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April 2006
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A range of opinions on marijuana

A very thoughtful article by William W. Savage III in the oudaily about the different viewpoints that emerge in a discussion about legalizing medical marijuana in Oklahoma.
I think it’s well written because it really get to the heart of where people are coming from on these issues, from the hardcore opposition:

Asked if there is a way to use marijuana responsibly, Balkman said, “Not that I’m aware of. I don’t think there is.” […]
Balkman said he is unaware of marijuana having medical benefits.

… to the enlightened:

“The drug war is very profitable,” said Ron Shewey, president of the Drug Policy Forum of Oklahoma and advocate of Oklahoma’s Compassionate Care Campaign.
“The police and prisons are the two largest growing industries in America today,” Shewey said. “We’ve now got 2.2 million people behind bars in America. We’re No. 1 in incarceration per capita in the world, and a substantial amount of that is drug war. Here in Oklahoma, 32 percent of our prison population is there for drugs.”

and the moderate:

“There would have to be a big educational effort with the public because the public still views marijuana in the same class as other dangerous drugs,” said District 44 State Rep. Bill Nations, D-Norman. “What happened to marijuana is that, it may be much more innocent than methamphetamine and heroin, but in the ’60s, it got put into that dangerous category of drugs.”

It’s important for us to understand and see all the perspectives out there, even when, in the case of Balkman, they have no connection to reality.

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