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‘Snapshot’ Of A Day During Cannabis Prohibition In America

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director September 18, 2008

    Like so many others these days, I use Google to aggregate news related to cannabis every hour, of every day, from all around the world. Hundreds of cannabis-related articles, columns, editorials, cultural reviews and legal cases; academic, medical and scientific papers, everyday!

    I’m always amazed at both the number and scope of cannabis-related ‘news’ that now conveniently lands hourly not only at my desk, but on my iPhone as well. What I usually see through bias eyes when viewing these daily news feeds is how utterly futile it has become (probably always was to begin with) to try to enforce cannabis prohibition in free market-oriented democracies.

    Just look at a Google news feed ‘snapshot’ below from midday yesterday to see if you see what I’m seeing…

    Google News Alert for: marijuana

    Marijuana investigation continues
    Steamboat Pilot – Steamboat Springs,CO,USA
    By Melinda Dudley (Contact) Steamboat Springs — Future arrests are possible as the Routt County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate a major marijuana …

    Authorities destroy $64 million in marijuana off Carmel Valley Road

    The Salinas Californian – Salinas,CA,USA
    Monterey County authorities are looking for suspects connected to a large marijuana field found off Carmel Valley Road. County sheriff’s deputies and …

    Fremont police find six pounds of marijuana in, under home
    Inside Bay Area – Oakland,CA,USA
    By Ben Aguirre Jr. FREMONT — Police recovered more than 6 pounds of marijuana from a South Sundale neighborhood home early Monday after someone tipped …

    Drug agents raid pot farms in upscale Calif. homes
    San Jose Mercury News – CA, USA
    AP SACRAMENTO—Drug agents say they have arrested six key players in a Sacramento-based drug ring that was growing hundreds of marijuana plants in upscale …

    Border Patrol agents seize nearly 2000 pounds of marijuana
    KVIA – El Paso,TX,USA
    Upon further investigation, agents discovered 1915 lbs. of marijuana worth approximately $1532704 inside the 2006 Ford F-250 truck. …

    Coast Guard seizes 336 pounds of marijuana
    OCRegister – Santa Ana,CA,USA
    By JON CASSIDY CORONA DEL MAR – A US Coast Guard cutter based in Corona del Mar picked up four bales of marijuana weighing roughly 336 pounds after a chase …

    Marijuana growing operated seized in Randolph County
    Kirksville Daily Express and Daily News – Kirksville,MO,USA
    The task force, partnered with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, discovered 40 growing marijuana plants, …

    Several Arrested In Marijuana Sweep
    KQCA, My58.com – Sacramento,CA,USA
    Several people were arrested Tuesday in connection with indoor marijuana-growing operations in exclusive neighborhoods El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park and …

    Helicopters collect marijuana plants with nets
    Victorville Daily Press – Victorville,CA,USA
    The marijuana eradication operation combines efforts of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department with the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement’s …

    Marijuana-growing operation discovered on farm
    Sauk Centre Herald – Sauk Centre,MN,USA
    Investigators also discovered marijuana was being grown on the property. Ahrens had felony warrants out in Wright, Douglas and Stearns Counties

    Now, proponents of prohibition and the status quo may view the above example (which typifies a daily news feed re ‘cannabis’, ‘marijuana’ and ‘hemp’) as examples of successes in the government’s war against some drugs. But, however, one can also be tasked to empty an ocean with a spoon…

    When looking at the numerous cannabis busts (one every 37 seconds in America…), tonnage of cannabis interdicted and eye-popping domestic cannabis plant eradication numbers reported daily via Google, one has to wonder why a simple, effective, low tech solution like a tax stamp issued at the retail level (like the way state and federal governments control—and profit from—alcohol and tobacco product sales to adults) is not preferable to the incredibly ineffective, constitution-warping and police and military personnel-endangering policies fostered under prohibition?

    In a blog to be posted later this week, the answer to my rhetorically asked question above was partially revealed this week on Capitol Hill.

    BTW, the media and its role in cannabis prohibition will be discussed in detail at NORML’s soon approaching national conference. Registrations and vending tables are still available, but going quickly!

    10 Responses to “‘Snapshot’ Of A Day During Cannabis Prohibition In America”

    1. JOE says:

      Very nicely written with clear logic. I laughed aloud when I read the emptying the ocean with a spoon comparison.

    2. Choco says:

      You hit it right on the head. It’s sad this kinda stuff is still going on. For a nation that has come so far, we still have a ways to go unfortunately.

    3. Phil E. Drifter says:

      What’s sad, Choco, is that countless thousands of criminals are getting away with their crimes every day because our government spends it’s law enforcement’s time with arresting nonviolent people.

      I appreciate the fact that normal provides a link with each blog so I can ‘forward’ each article directly to my facebook account so my friends there can see what kind of a drastic effect this war on plants has become.

    4. Ray says:

      I love the “one can also be tasked to empty an ocean with a spoon…”

      So true when it could just become a commodity that is taxed and traded like everything else. Making money instead of wasting it.

    5. Brian says:

      I’ve often thought that someone should compile all the data for a single year, as to how much cannabis is seized and destroyed in America alone.

      Then take that data, and heavily publicize the obvious conclusion: Even with literally hundreds (if not thousands or more) of TONS of marijuana being seized and destroyed by government agents every single year… I can get as much as I want, at practically any time I want, practically anywhere I want. And no effort by the government will ever be able to stop that.

      If that doesn’t prove that the War on Drugs has been a dismal failure, nothing will.

    6. Ray says:

      Just look at how much they seize and the fact that arrests still go up. That tells you right there that the war on drugs isn’t working.

    7. Watch Zeitgeist The Movie says:

      The reason taxing weed is not preferable is Fascist need to have an enemy, if they are not singling out a person or behavior for punishment they have no reason to exist. Holding up a person or behavior as the reason the world’s not Utopia is the mortar of a fascist/socialist society.

      Here’s a fun video from the great white north showing what government dose when an enemy doesn’t exist.

      http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/915609/

    8. Jim Mills says:

      I agree with Ray. It’s all about economics. California’s “booming” dispensary business is blowing people’s minds with the amount of money they (the dispensaries) make. California is beginning to tax the dispensaries, and when the numbers come back at the end of the year, it will raise a lot of eyebrows.

      I would argue that taxation and regulation in all 50 states would be a billion dollar a year business for America.

      Keep an eye out for more legislation to this effect (like Oregon’s OCTA), which will greatly benefit the state, and indeed us all.

      That’s not to mention Industrial Hemp…which is already a muli-billion-dollar enterprise worldwide. Ask the Canadians, who sell hemp to us.

    9. Larry says:

      An interesting article on Google regarding cannabis & texting while driving:
      http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5g1RoizLhpEkcP2oaAT6QTL4aWSww

      Texting motorists ‘at greater risk’
      9 minutes ago

      Motorists who text while driving are more at risk than those who drink or take drugs before getting behind the wheel, a survey has shown.

      Reaction times were severely impaired in a test of young drivers carried out for the RAC Foundation. The overall driving performance, including steering and keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, was poor among the 17-24 year olds tested by TRL (Transport Research Laboratory).

      Using a driver simulator, the young motorists carried out driving skills while writing, reading and ignoring text messages.

      Reaction times of those involved in texting deteriorated by 35%. This was worse than alcohol at the legal limit (12% slower) and driving under the influence of cannabis (21% slower).

      Drivers drifted out of their lane more often while texting. Steering control was 91% worse, compared to 35% worse when under the influence of cannabis. The ability to maintain a safe following distance also fell.

      Comparing the level of distraction caused by texting to previous TRL studies into the impairment effects of drugs, alcohol (at the legal limit) and speaking on a mobile, the report concluded that texting had the greatest impact on lane positioning and the second greatest impact on reaction times, second only to using a hand-held phone.

      This made texting while driving more risky than driving while on drugs or under the influence of alcohol.

      RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: “The participants in this study were almost unanimous in their view that drink-driving was the most dangerous action on the road. Yet this research clearly shows that a motorist who is texting is significantly more impaired.”

      Dr Nick Reed, senior human factors researcher at TRL, said: “When texting, drivers are distracted by taking their hand off the wheel to use their phone, by trying to read small text on the phone display, and by thinking about how to write their message.

      “This combination of factors resulted in the impairments to reaction time and vehicle control that place the driver at a greater risk than having consumed alcohol to the legal limit for driving.”

    10. Ray W says:

      It has already been PROVEN that our government spends A LOT of $$$ on raiding/arresting sick and dying people and dispensaries in California and Oregon.

      Passing this bill would not remove our national debt.. But it will put a HUGE dent in it.
      I’m told there is A LOT of wasteful spending in the US. But this is something that MANY see that is just plain STUPID

      These two bills are to be talked about and debated on. But with our economy sinking like it is. This to me and others just seems like something that will QUICKLY bring the US A LOT of money and not do any damage

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