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Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:41 AM

Timothy Egan: Give Pot a Chance

Timothy Egan worked for The Times for 18 years – as Pacific Northwest correspondent and a national enterprise reporter. In 2001, he was part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that wrote the series “How Race Is Lived in America.” He is the author of several books, including “The Worst Hard Time,” a history of the Dust Bowl, for which he won the National Book Award, and most recently, “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America.”

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/give-pot-a-chance/#more-136666

Social revolutions in a democracy, especially ones that begin with voters, should not be lightly dismissed. Forget all the lame jokes about Cheetos and Cheech and Chong. In the two-and-a-half weeks since a pair of progressive Western states sent a message that arresting 853,000 people a year for marijuana offenses is an insult to a country built on individual freedom, a whiff of positive, even monumental change is in the air.

But there remains the big question of how President Obama will handle the cannabis spring. So far, he and Attorney General Eric Holder have been silent. I take that as a good sign, and certainly a departure from the hard-line position they took when California voters were considering legalization a few years ago. But if they need additional nudging, here are three reasons to let reason stand:


(and here's the third one)

Lead. That’s what transformative presidents do. From his years as a community organizer — and a young man whose own recreational drug use could have made him just another number in lockup — Obama knows well that racial minorities are disproportionately jailed for these crimes. With 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States has 25 percent of its prisoners — and about 500,000 of them are behind bars for drug offenses. On cost alone — up to $60,000 a year, to taxpayers, per prisoner — this is unsustainable.

21 replies, 2291 views

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Reply Timothy Egan: Give Pot a Chance (Original post)
RainDog Nov 2012 OP
orpupilofnature57 Nov 2012 #1
Upton Nov 2012 #2
RainDog Nov 2012 #3
SomethingFishy Nov 2012 #12
MrScorpio Nov 2012 #4
RainDog Nov 2012 #18
pipoman Nov 2012 #5
Warren Stupidity Nov 2012 #6
SomethingFishy Nov 2012 #13
RainDog Nov 2012 #20
RainDog Nov 2012 #16
The Wizard Nov 2012 #7
MADem Nov 2012 #8
Jasana Nov 2012 #9
RainDog Nov 2012 #14
loudsue Nov 2012 #10
Matariki Nov 2012 #11
RainDog Nov 2012 #15
WillyT Nov 2012 #17
TeamPooka Nov 2012 #19
RainDog Nov 2012 #21

Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:46 AM

1. +1000

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:49 AM

2. I'm counting the days until Dec. 6th..

when the amount of pot I have now will suddenly be legal..sort of a weird feeling not knowing what's going to happen. I still fully expect the feds to step in though..

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Response to Upton (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:59 AM

3. Yes

I'm glad to see so many people speaking out in mainstream publications and on tv to call for the federal govt. to honor this change in two states and possibly 2 more once legislative sessons convene in other states.

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Response to Upton (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:34 PM

12. I have seedlings in my closet I have been saving..

They are in a wet paper towel now, germinating. By the 6th I will be able to plant them.. LEGALLY!!

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:19 AM

4. I've never smoked pot and I probably never will

Last edited Tue Nov 27, 2012, 06:26 PM - Edit history (4)

I'm not going to go into why I haven't. Let's just say it's my personal choice and leave it with that.

But it's obvious that the politics behind it in this country touches on both the issues of race and poverty, as well as a protection racket for so-called legal purveyors of both mind altering substances and Big Pharma.

We have major problems with this country when it comes to the issues of poverty, the lop-sided wealth distribution curve, the prison industrial complex, our crumbling infrastructure, corporate malfeasance, corporate control of our political system and the use of propaganda to skew our national priorities in the wrong direction.

If I could distill America's main problem down to a single definition, I would choose the fact that our national priorities are wrong and a lack of viable democratic action is the cause.

We equate profit with freedom and security. Our marijuana policies are an example of this… In that those entities that I mentioned above view pot as an existential threat to their ability to peddle their poisons, as pot can be cultivated and consumed without the need for a large corporate provider which has patented products and the willingness of our legal system to protect their monopoly.

We also have drug policies as a system of control over the poor and minorities in this country, as well as an incentive to expand and militarize our police forces, use a tool to restrict personal freedom, maintain a massive, for profit, prison industry as well as legitimize a national system of propaganda production.

It seems that the best way to fight all of this is our vote. Rather than establishing and maintaining the poor priorities of propaganda, militarization, fear, racism, classism, violence and commercial profit that comes with prohibition, we have the chance, through democratic means, to alter our national priorities for the better.

Instead of the corporations, it's up to the people. And in spite of my own personal predilections toward pot, I defer to a democratic process to determine its availability in our society.

Democracy will create better priorities in the long run.

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:59 PM

18. Great reply!

And, honestly, I feel like Obama's election and re-election was the signal of a sea change in America.

Even tho we'd like to see immediate changes, sometimes they evolve, but we seem to have reached a point at which old ways of exercising power need to change. We always seem to go through these pendulums of change for the better followed by backlash - drug laws are part of this as much as Jim Crow laws were in the past.

But the move is toward a saner society, I hope. That's what I saw with the last election.

Not that we'll ever be without racists and extreme wingers. But they are not the future.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:28 AM

5. I believe Obama's legacy

largely hinges on this issue. Yes, he will always be our first black President. He will also likely continue the unsustainable trade policy of his predecessors, a revamping of which could improve his legacy dramatically, not gonna happen..he'll allow the jobs to continue to drain.

If he embraces a policy of legalization of pot at the federal level, leaving the legalization at the state level to the states, much like liquor laws are currently allowed, it will be a game changer. If, for instance, he introduced a policy of imposing a federal tax on pot with the proceeds going to mental health and addiction services for anyone who wants or needs them, I believe we would see near immediate reductions in crime and in metal health related offenses. The numbers of wackos shooting up the 7-11 would be reduced...how many times, in the wake of a mass shooting do we have to hear friends and family state after the fact that they tried to get mental health services but could not until the person committed a crime?

Yep, this is a great opportunity to embrace, or to leave for the next president. Which ever party chooses to embrace this issue will go down in history as a great visionary. imho..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:47 AM

6. Congress will not go along with legislative change.

Obama could and should effectively decriminalize pot at the federal level, leaving it up to the individual states, by directing the justice department and the dea to cease activities against state-legal marijuana transactions.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #6)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:36 PM

13. Hopefully Colorado and Washington will handle this correctly

and it will get to the point where Congress can act on a proven method. Sometimes you gotta drag them kicking and screaming into the 21st century...

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Response to SomethingFishy (Reply #13)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:19 AM

20. ain't that the truth

you can look back at so many of the most important changes for the better in this nation - they didn't start with Congress, Congress had to catch up and then look around to make sure it won't cost them too much to do the right thing.

CO and WA seem to be doing a great job taking this to Federal authorities to talk about how to handle it. The Govs don't want to implement the law only to have the Feds turn around and trash people's lives or waste the money the states will spend putting the laws into effect.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 05:01 PM

16. I would like to see it removed entirely from the Drug Schedule

of the Controlled Substances Act.

Doing this would allow other nations and the U.S. to regulate it like alcohol without having to go through some tedious Congressional b.s. sessions.

We and the rest of the world already have enough evidence to indicate cannabis does not belong as a Schedule I substance - and the reality is that it's no different than nutmeg, as far as its psychotropic possibilities vs. its capacity for harm.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:17 AM

7. 25% of the prisoners

and we use 25% of the world's energy. This is American exceptionalism (Exceptionalism is not a real word, rather one created by the propagandist Frank Luntz.) in its starkest manifestation. American exceptionalism sounds too much like master race, and we know how that worked out.
The hippies were right.

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Response to The Wizard (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:24 AM

8. "Exceptional" is a eupehmism for "special needs" in some quarters.

While this article includes kids "above the norm" in the definition, the ones utilizing "exceptional" programs are far more likely to be "below the norm."

http://www.education.com/reference/article/who-exceptional-children/

Luntz should re-think his verbiage.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:08 AM

9. I'm going to give pot a chance...

I might even try it. In Mass we legalized it for medicinal usage and I have read in places that it can help with MS. We shall see. I want to talk it over with my physical therapist first.

K&R

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Response to Jasana (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:55 PM

14. Yes. Cannabis is a legal treatment for MS symptoms in at least 4 nations

There are a lot of studies that have shown its value for people with MS and I personally know one woman who has used it regularly for this purpose.

Cannabis is also useful for epilepsy and CP - iow, for a variety of illnesses or conditions in which spasticity is a problem.

YouTube has videos of several people who demonstrate the changes they experience. Check them out.

Oh and also check out the Drug Policy Forum here. There are links to videos and lots of studies that talk about various medical benefits - videos from doctors at conferences who have dealt with many patients.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:10 PM

10. 30 Billion a year would sustain a lot of poor families, rebuild or build schools,

and we could also offer some more dental & vision benefits to the health care bill. Hell. We could do lots of stuff with that 30 billion, besides ruining people's lives to line the pockets of privatized prison CEOs.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:29 PM

11. "With 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States has 25 percent of its prisoners"

This makes me weep.

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Response to Matariki (Reply #11)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:58 PM

15. Yes. It's truly awful.

And of the approximately 800,000 arrests for cannabis last year, the overwhelming majority were for simple possession.

...of something less harmful than coffee.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 05:02 PM

17. K & R !!!


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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:04 AM

19. k+r!

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Response to TeamPooka (Reply #19)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:19 PM

21. thanks to you and willyt for the kicks! n/t

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