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April 2005
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Here are a couple of good articles via Cannabis News:
“bullet” Prohibition on Marijuana Does More Harm Than Good by Kris Millegan in the Register-Guard (OR) is a good response to an earlier article by prohibitionists. Millegan also provides us with a great line:

Once a substance is banned and enters a black market, the age of the users goes down, the volume of abuse goes up, and civil and criminal corruption rises.

Exactly right.
“bullet” Decriminalization: A Growing Debate by John Koziol in the Laconia, NH Citizen caught my attention when it started:

Even though it’s a political hot potato, civil libertarians and several lawmakers say Granite Staters should have a discussion about illegal substances, including the possibility of decriminalizing at least one of them: marijuana.

That one paragraph says so much about part of the problem we face as drug policy reformers. We even have to work to convince people to have a discussion about the topic.
That said, this article actually has a large number of intelligent, reform statements by politicians! (How did that happen?)

[State Rep. David A. Welch, R-Kingston] agrees that the legal drugs — alcohol and tobacco — appear to cause more harm than the illegal ones. …

Speaking of the federal initiative to curb the influx and use of illegal substances, “I don’t believe the war on drugs has been effective, said Welch. “It certainly hasn’t been cost-effective, and it certainly isn’t working.

“I think we need to take a harder look at it at the national level,” he added. …

“Arresting people doesn’t work,” said Welch. …

State Rep. Tim Robertson, D-Keene, whom Welch called the “conscience of our committee” and who was the primary sponsor of HB197, said that, if drugs were legal, people would not be dying of heroin overdoses in New Hampshire. …
But Robertson is not out to decriminalize all drugs, just one.

“If we legalized marijuana, we would find that it wasn’t the death knell for society in the way that the anti-marijuana people say. The whole drug war is quite similar to prohibition, which we gave up on.” …

“I stand on principle,” said Robertson. “I hate hypocrites and I try not to be one.”

The war on drugs, he said, is “creating a whole number of people who’ve been convicted and served time for not a very good reason” — possession or use of marijuana.

“With marijuana, you usually don’t do violent things, you usually don’t drive, get into a fight. It’s my understanding — I have had a puff once in my life but I’m much too old to have been in the habit — that you get hungry and you might get romantic but apart from that you keep your moral base. It doesn’t attack the same parts of your brain that alcohol does.”

Robertson said the federal government is conflicted about marijuana because it can not figure out a way to regulate it, and, ultimately, to tax it.

“It’s very difficult to tax or make money selling a weed. Marijuana will grow anywhere. The average user probably could grow all they need in a window box or in their closet and a lot of them do. It’s tough to tax something that you can go down the street and pick up in an empty lot. The average marijuana user is smoking 3-4 joints per week and it’s not like cigarettes. It’s not addictive and if the price got too high you could stop.”

Good article. Lots of good quotes in it besides the ones I included here.

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