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The New York Times.

Historically a "paper of record" until a variety of credibility-savaging incidents transpired, among them Judith Miller's stove-piping of patently bogus "intel" to aid and abet Dick Cheney's attack on Iraq. They blew their unshakable credibility sucking up to the worst people in American History and helping them achieve their dubious achievements.

Most newspapers and media outlets have done the same sort of lying and aiding and abetting of cannabis prohibition  by spreading - unquestioned - the propaganda of the Federal Government and interested big businesses related to "marijuana". They have done this for generations and really ramped it up after Nixon made reefer madness - the cross-eyed ignorant position held by most government representatives and most people who truly know nothing else about the plant or issue - a de facto part of GOP philosophy and values.

[I would like to plug Dartagnan's piece: New York Times Capitulates to Limbaugh, Hannity now curently sharing the rec list with this humble piece. More good perspective on a newspaper that has lost its way.]

The New York Times has a feature today purporting to explore "What would happen if marijuana was decriminalized".

The attitude of the author of the article regarding the "decriminalization" of marijuana can be summed up here:

(unlikely, let’s be honest)

Oh yes. This is America. It is "unlikely" that we will ever correct the basic blunder that is "cannabis prohibition". Many people have wanted reform for 40 years, the issue has gained huge traction in recent months but we'll just leave it like it is, costing us tens of billions of dollar a year accomplishing absolutely nothing but feeding criminal organizations and harassing otherwise harmless Americans.

Most people, outside of foaming-at-the-mouth ideologues like Republicans and DEA agents, know "pot" is NOT the evil scourge of society we are supposed to somehow believe. Tobacco and alcohol wreak great havoc on peoples lives and families yet we barely hear a peep about them.

We don't have to pass laws to get a letter from a doctor to fire up a cancer stick - or 10 or 20 per day, 7 days a week - nor do we need a note from mommy to drink a six-pack of beer a night. It's all legal. Go for it.

There is no salient, logical, scientific, or otherwise defensible reason from cannabis to STILL be illegal and so demonized in an otherwise intelligent and developed nation.

None, other than a concerted effort of lies, demonizing propaganda and political inertia. But all other things being equal, it is the absence of proper cannabis information in the mainstream media (namely the TV) that causes the American public discourse to be overwhelmingly dominated by bullshit arguments and information.

Today's NYT goes just a bit beyond the normal coverage we have seen in the past 40 years, not they they are doing anything remarkable. This is still a standard "Pro vs Con" argument with those being against the reform of cannabis law beautifully demonstrating the best in both willful ignorance and foam-at-the-mouth reefer madness idolatry. But they do have 3 "Pros" balanced by 2 "Cons", with the Cons getting the last froth-covered word.

It is a lengthy article, suitable for a good cup of coffee: I am only highlighting the backwards, numbskulled, mouth-breathing arguments and briefly at that. This isn't rocket science. I merely intend to point out a few ideas about marijuana that progressive Democrats SHOULD NOT HAVE IN THEIR NOGGINS nor should they be repeating them, even if they actually - for whatever amazing reason - they still cling to such fictions.

We have freedom to believe as we wish. If you want to believe the earth is flat and 6000 years old - so be it. But stay out of rational conversations with your nonsense because we don't have time for flatly disproven hogwash.

And reefer madness IS flatly disproven hogwash. This is why it sounds so ridiculous.

#1: Joel W. Hay is professor of Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Southern California.

With all of our current problems, Americans do not need more marijuana. Pot combines mind-altering and judgment-clouding qualities (like alcohol) with carcinogenic, respiratory, and second-hand smoke qualities (like tobacco); it is emphatically not a safe or benign substance. Daily pot smokers have a 30 percent increased risk of accidents, and one study found that more emergency-department trauma admissions were associated with pot use than alcohol. We don’t need hundreds of billions of dollars in new medical-care costs, traffic and other accident costs, reduced worker productivity, and lower educational achievements in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

This guys entire screed is Classic Reefer Madness propaganda. His credentials are impeccable and he has done good things to help people. But he does repeat standard marijuana propaganda topic in his 3-paragraph screed. He packs his short piece full of them. I can't repost all of it and there's no need. His tripe is what gets blasted into the media all the time.

The ER-trauma bit is known to be false, a complete misuse of ER data. The 30% risk of accidents is a new one on me. I have NEVER seen such a study yielding such data and it's not linked in the man's screed. Probably proprietary research. Nudge, nudge.

#2: Mike Braun recently retired from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as the Assistant Administrator and Chief of Operations.

Ex-DEA. Whew. Surprise, surprise, surprise:

Marijuana legalization advocates love to say that we can tax the sale of the drug and generate revenue to cover all the costs associated with legalization, but a few more questions need to be asked.

Will the taxes pay for the significant increases in health and casualty insurance the experts tell us will be levied if marijuana is legalized? Is the government going to hand out free marijuana to those who can’t afford it? If so, who pays for that? Is it O.K. with you if the government or corporate America opens a marijuana distribution center in your neighborhood, or should they only establish them in the economically depressed areas of town? Which government agency will be responsible for rigorous testing to ensure that marijuana sold in the marketplace meets the strictest of consumer standards and is free of pesticides and drugs such as LSD and PCP? Which government agency is going to be responsible for taxing your next-door neighbor when he starts growing marijuana in his back yard, adjacent to your prized roses, of course? What happens when the taxes on marijuana become so excessive from covering all the ancillary costs of legalization that the vast majority of users simply grow the product themselves? Then who will pay for all of this?


An army of bullshit strawman arguments predicated on years of DEA propaganda dogma that he actually appears to believe.

Note he just mainly asks questions in that excerpt. He fudges the time and space he is given to ask bullshit questions mostly designed to be intimidating, since that is what the DEA has to offer. Intimidation and lying.

Who's going to "lace" the weed with bad illegal drugs? Well, probably NOBODY. What a stupid thing to say, but, again, this is a DEA spokesperson. This is standard crap for them.

What government agency will see to it that it is free of pesticides? Oh...I don't know. Who certifies other agricultural products to be Organic? The stupidity sucks the air from my lungs.

I can't excerpt it all and it is my general philosophy to present reefer mad froth like this for what it is and to not spend too much time "debunking it".  

The purpose of my presenting this particular information is to say that people who talk and think like these two people are free to say these things but they are flat-out wrong.

I don't represent anybody. I take no money from anybody to write what I do. I don't contribute to NORML or MPP or any other organization. I am not a member of any such organization. When cannabis laws are reformed I shall not make a penny.

Cannabis prohibition is indefensibly stupid, it solves nothing and creates vast amounts of crime simply because it supports a black market.

Marijuana reform will probably NOT greatly enhance tax-collection profits but it will doubtless save more in revenue outlays than it brings in in tax revenue, which will be outstanding.

Among other things, it will free up the nation's collective police force. Arresting 850000 people a year - 1 person every 42 seconds -  for more or less NOTHING is very expensive and time-consuming. It's just too backwards for an intelligent country. (We ARE intelligent, aren't we???)

And then consider that every single act of enforcing cannabis prohibition - every one of those 850000 arrests - translates into support for the profits of the black market; removing such supports should be seen as a good thing.

Regulated properly like we CAN regulate it, cannabis can be available at exactly the same places booze and tobacco are sold, with the same guidelines and laws. Aside from all the deaths caused by tobacco and alcohol, the regulation of its sales work smoothly.

Regarding "legalizing all drugs" - since some people will invariably bring this up -  to try and kill the black market: In the end, prohibition supports a black market. A black market can't exist without it. It's like a Law of Physics.

the truth is MOST people do NOT use real drugs. This is a minority of people and a change in the "war on drugs" can result in decreasing those numbers significantly, as is being demonstrated in European countries that have decriminalized the Herb. The market for hard drugs here, while serious, remains a small minority of people relative to the numbers who smoke pot.

America is long overdue to get it's act together on cannabis prohibition, to stop the lying, to end the bullshit, to act like educated adults and to regulate cannabis and use the rewards of increased revenue and resources to tackle far more important issues.

Originally posted to Toking Points Memo on Sun May 24, 2009 at 08:36 AM PDT.


Once Marijuana is Decriminalized

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