It's way past 4:20 time: It's High Time to Legalize Drugs Now!!
Join the ACLU!! www.aclu.org
Join NORML!! www.norml.org
Join the U.S Marijuana Party!! www.usmjparty.com
Write to your representatives!! www.house.gov
Write to your senators!! www.senate.gov
Write to the President!! http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Contact state government too!! http://www.firstgov.gov/Contact.shtml
Register to Vote and then Get out and vote in EVERY election!!
Keith Stroup of NORML just retired from the organization he founded after 34 years of effort to get marijuana legalized in this country.
So where are we now, 34 years after the founding of NORML? Marijuana is still illegal and our civil liberties are under seige as never before. Why has the effort to legalize marijuana failed?
One of the problems with marijuana legalization proposals is that they are as one-sided in their own way as the prohibitionist laws they are meant to replace.
Any proposed legislation that would legalize marijuana would probably be more successful if it clearly and inclusively addressed the legitimate concerns of all sides of the issue.
Conservative people do not want to see intoxicated people on their streets or near their children, but a large number of "other folks" want to alter their own consciousness as they see fit (and they have the right to do so).
These two needs could be met if the government would re-classify so called "drugs of abuse" as "restricted" rather than "prohibited".
This means to prohibit the public use of the drugs and restrict them to adult private use only.
The model for legalizing marijuana use might be more accepted politically if it was closer to the model for private sexual behavior, rather than the currently circulating alcohol/tobacco model.
Some opinion surveys need to be done on this, but I suspect that there would not be too much general support for allowing folks to smoke pot in public or at a bar or "coffeeshop" like they do in Amsterdam.
Unlike the Dutch, too many voting Americans are just not tolerant of people with diverse lifestyles of any kind, especially if they are too public in their behavior.
Those same conservative people do not want "drug dealing" or "head shops" in their community, but a large number of "other folks" want to buy the items that such dealers and shops offer.
These two needs could be met if drugs and head shop items were legally but discreetly available to adults by mail or phone or web order only.
There would be no street transactions or shops in the community to offend anyone, and the "other folks" could legally buy the items they want.
Allowing people to discreetly grow "personal use" amounts of plant drugs would also help to address the "drug dealing" issue.
At the moment, the anti-drug people use the "child/teen endangerment" argument along with the "health risks argument" to push their agenda.
Laws prohibiting the use/purchase of drugs by and in front of children/teenagers would address the "child/teen endangerment issue".
Laws requiring drug purity as well as laws requiring scientifically accurate health risk information to be provided with any commercially sold drugs would address the "health risks issue".
The "drug addiction" argument can be addressed with valid scientific research.
Most people really do care about their health and it is a minority who become hopelessly addicted to substances.
Addiction and treatment information provided with the drugs would help to address the drug addiction issue.
Simply legalizing drugs would address the "narco-gang/terrorist money issue" by taking away the inflated profits of trading in contraband.
If the price of currently illegal plant drugs dropped to that of coffee beans or cocoa beans (two accepted drugs the U.S. government calls "food") there would be no need for spraying toxic herbicides on Columbian peasants who understandably choose to grow the currently much more profitable coca leaves or cannabis flowers.
Corporations and other employers do not want drug users to work for them because they feel that drug using employees are less productive and have more health problems and accidents than non-using employees. Drug users feel that their private behavior is none of their employer's business as long as they can perform on the job.
No new laws are needed to address this issue, since employers already have the right to terminate or deny employment to persons who cannot perform their job.
Another argument against legalizing drugs is the "driving/public safety issue".
We already have laws against "Driving While Impaired" (DWI/DUI) and "impairment" includes "fatigue" and "prescription drugs" as well as alcohol and illegal drugs.
There are physical tests that can determine if a person is fit to drive or operate machinery even if blood-testing drivers for marijuana and other illegal drugs cannot currently make this determination.
The "drugs are unnatural" argument is of course quite empty.
Plant drugs are quite natural and the most potent drug that anyone ever takes is on their plate every day.
People in general and politicians in particular do not seem to understand that chemicals are the basis of their very life and they do not realize that food is literally a drug, and it is a drug that can have a dramatic impact on their mental and physical well-being. (see "The Zone" by Dr. Barry Sears)
In addition to proposing legalization legislation that addresses the valid concerns of both sides of the marijuana/drug issue, all of us "other folks" need to get registered and get out and vote in every election. That means local elections, primaries, mid-term elections as well as the major presidential elections.
The "anti-otherness" candidates won in 2004 because their conservative constituents got out and voted.
So, all you "other folks", get involved, write your congressmen and representatives, write to your newspapers, post your own op/ed pages, and come election time, get out and vote!!
Thanks for reading my op/ed page,
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