is the law criminalizes commerce.  It criminalizes gardening.  And it criminalizes your right to do what you want with your body so long as you’re not violating anyone else’s liberties.

All the arguments in favour of the status quo – or tighter laws – can be knocked aside with one hand tied behind your back.

They’re mostly about how pot can ruin a person, their family or their wallet.  Or they’re arguments about organized crime.

The first puts pot on par with booze, gambling, or any other supposed vice people can be obsessed with.  Should we make all those illegal? There are many things which, done to excess, can harm a person and their family.  But it’s up to individuals to moderate themselves, not the state.  I believe in personal responsibility, do you?

Now, organized crime arguments are all tertiary.  They’re all, “But if we legalize pot then this other bad thing might happen…” Well guess what? After pot is legalized, drug-related gang fights in the streets will still be illegal.  All the spinoff crimes that the underground drug trade produces will still be illegal.  In fact, they’ll likely decrease.

Many people who smoke, grow and sell marijuana do so in a completely peaceable way.  It’s wrong to make them criminals.

You can come up with all the technical arguments in the world to support the status quo.  But ultimately all you’re saying is you want to infringe on people’s liberties because you don’t like what’s in their garden or pocket, or because they like a joint after a hard day at work instead of a beer.

Don’t forget, billions of tax dollars have been wasted on big government pot intrusion.  It’s time to go from losing billions on pot to gaining billions via consumption taxes.

Some try to argue most drug laws aren’t even enforced anyway so who cares? Two problems with that.

The first is it’s incorrect.  According to Statistics Canada, of the more than 113,000 drug crimes across the country in 2011, 54% were for cannabis possession.  The second problem is we should always be striving to get bad laws off the books.

The NDP and Liberals want to decriminalize, if not outright legalize, the substance.  But they’re not in power.  It’s time for small government proponents to do the same.  Calling all conservatives: Puff, puff, pass the legislation!

Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2013 Canoe Limited Partnership
Contact: [email protected]
Author: Anthony Furey, QMI Agency

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