LEAP: Legalizing drugs may benefit the country

decriminalizing drugs
Photo courtesy of The Grio

ST. GEORGE – According to a report released by the FBI in September, 1.6 million individuals were arrested on drug-related offenses in 2009. That is an arrest every 19 seconds.

The same report indicated that 82 percent of the drug arrests were for drug possession – not distribution or violent crime, but possession alone.

Police time and taxpayer money is spent ushering the alleged offenders through the criminal justice system. Jails are filled to capacity and court calendars fill up with dates for initial appearances and eventual trials. If convicted, the offenders then serve prison sentences that could be multiple months to multiple years.

The U.S. Department of Justice recorded that the average annual cost of incarceration for a federal inmate in 2009 was $25,251. The average cost for the inmate of a community correctional center was $24,758.

If each of the 1.6 million individuals arrested for drug related offenses in 2009 served one year in a community correctional center, the estimated cost to taxpayers would be $39.6 billion for that year.

Members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – LEAP – find these statistics to be unacceptable, and say the 40-year-long War on Drugs is a failure.  The legalization and regulation of drugs, LEAP members claim, would solve many of the problems supported by what they see as a failed policy.

One Man’s Story

“There’s got to be a better way,” said David Doddridge, a retired detective of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Now working as a private investigator in St. George, Doddridge served on the LAPD from 1973 to 1994. He worked patrol for six years and then became a detective. In the latter years of his police service he worked in narcotics. Due to his experiences as a warrior in the so-called War on Drugs, Doddridge has joined the ranks of LEAP. He currently serves as one of their representatives in southern Utah.

Once a believer in drug prohibition, Doddridge said he “woke up on the job” one day.

He said there were times when he and other officers would raid homes and arrest suspected drug-users in front of their families. The sight of crying and frightened children and other family members caused by the raids was one of the things that would lead to his eventual awakening.

Many times he said the arrests seemed to be for possession and little more. No violent crimes or other outrageous criminal activity, just possession. Doddridge said a possession charge could change a person’s life for the worst, especially if they were younger.

“There goes their [chances] for student loans,” he said.

Doddridge added that he felt like he was a member of an occupying army while busting suspects for narcotics. He also expressed frustration over what he believed to be a futile effort in the long run. He would arrest drug dealers and get them behind bars; yet another dealer would quickly appear to take the arrested dealer’s place.

While a series of murders stop once the serial murder is caught, that wasn’t the case with drugs. It is a multi-billion dollar a year business where the principle of supply and demand is king. Despite the risks, a gap in local drug distribution is a job opening that is considered too good to pass up.

The Prohibition on alcohol in the 1920’s didn’t work, Doddridge said, and neither is the prohibition on drugs.

Local Cost

In Utah, a person caught with an ounce of marijuana can face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Selling any amount of marijuana is a felony-charge with a five year prison term and a $5,000 fine.

Lt. David Moss of the Washington County Task Force said a quarter-ounce of high-grade marijuana can cost $100.

A gram of heroine currently costs $80 a gram, while meth goes for $100 a gram.

In July and August, approximately 70 different law enforcement agencies descended upon two marijuana patches were found near Veyo.   (See previous story here)

Moss said an approximate 14,000 plants – between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds – of high-grade marijuana were discovered between the two patches.  The combined value of the patches was estimated to be between $30 and $35 million.

The drug trade is very lucrative, Moss said.

In contrast, how much income could have been generated if the marijuana patches were legal operations?

According to a report published by the CATO Institute, the legalization and regulation of prohibited drugs would generate $88 billion annually in tax revenue and savings on law enforcement costs.

Is Legalization the Solution?

Doddridge said the biggest losers in the war on drugs were families – children in particular – and the U.S. Constitution. He said the drug war tramples on an individual’s right to choose, even if that choice is to smoke marijuana in the privacy of his or her home.

As for a possible solution to the problem, Doddridge said people needed to be more educated about drugs. Too many people believe what the government tells them about the drug war, he said.

“We can educate people,” Doddridge said.

Making drugs illegal to begin with made it a mysterious taboo that young people would want to investigate, he said. Demystify the drugs, and people may not be curious enough to experiment.

“Countries that legalize drugs have witnessed a dramatic drop in drug use,” Doddridge added.

In response to deaths related to illegal drugs, Portugal decriminalized personal drug use in 2001. It was reported by Scientific American in 2009 that drug-related deaths in Portugal had dropped from 400 a year to 290. Cases of HIV caused by dirty needles also dropped from 1,400 in 2000 to 400 in 2006. Portugal also focused more on the prevention and treatment of drug abuse rather than imprisonment as a consequence for it.

Whether or not LEAP’s goal of regulated legalization ever comes to fruition remains to be seen. While President Obama said the legalization of drugs was worthy of debate, he is not in favor of the idea. Thus far, the only two Republican presidential candidates in favor of drug legalization are Texas Congressman Ron Paul and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.

However, with an Oct. 17 Gallop Poll reporting that 50 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, attitudes in Washington DC may gradually shift in favor of legalization as well.

Related Links
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – Website

mkessler@stgnews.com

Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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16 Comments

  • Really ? October 25, 2011 at 7:27 am

    By using the same logic in this article, should we reconsider enforcing DUI laws? We’ve been fighting drunk drivers for many years now and cannot seem to win that battle either. Maybe we just loosen those laws too so it will make it easier on law enforcement. Let’s do away with the age limits for smoking or alcohol use while we are at it. Kids could start smoking and drinking at any age. In fact, they already do so that would make it easier.

    “Countries that legalize drug use have seen a dramatic drop in drug use” That may be true, but countries that do not tolerate drug use have seen an even more dramatic drop in drug use.

    Drug use ruins lives and families and it is also against the law. Harsher or more humiliating penalties may help but legalizing drugs is NOT the answer.

    • Mike H October 25, 2011 at 10:54 am

      You are using the rhetorical device of the “slippery slope” and it’s a little silly. Next you’ll exhort, “dogs and cats living together!”
      I do not use drugs and I am against most of them, but I’ve never met a guy stoned out of his gourd that wants to fight and beat his wife and children. Alcohol is insidious and people react differently to it. You are talking about drunk driving, this puts everyone at risk. If some head wants to smoke up in his living room while watching tv, more power to him. The minute he gets behind the wheel then he should be treated the same as a person that is driving drunk.
      For the most part drug use is a victimless crime, the only people it really hurts are the people using. Yes it can impact the families, but most of that is due to the fact that it’s criminalized. Drug use should be treated the same as alcohol use and regulated as such. I’m sure you know how successful Prohibition was.
      As for the drinking and smoking age, you’re damn right the ages should be dropped, but not to “any age”. If a person can chose to die for their country at 18 and live on their own, they should be able to chose to drink if they wish. It is ridiculous that we think kids at 18 can do all these other things an adult can except smoke or drink.

    • AdvocateReason October 25, 2011 at 11:15 am

      Your all or nothing inflexible approach is exactly what will end the federal prohibition in this country.
      – Re: DUI Laws – using marijuana is a civil liberty. Using marijuana and going out and endangering the lives of others is not a civil liberty. DUI laws should remain in place. Prohibition of marijuana (at the federal level) should absolutely be repealed. Prohibition of marijuana at a community level should be left up to the community
      – Re: Age limits – Responsible adults have the right to make choices about their lives in a free society. These are civil liberties given to adults. There’s a reason why we have legal age of driving, drinking, and smoking. Often children don’t understand the full extent of the consequences of their actions.
      – Re: Countries that do not tolerate drug use – The United States will never be one of those countries. Your pursuit of happiness is written right into the Declaration of Independence and your willingness to curtail the freedoms of other citizens of this country is scary. With such an uninformed opinion I’m just glad you’re not running things.
      – Re: “Drug use ruins lives and families” – 1) People that can’t handle drug use should not be using them: marijuana, alcohol, cigarettes, heroin, etc. 2) It is not the government’s role to legislate or enforce family values. It’s a parent’s role to prevent their child from wanting to use drugs. It’s the government’s role not to allow drugs to be sold to children. It is NOT the government’s role to enforce a lifestyle on adults.

      “[Prohibition] attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes.” – Abraham Lincoln [http://pvox.co/CdiFqY]

  • SHuffman October 25, 2011 at 8:11 am

    No one’s saying it will be legal to do drugs and drive, no one’s saying it will be legal to sell drugs to kids. “Countries that do not tolerate drug use have seen an even more dramatic drop in drug use.” Sorry bud, that’s not true, take a look at the use rates for teens in the US and teens in the Netherlands. Teens in the Netherlands are twice as likely not to use marijuana than teens in the US. Rates of teen marijuana use have tripled since the sixties in the US!
    Drug use certainly does ruin lives and families, but we can’t arrest our way out of the problem! We need to start focusing on treatment, prevention, and education! Not the “education” we have in the schools now, “Drugs are illegal because drugs are bad, and drugs are bad because drugs are illegal, mkay,” but real, science based education. When kids are told that marijuana is as bad as heroin, but then they go and find out it’s harmless, they’re likely to think that heroin is too.
    Our drug laws are based on racism and greed and we need to legalize.

  • raimi October 25, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Really,
    Nobody is saying drug abuse doesn’t harm families. What people experienced in this field are saying is that arrest due to simple drug use is doing more harm than good. Drug abuse, just like alcohol abuse, is a health issue. It is not a criminal issue and treating as such is incorrect.

    Your analogy to our DUI laws is also incorrect. First, we have made vast strides in the reduction of DUI cases, due mainly to education and enforcement. The same cannot be said for our drug efforts. Second, responsible drug use (especially of marijuana) is similar to use of alcohol. There are people that can use responsibly. Those that don’t, just like those that drink and drive, should be held accountable. You analogy would only make sense if you wanted to make alcohol illegal because people use it irresponsibly.

    Finally, countries with very strict drug laws have very unreliable data on drug use and abuse. Why? Well, would you tell someone you had a drug abuse problem if the penalty was life in prison or possibly death? No. That is one of the reasons why decriminalization and legalization policies work well. It creates an open system in which those that need help can get it without risk of incarceration. It creates a system where addiction numbers and abuse problem are known. Example – Look at universities with no punishment rules for students that report an emergency alcohol incident. Schools with these policies see a drastic reduction in the amount of alcohol induced death. Why? Useage is no longer pushed underground for fear of incarceration or punishment. Practical people will realize that humans use drugs in both a responsible and irresponsible manner. Our policies should be enacted to best serve everyone. Stricter drug laws do not do that.

  • V. S. Angell October 25, 2011 at 11:05 am

    When 10+ officers are involved in one of the above-mentioned raids, who is out there to protect and serve the rest of the community from actual crime (theft, violence, unsafe drivers, etc)? And I agree with Doddridge when he says that it’s terrifying and confusing to bystanders and children involved in such situations. I know a person whose child had previously witnessed something similar and what the child took with them was an absolute fear of officers. About a year later, the child went missing from a city park and it took the family 10 hours to find the poor, terrified child because every time anyone in uniform got anywhere close to her, she went deeper into hiding. What message are we sending, here? I think it’s fairly obvious that (1) the current system is not working and (2) the illegality of drugs and alcohol does not deter those that are curious enough to try it – no matter what state, city, county, etc you look at, the problem is prevalent. Maybe some regulation on how these things are produced, packaged and distributed would also alleviate many of the current problems. Heck, even on a sarcastic note here — our government wants their $$$ out of every single other aspect of our society, why not get a piece of this pie as well? Just sayin…

  • Rational Voice October 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    The question is not whether cannabis should be legalized — It is inevitable — the question we need to be asking is “HOW will cannabis be legalized?”

    Clearly, our spineless politician­s won’t do it. They’re all bought and paid for by the big corporate interests that want to keep cannabis illegal. It’s up to “we the people” to right this wrong.

    Spread the word — support your local legalization efforts.

    * In Oregon, sign and support the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act – http://www­­.cannabis­t­axact.or­g/.

    * Sign all the White House cannabis petitions (http://ww­w­.wh.gov/­gD­Q).

    * Tell your representa­­tives to co-sponsor and support HR 2306. (http://ww­w­.govtrac­k.­us/cong­res­s/bill­.xpd­?bill­=h112­-230­6)

  • KOGORO October 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    really Really? that’s so ignorant its not just that its a crime that can’t be enforced it also that its morally wrong to throw all these punishments at good and otherwise law abiding citizens. Stupidity is harmful but it shouldn’t be illegal because then Really? would be going to jail and trying to relegalize it and then it be all well if we legalize stupidity then we’ll have to legalize drugs, and murder, and rape. Stupidity is harmful but for the most part people can live with it. Now i don’t think all drugs should be legally sold because some drugs chances of ruining live are higher. Marijuana should be legal though because its not one of them. There is a line and since marijuana is safer and less of a burden then a lot of the substances we’re aloud to use (alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs) it should be on the other side of that line. Now i know there are some other drugs other than pot that can be used relatively safely such as and sometimes even more so than the other substances i’ve mentioned. and i am pretty sure most of these drugs fall under the category of psychedelics. the thing is marijuana is a psychedelic and a anti-psychedelic. Its allows you to get high (which is a perfectly fine recreational choice far better than getting drunk) and keeps you in check.

  • Ms. Cris Ericson October 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Vermont voter, perennial candidate,
    and author of “End Marijuana Prohibition”
    White House petition http://wh.gov/gP1
    asks for Governor Peter Shumlin (D) of Vermont
    and President Barack Hussein Obama (D) to meet to discuss Ending Prohibition
    along with United States Senator Patrick Leahy (D) and
    United States Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and
    U.S. Congressman Peter Welch (D).

    Open Letter to Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont

    From: crisericson@…..com [crisericson@…..com]
    Sent: 10/23/2011 3:05:36 PM
    To: GovernorVT@state.vt.us [GovernorVT@state.vt.us]
    Subject: White House ‘We the People’ petition by VT citizen QUALIFIES!!!
    Dear Peter,

    my White House “We the People” citizen petition

    http://wh.gov/gP1

    received over 5,000 online signatures yesterday
    and Qualifies for an Official White House response.

    I e-mailed Patrick Leahy, Bernie Sanders & Peter Welch,
    but e-mails to their offices sometimes take a long time
    for a response (sometimes!).

    For my “Official White House response” from the
    Administration of President Obama,
    I would like YOU
    and Patrick & Bernie & Peter Welch
    to
    INVITE PRESIDENT Obama to Vermont
    to
    discuss the issues raised in the petition –
    marijuana, cannabis, hemp:

    (1) farmers say hemp prohibition is economic treason;

    (2) medical marijuana patients are at risk of federal
    interference;

    (3) Vermont jails and/or probation officers
    are over burdened with mere
    marijuana possession offenders.

    Please take the time to read my White House
    “We the People” petition at this case sensitive
    link with an upper case capitol P
    http://wh.gov/gP1

    There are actually three legal causes of action
    in the petition.

    Please contact our three Vermont U.S. Congressional
    officers and arrange for the four of you
    to invite President Obama to Vermont
    for a get-together with him,
    perhaps on VPT and VPR (both)
    (you’d be surprised how many low income Vermonters,
    like me, dont’ have t.v.)
    and explain to President Obama that
    because a Vermont resident wrote the petition,
    and that you four are basically running the State
    of Vermont,
    that it is really up to you all to get together
    and publicly discuss the issues in the
    citizen petition:

    http://wh.gov/gP1

    Thank you!
    Sincerely,
    Cris Ericson

  • John Chase October 25, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Raimi –

    No need to speculate on the enforcement of DUI laws. An extreme way to enforce DUI laws would be simply to ban alcohol, right? If we did that, according to your logic, the damage done by DUI would end. American history speaks to that in Ken Burns’ latest documentary, “Prohibition”. It tells what actually happened when we tried to stamp out alcohol during National Prohibition 1920-1933. The unintended consequences caused more societal damage than the alcohol. Same thing as is happening today with other drugs.

  • John Chase October 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    My reply to “Raimi” was intended for the person ID’d as “Really”. Sorry for confusion.

  • the truth October 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Here are just some of the many studies the Feds wish they’d never commissioned:

     01) MARIJUANA USE HAS NO EFFECT ON MORTALITY:

    A massive study of California HMO members funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found marijuana use caused no significant increase in mortality. Tobacco use was associated with increased risk of death. Sidney, S et al. Marijuana Use and Mortality. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 87 No. 4, April 1997. p. 585-590. Sept. 2002.

    02) HEAVY MARIJUANA USE AS A YOUNG ADULT WON’T RUIN YOUR LIFE:

    Veterans Affairs scientists looked at whether heavy marijuana use as a young adult caused long-term problems later, studying identical twins in which one twin had been a heavy marijuana user for a year or longer but had stopped at least one month before the study, while the second twin had used marijuana no more than five times ever. Marijuana use had no significant impact on physical or mental health care utilization, health-related quality of life, or current socio-demographic characteristics. Eisen SE et al. Does Marijuana Use Have Residual Adverse Effects on Self-Reported Health Measures, Socio-Demographics or Quality of Life? A Monozygotic Co-Twin Control Study in Men. Addiction. Vol. 97 No. 9. p.1083-1086. Sept. 1997

    03) THE “GATEWAY EFFECT” MAY BE A MIRAGE:

    Marijuana is often called a “gateway drug” by supporters of prohibition, who point to statistical “associations” indicating that persons who use marijuana are more likely to eventually try hard drugs than those who never use marijuana – implying that marijuana use somehow causes hard drug use. But a model developed by RAND Corp. researcher Andrew Morral demonstrates that these associations can be explained “without requiring a gateway effect.” More likely, this federally funded study suggests, some people simply have an underlying propensity to try drugs, and start with what’s most readily available. Morral AR, McCaffrey D and Paddock S. Reassessing the Marijuana Gateway Effect. Addiction. December 2002. p. 1493-1504.

    04) PROHIBITION DOESN’T WORK:

    The White House had the National Research Council examine the data being gathered about drug use and the effects of U.S. drug policies. NRC concluded, “the nation possesses little information about the effectiveness of current drug policy, especially of drug law enforcement.” And what data exist show “little apparent relationship between severity of sanctions prescribed for drug use and prevalence or frequency of use.” In other words, there is no proof that prohibition – the cornerstone of U.S. drug policy for a century – reduces drug use. National Research Council. Informing America’s Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don’t Know Keeps Hurting Us. National Academy Press, 2001. p. 193.

    05) PROHIBITION MAY CAUSE THE “GATEWAY EFFECT”?): U.S. and Dutch researchers, supported in part by NIDA, compared marijuana users in San Francisco, where non-medical use remains illegal, to Amsterdam, where adults may possess and purchase small amounts of marijuana from regulated businesses. Looking at such parameters as frequency and quantity of use and age at onset of use, they found the following: Cannabis (Marijuana) use in San Francisco was 3 times the prevalence found in the Amsterdam sample. And lifetime use of hard drugs was significantly lower in Amsterdam, with its “tolerant” marijuana policies. For example, lifetime crack cocaine use was 4.5 times higher in San Francisco than Amsterdam. Reinarman, C, Cohen, PDA, and Kaal, HL. The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and San Francisco. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 94, No. 5. May 2004. p 836-842.

    06) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART 1):

    Federal researchers implanted several types of cancer, including leukemia and lung cancers, in mice, then treated them with cannabinoids (unique, active components found in marijuana). THC and other cannabinoids shrank tumors and increased the mice’s lifespans. Munson, AE et al. Antineoplastic Activity of Cannabinoids. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Sept. 1975. p. 597-602.

    07) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER, (PART 2):

    In a 1994 study the government tried to suppress, federal researchers gave mice and rats massive doses of THC, looking for cancers or other signs of toxicity. The rodents given THC lived longer and had fewer cancers, “in a dose-dependent manner” (i.e. the more THC they got, the fewer tumors). NTP Technical Report On The Toxicology And Carcinogenesis Studies Of 1-Trans- Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, CAS No. 1972-08-3, In F344/N Rats And B6C3F Mice, Gavage Studies. See also, “Medical Marijuana: Unpublished Federal Study Found THC-Treated Rats Lived Longer, Had Less Cancer,” AIDS Treatment News no. 263, Jan. 17, 1997.

    08) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART 3):

    Researchers at the Kaiser-Permanente HMO, funded by NIDA, followed 65,000 patients for nearly a decade, comparing cancer rates among non-smokers, tobacco smokers, and marijuana smokers. Tobacco smokers had massively higher rates of lung cancer and other cancers. Marijuana smokers who didn’t also use tobacco had no increase in risk of tobacco-related cancers or of cancer risk overall. In fact their rates of lung and most other cancers were slightly lower than non-smokers, though the difference did not reach statistical significance. Sidney, S. et al. Marijuana Use and Cancer Incidence (California, United States). Cancer Causes and Control. Vol. 8. Sept. 1997, p. 722-728.

    09) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART 4):

    Donald Tashkin, a UCLA researcher whose work is funded by NIDA, did a case-control study comparing 1,200 patients with lung, head and neck cancers to a matched group with no cancer. Even the heaviest marijuana smokers had no increased risk of cancer, and had somewhat lower cancer risk than non-smokers (tobacco smokers had a 20-fold increased Lung Cancer risk). Tashkin D. Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer: Results of a Case-Control Study. American Thoracic Society International Conference. May 23, 2006.

    10) MARIJUANA DOES HAVE GREAT MEDICAL VALUE:

    In response to passage of California’s medical marijuana law, the White House had the Institute of Medicine (IOM) review the data on marijuana’s medical benefits and risks. The IOM concluded, “Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting, and all can be mitigated by marijuana.” The report also added, “we acknowledge that there is no clear alternative for people suffering from chronic conditions that might be relieved by smoking marijuana, such as pain or AIDS wasting.” The government’s refusal to acknowledge this finding caused co-author John A. Benson to tell the New York Times that the government “loves to ignore our report … they would rather it never happened.” Joy, JE, Watson, SJ, and Benson, JA. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. National Academy Press. 1999. p. 159. See also, Harris, G. FDA Dismisses Medical Benefit From Marijuana. New York Times. Apr. 21, 2006

  • Vincent October 25, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    I very much enjoyed the comments i’ve read here. The truths article was quite informative in particular. Thank you for an analytical perspective surrounding your points and thank you for citing your sources.

    I would simply like to note that the black market employ’s 1.8 Billion people and counting. Pot is the biggest money maker in the black market. It has also been used by people since 500 b.c. though some evidence points to earlier use.

    My information was gathered from 1. Google search on the history of pot.
    2. Google search on the black market

  • Mark October 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Paint kills more people than cannabis. Let’s criminalize paint and raid the Home Depot with a special task force!

    Ron Paul made a good point. He said “If heroin were legal, how many of you would go try it”?

    Most of us would never use drugs even if they were legal. We need to legalize for the greater good. Treat drugs like alcohol. No driving while high. Businesses should be allowed to decide what drugs they will or will not allow in your system. I can smoke a joint and be ready for work the next day, even though the pot will still be in my system. That doesn’t mean I am less able to perform my work duties. Still, if a business decides I cannot work there with pot in my system, I will have to abide by their decision.

    We might also have fewer homeless drug addicts. Drugs are expensive due to prohibition inflation. Drug users could easily afford their drugs and find a work/drug use balance if they were legal and thus, less expensive. If heroin were legal, herion addicts could go to work from 9-5, clock out, go to the store for some regulated, inexpensive heroin, shoot up and be ready for work the following morning. Because drugs are illegal, people are spending much more on them, which makes it more difficult to afford a place to live, food and transportation. Since drug use will always exist, it makes no sense to enforce laws that indirectly make drugs more expensive.

    Will there still be hopeless addicts? You bet. But instead of incarcerating them, we could find more cost effective solutions, like rehabilitation or therapy. Some people need help controlling their addictive personalities. Just like sex addicts, drug addicts can use therapy to learn self control which could help keep them from spiraling out of control. Some wouldn’t even have to stop using drugs. They just need to learn how to tame their inner beast.

  • rick October 28, 2011 at 8:55 am

    THE WEIGHT OF ONE CAN OF BEER IS ALL A HEAVY POT SMOKER SMOKES IN ONE YEAR.
    12 OZ OF CANNABIS WHICH IS A NON TOXIC PLANT IS ALL A PERSON NEEDS
    SO WE ARE LOSING OUR RIGHTS, OUR DEMOCRACY, OUR JUSTICE, WE ARE SEEING CORRUPTION WITHIN OUR LAWS AND OUR LEGAL SYSTEM ALL SO THAT THE WEIGHT OF ONE CAN OF BEER IN POT CAN’T BE BOUGHT LEGALLY. THAT IS TREASON AGAINST NON VIOLENT TAX PAYING POT SMOKING VOTERS WHO ONLY WISH TO BE ABLE TO GROW ONE NON TOXIC PLANT MISLABELED A DRUG, EVERY TEN YEARS OR SO.

  • Carlos November 1, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Are there any real leaders in politics anymore? It seems like every new idea comes from common men and women and not our elected officials. In 50 or 100 years, the question won’t be “why did they legalize marijuana?” but instead, “what on earth took them so long?”. Just like we look back at alcohol prohibition with an air of disbelief, so will our descendants look upon our current era of prohibition. Done correctly, legalizing marijuana could be a win-win for so many areas of society. How long will it take our “leaders” to figure this out?

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