Decriminalization of non-medical marijuana in the United States


Decriminalization of non-medical marijuana in the United States

[
]

Colorado

In Colorado, Amendment 44 would have legalized possession of 28.45 grams or less by adults age 21 and older, but the amendment was rejected by 60-40 percent. [cite web|url=http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/CO/I/04/|title=Ballot Measures: Colorado Amendment 44|publisher=CNN|accessdate=2007-03-20]

Nevada

On November 5 2002, voters in Nevada rejected Question 9 by 61-39 percent. [cite web|url=http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2002/pages/ballot/index.htmll|title=Ballot Measures|publisher=CNN|accessdate=2007-03-21] Question 9 would have legalized possession of marijuana under 85.5 grams (3 ounces) by adults age 21 and older and would allow marijuana to be regulated, cultivated, sold and taxed. [citenews|url=http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2002/Nov-06-Wed-2002/news/20007394.html|author=Ed Vogel|title=State voters reject legalizing marijuana|publisher=Las Vegas Review-Journal|date=2002-11-06|accessdate=2007-03-21] Question 9 would have also made low cost marijuana available for medical marijuana patients and would have created laws against "driving dangerously" under the influence of marijuana. [cite web|url=http://www.mcgeorge.edu/government_law_and_policy/california_initiative_review/reports/ccglp_cir_reports_nevada_ballot_q9.htm|title=CIR Report: Nevada Ballot Question 9|author=Jodi Else|publisher=McGeorge School of Law|date=2002|accessdate=2007-03-21]

On November 7 2006, voters in Colorado and Nevada rejected propositions that would have legalized possession of up to 28.45 grams (one ounce) of marijuana.cite web|url=http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2006/11/marijuana-legalization-measures-fail.php|title=Marijuana legalization measures fail in Colorado, Nevada, South Dakota|date=2006-11-08|accessdate=2006-11-08] In Nevada, Question 7 would have allowed adults 21 and older to purchase marijuana from government-regulated shops and possession of 28.45 grams or less in a private home would have been legalized, but the Question was rejected by 56-44 percent. [cite web|url=http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006//pages/results/states/NV/index.html|title=State Races: Nevada|publisher=CNN|accessdate=2007-03-20]

New Hampshire

On May 1 2008, the New Hampshire Senate voted down a bill that would have reduced the penalty for the possession up to a quarter-ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a violation punishable by a fine of no more than $200. This bill had previously passed the N.H State House of Representatives and had the support of the majority of polled voters. [cite web|url=http://www.wirenh.com/News/In_Brief/marijuana_decriminalization_bill_fails%3B_local_Dems_join_Dean_at_state_convention_200805152914.html|title= marijuana decriminalization bill fails; local Dems join Dean at state convention |publisher=The Wire|accessdate=2008-08-04]

Massachusetts

On November 4 2008, Voters in the State of Massachusetts will have the opportunity to vote on ballot question 2 known as the Massachusetts Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative, which would reduce the the penalty for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana from the current misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $500 fine to a civil infraction and a fine of $100, as well as prevent the inclusion of the citation into the CORI criminal records database which is used by law enforcement and employers to conduct background checks and jeopardizes the person's ability to obtain jobs, housing, and school loans. It will also require people under the age of 18 to have their parents notified and do community service as well as receive drug awareness counseling or have the fine increased to $1000. [cite web|url=http://sensiblemarijuanapolicy.org/initiative.html|title=Massachusetts sensible marijuana policy|publisher=Committee for sensible marijuana policy|accessdate=2008-09-03]

Federal

The Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008 represents the first attempt to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis at the federal level to be introduced in many decades.

Arguments in support

In 1972, President Richard Nixon commissioned the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse to produce an in-depth report on marijuana. The report, "Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding," found marijuana prohibition constitutionally suspect and stated regardless of whether the courts would overturn prohibition of marijuana possession, the executive and legislative branches have a duty to obey the Constitution."It’s a matter of individual freedom of choice,” said ACLU President Nadine Strossen in an interview. "Does that mean they should do it? Not necessarily, not any more than somebody should smoke or drink or eat McDonald’s hamburgers." [Shankbone, David. " [http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/ACLU_President_Strossen_on_religion%2C_drugs%2C_guns_and_impeaching_George_Bush#Gun_rights Interview with Nadine Strossen] " "Wikinews" (2007-10-30). Retrieved on 2007-11-14.]

Economics

Many proponents of marijuana decriminalization have argued partially decriminalizing marijuana would largely reduce costs of maintaining the criminal justice and law enforcement systems, while fully decriminalizing marijuana to allow the cultivation and sale would generate a substantial amount of income from taxing marijuana sales. Other arguments assert that the funds saved from marijuana decriminalization could be used to enforce laws for other, more serious and violent crimes.cite news|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15305579/from/RS.5/|date=2006-10-17|title=Nevadans to vote on legalizing marijuana|publisher=MSNBC|accessdate=2007-03-27] cite web|url=http://www.drugpolicy.org/library/gov_johnson2.cfm|title=Report and Recommendations: Governor's Drug Policy Advisory Group|publisher=Drug Policy Alliance|date=January 2001|accessdate [2007-03-20]

Related studies

In 2003, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) published "Economic Costs of Drug Abuse," which stated without separately analyzing marijuana related costs, the United States was spending $12.1 billion on law enforcement and court costs, and $16.9 billion in corrections costs, totaling $29 billion.cite web|url= http://www.norml.org/pdf_files/NORML_Rethinking_Decriminalizing_Marijuana.pdf|author=James Austin, Ph.D.|publisher= The JFA Institute (published on NORML)] |title=Rethinking the Consequences of Decriminalizing Marijuana|date=2005-11-02|accessdate=2006-12-24]

In June 2005, a Marijuana Policy Project funded and published a study by Jeffrey Alan Miron entitled "Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States." The study found an estimated $7.7 billion in government expenditures on prohibition enforcement would be saved if marijuana were legalized and an estimated $6.2 billion would be gained if marijuana was taxed the same rate as alcohol or tobacco, which would total an estimated $14 billion annually.cite web|url=http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/|publisher=http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/|title=Milton Friedman, 500+ Call for Marijuana Regulation Debate|accessdate=2007-01-13] See [http://money.cnn.com/pf/features/lists/taxes_marijuana/table.html projected marijuana tax revenues by state] .

In 2006, a study by Jon Gettman entitled "Marijuana Production in the United States" was published in The Bulletin of Cannabis Reform. The report states marijuana is the top cash crop in 12 states, is one of the top three cash crops in 30 states, and is one of the top five cash crops in 39 states. Gettman estimated the value of U.S. marijuana production at $35.8 billion, which is more than the combined value of corn and wheat. Furthermore, the report states according to federal estimates, eradication efforts have failed to prevent the spread of marijuana production, as marijuana production has increased tenfold in the past 25 years. [citeweb|url=http://www.drugscience.org/Archive/bcr2/MJCropReport_2006.pdf|title=Marijuana Production in the United States|publisher= [http://www.drugscience.org/ DrugScience.org] |date=2006|accessdate=2007-03-20|author=Jon Gettman]

In 2006, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime released the 2006 World Drug Report, which stated the North American marijuana market is estimated to be worth anywhere from $10 billion to $60 billion annually. [cite news|url=http://baltimorechronicle.com/2006/091506HICKMAN.shtml|title=UNODC Makes the Case for Ending Cannabis Prohibition—Inadvertently|first=John|last=Hickman|publisher=Baltimore Chronicle|accessdate=2007-06-20]

State specific studies

In 1988, Michael Aldrich and Tod Mikuriya published "Savings in California Marijuana Law Enforcement Costs Attributable to the Moscone Act of 1976" in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. The study estimated California saved almost one billion dollars in a twelve-year period between 1976 and 1988, as a result of the Moscone Act of 1976 that decriminalized marijuana. [cite web|url=http://www.marijuanalibrary.org/JPD_Savings_1988.txt|title=Savings in California Marijuana Law Enforcement Costs Attributable to the Moscone Act of 1976 - A Summary|publisher= [http://www.marijuanalibrary.org/ MarijuanaLibrary.org] |accessdate=2007-03-20]

In 2004, Scott Bates of the Boreal Economic Analysis & Research center prepared a study for Alaskans for Rights & Revenues entitled "The Economic Implications of Marijuana Legalization in Alaska." The study estimated the Alaskan government was spending $25-30 million per year enforcing marijuana prohibition laws. The study found if the purchase of marijuana were to be taxed as a legal commodity, tax revenues would increase by about $10-20 million per year, making $35-50 million per year in funds available.cite web|url=http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/FinalBatesreport.pdf|title=The Economic Implications of Marijuana Legalization in Alaska|publisher= [http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/ ProhibitionCosts.org] |accessdate=2007-03-21]

In 2006, a study by the University of California, Los Angeles found California has saved $2.50 for every dollar invested into Proposition 36, which decriminalized marijuana and other drug possession charges by allowing out patient treatment programs instead of incarceration. In the first year the proposition was enacted (2001), California reportedly saved $173 million, which is likely a result of fewer drug offenders in prison. In the five years after the program was enacted, 8,700 fewer people are in prison for drug offenses. [cite news|coauthors=Jason Ziedenberg and Rose Braz|url=http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060417/news_mz1e17zieden.html|title=Saving money and aiding drug users|publisher=The San Diego Union-Tribune|date=2006-04-17|accessdate=2007-03-23]

Since marijuana is illegal in the United States, this policy has led to penalties for simple use and possession. Despite these penalties, users continue to find themselves in trouble with the law. The Connecticut Law Revision Commission made the following evaluation:"(1) the costs of arresting and prosecuting marijuana offenders were significantly lower in states that had done away with criminal penalties for possessing small amounts; (2) there was a greater increase in marijuana use in states that continue to treat possession as crime than in states that treated it as a civil offense; (3) easing the penalties for marijuana did not lead to a substantial increase in the use of either alcohol or hard drugs." [Ruschmann, J.D. (2004). "Legalizing Marijuana", Paul Chelsea House Publishers.]

Reduce income earned by organized crime

The Drug Enforcement Agency has reported that marijuana sales and trafficking support violent street gangs and motorcycle gangs, including white supremacist gangs. [cite web|url= http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs11/12620/marijuana.htm |title=National Drug Threat Assessment 2006|publisher=National Drug Intelligence Center|date=February 2005|accessdate=2007-04-02] [cite web|url=http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs8/8731/marijuana.htm|title=National Drug Threat Assessment 2004|publisher=National Drug Intelligence Center|date=April 2004|accessdate=2007-04-02] [ cite web|url=http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs/653/marijuan.htm|title=California Northern and Eastern Districts Drug Threat Assessment|publisher=National Drug Intelligence Center|date=January 2001|accessdate=2007-04-03] Proponents of fully decriminalizing marijuana to allow the regulated cultivation and sale of marijuana, including Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, argue fully decriminalizing marijuana would largely decrease financial gains earned by gangs from marijuana sales and trafficking. [cite web|url=http://leap.cc/Speakers/speakerbio.php?spkr=./Bios/becker.inc&name=Dean%20Becker|title=Dean Becker|publisher=Law Enforcement Against Prohibition|accessdate=2007-04-03] [citenews|url=http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2002/Nov-06-Wed-2002/news/20007394.html|author=Ed Vogel|title=Legalization Initative: Marijuana measure opposed|publisher=Las Vegas Review-Journal|date=2006-04-11|accessdate=2007-04-19]

Reduce possible subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs

A National Institute on Drug Abuse brochure entitled "Marijuana: Facts for Teens" states "Using marijuana puts children and teens in contact with people who are users and sellers of other drugs. So there is more of a risk that a marijuana user will be exposed to and urged to try more drugs." [http://www.nida.nih.gov/MarijBroch/teenpg9-10.html#lead Marijuana: Facts for Teens] National Institute on Drug Abuse] There is no evidence marijuana usage leads to subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs. However, if this is true then fully legalizing marijuana to allow the regulated sale of marijuana would decrease the chance that marijuana users would "be exposed to and urged to try more drugs." [citation needed]

Lack of strong evidence on health effects

Marijuana has been subject to many studies over the past century. Early on, these studies concluded marijuana had pernicious effects on health, but many of the effects of cannabis are considered uncertain, and long-term effects from long-term heavy use appear to be comparable or less than the long-term effects from alcohol or tobacco cause. [http://www.antiproibizionisti.it/public/docs/thelancet_20070323.pdf]

Arguments in opposition

Subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs

In 1985, Gabriel G. Nahas published "Keep Off the Grass," which stated that " [the] biochemical changes induced by marijuana in the brain result in drug-seeking, drug taking behavior, which in many instances will lead the user to experiment with other pleasurable substances. The risk of progression from marijuana to cocaine to heroin is now well documented." [cite book|last=Nahas|first=Gabriel|authorlink=Gabriel G. Nahas|title=Keep off the Grass|publisher=P.S. Eriksson|date=1985|isbn=083974384X]

In 1995, Partnership for a Drug-Free America with support from The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the White House Office of Drug Control Policy launched a campaign against marijuana use citing a Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) report, which claimed that marijuana users are 85 times more likely than non-marijuana users to try cocaine.cite web|url=http://www.drcnet.org/pubs/guide/06-95/gateway.html|title=Marijuana's Gateway Myth|publisher= [http://www.drcnet.org/pubs/#guide The Activist Guide] |accessdate=2006-03-26] However, an article published in "The Activist Guide" by John Morgan and Lynn Zimmer entitled "Marijuana's Gateway Myth," claims CASA's statistic is false. The article states:

Multiple opponents of marijuana decriminalization have claimed increased marijuana use results in increased abuse of other illicit drugs. [cite news|url=http://www.theindiancatholic.com/newsread.asp?nid=7768|publisher=Zenit News Agency (published on [http://www.theindiancatholic.com/ Indian Catholic] )|date=2007-06-03|accessdate=2007-06-10|title=Light Drugs, Heavy Consequences] However, multiple studies have found no evidence of a correlation between marijuana use and the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.

Negating studies

In 1997, the Connecticut Law Revision Commission examined states that had decriminalized marijuana and found decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana has no effect on subsequent use of alcohol or "harder" illicit drugs. The study recommended Connecticut reduce marijuana possession of one ounce or less for adults age 21 and over to a civil fine.cite web|url=http://www.cga.ct.gov/lrc/drugpolicy/drugpolicyrpt2.htm#SecD7|title=Connecticut Law Revision Commission Drug Policy Report - Part 1|publisher= [http://www.cga.ct.gov/lrc/ Connecticut Law Revision Commission] |accessdate=2007-03-26|date=1997-01-21]

In 1999, a study by the Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Health at the Institute of Medicine entitled "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base," found no evidence of a link between marijuana use and the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs on the basis of its particular physiological effect.cite web|url=http://books.nap.edu/readingroom/books/marimed/notice.html|title=Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base|publisher=National Academies Press|date=1999|accessdate=2007-03-30]

In December 2002, a study by RAND regarding if marijuana use results in the subsequent use of cocaine and heroin was published in the British Journal of Addiction. The researchers created a mathematical model simulating adolescent drug use. National rates of marijuana and hard drug use in the model matched survey data collected from representative samples of youths from across the United States; the model produced patterns of drug use and abuse. The study stated: [cite web|url=http://www.rand.org/news/press.02/gateway.html|publisher=RAND|date=2002-12-02|accessdate=2007-06-10|title=RAND Study Casts Doubt on Claims that Marijuana Acts as "Gateway" to the Use of Cocaine and Heroin.]

The people who are predisposed to use drugs and have the opportunity to use drugs are more likely than others to use both marijuana and harder drugs ... Marijuana typically comes first because it is more available. Once we incorporated these facts into our mathematical model of adolescent drug use, we could explain all of the drug use associations that have been cited as evidence of marijuana's gateway effect ... We've shown that the marijuana gateway effect is not the best explanation for the link between marijuana use and the use of harder drugs.

In 2004, a study by Craig Reinarman, Peter D. A. Cohen, and Hendrien L. Kaal entitled "The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and in San Francisco," was published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study found no evidence that the decriminalization of marijuana leads to subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs. The study also found the mean age at onset of marijuana use and the mean age of marijuana users are both higher in Amsterdam than in San Francisco. [cite news|author= Jennifer McNulty|title=Dutch drug policies do not increase marijuana use, first rigorous comparative study finds|url=http://www.ucsc.edu/currents/03-04/05-03/drug_study.html|publisher= [http://currents.ucsc.edu/ UC Santa Cruz Currants] |date=2004-05-03|accessdate=2007-03-20] cite web|url=http://www.ajph.org/cgi/reprint/94/5/836.pdf|title=The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and in San Francisco|publisher=American Journal of Public Health|date=2004|accessdate=2007-03-20]

In 2006, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden used twelve rats to examine how adolescent use of marijuana affects subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs. The study gave six of the twelve "teenage" rats a small dose of THC, reportedly equivalent to one joint smoked by a human, every three days. The rats were allowed to administer heroin by pushing a lever and the study found the rats given THC took larger doses of heroin. The institute examined the brain cells in the rats and found THC alters the opioid system that is associated with positive emotions, which lessens the effects of opiates on rat's brain and thus causes them to use more heroin. [cite news|title=Why teenagers should steer clear of cannabis|date=2006-07-05|accessdate=2007-05-12|last=Vince|first=Gaia|publisher= [http://www.NewScientist.com NewScientist.com] |url=http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn9488&feedId=teenagers_rss20] Paul Armentano, policy analyst for NORML, claimed because the rats were given THC at the young age of 28 days, it is impossible to extrapolate the results of this study to humans. [cite news|url=http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/column?oid=oid%3A416164|title=Reefer Madness|first=Jordan|last=Smith|date=2006-11-03|accessdate=2007-05-13|publisher= [http://www.austinchronicle.com/ The Austin Chronicle] ]

In December 2006, a 12 year gateway drug hypothesis study on 214 boys from ages 10-12 by the American Psychiatric Association was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The study concluded adolescents who used marijuana prior to using other drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, were no more likely to develop a substance abuse disorder than subjects in the study who did not use marijuana prior to using other drugs. [cite web|url=http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7118|publisher=NORML|date=2006-12-07|title=Marijuana Use Per Se Not a 'Gateway' To Illicit Drug Use, Study Says|accessdate=2007-06-09] [cite web|publisher=American Journal of Psychiatry|url=http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/163/12/2134|accessdate= 2007-06-09|title=Predictors of Marijuana Use in Adolescents Before and After Licit Drug Use: Examination of the Gateway Hypothesis|date=December 2006]

Increased crime

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has claimed that marijuana leads to increased crime in the un-sourced pamphlet entitled "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization." [cite web|url=http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/demand/speakout/09so.htm|title=Fact 9: Europe’s More Liberal Drug Policies Are Not the Right Model for America.|publisher=Drug Enforcement Administration|accessdate=2007-04-17]

Negating studies

Studies have found no evidence of a link between marijuana usage and an increase in crime, but rather have found marijuana may decrease criminal behavior when under the influence.Shafer, Raymond P., et al, Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding, Ch. III, (Washington DC: National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, 1972)] cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6484653.stm|title=Is cannabis really a killer?|first=Max|last=Daly|date=2007-03-23|accessdate=2007-04-17|publisher=BBC] In 1973, a report by the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse entitled "Marijuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding" found marijuana does not cause violent or aggressive behavior, but rather "marijuana's was usually found to inhibit the expression of aggressive impulses by pacifying the user, interfering with muscular coordination, reducing psychomotor activities and generally producing states of drowsiness lethargy, timidity and passivity."

In 2001, a report by David Boyum and Mark Kleiman entitled "Substance Abuse Policy from a Crime-Control Perspective" found the "high" from marijuana is unlikely to trigger violence and concluded: [cite web|url=http://ucla.edu/faculty/kleiman/subabus.pdf|title=Substance Abuse Policy from a Crime-Control Perspective|coauthors=Boyum, David A, and Mark A.R. Kleiman|date=2001|accessdate=2007-06-07]

In 2004, a study by Scott Bates from the Boreal Economic Analysis & Research center entitled "The Economic Implications of Marijuana Legalization in Alaska," was prepared for Alaskans for Rights & Revenues. The study found there was no link between marijuana use and criminal behavior.cite web]

Increased marijuana usage

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has claimed that marijuana decriminalization will lead to increased marijuana use and addiction in the un-sourced pamphlet entitled "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization". [cite web|url=http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/demand/speakout/06so.htm|title=Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization, Fact 6|date=May 2006|publisher=Drug Enforcement Administration|accessdate=2007-03-26] The pamphlet states in 1979, after 11 states decriminalized private marijuana use, marijuana use among 12th grade students was almost 51 percent and in 1992, when stricter marijuana laws were put in place, the usage rate reduced to 22 percent. The pamphlet also states that when Alaska decriminalized marijuana, the marijuana use rate among youth rose twice as much as the youth usage rates nationwide; even though the law did not apply to anyone under the age of 19, the pamphlet explains this is why Alaska re-criminalized marijuana in 1990. Save Our Society From Drugs (SOS) has also stated that decriminalizing marijuana will increase usage among teenagers, citing an increase in Alaskan youth marijuana usage when marijuana was decriminalized. [cite news|url=http://cbs4denver.com/local/local_story_263172020.html|title=Opponents Take Aim At Marijuana Amendment|publisher=CBS: Denver|date=2006-09-20|accessdate=2007-04-19]

Negating studies

In 1972, President Richard Nixon commissioned the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse to produce an in-depth report on marijuana. The report, entitled "Marijuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding," reviewed existing marijuana studies and concluded that marijuana does not cause physical addiction.

In 1997, the Connecticut Law Revision Commission examined states that had decriminalized marijuana and found any increase in marijuana usage was less than the increase in states that have not decriminalized marijuana; furthermore, the commission stated "the largest proportionate increase [of marijuana use] occurred in those states with the most severe penalties." The study recommended Connecticut reduce marijuana possession of 28.35 grams (one ounce) or less for adults age 21 and over to a civil fine.cite web]

In 1999, a study by the Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Health at the Institute of Medicine entitled "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base," concluded "there is little evidence that decriminalization of marijuana use necessarily leads to a substantial increase in marijuana use."

In 2001, a report by Robert MacCoun and Peter Reuter entitled "Evaluating alternative cannabis regimes," was published in the The British Journal of Psychiatry. The report found there was no available evidence marijuana use would increase if marijuana were decriminalized. [cite web|url=http://bjp.rcpsych.org/cgi/reprint/178/2/123.pdf|title=Evaluating alternative cannabis regimes|publisher= [http://bjp.rcpsych.org/ British Journal of Psychiatry] |date=2001|accessdate=2007-03-31]

In 2004, a study entitled "The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and in San Francisco," found strict laws against marijuana use have a low impact on usage rates.cite web]

Advocacy

Several U.S.-based advocate groups seek to modify the drug policy of the United States to decriminalize marijuana. These groups include Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, The Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, NORML, and Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis. There are also many individual American marijuana activists, such as Jack Herer, Paul Armentano, Edward Forchion, Jon Gettman, Rob Kampia, and Keith Stroup; Marc Emery, a well-known Canadian activist, has supported marijuana activism in the U.S. among other countries by donating money earned from "Cannabis Culture magazine" and [http://www.emeryseeds.com Emeryseeds.com] .

In June 2005, Jeffrey Alan Miron, a libertarian economist and Visiting Professor of Economics at Harvard University and more than 530 distinguished economists, including Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, called for the legalization of marijuana in [http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/endorsers.html an open letter] to President George W. Bush, the United States Congress, Governors, and State Legislatures of the United States. [http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/endorsers.html An Open Letter to the President, Congress, Governors, and State Legislatures] Prohibition Costs] The open letter contained Miron's "Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States" report ( [http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/MironReport.pdf view report] ).

In 1997, the Connecticut Law Revision Commission recommended Connecticut reduce marijuana possession of one ounce or less for adults age 21 and over to a civil fine. In 2001, the New Mexico state-commissioned Drug Policy Advisory Group stated that decriminalizing marijuana "will result in greater availability of resources to respond to more serious crimes without any increased risks to public safety."

A few places in California have been advocating marijuana decriminalization.On November 3 2004, Oakland passed Proposition Z, which makes "adult recreational marijuana use, cultivation and sales the lowest [city] law enforcement priority." [cite web
url=http://journalism.berkeley.edu/projects/election2004/archives/2004/11/proposition_z_w.html
title=Election 2004: Oakland Marijuana Measure in the Bag
publisher=journalism.berkeley.edu
accessdate=2008-07-07
last=
first=
] The proposition states the city of Oakland must advocate to the state of California to adopt laws to regulate and tax marijuana.cite web|url= http://www.smartvoter.org/2004/11/02/ca/alm/meas/Z/|publisher= [http://www.smartvoter.org/ Smart Voter] |title=Meeasure Z: Marijuana Law Enforcement - Alameda County, CA|accessdate=2006-12-24] On November 7 2006, Santa Cruz passed Measure K, which made marijuana the lowest priority for city law enforcement. The measure requests the Santa Cruz City Clerk send letters annually to state and federal representatives advocating reform of marijuana laws. [cite web|url=http://www.sensiblesantacruz.org/initiative.htm|title=Measure K - Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Initiative: FAQ|publisher= [http://www.sensiblesantacruz.org/ Santa Cruz Ciitizens or Sensible Marijuana Policy] |accessdate=2007-06-11] On June 5 2007, Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to send a letter in support of the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana to state and federal legislators, and the President of United States. [cite news|url=http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/ci_6074058|title=Marijuana legalization letter OK'd|first=Katie|last=Mintz|date=2007-06-06|accessdate=2007-06-11|publisher= [http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/ Ukiah Daily Journal] ]

Ron Paul, a Texas Congressman and 2008 Presidential Candidate, stated at a rally in response to a question by a medical marijuana patient that he would "never use the federal government to force the law against anybody using marijuana." [cite web|url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AegRynzxQJA|title=Ron Paul on marijuana laws|publisher=You Tube|accessdate=2008-01-02] In his book, he writes, "Regardless of where one stands on the broader drug war, we should all be able to agree on the subject of medical marijuana. Here, the use of an otherwise prohibited substance has been found to relieve unbearable suffering in countless patients. How can we fail to support liberty and individual responsibility in such a clear cut case? What harm does it do to anyone else to allow fellow human beings in pain to find the relief they need?" [cite book|title=The Revolution: A Manifesto|publisher=Grand Central Publishing|accessdate=2008-04-28] He is also the cosponsor of the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008.

Mike Gravel, a former U.S. senator from Alaska and 2008 presidential candidate, responded to a caller on a CSPAN program asking about marijuana and the drug war, he stated "That one is real simple, I would legalize marijuana. You should be able to buy that at a liquor store." [cite web|url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KyFRyxZp-s|title=Part 2 - Mike Gravel - The Issues that Matter - Washington Journal.|publisher=You Tube|accessdate=2007-06-13]

Dennis Kucinich , a U.S. representative from Ohio and 2008 presidential candidate, has been an advocate of marijuana legalization. During Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, the following was posted on Kucinich's official campaign web site. [cite news|url=http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle-old/316/kucinich.shtml|title=Newsbrief: Campaign Watch -- Kucinich Says Legalize It|date=2003-12-19|accessdate=2007-06-13|publisher= [http://stopthedrugwar.org/ StopTheDrugWar.org] ]

See also

* Norml
* Legal issues of Cannabis
* Prohibition (alcohol prohibition)
*Adult lifetime cannabis use by country
*Annual cannabis use by country
*Health issues and the effects of cannabis
*Illegal drug trade
*Legal and medical status of cannabis
*Legality of cannabis by country
*Removal of cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act
*Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs

References

External links

* [http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=3381 Marijuana decriminalization talking points] from NORML
* [http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=3383 Marijuana decriminalization and its impact on use] from NORML
* [http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k5/subStateMJ/subStateMJ.htm: Marijuana use in substate areas] from [http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nhsda.htm NSDUH]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Decriminalization of non-medical cannabis in the United States — United States non medical cannabis decriminalization laws (as of January 2009) Note: Federal law bans all forms of cannabis and THC as a schedule I drug, as per the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 …   Wikipedia

  • Places that have decriminalized non-medical marijuana in the United States — Multiple places have decriminalized non medical marijuana in the United States; however, marijuana is illegal under federal law. Gonzales v. Raich (2005) ruled in a 6 3 decision that the Commerce Clause the United States Constitution allowed the… …   Wikipedia

  • Places that have decriminalized non-medical cannabis in the United States — Contents 1 Map 2 Alaska 3 Arkansas 4 California …   Wikipedia

  • Medical cannabis in the United States — Main articles: Cannabis in the United States and Medical cannabis United States cannabis laws.   States with medical …   Wikipedia

  • Legal history of marijuana in the United States — The legal history of marijuana in the United States mainly involves the 20th and 21st centuries. In the 1800s, marijuana (also referred to as cannabis) was legal in most states, as hemp to make items such as rope, sails, and clothes, and was used …   Wikipedia

  • Cannabis in the United States — United States cannabis laws.   States with medical cannabis laws …   Wikipedia

  • Oregon Medical Marijuana Act — Measure 67 Allows Medical Use of Marijuana Within Limits; Establishes Permit System Election results Yes or no Votes …   Wikipedia

  • Decriminalization — or Decriminalisation is the abolition of criminal penalties in relation to certain acts, perhaps retroactively, though perhaps regulated permits or fines might still apply (for contrast, see: Legalization). The reverse process is criminalization …   Wikipedia

  • Decriminalization of marijuana — could refer to: Legality of cannabis Medical cannabis Cannabis rescheduling Cannabis reform at the international level In the United States: Decriminalization of non medical cannabis in the United States Places that have decriminalized non… …   Wikipedia

  • Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act — The California Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act of 2009 Enacted by California State Legislature Introduced by …   Wikipedia


We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.