Pubdate: Mon, 31 Mar 2008
Source: Daily Reflector (Greenville, NC)
Copyright: 2008 Daily Reflector
Author: Mitch Bowen


Have you ever thought about what you might do
if you were the president? Every now and then, I find myself saying to
someone, "If I were the president, I'd ... (do this or that)." And
while, admittedly, I really don't want the job -- thanks, just the same
- -- I do have a few pet initiatives I'd love to champion for the
American people.

And somewhere, on that list of must-dos (near the top), as your
president, I'd be calling for the legalization of marijuana ... or
cannabis, please.

Folks around here might remember my foray into legalizing
cannabis/hemp for its potential as a regionally grown and processed
agro-industrial product to partially replace tobacco, etc. (See Jan.
26, 1994, News & Observer "Promoter sees hemp as tomorrow's cash
crop") So, I'm no stranger to the controversies surrounding cannabis
and its "evils." Consider these hard-to-dispute, recently published

Direct, government/law enforcement costs: $11 billion; lost tax
revenues: $31 billion. That's $42 billion a year that old Uncle Sam is
(we are) missing out on. More than 800,000 people were arrested for
simple marijuana possession last year, more than all the violent
crimes combined.

Unlike (legal) alcohol, there is no physical addiction associated with
cannabis use, and psychological addiction is rare and rarely
problematic. Alcohol users turn violent, while "pot" smokers do not.
Alcohol causes liver and brain damage. Cannabis, no problems.

After all, cannabis is a legally prescribed medicine in several states
as it is.

And finally, an estimated $113 billion each year inadvertently goes
directly from the American-consumer underground cannabis market to
empowering and enriching drug lords, terrorists and despots around the
world. If only Clinton had inhaled.

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MAP posted-by: Steve Heath