The Marijuana Exception

Discussions About Legalizing Marijuana Should Start With a Few Basic Truths.

One is that legalization would save the law-enforcement and social costs of arresting hundreds of thousands of adults each year.  ( Most proposals would keep marijuana illegal for those under 21.  ) Another is that pot’s underground economy – estimated at $15 billion to $30 billion annually – would be largely wiped out if marijuana were legalized throughout the country.  Finally, it is clear that legalization would greatly decrease price and, therefore, increase the number of both recreational and heavy marijuana users.

Beyond these facts, the ramifications get extremely murky.  Being honest about the uncertainties involved is the price of admission to any serious discussion about marijuana legalization.

When my RAND colleagues and I tried to project the consequences if California passed a 2010 marijuana-legalization ballot initiative, we started by calculating the cost of producing… Continue reading

Nancy Pelosi Objects To Obama’s MMJ Crackdown

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi saw the writing on the wall and came out in defense of medical cannabis patients and dispensaries under assault by the federal government this week. San Francisco dispensaries served her a petition with thousands of signatures May 2. Subsequently, Speaker Pelosi released the May 2 statement saying:

“Access to medicinal marijuana for individuals who are ill or enduring difficult and painful therapies is both a medical and a states’ rights issue. Sixteen states, including our home state of California, and the District of Columbia have adopted medicinal marijuana laws – most by a vote of the people.

“I have strong concerns about the recent actions by the federal government that threaten the safe access of medicinal marijuana to alleviate the suffering of patients in California, and undermine a policy that has been in place under which the federal government did not pursue individuals whose actions complied… Continue reading

Corrigan Joins Pot Movement

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan put his name on the dotted line Thursday, calling for marijuana to be taxed and regulated, along with seven other B.C. mayors.

The open letter to Premier Christy Clark; Adrian Dix, leader of the B.C. New Democrats; and John Cummins, leader of the B.C. Conservative Party, comes on the heels of a similar letter from four former Vancouver mayors last December and one from four former B.C. attorneys general in February.

Corrigan told the NOW in December that while he personally supported an end to pot prohibition, he would not make a public statement in his official capacity as a sitting mayor.

When asked why he changed his position on that, Corrigan said the health and safety concerns were a factor.

“I thought the fact that we had seen a coalition of ex-mayors, and ex-attorneys general and health professionals taking a stand on this issue really… Continue reading

Cannabis Rules Challenged

Federal Government Seeking To Uphold MMAR Provisions

Ontario’s top court is hearing an appeal of a ruling that struck down key provisions of the law governing access to marijuana for medical use.

In asking that the decision be set aside, the federal government will rely on what it argues is a series of “palpable and overriding errors” by Superior Court Justice Donald Taliano, who last year stayed a production charge against Toronto marijuana activist Matthew Mernagh.

The appeal, scheduled to begin on May 7, is the latest legal battle over the federal government’s medical marijuana scheme, aspects of which have been ruled unconstitutional by courts a number of times over the past decade. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and a coalition of groups representing people who are HIV-positive have been granted intervener status by the Court of Appeal in R v. Mernagh.

In his decision,… Continue reading

Marijuana Prohibition: Required or Ridiculous?

Recently, the Huffington Post ran an article stating that according to more than 300 economists, the U.S. government could potentially save $13.7 billion dollars by not enforcing the prohibition and taxing it like tobacco and alcohol.

As someone who has always been pro-legalization, I found this interesting and saw it as a ray of light through the thunderstorm that is this ridiculous marijuana prohibition.

So, if it could potentially save the States billions of dollars, what about Canada?

According to the 2009 Angus Reid poll, 53% of Canadians were in favour of legalizing cannabis.

Obviously, possession, trafficking and growing of marijuana is illegal in Canada.

Simple possession ( anything under 30 grams ) can result in a maximum $1000 fine or six months in jail, and trafficking can result in anything from a slap on the wrist and a fine to jail time.

Drug prohibition in Canada started in 1908… Continue reading

Compassion for the sick, or indignity for the poor?

Ask Gov. Haslam to veto welfare drug testing bill.

Today we found out why Tennessee legislators couldn’t find time to pass a medical marijuana law: they were too busy insulting the poor. Two weeks ago, a hearing on a medical marijuana bill never got started because no Democrat showed up for the hearing, and Republicans in the room refused to call a motion to discuss it.

Yesterday though, on the last day of session when time is scarce and important bills are facing last minute deadlines, your elected officials found time to debate and pass a bill that forces Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients to pee in a cup and pay to do that themselves. Apparently, during the debate, no one bothered to discuss the fact that bills like SB 2580 have been found unconstitutional or that they cost more money than they save.

Please ask Gov.… Continue reading

Is Driving High on Marijuana Safer Than Driving Drunk?

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For decades, marijuana advocates have argued that pot has a significantly different effect on driving ability than alcohol. But if you take the word of one auto insurance company, stoned is actually the safest way to drive. is making that case based on years’ worth of scientific studies, including some from the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration that found motorists under the influence of marijuana tended to drive slower and have accident responsibility rates lower than those of drug-free drivers. But the company’s interpretation of the data doesn’t tell the whole story.

“There is evidence that cannabis causes changes in performance, and some of these changes may make you less likely to have an accident,” said Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “For instance, you’re less likely to change lanes, so you’re less likely to have accidents occurring… Continue reading