published Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Changing tune on pot

Advocates of legalizing marijuana have grown more aggressive -- and silly -- in recent years, casting their cause as a civil rights issue and ignoring the public safety questions surrounding the legal cultivation, sale and use of the drug.

But the veritable poster child for legal marijuana, the Netherlands, has just exited the poster.

The Netherlands has a reputation -- distressing or appealing, depending on your point of view -- for a freewheeling attitude toward marijuana. Dutch citizens and drug-seeking foreign tourists alike flock to absurdly misnamed "coffee shops" to get their fix.

But Holland is rethinking that approach. A number of cities have shut down the so-called "coffee shops" that are located near schools, for instance, and now a Dutch judge has upheld a law that will prohibit foreigners from buying marijuana in the country. Under the law, the shops will become clubs that can have a maximum of 2,000 members apiece -- all of whom have to be residents of the Netherlands.

Frankly, we can't see anything surprising about a country not wanting its claim to fame to be that vast numbers of people go there to get strung out.

But the more direct impetus for the restriction is the growth in "drug tourists" -- drug dealers who travel to the Netherlands from neighboring nations in order to buy marijuana in large amounts, take it back to their homelands and sell it. That has created public safety issues in cities along the Netherlands' border in particular.

Americans need not condescend to the Dutch over this issue, however. Legalization of pot in some states in our country has created problems, too -- some with tragic results.

California permits "medical marijuana" use, but so many crimes have been linked to the "legal" distribution of pot in California that nearly 200 of its cities and counties have banned pot dispensaries. Many of the allegedly benevolent dispensaries are little more than fronts for drug dealers, and a number of the customers aren't actually ill.

The Obama administration made things worse two years ago by saying it more or less wouldn't enforce federal drug laws where pot dispensaries allowed under state laws were concerned.

Now the administration is scrambling to reverse course and crack down on many of the dispensaries after rather predictable consequences resulted.

"What we are finding ... is that California's laws have been hijacked by people who are in this to get rich and don't care at all about sick people," U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag told The Associated Press.

Which is exactly what opponents of legalizing pot predicted all along.

If only the administration and lawmakers in states where marijuana now is lawful had been listening.

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nucanuck said...

The only thing worse than legal marijuana is illegal marijuana.

Haven't we had enough of the drug cartels, violence, and wholesale incarceration over a substance that remains readily available almost everywhere? Would not the substance abuse be akin to alcohol abuse problems that we live with today?

With legal marijuana we would put a lot of criminals out of business and create a new industry of suppliers and sellers. That has to be better than our long failed war on drugs.

Personally, I have never experienced marijuana nor would I if it were legal.

May 6, 2012 at 1 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Well, the war on drugs has certainly worked well these past 30 years, hasn't it? Of course legalizing marijuana would have its own set of problems but I think they would be much less severe than the problems this stupid and senseless war on drugs has created. There has been much research done on marijuana over the years and it has been proven to be not only non-addictive but actually medically beneficial in many ways. And people who are high on marijuana are much less prone to violence and criminality than people drunk on booze. Our prisons are overcrowded with non-violent pot growers and users, our cops are wasting their manpower and resources seeking out other pot growers and dealers, and the government is losing untold billions of dollars it could be getting in taxes from the legal sale of marijuana. But let's not dare legalize it. Like I said, the war on drugs has worked so well. Let's keep up the good fight and get rid of that demon weed once for all!

May 6, 2012 at 3:06 a.m.
EaTn said...

We learned a lesson on alcohol prohibition over seventy five years ago. How long will it take before we learn a similar lesson on pot prohibition? They say marijuana leads to other drug dependence--my contention is that lack of legal marijuana is a primary cause. Our courts and jails testify to this fact.

May 6, 2012 at 7:06 a.m.
DJHBRAINERD said...

The main problem with legalizing pot is the local police would loose all that federal grant money. And the corpotate owned prisons would loose money and the probation officers would loose work and don't forget about the pharmicudical companies.Think about how much money they would loose if people could just grow some herb. Medical losses from not having to get a script and on and on. No lets just say it's evil God's against it and move on.

May 6, 2012 at 7:50 a.m.
DJHBRAINERD said...

This "editorial" doesn't even bother to site any "tragic results". The "author" goes on and on with what a disaster "legalization" is but all the crimes aluded to are people trying to buy "legal" pot. Which by the author's reasoning is "illegal" therefore crime is "up". "Huh?" And it's "Obama's" fault. ""'s added for no paticular reason just as in above "editorial"

May 6, 2012 at 8:01 a.m.

I can't think of any other health-related industry that has "been hijacked by people who are in this to get rich and don't care at all about sick people." Good point, though.

May 6, 2012 at 8:36 a.m.
DJHBRAINERD said...
I've been trying to figure out why the party of limited government and personal responsibility is also the party legislating personal behavior by government force.

Maybe it goes back to no new taxes. Or maybe a mindset of everyone has the liberty to make any personal choice they want as long as it is the right choice.

May 6, 2012 at 10:54 a.m.
EaTn said...

JAHCHILD said...

"Please do research on three brain organs/systems: One: The Hippocampus. Two: The Amygdala. Three: The Limbic System. How are these three affected by marijuana?"................. I don't think anyone is loony enough to think pot is good for our health. If that were the issue, then we should also prohibit sugar, alcohol, etc. Pot being illegal has not stopped anyone from using it--being illegal has just made it at the top of the reason for crime, murder and overflowing courts and jails.

May 6, 2012 at 12:55 p.m.
nucanuck said...

EaTn,

I don't know if marijuana is good for your health, but certainly there is evidence that palliative benefits can be derived from marijuana. Most pharmaceutical products have serious possible side effects for some while helping others. Legalizing marijuana would certainly not be all good, but it certainly now seems that the good outweighs the bad,

May 6, 2012 at 1:33 p.m.
DJHBRAINERD said...

Peanut alergies kill 100 people per year marijuana kills 0 therfore marijuana is safer than peanuts.

May 6, 2012 at 2:22 p.m.
Rtazmann said...

I believe all i've heard is excuses why marijuana shouldn't be legal medical or otherwise..there would be a certain amount of crime even with legalization,,but not nearly as much as there is now...hospital issues would be on going and medical issues would still have it's problems, but surely it can't go up from what it is now,,,,it will go down..law enforcement would have 1 less so called crime done away with..people with medical issues can get the help they need. we sure don't need to have the problems like Seattle and Ca...that just stems from poor legislation and regulation.All those people in both areas do have problems but nothing medical ,they just want to smoke pot...Let's regulate it for medical purposes and make the law to keep it under control so we are not a Ca. or Seattle. people here in Tn need to be able to acquire med marijuana for their own use for medical issues..It's time we quit making a joke out of this and get serious. Lets not forget the revenue it would produce for the state,,also

May 6, 2012 at 6:33 p.m.

I'll take pot over meth, oxy, and the criminalization of a large group of people for a petty offense.

BTW, I wouldn't want a bar or strip club near a school, but in wouldn't ban either. Or a mcdonalds! Or a shooting range or a chemical plant.

May 7, 2012 at 1:09 a.m.
Rtazmann said...

LETS STOP CHANGING THE TUNE ON POT AND LET'S START CHANGING LAWS NATIONWIDE FOR PRO MARIJUANA,,,THIS COUNTRY DOES NOT BELONG TO THE POLICE,,IT BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE,..WITH LAWS THAT CONDEMN LIFE WE ARE WALKING TO THE TUNE OF A POLICE STATE..

May 10, 2012 at 2:04 p.m.
Rtazmann said...

MARIJUNA IS A WEED,,,NOT A DRUG,,,, PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD ARE STARTING TO REALIZE MARIJUANA IS NOT A DRUG THAT IS WHY SO MANY COUNTRIES ARE GOING TO LEGALIZE IT IN THE NEAR FUTURE,,,NOT TO COUNT ALL THE INNOCENT DEAD PEOPLE THAT ARE BEING LEFT IN ITS WAKE..AND ALL THIS IS FOR A WEED...WHO IS THE JOKE ON??

May 10, 2012 at 2:19 p.m.
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