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The Marijuana Issue.

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So, as far as the states go, a small amount of personal marijuana is now legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington.

To me this issue is changing faster than any issue around today. There are more and more Republicans and Conservatives changing their minds and not becoming "pro" pot, but becoming against criminalizing it and wasting resources and police time on throwing people in jail for simply enjoying their own supply.

How will the Federal Government respond? We know Barry Obama loved his weed when he was younger....and I think that is why the Federal government has been so aggressive. Now that he is not running for anything again, does he direct the FDA to ease up on that?

I don't know if we'll see a well-run business model in these states, or a crazy free for all, but it will probably be somewhere in between. Colorado and Washington will be making some money from taxes, if the Feds let them.

But to me there are TWO reasons why this issue will stall in a lot of other states.

1 - It is impossible to tell when somebody ingested marijuana. Marijuana either shows up in your system or it doesn't. You can not determine if someone got high an hour ago or three days ago and that is a major issue with driving while intoxicated.

2- States and municipalities make a lot of money from arresting people and collecting fines and seizing property. This law is abused by some law enforcement as an excuse to just take things from people who have a small amount of weed, by proclaiming their property was acquired with money from drug sales. I would imagine those laws could be changing in the coming years, but very slowly.

I used to smoke marijuana pretty regularly in the mid to late 90s. I never tried it until I was 26. Never understood what all the fuss was. A lot of younger people are going to be moving to these states not only to get high but to make a lot of money. I would imagine the weed tourism industry could bring in a lot of money too.

The drug war is a failure, especially when it's a drug that grows naturally that just about anybody can cultivate.

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Nice assessment. Never was a user and for many year formally anti. Now too many friends have been enrolled and graduated with no long lasting effects.

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I don't think point 1 is correct, I think there are methods of detection for when it had been smoked (don't know about other forms of intake) within hours.

But otherwise great summary.

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I have read that England has a test they administer on folks they believe are driving under the influence of marijuana. I'm not sure on how accurate it is though.

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I think a blood test could technically spot if marijuana is in the system very quickly (within minutes/hours).

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I agree with you, MCS. I really don't favor recreational use, but living where I do I see more and more that legalized pot is a lesser evil than living with the drug gangs currently trafficking it.

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A city ordinance in Ypsilanti apparently directs the cops to treat pot possession as the lowest possible issue for cops to deal with.

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I got no issue with the purple sticky punch. I live in a very rural area where pot pretty much goes hand in hand with alcohol. Weekends can be pretty entertaining around here.

I like that GR decriminalized it.

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I hope Obama pushes hard for the decriminalization of marijuana in this second term. I see no reason marijuana should be illegal when alcohol is legal. We are spending far too much money and energy fighting marijuana use in this country.

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I'm not surprised that marijuana won, for the same reason that same sex marriage won: the issues were on the ballot during a presidential general election, when liberals were already going to be at the polls anyway. If opponents did what they've always done before—if they forced the issue to be voted on in a special election, in which people would have to make a special trip to the polls—these issues would have lost, and probably pretty big. I would not be at all surprised if it goes back onto the ballot to be outlawed.

I will be interested in seeing how the federal government responds to this, but I will maintain the same thing I have been saying for years: marijuana will never be legalized for open manufacture, sale and consumption for recreational purposes, at least in my lifetime, because there's simply no money in it. Not only that, but too much big money depends on its being outlawed. And big money owns the government—at least for the moment.

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I will be interested in seeing how the federal government responds to this, but I will maintain the same thing I have been saying for years: marijuana will never be legalized for open manufacture, sale and consumption for recreational purposes, at least in my lifetime, because there's simply no money in it. Not only that, but too much big money depends on its being outlawed. And big money owns the government—at least for the moment.

Not sure I agree. Currently there is a ground swell. The new generation of voters--and down the road, lawmakers--realize that enforcing marijuana laws ties up valuable resources with no gain to be had. We don't need law enforcement setting up stings or tracking down nickle and dime offenders. The influence big money has on the government doesn't really apply in this case, from my perspective anyhow.

Having two states legalize it is a move in the right direction. There is no reason for it to be outlawed. It will be interesting to see how Obama reacts to the states that passed it, he has no election to worry about anymore, maybe they can use Colorado and Washington as feeler states...see what happens.

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I see no reason marijuana should be illegal when alcohol is legal.

From MLive:

Proposal 2 in Grand Rapids: 5 angles on marijuana decriminalization | MLive.com

DecriminalizeGR claims the effects of marijuana use are no worse than those of alcohol or cigarettes, which are legal. But “that’s pretty self-damning if you’re saying ‘Boy, it’s no more toxic that alcohol or nicotine,’ which are the two biggest killers of all the substances in the world,” said Jon Weeldreyer, an addictions counselor at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services who wrote a guest column on marijuana for MLive.

Weeldreyer said marijuana differs from other drugs in that it’s fat soluble, not water soluble. So “it comes out of the body so much slower than any other drug, almost 150 times slower than alcohol, for example.” That results in long-term effects like lower IQ, he said.

“If you’re smoking more than twice a week, the level of THC in your system is always going up because it only got half the last dose out before the new dose,” Weeldreyer said. “You smoke a lot of marijuana and it embeds itself in the cell walls so the brain’s not biologically capable of thinking as quickly.”

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Weeldreyer said marijuana differs from other drugs in that it’s fat soluble, not water soluble. So “it comes out of the body so much slower than any other drug, almost 150 times slower than alcohol, for example.”

True.

That results in long-term effects like lower IQ, he said.

Total and complete BS. It's always fun to listen to people spout about stuff they know nothing about.

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I bet that Pine Rest guy has never tried pot to understand its influences. Its not like you wake up with a lower IQ. Fact is, doesn't cause hangovers, can't overdose, makes food taste better and movies funnier. And it's a natural plant, whats the problem?

Really happy with Grand Rapids.

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I'm not surprised that marijuana won, for the same reason that same sex marriage won: the issues were on the ballot during a presidential general election, when liberals were already going to be at the polls anyway. If opponents did what they've always done before—if they forced the issue to be voted on in a special election, in which people would have to make a special trip to the polls—these issues would have lost, and probably pretty big. I would not be at all surprised if it goes back onto the ballot to be outlawed.

Chris Hayes made a good observation about this general point last night - to the effect that instead of trying to figure out why the voting public is so schizophrenic in successive elections, just realize that a different electorate is coming out to vote in the presidential vs off year elections. It not the same people changing their minds, it's different populations coming to the polls that makes our politics appear unstable.

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Not sure I agree. Currently there is a ground swell. The new generation of voters--and down the road, lawmakers--realize that enforcing marijuana laws ties up valuable resources with no gain to be had. We don't need law enforcement setting up stings or tracking down nickle and dime offenders. The influence big money has on the government doesn't really apply in this case, from my perspective anyhow.

Having two states legalize it is a move in the right direction. There is no reason for it to be outlawed. It will be interesting to see how Obama reacts to the states that passed it, he has no election to worry about anymore, maybe they can use Colorado and Washington as feeler states...see what happens.

First off, what's happening is really a sweeter flavor of decriminalization, rather than outright legalization. In Colorado, for example, you can still be arrested for possessing more than an ounce of marijuana, for using it in public, for selling it, and for growing more than six plants. Also, individual communities can still outlaw it completely. And as if that weren't enough to kill your buzz over the victory at the polls yesterday, federal law enforcement can still come into town and arrest you for possessing a Schedule I controlled substance, with all the same penalties applying today as did yesterday. So, this is not quite like a complete freeing up of law and order resources related to marijuana.

I do agree that there is a movement toward liberalized attitudes about marijuana, especially as generations move across the social landscape over time. No doubt about that. What I am arguing is that this movement is nowhere near manifesting itself into broad-based calls for its legalization and sale. Marijuana is still a polarizing social issue, and I think we can expect it to be for a few more decades.

Beyond that, I don't see where there is any real money in marijuana legalization. The Legalize-And-Tax crowd don't take into consideration that unlike cigarette tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is super easy and nearly free to grow. Why should I buy pricey taxed weed when I can grow it myself for almost free? And even if I'm not inclined to grow my own, I'd certainly know someone, or someone who knows someone (quite possibly working for Organized Crime), who will grow it and sell it to me for cents on the dollar against taxed weed. Oops--there goes all that tax revenue back to the black market.

And let's not forget that there are entire industries that depend on weed being outlawed. Three I can think of off the top of my head are Pharma, Alcohol and Corrections. Legal weed cuts into their business big-time, and I cannot imagine they would all sit idly by and watch their sales revenues drop dramatically without spending millions in lobbying to convince legislators to either reinstate marijuana prohibition laws in contradiction to voter wishes, or pass regulation to hose down the legal availability of marijuana so much that it will be almost as though it's still illegal.

Personally, I would like to see marijuana legalized for recreational use and regulated in the same way as alcohol. I just don't see how it can be in the way legalization proponents envision it. I'm wide open to being convinced, though.

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First off, what's happening is really a sweeter flavor of decriminalization, rather than outright legalization. In Colorado, for example, you can still be arrested for possessing more than an ounce of marijuana, for using it in public, for selling it, and for growing more than six plants. Also, individual communities can still outlaw it completely. And as if that weren't enough to kill your buzz over the victory at the polls yesterday, federal law enforcement can still come into town and arrest you for possessing a Schedule I controlled substance, with all the same penalties applying today as did yesterday. So, this is not quite like a complete freeing up of law and order resources related to marijuana.

I do agree that there is a movement toward liberalized attitudes about marijuana, especially as generations move across the social landscape over time. No doubt about that. What I am arguing is that this movement is nowhere near manifesting itself into broad-based calls for its legalization and sale. Marijuana is still a polarizing social issue, and I think we can expect it to be for a few more decades.

Beyond that, I don't see where there is any real money in marijuana legalization. The Legalize-And-Tax crowd don't take into consideration that unlike cigarette tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is super easy and nearly free to grow. Why should I buy pricey taxed weed when I can grow it myself for almost free? And even if I'm not inclined to grow my own, I'd certainly know someone, or someone who knows someone (quite possibly working for Organized Crime), who will grow it and sell it to me for cents on the dollar against taxed weed. Oops--there goes all that tax revenue back to the black market.

And let's not forget that there are entire industries that depend on weed being outlawed. Three I can think of off the top of my head are Pharma, Alcohol and Corrections. Legal weed cuts into their business big-time, and I cannot imagine they would all sit idly by and watch their sales revenues drop dramatically without spending millions in lobbying to convince legislators to either reinstate marijuana prohibition laws in contradiction to voter wishes, or pass regulation to hose down the legal availability of marijuana so much that it will be almost as though it's still illegal.

Personally, I would like to see marijuana legalized for recreational use and regulated in the same way as alcohol. I just don't see how it can be in the way legalization proponents envision it. I'm wide open to being convinced, though.

With you 100 percent. Too much money doesn't want this to happen. The free market might make it moot, as it already does to some extent.

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Beyond that, I don't see where there is any real money in marijuana legalization. The Legalize-And-Tax crowd don't take into consideration that unlike cigarette tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is super easy and nearly free to grow. Why should I buy pricey taxed weed when I can grow it myself for almost free? And even if I'm not inclined to grow my own, I'd certainly know someone, or someone who knows someone (quite possibly working for Organized Crime), who will grow it and sell it to me for cents on the dollar against taxed weed. Oops--there goes all that tax revenue back to the black market.

You're wrong. Sure folks can grow their own, however there's a big difference in quality there. In a free market you're going to be seeing people competing with better product in order to appeal to customers. That's going to mean better and more high potent grass. Not to mention the law should also apply to other cannabis products. People who don't want to make their own hashish or wax for instance can go and buy that, and there will be different quality levels and costs. Tobacco is also a pretty easy to grow, and beer and wine is very easy to make. I don't see the big beer companies worrying about that and lobbying for that to be illegal anytime soon.

Also the taxed product is not going to be more expensive than the stuff available on the black market (what black market is going to be left in those states.) If that were the case, you'd see Bob's Backyard Hooch outselling Jim Beam. You don't.

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DecriminalizeGR claims the effects of marijuana use are no worse than those of alcohol or cigarettes, which are legal. But “that’s pretty self-damning if you’re saying ‘Boy, it’s no more toxic that alcohol or nicotine,’ which are the two biggest killers of all the substances in the world,” said Jon Weeldreyer, an addictions counselor at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services who wrote a guest column on marijuana for MLive.

Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection

The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer. [...]

"We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use," he said. "What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect." [...]

Tashkin's study, funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Drug Abuse, involved 1,200 people in Los Angeles who had lung, neck or head cancer and an additional 1,040 people without cancer matched by age, sex and neighborhood.

They were all asked about their lifetime use of marijuana, tobacco and alcohol. The heaviest marijuana smokers had lighted up more than 22,000 times, while moderately heavy usage was defined as smoking 11,000 to 22,000 marijuana cigarettes. Tashkin found that even the very heavy marijuana smokers showed no increased incidence of the three cancers studied. [...]

While no association between marijuana smoking and cancer was found, the study findings, presented to the American Thoracic Society International Conference this week, did find a 20-fold increase in lung cancer among people who smoked two or more packs of cigarettes a day.

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Beyond that, I don't see where there is any real money in marijuana legalization. The Legalize-And-Tax crowd don't take into consideration that unlike cigarette tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is super easy and nearly free to grow. Why should I buy pricey taxed weed when I can grow it myself for almost free? And even if I'm not inclined to grow my own, I'd certainly know someone, or someone who knows someone (quite possibly working for Organized Crime), who will grow it and sell it to me for cents on the dollar against taxed weed. Oops--there goes all that tax revenue back to the black market.

How much pot have you smoked in your day? Even now, with pot so easy to find, sometimes it is hard to find good marijuana. It is not the easiest of plants to grow. The people who will go into a shop to buy weed are the people that will pay for the good stuff and the variable forms it is bound to distributed in. Not sure how old you are, but at 27, I expect Marijuana to be legal before the end of my life. Two states have already moved in that direction, that was significant.

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You're wrong. Sure folks can grow their own, however there's a big difference in quality there. In a free market you're going to be seeing people competing with better product in order to appeal to customers. That's going to mean better and more high potent grass. Not to mention the law should also apply to other cannabis products. People who don't want to make their own hashish or wax for instance can go and buy that, and there will be different quality levels and costs. Tobacco is also a pretty easy to grow, and beer and wine is very easy to make. I don't see the big beer companies worrying about that and lobbying for that to be illegal anytime soon.

Also the taxed product is not going to be more expensive than the stuff available on the black market (what black market is going to be left in those states.) If that were the case, you'd see Bob's Backyard Hooch outselling Jim Beam. You don't.

You may be an affluent, educated connoisseur of high-end marijuana, but I'm willing to bet that most people are not, so they're not going to spend more to obtain the highest possible quality product. After all, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light and Natural Light are all among the top five selling beers in the country, even though much better alternatives are available one cooler over for just a few cents more.

I do agree that under a completely legalized weed environment, there will be people who will compete to outdo other growers in weed quality, and will take great personal pride and care to do so. But that doesn't necessarily mean the general overall quality level of weed will increase, and as my beer example demonstrates, there will always be a market for cheap product that will suit people of unsophisticated tastes and modest means, which I would bet is most people, just fine.

And just because marijuana is legalized doesn't mean the black market disappears. All that needs to happen is for the legal product to be very expensive due to non-product features like high taxes and high profit margins, and if someone can deliver the same or similar product for cheaper, they will. That's how the black market in cigarettes operates right now.

Edited by chasfh

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How much pot have you smoked in your day? Even now, with pot so easy to find, sometimes it is hard to find good marijuana. It is not the easiest of plants to grow. The people who will go into a shop to buy weed are the people that will pay for the good stuff and the variable forms it is bound to distributed in. Not sure how old you are, but at 27, I expect Marijuana to be legal before the end of my life. Two states have already moved in that direction, that was significant.

Marijuana is very easy to grow. That's why it grows everywhere, in all kinds of environments, like a weed. That's in part why they call it weed! :grin: The only environments it can't grow in is the desert and the arctic.

Of course, this is not the same as growing good marijuana and growing it well, I will grant you that. But even if you're struggling with cash and can't afford hydroponic equipment, you can still grow weed in a pot, or in a plot of dirt, and still yield a smokable product, which I think is all most people would want. You may not end up with Blue Dream or OG Kush or Grand Daddy Purple*, but when you have no money and wanna get high, I'm sure dirt plot pot will do just fine.

* - I had to look up these brand names. I assume they're well known in the medical community?

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You're wrong. Sure folks can grow their own, however there's a big difference in quality there. In a free market you're going to be seeing people competing with better product in order to appeal to customers. That's going to mean better and more high potent grass. Not to mention the law should also apply to other cannabis products. People who don't want to make their own hashish or wax for instance can go and buy that, and there will be different quality levels and costs. Tobacco is also a pretty easy to grow, and beer and wine is very easy to make. I don't see the big beer companies worrying about that and lobbying for that to be illegal anytime soon.

Also the taxed product is not going to be more expensive than the stuff available on the black market (what black market is going to be left in those states.) If that were the case, you'd see Bob's Backyard Hooch outselling Jim Beam. You don't.

If a guy can grow at home, why would he care how good it is? It's free, easy, and available at all times. You might only need a plant or two a year. Also, nothing says you can't get quality seeds and use them.

Let's change the rules and see what the market decides. :smoker:

This entire conversation is just too funny. Who'd a thunk it?

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