Logical To Legalize Marijuana

Discussion in 'Legalization and Activism' started by Superjoint, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. By Michael Fitzgerald, Record Columnist
    Source: Stockton Record

    Lo and behold, a famous conservative and his magazine are calling for an end to "marijuana prohibition."
    William F. Buckley's seminal right-wing journal, National Review, is hitting the stands bearing a big, fat marijuana leaf on the cover and the headline, "Going to Pot: The Growing Movement Toward Ending America's Irrational Marijuana Prohibition."

    Coming up at 11: John Ashcroft opens a leather bar in the Castro.

    Buckley is showing admirable intellectual honesty. The soul-searching introduction to his column bears reprinting:

    "Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great."

    Translation: We were wrong.

    Of course, about 100 million Americans -- the number who say they've at least tried pot -- knew that. So do the 700,000 Americans arrested for marijuana every year.

    Stocktonian Danny Lopez was arrested for cultivating marijuana.

    "It was horrible," Lopez said of the experience. "Three huge policemen came in pointing their 9 mm guns at my mug."

    Lopez was handcuffed, taken away and booked. "They put my name in the paper," Lopez cringed. Tried, he was sentenced to counseling and informal probation. "I had to go to a psychiatrist or a psychologist. It cost me $80 a visit. For six months."

    His plantation: one 6-inch marijuana plant.

    There may be a "perfectly respectable" case for keeping marijuana illegal, Buckley writes; but not for locking up an estimated 100,000 Americans. Not for wasting $10 billion to $15 billion a year minimum fighting a substance that has never produced one fatal overdose.

    Not for denying people in pain medical marijuana.

    "What we face," Buckley wrote, "is the politician's fear of endorsing any change in existing marijuana laws."

    Buckley, together with the man who wrote the cover story, Ethan A. Nadelman, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, then tears the hide off every bogus argument against marijuana. God, what a pleasure.

    Rather than recap the refreshing logic, let's wonder instead how much money and manpower law enforcement in Stockton and San Joaquin County could save for real crime if McGruff weren't sniffing for pot.

    Wonder, to some extent, is all we can do. Local officials all say it's impossible to come up with either dollar figures or man-hours spent enforcing state and federal marijuana laws.

    "It's significant," said Sgt. Wayne Filipowski, the head of the sheriff's narcotics division.

    It must be. It involves everybody from the beat cop to narcotics divisions and to CAMP, a seasonal, multiagency task force that flies around seeking pot plantations and burning them.

    To say nothing of court time and money. And the cost of prisons.

    Bravo, Buckley. Honest conservative leaders should publicly say what they privately mutter: government insanely overreacts to pot.

    Leaders right here in River City should check their conservative consciences. Raising taxes while pouring money into pointless marijuana prohibition only makes citizens cynical about the institutions conservatives are supposed to protect.

    Source: Record, The (CA)
    Author: Michael Fitzgerald, Record Columnist
    Published: Friday, July 2, 2004
    Copyright: 2004 The Record
    Contact: editor@recordnet.com
    Website: http://www.recordnet.com/
     

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