It’s high time to change marijuana policy in the United States
There are many reasons to legalize marijuana in the United States and elsewhere – and there are very few, if any, truly wise and rational reasons to maintain our silly, sad status quo of illegal pot.
NOTE: This post is a plea for reason and justice and freedom. Though some will be unable to see it, this is not a plea for drug use. We are not recommending that non-smokers start smoking pot. Likewise, we do not aim to encourage current users to increase their bong usage, roll and pass and smoke more joints, pack their pipes more tightly, or encourage more widespread clam-bake participation. Simply put, we strongly promote a spiritually principled philosophy we call Greenism; this includes smaller government, better separation of church and state, taming religious and political fundamentalism, and restoring individual freedoms. (We’re pretty sure you’d gladly support the bulk of these ideas after learning the details!)
Healthy, successful, progressive contemporary societies should constantly be evolving and progressing toward passing and enforcing fair, rational laws. Interested parties should help support ganjactivism, The marijuana legalization movement. (See listing of pot organizations at the end of this post)
Marijuana is no more harmful, no more of a so-called gateway drug — no worse in any way, really – than alcohol. The legality of booze in contrast to the illegality of marijuana is one of the most preposterous, unfair legal conditions in our modern United States of America.
In the bizarre, closed-minded vein of religious fundamentalism and fideism, the Controlled Substances Act elaborates on why marijuana has been classified by the government as Schedule 1 drug. Marijuana’s categorization in this top-dog deadly drug category implies that pot is somehow "worse" or "more illegal" than morphine, cocaine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and amphetamines! Even worse, the government officially states that marijuana has no legitimate medical usesdespite pot’s highly effective use as medicine in history and modernity.
Marijuana’s legal classification is indeed a horrific and deplorable oversight of the naysayers, the ignorant, the closed-minded, and the paranoid. The associated punishments and all the reprehensible social side effects are nothing less than a scourge upon the United States and others among the so disaffected.
Recently, in a report published in the journal The Lancet, researchers have introduced an alternative method for drug classification in the UK. This new system uses a “nine category matrix of harm, with an expert Delphic procedure, to assess the harms of a range of illicit drugs in an evidence-based fashion.” The new classification system suggested that alcohol and tobacco were in the mid-range of harm, while cannabis, LSD and MDMA were all less harmful than the two legal drugs. This research is in line with a House of Commons of the United Kingdom report Drug classification: making a hash of it? (Source: Alternatives to scheduling — Controlled Substances Act Wikipedia page
One of the most pathetic facts about the status of marijuana laws in the United States is its primary basis upon a package of lies and untruths. Arguments against marijuana which were most successful in outlawing pot and maintaining its illegal status included:
- Fear- and paranoia-based collection of media known as Reefer Madness
- Claims that marijuana was an agent of communism
- Nixon-era Drug-War propaganda
- Reagan-era Just Say No efforts
Alcoholic beverages are legal for many reasons, many of which relate to social and recreational use. In truth, these reasons apply equally to smoking marijuana; however, in the case of pot, one should also consider the many additional reasons not necessarily applicable to booze.
Additional reasons to legalize pot
- Take advantage of taxation ($14 billion est. annual pot trade)
- Relieve overcrowded prisons
- Save/restore families, lives
- Mesh with objective reality and truth
- Recognize, allow medical applications of pot
- Move toward overall fairness in our laws
- Reduce violence
- Personal individual freedom
- Discourage criminal element
- Discourage dangerous drug cartels
- Reduce costs (Judging nonviolent pot smokers costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars annually in legal costs: Lawyers, courts, etc.)
There are 22 million or so regular pot users in the United States, the largest user group being college and university students.
Most agree that the modern mainstreaming of marijuana is making its eventual legalization — or at least, decriminalization — more palatable.
The health concern argument
Rational, intelligent, careful, objective thought will reveal to most that legalizing morality and reducing personal freedoms are not good ideas. One of the most repeated arguments against legalization has to do with harmful health effects. If health concerns were a genuine concern or motivation for many of these folks (it often isn’t), then we’d hear them pushing to outlaw a wide variety of unhealthy items and activities such as fatty foods, candy, soda, guns, booze, tobacco, motorcycles, et al.
In truth, the Founding Fathers would be appalled at the idea of removing personal individual freedoms and outlawing things that are unhealthy.
This writer would wager that most of the squeaky wheels against pot legalization in the United States today include these main categories:
1. The Religious: Fundamentalists, Hard Righters, and other conservatives
2. The Inexperienced: People who have never used pot
3. The Addicts: Folks with histories of chronic addiction or other negative drug experiences
Fairness of illegal pot considering legality of booze
An alternative to resolving the fairness factor of our marijuana laws would be to outlaw alcohol — not a very palatable or realistic idea, as we have experienced in our history.
The history and status quo of marijuana’s legal status has been led by highly questionable politics rather than far more trustworthy scientific facts.
The Baby Boomers, a now-elderly generation with relatively advanced ganja experience, largely support the legalization of medical marijuana to the tune of 70% or so: Completely understandable and more than a bit encouraging.
Considering the issue honestly & realistically
One may hear the following quip being made as a supposedly witty, clever, convincing argument against pot legalization/ decriminalization:
How can ANYTHING that can cause an addiction be O.K.?
Those who agree with this statement have clearly given the idea of marijuana decriminalization very little careful thought, fair consideration, or objective contemplation. While pot is not physically addictive, marijuana use can be addictive from a psychological perspective.
But then, what isn’t psychologically addictive?Not much! Virtually anything and everything has the potential to create psychological addiction. Foods and drinks, watching television, reading, surfing the web, looking at pornography, having sex, and certainly mood-altering substances and exciting behaviors ALL have high potential for psychological addiction.
Shall we outlaw all of these things, as well?
What about riding motorcycles? If you believe smoking pot to be so dangerous and harmful, then surely having unprotected sex is also quite high on the list of dangerous human activities some would prefer to make illegal in the ridiculous, ineffectual quest to legalize morality.
Anyone who has been chronically addicted to escaping reality via television and video can attest to the fact that these entertainment addictions can destroy lives, families, health, etc. every bit as much as a psychological addiction to smoking weed!
More about marijuana "addiction"
If one is sufficiently familiar with addiction — the nature, experience, consequences, and other issues surrounding addiction — then the facts about addiction to marijuana will inevitably reveal the psychological nature of the habit.
I have spent considerable time watching documentaries and other video of current and former heavy pot smokers — many calling themselves addicts, or ex-addicts — discussing the addiction and how it led to their downfall. In some cases, the implication was that pot addiction ruins lives. I carefully considered the descriptions of their experiences. Myraid behaviorial changes of the potheads were discussed by not only the potheads but also family members and others close to the smokers: Withdrawing, introversion, losing jobs, destroying relationships, declining health, and so on.
In donning my always-handy devil’s advocate cap, I came to realize that most of the symptoms, consequences, and other negative aspects of long-term heavy pot smoking do not apply exclusively to heavy pot smoking or long-term psychological addiction to marijuana. They describe what can result from a wide range of psychological addictions.
But as with other substances, heavy long-term marijuana by children can have permanent negative effects.
One of the better resources for health information about THC and the potentially harmful effects of smoking pot in general is the 2009 documentary Cannabis: The Evil Weed? (BBC Horizon). I found this show to be quite impartial and objective — certainly not a production of pot promoters. This one-hour show can be seen here in its entirety:
Conclusions about smoking pot
It should be obvious: The potentially monstrous culprits here are addiction and related addictive behavior — not marijuana itself. The same is true for virtually anything. Casting blame upon the medicinal plant itself for the woes of addictive behavior is tantamount to blaming interstate and highway fatalities on automobiles, motorcycles, and other vehicles.
As with ANY recreational activity — especially mood-altering substances, of course — moderation is absolutely key! While we understand experimentation will always occur along the path to adulthood, one ought to exercise common sense, logic, and reason before toking regularly. Please don’t overdo pot smoking — or anything else.
We strongly support increased personal freedoms in the vein of libertarianism and in our version of Greenism: a term we use for the philosophy of living ethically, spiritually, sustainably, sensibly, in tune with nature. We strongly oppose excessive legislation of morality; we believe instilling ethics and encouraging ethical behavior in today’s youth remains the responsibility of parents and guardians, but also that of real friends, other family members, and even society as a whole (in a sense).
Please join us — regardless of your pot position!
We work to make the world a better place by encouraging the practice of basic, universal spiritual principles in support of many other like-minded missions. We join hands (digitally speaking) with the Dalai Lama in joint promotion of his mission as detailed in his wonderful 2011 book Beyond Religion. Other effective modern spiritual teachers with similar missions include Thich Nhat Hanh, Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsh, Eckhart Tolle, and many others.
Please join us in this mission by doing whatever you possibly can to help spread the idea that mankind’s best hopes for the future rest in the embrace and practice of basic, universal spiritual principles — from a wholly non-divisive, tolerant, accepting, compassionate, secular perspective which is completely free of ALL strains of fundamentalism & fideism.
The implications of the word secular in the United States can be problematic, as we are not encouraging any hostility whatsoever toward religion. We understand that some people include in their working definition of secular a pervasive anti-religion sentiment. This is not what we mean when we use the word in our writings. Our use of the word secular includes an overall neutrality toward religion. we admire the way the word secular is broadly applied and defined in India, which is one of the most religiously diverse and amazingly tolerant nations we know of. (Our understanding of India’s use of the word secular is based on the description of the Dalai Lama in his book Beyond Religion.)
In the U.S., the mainstream in politics and media seems to assume “standard Protestant fundamentalist Christianity” for “religion”. The loudest Christian voices in the United States seem to be the fundamentalist ones — which tend to ruin the entire conversation about religion for the rest of us.
 Fundamentalism & fideism
In other words, whether one is referring to religious fundamentalism/fideism, political fundamentalism/fideism, or some other brand of fundamentalism, all of these closed-minded ideologies are discouraged for many reasons due to their very nature. For example, fundamentalist/ fideist beliefs and practices are not helpful in any way to larger society or overall progress; they are often hostile toward the ideas of peaceful coexistence, truth, tolerance, centrism, compromise, et al.
Religious fundamentalism (such as that practiced and spread by the Hard Right, Christian Right, Religious Right, etc.) demands unquestioning subservience to the dogma it promotes and often reacts poorly to serious challenges. In fundamentalism, one’s own worldview is often seen as the only correct worldview, with all others being wrong — sometimes evil.
In like manner, systems adhering to fideism — a common ingredient in fundamentalist systems overall — insist on NO questioning and NO demands for explanations at all concerning their teachings, beliefs, and traditions. The scourge of fideism is made possible in modern times only because the standard truth-telling yardsticks are disallowed. Human logic, reason, common sense, and rational thought that challenge its beliefs and traditions are considered to be enemies of their faith. Fideism sometimes even tosses out all scientific knowledge and theory, empirical data, along with anything else that might serve to reveal the typically preposterous, supernatural, superstitious beliefs they hold.
The close, serious, objective, honest, truthful examination of fundamentalist/ fideist systems will show our above assertions about fundamentalism &fideism to be true; the Search for Truth blog and many others help demonstrate this.
Clearly, fundamentalism/fideism must be discouraged and restrained in order to open the tightly closed minds of the affected parties. These worldviews and practices need to be gently discouraged, as their defenses tend to come up rather quickly and harshly.
Overall, fundamentalist/fideist groups are on the decline around the world, and for obvious and good reason. However, as we have seen in the United States in recent years — partly (largely?) in reaction to the Barack Obama’s election — flare-ups of these anachronistic belief systems can at least gain a temporary foothold if its politics are effective (think of the Republicans). Otherwise ridiculous systems can grow and attract new adherents if the talking heads are sufficiently believable & respected, shrewd, clever, and most importantly, talented and wise in the ways of disinformation, evangelism, persuasion, and underhanded political skills in general. This is how televangelical empires were/are built. (It certainly isn’t on truth or the larger good…)
Documentary films about marijuana use in the United States
Inside Marijuana (2010, National Geographic)
It is estimated that more than 200 million people around the world smoke it. Users represent a cross section of society, from teens to the elderly, from top-earning medical and legal professionals to housewives, labourers and truck drivers. Broad demand has made it, by some estimates, the single most valuable cash crop in the U.S., spawning a shadowy multibillion-dollar industry that thrives in communities throughout America.
Inside: Marijuana investigates all angles of the marijuana industry, joining law enforcement as they rappel from helicopters into illegal crop fields, visiting legal Canadian grow houses and going inside the tense standoff between “legal” medical use and federal drug agencies.
Inside Marijuana, National Geographic
Marijuana: A Chronic History (2010)
The fight against drug use in America has been going on since the turn of the last century but the term “War on Drugs” only became part of our national dialogue in 1970 when it was first used by President Richard Nixon. The President later formed the DEA and started a push to outlaw drugs of all kinds. Among the most discussed drugs in this war is Marijuana. This special will look at the storied and strange history of Marijuana in America…
Marijuana: A Chronic History – IMDb (Rating: 74)
Marijuana: A Second Class Addiction (2011)
Sets out to investigate the popular misconception that marijuana is a non-addictive, non habit forming substance; Despite the fact that it is illegal, the ever-growing debate over whether marijuana should be legalized tends to gloss over one of the more fundamental issues regarding regular pot use: Can one actually become addicted to marijuana?
Marijuana Inc.: Inside America’s Pot Industry (2009)
CNBC’s Trish Regan goes inside America’s controversial marijuana industry. Going from California’s marijuana dispensaries to talking to marijuana growers and law enforcement she paints a picture of how large and important marijuana is to this economy.
Interviews with farmers and drug kingpins and the lawmen charged with shutting them down tell the story of the world’s most profitable drug, which costs about $400 per pound to produce and sells for $6,000 per pound at the retail level.
Marijuana: It’s Time for a Conversation — American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington has launched a multimedia public-education campaign on the country’s marijuana laws and their impact on taxpayers, communities and those arrested. As part of this effort, travel guru Rick Steves hosts this infomercial-style panel discussion produced by the Washington ACLU.
- Marijuana: It’s Time for a Conversation – Web site
- Marijuana: It’s Time for a Conversation – Interviews
- Marijuana: It’s Time for a Conversation – YouTube
Marijuana USA (2010)
More states are permitting the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and the Obama administration has signaled relaxed enforcement of the industry in those states. Now, a new generation of marijuana entrepreneurs has emerged across America. They come from the unlikely fields of finance, politics, medicine and law, and they want to claim a stake in this modern day gold rush. CNBC’s “Marijuana USA” goes inside a flourishing medical pot industry. In Colorado, the demon weed is rebranded as a natural herbal remedy with healing powers that even respectable citizens can enjoy.
Marijuana USA – IMDb
Timeshift: The Cannabis Years (BBC)
This British documentary traces television and the wider media’s reactions to cannabis, from the hysterical vilification of the drug in the 1930s, the punitive measures of the stop and search laws and prison sentences for possession, to the more considered debates now taking place and the real possibility of a change in the law. The story is told through program clips from the BBC archives, newspaper headlines and interviews. It covers the high profile star busts of the 60s and 70s (when people like Tony Curtis, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney were taken to court) major drug hauls, science programs, youth culture and politics. Comments on pot by Chicho Marx, Norman Mailer, Mick Jagger, Dennis Hopper and Shirley MacLaine among many others.
Cannabis: The Evil Weed? (BBC Horizon, 2009)
Cannabis is merely a plant — a wild weed… but the THC in cannabis produces an unmatched range of effects quite blissful to many, yet for others seems to create a life-destroying syndrome of addiction. This documentary tries to get to the bottom of the marijuana conflict by asking the most basic questions about cannabis, such as… Can weed really cause schizophrenia? Can pot lead you to take harder drugs? Or could cannabis even be good for you? Marijuana science is often obscured by opinion, but this film attempts a level of objectivity to learn the latest research about the world’s favorite drug!
Horizon – Cannabis The Evil Weed (2009) 720p – YouTube (58 min)
Grass: The History of Marijuana (Ron Mann, 1999)
An account of the history of the United States’ war on marijuana in the 20th century. Veteran filmer Ron Mann brings his impeccable historical facility and story telling skills to recount how a relatively harmless drug has been demonized for decades.
With a rueful yet incisive script, deft editing and an impressive soundtrack featuring original songs by Mark Mothersbaugh and a veritable pot-pourri of tunes ranging from the Swing Era’s “Reefer Man” through Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women” to the hippie lament “One Toke Over The Line,” Ron Mann’s Grass boasts extraordinary production values.
Funny yet political, Grass charts the terrible loss in imprisoned lives and billions of dollars wasted fighting a drug that refuses to go away.
Grass: The History of Marijuana – Top Documentary Films
Grass: The History of Marijuana – IMDb (Rating: 73)
Resources: Legalize it, already!
- Up in Smoke: Why the GOP’s Views on Pot are Showing Signs of a Shift – Time
- Marijuana a Chronic History (Full Version) – YouTube
- List of documentary films about marijuana – Top Documentary Films
- Just Say No – Wikipedia
- The War on Drugs: How President Nixon Tied Addiction to Crime – The Atlantic
- Drink and Drugs: Cannabis – Advice: Helping you get through life – a BBC blog
Ganjactivism: The marijuana legalization movement
- Grass City – Web home
- Grass City – Forum
- Marijuana.com – Excerpt: "Marijuana.comthe definitive online source for all aspects related to the marijuana industry. Whether you’re a novice smoker or a seasoned grower, there’s something for you on Marijuana.com. Simply put, if you’re looking for information or products in the realm of marijuana, you can find it here."
- Marijuana.com forums
- Fantastic Documentary on Cannabis by BBC – Marijuana.com
- Cannabis Culture: An online marijuana magazine — An activist magazine dedicated to liberating marijuana, freeing pot prisoners worldwide, and ending the vicious worldwide war on drugs; Each issue challenges prohibitionist myths and provides current and essential information pertaining to marijuana
- Cannabis Culture – Forum
- 420 Magazine: Creating Cannabis Awareness since 1993
At Cannabis Culture we love marijuana in all its diverse forms. Each issue of is packed full of marijuana and drug war news, amazing grow stories, political and historical information, and spectacular photography from the top cannabis photographers. From fabulous budshots and cultivation advice to cutting-edge pot culture and the drug war journalism, Cannabis Culture aims to bring you nothing but the best.
Mouth-watering nug photography
- Nug of the Month: September 2012 – Beautiful close-up photos: Entries to the nug of the month contest – 420 Magazine
- Flickr photo stream of Cannabis Culture
Major marijuana events
Marijuana lingo I just learned
nug: High-quality weed
spliff: Joints with a pot & tobacco mix
 Religious fundamentalists, fideists: These highly conservative groups and anti-pot attitudes no doubt coincide. This writer would wager that most parents who continue to teach their children that Bible stories such as Noah’s ark are literally true also oppose the decriminalization of marijuana.
This post was started on Saturday, October 06, 2012