Marijuana News Roundup: The End of the War on Weed

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Recent legalization of cannabis in more than half of U.S. states, Canada, Uruguay(!), and soon other nations marks “the beginning of the end of the futile war on weed,” according to The Economist. When even a relatively conservative publication that has been continuously in print since 1843 declares that the war on pot has been lost, well, maybe the war is over.

Or maybe not. The big cannabis-related news last week came at a White House press conference where press secretary Sean Spicer said that under the Trump administration Americans should expect “greater enforcement” of federal marijuana laws.

Or maybe not. A report from the Tax Foundation published last May reckoned that if marijuana were legal for all uses in all 50 U.S. states, tax collections could rise by as much as $28 billion a year. That’s about as much as President Trump said it would cost to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In its inimitable style, The Economist offers these words of advice for proponents and opponents alike:

Those who would rather ban the drug should stop flogging the dead horse of prohibition and start campaigning for versions of legalisation that do the least harm (just as the temperance movement these days lobbies for higher taxes on booze, rather than a ban). Legalisers, meanwhile, should open their eyes to the fact that the legal marijuana industry, which until now has only had to prove itself more worthy than organised criminals, now needs as much scrutiny as the other “sin” industries that defend their turf jealously.

Here’s an interesting exchange from the Verde Valley (Arizona) Independent on the vocabulary of pot.

Letter [to the Editor]: ‘Weed vs. Guns’ Reveals Absurdity of Marijuana Prohibition
Your article on weed vs. guns reveals the absurdity of marijuana prohibition. Not only is the government’s understanding of marijuana and its users based on flawed premises, out-dated notions, and a lack of experience or understanding, but focusing on enforcing marijuana prohibition is a waste of money, manpower, and time. Marijuana users are probably among the least violent people out there, and there are many vets among them. Good luck trying to get their guns from them.

This illustrates well that those making and enforcing the laws are from a particular socio-economic background and have little to no experience with marijuana or other drugs; similar biases exist in other government institutions. I find it ironic that we often demand our reps have experience to work in government, except when it comes to drugs. It would seem prudent to hire people who have past drug experiences to inform drug policy, since they are the only ones who actually know something about drugs. But no, it seems that the feds would rather cling to an out-dated reefer madness mentality that serves no one well because it is propaganda not reality. And furthermore, at least when it comes to marijuana use, the feds are doing us all a grave disservice by excluding from employment many bright and talented individuals who just happen to smoke weed instead of drinking alcohol.

Read more at the Verde Valley Independent.