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russell lester

Orchardist, Grange

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Debate: Washington state's legalization of marijuana

Yesterday in WA state I-502 was passed. What are the pros and cons as you see them of this act? What should the federal government do?

In plain language, here is what Initiative 502 will do:

This law legalizes the possession of marijuana for adults age 21 and older. The only marijuana that would be legal to sell in this state would be grown by specially-licensed Washington farmers and sold in standalone, marijuana-only stores operated by private Washington businesses licensed and regulated by the state. There would be a 25% sales tax, with 40% of the new revenues going to the state general fund and local budgets, and the remainder dedicated to substance-abuse prevention, research, education and health care. Advertising would be restricted. A new marijuana DUI standard that operates like the alcohol DUI standard would be established.


Closing Statement from russell lester

So far the biggest change I have personally seen is that their are more people open about their use of pot, and to tell the truth a general improvement in mood and communication. Some of my friends have reacted with a powerful pro democracy sentiment that was absent in them prior to the passage by this state of legal recreational pot use and gay marriage, a strong identification with Washington State and unprecedented loyalty to the state. There remains a lot of curiosity as to the Federal response and to the longer term effects. What if for example this has the unintended consequence of affecting the federal supremacy of law? I am very grateful to all who contributed and read this conversation thank you.

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    Nov 12 2012: This article from the conservative zealot Fox News is worth a quick read just for the history of Mary Jane in America. I learned, for example, that it was once, up until fairly recently, legal. Any critical thinking Tedsters will find this at least worth fact checking:http://www.foxbusiness.com/government/2012/11/09/regulatory-catch-22-legalized-marijuana/
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      Nov 21 2012: I found the banking issue raised the only interesting problem in this article, and judging by the complete denial of reality in most of the other claims I would only expect that the banking problem to as well be a complete hoax.

      Legalization will not exacerbate drug-related crime unless it is done at a federal level, in which case there will be quite a mess at the Mexican boarder.

      Long-term use does not in fact lead to "brain changes that cause violent behavior".

      THC metabolites are common among criminals first, because marijuana is the most widely used drug besides alcohol and secondly, because those same metabolites are naturally occurring in the body.

      The Dutch may have seen recent declines in education (down to 7th in the world, while the US is 14th), but this in no way relates to marijuana consumption, as it should be noted that only 5% of Dutch nationals use marijuana, a much lower number than in the US.

      Also, rates of violent crimes in California around "marijuana clubs" rising...I could not find a single institution on Google promoting them selves as a "marijuana club".

      The quote about "not a danger because its illegal, its illegal because its a danger" is borne from the true fact that marijuana was feared because it was a Black drug. It is in fact the least harmful common drug we have.

      Sorry for quoting you. I feel like we probably agree on all of these issues, but that article saddened me quite a bit. I just cannot believe this is still going on and a man like Chris Williams from Montana is being sent to prison for a minimum of 80 years for running a state sanctioned grow house. As a single parent his child has been sent to state care. What do you tell that kid? As a neuroscience major it is just brutal to watch FOX's portrayal to the public.
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        Nov 21 2012: No, we do not agree. No apology needed for quoting me. Pro-dope folks argue vehemently for legalization and anti-dope folks (like me) argue for its continuing ban. My guess is we don't know. Overeating is bad, but it simply leads to bad health, not to more bad habits like crack, heroin, LSD, etc. The gateway argument seems to have some substance to it. Not many folks went straight to heroin. They started with MaryJane. I think that is sufficuent cause to continue prohibition. I am a conservative zealot and I appreciate FOX News very much as a way to balance the New York Times and MSNBC. I can't comment on Mr. Williams. Thank you!
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          Nov 21 2012: In light of nearly 50% of the prisoners in federal prisons, those prisoners who you pay to keep alive, being in for small possession charges, do you still think that the gateway argument holds up?

          In regards again to the gateway argument, I would contend that both tobacco and alcohol are equally, if not much more important, as gateway drugs.

          Also, can you speak to marijuana being a schedule 1 drug? Do you agree that:
          a) It is proven to be an addictive substance and
          b) It has no proven medical use
        • Nov 21 2012: Your gateway drug argument is so old and has been disproven many times. In a 1999 report to the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences admits that there is no conclusive evidence that marijuana leads to other drug use.
          Its similar to saying that bicycle use as a teenager is a gateway habit to becomming a Hells Angel. Coorelation but not Causation.
          Then again - you get your news from Fox so you probably think you're up to date.

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