Huntsville Edu: Pot Reform Not "Half-Baked"

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by shaggyflasko, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. " + artTitle.replace("-","") + " - " + "Houstonian" + " - " + "Campus News" + "

    NORML Kats call for the legalization of marijuana

    By Meagan Ellsworth

    \tThe nonprofit advocacy group, created in 1970, now has a chapter at Sam Houston State University to tell people about prohibition and the benefits of legalizing marijuana.
    \tThe National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws campus chapter, or NORML Kats, wants to get the word out.
    \t"We are here," Will Kinison, treasurer, said. "We have a voice and we are trying to educate people and get people to just think about the issue."
    \tNORML Kats invite the university community to join in on the conversation. Their meetings are on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at Merskies and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. in room 303 of Academic Building 4.
    \t"We don't ask that people necessarily agree with us," Kinison said. "All we want is for people to get informed and get the facts. Once they do that, then they will agree with us because this is a no brainer."
    \tJunior Mark McDonald, vice president of NORML Kats, said the $14 billion spent on stopping a drug that anyone can make is a lost cause and that those in the land of the free should be given a choice.
    \t"We could turn around and put that $14 billion into education or healthcare for our children tomorrow," McDonald said. "The land of the free should let the grown adults choose to have the freedom on whether or not they want to utilize this drug like they do with alcohol, tobacco, aspirin, caffeine, and everything else that kills more people than the actual drug in question."
    \tNORML Kats supports age restrictions to help keep the drug out of the hands of children. Marijuana is by far the most used illicit drug by teens, according to a 2005 survey of 10th and 12th graders by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
    \t"We would like to see marijuana sold in legitimate businesses, which ask for identification, so only people over 21 would be able to purchase," Kinison said. "[This would be better than having marijuana in the] hands of drugs dealers, who not only don't ask for [identifications], but who specifically target children and young people to sell marijuana to."
    \tAccording to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, dealers can lace illegal marijuana with other harmful substances and drugs.
    \tThe majority of the time users are not aware of these additives, but Kinison said regulation could provide preventative restrictions for quality control.
    \t "We'd know who was growing the marijuana and who is selling it," he said. "So if legalized marijuana was laced with something and there were dangerous additives then we'd know who to blame."
    \tHe said then criminal charges could be brought against the individuals.
    \t"Right now there are no repercussions," Kinison said. "Cartels can, if they choose to, spray their marijuana with any number of harmful substances or preservatives, and there are no controls whatsoever."
    \tKinison said legalization would also help secure the border by eliminating some of the drug smuggling between the United States and Mexico.
    \t"It would help keep the massive revenue that the marijuana industry produces as the third most popular drug in the United States out of the hands of these bloodthirsty Mexican cartels," He said. "[They] are currently reaping havoc in Mexico from the profits that our prohibition has given them."
    \tAccording to DEA reports, marijuana is a gateway drug that effects brain functioning and judgment. Citing long-term studies of students who use drugs, DEA reports state that very few users do not try marijuana before other illegal drugs. The DEA's official position is against the legalization of marijuana.
    \t"The idea that smoking marijuana will cause you to move on to harder substances is patently false," Kinison said. "If you look at the number of marijuana users and the number of hard drug users, there is such a small fraction of the percentage of [those who use] marijuana to ever use hard drugs-it is just a ridiculous argument.
    \t"A lot of the opposition to marijuana comes from inaccurate propaganda on the part of government," Kinison said. "There is no evidence whatsoever, scientific or otherwise, that marijuana is either addictive or in any measure can kill you by overdose."
    \tClayton Langley, a visitor from California, said he supports NORML Kats and the legalization of marijuana. He also said he thinks it could revamp the national economy. Texas is strict in comparison to marijuana laws in California, which allow people to smoke in public and carry a certain amount of the drug on them, he said.
    \t"I've been arrested for possession of marijuana here in Huntsville and I thought it was absolutely ridiculous because I wasn't hurting anyone," Langley said. "I had to pay a $1,500 fine for [the] possession of less than two ounces."
    \tIn Texas, smoking or possessing marijuana regardless of whether it is used medically or recreationally, is considered a criminal offense.
    \tConsequences include possible fines, probation and even jail time.
    \tSHSU has a zero tolerance policy on marijuana possession.
    \t"You can lose student loans," Kinison said. "You could lose your children, in some cases. You could lose government-subsidized housing, and it can really wreck your life, as well as your job prospects for the future."
    \tKinison said he does not agree with any punitive measures regarding the possession or use of marijuana, and if someone does have a drug problem, they need treatment and do not need to be imprisoned.
    \tUniversity Police Department Deputy Chief James Fitch told the Houstonian in the spring that marijuana should remain illegal but punishment should be lighter. As a probation officer, he said he saw marijuana open the door to harder drugs.
    \t"If the legislatures were to ever choose to lighten the sentences or punishments for people in possession, it wouldn't be bad. [There are a lot of] people in jail for possession and [if] jails are full [we] may need more [space for] violent offenders," Fitch said. "It is using tax payers' money."

    Bitchin' article :smoke:
  2. should have spaced it out and made it easier to read

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