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Martin Odber

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Why is marijuana illegal?

Marijuana WHY is it illegal?

Some say "It's a gateway drug to hard drugs because when people buy this drug off dealers they are exposed to hard drugs" If this were the reasoning legalizing marijuana would mean people wouldn't need to go to dealers who may hook them on hard drugs so we'd be "closing the gate" between soft and hard drugs.

Some say "Marijuana can kill you if you smoke it." So far there appear to be 0 recorded deaths from any kind of overdose.

Some say "Marijuana can give you mad cow disease" So far not only does it not do that but its showing to have MANY positive medical affects including but not limited to fighting cancer.

Some say "the legal costs to taxpayers to keep marijuana illegal are beyond staggering" So far this is absolutely correct.

Our debate is to determine exactly what justifies the significant societal costs of marijuana being illegal on any level at all.


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    Nov 18 2013: We might well ask, "Why is hemp considered a drug?" It's not and everyone knows its not. But law enforcement of the growing of pot would be more difficult to detect, so hemp is illegal to grow as well. In the meantime, we import hemp instead of allowing farmers to grow it here in the US
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      Nov 18 2013: Conspiracy theorists might say that pot was made illegal because of hemp. The hemp industry was a threat to wood paper and other competitors, and the DuPont family among other saught to prohibit pot for this reason.

      Certainly this isn't totally true, if it is at all. Several states had made it illegal prior, and the general movement at the time was to regulate or prohibit drugs and poisons. Before the Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) there was no mandatory labelling of food or drugs at all, and the prohibition movement is certainly understandable given the state of society at the time.

      Though I don't doubt somewhere along the lines, those who felt threatened by hemp would've joined forces with that movement. Hemp is quite the miracle plant, and if it was made illegal simply out of fear that people would grow smokeable pot... clearly outlawing hemp hasn't made growing it any more difficult, meanwhile in the US we've been forced to pay heavy tariffs on a crop that would otherwise bring some sanity into our materials and logging industries.
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        Nov 18 2013: This seems like a pretty good overview of the laws restricting Marijuana in the US


        The Pure Food and Drug Act was then passed by the United States Congress in 1906 and required that certain special drugs, including them with cannabis, be accurately labeled with contents. Previously many drugs had been sold as patent medicines with secret ingredients or misleading labels. [11] Even after the passage of regulations, there continued to be criticisms about the availability of narcotics and around 1910 there was a wave of legislation aimed to strengthen requirements for their sale and remove what were commonly referred to as "loopholes" in poison laws. The new revisions aimed to restrict all narcotics, including cannabis, as poisons, limit their sale to pharmacies, and require doctor's prescriptions. The first instance was in the District of Columbia in 1906, under 'An act to regulate the practice of pharmacy and the sale of poisons in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes'. [12]

        Further regulation of cannabis followed in Massachusetts (1911), New York (1914), and Maine (1914). In New York, reform legislation began under the Towns-Boylan Act, which targeted all "habit-forming drugs", restricted their sale, prohibited refills in order to prevent habituation, prohibited sale to people with a habit, and prohibited doctors who were themselves habituated from selling them. [13]
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        Nov 27 2013: I must add, that one important reason that "pot" is still illegal is because the "war on drugs," and to a very large part the war on drugs was a war on pot, funds police forces.
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          Nov 27 2013: Certainly. Last year the citizens of Grand Rapids, MI successfully passed a ballot initiative to decriminalize marijuana within the city limits. Today the law is in effect, and 1st offense for possession is a civil infraction and carries a $25 fine, but that's only after a legal battle with the county's head prosecutor. He argued that Michigan state law overrides city law, and the new law would cause confusion for his police officers. I'm sure the story is similar in other places. The police departments realize their current employment model wouldn't be sustainable or necessary.
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      Nov 27 2013: Makes me wonder just how much profits their will be for the nation to reel in once its decriminalized and legalized.

      It does seem to be an incredibly versatile product from one end to the other.
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        Nov 27 2013: The police will not permit this change in the "war on drugs" without a fight.

        "Under the new Washington law, police must suspect impaired driving before stopping a vehicle. The driver's blood would be drawn by a medical professional, and anyone that tested above five nanograms is automatically subject to a DUI conviction. The provision, added to the Washington initiative to make recreational marijuana legalization more palatable to voters, is not without controversy. While proponents cite scientific evidence, including an Australian study of over 3,000 fatal automobile crashes that found risk increased with a THC blood level between 3.5 and 5 nanograms, marijuana activists express concern that medical users may face legal punishment that doesn't take into account a person's size, metabolism, or reaction to the drug, in the same way that drivers are not necessarily impaired by alcohol simply because they are above an arbitrarily set "legal limit."

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          Nov 27 2013: Theodore I respect the argument you present and your directness in stating it.

          Any union is bound to fight not for what is ethically right and just, but for self preservation and expansion.

          There is little doubt that when the portion of law enforcement budget reserved for combating marijuana use is reduced to a handful of "driving while intoxicated" it may mean job loss but it does not have to.

          The war on drugs can shift its focus to where it really belongs, on the hard drugs that are killing our people and destroying our nations from the inside out. Yes I agree that for law enforcement to turn its focus from namby pamby "we got you ""ya ok dude" marijuana users to "OVER OUR/YOUR DEAD BODY" cocaine, crack, meth, heroine, zombie drug users is going to take a lot of grit and some new strategies.. that it will become a real war.. but perhaps not.

          Perhaps as we separate soft drugs from hard drugs the line and reasoning between socially acceptable and socially unacceptable drugs will make sense and the market for hard drugs will begin to dwindle.

          As for "DUI"'s society will accept and respect the logic of safety on our roads in exchange for not being criminalized for consuming a bit of recreational marijuana. I further see that there will be other laws as to where and under what conditions it may be used as unlike alcohol which is drank, marijuana is often smoked and therefore airborne so others nearby will have to be considered.

          Our society will evolve toward more responsibility, and technology will help us. Working together as a team toward common logic and goals .. is the future of humankind if we are to survive as a species.
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        Nov 27 2013: This is only slightly off topic but we might well ask, Why are people self medicating to the degree they are, be it alcohol, or drugs, or over eating? When we are willing as a society to treat and correct these problems instead of punishing the individuals afflicted with them we will all be much better off.

        See http://billmoyers.com/segment/henry-giroux-on-zombie-politics/
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          Nov 27 2013: Perhaps it is slightly off topic Theodore, and perhaps it as far closer to the bullseye reasoning of why marijuana is illegal than many or most may realize.

          Bill Moyers in that brief blurb you provided hinted at and around Maslov's hierarchy of needs.

          Imagine you want to control a nation. The higher up Maslov's hierarchy people move the more less like cattle they become as they move towards attaining self fulfillment.

          So, if you want to control a nation you need to keep their minds off what they can attain "if" and the best way to do that is to keep them low on Maslov's ladder and strongly focused on surviving day to day.

          One of the properties of marijuana is short term memory loss. Often touted by opponents as a detriment but is it really?

          Is it really a detriment to come home from a negatively stressful day at work, smoke or ingest a non harmful natural herb that "just for a little while" lets you forget all the stress's and laugh? To think random thoughts of "what if" exercising our prefrontal cortex ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefrontal_cortex

          I say its great for the individual, rather than spending your evening stuck in the rut of rehashing the days stress, one moves up Maslov's ladder temporarily as the prefrontal cortex is unleashed thinking "what if .. I paint this room a bright color" "what if I take the family to the beach this weekend" "what if I were to return to school" or a million other "what ifs" Does oppression benefit from people thinking what if? I should think not, we'd better make that illegal and FAST.

          Why are people self medicating? It is natural human behavior to attempt to relieve negative stress. The greater the stress, the greater the desire to relieve it by any means necessary.

          When will society treat the issue rather than the symptom? When treating the issue becomes more profitable than not.

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