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CBS News: “Advocacy Group Seeks Pot Regulation, Education”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 20, 2008

    It has always struck me as a ironic that under our current drug prohibition policies, cannabis is legally defined as a “controlled” substance. By what definition? Right now, there are tens of millions of Americans of all ages purchasing unknown quantities of marijuana of variable quality from millions of unknown, unregulated dealers.

    As for the absurdly titled Office of National Drug Control Policy, what on Earth do they think they’re controlling? Certainly not the domestic production of pot, which has increased ten-fold in the past 25 years from 1,000 metric tons (2.2 million pounds) to 10,000 metric tons (22 million pounds). Not the importation of pot, a mere 10 percent of which is likely interdicted by law enforcement annually. And most certainly not the use of pot, which has been tried by almost 100 million Americans — many of whom, according to the Drug Czar’s own rhetoric, are supposedly starting at younger and younger ages.

    It’s drug law reformers — not prohibitionists — that wish to bring regulation and control to what is now an unregulated, illicit black market commodity. It is NORML, not the Drug Czar, that has testified in favor of taxing and regulating cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol — with the drug’s sale and use restricted to specific markets and consumers.

    While such an alternative may not entirely eliminate the black market demand for pot, it would certainly be preferable to today’s blanket, though thoroughly ineffective, expensive and impotent criminal prohibition.

    Advocacy group seeks pot regulation, education
    via CBS News

    (UWIRE.com) The response of marijuana advocacy groups concerning the steady increase of the drug’s potency has revealed an underground debate over whether marijuana is a harmful narcotic or a recreational drug, and the groups involved vary from the U.S. federal government and local law enforcement organizations to college students and scientists.

    Founded in 1970, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has provided a voice in the public policy debate for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition and favor an end to the practice of arresting marijuana smokers, the NORML Web site said.

    NORML claims to represent the interests of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly, the Web site said.

    “Even by the University of Mississippi’s own admission, the average THC in domestically grown marijuana — which comprises the bulk of the US market — is less than five percent, a figure that’s remained unchanged for nearly a decade,” NORML deputy director Paul Armentano wrote in a letter sent to the editorial staff in the Tuesday issue of The Daily Mississippian.

    The deputy director did not address the alleged connection between mental illness and marijuana use in his letter, but did later in a phone interview.”Nobody really knows the answer,” Armentano said. “We know those who suffer from depression and anxiety sometimes abuse substances like alcohol and cigarettes.”

    Armentano said although he has not seen any research directly linking marijuana use and mental illness, he would not advise those with mental illness or a family history of mental illness to use marijuana.

    “Use of any intoxicant has a risk,” Armentano said.

    NORML supports regulation and education, he said.

    A “targeted education campaign” similar to that of the recent alcohol campaigns would allow the general public to be educated about marijuana and its effects; regulation would ensure the product being sold was taxed and safe for the public to consume, he said.

    The argument for regulation is that the government currently has no control over the drug market, Armentano said.Regulation could end the “anarchy” that exists within the system, he said.

    8 Responses to “CBS News: “Advocacy Group Seeks Pot Regulation, Education””

    1. […] Fitzy wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThe deputy director did not address the alleged connection between mental illness and marijuana use in his letter, but did later in a phone interview.”Nobody really knows the answer,” Armentano said. “We know those who suffer from … […]

    2. Jay says:

      Marijuana prohibition is an outright assanine policy that our ignorant government refuses to change.Doctors have todl me that marijuana is safer than booze or cigs.Legalizing marijuana would have vast economic and domestic advantages.If you could buy pot at a store it take it off the black market and woudl generate revenue that could be used for programs that would actually benefit America.Why not legalize pot and use the tax revenue to fund universal healthj care for Americans.It is a fact that there is a demand for marijuana and it is also a fact that marijuana is relatively harmless(talk to your doctor).No one has ever died as a direct result of marijuana smoking.People have died because they’ve smoked marijuana and done something stupid however,you should not catch a buzz off of something if you can’t control it.

    3. Charles says:

      When will all of this end? I want to do is be able to smoke in the privacy of my own home, legally. What harm is that really causing be serious now…

    4. […] to today?s blanket, though thoroughly ineffective, expensive and impotent criminal prohibition. NORML Blog Blog Archive CBS News: “Advocacy Group Seeks Pot Regulation, Education” __________________ Please Join Us At "The Cannabis Reform Society" […]

    5. ConservativeChristian says:

      MJ will be legalized when a majority of the Congress, the Senate, and the President vote in favor of legalization. What if each interested person spent five minutes making sure his or her Congressperson, Senators, and President vote for the changes he or she wanted? You don’t have to travel or organize a rally or spend much money (just a few bucks for stamps). What it’s going to take is a steady stream of letters to each Congressperson, each Senator, and the President. Here’s how to get them on board:
      1) Go to https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml to get the name and address of your Congressperson. This will take less than a minute. Do it now and you’ll have it out of the way.
      2) Write the letter. Spend at least two or three minutes on it, check the spelling, and read it out loud to yourself to see if it makes sense. (Do this while your in a sensible frame of mind,). You don’t have to be a great writer; just stick to the point and keep it short, i.e, not more than one page.
      3) Find friend to write a letter, too. Keep some writing paper, pens, envelopes and stamps handy so you can write together whenever you have company. This will encourage each other!
      4) Repeat the process at least once a week. Make it your personal mission to do two things: Get a letter like this into the hands of your Congressperson, each Senator, and the President, every month (that’s four letters a month), and get some friends to do the same. SERIOUS NOTE from the world of politics: It only takes a dozen letters to create the impression of significant public interest; an elected official getting a dozen letters a week will really feel the public presence.

      To see how it works, check out this School house rock video, “I’m just a bill” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEJL2Uuv-oQ
      The Prohibitionists say mj leads to lack of motivation. Is it true, or will a few interested folks take this on and actually get this process moving?

    6. Chris says:

      A majority of house republicans and conservatives still, to this day, have failed to acknowledge the beneficial medicinal properties of marijuana. These are the same people who pledge to arrest the sick and dying, like John McCain.

      Ignoring the facts and calling something evil is unfortunately still acceptable in today’s day and age.

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