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Marijuana Legalization – It’s All About Health

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legalize cannabisLegalizing Marijuana Would Create More Safe Access

By Lanny Swerdlow, R.N.

The medical marijuana model for providing cannabis to people is not working. Sixteen states with medical marijuana laws and almost sixteen years since passage of Proposition 215 and people’s lives are still be ruined as they attempt to navigate the veritable jungle of conflicting local, state and federal civil, criminal and regulatory laws.

The legalization advocates are right–the only way to ever get marijuana safely and widely available is to legalize its possession, production and distribution. Over the last decade progress has been made with statewide decriminalization measures, local lowest enforcement initiatives and medical marijuana legislation. The public’s acceptance of legally controlled and regulated marijuana distribution has reached the 50 percent level and continues to climb.

Cops have fought medical marijuana because their worst nightmare is that it will lead to legalization and the loss of their $20 billion annual feeding frenzy at their pig trough of marijuana prohibition laws. That nightmare is about to come true as not one, but two states have viable legalization measures on their November 2012 ballot.

Washington was the first state to submit sufficient signatures to qualify a legalization initiative for the ballot. Colorado qualified shortly afterwards.

Although their approach to legalization is different, the two initiatives essentially legalize the possession, cultivation, distribution and sale of marijuana. Beyond affecting the laws in those states, passage of the initiatives would have a significant national impact.

Mason Tvert, of Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the sponsors of Colorado’s Amendment 64, states “Along with changing how marijuana is treated in Colorado, passage of the initiative will force a dramatic reevaluation of national marijuana policy and the ability of states to handle marijuana free of federal interference.”

Tvert believes that the campaigns will generate a great deal of media attention that “will inspire thoughtful discussion about marijuana. In particular, we want to make people talk–and think–about the fact that it is objectively less harmful than alcohol.”

Allowing people a choice between alcohol and marijuana is the main reason these legalization measures are so critical to the health of our communities. Hospitals are overflowing with people in hospital beds because of alcohol use and multiple research studies have shown most people use marijuana as a substitute rather than complementary to their alcohol consumption.

Unlike Washington, Colorado is considered a presidential swing state. Tvert points out that in Colorado “marijuana is always a hot news item, so it is likely the candidates will face questions about the initiative and broader marijuana policy issues.”

Many of the supporters of Amendment 64 are upset with President Obama’s Beyond Bush escalation of federal attacks on medical marijuana providers as well as his opposition to legalization measures such Amendment 64. He is going to need the votes of young progressive voters to win Colorado so it is going to be interesting to see how he handles the inevitable questions about his actions. With Romney as opposed to marijuana as Obama, it is third-party, Green, Libertarian and Socialist candidates that may get the votes that could have gone to Obama.

These campaigns need and deserve your help. Although both campaigns are being financed by some deep pockets, it’s going to require additional financing from marijuana advocates to put it over the top.

Both campaigns are working on developing a phone bank in which supporters in California and throughout the nation will be able help out by making calls to voters.

Unfortunately both these initiatives are being attacked not only by raging drug warriors, but by marijuana consumers who feel the initiatives have fatal flaws that will make things worse. I cannot begin to imagine how things could be any worse, but whatever imperfections they may have, it is much easier to change whatever problems remain when marijuana is legal than when it is illegal.

For more information go to www.newapproachwa.org and www.regulatemarijuana.org.

Published with special permission from Culture

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  • Harrylime_
  •  Then ask the State of CO to decriminalize all marijuana for anyone under 18.
    A64 does not do that!

  • Just REEKS of Republicans using Marijuana for votes in 2012. GOP ruins State MMJ law. Now republicans support Amendment 64 because they are upset with President Obama for attacking medical marijuana providers – OMG  – You have to see the malarkey.

  •  For all the reasons you shut down MMJ. A64 is the wrong direction if you feel it is full of stuff that can be fixed later.

  •  That ship sailed! Ron Paul is simply the Republicans ploy to full party vote.

  • I truly hope people see through this smoke screen promoting this thing you hope is correct.
    Love my smoke but voting for A64 WILL never return my unalienable rights.  This State vote will not take away from the funding of the Drug War.

  • Efgh

    Im from the uk, and its about time the british public were educated on marajuana instead of being brainwashed into it being a class B drug! its a fuckin plant, which i believe to ve a possible cure to cancer and alzheimers disease, i lost my granmother to both diseases 2 years ago, since then it has been ny passion to find a cure! governments should regulate it the way alcahol is regulated, productivity would go up, jobs will be created in cannabis factories, coffee shops, and also shipping and crime sectors! i really wish david cameron would realise this and we are not criminals!i have a full time job, car, house, i pay it all myself! I see myaelf as a good british citizen, i just happen to snoke weed, what about the stupid girls that go out boozing all night and cat make it to work coz she is dying with a hangover! its not fair, AND driving under the influence od cannabis does not affect the ability to drive! Proof can be viewed on youtube and search for firth gear cannabia test

  • Bruce Manly

    Thank you, for simplifying this, for folks that can’t undrstand logic

  • Donkey_Hotay

    A64 is preemptive surrender — written by Alcoholics for Alcoholics.

    What idiot that actually cared about peaceful pot would associate and conflate it with violent alcohol ?

  •  First degree murder charges to be filed for drug sales in Oklahoma. Oklahoma first degree murder carries the death penalty.

  • Robert Chase

    The practical effect of Amendment 64 will be to legalize limited personal use and cultivation of cannabis; many offenses related to cannabis will remain in effect.  The opposition to the Amendment among a few activists is bizarre — whatever its inadequacies, reducing the number of people charged with felonies for growing cannabis is an inarguable improvement in our laws.  This opposition underscores just how apolitical and self-absorbed our base is — to imagine that Colorado is ready to repeal all laws against cannabis when only 20% of the population uses it and 40% of voters want to keep the use of cannabis criminal is proof of deep political ignorance or psychosis.

  •  Excellent point. Our government PATENTED Cannabis (U.S> Patent # 6,63″Cannabinoids as ANtioxidants and Neuroprotectants”-Issued in 2003 to the Dept Health and Human Services, but applied-for in 1998.
    SInce 1972,the American government has known Cannabis CURES cancer,that’s why the FDA will not allow any “research materials”, nor accept any trial paramaeters.
    The DEA is now the Police-Force for the FDA.
    Double-Blind” clinical trials in Israel, Europe or Canada, but the US?
    “We don’t need another drug-problem”
    Mitt (the weenie) Romney.

  • I truly hope Mr. Tvert, et. al are correct in that Colorado and Washington will set precedent on how other states remove the feds from the equation. In fact, the Feds are the ONLY part of the “Cannabis Equation” that does not figure.Left to their devices, the states who allowed medical use of Cannabis would all be very wealthy by now-and their children would  have better schools.
    In the book he co-authored; “Marijuana is Safer, So Why Are We Being Driven To Drink?” he points out that Alcohol is legal, yet Toxic, but Cannabis-in use for all of recorded Human history-has never killed anyone, yet is more”hunted” than Heroin…Ridiculous.
    On a related note, here we are AGAIN. Sixteen years after passage in these “MMJ” state,  still arguing about rearranging the deck chairs on this “Titanic” failure of a Drug war..Cannabis war..Excuse me.
    A 20 BILLION trough for Police to feed?..If it were only that small an amount.
    EVERY minute, we spend, what, $55,000-for the Canna-War and Incarcerate someone every . NINETEEN SECONDS for Cannabis “offenses”.
    We should all think VERY hard about this…Prosthletyze, preach-tell everyone you know.
    This issue is NOT so much aboiut Cannabis or anyhing else beside REMOVAL OF BASIC “UNALIENABLE RIGHTS” that have been removed by YOUR government

  • Karen

    Portland is also likely to get a tax and regulate referendum on the ballot for November. Could be really exciting if just ONE can pass! Guess who’s getting my tourist dollars??

  • I believe the new amendment in the Senate to FDA regulations (
     S. 2113, the Transforming the Regulatory Environment to Accelerate Access to Treatments (TREAT) Act. ) will act as a “back door” allowing trials utilizing cannabis

  • The tobacco industry has little influence on the spineless politicians compared to the military industrial complex.

    The military industrial complex stands to get hit the hardest if marijuana is legalized.  Alcohol drinkers are much more likely to vote for new weapons and enlist in the army.  Pot smokers generally want peace, unless illegal dealers mix gateway drugs into the pot.

  • You need to have people log comments against it so as to reduce suspicion when the election results are altered.

  • Mar

    Voe for Ron Paul! He will leave the decision to the states!

  • Alcohol drinkers are more likely to enlist in the army and support being the world police.  Knowing this, the military industrial complex does not want a country filled with hippie pot smokers who want to get out of Afghanistan and think twice about bombing Iran (the only country in the world that has legalized pot – not to be confused with decriminalization.)

  • safetyfirst

     How could someone be against the initiatives that are obviously a step in the right direction. If there are problems with them then they will end up being fixed after. We just need to get this process moving. Please vote yes!

  • Nygratefulfred

    once the big tobacco companies have the market set up for manufacture and distribution,and companies like Monsanto can monopolize the growing,when they can make all the money, then the spineless jellyfish we call politicians will flip flop all over themselves to vote for legalization. It’s all about the money and who can make it,and has nothing to do with Marijuana being harmless or not or whatever.Something that should be legal to be used medicinally and recreationly is being held up by special  intrests.