“I smoked pot as a kid,” said President Obama, “And I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
No different than cigarettes. No more dangerous than alcohol, which kills 2.5 million people worldwide each year. Finally some common sense from the top of the establishment pyramid.
Many credible studies actually show that cigarettes and alcohol are significantly more dangerous than marijuana. According to a study published in The Lancet magazine, one of the world’s oldest and best known general medical journals, “new ‘landmark’ research finds that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than some illegal drugs like marijuana or Ecstasy and should be classified as such in legal systems.” From Professor David Nutt of Britain’s Bristol University in this article posted on CBSNews.com:
“The current drug system is ill thought-out and arbitrary,” said Nutt, referring to the United Kingdom’s practice of assigning drugs to three distinct divisions, ostensibly based on the drugs’ potential for harm. “The exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from the Misuse of Drugs Act is, from a scientific perspective, arbitrary.”
The President went on to point out the way marijuana laws disproportionally punish people of color and those lower on the economic spectrum.
“Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.”
The President, of course, isn’t alone in recognizing the silliness of marijuana prohibition. In fact, according to Gallup, “for the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) say the drug should be legalized.”
Marijuana law reform efforts aren’t just happening across America–they’re succeeding. Here is some more pot news you might not know about, but it’d be a lot cooler if you did.
This is the New Yorker piece where the Obama quote originally came from. David Remnick is a fantastic writer, if you’ve never read him before.
Even if marijuana laws aren’t racist in words, they’re certainly racist in practice. From The Washington Post:
While white and black Americans use marijuana at roughly similar rates — though whites ages 18 to 25 consistently surpass their black peers — arrest rates are nowhere near comparable. As of 2005, according to the American Bar Association, African Americans represented 14 percent of drug users (and of the population as a whole), yet accounted for 34 percent of all drug arrests and 53 percent of those sent to prison for a drug offense.
Incarceration is a powerful weapon in the fight to broaden income inequality in this country. Legalization would take away a tool that keeps the oppressed ‘lower classes’ in jail, and thus not moving forward in their careers and providing consistent parenting to their children.
From the article: “Ten of 13 council members have signed on to a bill to make possession of less than an ounce of marijuana punishable by a fine of no more than $100. On Wednesday, Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said for the first time that he supports the idea. And on Thursday, the author of the bill and the office of the attorney general said they could agree to an even smaller, token fine of $25.”
It is the District, so Congress can, and might, have a say in this before it becomes law. The will of the citizens and city-level leadership is evidently there, though.
If you’ve ever been to Maine, one of the most beautiful and friendly places in America, this won’t surprise you. According to the article, “last month, Portland voters approved by a wide margin the legalization measure, which allows individuals 21 or older to carry 2.5 ounces or less of the drug according to city rules.”
There are some caveats. It’s still illegal in public places. According to the article, the ordinance also gives landlords the authority to regulate pot use in their buildings. But progress comes with compromise, and these seem like small concessions to make given the bigger picture.
Unfortunately, New Hampshire’s Governor Maggie Hassan has promised she’ll veto the bill. We’ll see how this plays out.
From the article: Most New Yorkers support Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to allow the use of medical marijuana in a pilot program in up to 20 hospitals, according to a poll released on Monday.
The move to legalize marijuana in Maryland has a powerful ally: Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.
Get active, people! This is a democracy yet—your voice matters.
From the article: “His mother says his condition has improved so much following treatment with medical marijuana that chemotherapy isn’t needed. But the Children’s Hospital of Colorado, she says, disagreed.”
It’s cases like this that make me sure it’s only a matter of time. Progressives already favor legalization, or at least major reform. Here’s the kind of anecdotal get-off-my-lawn scenario conservatives should be attracted to like….. conservatives to a case of obvious government over-intervention into the lives of private citizens.
From the article:
Studies on the chronic effects of marijuana have proven highly inconclusive. In a paper written for The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Stanford University professors cite studies in Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Greece that found no significant physical abnormalities in groups of heavy marijuana smokers as compared to groups of non-smokers.
Change is happening all around us. If you care about this issue find a way to get involved and be a part of America’s less hypocritical, controlling, and illogical future. The days of Reefer Madness are quickly coming to an end.