Pubdate: Tue, 10 Sep 2002
Source: Good 5 Cent Cigar (RI Edu)
Copyright: 2002 Good 5 Cent Cigar
Author: Thomas Angell
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)


To the Cigar,

Not so much to my surprise, I read yesterday that the Canadian Senate 
Committee on Illegal Drugs, as the culmination of a two-year study, 
released a 600 page document recommending that marijuana be legalized and 
amnesty be given to those in jail for marijuana-related offenses.

It seems as if the world is starting to move toward common sense as far as 
marijuana policy goes. Well, at least the rest of the world.

In addition to Canada's big announcement, Great Britain recently announced 
that it will decriminalize marijuana possession by next summer. Add these 
to the Netherlands and all the other countries that have started to 
liberalize their marijuana laws such as Portugal and Italy, and you yield a 
result that doesn't add up when the United States factors in.

The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is aggressively fighting 
the war on drugs as hard now as it has ever been. The DEA has in recent 
months been raiding medical cannabis dispensaries that operate legally 
under state law. Nine states now have laws on the books providing 
protection to medical marijuana patients from arrest by local cops. 
However, these state laws, in practice, have been superceded by federal law.

Also add to the equation the November ballot initiative in Nevada that 
would legalize possession of three ounces of marijuana and set up a taxed 
distribution system, and the one in Arizona that would decriminalize 
marijuana possession. Things just don't add up when federal and state law 
is in harsh conflict.

Clearly, the United States is creeping behind the rest of the world in 
regards to marijuana policy. It's time for the Bush Administration, as well 
as Congress, to wake up and stop wasting taxpayers' money on processing 
petty marijuana arrests, especially when patients are being arrested. They 
should be concentrating on protecting all of us from terrorists and from 
cancer, and also from horrible parking problems.

Tom Angell, President of the Hemp Organization for Prohibition Elimination
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