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Cannabis legalization; Are we in the middle of a global paradigm shift?

This past Friday on the unofficial Cannabis holiday "4:20", tens of thousands of people across my country of Canada flocked to major city centers (including in front of the Canadian parliament buildings in Ottawa) and openly "smoked up" in protest and celebration. Similar gatherings occurred in major cities globally.

For those unfamiliar with the story of Cannabis here's a (very) quick Coles notes version: The Cannabis plant was once a very popular and widely used crop with uses ranging from textiles (hemp paper, clothing) to medicine to the recreational use of "Marijuana" which entails smoking the dried buds of the Cannabis plant. This was the case up until the 1930's where Cannabis began to be systematically made illegal on a global scale until this very day.

It seems to me that there is tangible momentum developing behind ending the prohibition of Cannabis on a global level. It seems that people are becoming more aware of the draconian stance the law by in large has on this plant and are pushing towards change.

Do you sense that such a shift is occurring? Feel free to share the feeling wherever you are posting from in the world.

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    Apr 22 2012: legalizing marijuana would not be a paradigm shift. it would be a correction of a stupid error.
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    Apr 27 2012: Well i do feel that too in my country. Although here in Israel we weren't approved to smoke or have any use of Cannabis, We all Gathered together to teach and learn about this magical Plant that can change our live's.
    We had a debate between our DEA Administrator and the people who call for legalizing Cannabis.
    It's Definitely going to happen. People are learning(like myself) that they've been lied to all their life. Everyone start realizing that it's not the most dangerous drug in the world. Or in fact that it's not dangerous at all.
    I have PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).. i got tones of pills which made me feel like a Zombie. I did not go to work, i got detached from all my friends, i lost ten Kilo's, i was depressed.
    But then, someone suggested ill try Medical Cannabis(In Israel the Medical Part is very important because even if you buy the most expensive and top quality Cannabis- it's still being sprayed with chemicals and other horrible thing that destroys the plant, so Medical Cannabis in Israel Mean that it is Clean and a Pure Flower).
    and all of a sudden, i stopped being depressed, i started eating(allot), i started hanging with my friends more, i got into a relationship, i gone out and found a job, i started to Live. And then i got angry. Because i realized that this magnificent Plant That is so Healthy for us, and can actually changed everyone life for the better. Was being kept away from us, because in 1930 the Pharmaceutical companies tried to get a patent on Cannabis. And they got denied. So what they did? They made it Illegal so nobody would be able to pass their drugs and hurt their money machine.

    So my answer is YES now people are discovering the lies and manipulation of pharmaceutical industries around the world. There is definitely a shift in the world about it, everyone want's it(even in USA its the first time since it got illigal, that 50% of the people voted YES to legalizing Cannabis 47% voted NO and 3% were neutral)
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    Apr 23 2012: onomatopoeia for inhaling, gnarly dude.

    I would say keeping it illegal causes more problems than if it was legal E.G. 80% of prisoners in the U.S. are drug related. When they made alcohol illegal in the U.S. by the Temperance Society it gave rise to the American gangster Al Capone and his ilk. I would think that this has a lot to do with the Mexican violence as well,
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    Apr 23 2012: I'm actually reading a great book on the distribution of weed and the prohibition and the negative side of it called Reefer Madness (read it if You haven't yet, great book).
    I'm on the side of Legalization. I used to be a heavy smoker, until somehow, some way, my freak of nature body developed an allergy/sensitivity to it. Try explaining to your doctor and parents this...not a fun thing to do in my situation.
    Anyways, I was a heavy smoker, and I'm a heavy social drinker with an annual serious holy cow party(meaning I enjoy to have a serious party/bender once a year). Marijuana is no where's close as dangerous as alcohol. I'm also in the process of quitting smoking cigarettes. To know that cigarettes have more chemicals in them then hundreds upon hundreds of pounds of marijuana, and they are completely legal disturbs me.
    My biggest issue though is the economy, though. If you look at the numbers, next to corn, marijuana is the single biggest cash crop in North America for one reason: the hundreds of uses for Cannabis and Hemp products. Beyond smoking it you can cook with it, you can weave, you can make paper, certain strains when the get big enough you can build with it. It's also the fastest growing cash crop currently, faster than corn, but it's completely black market. The amount of money that marijuana, hemp and cannabis plants could bring in alone, I truly believe within 5 years, our economy may see brighter days.
    If you don't believe the economic value, then I always push on the medical side. I personal see everyday a friend with MS go from completely immobile, to fully functional within minutes of her first puff. He symptoms are too severe to treat with standard medication, so she was convinced to try it, and it works. She still is unable to walk well, but to go from wheelchair to a walker just by smoking 1 joint, it's a surprising, miraculous event. I strongly urge everyone to read up on the changes it has made to peoples lives.
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    Apr 22 2012: Had an interesting thing happen... I am a supporter of legalization... living in Los Angeles... feels like I'm living on "the front" of this battle and well... I'm all for it, but this week... my neighbor, the business that shares the parking lot just outside my bedroom window went from being a Spa & MAssage places to a Cannabis Dispensary... so now... before was a long line of strange men seeking "happy ending" massages... to a long line of strange men seeking "happy ending" massages and a coupl eof ounces of Orange King Kush... so now it's literally on my doorstep. The place is run by a convicted felon who walks with a limp due to a gunshot wound and has been arrested (my neighbors and I have witnessed it) several times. Soooo legalize it and CONTROL IT because right now... there's no agency really enforcing any law to the fullest on these places... they come and they go... is there a paradigm shift... I think so, but it's in with a profit motive either way. Now for me... the only shift I'm making is to find a new place to live... I don't want to be living next to the business of it, but I still believe in the legalization of it.
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    Apr 22 2012: Is such a trend really necessary? I mean it would be bad for "the" economy.

    Posted from The Netherlands.
    • Apr 22 2012: In what way do you think it would be bad for the economy?

      It seems to me that re-legalizing cannabis is a sound economic decision. It would eliminate the wasteful costs of criminalization while effectively legitimize a multi-billion dollar industry and open it to the economy rather than the black market. Yes it would be fair to assume that public health costs would be involved but there is no evidence to suggest that it would be anywhere close to tobacco or alcohol.
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        Apr 22 2012: Haha, sorry. I was talking about "our" economy. We benefit from the drug tourism.
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          Apr 26 2012: Not for long I'm afraid. Starting next year coffeeshops are 'private clubs'. You'll need a membership card to get in, a coffeeshop can't hold more then 2000 memberships and foreigners aren't allowed to be a member and so aren't allowed to enter the coffeeshop.