Friday, October 24, 2008

Smoke

Every 38 seconds a marijuana smoker is arrested in the U.S. In 2006, the latest year that figures are available for, 829, 627 people were arrested for smoking weed--well, to be exact 89 percent of this number were arrested for possession, so it's not the traffickers and drug kings being busted by the law, it's the small fry. In fact, marijuana busts comprise 44 percent of all drug arrests in this country. And are you ready for this? There are more arrests for marijuana than for all other crimes combined. This is insane, and only part of what I learned in this article.

Isn't there something wrong with this picture? Anybody who does some reading in the vast literature on this subject cannot but conclude that the answer to this question must be: Of course there is. Just consider the fact that in federal law pot is lumped in the same category with heroin, crack cocaine, and crystal meth. This is just plain crazy. And then consider that if only half of the information about the safety or relative harmlessness of weed is true, then arresting people for possession and use of this drug is just crazy. Twelve states, most of them in the West, now allow medical marijuana, a number that is surely going to grow as the truth about the benefits of this plant begins to permeate the noggins of legislators elsewhere.

Just as an aside, I have a friend with pancreatic cancer. He has 3 to 6 months, max. And a lot of pain. His kids are arguing among themselves which is best able to get the best marijuana to help their dad. They will get it for him, and he will consume it in brownies. And everybody involved, terminal cancer or not, is a criminal. Also just for the record the marijuana laws in the state of Oklahoma, where he and I live, are (surprise!) draconian. Possession for the first arrest is a misdemeanor and can land you in the poky for up to a year. Subsequent arrests for this: felony. Everything else beyond simple possession--cultivation, sale: felony and big-time monetary fines. Possession of paraphernalia can get you a year in jail plus $1,000 fine for the first time. It's a year and big-time monetary fines for paraphernalia if you get caught twice with a bong. This is just plain crazy.

Information on work to change pot policy is here. NORML, the grandaddy of ganja consciousness, is here; it's an excellent site. A first class site with extensive information on medical marijuana is the one cited above.
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