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What Are They Smoking in California?

Posted on Apr 8, 2010

By David Sirota

History shows that America, when choosing between frugality and security, almost always selects the latter. To paraphrase President John F. Kennedy, we’ll pay any price and bear any burden to protect ourselves.

No doubt this was why the economic case against the Iraq invasion failed. To many, the war debate seemed to pose a binary question: debt or mushroom clouds? And when it’s a scuffle between money arguments and security arguments (even dishonest security arguments), security wins every time.

Call this the Pay-Any-Price Principle—an axiom that has impacted all of America’s wars, and now, most poignantly, its war on drugs. When faced with criticism of budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, law enforcement agencies and private prison interests have successfully depicted their cause as a willingness to pay any price to imprison dealers of hard narcotics.

Of course, data undermine that story line. In 2008, the FBI reported that 82 percent of drug arrests were for possession—not sales or manufacturing—and almost half of those arrests were for marijuana, not hard drugs.

Fortunately, these numbers are seeping into the public consciousness. Gallup’s latest survey shows record support for marijuana legalization, as more Americans see the drug war for what it really is: an ideological and profit-making crusade by the Arrest-and-Incarceration Complex against a substance that is, according to most physicians, less toxic than alcohol.


Square, Site wide

Considering both the public opinion shift and the facts about marijuana, this should be the moment that drug policy reformers drop their budget attacks and flip the security argument on their opponents—specifically, by pointing out how safety is actually compromised by the status quo.

The good news is that some activists are making this very case.

Last week, students at 80 colleges asked their schools to reduce penalties for marijuana possession so that they are no greater than penalties for alcohol possession. It’s a request with safety in mind: According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol use by college kids contributes to roughly 1,700 deaths, 600,000 injuries and 97,000 sexual assaults every year. By contrast, “The use of marijuana itself has not been found to contribute to any deaths, there has never been a single fatal marijuana overdose in history (and) all objective research on marijuana has also concluded that it does not contribute to injuries, assaults, sexual abuse, or violent or aggressive behavior,” as the group Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation notes.

“It’s time we stop driving students to drink and let them make the rational, safer choice to use marijuana,” said one student.

Now the bad news: Not every reformer is on message.

In California, where polls show most citizens support cannabis legalization, The New York Times reports that backers of a legalization ballot measure “will not dwell on assertions of marijuana’s harmlessness” but “rather on [the] cold cash” that pot can generate for depleted state coffers.

The problem is not these advocates’ facts—California officials confirm that legal marijuana could generate more than $1 billion in tax revenue. The problem goes back to the Pay-Any-Price Principle.

By downplaying the argument about giving society a safer alternative to alcohol, California’s legalization advocates are letting drug warriors reclaim the language of security, to the point where even liberal Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer’s campaign now trumpets her opposition to the initiative on the grounds that “she shares the [safety] concerns of police chiefs, sheriffs and other law enforcement officials.”

A career politician, Boxer understands that if this battle reverts to the old tax-revenue-versus-safety fight, voters will choose safety. In other words, she gets the Pay-Any-Price Principle.

To maximize this opportune moment for drug policy changes, every reformer must appreciate that principle, too—and finally confront it head on.

David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books “Hostile Takeover” and “The Uprising.” He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at E-mail him at

© 2010

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By Green Smoke Reviews, March 1, 2011 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

Our country was built on fear and continues to promote this aspect of our psych. This fear based country will eventually cripple itself as its people increasingly loose trust in each other.

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By Naz, April 12, 2010 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Johnny: All you’d have to do with your post is replace “Mexican drug cartels” and “pot” with “Afganistans” and “heroin” and you’d have the same argument to end the war in Afganistan, which provides ninety per cent of heroin to the world.

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By Maani, April 12, 2010 at 10:30 am Link to this comment


“You’re starting too late.  By the time stuff is getting made into law, some kind of movement or structure has already been built up.  You need to look at things happening in the late 19th century, where mainstream religions were tied up with bodily-purity theories, Temperance, racism and sexual politics.”

Really?  Why not start even earlier?  How about the early 19th century?  Or perhaps the 18th century?  Maybe even the 17th century?  After all, if you go back far enough, I’m sure you could support ANY position you take as being the fault of religion!

Your debate method is as dishonest as anything I have ever seen.  I have watched on numerous threads over the past few years as you have tried to lay the blame for every single societal ill, political problem, whatever, on religion.  Why not just write a book and join Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Maher and the other (fundamentalist) “New Athiests,” since that is where your radically anti-religious beliefs fit.

I am both outraged and saddened by your obsessive, nearly maniacal attempts to ascribe everything that is wrong with society to “religion.”

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By Anarcissie, April 12, 2010 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

Maani, April 11 at 12:09 am:
‘Anarcissie: “I suggest you look into the origins of the Drug War, which resemble those of (alcohol) prohibition.”

No, they don’t.  And I challenge you to find me a single item of support for this claim.  Here is Wiki:

“The first U.S. law which restricted the distribution and use of certain drugs was the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914.” ...’

You’re starting too late.  By the time stuff is getting made into law, some kind of movement or structure has already been built up.  You need to look at things happening in the late 19th century, where mainstream religions were tied up with bodily-purity theories, Temperance, racism and sexual politics.  By modern standards it’s a pretty odd mix.

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By Maani, April 11, 2010 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

Steppin’ Razor:

I stand (actually, sit) corrected.  What I should have said is that the government ALLOWS the tobacco companies to homogenize the tobacco plant and put additives in, and that, if the manufacture and sale of marijuana is left to private industry as tobacco is, it will lead to the same thing.

Thank you for the correction.


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By Steppin' Razor, April 11, 2010 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

” i.e., the government runs the business - expect them to do to “joints” what they do to cigarettes: homogenize the leaf, stems, seeds, etc., and put additives in, some of which may be as unhealthy as those in cigarettes.  Is that really what we want?”

Excuse me but the GOVERNMENT does not run the tobacco industry. In fact it is the “Lack Of Government Regulation” of tobacco products that allows for the things you assign/blame on government.

This is the talk of Stupid Stossel and Bonkers Beck? Both are Nueavo Feudalists sometimes mistakenly called libertarians and their mission is to destroy self government and democracy not to offer solutions to societal problems.

IF you want to enjoy a pure tobacco cigarette try “American Spirit” cigarettes. No additives. They are available in every state and over the internet.

The thing about marijuana is that government will regulate and tax commercial sales and manufacture/growing. That is a for sure. They do it in California. They can not realistically regulate the small scale personal culitvation of marijuana. Just like home brewed beer and wine. 

Competition and pressure from honest growers and government regulators will keep disreputable growers and commercial sales outlets on the straight and narrow delivering a clean product. The example of Holland shows the way. It really isn’t open to debate how things can work out.

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By REDHORSE, April 11, 2010 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

Neither Marijuana, peanut butter and jelly with cold milk nor excessive prayer are the absolute spiritual answer to anything.

  Marijuana. Medicinal-perhaps. Satanic destroyer-absolutely not. That American lives should be destroyed over hemp and profit-HELL NO!!

  If (for whatever reason) many States are trying to decriminalize pot why do our friends in Washington continue to cling to the same old lie?——-For those very reasons listed in my post below.

  Mellon-DuPont and Hearst. Gee—Some rich guys passed laws for personal gain and profit (30% interest-the home mortgage debacle—looted U.S. Treasury) with no concern for the truth or the destruction of American lives. Didn’t we fight King George over that?? As a thought—did D.C. bat an eyelash in allowing big chemical corporations to profit from the introduction of paraquat to the lungs of its citizens.

    The marijuana trade is big business. True-there is a home grown industy but Mexican Cartels now pay 50K per armed thug per crop for plantations thriving in our National Forests. Carefull hikers—you could end up fertilizer.

    After the panting whoredom demonstrated by our leaders during the insurance debacle can you doubt that the bagmen on K Street aren’t funneling
drug money straight into the Capital Building.That a foreign entity can maintain this enterprise without national outcry supports my observation.

    The hemp issue is only one aspect of a much bigger and destructive lie willingly perpetrated by a corrupt morally bankrupt government. It’s what it is—it isn’t something else.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 11, 2010 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

While I have long believed people should have the right to poison themselves (as long as they know it’s a poison), but take the full consequences of their actions on others. 

So…if you want to shoot heroin, be my guest. But if you break into my house to steal my TV to pay for it, I have NO problem with you going to prison for a long time, or getting shot and killed in the act.

I think it’s La Joya that has TOTALLY outlawed smoking—you can’t even smoke outside next to the out-of-tune, belching diesel exhaust bus!  How sick is THAT???  You can’t even argue “2nd Hand Smoke” with that.

PH argues against seat belt and helmet laws.  As a MC rider for 35 years I’ve heard it all.  The ONLY justifications I can think of for mandatory helmet laws are a) rock and big bug protection—when they hit your head you can lose focus and crash—which endangers others b) Wind noise—but that’s only fixed by helmets that cover your ears. Even Cop helmets don’t. Wind noise can keep you from hearing traffic around you.

Still, I used to ride in Maryland when they didn’t have mandatory helmet laws and I ALWAYS wore a helmet and eye protection—I don’t need no stinkin’ law to tell me not to be a moron!

OTOH, the ONLY way I could win the argument to get my MIL to use a seat-belt in my car was when they made it mandatory.

However, by the same logic I have NO problem with mandatory eye protection—Get blinded and you crash, potentially causing others to crash.  Road laws should be about protecting your passengers and other vehicles (and property) from your stupidity, protecting YOU from motor vehicle manufacturers desire to Pintofy your vehicle, but not about protecting you from yourself.

So…I have NO problem with laws against using hand-held cell phones or texting while driving, but I have a HUGE problem with idiots who want to outlaw hands-free cell phone usage. “But it’s a distraction!”  Yeah, and if you are tired and there’s NO place to pull over, it can save your life, talking to someone.

It’s like MADD and SADD:  In their zeal to save us from drunken teens, they’ve outlawed alcohol to a cohort of the ADULT population that votes, pays taxes and can die in Afghanistan or Iraq.  I have NO idea how that can be Constitutional except you can’t say it without being condemned.

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By Beltwaylaid, April 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


You need to be calling for the outlawing of alcohol. 
It is much more of a narcotic pain killer than pot is.

Also, go down the street and mooch a doob and do it
before your next post.  I’m certain that post will make
more sense.

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By Maani, April 10, 2010 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie: “I suggest you look into the origins of the Drug War, which resemble those of (alcohol) prohibition.”

No, they don’t.  And I challenge you to find me a single item of support for this claim.  Here is Wiki:

“The first U.S. law which restricted the distribution and use of certain drugs was the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914.

“In 1919 the United States the National Prohibition Act prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for consumption on a national level.

“In 1930, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was created.

“In 1937, the Marijuana Transfer Tax Act was passed in order to destroy the hemp industry, largely as a result of the efforts of the wealthy capitalists Andrew Mellon, Randolph Hearst, and the Du Pont family. With the invention of the decorticator, hemp became a very cheap substitute for the paper pulp that was used in the newspaper industry. Hearst felt that this was a threat to his extensive timber holdings. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury and the wealthiest man in America, had invested heavily in the Du Pont families new synthetic fiber, nylon, which was being outcompeted by hemp.

“In 1970, the Nixon administration implemented the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.

“In 1973, the Drug Enforcement Agency was created to replace the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

“In 1988 Ronald Reagan created the Office of National Drug Control Policy for central coordination of drug-related legislative, security, diplomatic, research and health policy throughout the government.

True, Wiki is not a “perfect” source.  But it seems that, rather than religion (and despite the inclusion of the 1919 “prohibition” law), it was the wealthy (Mellon, Hearst, DuPont et al) who had more to do with the “drug war” than religion.

Here are two other histories of the U.S. war on drugs.  Please find me one single word about religion:

As well, Google “History U.S. drug war” and click on the first item (from Frontline).  Again, show me one word about religion.

Re “For present attitudes, just Google up church views on drugs,” here is what I found:

“The Catholic Church seeks to support the laws of the countries in which it operates, providing of course that they are not contrary to proper Faith and Morals. Most countries are very strict on the regulation of drugs and Catholics must obey the laws accordingly regarding their possession, distribution and use. Strictly speaking, outside of civil law, drugs in themselves are amoral. What makes them sinful is their ability to impair reason and cloud judgment as well as be detrimental to the body. A drug that causes unconsciousness or impairments can be taken as medicine or anesthetic when appropriate (proper place, supervision, necessity to prevent or halt illness or facilitate surgery). Regarding recreational use, again, a drug can be taken in careful amounts so as to not suspend reason or judgment or cause harm. Alcohol is classified as a drug and Catholics may certainly partake of it to a point, usually when one is beginning to feel a buzz it is an indication to stop or radically slow down one’s consumption. Regarding other substances more commonly regarded as “drugs”, these are usually so addictive and powerful as to be impossible to sample without falling into sin. Because of this, most drugs should not be touched in the first place and indeed, most are classified as illegal anyway by civil law in most countries.”

Exactly what I said: the only proscription is due to its ability to “impair” (though I used the physical example instead of the “reason and judgment” example.)  And Protestant policy (except for fundamentalists) is even MORE lenient.

Thus, you are wrong on both counts.


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By Calabashe, April 10, 2010 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

As an advocate of separation of church and state ... church dogma is not impressive. The 18th amendment failed BTW and I resent being classified as a hippie and/or atheist as I’m sure you would be offended if called a zealot.

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By Anarcissie, April 10, 2010 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

Maani, April 10 at 5:33 pm:
’“I suspect also that where there are superstition, sadism, racism, and hatred there is also religion, especially Christianity.”

This is an absolutely unprovoked, unnecessary and insupportable attack attack on Christianity….’

I suggest you look into the origins of the Drug War, which resemble those of (alcohol) prohibition.

For present attitudes, just Google up church views on drugs.  Other religions get in on the act, too, of course, but most Americans claim to be Christians and many of those who make the claim most loudly accept the full spectrum of social conservatism or reaction, including drug prohibition.

The political energy for the War on Drugs has to be coming from somewhere, and I am pretty sure it isn’t coming from hippies and atheists.

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By Calabashe, April 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

Whoa Tex and rjg - This isn’t about a blanket legalization of all psychotropics or narcotics. With marijuana there is argument whether actually a narcotic or not.

There’s been a lot of tokin’ goin’ on in California just like there’s a lot of drinkin’ goin’ on in Tejas. (Lived in San Antonio for what seemed like years.)

What like 56% (according to recent polls) are sayin’ is, we think pot is no worst than a few cocktails and at least you don’t get sloppy fall-down drunk on pot or get hyper zippin’ and likely to commit violent crimes.

It is a kinda of experiment to bring out of the closet a mild recreational drug, like tobacco and alcohol, albeit with medicinal value as well not requiring regimented supervision.

Marijuana does not lead to heroin or priest molesting’ little boys. - Sorry the latter was tacky. - I just don’t buy, IMHO, far-fetched domino theories.

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By Maani, April 10, 2010 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment


“In this case Maani, perhaps we should tie the two together and proudly display our patriotism by issuing rolling papers with an image of the flag.”

Actually…in the heady (LOL) heyday of hippies and hemp, we did have rolling papers with the U.S. flag image…  So…been there, done that.  LOL.  (Though I agree some enterprising person should re-issue that image…)


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By SoTexGuy, April 10, 2010 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

Hello! I didn’t think for a minute my views of marijuana as less than a panacea would be well-received here! Nor was I wrong in that assumption.

It’s true some of my earlier post caricatured pot users in terms employed in the past.. About that I’ll say that I agree the image of the rebellious, (and high) marijuana user so popular just a decade or so ago is now so out-of-fashion!

Yet nothing has really changed except the face being put on marijuana use by those now seeking legalization or normalization of the consumption of pot. Before it was all about rebellion and getting high.. now a more average face is put on pot users.. they’re just like the rest of us.. needy, even.. of relief and peace… And don’t forget all those people in our prisons.. just because they broke our laws.. how unfair is that?

Anyway.. I don’t expect to gain any number of converts to my way of thinking (marijuana is a narcotic, people choosing to use it, sell it and so on are premeditated criminals).. but here’s the deal.. THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE CENTRAL TO THE PROGRESSIVE CAUSE.. use it, lose it.. who really cares? except maybe a pot-head..

Want a real cause?.. make a working list.. Social justice, The War on Terror, Extra-judicial Executions, Torture and Guantanamo, Who did bring down the Twin towers? and the list goes on..

My opinion: any real list of issues central to bringing our country into the light has as one of it’s most minor subjects.. the free use of Pot.

Be happy! I’m done on this subject (until maybe another impassioned post pleading for more access to narcotics)..


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By rjg1971, April 10, 2010 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

It seems to me that both the economic and public
safety arguments leave out what this issue is
really about: The Bill of Rights.

What in the Constitution and Bill of Rights says
consenting adults don’t have a right to willing
drug themselves? What in the Constitution empowers
the government to create the world’s largest
prison gulag by busting people for simple
possession? How is it that we have allowed
marijuana, coca and the opiates, drugs that have
been consumed openly and legally for centuries
around the world, to be banned as the embodiment
of Satan?

We already know how to deal with the public safety
issue. You deal with it the same way you deal with
drunk driving. You punish people more severely who
commit crimes while under the influence of

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By Calabashe, April 10, 2010 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

heavyrunner - Wow! I need to move to the Southland. Here in CA’s second city. Medical certificates run about $130 for 6 months. There was also a bit of a turf war as to which dispensary would accept whose certificate.

et al - No one is delusional as to a pot tax wiping out CA’s budget problems. Who knows if legislators are even willing to mellow out at this point but that’s a whole ‘nother issue.

In addition to an anticipated extra 1 billion in revenues, there will also be expenditure savings by eliminating entrapment and self-falacio type operations, like when the local sheriff is up for reelection.

Pot is sold in a raw form, like an agricultural product. Doubt if the state is gunna set up much in the way of standards and oversight like with a processed product. - “Gimme a pack of Acapulco Golds there, Syied”

Since medical distribution points already exist through out the state, the proposal will simply open them up to the public, assuming with age restrictions, for anyone buying less than 1oz. If more is needed, a medical certificate will still be required. DUI laws and alike would still be in effect as well.

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By TheHandyman, April 10, 2010 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

Marijuana is indeed a gateway drug. All those corporations and law enforcement agencies who derive billions of dollars from the travesty called the “War on Drugs” will fight any legalizing or decriminalization of Marijuana soley because they fead that should marijuana fall, them so will all the others. And why shouldn’t they?The governemnt does damn little to keep the thousands of unsafe chemicals put into our food by agribusiness which kills us. If we can be forced out of necessity to put chemicals in our bodies for the sake of greed and profit, why should we also be allowed to at least get some pleasure, even if it is transitory in nature?

This nasty little war is big business and does little if any thing other than esculate profits, violence, and feed the prison system more fodder. But in a country where people say they understand and want any drug leagalized they will soon scurry off to the dark corners if someone does indeed mention how drugs were the cause of 9/11, or terrorists, or killings in Mexico. In the land of the unenlightened, fear will always trump good sense and critical thinking!

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By amunaor, April 10, 2010 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

(RE: Maani, April 10 at 5:33 pm
Finally, is everyone aware that both the first American flag (made by Betsy Ross) and the first American “paper” money were made from hemp?)

In this case Maani, perhaps we should tie the two together and proudly display our patriotism by issuing rolling papers with an image of the flag.

Since the topic of religion has elbowed itself into this discussion, perhaps the deeper aspect of what is being discussed here should be broached.

Remember John M. Allegro?

As a member of several others, scrupulously commissioned to study and filter the emerging Dead Sea Scroll material that had come to light during the mid 1940’s, Allegro became increasingly disturbed by the initial restrictions placed upon the commission by the Church, which stipulated that any translations from the newly discovered Scrolls should be couched in such a fashion so as not to step on the toes of existing dogma.

Needless to say, when Allegro published his findings:

The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross -
A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity
within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East.

He was immediately vilified, and crucified in the press as unreliable.

See also Michael Baigent: The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By Maani, April 10, 2010 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

“I suspect also that where there are superstition, sadism, racism, and hatred there is also religion, especially Christianity.”

This is an absolutely unprovoked, unnecessary and insupportable attack attack on Christianity, as is beltwaylaid’s accusation against SoTexGuy as being “Bible belt judgmental,” despite the fact that nothing in STG’s post even hints at what his spiritual leanings might or might not be.

As Rev. Unruh points out, marijuana was (and continues to be) an important sacrament in certain belief systems, and may well have been involved even in the early years of the monotheistic Abrahamic faiths.  In fact, as beltwaylaid correctly points out, in the Judeo-Christian Bible God says, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”

Note that God does NOT say, “I have given you every herb-bearing seed”...“but don’t use this one over here.” (Cannabis) Thus, even if marijuana was not specifically a sacrament within the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Bible clearly does not prohibit its use.  The only Scriptural admonition that would seem to run counter to this is that our bodies are the “temple” of our souls, and should not be deliberately harmed in any way.  In this regard, even if marijuana is less harmful overall than tobacco, it is still true that ANYTHING in the lungs is not “good” for you, and thus smoking marijuana could be seen as a “defiling” of the soul’s “temple.”

Still, while I do not condone the willy-nilly use of marijuana, neither would I condemn anyone for using it, particularly for medical reasons or if used in a reasonable fashion.

Re Amunaor’s comment about radioactive fertilizer, it is actually worse than that.  One of the added “ingredients” in most commercially manufactured cigarettes is (radioactive) phosphorous, which is used to keep the cigarette burning. (This is why most American cigarettes continue burning if you put them down, while “pure” tobacco cigarettes (Nat Sherman et al) go out if you stop smoking them).

This bring us to something unmentioned here.  If marijuana is legalized and taxed - i.e., the government runs the business - expect them to do to “joints” what they do to cigarettes: homogenize the leaf, stems, seeds, etc., and put additives in, some of which may be as unhealthy as those in cigarettes.  Is that really what we want?

Finally, is everyone aware that both the first American flag (made by Betsy Ross) and the first American “paper” money were made from hemp?  In that regard, I thought everyone would enjoy these sites: WELCOME.htm

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By Johnny, April 10, 2010 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m a Californian who supports legalization but doesn’t smoke pot.

Anyway, to me, the main reason pot should be legalized is to take power from the violent Mexican drug cartels. The cartels have huge pot grows in the national forests near where I live. It’s dangerous for hikers and toxic for the environment. For, unlike the hippies in Humboldt County, who grow the good stuff, the cartels use A LOT of pesticides and fertilizers.

The cartels—which murder on a regular basis, no doubt—fuel most of the county’s appetitie for weed. Considering that around 89 million Americans have tried pot—as opposed to just a few million for hard drugs—making pot legal would pretty much wipe out the cartels.

And make our country a lot safer in the process.

And regarding the medical marijuana thing: Just a very small percentage of pot users actually have a card (probably like 3 percent or so). So—minus legalization—there are a lot of people out there who aren’t being protected.

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By REDHORSE, April 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

The discussion of American marijuana law enforcement always gives lip service to, but passes over, the horror experienced by those trapped inside the belly of the politcal beast still being used to successfully destroy the civil rights we once enjoyed.

  To those who’ve lost their homes to dope lawyers and government seizure. Saw their family destroyed. Were raped and/or murdered in the “gulag” we call a prison system or are presently losing the best years of their lives supplying profit to the fascists corporations that devoured them, these types of conversation are laughable.

  For decades now prosecutors looking to make political hay and easy money have sent snitches into our communities to simply write down the names of anyone they encountered smoking marijuana. Then charging them all with conspiracy-  (thought crime)- presented the choice of twenty years to life or a guilty plea that took away every political right thay had. These are REAL PEOPLE and the damage to them and our country continues. The fact is: their only crime is being poor and wreckable.

  Americans went along with this nightmare and said nothing. This let the “Fascist Right” build a network. Seeing they could get away with anything they jacked credit card interest to 30 percent, destroyed our industrial base, looted the treasury and took our homes. I’m amazed that most people don’t understand the connection. The entire marijuana prosecution industry is political expedience. It has nothing to do with drugs. Marijuana is not a drug. The marijuana laws are there to silence thought and vision associated with liberal humanist conservationist dialogue while inserting police state power and fear into every life. In short:MAKE EVERYONE BUSTABLE. Those guys in the bodyarmor with masked faces were spawned in your indifference. You didn’t speak up to stop the travesty and now there is nobody to speak up for you. The entire country has been criminalized. You’re wreckable right now. You think you’re gonna slide but the special prosecutor is on the bench. The indictment is coming down.

  Got LIFE?? Got LIBERTY?? Are you HAPPY??

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By amunaor, April 10, 2010 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

(RE: By Calabashe, April 10 at 12:22 am #

‘Reefer Madness’ - Yes!

I admit to having inhaled while goofing on the absurdity of that propaganda film.)


Yes, yes! I to must admit that I too am guilty of taking a puff…...numerous times, but I never inhaled…...ha ha haaaaaaaa!

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By heavyrunner, April 10, 2010 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Pot is already legal in California, especially Southern California.  There are storefront doctors’ offices where their only reason d’ etre is to write pot recommendations.  You pay your $80 or whatever and you get smokers card that is good for a year.

“Doc, I have a headache.”

“OK, my assistant will help you with the paperwork” and you walk out the door across the hall to the dispensary where you have your choice of a large selection of cannabis buds for around $20 a gram.

In the future as long as you don’t lose your card you walk straight into the dispensary and buy your weed.  All perfectly legal.  And the weed is usually really good, although you do have to be your own judge of quality.  The State of California does nothing to regulate quality or prevent someone from selling weed that was picked to early.

Caveat Emptor.

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By Nobelium1000, April 9, 2010 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment

Everybody’s saying that tax revenue from selling legal marijuana is going to rescue California’s budget.


However, here is how legalizing marijuana WILL hugely benefit California taxpayers:  The fact that we are no longer spending Billions arresting, trying and incarcerating marijuana users.  When the cold war ended we got a “peace dividend.”  When we legalize marijuana we’ll get a “pot dividend,” meaning that we won’t be wasting taxpayer money prosecuting pot smokers.

THAT is where California taxpayers will see the benefits of legalizing pot.

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By Calabashe, April 9, 2010 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

‘Reefer Madness’ - Yes!

I admit to having inhaled while goofing on the absurdity of that propaganda film.


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By amunaor, April 9, 2010 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

Yes! It is a very interesting piece of history that many do not wish to confront. You see, Hemp is magical in more ways than one; a quickly grown, renewable plant that easily satisfies many needs; from paper, cloth to even furniture and beyond.

The war on drugs is bogus. Its purpose has morphed into keeping ‘black-market’ prices high, which proceeds are then funneled into U.S. - CIA black-ops
projects. (Do a search on whistle blower: Who is Michael C. Ruppert)

‘Reefer Madness’ was a politically motivated campaign produced by the logging industry to destroy hemp farming within the U.S.; by psychologically permeating the public’s mind with dark, bogus images of marijuana smoking zombies; the logging cabal’s, unsubstantiated, claims succeeded in destroying the U.S. hemp farms; while unto this day, the stigma of the ‘lunatic’ pot smoker continues to pervade and effectively terrorize the public mind.

On the other hand, the pharmaceutical industry, officialy sanctioned dope pushers, would rather peddle, sell and breed their own form of addicts, containing their own dangerous blend of ‘serotonin uptake inhibitors’......already linked to suicides and school shootings. Then, of course, there is the military’s interest in creating the insensitive ‘Pharmaceutical Soldier’; a killing machine and wet-dream for the Corporatarchs of aggressive dominance, whose sole economy is war and terror. For this reason, any legalization protocols should be entirely removed from the ‘pharma-militia-wall street’ cabal. Keep it Natural folks!

Let’s not forget some recent history: Enron was one of the biggest drug-money laundering facilities before its collapse. No ‘theories’ here, but isn’t it interesting to note that, coincidently, the collapse of building-7 on 911 took with it a mountain of Enron’s tax records along with other important documents? Then there was the BCCI (Bank for Credit and Commerce International), related to the infamous 1980’s Savings & Loan fiasco, another dark artery, whose nefarious proceeds fed, under the radar, black projects.

Iran-Contra…..drugs for guns…...proceeds that allowed ex-CIA chief, papa Bush, as Vice President under Reagan, to exploit loose canon ideologues such as Oliver North, in funding the support of right-wing, free-market, death squads, to the South; simply to gorge the insatiable appetites of Wall Street’s Corporate palates and facilitate control over the regions natural resources.

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

Hemp, The World’s Miracle Crop

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By Calabashe, April 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Thanx Amunaor for such an informative video.

So not long ago it was considered patriotic to grow hemp? Lords know I do my part to keep that tradition alive. LOL

It was amusing that the opening theme music was from Popeye the Sailorman.

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By amunaor, April 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment


Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By amunaor, April 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment

RE: By Calabashe, April 9 at 11:07 pm

Better the Nickel Bag - BIG Bag - stems seeds and all! Now that’s California Dreamin’!

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By Calabashe, April 9, 2010 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

California prop 215 has long been an act of federal disobedience. The San Francisco DA, at the time, announced he would not waste money and resources prosecuting marijuana possession cases.

Californians, except those few who believe their individual moral perceptions should trump common practice, have long accepted that a “joint” is no more a concern than a few cocktails.

If the state wants to take advantage of taxation and reasonable rules, like with alcohol, sobeit. Storefront distribution is already in place and I hope the free market will keep costs reasonable. Remember the $20 lid? (Don’t I wish!)

So if such libation is not your thing - don’t partake. Otherwise, “roll up another one just like the other one and don’t bogart that joint, my friend ...”

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By PatrickHenry, April 9, 2010 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

A very relevent article:

Our nation is run by ding-bats who refuse to recognize the beneficial uses of this plant.

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By Reverend Lauren Unruh, April 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,


or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of

From my church,

Cultivation and enjoyment of Cannabis sacrament is a fundamental human
right provided by God and protected by the first Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution. It is our opinion that Cannabis is the original sacrament of
Hebrew, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist, Rasta and more, and
fulfills the prophesies to ‘raise up for them a plant of renown…’

Reverend Lauren Unruh
THC Ministry
Pleasant Hill, Ca

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By rollzone, April 9, 2010 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

hello again. i skipped right over the pathetic diatribe by the nonsmoker below. too many words. So in Text the Guy, i just want to mention marijuana is wrongly classified as a narcotic. ask anyone with a broken bone if marijuana will deflect the pain, and they will cry for a real narcotic. just changing the classification, wrongly imposed on the public, by Mr.s Mellon and DuPont (lobbied Congress for their own personal profits) way back when, (and in no way outlawed to cure societal ills); over night would reduce the damage to personal gains and freedoms by the majority of average, hard working users in society: you associate with. because you do not enjoy it, you need not denigrate it, or those whom do. just thank God you are blessed with a body not constituted to benefit by it, and respect those whom can, and their right to chose for themselves.

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By amunaor, April 9, 2010 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

Do we want greedy Capitalists growing our Pot? Already, through the use of steroids, these magicians can hatch a chick and bring it to adulthood within the span of a week, before the Frankensteinian creature lands into your oven or frying pan.


The problem traces back to fertilizer and WW II, to a fateful change-over from natural fertilizer (manure) to chemical fertilizer. The reason? The munitions makers needed the saltpeter from the manure to make explosives, so the government collected and carried off the manure used for centuries to fertilize the tobacco fields. The replacement, a chemical fertilizer made from the mineral apatite, was the tobacco equivalent of growth hormone, but it bore within it a deadly cargo - radioactive contaminants of several types.

An Appetite for Apatite

Tobacco plants grow like wildfire on calcium phosphate fertilizer, providing an economic disincentive to return to the lower yield rates grown naturally.

The tobacco leaf sucks this radioactive steroid up into it fibrous tissue, which in turn is released as smoke into the lungs of those who inhale it.

Radioactive Polonium in Tobacco - FULL STORY:

Legalize, but Grow Your Own Remedies! Distribute through open air Farmers Markets, along with cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, tomatoes etc.

Keep Wall-Street Gambling Houses and the Pharmaceutical Industry’s perverted hands off Mother Nature!

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By Gmonst, April 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

These are opinions formed from watching friends and acquaintances deep into the habit and the culture of Marijuana lose themselves and their families and their futures.. OH! but marijuana is not habit-forming or harmful! .. accepting that as true.. then the people who are buying, selling and using it are in full control of their faculties and decisions .. premeditated felons choosing to scoff at our laws..

I did hear the other day of a man doing a decade in Texas prison for the possession of a joint, so I am assuming the loosing of themselves, families and futures is connected to those kinds of consequences.  The greatest negative consequence for cannabis use is the legal penalties we impose.  Other than that I know of no cases of people loosing themselves or families to cannabis “addiction.”  I don’t pretend that it isn’t somewhat habit forming, but most pleasurable things in life are habit forming.  I personally think coffee is slightly more habit forming than cannabis.  We tend to like to do the things that make us feel good repeatedly, thats human behavior, not pathology.  Using the law imposed consequences of cannabis prohibition as reason for continued prohibition is a rather blatant circular logic which has no merit. 

Oh! but these people need it for their health! Sure thing.. and the only way to get that benefit is by filling your lungs with that crap?

You are obviously unfamiliar with the dearth of scientific evidence showing the medical efficacy of smoked cannabis on a wide number of conditions.  Further than that, the “smoke isn’t medicine” argument is a bit of a canard, as there are other ways to consume cannabis.  It can be taken orally in food or as a tincture.  More to the point of replacing smoking is vaporization where the active cannabinoids are heated to their volitization point and inhaled, leaving behind the “crap.”  This has been shown to practically eliminates any of the unwanted compounds from the consumption of cannabis.

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By rollzone, April 9, 2010 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

hello. California green is what they’re smokin’. that’s the whole point of the safety. the money is not going to terrorists. the money is not being laundered by rogue governments. the money is being redistributed into the California economy through dispensaries. these dispensaries employ salaried people. the money is safely being recirculated into the California market. the criminal element is being eliminated, much to the safety of the citizenry. the quality of the marijuana is now assured, and not possibly sprayed with poison by angry authorities. it is a safer product to smoke (although i do recommend vaporizing). the safety of smoking marijuana far outweighs the risks and side effects of taking pharmaceutical drugs, from which she gets huge bribery donations. it is getting to be safer for her to inhale.

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By PatrickHenry, April 9, 2010 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Time has come for repeal of those laws which clearly violate our 10th amendment rights against obtrusive federal laws.

Personally, I get quite irate at new laws designed to protect me from myself, i.e. seat belt laws, helmet laws and other laws crafted by the insurance industry to enhance their bottom line at the cost of my personal freedom.

The fines and penalties generated by these public safety laws perpetuate the enforcement and thereby the police state administering it.

Marijuana and Hemp have myriad uses, industrial, pharmaceutical, petrochemical and otherwise. 

Industries begging for growth and the inevitable taxation.

Cut off funding for the DEA, and those federal and multistate enforcement agencies concerned with Marijuana and hire in the licensing, regulation and inspection departments.

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By mindful, April 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

I suppose people afraid of legalizing POT would put that over tax revenues. I suggested Vermont, a quit liberal state, legalize pot and restrict sales.

We do that with booze. 21 is the earliest to legally consume. However, we all know persons much young do regularly.

To this point the hysteria has yet to start. I suppose it would if any state really came close to grow greens and tax.

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By Jimnp72, April 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

The congressional Republicans should be required to get stoned before their
I am sure they would be more sensible than they are now.

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By Beltwaylaid, April 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:  SoTexGuy, April 9 at 3:07 pm

Your superficial evaluation of cannabis/hemp is
typical of Bible belt, judgmental demagoguery.  If it
were legal and accepted then all of those unfortunate befallen people you mention wouldn’t exist.

Gmonst’s post is the most knowing.  Man’s laws defy God’s:

And God said, “Look!  I have given you the seed-
bearing plants throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.”.... Genesis 1:29

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By bEHOLD_tHE_mATRIX, April 9, 2010 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What have you been smoking Mr. Sirota?  This is the
Capitalocracy of America.  It’s always about the money.

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By SoTexGuy, April 9, 2010 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

HIGH society!

Mentioning JFK is supposed to disarm us, I suppose.. About that, here’s something!

That’s right.. POT, not plot..

Pretty far out there, in my opinion.. just like it’s a pretty good stretch to suggest that the legalization of marijuana or other narcotics is what the majority of Americans want..

Let them legalize pot in California! .. or anywhere for that matter.. there is a big problem with the incarceration of many otherwise harmless tokers.. though I’d guess you’d have to look a lot closer at the demographics of marijuana users to say for sure they are not harming anyone .. look at their comparative income potential, how many are on public assistance.. have a permanent job that pays above the poverty level.. that kind of ‘downer’ stuff. But hey.. it might just confirm that that the average pot user is actually an educated and articulate Progressive blogger! That would open my eyes..

After the high over the ‘freedom’ to get high wears off.. what then? Does anyone think the employer drug tests will stop? Should they stop?! Will the ‘heads’ still be discriminated against when an officer takes them to get blood drawn after a traffic stop (their car and their clothes reeking of the acrid burning weed smell?

Heck, it’s all small potatoes compared to the real trouble the ‘Man’ has put us all in.. go for it!

Sorry.. I can’t get excited about pot-smokers.. I don’t think they are, as a distinct demographic, what makes America great.. and I don’t believe more people toking up will solve anything in America.. But that is just my opinion..

These are opinions formed from watching friends and acquaintances deep into the habit and the culture of Marijuana lose themselves and their families and their futures.. OH! but marijuana is not habit-forming or harmful! .. accepting that as true.. then the people who are buying, selling and using it are in full control of their faculties and decisions .. premeditated felons choosing to scoff at our laws..

Oh! but these people need it for their health! Sure thing.. and the only way to get that benefit is by filling your lungs with that crap?

Here’s a real question.. now exactly why are all these people wanting and needing the escape or release of narcotics? or the ‘therapeutic’ effects of marijuana? That would be something to get into..

Oh, and I don’t doubt some readers here may strongly disagree with my views on marijuana and marijuana use.. if you are one of these respected citizens and feel the need to rebut my claims.. take a few hits and relax before you start in.. it will expand your consciousness and let you see the truth in all things!


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By Gmonst, April 9, 2010 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

I think Mr. Sirota is correct in his assertion that budget arguments are not likely be as effective as social safety arguments.  The fact is that cannabis is one of the safest if not the safest intoxicant known to human kind.  I personally put its harmfulness about the same level as coffee.  Consumption of cannabis should be encouraged by society over other drugs because of its safety, and also because the high it gives is conducive to the direction our culture needs to go.  Alcohol intoxication encourages a short-sided selfish state of mind.  Having alcohol as the drug of choice has societal consequences.  In contrast cannabis enhances a feeling of contentment, creative thinking, and harmonious interaction.  On a massive level the consumption of cannabis as societies main intoxicant will have wide reaching benefits, and help promote the deep cultural change which is required for the humanity to overcome the selfish, short-sided, and wasteful modern lifestyle.  That isn’t even considering the plethora of uses for hemp.  If we focus on budgets and leave the paradigm of cannabis as a “harm” to society intact, its unlikely to be very effective at changing hearts and minds.  It comes across as miserly economic indifference to social costs.

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By NYCartist, April 9, 2010 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

I don’t think “rational arguments” change mind of the public. Nor politicians.  Pols are scared to back anything “drug” related in re legalizing.  Even to decriminalize or reduce sentencing/let people out who are in with high sentences for marijuana possession under the Rockefeller Drug Laws in NYS (only a small amount of people were helped by the recent legislation).  I know people in CA who have legal marijuana RX for medical reasons.  I hope I live long enough to see a medical marijuana law passed in NYS and the feds stop “killing” it.

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By skulz fontaine, April 9, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

“What are they smoking in California?” Answer is, corn silk. Cause, cigarettes are
cost prohibitive. Spliff is cost prohibitive and legally an uncertainty. Walnuts won’t
stay lit in a pipe. Grapes are even harder to keep lit in a pipe than walnuts. One
could theoretically, smoke money in California. However, California is bankrupt
and gots NO money so smoking money is simply out of the question. So all that
California has left is corn silk. Well and garlic. Loads of garlic in Gilroy. Gilroy
stinks by the by. California could smoke the Gropenator but, he’d just “be back”
and that would be interminably banal.

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By Lesley Palmer, April 9, 2010 at 9:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I was in high school, the chief of police in my small town said much the same thing.  He had never seen any problems with pot smokers, other than a slow response time in driving. He never regarded it as a “gateway” drug, and regarded it as safer than alcohol.  He had multiple enforcement problems with alcohol use and had none with marijuana.  He regarded marijuana enforcement as a waste of law enforcement time and resources.  It is not local police who have sustained the war on marijuana, it is the prison profiteers, the culture warriors, and the pharmaceutical industry.  The anti-anxiety, anti-depression pill industry will collapse when marijuana is legalized. Again, it’s not really about safety or tax revenue…it’s all about corporate profits.

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By Anthony, April 9, 2010 at 9:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have long believed that cannabis can save the world - and not because people can be stoned.  What does not make sense to me is that this plant is pretty much outlawed in the USA.  If USA citizens want to bounce back from a crappy economy, reinvent themselves using hemp as a product.  If George Washington Carver can create 300 uses for peanuts, I am almost certain, with the USA’s social ingenuity, that products could be manufactured from the cannabis plant.  Of course, the usefulness of cannabis is a threat to pharmaceutical and petroleum companies.  But uhhhh… they had their fun - and at a high price for all concerned too.

Pity the USA does not treat pot like they do in Holland.

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By lisa, April 9, 2010 at 7:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The ballot measure to tax pot is really- (read the present law and the proposed law and think about the implications) - a re-criminalization.

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By howiebledsoe, April 9, 2010 at 7:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, if you can make laws and make money from them, then you will invest more money into keeping the laws in place, to make more money. These people suck, but what can you do?

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By G.Anderson, April 9, 2010 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

Bear with me,

Seems like in the Middle east we are fighting fundamentalists who want to live in the middle ages. Who want to roll back the clocks so that that they can escape into the past, like time travelers who pick 1950 America as the perfect time to live, or 1225 AD.

That’s what were fighting here, people who want to live in the past, who can’t move forward, whose hearts and minds, put one principal above all else, all the suffering, insanity, cost, hypocracy and criminality that goes with keeping pot illegal.

And what is that principal to which we sacrifise our sanity? Paranoia…(which is actually a delusion)

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By Anarcissie, April 9, 2010 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

I’d like to see an analysis of those who support the Drug War.  No doubt the staff of the Prison-Industrial complex are high on the list, but I suspect also that where there are superstition, sadism, racism, and hatred there is also religion, especially Christianity.  Knowing more about the enemy may help decent people counterattack.

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By Calabashe, April 9, 2010 at 12:21 am Link to this comment

So I guess my choice is between Barbara - not so progressive - Boxer and Carly - American’s are not entitled to American jos - Fiorina.

No wonder we wanna puk it all & smoke joints with A’Nuld!

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By Samson, April 8, 2010 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment

The best solution is of course for that majority of pro-legalization voters to start to elect pro-legalization people to public office.

Sounds like CA Senator would be a fine place to start.  If a majority of CA citizens favor legalization, then elect a pro-legalization Senator.

And this is a time to go into the Democratic primary to fight.  If a majority of all CA citizens favor legalization, then what do you suspect is the percentage of Democratic primary voters who are pro-legalization?  70%?  80%? 

So, the place to wage this fight is in the CA Democratic primaries.  Flex some political muscles and make it clear that from now on CA Democrats will never nominate another candidate who is not pro-legalization.

Realize who’s in the majority and use it.  Don’t cower in the corner like the Democrats will tell you do to.  Don’t accept that the Democrats have to side with the police chiefs and attack their own supporters.  Get active in that primary and end Boxer’s career on this issue.  Realize who’s in the majority!

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By Samson, April 8, 2010 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment

Sorry, but you can’t blame Boxer’s opposition on the mistakes of the campaign proponents.

Boxer has long been one of those fake liberals that talks a nice game, but when the chips are down and there’s a push for some real change, there she is standing right next to the police chiefs and the prosecutors and the prison guards.

Usually she’d be blaming the Republicans for how she has to attack and harm her own supporters, like on health care, but I guess on this issue she can’t possibly blame the Republicans for the fact that she wants to keep arresting and imprisoning her own voters for smoking pot.

So, now the blame is somehow placed on the activists working for real change and its there fault in how they framed their position that now has Boxer siding with the police chiefs and the prosecutors and the prison guards in saying that Boxer’s own voters will have to continue to go to prison in great numbers for daring to possess a plant.

The lengths one has to go to try to avoid noticing that Boxer is on the wrong side .... again.

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