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The Daily Caller: “Regulations, Not Criminal Prohibition, Best Address Concerns Regarding Cannabis”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 26, 2012

    Last week Charles Stimson, a senior legal fellow at the Washington, DC think tank The Heritage Foundation, took to the opinion pages of the conservative-leaning DC publication, The Daily Caller, to opine “why we shouldn’t legalize marijuana.”

    Stimson’s commentary predictably contained various inaccuracies and outright falsehoods — including the unfounded allegations that marijuana use inspires violence, that the areas around medicinal cannabis clubs have experienced “exponential increases in crime rates,” (A recently published UCLA study and several others eviscerate this claim.) and that the daily consumption of alcohol “has been shown to actually improve health; not so with marijuana … (which) has no known general healthful properties.”

    Predictably, Stimson’s comments drew a firestorm of criticism, generating nearly 400 comments on The Daily Caller‘s website. It also drew a harsh rebuke, in the form of a letter to the editor, from NORML Advisory Board Member, Dr. Mitch Earleywine, who responded that Mr. Stimson’s “misstatements and half-truths” lacked any empirical foundation.

    To their credit, The Daily Caller on Wednesday also devoted space for NORML to respond directly to Charles Stimson’s pot propaganda via my own op/ed, which I’ve excerpted below.

    Regulations, not criminal prohibition, best address concerns regarding cannabis
    via The Daily Caller

    The views on marijuana legalization expressed in The Daily Caller last week by The Heritage Foundation’s Charles Stimson (“Why we shouldn’t legalize marijuana,” July 19, 2012) are woefully out of step with contemporary science and public opinion.

    Americans have grown weary of the federal government’s war on cannabis. Their exasperation is justified. Since 1970, over 21 million U.S. citizens have been cited or arrested for violating marijuana laws. Yet despite this vigorous and fiscally taxing criminal enforcement, over 100 million Americans, including the president, acknowledge having consumed cannabis. One in ten admit that they use it regularly. Marijuana prohibition hasn’t dissuaded the general public from consuming cannabis or reduced its availability, especially among young people. But it has damaged the lives and careers of millions of people who were arrested and sanctioned for choosing to ingest a substance that is safer than alcohol or tobacco.

    … A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the limited legal use of marijuana by adults would best reduce any risks associated with its use or abuse.

    … Need further proof that regulation works? Just look at our contemporary experience with tobacco — a legally marketed but deadly recreational drug. Teen use of cigarettes has recently fallen to its lowest levels in decades. Conversely, young people’s self-reported use of cannabis is rising and has now surpassed the number of teens consuming tobacco. Why the disparate trends? Simple. In short, it’s legalization, regulation and public education — coupled with the enforcement of age restrictions — that most effectively keeps mind-altering substances out of the hands of children.

    Despite more than 70 years of federal prohibition and regardless of the fear-mongering of pundits like Charles Stimson, marijuana is here to stay. Let’s acknowledge this reality, cease ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and put forward common-sense regulations governing cannabis’ use and production.

    You can read the entire commentary and leave comments by clicking here.

    29 Responses to “The Daily Caller: “Regulations, Not Criminal Prohibition, Best Address Concerns Regarding Cannabis””

    1. St. Nick says:

      Everyone uses drugs. It’s true-whether it’s caffeine, sugar, chocolate, ibuprofen, alcohol, tobacco, weed, crystal meth, pcp, or opium every person at a certain age or whatever starts using then uses drugs. Did you know bread is a drug? The bread turns to sugar after you eat it. Our drug or vice just happens to be illegal and extremely safe. We get good exercise running away from cops. =)

    2. dave says:

      Ya wright, let’s keep fighting a war where (the goverment) is not winning and keep spending large amounts of money on it. the heck with the elderly,the poor and the people living in the streets because they can’t find a job. WAKE UP.

    3. scott says:

      only thing the tryth is hard to see if have been lying about it for year ,law enforcent!

    4. Uncle Larry says:

      Damn straight, Paul!

    5. Logan says:

      Have you done any research on cannibis at all? Or just tried to use ridiculous stereotypes (if even that) to try and persuade people that cannibis is worse than alcohol. Yes it might be true that a glass of wine a day is good for you, but guess what? You can’t over dose on cannibis (unless you smoke half of your body wieght). But you can on alcohol. Have you ever heard of a doctor prescribing alcohol to a patient? I didn’t think so. A doctor would only prescribe something that he/she thought was safe and/or healthy for the user. If cannibis was legalized for conventional use, the numbers of person(s) that abuse other illegal narcodicts such as herione, methamphetamine, etc. would drop drasticly. Atleast my therory is the main reason people move on to other drugs and cannibis is considered a “gatway drug”, is its the easiest to smell, and test for (other than a solem few). People should have the choice to use cannibis as they do with alcohol with responsibilty. You may think people abuse cannibis, well there is a much larger persent of people that abuse alcohol. Therefore if alcohol is legal under the consumption it is used responsibly why can’t the same be for cannibis? Did you also know that 1% of cannibis users can get pyhsically addicted? That approxamently 2.5million people die each year world wide from alcohol related incidents. That anually 1000 people die from cannibis related incidents. With that I end my statement.

    6. Douglas says:

      Sounds like a good reason to declare marshal law on us pot heads. Yap make me want to poo all over my self.

    7. Galileo Galilei says:

      I don’t consider the Heritage Foundation to be a ‘think tank’. Obviously very little real thought went into Stimson’s commentary.

      There is a distasteful, anti-science aspect to conservatism that I have come to truly despise. Think environmentalism, climate change, evolution, big bang.

    8. Paul R says:

      From what I have been able to ascertain regarding the Heritage Foundation, they are mostly idiots! They are completely out of touch with most Americans. They have this utopian fantasy about what they’d like America to be about (no marijuana allowed in their version) and ignore what America and it’s people really are. I remember well Brain Darling of the Heritage Foundation making the statement that he often consumes chewing tobacco and alcohol together and that’s okay because that’s legal. He in no way condones using marijuana because that’s illegal… What a moron!!! The Heritage Foundation would do well to look beyond their tiny enclosed box thinking and see what is really out there in our world.

    9. notSpicoli says:

      “I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.” John Stuart Mill

    10. Pat Rothchild says:

      The modern-day conservative movement appears to demonstrate psychotic symptoms. During my training to become a psychotherapist three-and-a-half decades ago, I did an internship on a community mobile mental health crises team. When people were at risk for harming themselves or others, or couldn’t care for their basic needs, we put them on 72-hour holds and hospitalized them to see what was up. Invariably, it was discovered that there was some sort of thought disorder that caused them to misperceive consensual reality. Does this remind you of what’s coming from the conservative ‘think tanks’ and wending its way into public policy now?

      Conservatives advocate for the destruction of our life-support system on every level. Air, earth fire and water are under attack in the name of our pursuit of the all-mighty dollar.

      Cannabis and its users harm no one. Prohibition certainly does, but the herb doesn’t. When we use cannabis, many of us widen our gaze, so we get a larger perspective on what’s so. This is a threat to the madness. To keep a delusional system in tact, it’s necessary to discredit anyone or thing that might threaten it. But, to teach people afflicted with delusions how to manage their disease, it’s essential not to collude with them. Consistent, measured confrontation with consensual reality is essential.

      Thank you, NORML for providing that. We must each join the chorus for sanity. Giving the psychotics the keys to the nut house med room is a very bad idea.

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