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Top Ten Reasons to Legalize Marijuana Now


10. Hemp benefits are denied. Hemp can be made into paper, paneling, plastics, clothing and thousands of other useful products. The highly nutritious seeds can be used to make flour, cooking oil and cattle feed.

This environmentally friendly plant grows without herbicides, nourishes the soil, matures quickly and provides high yields. It’s the number-one biomass producer in the world – ten tons per acre in four months. It could be an excellent fuel-producing crop.

Hemp, “nature’s perfect plant,” could bring a bonanza to hurting American farmers while greatly reducing America’s dependence on fossil fuels, which could significantly mitigate climate change.

9. Prohibition diverts billions from the needy. More than 50 government agencies feed at the drug war trough. Food stamps and other social programs are being slashed while billions are spent trying to stop adults from using marijuana.

8. Prohibition is clearly counterproductive. Guaranteeing massive profits to anyone on earth who can produce and deliver marijuana to our streets cannot do anything but assure that even more will be produced and delivered.

7. Criminalizing marijuana lacks moral justification. A real crime implies a victim and a perpetrator. Can you imagine being jailed for robbing yourself? As insane as this sounds, our government has done the equivalent by making adult use of marijuana a crime.

Only a depraved, corrupt government could invent a crime you commit against yourself.

6. Marijuana users are not debased human beings. Cultures throughout history – and pre-history! – have altered their minds with a variety of drugs. Billions around the world derive positive benefits from mind-altering drugs (especially from alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and marijuana).

Demonizing and criminalizing some drugs, while approving others without rational criteria, is clearly arbitrary and deceitful. Why are marijuana users criminals while alcohol and tobacco users are not? Why are marijuana dealers demonized, but alcohol and tobacco dealers are not?

5. Marijuana is effective medicine. There’s overwhelming evidence that marijuana can safely relieve pain, nausea and vomiting caused by various illnesses. In fact, marijuana is patently safer than many commonly prescribed drugs.

4. Promising medical research is thwarted. The discovery of naturally occurring marijuana-like substances in the human body that activate so-called cannabinoid receptors has opened up vast possibilities for new medicines derived from the 66 or so cannabinoids identified in marijuana. These receptors are not just in the brain, but also found in many other parts of the body including the immune, endocrine and reproductive systems.

3. Billions in potential taxes go to drug cartels. Our cash-strapped states are being cheated out of billions that could be obtained by taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol.

2. Thousands of prohibition murders occur each year. Mexico is the world’s largest exporter of marijuana (most goes to the United States). There were at least 24,000 prohibition-related murders in Mexico since 2006. Thousands more died here, also a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

1. Prohibition denies our most basic human right. Prohibition takes away our right of sovereignty over our own bodies and gives this power to government. Does any other human right make sense if we don’t have sovereignty over our own bodies?

There’s a word for people who don’t have sovereignty over their own bodies: slaves.

The Glaring Truth About the Drug War

The drug war is a blatantly dishonest, extremely expensive, highly destructive, grossly unjust, abject failure of our government.

Despite 40 years and $1 trillion-plus of taxpayer money spent trying to stop – not robbery, not rape, not murder, not even shoplifting – but mostly trying to stop adults from using marijuana; despite draconian punishments; despite jailing millions of nonviolent Americans; despite thousands of prohibition-related murders each year, illegal drugs are cheaper, purer and more readily available than ever.

The drug war is a vast government scam guaranteed to be perpetually futile. Prohibition only pretends to fight drugs. In fact, it guarantees massive profits to anyone on the planet who can produce and deliver prohibited drugs to our streets.

Jailing drug dealers just creates lucrative job openings for more efficient, more ruthless, eager replacements. Only a small percentage of illegal drugs are intercepted, and these are easily and cheaply replaced.

Prohibition creates, sustains and handsomely rewards the illegal drug industry while pretending to fight that very same industry. Like the classic mafia protection racket, our government creates a perpetual problem and then charges us exorbitantly to “protect” us from it.

This abomination continues unabated because our government is addicted to the taxpayer billions it wastes year after year after year pretending to fight an enemy created and sustained by prohibition itself.

Marijuana is the linchpin of the drug war. Legalizing marijuana will sound the death knell for this devastating crime against humanity.

via OpEdNews – Article: Top Ten Reasons to Legalize Marijuana Now.

Luke Ming Flanagan


tumblr_mhq0bpCt6E1r2h2cdo1_500

Ming get active and take your complaint to the National Consumer Agency (NCA).

You probably would have them on Food labelling, Product labelling and deceptive trading practices,

Flanagan supports British call to legalise drugs


The Independent TD due to table a private member’s Bill on the legalisation of cannabis has welcomed a report by a British parliamentary committee which recommends legalising drug use.

Luke “Ming” Flanagan, an Independent TD for Roscommon, who intends to table a Bill early next year, said it “didn’t come as any surprise” that the British committee had concluded legalisation of drugs should be considered.

Mr Flanagan said, in relation to cannabis, legalisation would take thousands of cases out of the criminal justice system each year, freeing up Garda resources. He also said if taxation were applied on sales of the drug that this would generate revenue and legalisation would take profits away from drug gangs.

“From a health point of view people would know what they were getting,” Mr Flanagan added, saying drug dealers bulk out quantities of illicit drugs, with a variety of substances the health effects of which are unknown. The TD made his comments after the British parliament’s home affairs committee said Britain’s drugs policy was not working and called on prime minister David Cameron to appoint a royal commission to review the issue.

The report said it had been impressed by Portugal’s decriminalised regime where users are not prosecuted over small amounts of drugs and are instead referred to a non-criminal “dissuasion commission”.

It said the government should also fund research into the effectiveness of marijuana legalisation in the US states of Washington and Colorado, as well as into Uruguay’s proposed state monopoly on cannabis production and sale.

However, Mr Cameron yesterday ruled out a fundamental review of the government’s approach to drugs: “I don’t support decriminalisation. We have a policy which actually is working in Britain. Drugs use is coming down, the emphasis on treatment is absolutely right, and we need to continue with that to make sure we can really make a difference,” he said. – (Additional reporting PA/Reuters)

via Flanagan supports British call to legalise drugs – The Irish Times – Tue, Dec 11, 2012.

via Flanagan supports British call to legalise drugs – The Irish Times – Tue, Dec 11, 2012.

If we care about our society, we should legalise cannabis


VOTERS IN THE states of Washington and Colorado recently voted to legalise cannabis for recreational use for people who are over 21-years-old. Along with these two states, another fifteen as well as the District of Columbia approve and regulate its medical use.

In the aftermath of the Washington and Colorado ballot,The Journal.ie ran a poll. Eighty-two percent said they were in favour of cannabis legalisation in Ireland for either recreational or medicinal use. This of course is in no way scientific – but is it now time for our government to take a closer look at our cannabis prohibition laws, and ask whether they are benefiting our society or causing more harm than good?

We need to ask: does cannabis prohibition work? The simple answer is no. We only have to look back in history to the era of Prohibition in the 1920s to understand why. Al Capone and his violent mob made millions of dollars from the illegal sale of alcohol. Today we are witnessing a similar trend in Ireland, with ruthless criminal gangs making a fortune (tax-free of course) from the sale of cannabis. Sadly, the monies raised often go on to fuel much more serious crimes such as gun crime, hard drugs and prostitution.

Legalising cannabis would automatically cut off this valuable revenue stream. Instead we could generate an unthinkable amount of tax revenue, which could be spent on much needed public services such as health, education and drug rehabilitation.

Prohibition

Cannabis prohibition also leaves market regulation in the hands of criminals – and unfortunately the health and wellbeing of the end user is the least of their concerns. It’s a serious issue that in Ireland today a 14-year-old can obtain cannabis more easily than they can alcohol. If cannabis was legalised the market could be regulated properly with an age restriction of 18 or 21 applied to it, making it safer than it currently is today.

Prohibition causes a major drain on our criminal justice system: how much valuable time and money is spent on chasing down and convicting cannabis growers and distributors in this country? If cannabis was legalised it would free up time and money which could then be used to target more serious crimes.

We also need to factor in the medicinal benefits of cannabis. The first recorded medicinal use of cannabis by Chinese emperor Shen Nung dates back as far as 2737 BC. In more modern times, it’s been put forward as a treatment or symptom reliever for a huge range of medical conditions including multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, cancer, arthritis, asthma, epilepsy, digestive diseases, depression and many more.  It’s hard to believe that we have a plant which has so many apparent benefits, yet we deny those who are suffering from these illnesses the opportunity of relief.

In my mind, prohibiting this substance whilst allowing people to suffer is the biggest crime of all. Now, let’s take a look at the reasons people give for why they oppose cannabis legalisation and the misconceptions people have about the prohibition laws they favour.

Regulation

People say it’s harmful to your health. This seems to be the number one reason given for opposing legalisation. Yet if cannabis is already freely available and commonly used within our society, shouldn’t we be striving to limit its harmful effects?

As already mentioned above, a regulated market place is much safer than one controlled by the criminal underworld. Curbing underage use should be seen as a top priority, as studies have shown a link between persistent adolescent cannabis use and mental health problems in later life – yet they’ve found that people who didn’t take up cannabis until they were adults did not show similar negative effects as those who began at an earlier age.

Secondly, people say that legalising it will cause a huge uptake in the number of people who choose to smoke it. This isn’t necessarily true. A friend of mine recently said to me “cannabis just wouldn’t be as much fun if it was legalised” and there’s some truth in that. Experts will tell you that more teenagers try cannabis because of the glamour of the ‘forbidden fruit’ than are deterred by any other factor. Cannabis use is actually more prevalent in Ireland than it is in either Portugal or the Netherlands, two European countries who have decriminalised its use. In fact, contrary to common belief the Dutch are among the lowest users of cannabis in Europe; despite the Netherlands’ well known tolerance of the drug.

Others state that it is a gateway drug that will lead users onto harder drugs. But there’s nothing in cannabis that makes the user want to try harder drugs. The fact that it’s illegal and often sourced from dealers who also sell other drugs could be seen as a problem, but again if it was legalised we wouldn’t have this problem.

With so many benefits to be gained by legalising cannabis and so many obvious disadvantages to prohibition, why are our government choosing to ignore this issue? It’s time to ask questions and demand answers.

via Column: If we care about our society, we should legalise cannabis.

via Column: If we care about our society, we should legalise cannabis.

Marijuana dispenser machine company’s stock gets really, really high, man


Medbox (MDBX), a firm that makes medical marijuana dispensing machines, says its stock “is getting way too high.” Shares spiked 3,000% this week (from about $4 Monday to $215 Thursday), “prompting executives to try and dampen investor enthusiasm.” The surge was caused by a MarketWatch story about how to invest in legalized marijuana.

via Marijuana dispenser machine company’s stock gets really, really high, man – Boing Boing.

via Marijuana dispenser machine company’s stock gets really, really high, man – Boing Boing.

If pot were truly legal, high-quality joints would cost the same price as a Splenda packet


 

In July, Salon’s Matthew Yglesias wrote an article about the price of legal marijuana, which is even more interesting now that Colorado and Washington have legalized cannabis for recreational use.

How cheaply could pot be grown with advanced farming techniques? One potential data point is Canada’s industrial hemp industry, where production costs are about $500 per acre. If the kind of mid-grade commercial weed that accounts for about 80 percent of the U.S. market could be grown that cheaply, it implies costs of about 20 cents per pound of smokable material: Enough pot to fill more than 800 modest-sized half-gram joints for less than a quarter!. Those numbers are probably optimistic, since in practice recreational marijuana is grown from more expensive transplanted clones rather than from seeds. Even so, the authors note that “production costs for crops that need to be transplanted, such as cherry tomatoes and asparagus, are generally in the range of $5,000-$20,000 per acre.” That implies costs of less than $20 per pound for high-grade sensimilla and less than $5 a pound for mid-grade stuff. Another way of looking at it, suggested by California NORML Director Dale Gieringer, is that we should expect legal pot to cost about the same amount as “other legal herbs such as tea or tobacco,” something perhaps “100 times lower than the current prevailing price of $300 per ounce—or a few cents per joint.”

This would make pot far and away the cheapest intoxicant on the market, absolutely blowing beer and liquor out of the water. Joints would be about as cheap as things that are often treated as free. Splenda packets, for example, cost 2 or 3 cents each when purchased in bulk.

I wonder how much money the liquor industry is going to contribute in their attempt to get these cannabis laws overturned?

 

Get High for Free!!!!

Marijuana

It continues to be totally off the radar of prominent politicians, but polls indicate that large and growing numbers of Americans are open to the idea of legalizing marijuana. Gallup broke ground last fall with the first-ever poll showing 50 percent of respondents nationwide wanting to legalize, and a more precisely worded poll from Rasmussen in May had 56 percent in favor of “legalizing marijuana and regulating it in a similar manner to the way alcohol and tobacco cigarettes are regulated today.” Thus far those polls are outliers, and most surveys show more voter skepticism than that. But as elderly voters are more pot-phobic than the young, legalization’s support is likely to increase over time and surely it will work its way onto the national agenda sooner or later.

There’s been relatively little analysis of what a legal marijuana industry might look like. One key but little-appreciated fact is that, according to persuasive research by Jonathan Caulkins, Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman in their new book Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs To Know, is that legal pot would be amazingly cheap. In fact, midgrade stuff would be so cheap that it might make sense for businesses to give it away like ketchup packets or bar nuts.

Conventional thinking about pot pricing is often dominated by people’s experience buying weed in legal or quasi-legal settings such as a Dutch “coffee shop” or a California medical marijuana dispensary. But this is badly misleading. Neither California nor the Netherlands permit growing or wholesale distribution of marijuana as a legal matter. If pot were fully legal, its growth, distribution, and marketing would work entirely differently.

There are some goods that are sufficiently costly to store—either because they’re alive like lobsters or because they’re giant like RVs—such that either the retail markup is a big deal or else retail purchases can’t be made in convenient locations. But marijuana is a nonperishable bulk commodity like wheat or lentils. For such commodities, the final price to the end user is dominated by the cost of production.

Try to imagine a world in which you’re allowed to have some tomatoes in your house, you’re allowed to cook tomatoes, you’re not punished for having tomatoes in your possession if the cops stop you, and you’re even allowed to buy tomatoes at specialty tomato stores—but where it’s illegal to actually grow tomatoes. The price of tomatoes is going to escalate enormously. The problem isn’t that the tomatoes will suddenly disappear from supermarket shelves (though they will) but that all the farms will have to shut down. Which isn’t to say that nobody will grow tomatoes. People like tomatoes. So tomatoes will be smuggled in from Mexico. Tomatoes will be grown in backyards. People will use lights and hydroponic rigs to grow tomatoes indoors.

These expedients would work, but they’d be horrendously inefficient compared with the modern agricultural, packaging, and transportation methods.

America’s farmlands are some of the most productive in the world, thanks in no small part to technology and the existence of scale sufficient to leverage that technology. Even what Americans think of as a small family farm is quite large compared with an illicit marijuana operation. There are no amber waves of cannabis anywhere in the world today, but under a true legalization regime there would be. And this makes all the difference.

How cheaply could pot be grown with advanced farming techniques? One potential data point is Canada’s industrial hemp industry, where production costs are about $500 per acre. If the kind of mid-grade commercial weed that accounts for about 80 percent of the U.S. market could be grown that cheaply, it implies costs of about 20 cents per pound of smokable material: Enough pot to fill more than 800 modest-sized half-gram joints for less than a quarter!. Those numbers are probably optimistic, since in practice recreational marijuana is grown from more expensive transplanted clones rather than from seeds. Even so, the authors note that “production costs for crops that need to be transplanted, such as cherry tomatoes and asparagus, are generally in the range of $5,000-$20,000 per acre.” That implies costs of less than $20 per pound for high-grade sensimilla and less than $5 a pound for mid-grade stuff. Another way of looking at it, suggested by California NORML Director Dale Gieringer, is that we should expect legal pot to cost about the same amount as “other legal herbs such as tea or tobacco,” something perhaps “100 times lower than the current prevailing price of $300 per ounce—or a few cents per joint.”

This would make pot far and away the cheapest intoxicant on the market, absolutely blowing beer and liquor out of the water. Joints would be about as cheap as things that are often treated as free. Splenda packets, for example, cost 2 or 3 cents each when purchased in bulk.

These data either bolster or undermine the case for legalization, depending on your point of view. On the one hand, despite the apparent widespread availability of pot even under prohibition, it seems likely that radically lowering the price would lead to a much larger increase in consumption than people have in mind. On the other hand, it seems that you could tax the hell out of marijuana and still leave consumers better off than they are today. An extraordinarily high tax, of course, would spark tax evasion. Right now, people smuggle marijuana across the U.S.-Mexico border for profits of about $20 an ounce, so a tax substantially higher than that could be tricky to enforce. Still, a $20/ounce tax would be about triple the per-weight taxation of cigarettes, while still leaving mass-market weed extremely affordable. Unfortunately, marijuana taxation is not a game-changer for fiscal policy terms. Federal cigarette taxes bring in about $10 billion a year. Even heavy pot smokers don’t smoke nearly as much as cigarette addicts, so even at triple taxation we’re talking about low single-digit billions in revenue—not nothing, but hardly transformative to the overall budget.

Still the transformation of the basic economics of the marijuana industry—and knock-on effects for casinos, bars, and other possible complements or substitutes for pot—would be enormous. The superficial ineffectiveness of prohibition masks a huge impact on the supply side that, for better or for worse, is what stands between America and much cheaper highs.

via How much would legal marijuana cost? A new book says it would be nearly free. – Slate Magazine.

via How much would legal marijuana cost? A new book says it would be nearly free. – Slate Magazine.

Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters


With less than one week before we find out how voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington will decide on ballot measures to regulate marijuana like alcohol, polls indicate there’s a very good chance at least one of these states will make history by enacting the world’s first-ever marijuana legalization law.

While the movement to reform marijuana laws has been steadily picking up steam in recent years, with rising national polling support and a growing number of states allowing for the medical use of marijuana, having the voters of a state opt to legalize and tax marijuana for adult use would propel the issue to the forefront of the mainstream political scene like never before.

The three legalization initiatives on state ballots are not only drawing support from a large number of voters, but are garnering endorsements from newspaper editorial boards, civic groups, civil rights leaders, celebrities and even some members of law enforcement.

But guess who else is speaking out in support of changing marijuana laws? Check out the slideshow below for a top 10 list of the most unexpected allies in the fight against marijuana prohibition.

These quotes are sourced from the new website http://www.MarijuanaMajority.com, which compiles quotes and videos from prominent people across the political spectrum who support reforming marijuana laws.

via Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters.

via Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters.

Marijuana Majority Website Highlights Celebs And Tech Leaders Who Support Pot Legalization


Successful people, not just “lazy stoners”, want pot laws to change. That’s the message of new website Marijuana Majority, which displays over 600 influencers including Peter Thiel, Sean Parker, Paul Bucheit, and Dustin Moskovitz who’ve supported marijuana law reform through donations or quotes. Now it wants Twitter’ers to persuade pot-favoring politicians, celebs, and technologists to stand up.

Marijuana Majority’s goal is to debunk the myth that drug law reform is a fringe issue backed only by addicts and the counterculture. In fact, it’s a mainstream movement with advocates amongst the highest levels of government, business, and entertainment. A Gallup poll from last year said 50% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, up from 46% the year before.

That means there’s nothing stopping politicians from pivoting after the decades-long drug war has failed. The project’s founder and chairman Tom Angell tells me “anyone that understands that the laws are broken and should be fixed shouldn’t be afraid to say so.”

So Marijuana Majority’s site is designed to make it clear who supports pot law reform so others feel comfortable coming forward. Any of the influencers it lists can be clicked to reveal how they’ve supported the movement. It shows political initiatives they’ve funded, things they’ve said, and icons that denote if they advocate for legalization, decriminalization, medicinal marijuana, or ending the drug war.

When I asked why it was important to get tech leaders on board, Angell told me “They’re influential, particularly to younger, web-connected people.  A lot of them aren’t shy about getting involved in policy debates and supporting organizations and initiatives that they agree with.”

Here’s a list of tech leaders  on Marijuana Majority and their specific contributions to the cause:

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group – Said California could bring in over $1 billion in revenue that could aid communities by taxing and regulating marijuana.

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, creator of Founders Fund – Donated $70,000 to the Yes on Proposition 19 Campaign, the 2010 California Initiative to Legalize Marijuana.

Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and Airtime, first president of Facebook – Donated $100,000 to the Yes on Proposition 19 Campaign.

Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing – Said he doesn’t take mood-altering substances, but believes “everything that we call ‘drugs’…should be legalized and brought into the light of day”.

Dustin Moskovitz – co-founder of Facebook and Asana – Said a California initiative to legalize marijuana could stabilize national security, aid the economy, and reduce prison overcrowding from jailing non-violent offenders.

John Perry Barlow, co-founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation – Said maybe the US and Mexico could try decriminalizing drugs.

Paul Bucheit – Creator of Gmail and FriendFeed – Said marijuana prohibition is an attack on our right to control our bodies and minds, as well as a multi-billion subsidy to organized crime.

Along with the faces of influencers who’ve publicly advocated for marijuana law reform publicly, the site lists figures like Mark Cuban, Bill Nye, Rainn Wilson, and Kanye West who’ve alluded to their support. Angell tells me “Rihanna often tweets about how she loves marijuana but hasn’t said anything publicly about the policy.”

So the site asks visitors to “get out the quote” by tweeting pre-written messages like “Hey @rihanna should US #LegalizeMarijuana & stop locking up so many people? http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=724 via @JoinTheMajority”. Supporters can also donate to the project or share memes seen here from The Marijuana Majority Facebook Page.

Next, the team may look to share its social tools with other movements like the push for marriage equality. That means whatever the issue, Marijuana Majority could fight the stigma attached to voicing controversial opinions. As it says at the bottom of each page, “Bad laws change when good people speak up.”

via Marijuana Majority Website Highlights Celebs And Tech Leaders Who Support Pot Legalization | TechCrunch.

via Marijuana Majority Website Highlights Celebs And Tech Leaders Who Support Pot Legalization | TechCrunch.

Irish politician claims legalisation of cannabis can aid recovery from economic collapse


A member of the Irish parliament has claimed that the legalization of cannabis would help solve the country’s financial woes.

Roscommon-South Leitrim Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has said the move could generate over $600million a year for the Irish economy.

Self-confessed hash user Flanagan has been a long time campaigner for the legalization of the drug.

He even claims the proposed change to the legislation could take in more revenue for the state than the controversial household charge.

Speaking at a ‘Legalize Cannabis’ march in Dublin, Flanagan also claimed that current legislation is funding the criminal underworld.

“It has been estimated legalizing the drug would be worth €476million a year (over $600million) to the economy in revenue through taxation and savings to the criminal justice system,” he said.

“Money currently ends up in the pockets of criminals and it would be better spent in the health service.”

Flanagan is currently researching the topic as he intends to present a private members bill on the legalization of cannabis for recreational use.

He also told marchers he had been contacted by over 50 people suffering from multiple sclerosis and other illnesses asking him to fight for the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes on their behalf.

“This is a different issue and there is a cast-iron case for legalizing it for medicinal purposes,” he added.

Last March, Deputy Flanagan announced that he giving up using the drug while in Ireland as he was concerned for his family over his potential to be arrested.

via Irish politician claims legalisation of cannabis can aid recovery from economic collapse | Irish News and Politics spanning the US, Ireland and the World | IrishCentral.

via Irish politician claims legalisation of cannabis can aid recovery from economic collapse | Irish News and Politics spanning the US, Ireland and the World | IrishCentral.

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