Pubdate: Sat, 02 Aug 2014
Source: Charleston Gazette (WV)
Contact:  2014 Charleston Gazette


Most Americans realize that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol 
and tobacco - yet booze and cigarettes are lucrative legal products, 
while pot-puffers face jail. This contradiction makes no sense.

The New York Times, America's flagship newspaper, finally has 
launched an all-out crusade for legalization of marijuana. It declared:

"It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end 
Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise 
law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and 
flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the 
current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to 
prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol."

The national paper said pot clearly is less addictive than "hard" 
drugs, and "does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy 
adults." But prosecution of users damages America, it said, as follows:

"The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 
arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to FBI figures, 
compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even 
worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young 
black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career 

Why does America hurt itself senselessly in this manner? If tobacco 
and alcohol are legitimate business products, pot should join them.

All those hilltop pot patches currently stormed by State Police 
helicopters could become West Virginia's most profitable agricultural 
crop. The state treasury could reap enormous revenue by taxing legal pot.

Across America, public sentiment is changing. Pew surveys find that 
more than half of Americans now support legalization, and 
three-fourths think it's inevitable. Voters in Colorado and 
Washington state authorized recreational puffing, with Oregon poised 
to follow in November. Two dozen states have legalized medical pot to 
ease suffering of sickness victims.

A new report by the Marijuana Policy Project says:

"Colorado is proving that there is an alternative to marijuana 
prohibition. The state is generating millions of dollars in new tax 
revenue, and hundreds of millions of dollars in marijuana sales are 
taking place in legitimate businesses instead of in the underground 
market. Opponents' fears have proven to be unfounded.... Officials 
have not found one instance of marijuana businesses selling to 
minors.... There has been no increase in crime linked to the new law, 
and law enforcement officials are no longer spending their time 
punishing adults for possession."

A social transformation is in progress. It's time to end the costly, 
hurtful, police war on pot.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom