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My feelings concerning the use of marijuana as a recreational drug have gone back and forth over the years. We should examine the question of legalization with a new national commission.
Portugal and Spain provide as good as an example as The Netherlands. In both countries, the drug is illegal, but you'd never know it based on some quirky technicalities. The general trend is about prevention, not punishment.
My decades in addiction medicine have taught me that keeping marijuana illegal has not decreased access to youth but in fact increased it. It is easier for under-age youth to get marijuana for that it is alcohol and cigarettes where at least you have to show an ID.
Is marijuana a harmless giggle, as John Lennon once called it, or a dangerous and illicit addiction? The debate has once again been pushed to the forefront, thanks to a couple of timely factors.
It’s a myth that cops, supposedly reflecting the will of an increasingly enlightened society, are no longer enforcing pot laws, or doing so only half-heartedly. Legalization will free police officers to concentrate on crimes that inflict the deepest fear, pain and loss.
The case against licensed marijuana grower Chris Bartkowicz in Colorado epitomizes many of the contradictions and much of the confusion surrounding the enforcement of marijuana laws these days.
Why We Should Not Legalize Marijuana
The legalization of marijuana is no longer the unthinkable. There's a growing legal gap between Washington and state and local government, along with a growing chorus making an economic argument for the end to prohibition. However, serious opposition remains on many levels.
Various constituencies within the American Bar Association have discussed following the lead of one county bar association in Washington state, whose position is states should have authority over marijuana law.
Drug dealers these days are far from the stereotypes of blinged-out urban kids and long-haired dirtbags. Many are moms, teachers, construction workers, and municipal employees, supplementing their regular income.
Even with the U.S. economy struggling, we should not buy into the argument that vices should be legalized, taxed and regulated—no matter how much revenue we think it may generate. Significant cost burdens come with increased marijuana use.
In an excerpt from a chapter in her forthcoming book, CNBC's Trish Regan visits the three-county area of Northern California known as the Emerald Triangle, where more pot is grown than anywhere else in America.
One senator discusses the evolution of the state's thinking, from medical marijuana to decriminalization to even limited tax-and-regulate legalization.
Legalization: More Americans Say 'No'
Veteran anti-drug activist and Drug Free kids founder, Joyce Nalepka talks about her four-decade battle with the drug industry in and out of court and her work with Nancy Reagan.
If pot becomes legal, local, artisanal growers—perhaps along with farmers' collectives—are likely to dominate in the early stage, as big firms ramp up to enter the market years later. Think Starbuds vs. Maxwell House.
The current approach skews the priorities of law enforcement to the detriment of the public. It keeps our prisons full to bursting at great expense and endangers the public by letting out the real criminals to make room for non-violent drug offenders.
Unlike performance-enhancing drugs, marijuana really doesn't have any benefits. By many accounts, it inhibits performance, impairs memory, hurts coordination and could affect the heart rate.
Decriminalized in 11 states and legal for medical purposes in 14, marijuana is no longer considered an enemy of the people in many quarters.
In this slideshow, we take a look at different people, laws and films that played a role in shaping marijuana's image in the minds of Americans.