I prefer marijuana to alcohol–does that make me a bad person ?
The biggest challenge faced by the marijuana legalisation lobbyists around the world is turning around years of systematic misinformation and overcoming the established prejudice against marijuana. Increasingly people are realising that both society and pot-users would benefit if marijuana were legal.
The Americans are doing a great job at state level to raise the profile of weed legalisation and the Billboard posters shown in this blog by the Colorado pro-pot team hope to persuade people to vote in favour of their Amendment 64. We wish them well!
There are some topics, such as Abortion, where people are either for or against and rarely seem to change their views. Then there are other issues where public opinion shifts with each passing year – such as falling support for war in the middle-east or increasing public support for legal weed. Even some politicians are beginning to see the financial, political and wider benefits of legal cannabis. I have no doubt that the medical marijuana movement has done a great deal to change public perception. Marijuana is not only pretty harmless, it may even be good for some folk.
For all pot smokers there is a legitimate sense of outrage that society officially regards them as law-breakers worthy of a court appearance and police bullying if they are caught. It is a sense of victimisation that has to stop; it is just unfair and pointless to make criminals out of people for preferring pot in this day and age. Even those that don’t use marijuana see the financial benefits of stopping the arrest of pot-users. Still today in many countries 90%+ of all drug arrests are for ‘personal possession’ of weed. It is a shocking statistic, a result of decades of failed and mismanaged drug policy by politicians lacking the personal courage to stand up and make changes. It is an irresponsible waste of public money; a senseless and vindictive victimisation of a harmless minority.
American influence on drugs policy extends far across the world, so any signs that they are seeing some benefits to legalisation has to be good news for the rest of us. That’s why some people think that Obama will be able to put the wheels in motion for some significant shifts in USA drug policies if he gets a second term in office. It’s quite interesting to see this ongoing pressure both domestically and internationally – most recently from South American and Central American political leaders. The intellectual arguments for legal recreational and medical marijuana are already being won, this means politicians around the world will soon stop being afraid to face up to the issue.
The longer the debate goes on the more the balance of public opinion will shift in favour of legal weed. One day soon politicians unwilling to consider legal marijuana will start to lose votes because of their views. The current campaign for Mayor of London has one candidate actually campaigning on the issue of getting the police to leave cannabis users alone, as you can see in the campaign poster.
Last week a group of 300 leading economists have signed their support to a paper by respected Harvard economics guru Jeffrey Miron which says that keeping marijuana illegal costs the USA at least $1 Billion a month, and possibly a lot lot more than that
That’s a crazy price to pay to maintain illegality of something that everyone increasingly agrees has medical benefits and is significantly safer than alcohol and tobacco. Other estimates from Business Week magazine including lost tax revenues, and reduced policing costs due to redundancy of criminal gangs means marijuana prohibition is really costing the USA something like $100 Billion a year. And that is just pot; imagine how much money and human sacrifice is being paid to keep the really dangerous drugs illegal.
For those of you with some free time to march in favour of marijuana remember the May 5th events. In Cardiff, South Wales, the Cardiff Global Marijuana March organised by Des Humphrey. Dutch Passion are pleased to sponsor this event
The Amsterdam event details are here http://www.facebook.com/events/262627450457719/
Spain will have an event in Guadalajara, "Cannabis Parade 2012" date still to be announced at www.cannabiscafe.net
Prague will have a Million Man Marijuana March, sponsored by us http://mmm.legalizace.cz/page/festivities