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Question of the Day: Should Marijuana Be Legalized in U.S. for All Uses?

Union-Tribune columns debate the case after California Medical Association comes out for legal use.

Sunday’s San Diego Union-Tribune contains a major debate on whether marijuana should be legalized—on the federal level as well as within the state. The question was triggered by the California Medical Association favoring decriminalization and regulation of cannabis.

“Despite extensive law enforcement and other prohibition-related efforts at the state and federal levels, unregulated cannabis continues to be easily accessible, often at low cost,” says the group in a white paper (attached). “For this and several other reasons further outlined in this white paper, the California Medical Association has recognized that the criminalization of cannabis is a failed public health policy.”

What do you think?

yessire November 06, 2011 at 11:00 PM
Question should be: How can the State continually ignore the Feds? Why do we continually see dispensaries while reading about how they are being shut down? Does Law enforcement need help with changing locks? I need some extra cash....
colleen November 07, 2011 at 01:25 AM
Would make us better and richer.
Vincent Von Dudler November 07, 2011 at 07:08 AM
As of right now 11% of people that answered this survey want greater government influence in their lives. In my opinion the government shouldn't be legislating morality or lifestyle. It really is that simple. There is a way to ensure the federal government doesn't raid any more medical marijuana dispensaries. We need to remove its power via legislation. Pass H.R. 2306 and limit the federal government's power to enforcing only cross-border trafficking. Regardless of how you stand on the marijuana debate we can all agree it should be left up to the states and the federal crackdown is an abuse that states should not have to tolerate. Tell your representatives -> http://pvox.co/CdiFqY "[Prohibition] attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes." - Abraham Lincoln
Flutie Flambert November 07, 2011 at 06:04 PM
No, the question should be: How can the Fed continually ignore the will of the people? Medical marijuana is approved by 70% of Americans. So why does the fed continue to keep mj a schedule one drug when people disapprove of this more than 2 to 1? According to Gallup, 50% approve of full legalization while 45% do not. There is NO reason for the Fed to support a policy not supported by Americans. Tax and regulate!
Sean Purcell November 07, 2011 at 06:57 PM
The question should be... The question should be... There is only one actual question: from where does any government assume it's power? From you and me. Do you have the right to tell me what I can ingest while sitting in my living room? Do I have the right to prohibit what you eat, drink or smoke in your living room? Of course not. If we don't possess that right ourselves, then by definition no third party acting as our agent (read: government) can possess that right. We need to stop focusing on whether to make something "legal" or not, and start focussing on whether or not we've handed our individual liberty over to others.
Batman November 08, 2011 at 12:05 AM
Those of you encouraging young people to smoke marijuana may well be stealing from them the opportunity to be successful. You should be ashamed! A college degree will open some doors, a drug habbit will close many more. My employer will not hire anyone who uses or has ever used pot or any other illegal drug, and for very good reason. Those of you who know me and know what I do for a living should appreciate this. Would you feel comfortable knowing I was a pot user when you hear the noisy machine over your house? I wouldn't!
James Jones November 08, 2011 at 08:44 AM
Where do you see anyone "encouraging young people to smoke marijuana" in this forum? No one has and you know it. You are grasping at straws in an argument that is harder and harder to defend, that marijuana should be illegal. Does your employer hire people who drink alcohol or who have ever used alcohol? Please explain to us how altering your consciousness with one is morally or medically preferrable to the other? I predict the next argument will be the ever popular, "You wouldn't want your surgeon or airline pilot high on pot would you?" Puh-leeze!
Robert Medley November 08, 2011 at 12:55 PM
The thing is that the illegality of this substance as well as many others is what supports the criminal element. If you look back in history this is how gang's and criminal organizations started whether it was alcohol, marijuana, or whatever other substance, the thing is it was generally the transportation, packaging and selling of something illegal. So there are multiple benefits to it being controlled by the government. The first would be the reduction of crime as that would generally be a choker for criminal industry and endeavors in general and with no means of financing the odds change dramatically. Would this end it completely, no most likely not, but it would do so to such a degree that it would most likely be pointless as an illegal industrial monetary faction. That would by default change the amount of violence in society to a degree, which would drop the cost of policing society in general. As for the argument of airline pilots and surgeons using drugs well they can legally buy alcohol and consume it now. So the question then becomes would I want my doctor or pilot high on alcohol or marijuana. The answer is moral professionals generally choose not to intake a substance when they are on critical duty and that they could do so right now if they so wanted to do it. So that argument is a non argument to begin with. The argument here is do you want every aspect of your life to be controlled by a separate entity or do you want to control it your self!
Jenny While November 08, 2011 at 02:51 PM
But we "encourage" alcohol and tobacco habits.... arguably worse than marijuana. I've never heard of police being called out to a domestic violence situation where the suspect was high on marijuana. Alcohol on the other hand....
James Jones November 08, 2011 at 07:42 PM
@Robert Medley...Exactly! My point was that the scare tactics used by the anti-cannabis folks don't hold up anymore and the government's selective "morality legislation" seems random. The government's job is to defend the nation, secure the borders and build and maintain the infrastructure. It has no business in my home, legislating what I choose to eat, drink or smoke.
Batman November 09, 2011 at 12:05 AM
Marijuana is alcohol and cigarettes rolled into one. Are you going to tell me cigarettes cause lung cancer but marijuana doesn't? Are you going to tell me alcohol causes car accidents but marijuana doesn't? Do we really need another chemical vice to cause injury and illness? Sure, pot doesn't cause as many problems as alcohol, only because it's not as popular... yet. I don't care if it's legal or not. I will not endorse the use of marijuana, alcohol or cigarettes. The people encouraging the use of pot have nothing but contempt for those who use.
Vincent Von Dudler November 09, 2011 at 07:53 AM
Lower addiction rate and lower toxicity. The mind-expanding benefits alone are worth having it around. You can't get expanded consciousness or enhanced experience due to alcohol or cigarettes. Or...if you can it's extremely minor. Marijuana use is a fairly mind blowing experience and can help people not only with their pain but also correct a skewed perspective. You'll realize things about the world and about yourself that you wouldn't otherwise. It enhances eating, music, and sex at the expense of being unable to perform complex tasks for an hour or two. Tell me alcohol or cigarettes does that as effectively. Sounds great, right? Now recall that it has a lower addiction rate than both alcohol and cigarettes. So you can always choose not to use it. Just because you're for the freedom to choose doesn't mean you're for choosing it. I fight for free speech in principle, but that doesn't mean I encourage people to use it to spread hate and racism. You can be against tyranny and for making the individual's right to choose a priority without encouraging poor decisions. Giving people freedom is the right thing to do, even if they can use that freedom to make poor choices. The cautionary tales always make the best deterrents anyway - not the law, especially when the law is based on an exaggerated danger perpetuated by the government.
Batman November 09, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Mind expanding my #$%!
Jenny While November 09, 2011 at 03:19 PM
I agree that society doesn't need another chemical vice. Alcohol and cigarettes are bad enough. But if someone decides that they want to risk the chance of lung cancer doing their drug of choice, hey, let them. Like Vincent said, it's much less addicting. And I think it's rather silly to think that just because marijuana would be legal that everyone would be doing it everywhere. It would be treated just like alcohol. Not in public, not until you're 21. You can't fly a plane (I'm assuming this is your profession) after drinking alcohol. But you're allowed to do it at home. Marijuana would be the same. These kind of professions, I'm assuming, are highly regulated to prevent that kind of problem. But I do agree about the problem of DUIs. They will most likely increase because the literature on the dangers of marijuana and driving is not nearly as extensive as alcohol and driving. Dumb kids buying their first legal joint won't be thinking of that as they toke up on their ride home.
Vincent Von Dudler November 09, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Batman - I'm sorry you had a bad experience. Your mind is really what makes the experience. Some people are in a dark place psychologically and it has the potential to magnify that in the form of panic attacks or paranoia. I would recommend removing some stresses from your life before trying it again. Jenny Re: the DUI issue - I think it's an important one. We need to develop a different sobriety test for marijuana users. Blood tests have proved inaccurate due to the fact that CBD builds up in fat and while completely sober a person might still test positive. I think a sobriety test might be better - unfortunately I think that there are many legal drivers out there that would still fail in their normal state because what the sobriety is really testing is speed of psychological process. It's not really comparable to alcohol in that alcohol slows response time and encourages risky behavior whereas marijuana mildly slows response time but a person can gauge how high they are. There's this ironic saying used to compare the two: "The drunk driver will ignore the stop sign while the high driver will stop and wait for it to turn green." I'm in favor of strict controls and even a federally mandated age limit for recreational use if necessary. I'm convinced "medical marijuana" will eventually be a term to describe only prescribed marijuana to those who need it under that specified age. This is a decent video re: driving while high http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzKjFiGFrcU
Batman November 09, 2011 at 11:31 PM
Let's see that same driving test after dark.
Vincent Von Dudler November 10, 2011 at 12:55 AM
Indeed! Let's do significant testing to see how dangerous it is. But regardless - I don't think people should be driving or operating heavy machinery until they know how they'll be affected. If they endanger lives of others or harm anyone else then they should be punished. But we already have laws on the books that govern those situations without a prohibition.

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