Pubdate: Thu, 20 Jan 2005
Source: Miami New Times (FL)
Copyright: 2005 New Times, Inc.
Author: Greg Baker
Cited: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Cited: NORML
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Popular)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


You've heard the arguments against America's tragic prohibition of 
marijuana: how pot was only made illegal to protect the profits of 
corporate robber barons, how dangerous criminals are set free because the 
nation's prisons are crowded with people arrested on reefer charges, how 
desperately ill citizens find respite in a bit of weed. There's the theory 
of relativity, which notes that marijuana isn't as deleterious as tobacco 
and alcohol.

One example of why marijuana was made illegal in 1937 comes in the form of 
famous (or infamous) publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, who owned 
vast timberlands harvested to supply newsprint. When a machine that 
harvested industrial-grade cannabis (a much cheaper and ecologically 
friendlier source of paper) was invented, Hearst's newspapers began running 
headlines screaming that pot breeds homicidal maniacs.

Here's another point, from a surprising source: Many of those fighting the 
war on drugs would be out of a job if drugs were decriminalized. That comes 
from people who fought the war on drugs, namely Law Enforcement Against 
Prohibition ( According to a December article in The 
Providence Journal, U.S. taxpayers coughed up $69 billion last year to pay 
cops, feds, prosecutors, jailers. According to LEAP the cost of the 30-year 
war on drugs has emptied Americans' pockets of more than a half trillion 
tax dollars.

Those figures don't account for the reverse, how pot smugglers and growers 
make immeasurable fortunes that, with legalization and regulation, could be 
going to federal and state governments.

These are the reasons that organizations such as the National Organization 
for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML, exist. In the next 
two months the U.S. Supreme Court should render a ruling in a case that 
NORML, which lobbies on both the federal and state level, considers the 
most important anti-prohibition event of 2005: whether the federal 
government has a right to continue arresting people in the numerous states 
that have decriminalized marijuana.

NORML, formed in 1972, is a nonprofit organization, like LEAP and the 
Marijuana Policy Project, which also works to pass new laws legalizing 
marijuana. Some two dozen bands, along with spoken-word artists, dancers, 
artists, and speakers will put on a show to raise money for NORML at 
Tobacco Road (626 S. Miami Ave.) this weekend.

Irvin Rosenfeld, a longtime stockbroker and South Florida resident, will 
speak at the event. From age ten, Rosenfeld's body was riddled with painful 
bone tumors. A "very law-abiding citizen," Rosenfeld has been fighting 
prohibition for years. He once told a Miami crowd that he "wouldn't be 
here" without pot, even though he had an open prescription for any drugs he 
wanted, including cocaine and morphine. He was the second U.S. citizen to 
be permitted to smoke weed by the federal government. That was in 1983 and 
Rosenfeld isn't a homicidal maniac, yet.



The seventh annual Medical Marijuana Benefit begins at 4:00 p.m. on 
Saturday, January 22.

Tickets cost ten dollars.

Call 305-374-1198 or visit

Where: Tobacco Road, 626 S Miami Ave 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake