Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Matter Of Time

USA Today has a front page article about the growing consensus for a need to reform marijuana articles. And when USA Today, the most mainstream of publications, has a story about pot reform, you know it's becoming acceptable. Interestingly, the story is now the most popular piece on all of This probably shouldn't surprise anyone; remember the online Q&A Obama had last May in which the top query was whether we should legalize marijuana. (Obama belittled the question insultingly- he apparently thinks a war on drug users which costs $40 billion per year and imprisons millions of Americans is trivial.)
LOS ANGELES — James Gray once saw himself as a drug warrior, a former federal prosecutor and county judge who sent people to prison for dealing pot and other drug offenses. Gradually, though, he became convinced that the ban on marijuana was making it more accessible to young people, not less.
"I ask kids all the time, and they'll tell you it is easier to get marijuana than a six-pack of beer because that is controlled by the government," he said, noting that drug dealers don't ask for IDs or honor minimum age requirements.
So Gray — who spent two decades as a superior court judge inOrange County, Calif., and once ran for Congress as aRepublican— switched sides in the war on drugs, becoming an advocate for legalizing marijuana.
"Let's face reality," he says. "Taxing and regulating marijuana will make it less available to children than it is today."
There is literally no rational reason for continuing the criminalization of a harmless plant like marijuana. And even right-wing Republican drug warriors are beginning to see the light. Even if you really believe that marijuana is harmful, as Gray still apparently does, you have to recognize that the current approach only works if you believe that the goal is to imprison more Americans.
The Obama administration still opposes smoking marijuana for its medicinal benefit, says Tom McLellan, deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He says more research is needed to deliver the medically useful ingredients in a non-smokable form.
The Obama administration still opposes smoking marijuana, period, for its political benefit. As usual, it is petrified of leading on this issue. President Obama is an intelligent man. He cannot possibly believe that we should be imprisoning people for non-violent marijuana crimes. And yet he refuses to lead because he is afraid of the repercussions.

But perhaps that's for the best. If he had an honest talk about marijuana, every single Republican in the country would put aside their personal beliefs and unite in a massive condemnation of that drug-using, witch-doctor, crack-baby president (who just so happens to be black) and accuse him of trying to corrupt their innocent, young, white daughters with the horrifyingly dangerous marijuana drug. And then every Democrat in the country would fall all over themselves in an effort to appear even tougher on pot  (because the Democrats are a bunch of wimps without the courage of their mostly correct convictions) and the marijuana reform movement would be set back 25 years.

And I don't think I'm exaggerating the Republican response one bit.

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