Are We In the Final Days of Marijuana Prohibition?

"There' a rising tide of acceptance of the fact that people are going to smoke marijuana, and it's like the prohibition against alcohol in the 1930s. There's a recognition that perhaps the laws are causing more harm than the drugs themselves," says Rick Steves, author and travel host.

Steves and others attended "The Final Days of Prohibition" conference in downtown Los Angeles in early October. The conference was put on by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and Reason TV was on the scene to ask about the future of marijuana laws in the U.S., particularly in the upcoming election where the states of Oregon, Washington, and Colorado all have marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot.

About 3 minutes.

Produced by Paul Feine and Zach Weissmueller. Edited by Weissmueller.

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  • rts||

    BC MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) and former police chief backs pot legalization

    Liberal MLA Kash Heed, who has said he won't be seeking re-election, has joined the Stop the Violence B.C. campaign saying he believes continuing pot prohibition is futile.
  • Zeb||

    He couldn't have said that while a police chief or legislator when it might have done something?

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    He couldn't have said that while a police chief or legislator when it might have done something?

    No, because that would have ended his career. Or put another way, he is a moral coward.

  • ||

    because, as i explain - police chiefs are cop-o-crats

    whatever they SAY they support or oppose, USUALLY they are just aping the policy position of them/those that appointed them - the mayor, city council, etc.

    and as i also explain, they do NOT represent cops in any way, shape or form

  • 0073735963||

    "they do NOT represent cops in any way, shape or form"

    Except in public for the news of course.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    and as i also explain, they do NOT represent cops in any way, shape or form

    Never said they did. He asked a question and I gave him an answer as to why they did, or didn't, do it when they could have made a difference. Never said they represented anyone but themselves.

  • ||

    in brief, yes we are

    the cynics (you can find plenty here) have ignored all evidence of same , preferring to wallow in "the sky is falling" and how the slope only slopes one way (towards restricting freedom), but clearly on several fronts - MJ and gun rights being two obvious examples, freedom continues to expand.

    we've got three legalization initiatives coming up this election, with quite decent chances of passing, and after all wouldn't it be best if MJ prohibition were ended by popular vote vs. govt. fiat? screw the cries of activism, etc. by the govt, let the PEOPLE decide and the people ARE coming around.

    like it or not, the public draws a very bright line (many of them) between so called "hard drugs" and ... mj

    a very substantial %age of our population has tried it and the govt.'s reefer madness approach has clearly backfired. 10 or 20 yrs from now we will look back semiastonished with "wow, can you believe how this stuff used to be illegal. people were put in jail for dealing it, and even on very rare occasions ... for possessing it for personal use".

    disclaimer: i think MJ is lame as fuck and am far from a proponent of marijuana. i am a proponent of MJ legalization, because the policy of criminalizing its possession is awful, harmful policy.

  • Zeb||

    "i think MJ is lame as fuck"

    You keep saying that. Can you expand on why? Do you feel the same about alcohol? How can any drug be inherently "lame" or "not lame".

  • Zeb||

    Or is it just to emphasize that you oppose prohibition on principle and not because of any personal preference?

  • ||

    it's partly that.

    i propose prohibition because it's bad policy

    i oppose FEDERAL prohibition of interstate MJ use because it's also unconstitutional (APPLIES TO ALL DRUGS WITHIN STATE BORDERS - IF GROWN AND USED WITHIN THOSE BORDERS).

    i am not a "fan" of MJ. there are several hard drugs, that IF legal, i would try. MJ isn't a "hard drug", but even if legalized, i doubt i'd even try it. it just doesn't appeal to me.

  • ||

    ugh, should be INTRAstate

  • ||

    i think MJ culture is super lame.

    i think alcohol is fucking lame as hell also, though, yes. to answer the question

    the point is i support it because it's the right thing to do policywise, NOT becuase i will draw personal benefit and not because i think MJ is benign or a "good" drug. in my experience, most people use MJ responsibly.

  • 0073735963||

    "i think MJ culture is super lame."

    This is like me saying I think food is lame, then justifying it by discussing how I hate foodie culture.

  • Zeb||

    " i support it because it's the right thing to do policywise"

    I wish more legalization proponents would think this way. It seems like way too many are out there arguing that MJ should be legalized because it is not as bad as those other drugs. Although I generally think that is true, it is not a primary reason why prohibition is a bad idea.

  • Robert||

    Because the "high" isn't as good y broad as the one from liquor. Pot just feels like a part of the brain is fuzzy, while booze feels good all round.

  • Gene||

    Yeah to an alcoholic.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    We are probably at least 2 national election cycles from ending mj prohibition. If O gets re-elected, nothing changes. If R gets elected I don't think he will change anything because he is too uptight to do so. If he gets re-elected, we 4 more years. Depending on whether or not R wins and gets re-elected, you are looking at 2 national cycles before anything changes. That depends on if Ryan runs (most likely) and his outlook on mj, vs. what his challenger has for an outlook.

    It is nice that we have state initiatives that have a chance of passing, but until the feds back off, nothing will change. Look at medical mj, legal in several states, but the feds keep busting them.

  • sarcasmic||

    Legalization at the federal level must originate in Congress.
    That simply will not happen. Not in our lifetimes anyway. The subject is simply taboo. Committees won't touch it, and nothing gets onto the floor without first going through a committee. That's how they squash sensible legislation without having to vote on it.

  • rts||

    Proceedings to add, delete, or change the schedule of a drug or other substance may be initiated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or by petition from any interested party, including the manufacturer of a drug, a medical society or association, a pharmacy association, a public interest group concerned with drug abuse, a state or local government agency, or an individual citizen.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....tances_Act

    Once un-scheduled, it becomes legalized, right?

  • sarcasmic||

    Will that happen without legislation? I doubt it.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    The DEA has absolute authority of the classification of pot. They can change it whenever they like.

  • sarcasmic||

    They have the authority, but no incentive.

  • BlogimiDei||

    The incentive is JOB SECURITY and to keep it illegal no matter what "The People" decide.

  • Thomas O.||

    And this authority is in the Constitution where....?

  • ||

    scheduling only refers to whether a drug is a CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

    most drugs that are illegal to possess without a script are NOT controlled substances. they are merely prescription/legend drugs

    penicillin for instance. birth control pills.

    both are illegal to possess without a script

    neither are scheduled (controlled substances)

  • Zeb||

    Are they (non-CS prescriptions) illegal to possess, or just to obtain without a script? I had thought it was the latter. Though perhaps it varies by state.

  • Robert||

    You are close to correct, Dunphy's wrong. Actually it's not illegal for you to obtain them without prescription, just illegal for the druggist to supply them that way.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm would have thought that if MJ were simply deleted from the schedules, there would be nothing on the federal books outlawing, regulating, or controlling it in any way. What other federal law would apply?

    Haven't studied this issue, though.

  • Robert||

    The FFDCA, R C -- as applies to it for medical use, and according to some recent legal theories, recreational use as well. The FFDCA lists cannabis (by that name) as one of the "habit forming" components that requires drugs containing them to be dispensed only by prescription.

  • R C Dean||

    MJ and gun rights being two obvious examples, freedom continues to expand.

    Gun rights, sure, with CCW.

    MJ? A few states with medpot being persecuted by the feds? The odd municipality with citations rather than arrests? I would say, not yet. Someday, probably, but today is not that day.

    Balance that against the rising tide of the total state, by any measure: sheer economic consumption, numbers dependent on the state, constant expansion of the surveillance state, the regulatory state, the nanny state. We're a long, long way from flattening out the slope, much less reversing it.

  • entropy||

    The medical MJ movement started in 1996 with California.

    In the last 16 years since, 19 states have legalized or decriminalized medical marijuana, and with the list of states and municipalities pulling these kinds of half measures still growing, this year 3 states will vote on legalizing the sale of it outright. It has a good chance to pass in 2.

    And in the last couple years it has reached 50% support in national polls.

    Even without any sort of preference cascade, just at the current rate, 16 years from now we could be looking at a majority of states with some form of medicinal marijuana or marijuana decriminalization, and a dozen or more outright legal states, with 60% support nationally (the young are much more pro-legalization than then old).

    I'm not too cynical about MJ laws, it will happen. It is happening.

  • R C Dean||

    Yet the arrest rate continues to climb, or at least shows no sign of declining.

  • entropy||

    Yes.

    And every time they arrest someone, they create a libertarian.

    Let them raid every home. Then every person will be pissed to high heaven and outraged at the costs of the drug war.

    Every wrong door is an altar call.

  • Gene||

    Very well said, I was libertarian leaning long before my unfortunate encounter with my local LEOs following my late wifes untimely demise. Because she passed away at home of unknown circumstances at the time, the coroner had them photograph my home and in the process got me for a couple of lbs of chopped bud they found in my closet. Long story short there is was more irredeemable CRIMINAL created that day for no good reason. But it certainly made me a more dedicated and hard core libertarian type.

  • Thomas O.||

    Most of us aren't cynics... we're just Red Sox fans in the 90's. We know it may be around the corner, but so far we've seen every initiative taken shot down in flames. :/

  • onelegacyfire999||

    There is too much to be cynical about, you fail and so do your spam posts glorifying your single actions you supposedly will take. The reality, is much different. Good luck with that, and "Cool Story, Bro".

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • sarcasmic||

    Wishful thinking.

    The DEA will continue to enforce federal law, and (I don't give a shit what Dunphy says) local law enforcement will happily join in the fun in exchange for military hardware and a share of the loot (not to mention the thrill of pointing guns at terrified peoples' faces which is why they were attracted to the job in the first place).

  • Zeb||

    Sure, but they won't be able to do it to anywhere near the extent that it is done now. It won't be fixed overnight if a few states legalize, but it will move things in the right direction. Federal legislators are elected by the same voters who will be voting on the legalization initiatives.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Dunphy's right you like to wallow in misery.

    The feds cannot take over sole responsibility for the WOD in any state. Local law enforcement will be mischievous, but they can't do what they did before.

  • sarcasmic||

    Who's wallowing? Just stating the facts as I see them.

    Every Friday in the city up the road a group of nine cops, three of them with DEA on their shirts, the rest locals, hang out downtown harassing anyone who looks like they might have the munchies.

    They're not going to give up the fun willingly.

  • Cytotoxic||

    They will when we're out of money and can't pay these assholes to be assholes. And that's gonna happen.

  • ||

    local cops are NOT going to go against the people and the law of their state that expressly legalized mj in order to side with the feds. the idea is ABSURD. only a person who fundamentally misunderstands police (we are human beings with the same basic drives and desires as anybody else) could believe such crap. when a state expressly legalizes X, local cops who swore an oath TO THE sTATE, NOT TO FEDERAL LAW, will follow state law.

    heck, numerous cities have passed sanctuary city laws IN DIRECT contravention of federal law. have local cops turned over immigration suspects to the feds in those cities AGAINST the city immigration policies?

    no

    we know where our loyalty is - it is NOT to federal law. we don't ENFORCE federal law (with rare exception like when i was on a federal task force). we enforce STATE law.

  • sarcasmic||

    Cool story, bro.

  • SugarFree||

    Just like the NYC cops completely ceased stop and frisk when they were told to. Or when they were ordered to de-prioritize marijuana busts and arrests went up.

  • Major Pain||

    "police (we are human beings with the same basic drives and desires as anybody else)"

    German and Japanese and Vietnamese and etc. soldiers were "human beings with the same basic drives and desires as anybody else."

    We shot them on sight. Bombed them. Set them on fire. Even worse. And why? Simple: In the final analysis, it is because they were the implementation arm of government fuckery.

    That is what US cops are today. The implementation arm of organized government fuckery.

    When there is fuckery, that needs to be stopped; in no way should those who commit it be encouraged or rewarded.

    Every cop who ever enforced a drug law, who ever interfered in a teenage romance, who ever "confiscated" people's property, who ever fined or otherwise harshed someone directly or indirectly for a harmless act like rolling through a stop-sign when no one else was around, who ever demanded to "see our papers", who ever stopped us from photographing our surroundings, or who defended a "brother cop" for doing so...

    Today's cops have no reasonable expectation whatsoever of receiving a warm reception from anyone who can think their way out of a wet paper bag. They're dangerous, antisocial in the most basic sense of the word, ultimately corrosive to freedom and liberty, quite literally the enemy of the people -- and deserve to be treated accordingly.

  • ||

    no, you aren't stating facts. you are making predictions which are wholly inspired by your oft stated prejudice towards police. *if* police truly were as venal and power mad as you believe, then your conclusion would be rational

    but the reality is, and even many staunch critics of the cops agree, that cops are not taking this job just to shove guns in peoples faces and that local cops (state, county city etc.) are not going to side up with the feds against the settled law of their respective states to fuck with people for possession of MJ after the state has expressly LEGALIZED it.

    you are wallowing in your prejudice against cops, AND using that prejudice to lead to unfounded ridiculous predictions

  • sarcasmic||

    You've already shown yourself to be a liar, so there's no reason to believe you on this or anything else.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    local cops (state, county city etc.) are not going to side up with the feds against the settled law of their respective states to fuck with people for possession of MJ after the state has expressly LEGALIZED it.

    The problem is not the local cops siding with the feds. It is that even if the state legalizes it and the local cops abide by the state laws, the feds will still enforce their laws. Until those laws get changed, or if the SC actually gets the balls to say that the 10th is valid, you will still see drug busts.

  • ||

    the feds do not have the resources to prosecute/bust/investigate end users of MJ

    if the feds took all of their agents in the DEA *and* the FBI and applied them JUST TO MY STATE, they couldn't come close to prosecuting any more than a tiny percentage of MJ users. it is simply NOT going to happen.

    MJ use is way way way too prevalent for the feds to "pick up the slack" when and if we legalize it in my state. heck, it's ALREADY de facto decrim'd if not legalized in my county. you have to work HARD or get caught by a rookie looking for a "stat" in order to get busted for a bud or two of mj. even the city of seattle has made it OFFICIAL policy to deemphasize MJ enforcement

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    the feds do not have the resources to prosecute/bust/investigate end users of MJ

    Correct, they will go after the larger fish. But if the state has legalized it and they are still busting people, it is not really legal, is it? The only way it becomes de facto and de jure legal is if the feds do it, and I do not see that happening for the foreseeable future.

  • ||

    of course you don't give a shit what i say- it's just an INFORMED opinion vs. your bullshit

    the problem with your analysis is it is basted in your stupid bigoted beliefs like your "belief" that thrill of pointing guns at terrified peoples' faces which is why they were attracted to the job in the first place"

    i realize you are butthurt by being lawfully prosecuted for your crime and so bitter, and that that bitterness has been allowed to fester for so long, because you are too immature to simply LET IT GO, that you can believe such rubbish, but it is simply that - prejudice and irrationality leading to a silly conclusion

    prejudice is so harmful. it erodes rationality.

    i find it astounding (but thats the power of prejudice apparently), that you REALLY think that if and when we legalize marijuana contrary to federal law, that local police will line up on the side of the federal govt. (assuming the feds push the issue which is hardly an easy or predictable assumption).

    if you want an ACTUAL real world example vs. your fantasyland stuff, look at alaska. alaska, for many years, legalized personal possession of mj. despite federal law to the contrary, local cops (state, city, etc.)

    i realize you are simply incapable of having a rationald discussion, let alone one with predictive qualities in regards to police when you believe such absurdities as we take this job because we want to shove guns in people's faces.
    it's really sad that you live in such a deluded world

  • sarcasmic||

    i realize you are butthurt by being lawfully prosecuted for your crime

    No. I'm bitter about having to fix a car that hit me on my bicycle after running a red light. That last part being omitted from the police report despite several witnesses explaining that fact to the cop.

    You know this, yet you continue to lie about it. Not that I'm surprised. Honesty is the last thing I would ever expect from a law enforcement officer.

  • ||

    i know you keep stating that, but it's utter horseshit.

    i know it was a grand conspiracy of law enforcement to fuck you over to pay for the damage!!!!!!

    ATTICA!!!!

    help sarcasmic. he's being oppressed!!!!!!!!!!!!

    feel the power of the MAN!!!

  • sarcasmic||

    Again you keep on spouting lies.

    Keep it up, dude. You're only hurting your own credibility.

  • The Hammer||

    Dunphy, you are being a dick. Do you deny that the police reports ever have omissions or inaccuracies?

  • sarcasmic||

    He said that there is absolutely no way in heck that an officer would intentionally leave out information in a police report for the purpose of screwing someone over.

    No way it would ever happen.

    Impossible.

    Only a deranged and bitter bigot could imagine such an occurrence.

  • Zeb||

    Come on, Dunphy. We can debate how prevalent it is, but you certainly have to acknowledge that there have been and will continue to be many cases of police both negligently omitting and maliciously making shit up on reports and in testimony. I'm not going to claim to know anything about sarcasmic's case, but it is certainly plausible that what he claims is true and no grand conspiracy is required.

  • The Hammer||

    So Dunphy does have a Shift key.

  • 0073735963||

    Look at all those caps, he's full of shift.

  • onelegacyfire999||

    Dunphy is an Obama hack. Fuck him and fuck his opinion. And make no mistake, that is exactly what it is.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Totally OT: It's easy to see why Assad is losing control of Syria. He's as stupid as...Californians.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com.....le4620664/

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Are We In the Final Days of Marijuana Prohibition?

    No.

  • Robert||

    Maybe, but it looked that way 35 yrs. ago too. Then again, maybe that was correct, and these have been the final days (a rather non-specific phrase) all this time.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    local cops are NOT going to go against the people and the law of their state that expressly legalized mj in order to side with the feds.

    You are completely and utter full of shit.

    hth

  • ||

    we'll see.

    and when history proves you wrong, i'm SURE you will come back here and apologize to me. Lol
    right

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Final days, no.

    Final decade, I will hesitantly say yes.

    The police and correctional officer unions, the "tough on crime" politicians, and all the other politically connected types who have been feasting on the drug war are not going to let go easily. Have you noticed how the Obama administration has simply ignored the public response? How they ignored the questions on their web site, repeatedly? There's too much power and money to be had in human misery. It won't go easily.

  • ||

    one person , one vote.
    all it takes is a majority of voters to legalize, in any state with an initiative process.

    everything else is irrelevant.

    if the majority of voters pass legalization it gets passed

    the unions and tuff on drug types can suck on it all they want. it's IRRELEVANT to the legal process

  • R C Dean||

    all it takes is a majority of voters to legalize, in any state with an initiative process.

    Voter referenda are routinely ignored, subverted, and overturned. See, e.g., gay marriage in California.

    Until the actual legislators, the actual Governor, and the actual Attorney General of a state all get on board with legalization, passing laws, changing policy, and changing the apparatus of the state, referenda won't make a difference.

  • Zeb||

    See also medical MJ in California. It's basically back door legalization. Sometimes it goes the way you are suggesting and sometimes not.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    when history proves you wrong, i'm SURE you will come back here and apologize to me.

    History has already proven YOU wrong.

    In the state of Montana federal prosecutors and the DEA, WITH THE EAGER ASSISTANCE OF THEIR SHIT-EATING LAPDOGS IN STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT, carried out a highly publicized co-ordinated series of smash and grab raids on legal medical marijuana providers, in what can only be described as a flagrant attempt to intimidate the state legislature as they were preparing to vote on a revision to the medical marijuana law, which had been authorized by a citizen initiative.

    STFU

  • sarcasmic||

    Tune in next week when Dunphy spouts off the same old lies, has them refuted with concrete examples, and then disappears.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    We haven't even gotten around to the federales' threat to turn off the money-spigot to keep the states in line.

    55mph

    21 yo drinking age

  • Thomas O.||

    Yeah, just once I'd like to hear about a state (probably Vermont, Wyoming or some other state without a lot of interstate highways) go "Fuck you and your mob thuggery, we're lowering the drinking age to 18 and we'll pay for our own fucking highways".

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'm sure when Fearless Fosdick storms into his boss's office and throws his badge and gun on the desk to protest the usurpation of the Will of the People he'll post the video on youtube.

  • Brandybuck||

    When marijuana is finally legalized, all the Democrats will say they were always in favor of it, and accuse the eebil Rethuglicans of wanting to take us back to the days of prohibition.

    Being in love with Obama means never having to say you're wrong.

  • yamail1||

  • yamail1||

  • yamail1||

  • yamail1||

  • yamail1||

  • Sarah Conner||

    What if the kind of change you are looking for comes suddenly, as the result of some kind of periodic event, rather than the gradual shifting of some societal tide?

    Maybe it's a good idea to examine other ways of looking at an issue.

  • thinksubstance||

    The Hemp Cannabis issue is the classic example of crony capitalist and Big Government in cahoots with each other. This plant should have never been illegal. And with the many, did I say many uses this plant has its a tragedy that the people of the USA can't work with this plant without fear. Isn't it Time to know the Truth? Just one example of what this plant can do, www.thinksubstance.com

  • Juergen||

    It has to be, otherwise ...:

    THE REPORT. CANNABIS: THE FACTS, HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE LAW
    ISBN 9781902848204.

    Denial of cannabis by Prohibition ‘law’ premeditatedly inflicts suffering, blindness, and, in many instances, death. Those who maintain any use of life-saving cannabis to be "illegal" should be regarded and treated as perpetrators of the gravest of crimes, and deemed unfit to hold any public office in a democratic society.

    Die Verweigerung von Cannabis durch das Prohibitions-Gesetz verursacht vorsätzlich Leiden, Blindheit und fuehrt in vielen Fällen zum Tod. Diejenigen, die das Verbot der Verwendung von lebensrettenden Cannabis als "illegal" zu halten betrachten, sollten behandelt werden wie ein Täter des schwersten Verbrechens und als ungeeignet angesehen werden ein öffentliches Amt in einer demokratischen Gesellschaft zu fuehren.

  • شات عراقنا||

    thank u

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