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Dismantling the 5 Big Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists. PART 1 of 2. Article by Tony Newman and Stephen Gutwillig.
By Admin (from 16/10/2010 @ 10:50:34, in en - Global Observatory, read 1487 times)

The war on drugs will be on the ballot in California this November. The nation will watch the state decide whether to tax and regulate marijuana or continue to arrest adults for possession of this plant.

The vote on the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 will impact many of the most important issues in the country today. Californians will express how they want police resources used, if adults who consume marijuana should be criminalized, how best to deal with the tragic violence in Mexico, and what our priorities should be in tough economic times. It’s no wonder that seven months out, this issue has already generated thousands of news stories around the world.

Opposition to this reform has crystallized within the drug war establishment, and so has their spin. Here are their top five talking points and the truth beyond them:

Drug Warrior Spin #1: Why would we authorize another harmful substance in our society?

The reality is that marijuana is already widely available in our society. Like it or not, it’s a mainstream recreational drug consumed by millions, including one in ten Californians last year, according to federal data. The California ballot initiative simply acknowledges that marijuana is here and that it’s more sensible to regulate this massive market, like we do with even more harmful drugs like cigarettes and alcohol. Prohibition of highly popular substances never works and brings terrible collateral damage. Alcohol prohibition didn’t keep people from drinking, but it did give us Al Capone and gun battles in the streets. No one dies over sales of Budweiser today.

Drug Warrior Spin #2: Regulation will cause marijuana consumption to skyrocket with addiction rates to match.

The truth is rates of marijuana consumption aren’t determined by penalties against it. If they were, the U.S. – which arrests an astounding 750,000 people for marijuana possession every year – wouldn’t have double the consumption rate of The Netherlands, where marijuana sales have been tolerated for decades. That principle holds true across this country as some states that lowered penalties against marijuana possession years ago have among the lowest rates of use while some states that retained harsh marijuana laws have among the highest. As for addiction, the risk of becoming dependent on marijuana is mild compared to most other drugs including alcohol and tobacco. In fact, most people who enter treatment for marijuana addiction in this country today are referred by the criminal justice system, but 65% don’t even meet the standard criteria for dependence.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

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