Drug Policy

USA Today Notes 'Growing Popular Acceptance' of Pot

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A front-page story in USA Today highlights the "growing popular acceptance of marijuana," as reflected in polls, ballot initiatives, and legislation. It notes that 14 states allow medical use of cannabis, while others are considering similar reforms; that the idea of reducing or eliminating criminal penalties for simple possession seems to be catching on; and that a large minority of Americans (more than 40 percent) say they support outright legalization, as do most Californians. "It's inevitable that there will be some kind of legalization of recreational marijuana," says California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), sponsor of a legalization bill. "How and where it's going to happen I think is an open question, but I think a lot sooner than later."

The story strikes me as a bit too optimistic. It treats the Obama administration's policy shift on medical marijuana, the practical implications of which are far from clear, as a game-changing development, and it even goes so far as to portray drug warriors as the underdogs in this debate. "The momentum is not with us, and we understand that," says Michael Carroll, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. "Things are not going our way, but that's not stopping us from speaking out about it." Pity the poor lonely prohibitionist, who can count among his allies virtually every politician in the country and the entire complex of drug war profiteers, from police, prosecutors, and prison guards to treatment specialists and propaganda producers. Still, the story itself, a remarkably calm discussion of the country's most popular illegal intoxicant by the country's most popular newspaper, is evidence of an important cultural shift.

The article quotes Jim Gray, the former California judge who recently discussed "the six groups that benefit from drug prohibition" on Reason.tv.

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  1. “The momentum is not with us, and we understand that,” says Michael Carroll, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “Things are not going our way, but that’s not stopping us from speaking out about it.” Pity the poor lonely prohibitionist, who can count among his allies virtually every politician in the country and the entire complex of drug war profiteers, from police, prosecutors, and prison guards to treatment specialists and propaganda producers.

    Well, if marijuana is legalized, they can always enforce the salt prohibition> (see previous post)

    1. They will come up with a thousand more things to fight against; thats their job, isn’t it?

  2. Marijuana will become legal when tobacco is made illegal. Straight trade. The drug war will switch fronts, and “drug policy reformers” will applaud it, because they’re assholes.

    1. WE won’t.

    2. Nah…some proportion of drug warriors have a straight-up philosophical beef with psychotropic, temporarily disorienting, mystical, transcendent experiences.

      Now, this people are morons and assholes who can’t fucking recognize that alcohol is a drug and SO FUCKING WHAT?

      Nevertheless, they really are uptight pigs who insist on making decisions on behalf of other functioning adults.

      Vermin.

    3. Nah…some proportion of drug warriors have a straight-up philosophical beef with psychotropic, temporarily disorienting, mystical, transcendent experiences.

      Now, this people are morons and assholes who can’t fucking recognize that alcohol is a drug and SO FUCKING WHAT?

      Nevertheless, they really are uptight pigs who insist on making decisions on behalf of other functioning adults.

      Vermin.

      1. Worth repeating.

  3. I hate the “legalize it, regulate it, and tax it” idea almost as much as the “prohibit the heathen weed” idea. Freedom is not what the state allows us to do, it is what the state has no right to interfere with.

    1. “Legalize it, regulate it and tax it” for good or ill is a lot more likely to happen than WOO HOO FREE WEED FOR EVERYONE.

      Would the latter be nice? For most people, sure. But the “OMG THINK OF THE CHILDREN” crowd will never let it happen. “L it, R it, T it” is a helluva lot better than the current situation.

    2. I agree. However, not sending non-violent people to prison is an improvement to the current state of things. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

      1. not sending non-violent people to prison

        Where do you think they’re going to send the non-violent un-taxed/un-licensed weed dealer/growers under a “regulate and tax” legalization scheme.”Users” will probably have to register so they won’t get accidentally hired in jobs involving vehicles,heavy machinery or children.
        Got to put the users on the “no 2nd Amendment Rights” list too.

        1. Ummm, have you even read the f’n bill? There is only a licensing scheme for commercial cultivators and distributors. It actually has a provision allowing for home cultivation. Just don’t sell your excess zucchini weed.

          1. It actually has a provision allowing for home cultivation.

            How long would that last? If it even survived passage.That is only a proposed CA law anyways.

            The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act
            didn’t outlaw heroin.They closed the “loophole” a few years later.

  4. Where I live in South Australia possession is subject to an on-the-spot fine. You have the option to challenge the fine in court but it’s well known that if you do – regardless of the result – you will never be allowed to enter the US on a tourist visa.

    1. Considering that the US refuses to give federal student loans to students with drug convictions, you probably would never get a student visa, either.

    2. Isn’t Darwin in North Australia?

  5. Pity the poor lonely prohibitionist, who can count among his allies virtually every politician in the country and the entire complex of drug war profiteers,

    Yeah, really. All they have is their huge budget, guns, tasers, manpower, warrants, tanks, dog-killing bullets, batons,…

    1. whimper, whimper, whimper, whimper

      **slinks into corner and cowers**

  6. …the story itself, a remarkably calm discussion of the country’s most popular illegal intoxicant by the country’s most popular newspaper, is evidence of an important cultural shift.

    “If you’ve lost USA Today, you’ve lost America.”

  7. “The momentum is not with us, and we understand that,” says Michael Carroll, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “Things are not going our way, but that’s not stopping us from speaking out about it.”

    Fuck you, pig. You slimy power-hungry piece of shit.

    1. Wonder if he knows the crew in this video. (CCTV comes in @ about 30 s)

  8. “Pity the poor lonely prohibitionist, who can count among his allies virtually every politician in the country and the entire complex of drug war profiteers, from police, prosecutors, and prison guards to treatment specialists and propaganda producers.”

    But the only way we could ever win is from the bottom up. That’s always been the case.

    The Emperor got religion after the Empire had been largely Christianized.

    The Abolitionists won the debate at the dinner table long before they got their politicians in office.

    If we’re that far along, it’s just a matter of time.

  9. I must say I was surprised to see this article glaring at me as I exited my vehicle this morning at my neighborhood store. It was a pleasant surprise. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and was the daughter of a police officer and a school teacher. I was in the DARE program. It was only after graduating from college that I was introduced to marijuana. I was very hesitant at first, remembering the frying egg on that commercial back in the day. Being an intelligent, methodical person, I did my own research around it (more out of concern for the relative introducing it to me). Little did I know the things they tell you about marijuana are highly misleading; the equivalent to saying, for example, ordinary water is a deadly substance just because you can die from it if you drink gallons and gallons and gallons in a short period of time. It’s really rather ludicrous that marijuana is illegal, now that I know the truth. It needs to be legalize to the fullest extent, that being anyone can grow it in their own backyard with no consequences. I am saddened when I hear about children getting hold of their parents alcohol and overdosing on it, or teens getting drunk and dying in an automobile accident because if it were marijuana that were legal and alcohol illegal, this wouldn’t happen. It is impossible to overdose on marijuana and, as for getting behind the wheel, marijuana doesn’t give the user that false sense of security that alcohol does, thus stopping the user from venturing into a vehicle. It NEEDS to be legalized FOR THE CHILDREN; to keep our kids safe and put a major financial hurting on the drug cartels. Sure, it isn’t the only drug they sell obviously, but it is their biggest seller and the majority of their profits.

    1. if it were marijuana that were legal and alcohol illegal, this wouldn’t happen.

      Troll? or Marijuana-induced brain damage?

      You make the call!

      1. Woof woof!

      2. We should leave the door open for all comers.

        I don’t care how you get there, as long as you get there.

        I mean, we’re not Objectivists. ; )

        1. I mean…I get this ugly vision of people seeing Drew Carey or Nick somewhere, and then they think, “Hey, that liberty thing–that’s something I want to learn more about! I think I’ll go check out Reason.com!”

          …and then they get here and the first thing they find find is a bunch of exclusivist net neanderthals who jump on anybody that isn’t already all about all our inside jokes? (…carefully reasoned arguments, whatever.)

          The Jehovah’s Witnesses are smarter than that! Be Nice To Strangers.

          1. We were all new here at one point. If you can’t hang, you’re probably not intellectually ready for this site anyway.

            Pre-emptive: MENTALIST!

            1. I’ve been here for years and I got Nelsoned twice today.

              Lucky for me, I’m intellectually ready for more.

              “Thank you sir, may I have another?”

          2. Neanderthals?? Very few people here are Steelers fans, fuckface.

            1. I suppose a neanderthal wouldn’t take offense at being compared unfavorably to Jehovah’s Witnesses…

              Nicely played!

            2. I mean, seriously? “Dumber than a Jehovah’s Witness” is worse than “Dumber than Lou Ferrigno” by a long shot…it’s just that the neanderthals get bent out of shape, not for being called dumb, but ’cause they think you’re talkin’ shit about Lou Ferrigno…

              Anyway, I’ll take people who want to decriminalize marijuana any way they come, and making fun of n00bs who want to do that when they first show up here? That’s dumber than Lou Ferrigno.

      3. It NEEDS to be legalized FOR THE CHILDREN

        C’mon, that’s pure troll.

        1. Actually it makes loads of sense. It only shows just how far away from sensible most of the detractors really are.

          Ask any kid, what is easier to buy, alcohol, cigs or marijuana? Guaranteed the answer is MJ…

          If it were legal and adults were responsible and kept out of reach for their kids, then yes, it would be harder for them to get and thereby S.A.F.E.R.!

          Yet how many homes can you go into right now and find alcohol, nicotine, prescription drugs, caffeine, sugar and chocolate right were the kiddies can get to it? Guess what those are all drugs. Three of which most people don’t hesitate to give their kids, and two of which we have a holiday around where the kids dress up and go door to door collecting drugs from all the neighbors.

          If you are so worried about the kids, why not go on a crusade for getting those substances secured, then worry about the one that isn’t likely to kill them…

          Thanks for your attention…

          Your local Troll

          1. Yet how many homes can you go into right now and find alcohol, nicotine, prescription drugs, caffeine, sugar and chocolate right were the kiddies can get to it?

            Ya forgot to include weed!
            That marijuana-induced short term memory loss strikes again.

          2. Repeat after me: Marijuana is SAFER than alcohol… marijuana is SAFER than alcohol… marijuana is SAFER than alcohol… Say it in committee hearings and in conversations with politicians often enough and crazy things start to happen…

        2. “It NEEDS to be legalized FOR THE CHILDREN

          C’mon, that’s pure troll.
          reply to this”

          Any one of us could be one of Urkobold’s minions, but I think it was an honest attempt at irony.

          I suspect marijuana is easier than alcohol for a lot of teens to get, and I think that’s ’cause alcohol is legal…

          Legalizing marijuana to make it harder for kids to get isn’t exactly a new argument. …we probably all graduated from that.

          I think I made that argument myself when I was a teen, actually. Ha!

          Yeah, legalize marijuana and make it harder for me to get! *giggles*

          For what it’s worth, I suspect it’s harder for old dudes in their 40s to get cannabis. Something about turning 40 makes white guys look like cops.

          1. For what it’s worth, I suspect it’s harder for old dudes in their 40s to get cannabis. Something about turning 40 makes white guys look like cops.

            True dat.

          2. Hell man, I’m 26 and I’m stuck with only one (unreliable) connect. The Good gets damn hard to find after college.

    2. Useful idiot?!?!?!???

      1. No, thank you. I already have several.

    3. Have you met our friend Juanita?

      … Hobbit

  10. In a related story, the sky has not fallen.
    It turns out that easier, legal availability of marijuana doesn’t lead to increases in crime, car wrecks, or student dropout rates. Marijuana users generally settle in for a quiet evening with the TV, some snacks, and a nap. Not exactly a threat to society.

    It’s time to allow ordinary Americans to grow a little marijuana in their own back yards (maybe a $100 permit for a dozen plants).

    It would rip the guts out of the drug cartels’ pocketbook and free up our tax dollars for education, repairing our bridges, fighting terrorism, and a hundred other worthy goals.

    Does anybody _really_ think that locking up marijuana users, or even people who grow a few plants for themselves… Does anybody _really_ think locking those people up is a good use of our tax dollars?

  11. Does anybody _really_ think locking those people up is a good use of our tax dollars?

    Well, Michael Carroll, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, apparently does.

    Not to mention that guy, what’s his name, who said legalization isn’t even in his vocabulary. But, to be fair, he doesn’t seem terribly concerned about whether anything is a good use of tax dollars.

  12. I knew “The Pot” had largely lost its stigma when I walk the waterfront trail in Boston and pass by all the pricey wharf condos and see 40 something dads smoking up their evening “one hitters” sitting quite openly at the end of piers watching the sunset. When the most you can suffer is a hundred dollar ticket for an amount less than ounce (which is a lot of pot) then people are going to smoke up. And – Ive talked to people who are now using “The Pot” to treat their own mild depressions and anxieties- while going off those big pharma pills.

  13. I’ve been turned away from pot dealers in harvard square because I am white and over 40. One rasta guy sells to me- but the others tell me to get lost.

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