American Morning

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April 16th, 2009
08:00 PM ET

Vote! Should drugs be legal in the U.S.?

Do you think the United States should legalize drugs?

Mexico drug trafficking, cartels and killings. All driven by America’s addiction to drugs. How did it get this bad? All this week we are reporting on America's drug addiction in our special series "Drug Nation."

So, what do you think? Should the United States legalize drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin? Vote now!

And don't miss:


Filed under: Controversy • Drugs
soundoff (425 Responses)
  1. xyzzy

    R Glenn – There's not enough affordable drug treatment to go around because so much much of our hard-earned money is dumped into the enforcement and eradication money pit, for one. The ROI in prohibition is miserable and an obscene crime against taxpaying citizens. Being afraid of change is a normal reaction and, like addiction, can be dealt with in a humane manner.

    April 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  2. Jason

    This is about the poll I've ever seen. You're just asking about "Drugs," what does that even mean? Are you trying to be sensational, or are you just dumb? Get an editorial backbone CNN.

    April 14, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  3. R Glenn

    Anyone who thinks legalizing marijuana will solve border trafficking problems is way out of touch with reality. Meth and cocaine are just as big a cash cow. And legalizing yet another substance which has been proven destructive to one's health and psych is an absolutely ridiculous idea. There's not enough affordable drug treatment to go around as it is.

    April 14, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  4. HARRY

    This is just the way of the world . The human species will contiue to smoke pot even when the possible punishment could be extreme to the point of people killing each other for their stash . Or police being targeted for just doing the job they were hired to do, and that is what really scares the bejesus out of me . Besides that , the money being made from selling it legally through the system would generate jobs , and maybe even drive crime stats way down . Eventually , after all the hype has been forgotten , then just maybe we as a species would live another 1,000 years . The way we are going now is not an indicator of longevity or prosperity !

    April 14, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  5. Toby

    I higher standard of education about drugs in particular would be an important addition to the end of U.S. drug prohibiton in my opinion.

    April 14, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  6. findgold

    Does anyone out there trust our government..

    April 14, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  7. John L

    Prohibition only serves those who profit from it, not those it pretends to protect.

    April 14, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  8. Scotty B

    Alcohol is Legal and it ruins lives, Family's and Thousands of people die every year from Drunk Driving and it remains Legal. I have never heard of a person getting killed because of Marijuana ,only in an Ilegal drug deal.I have been Smoking Marijuana for almost Twenty years and I function just Fine. Statistics dont lie . The U.S could make Billoins of Dollars if they Legalized it. If people want Marijuana they can get it, all they have to do is go to the corner and buy some ,it's that easy. Laws do not stop people from living the lifestyle they want to live.The only one Losing is The U.S Economy. OPEN YOUR EYES AMERICA .

    April 14, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  9. Sweetpoison

    Imagine stimulant drugs like cofffee and chocolate being illegal, Millions clamouring for their daily fix. Coffee and chocolate cartels forming across South America, Illegal chocolate factories popping up across the country,Coffee speakeasies in inconspicuous basements and hundreds of thousands imprisioned along with the other drug users. Let’s stop the war and return to common sense laws.

    April 14, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  10. Frank

    Obviously we can't cantol uncontrolled substances and it has been an unmitigated failure. Asking the DEA and Law Enforcement officers believe their jobs are at stake so their comments are extremely biased. And once the drug policy changes they can still have their jobs controlling the substances in other ways. We can control controlled substances effectively. The statement of use doubling is also bogus since many users are never going to admit to using while drugs are illegal so when legalized all these people come out of the closets and admit the truth thereby giving us the "user" numbers which are well above what we have on record. I love the comment that giving the drugs to all kids is dangerous, who in their right minds expects legalization means selling it at candy stores to five year olds?
    This is just more fear tactics generated in a fear based country thanks to the last administration and their constant preaching of fear at every level which has just about ruined this great country. The other comment made on your show this morning is that after taxation and legalization all the illegal drugs will be much more expensive. What a CROCK.

    THE PROOF CAN BE FOUND IN MENDICINO COUNTY CALIFORNIA.

    Some day maybe we'll wake up to the fact that illegal drugs make criminals and corrupt officials rich at all of our expense and our jails are full of small time users, dealers etc that is also a great expense to us and a waste of law enforcement and court systems that have a lot of better things to do.

    April 14, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  11. Roger

    Marijuana should be made legal and people should be able to grow their own. The war on drugs is a failure and it has managed to over crowd our prisons and clog up the judicial system.

    April 14, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  12. findgold

    Tax the _ell out of it isn't all that good an idea, tho a little tax won't hurt. In other words did you know that people will buy cigs in Va and Nc where that tax is reather low and sell them in NY where the tax is high–under the table (black market) and with all the new taxes it is getting cheaper to buy andsmoke pot then cigs.

    April 14, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  13. findgold

    As a Vietnam combat veteran with purple heart and PTSD. After 40 years I have found that the ONLY "drug" that has helped me in any way at all has been MJ. Of everything that the VA docs. have tried on me to help me have been of little help, And most of the so called "legal" drugs they gave me either made me so sick or so out of it that i couldn't even walk without falling down. The only thing that has helped me is smoking MJ. the overall effect is that reather then bouncing off the walls all the time I can smoke a little MJ and I sorta can set down as stare at them. and I can still function...Even some of the VA Docs say that MJ just may be the best med. for PTSD.. But it is illegal so tuff luck go suffer. or take a chance on going to JAIL...

    April 14, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  14. lordcase

    One of the problems is that the government workers are in the business of protecting their own jobs.
    I have never and will never do heroin, it destroys lives.
    The drug interdiction task forces have put a huge crimp on the Colombian Connection and the Mexicans have taken over the business.
    Marijuana should be legal but Cocain, Heroin, LSD, Crank etc. are all too dangerous and create anti social behaviors. If we ever get a handle on the Mexican Connection, heroin will start to come from China.

    April 14, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  15. Hovie Campbell

    I operate a small business that requires me, by federal law, to drug test each employee. Each employee also has to be in a random program. I'm curious how legalized drugs would effect this law. Will there be a double standard?

    April 14, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  16. Walt

    Its time to legalize marijuana.
    I say no way to the rest.
    A local hemp industry will help America become less dependent on foreign petroleum. Especially in regards to making safer and more environmentally safe plastic products. Its time for change.

    April 14, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  17. Cami

    DRUGS do NOT produce SEEDS, so, let's clarify that now.

    LEGALIZE & TAX THEM ALL !

    what about organic versus synthetic?

    Addiction TREATED as HEALTH, not CRIMINAL ISSUE.

    Take the PROFIT OUT of HEALTHCARE, also!

    Commonsense NOT Common!

    April 14, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  18. mike

    The fact of the matter is they the state,county,legislaters and government will never legalize marijuana for the fact that the revunue to all these legislations would be stopped.Seizure of property,money and redistrubition of funds and or pot to the American people to create revunue for local police departments countys and state funds simpliy putting a tax on pot will not create the revunue of their unconstitional seizure of private property.

    April 14, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  19. karen

    at one time i thought that only marijuana should be made legal but now i believe that this is america-land of the free-its our choice to do whatever makes us happy as long as we are not hurting another is my new opinion.there are alot of things that can kill us.tobacco,alcohol,legal drugs,caffiene,asprin,an allergy,salt,i mean the list goes on and on.at 18-you can go off to war and die -you should be able to have a beer if you want to.personally-i dont drink beer-it makes me sick to even smell it.

    April 14, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  20. Gary Chipman

    American marijuana consumers are (NOT) fueling the violence at the border. Lets keep the blame where it belongs. By making the profits so high, ( Unrealistic Drug Laws ) are to blame. History will show that the war on drugs, caused more trouble than the drugs. Nicotine the #1 gate-way drug and alcohol, both legal; cause more pain than all other drugs combined. Will we ever wake up???

    April 14, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  21. KC

    One thing is for sure...mankind has gotten high in one form or another since the beginning of time. Think about how alcohol addiction has ruined lives, and worse yet...ended lives...many of them innocent victims of someone else's problems. Marijuana vs alcohol...I choose weed everytime because I've seen, experienced and felt the consequences of those who drink.
    Legalizing marijuana does not mean that an employer can't stop requiring that a prospective employee submit to drug testing. It is however a new tax source, and in my opinion, will stop the crime that is related to selling it. We will NEVER stop folks from getting high, but the reality of an ever changing world/society dictates that drastic measures (the legalization of marijuana) be considered.

    April 14, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  22. Gary Chipman

    American marijuana consumers are (NOT) fueling the violence at the border. Lets keep the blame where it belongs. By making the profits so high, ( Unrealistic Drug Laws ) are to blame. History will show that the war on drugs, caused more trouble than the drugs. Nicotine the #1 gate-way drug and alcohol, both legal; cause more pain than all other drugs combined. Will we ever wake up???

    April 14, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  23. J

    If marijuana was legal, reported use would go up. Not from new users, but from the actual users in this country finally not having to hide there use of it. There's a lot of them. There will always be new users too ocourse, but they won't be what puts the usage needle through the roof if and when marijuana is legalized. And I'd like to thank CNN for putting a "marijuana only" option under the legalization vote. It shows that there are people that can say yes to marijuana and still be against all other drugs.

    April 14, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  24. garmy627

    Legalizing drugs will not solve the violence in Mexico. I used pot for years back in the 70's and 80's and it never led to the use of harder drugs, I support the legalization pot only. There is a program were our government grows and gave pot for medical reasons for about 15 people for a study on the affects and possible treatment for their illnesses and today there are still about 6 people still being supplied pot through this study, you would think that if our government thought that is was such a bad drug and it should remain illegal then why would they start such a program. There are many pros and cons to the legalization debate. Who would really benefit from the legalization, letting our government control the sale of it would 1. double and maybe even triple the cost raising more tax dollars, empty some of our prisons, saving billions of dollars for useless programs that ain't working. However one big down fall that would be hard to overlook would be the increase in the black markets and the raise in the Mexican cartel violence for controlling interest in those markets. This is only my opinion, thanks

    April 14, 2009 at 9:01 am |
  25. Marilyn

    I am afraid that it was the "illegalization" of marijuana to begin with that created the problem that we now are seeing today! Marijuana should not even be considered a drug! It is a helpful tool for mankind!! Wake up people, do your research on this one! It is a cure all and could help to be finally able to remove all of those harmful drugs off of the store shelves that we all indulge in! Takes away headaches, pains, depression, heartaches attributed from the death of a loved one, Giving you the "munchies" which also will solve the problem our country sees now in the healthfield ...eating disorders! The list of benefits from marijuana goes on ..and on ..and on.. Do your homework! It is SO benefitial to mankind yet this is what we ban and outlaw! I agree tho. We need a president who will look at what 90% of the public wants without laughing. I do not see where this was a joke ..at all. Making it illegal in the first place, that was the joke! If 90% of the public want it ...then it should be! We, the people, should matter!

    April 14, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  26. J

    America does not want to support the cartels. America would love to have them completely removed from the equation. But until people can grow their own marijuana again like we used to when this great nation was first starting out, the cartels or other groups of organized crime will continue to have a lifeline. The only effort our govenment would have to make would be lifting a pen and signing a new law, a marijuana (only) decriminalizing law. That's all they would have to do. That one small (yet huge) action would slash cartel profits, and leave more law enforcement man power available for catching the cocaine, speed, heroine, and crack pushers. And someone needs to work on the kinds of pain killers that people can get. Those are way more addictive than pot ever will be and people only move to harder painkillers from there once addicted (see previous comment above).

    April 14, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  27. Aaron

    I may be just a senior in high school but that does not mean that I cannot recognize the difference between things which are inherently bad and things that could end up being extremely beneficial. Like others who have commented, I too am glad that there was a separate "legalize marijuana" option. With the current poll numbers it is clear that a new drug policy needs to be pursued. If we were to legalize just marijuana, it would substantially damage the cartels beyond the border. How do we keep track of it? Simply, tax it, tax the hell out of it just like the government does with cigarettes and alcohol. Of course there would need to be a legal age for marijuana consumption just like there is for tobacco and alcohol, that is one thing that I do not question.

    For those who say that legalization would do nothing but increase consumption, I say you are right, it would. But, with a large percentage of adults and teens already using marijuana with no real proven bad effect e.g., there has been no increased violence and the violence which has occurred has been because of gangs and cartels which would be put out of business by legalization and taxation, there has been no notable increase in traffic accidents whereas a large amount of fatal accidents have been caused by driving drunk. I of course am not suggesting that smoking and driving is the safest thing to do however, when compared to alcohol and when you take into consideration that on your drive into work, you pass at least 10 people who are either high or smoking, and they are not the ones causing accidents, you have to think twice.

    Legalizing all drugs is also one approach to solving the whole problem. Legalization and taxation of all drugs would decimate the international market. Of course, the drugs which are harder and more dangerous would have to have much more regulation in comparison to less dangerous drugs. Without a market for the cartels and gangs to exploit, they collapse, dissolve and disappear. I think legalization of everything would be more effective than just legalizing marijuana but it does have its darker and more dangerous sides.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  28. Don

    If you are going to bring people on your show and ask them if we should legalize drugs don't use poeple that make there living from it.
    It is a no brainer to think what way a man would pick when he makes his living from hunting people down and putting them in jail for having drugs because if it was legal he would be out of a job.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  29. Steve Zimmett

    I to believe that drugs should be legalized. Look at how many police officers are killed each year because of drugs. It only makes sense,
    That DEA person on CNN this morning said that the cost with the government in control would not go down. But just think, if drugs were legalized, then all the drugs coming in from Mexico would vanish.
    Just say NO, as Nancy Regan said back in the 80's sure made a big difference in our drug wars.
    Legalizing is the only way to go. I just wish Obama would take a closer look at this issue and quit laughing about this issue.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  30. Danet

    Legalizing any drug would only destroy more lives. Is anyone thinking about the effect legalizing drugs would have on the rich, the poor and especially children? All I hear is how much money the government can save by legalizing drugs. What about the increasing amount they would have to spend for rehabilitating more drug adicts. I can see more adults spending their weeks pay on drugs instead of paying the rent and puting food on the talbe for their children. This means more people would be living in shelters and on the street which boils down to the governmetnt rescuing them at tax payers expense.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  31. Anne Etoile

    We criminalized alcohol and created riches for the Mafia. We have criminalized drugs and created riches for the drug cartels. Will we never learn?

    April 14, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  32. ALLAN HORN

    To say that marijuana is "a GATEWAY DRUG" is as logical as saying breast feeding leads to alcoholism... since most alcoholics started on breast milk.

    I have spent my entire life around people in the entertainment business, and I can assure you that a great many entertainers and musicians use pot daily and still manage to function very well in society.

    For example jazz legend Louie Armstrong reportedly used to smoke about an ounce of pot every day.

    Other countries have decriminalized drugs and have actually seen a REDUCTION in hard drug usage.

    Imagine the BILLIONS spent on law enforcement, courts and prisons being spent on hard drug TREATMENT instead!

    April 14, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  33. Gloria J Fowler

    PLEASE READ– I am a 62 year old woman who never did drugs. However, I am a firm believer that you should try everything once to make a decision based on personal experience and I'm sorry I did not do that before this writing.
    I have tried cigrrettes and alcohol as a young person. Look at the (easily) 150 carcinogens in cigarettes–No one seems to care that any one of those is enough to cause cancer and death let alone 150+? Are we kidding?? Now Look at Alcohol –it causes liver damage and death and a host of newly discovered diseases-not to mention horrifying fetal underdevelopment problems like FAS & worse.
    There have been many studies on Marijuana–none have shown any problems other than the temporary "peaceful" state–which we could all use once in awhile! There's no evidence that I found, it even causes lung cancer– Pot is used more recreational and cigarettes are more constant. It is a plant found in the ground for God's sake–That's it!! There are probably many more plants that do the same in everybody's back yards that we don't even know about yet and as time goes by they'll be discovered too-Is the gov. going to go into all American yards and ban those too??
    Next–I have a husband who suffer from cancer–trust me –I will go to the ends of the earth to help him and if it became medically necessary & I found pot could help–I'd be the first on line!

    Look at the first and biggest concern the gov. has (as told by your guests on TV today-) "....well,if we did legalize it, we should tax it and sell it and blah, blah, blah"–See? it's all about the money! it made me sick!–All they want is to figure out is how to make money on pot–that's why it was banned in the first place–it was much,much easier to legalize cigs. and liquor than pot. Finally, there is a SONG CALLED "GANJA" by the music group ECHO MOVEMENT. It can be found online at their website or youtube(?)–It amazingly targets and sums up today's discussion and the REAL message is clear which tells the story in short of the gov, the history and the outcome–which is why we're in this predictment today. It's truly a must listen! It's all over the internet.
    Finally–please don't put marijuana in the same class as cocaine, heroin, LSD, cigarettes, alcohol–from what I've read, it clearly is not and i don't apprecialte the American intelligence being insulted as such. EVERY line of work–in ALL walks of life– people have and continue to use marijuana and curiously, NO ONE HAS DIED.
    Thank you.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  34. Steven Eisenhauer

    Marijuana needs to be Legalized. As a 40 year smoker of this substance I can honestly say the only dangerous and harmful effects of this herb are the laws and penalities against it. Prohibition didn't work with alcohol, and is not and will not work with marijuana. These laws are needlessly ruining the lives of other-wise law abiding U.S. citizens.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  35. J

    Also, a friend of mine died last week from a heroine overdose. This guy had been a pot smoker for about a decade. He was clean cut by most standards, and loved life. He use to do all kinds of activities like wakeboarding (while high, and doing backflips), ski diving (never high, already high enough altitude wise), and the sort. Half a year ago he got into a motorcycle and had some fractures. He recieves a perscription for vicodine and becomes hooked. From there I watched him go into a downward spiral from his addiction to pain killers. He waisted away physically and mentally from the pain killers. Then, he moved on from the pain killers to harder opiates, getting us now to the present. Marijuana didn't take him down, it was the pain killers..... pain killers..... guess there's no hiding with the name.......killers. Marijuana should be legal only. Everything else should be fought with reckless abandon.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  36. bigdood

    another thought.... sorry... but I am very passionate on this subject.
    An open letter to President Obama:
    You admit to having used marijuana and cocaine. And of course, you are no pothead or coke freak. At some point, your education kicked in and you decided that path was not for you. Good choice..for you.
    I supported you from the first primary through the election. I watched with anticipation when you held your first online-news-conference.... knowing that you would be fair and answer the questions most asked by the American public.
    When the polls were opened up, legalization of marijuana was one of the top three most frequently asked-about topics. I knew you would give an honest, decisive FAIR answer.
    Imagine how betrayed I felt, and the fifteen million other people in this country felt... when you blew-off the question by laughing about it.
    I still support MOST of your policies. Unfortunately, a COMIC PRESIDENT is not what I helped elect.
    How about an HONEST INSIGHTFUL DEBATE WITH THE AMERICAN PUBLIC ON THIS TOPIC? Or have your "advisors" told you that it wouldn't be politicallly expedient? Over 90% of the people in this CNN poll support some sort of legalization of drugs, most in favor of marijuana. WILL YOU ANSWER THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HONESTLY, WITH NO SMIRKING, JOKING, OR SCREWING AROUND? Your actions, or lack of them, will speak volumes about your real intentions in this area... or whether you feel "politics" are more important than REAL dialogue!

    April 14, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  37. William

    One guest claims Mexico is doing a wonderful job fighting the drug war. With over 8,000 death related to the prohibiiton of drugs, I don't see how the host let that laughable claim go by unchallenged. The other guest says will on the right track and what's required is more of the same. With education like the DARE program, which four independent studies prove that it doesn't work. The host didn't question either of these ridiculous suggestions. But I fault her producers more for having two guests that were in agreement 100% on the issue.

    If you want a serious debate, have a speakers from Law enforcement Against Prohibition on to debate the issue since you host is incapable of challenging guests when they make flat out mispresentations.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  38. Dennis

    The legalization of drugs in this country is like many other issues we face. We run with emotion rather than logic. Everyone knows that things that are illegal and sold on the black market are much easier for teenagers to acquire than legal regulated items like alcohol. Obviously they would still get their hands on it like they do alcohol, but it would become harder to find and by direct result the usage among teens would decline further. When I was a teenager in California we simply drove to one of many known drug houses or made a call or two and then someone always had a source by the second call. Alcohol on the other hand required us asking adults to buy it or someone having a keg party, so we drank far less than we smoked pot.

    I also think that expecting the masses to stop using drugs is unbelievably naive and unrealistic at best. Just like asking Americans to stop using oil because it helps fund terrorism. The argument that users are responsible for the cartels actions is hollow and hypocritical.

    Aside from all the other reasons stated here and by other posters, I think the war on US citizens is against the constitution in terms of depriving people of their pursuit of happiness. If doing drugs makes a consenting adult happy, the government should mind it's own business.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:26 am |
  39. Fresh

    Tobacco is more addictive then marijuana.
    Alcohol is more destructive to society and especially family dynamics.
    Yet marijuana is singled out....last year according to the f.b.i. 10 billion dollars was spent to eradicate marijuana...
    as a tax payer I would prefer, that money be applied to education....NOT putting people behind bars for smoking a plant.....NO VICTIM NO CRIME....yet people opposed to legalization seem to all have an agenda....
    LOOK my problem is with the federal government telling states that they cannot make their own laws....and when I say states I mean the people.....if you research the history of why it’s illegal you will find that fear is the only reason....
    F.E.A.R=FALSE. EVIDENCE. APPEARING. REAL.

    I WATCHED UR SHOW THIS MORNING AND FOUND UR SO CALLED EXPERTS TO BE IGNORANT AND CAUGHT UP IN BEING RIGHT MORE THEN DOING WHAT IS RIGHT!!!!!!

    If I can buy some mind altering beverage or smoke a cig then why cant I smoke sum marijuana without being labeled a criminal or finding myself peeing in a cup just to get a job....NO MATTER WHAT- I KNOW WHATS RIGHT AND THERE ARE ALOT OF THINGS THAT ARE WRONG YET STILL LEGAL...GO FIGURE!!!!!
    AND LAST OF ALL IT’S THE BEST TEXTILE WE GOT ON EARTH.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  40. Marilyn

    You have made a good point, Gail! ...and God said .." I give you every herb bearing seed to you for meat". If your father gave you a steak to eat for dinner, would you actually roll it and smoke it? As God intended for us to take good care of our bodies, I would assume he meant for us to eat it. It is a great plant used for alot of different things and was found to be very useful to mankind, as God has said in the book of Genesis. In our religion, God has given this as a gift to all of mankind, and look what they have chosen to do with his wonderful gift! Talk about rights??? Where did our religious right go? They seemed to have vanished on this subject. If God did indeed give this as a loving gift to his people, how can any man mock what God has written and given! How can it then be illegal to begin with? Everyone should educate themselves on this subject before deciding for themselves. You just may be doing the very thing that our God does not wish for us to do. I love and treasure the gifts that God has given me, and till the end, I will consider this as a gift from God. What you chose to do with this gift should be between you and your God, not lawmakers! Marijuana should be legal. No question about it!!

    April 14, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  41. Carl

    The drug-law enforcement "experts" are living in a dream world. The drug problem has gotten worse over the past 40 years to the point that it endangers national security, and yet they still have no solution! The Taliban and many other terrorist groups are at least partially funded through the drug trade. Legalization and control are the only way to put the criminals out of business and end the corrupting influence of the black market. It is time for Americans to grow up and take some responsibility for their own lives!

    April 14, 2009 at 8:19 am |
  42. Sweetpoison

    I see the comments concerning how teenagers are becoming addicted and dying from drugs and that is a concern.. If you think logically, the reason teenagers have access to drugs is that they are readily more available to them precisesly because it is illegal. As a teenager growing up during the 60’s and 70’s I remember how much easier it was to obtain drugs than alcohol.
    Another point I’d like to make is the anti-drug ads create the the mystique of the forbidden fruit that attracts so many young people to experiment. It’s time to take a common sense approach to this issue

    April 14, 2009 at 8:18 am |
  43. bigdood

    Did I hear those figures correctly? 8.5 BILLION DOLLARS in profits for just the Mexican Cartel? Just from marijuana?
    If the majority of the marijuana smoked in this country is grown here as well, it would logically follow that at least 17 BILLION DOLLARS in profit could be currently derived from this drug.
    For gosh sakes... lets look at the scoreboard here:
    Tobacco – millions of cancer deaths – licensed, taxed, and regulated.
    Alcohol – millions of lives ruined – millions of cirrhosis patients – licensed, taxed, and regulated.
    Marijuana – not one death – millions of people "secretly" using for medical reasons – ILLEGAL, PROFITS GO TO MURDEROUS CARTELS.
    Seems just about as logical as everything else I see happen when lawyers and law enforcement combine their intellect.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:18 am |
  44. fireweed

    And another thing......I am so tired of the suggestion that people who smoke pot or want it legalized "lack a moral compass." I go to church most weeks, I volunteer in my community, I pay my taxes, heck, I even walk back into a store if I've been given too much change. Except for what you may find in my body fluids, I am no different from any of my neighbors.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:14 am |
  45. J

    The government souldn't provide marijuana for the people. They have enough to worry about with the economy and world threats. They could just decrimilize it and let the public grow thier own though. It would take no effort on their part. The plant used to grow wildly all over this great nation, and if the government would stop cutting it down when they found it, it would probably spread out again. See, that would take less effort right there. Plus, it's its prohibition that empowers the drug cartels, not the demand. The "want" for it was here way before our laws on it came into place, and the country not only did well but we thrived with it then.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:14 am |
  46. DBarrett

    The argument for criminalizing "drugs" is the government trying to protect its citizenry from their harmful effects and life-destructive potential. However, Narcotic Painkillers, Alcohol, Tobacco, Gambling and pornography have negatively impacted millions, but remain legal. Additionally, the legal consequences of illegal "drug" use can often be worse than responsible casual use. Billions of Americans tax dollars are spent arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating citizens for only marijuana use. Then, this permanent criminal record leaves them unable to resume a normal lifestyle. They are unable to vote, find employment or obtain credit to buy a home which results in billions of dollars of lost productivity. The decision to use marijuana (and even other "drugs") should be a personal decision – like alcohol, tobacco, gambling and pornography.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:12 am |
  47. 4changeNow

    Think heavily on WHY the double standard for alcohol versus pot. Look at California's healthy wine industry. Pot should be likened to that. The diversity, the fine nuances between the different tastes, buzz, aroma, depth of laughter, degree of inspiration achieved would all become factors in "pot tastings." The only people freaking out at the prospect of decriminalization are or believe they are invested somehow in perpetuating a fatally flawed repressive regime to control a substance backed by popular demand (think prohibition and the disastor that was). It's time folks. No more knee jerk reactions or hysteria. Get real. It M-E-L-L-O-W-S people out - it does not create violent criminals . . . unless they are in the trade purely out of GREED and the stricter the laws are enforced against pot the richer you make the biggest thugs (including much of the DEA, ATF, CIA and FBI).

    April 14, 2009 at 8:11 am |
  48. jamie

    marijuana is not an addictive drug.no one has ever overdosed from
    marijuana.And if marijuana is 61% of the cartells incom hit them were it hurts the wallet...wheather marijuana's leagl or not people are still going get a hold of it.the goverment will never fully stop the production of marijuana..I think if it were legalized,it would bring us right out of the recession,aswell as bring larger amounts of tuorist to the country...just look at the country of amsterdam..people come from all around the world to go to the "coffee shops"...and as for teenagers,its
    just like dads liquer cabnit,if they want to try it,there going to get ahold of it..you said that its estimated that 15 million people use marijuana,is that really taboo..?i apologize for any spelling mistakes..
    im not the best speller...
    jamie

    April 14, 2009 at 8:11 am |
  49. Ken in NC

    Legalizing drugs will be a mistake. We already have young people getting hooked on them and when they become legal, there will be more young people getting hooked on them and our country would fall by the wayside as an unorganized third world country primed for the picking by some country like China or Russia.

    That is not acceptable.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:10 am |
  50. David

    We need to look really close at legalizing drugs. Who remembers "Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it"? We tried prohibition with alcohol and we know what happened then.

    If we legalize drugs, then, we can address the problem of drug use. How terrible are drugs? We don't seem to have a real handle on it. I don't trust many of the US based studies because I don't feel comforrtable with the objectivity of the research. You can't do marijuana research without approval and control by the Federal government. And, they (US Government) want to prove their point.

    If we legalize drugs, first, we can control the potency of the product. One of the problems is what is it that people are buying? It may be cut with something lethal or too strong. Next, we can use it like alcohol to generate income. Tax it! Nicotine are is very powerful drug, yet, we have lived with it for years. And, we have found it can generate income. One result of legalization is that we can significantly reduce profit of the illegal activity.

    We are a nation of addicts!! We are addicted to food. We are addicted to spending. We are addicted to alcohol. We need to address our addictive personality. The prohibition mentalty is a significant part of our national pyche. Let us responsibily live life! Do we really know the difference between casual marijuana use and casual alcohol use?

    There is another aspect to the war on drugs. Since the war on drugs began, we have seen our constitutional rights slowly erode. Law enforcement has continually hammered at us that they need these broad powers to fight this evil. In the end, lawmakers have slowly eroded our personal rights. The war on drugs has also been a great reason for law enforcement budgets increase because we have to address this terribel scourage. What started with the war on drugs has continued with the war on terrorism. You have to give up liberty for your security. As Benjamin Franklin said "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither".

    April 14, 2009 at 8:07 am |
  51. Greg

    If our country is suppose to be the beacon of freedom why in my life of over 50 yrs have been told so many lies about drugs? Probably because of a corrupt political system / agencies and the drug / insurance companies who want their cut. Just look at the side affects of the crab they are pushing on us. They have destroyed the Auto industry as well as push out our manf jobs which made a promise to their employees. All this just so the drug / insurance companies can rape us selling garabage instead of allowing us to cure ourselves. I am sick of this debate just like the slaves of old FREE AMERICA NOW.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:07 am |
  52. Don

    Things need to change in this country why do we put 1,000,000 to
    1,200,000 people in jail for none violent drug crimes each year at a
    cost of over 40 Billion dollars per year per million people just to
    houses them. This money goes in to privet company's that are sub
    company's of the people in the government. When the C.I.A brings cocaine
    and heroin in to this country. Since we went to Afghanistan and took
    over the country Afghanistan is now putting 80% of the heroin on the
    streets world wide and there number two export is body parts for
    transplants that does not say much for us running the country. The
    C.I.A. got caught putting cocaine on the streets for sale in the 80s to
    fund the Contras war more than once and did not get even a slap on the
    hand for it. Marijuana should be legal for medical use in all states for
    that matter if
    marijuana was treated like alcohol and cigarettes and sin tax the hell
    out of it. There is less kids doing cigarettes and alcohol then smoking
    marijuana in this country because it is controlled better by the
    government and tax payers would save over 40 to 50 Billion dollars a
    year alone going in to these privet pockets just by doing this the drug
    would be controlled better and less kids under the age of 21 would be
    able to get marijuana as easy and the money for this would not be going
    down the line and out of the country every one that is getting put in
    jail for this would be out working paying taxes having homes paying
    taxes
    instead of costing the tax payer 40 Billion dollars per year. Then take
    a bunch of this money and stop cocaine and heroin from getting in to the
    country at all at the borders!. Any one that really looks at the whole
    picture it looks like are government is trying to make money from both
    ends of this bring the drugs in with the C.I.A. and make money putting
    Americans in jail for using it. The average person in this country pays
    his bills one week at a time cutting out food,medicines,vacations,not
    being even able to keep home payments paid you name it. And be using
    this money to help fund new way for every one to get to work ,travel
    heat are home with out fossil fuel. if you think we had a depression in
    the 30s it will not be nothing compared to what is coming The whole
    world needs to worry about global warming more also how about taking
    some of this money and putting in water treatment plants to take ocean
    water to clean water on all are coasts lines with pipe lines to get it
    to all the big city's and the crop land in the middle of this country
    that most of are food is grown before it is to late. How about stronger
    laws on all the scams people are trying to do to the average person like
    make the commercials and advertisements run on TV really work just as
    they say or be fined. THE PEOPLE NEED HELP

    How many times do you think the people of this country will put up
    with are rights being taken from us ?And how long will this country last
    before people will be stealing or killing just to stay warm or have food
    to feed there family's. If things go the way they are
    right now you will not even recognize the world that is coming !!! If
    there is not another way other than fossil fuel found soon and brought
    to the people at a cost that will keep this country going so the people
    of this country can work and make money enough to keep
    warm keep food in front of are kids there will BE NO ONE PAYING TAXES OR
    EVEN A NEED FOR A GOVERNMENT AT ALL...
    This should NOT be put in the hands of the county prosecutors because they
    are just out to put as many in jail for as long as possible because this
    makes there records better not looking at the person or the circumstance
    that drove the person to do drugs or sell them what would any one do if it
    came to the point that you had no money to feed your childern or get your
    parents the things they need to even stay alive and the only way you seen
    was to try to sell a drug to keep your child from starving or cloths on
    there back ? "

    April 14, 2009 at 8:06 am |
  53. richard

    I believe that only marijuana should be decriminalize for possession up to an ounce but all other drugs should stay illegal. for i know a grand total of 0 people that have died from marijuana but give you millions who have died from tobacco alcohol and the serious drugs

    April 14, 2009 at 8:06 am |
  54. Mario Credit

    I think marijuana should be legalized. There are no known side effects of smoking marijuana. It has been approved and used for medical uses in recent years.
    Legalizing marijuana isn't going to solve our economic problem but it will take some of the power away from drug dealers. Legalized gambling has put more people in financial destitute than legalized marijuana ever will. Gambling and the lure of get rich schemes have nearly bankrupted this nation.
    So, Yes I think marijuana should be legalized just to escape the reality of loosing all your money in the lotto.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:06 am |
  55. 4changeNow

    When did you last have to justify by medical necessity that glass of fine wine or martini you drank? Why the double standard? I will know CNN is mature and HONEST enough to handle a debate when it does not rely solely on DEA, AFT, CIA and FBI agents...all who THINK they benefit by pot's continued suppression. Treat pot like a fine wine. The government need not grow it and distribute it. Let the experts do so in the private sector. America has plenty of fertile soil and we do not have to support Mexican or any other "violent drug cartels." That's hogwash that pot smokers perpetuate violent gangs. It is the REPRESSION of an often beneficial substance (God-grown herb) that creates the violence. Pot tastings, snobbery over strains will all blossom and tokers can partake in DIGNITY when the absurd laws are lifted.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:03 am |
  56. fireweed

    The DEA's concept of the three legged stool smacks of coercion and red party politics. Brainwash our kids with DARE (which has been shown to not be effective), coerce adults into quitting through "treatment" or threat of jail or job loss. And by all means, lump marijuana in with methamphetamine and heroine, to suggest that marijuana is distinctly different from these seriously harmful drugs would just "send the wrong message."

    How about sending the right message, that some activiites are privileges reserved for adults, and that marijuana use is a sustainable habit completely unlike meth or heroine and as such there should be a system in place for adults to legally smoke it. While we're at it, let's find a fair and accurate way to determine if someone is too intoxicated to drive or work. Detecting metabolites from a joint smoked a week ago is hardly fair or accurate.

    And not everybody is going to like the taste or the feel, or the very idea of intoxication, so I doubt if legalizing marijuana would open the floodgates of addiction. But it would, if statistics presented were correct, reduce the Mexican Drug cartel's profits by 60% (until they discover perhaps sex slave trafficking) and it would reduce law enforcement costs and increase refenue.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:03 am |
  57. mike

    On the marijuana issue. I believe marijuana should be legalized and taxed. The one point i'd like to get across is that millions dont drink alcohol and use marijuana as a safer alternative. Also, CNN is putting so much attention on Mexican marijuana and the violence. I haven't bought any Mexican marijuana in over 4 years and that goes for most of the friends and coworkers I know. The marijauna most adults over 40 yrs old buy domestic marijuana grown by indoor growers and are non-violent. It's a distortion by the media that most of the marijuana use in the United States is from Mexico. For example 98% of the marijuana with names like blueberry or northern lights is grown indoors by Americans who have nothing to do with the Mexican drug war.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:01 am |
  58. me

    In a perfect world, nobody would use drugs or alcohol. We don't live there. In the real world, the folks using marijuana and other drugs are buying them through these drug dealers who, if you follow the line, work directly for the Mexican cartels.
    Therefore, if you legalize marijuana, you are going to change the line of supply. If people can buy their pot from a smoke shop instead of a back-alley drug deal, they will. They're not buying from the cartels any longer.
    True there will always be a black market for something, but this, at least, takes care of their big money maker. Not to mention turning profits with this crop for our OWN country instead of supporting foreigners.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:01 am |
  59. tiredofillegals ,handouts

    If you pass one drug , then you've to pass another ,
    Is this really the solution ?

    Yes send ALL illegals back to there own countries.

    Mexico , needs to take responsiblityand stop this
    drug war , they gotten thereselves in this
    situation now solve it on there own .

    April 14, 2009 at 8:00 am |
  60. will pope

    I have a plan that would work for pot and only pot I would be more than happy to tell you about it if given a chance

    April 14, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  61. Mark

    first off marijuana shouldn't be clumped together with the likes of cocaine, heroin, and crystal meth. its like comparing a cotton ball and a neutron bomb. it blows me away the war on drugs hasn't advanced ever since the days of cowboy ronnie. legalize marijuana and tax away.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  62. Gary Walborn

    Actually, there should be another choice... Legalize marijuana (which is safer than alcohol or tobacco) and decriminalize use of hard drugs. How can the U.S. government claim that they could not sell marijuana cheaper than the Mexican cartels and in the same breath tell us about hte billions of dollars the cartels are bringing in. At the very least, allow Americans to grow their own marijuana. It will grow anywhere in the U.S. and every ounce grown by users here is an ounce NOT bought from the cartels. We have had drug prohibition for over 75 years and it certainly hasn't solved the problem. It's time for another look.

    Gary
    Youngstown, OH

    April 14, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  63. William Roentgen

    The United States imprisons a larger percentage (2.7%) of its population than any other country in the world, including North Korea, Iraq, China, and Russia. A very large percentage of these Americans are imprisoned for low level drug offenses.

    This started due to our insane War of Some Drugs, and is now maintained by commercial interests in the prison and anti-drug industries. Do we really believe that people are better off in prison than they are getting high from time to time?

    Are we a country of the free, where we may do what we like with our own bodies, or are we the ultimate in nanny states, where all forms of recreation must be good for us, or are punished by extreme penalties?

    The Netherlands have had decriminalized "soft drugs" for decades, and their drug abuse statistics are, in fact, lower than those of nearby countries. There is no rational reason for continuing to throw such a large portion of our population in prison.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:58 am |
  64. Joseph Capitani

    Please stop having these old archaic men in suits who obviously want to continue a failed war on drugs. We've wasted enough treasure and lives fighting something that will never be won. The answer is, if we sell it here, we tax it here, we keep the money here.
    Then if you want to educate you do so like with cigarettes/alcohol.

    There's an idea for a story......how much does the alcohol industry spend each year lobbying congress to keep drug legislation off the floor of congress? And why?......

    April 14, 2009 at 7:58 am |
  65. Sweetpoison

    Don't legalize drugs!!! Drug dealers, DEA agents, and prison guards need their jobs to exist.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  66. Sharon "Sam" Hollingsworth

    Other nations have decriminalized drugs without increasing drug use. Let's let Mexico grow Wheatgrass for us instead and I'll buy in the truckloads.

    "Kids Want to Grow Up to be Drug Dealers" should be the name of a country song because there is just so much money in it (and prestige). Treating drugs (of all kinds) like we do that of alcohol and cigarettes (both are drugs) by regulating, taxing, and educating against use/abuse is the most likely way to effect needed change with its current trouble.

    Convenience stores biggest theft item from not only their customers but from their employees has become cigarettes–why? Because the tax on cigarettes has made them expensive enough for there to be a market for them to steal for resale.

    Take away the lucrative money-making and take away the high incentive for foul play. Let's make room to keep violent criminals in our prisons instead and let those (adults) who want to fry their brains with drugs do so cheaply. They're doing it now except with theft and criminal activity all that lead to violence to innocent people because of the cost.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  67. Aneesah

    The reason why we have not legalized drugs is because the DEA and other federal and state agencies responsible for investigations and controlling illegal drug use would not have a job to do. You heard Bob Strang say the three things that could stop distribution... One of which was programs like D.A.R.E. That program was awful and never worked.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  68. Rob

    I would rather come home from work and smoke a joint than have a cocktail. If Marijuana was legal my life would be so much easier. I have smoked pot just about everyday since I was 15 and am now 55.
    I am still functioning and in good health, no problem with me with legalizing it.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  69. Charles Thompson

    I am a 53 year old diabetic neuropathy sufferer... I also have lymphedema in both legs and am in constant pain. Doctors prescribe me METHADONE for God's sake... and want me to take 4 pills a day. I do NOT want to become a narcotics addict, so I VERY DISCRETELY use marijuana in my bedroom, keep it locked in a safe, smoke it as safely as possible in a water-pipe, eliminating 90% of the carcinogenic tars from the smoke.
    Four weeks ago, police received an "anonymous report" of illicit drug use in my home...I live alone by the way... and they had to search my home. They found less than a half-ounce of marijunana and a thirty-year old water pipe.
    I now face criminal charges, public and family embarrassment, and my only option to reduce the horrible pain I always experience is to take MORE METHADONE.
    Thank you, drug laws. Thank you police.
    THEN YOU WONDER WHY PEOPLE LIKE ME END UP REAL ADDICTS... TO DEADLIER NARCOTICS!!
    Please share my story.... this is not right.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  70. Richard Payne

    The cartels have too much government control in Mexico the only way to stop this corruption is to legalize marijuana with heavy purchasing restrictions here in the U.S. only.The moneys will stay with us and not cartels and corrupt Mexico government officials.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  71. chuck

    If you were to legalize drugs in the US, you could control not just quality, but QUANTITY. Crack could be eliminated by controlling the volume of cocaine one could get at any given time. Not to mention the money we would save on interdiction, but in new tax income as well. That money could then be better utelized in better treatment programs for hard core addicts.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  72. citizen under attack

    we;ve fought this war before it was calle alcohol prohabition. the mafia was built on it. now the cartels and the terrorist are funded by drug money. we have been using law enforcement to incarcerate millions of our otherwise law abiding citizent for their use of intoxicants to no availe legalize marijuana in portugal nall drugs are legal with no ill effects to society stop prohabition stop violence

    April 14, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  73. Callista

    Marijuana should be legalized. Whether people like it or not there will always be a way to get it. People like it they wanna smoke it. Mexico is not the only place where they can get it from. If u legalize it it really would help the economy regardless of what the price would be people would still purchase it because they like it just like they like tabacoo. The price is high and they're still buying it.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  74. Jim

    If marijuana was legal, we wouldn't need the government to provide it for the common users. Trust me they could grow their own without any aid or extra burden on the government. Plus those Dare programs are great for tearing families apart cause mommy likes to take a load off every now and then. I can see it being a good thing if mommy does speed, coke, or crack. But not for smoking a J here and there.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  75. Dexter Gilbert

    No offense intended to our friends south of the border, but I prefer domestic or Canadian marijuana. The quality is much better. Why isnt anyone concerned about our white friends to the north. It all seems a little bias and bigoted to me.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  76. Frank

    They say POT is a $15 Billion industry, so why not make money on it much the same way Nevada did with prositution? Ask any pot smoker and they will tell you that the pot that comes out of Mexico is far less potent then the pot grown in the states that it's leagle. Then there is the matter of everything else that pot can be used for like making paper, cloths, medication and so much more. It's not just a drug.

    Best Regards,
    Frank

    April 14, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  77. John Leab

    Please Tell the truth about Marijuana and how it became illegal. Tell about the propaganda campaign that still goes on today. How many of our law makers know the truth? They can find out on this web site.
    ( http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/whiteb1.htm ).

    Stop Wasting billions to give our children a criminal record. Give them an education instead.

    Marijuana is here and easy to get in the United States already. Where do you think the money comes from that funds the cartels?

    The only way Marijuana kills is that illegal Marijuana funds the drug cartels. They are killing thousands. Sending more troops to the border
    will get more of our teen age children killed that's in the army.

    You can tell if a driver is impaired with using the same coordination test as used for alcohol. If they pass the test than they are capable of driving.

    If Marijuana is a gate way drug, why are there so many more Marijuana users than with the other drugs? Find the myths and facts on this web site.
    ( http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana/factsmyths/ ).

    April 14, 2009 at 7:52 am |
  78. Gail McLean

    If people don't want their kide to use drugs their best bet is to teach that and demonstrate that by not doing it themselves. Education is the best tool for acheiving these goals, not incarceration.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:51 am |
  79. Mark

    I believe the first step in the Marajuana delima should be de-criminalization. This would reduce the number of inmates incarcerated for posession and manufacture, which would decrease state and federal overhead cost to house these "CRIMINALS" as well as a subsequent decrease in violence. I believe this would deliver a serious blow to mexican drug cartels income. Then we can think about legalization and the benefits from taxation.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:50 am |
  80. Notso

    How delusional people can be. Anyone that says we can't grow marijanana and tax it for under 100$/ounce is to say it bluntly....stupid and should get off the air.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:49 am |
  81. Chris (from Renton, WA)

    Marijuana should be legalized. The government should regulate and tax it. It will take the pot cartels out and put the small time street dealers out of business. It will also reduce crimes related this drug. Small time petty drug offenses will be reduced and free up jails for offenders that should be there in the first place. It will free up much needed revenue for a budget that is in diar need of help. And to top it off Pot is proven to be no worse than alcohol.

    Chris
    (from Renton, WA)

    April 14, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  82. Jim

    If the government couldn't sell it as cheap as the cartels. Then just let people grow their own. They don't need the govenment to provide it for them. They can do it all themselves, it is a weed after all. It doesn't take much to grow it at all. It wasn't a problem in this country until law were made on it. And yes our demand for gas isn't going anywhere, and that does support horrible acts in the middle east. Didn't CNN report on a Saudi judge that wouldn't annul a 8 year olds marrige. Yet we still buy gasoline

    April 14, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  83. Gail McLean

    I think all drugs should be decriminalized but cannabis should be promoted as the versatile plant that it is. From cannabis you get food, fuel, fiber for clothes,paper and building material, medicine and recreation. No other substance on earth covers all those areas.
    It is time to decriminalize cannabis and allow us all the personal freedom to be independant and self sufficient instead of completely dependant on outside sources for our survival. Look what a good job Wall Street and the Banks have done taking care of us.
    WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE FOR OURSELVES. CANNABIS CAN DO THAT.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:46 am |
  84. Ervin

    If you support Prohibition, you support violence, organized crime, lack of respect for the law and dangerous, contaminated products. Remember "Bath-tub Gin"?

    April 14, 2009 at 7:43 am |
  85. Colby

    You already presented the key fact in this controversey: 64% of American cartel funding is derived from American purchase of marijuana. If America legalizes and regulates the already massive industry, the drug cartel will lose most of its funding. We put more victim-less criminals in prison systems we can't afford to maintain. Stop prohibition; this is rediculous.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:39 am |
  86. Joseph

    Stop the war on drugs. This war makes no sense.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:38 am |
  87. Dagwood

    Our founding fathers grew and used cannabis, even wrote about the importance if separating the male and female plants,,,,,,,
    As far as other drugs go, make them legal too, put an age cap of 21 like alcohol, have warning labels all over them! More people die today from prescription medication than all "street drugs" combined!
    http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/30

    I've seen many commercials for class action lawsuits for drugs the FDA told us were safe 10 years ago, example Depakote ( http://www.drugs.com/depakote.html ) is up for causing birth defects, just as many other "safe" prescribed meds, and "miracle vaccines" have been causing death and auto-immune disorders, http://www.righthealth.com/topic/Side%20Effects%20Of%20The%20Hpv%20Vaccine?as=yhoo&ac=423&p=l

    Educate don't incarcerate!

    April 14, 2009 at 7:38 am |
  88. Bernice

    Well, Henry. This one's for you! You made a comment that the moment ANY drug that is legalized in the USA that somehow the "game is over"? LOL That has to be the funniest thing that I have read as of yet! Most drugs ARE legal! Even our ciggarettes and alcohol are legal, taxed, and guarded well. If you do not believe this, go into any Walmart store! The first few shelves are fully stocked with all kinds of legal "drugs" to cure just about anything! They even have shelves just for "drugs" for our babies, even tho pediatritions claimed of thier serious dangers, they remain on the store shelves for sale to the US Americans. They won't even protect our babies in the US when it comes to the legal drugs, so how is it that we should continue to leave them in control of what is legal or not? I will not give the "legal drugs" to my children, and illegal drugs will never be into my home either! I want the "freedom" to make my own choices instead of having them made for me! Somewhere here guys, we were a country whos men and women shed thier blood for that freedom. I want my freedom to make my own choice. No matter, I will make the right choice for me and for my family! They somewhat act as tho we as Americans can not think for ourselves and that we are not educated enough to make a good decision. As for legalizing the marijuana ...that is the one thing here that should never have been illegalized to begin with! I am not a young person. I am in my 50's now, and am a wise lady. I have been involved with this issue since the "Great American Smokeout" of the 1970's! Alot of importat people tried to warn the American people that this would happen, and guess what, it did! Maybe we should now UNDO what we did wrong to begin with. What you do in your home is none of my business and I feel it should be none of yours whatever I do in mine! It's called freedom! I am beginning to forget what freedom and rights are all about anymore! We lose them everyday that goes by now, and I am not sure why alot of Americans died fighting for it! We can not lose sight of that great gift that we earned as AMERICANS! OUR FREEDOM! Let's start fighting to keep it! You never know, they may come after the steaks next! They are high in fats and are not good for you! We should ban them too! lol (Sorry, I don't want to rock Rolands day)

    April 14, 2009 at 7:35 am |
  89. Rik

    We are strong enough to get through America’s drug problem

    This is an unbiased and purely rational analysis of the challenges we live and face in drugs.

    I hope people are interested in this. There is a lot of truth in this analysis and grasping even a portion is a step towards resolving our challenges with drugs.

    Drug related problems are:

    1. Misunderstanding how drugs work and the attraction, which leads to the first two points:

    a. Violence (domestic and international)

    b. Irresponsible use / addiction/ abuse (including underage use)

    Both of these very serious problems occur as a result of public and government misunderstanding and misclassification and oversimplification – we have written all drugs off as one in the same. Plenty of science is accessible that would help us understand our challenges with “drugs”. The first evidence of this was the La Guardia Committee Report in 1944. However, we disregarded all science and logic in favor of our feelings and emotions and continue that trend to this day. “Drugs” alone are absolutely 100% harmless. They exist in nature without human contact and never have one of the drugs leapt from their habitat and strangled a human being or forced overdose. Drugs are personified in order to accept blame. Science tells us that some of us have predispositions to certain drugs (stimuli) based on our psychological state. Hormones play the most important role in drug abuse and addiction. Hormones literally control how we feel. “Drugs” or stimuli as defined in this analysis, can control our feelings. Drugs as well as many activities and stimuli can reduce our negative feelings (hormones) or increase our positive feelings (hormones) or a combination of both. All people are in search of good feelings. This is called in science “The Human Reward System”. The reward system is a series of checks and balances of hormones that should provide us an edge in tougher times. For example, we feel hunger when we need energy and nutrients. This “hunger” is caused by the release of certain hormones that are somewhat negative in their nature. They tell us “hey we need energy and materials, you need to resolve this” and one will typically feel bad until food is eaten. When we eat certain foods (stimuli) our hunger can be quenched and positive hormones are released in certain proportions depending on what we ate, that make us feel good. Many people abuse food when they feel bad, this is a great example. Many people abuse food regularly. Ever eaten a donut just to wish you had more than one? The desire to eat another is not really the love of the donut and the desire to get that donut into your body and blood stream. The attraction comes from the subconscious knowledge that good feeling hormones will be released once this stimulus occurs. This is also known as pavlovian conditioning. This same protocol is followed by many substances or activities (stimuli) that we participate in, not just food but nearly everything we do follows this protocol to some degree for greater and lesser “reward”.

    The current public classification of “drugs” is quite misleading. Placing all illegal substances in this category causes much miseducation about substance abuse that leads one to believe that drugs are drugs. This severe oversimplification probably leads to the majority of irresponsible use by uneducated users. Why would one seek or value education for one drug or another if they are all the same(drugs)? This oversimplification has also lead to laws that achieve the opposite of the desired result which is total use prevention. The current mentality is “Drugs are drugs”, so its easy to move from one drug to another in search of the “best drug”. Because total use prevention isn’t possible, bootlegging is the necessary vehicle of delivery. This leads to the violent aspect of “drugs”. If total prevention isn’t realistic, what is? We’ll get to this point later.

    Violence in bootlegging (drug dealing) occur when criminals are the only ones in the business. The cost is high because the risk is high. Violence is just the top of the supplier’s umbrella of problems. These problems trickle down the umbrella impacting the public in various ways; increasing court costs and prison / jail costs, more violence, loss of life, etc.

    Irresponsible use occurs when users are uneducated about the substance they will/ are using OR are aware but are actually looking forward to the abuse – a much more serious and self destructive behavior that is probably the majority cause for irresponsible use.

    Many assumptions are made about how humans (different demographics) will respond to different stimuli, in this case, drugs, drug laws, and consequence. We make too many assumptions, and these assumptions are quite flawed. It’s not our duty as citizens or government to assume how someone will behave, we cannot control behavior, we can give direction and incentive, and consequence for offenders. This is what governing is by definition – not controlling. Government attempting to control people is what drove people to leave their homes in Europe for the USA centuries ago. History repeats itself.

    There are many “drugs” in our society. There may always be a “drug” in society. In this analysis, drug use is defined as any activity or stimuli that can and sometimes does lead to irresponsible or dangerous behaviors that do provide a reward to the participant while potentially harming themselves and possibly others. Drugs require participation so the problem we face with drugs is really the use or misuse and the real problem is really an activity most properly defined as “drug use”. A list of “drugs” follows: Alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, barbiturates, opiates, amphetamines, prescription medications, food, sex, video games, relationships, gambling, etc. and many other common and uncommon activities. Some “drugs” are more addictive than others depending on the activity and the participant. Two factors determine the potential for abuse and addictiveness: both the “drug” and the participant determine the potential for abuse and addiction. Without both the participant and the drug, addiction and/or abuse cannot occur. Certain “drugs” are more addictive than others and certain people are more prone to addiction than others, and to various drugs.

    The solution to the drug abuse and addiction is a very complicated one. No one will be able to accurately predict a one step solution. Instead, as a people and a country we should make small steps and changes and gauge the effectiveness of each step before taking the next. The best solution will take many steps and probably many years to accomplish. Step one is accepting the absolute truth about “drugs” and how they influence our biology. Step two is educating the public and the government about these truths. Step three is to use the understanding of drugs we have acquired, which is currently insignificant, and make plans for a small step of change in the right direction. Step four – To Be Determined.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:16 am |
  90. KC

    While I don't advocate drugs (yes I've partaken of the herb), I've always felt that marijuana was the lesser of the drug "evils." But to blame this nation's insatiable appetite for the drug violence is absurd. When this country adopted prohibition, the criminal gangs fought over the control over the illegal alcohol trade. However, when prohibition ended, alcohol crime literally dropped to nothing. So, legalize marijuana, tax the HELL out of it, control the quality, and you should see the crime relating to marijuana drop. When I'm out driving on the weekend, and see clown swerving all over the street, at a club and see some female passed out at a table, or two dudes fighting, it's not because they've smoked some incredibly potent Sao Paulo north slope trip weed...it's because they're DRUNK! I fear alcohol more than any other drug...why...because it's socially acceptable. I enjoy a coktail, beer or wine like many of you, but if they did away with alcohol it wouldn't bother me one bit. The reason, because I like to have a drink, but don't "need" to. Addicts need liquor/hard drugs/cigarettes, but I've never known anyone who needs smoke or who has to run outside on every break at work to "smoke one." Try to make alcohol illegal and this country would rise up in rebellion. Time to at a minimum...LEGALIZE IT!
    Ask a farmer about how much he could make on a mary jane crop.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:01 am |
  91. Judi

    Why do we make a weed illegal? It would be like making dandelions illegal when there was a prohibition against alcohol.
    These people think it is OK to take Oxycontin and other pain killers instead of smoking a little grass. The pain killers are addictive and make you feel horrible and sick.
    If drugs are league then we could help those who are addicted and a harm to themselves and others instead of incarceration.

    April 14, 2009 at 6:36 am |
  92. Don Parmely

    The US has a double standard when it comes to drugs,if America is so set against the drug cartels,why does our government let the Afgan people grow popies ,this plant is a major cash crop for Afghanastan and everyone knows these plants will be sold to make heroin,probably to some of the same cartels on our borders now . So why do we turn a blind eye to the root cause of the worlds drug problem there , but then try to blame American pot smokers for the entire drug problem here.

    April 14, 2009 at 6:31 am |
  93. Linda

    Oh For Heavens sake. Our ancestors smoked many different things and they managed to hunt and take care of family so just legalize the crap for gosh sakes and lets more to another topic,

    April 14, 2009 at 6:29 am |
  94. JayQ

    I really don't like the stuff but we are broke. we need tax money to fast.

    April 14, 2009 at 6:16 am |
  95. justin

    by making drugs illegal, our government has opened the doors for underground criminal organizations to make $MILLIONS$ not to mention how it impacts the drugs themselves, expensive and dirty!

    April 14, 2009 at 2:22 am |
  96. Ekim

    If figures of authority... your parents, grandparents, your teachers, etc told you every day of your life from day 1 that the sun was blue, you would think it was. Well, it's not. People telling you that weed is harmful are either lying or unfamiliar with it. Many of the politicians truly believe weed is harmful because their conservative upbringing trained their brains to think weed was bad, when it is not. The truth is, alcohol, tobacco, aspirin, caffeine, and McDonalds will kill you before weed will even start to harm you. People who say weed ruins your motivation are completely wrong as well. Smoking weed makes me bust out my guitar, and I can write for hours. I've solved Calculus proofs high. The Beatles seemed to do alright when they were stoned 24/7.

    I smoke weed every day. I was prescribed Percocets earlier for chest pains. I took a few percs and I'm pretty much unable to function right now. When I'm high, I can do anything just as well as I can sober. Don't see why this stuff is legal and weed isn't

    April 14, 2009 at 1:48 am |
  97. doodie mcdubson

    marijuana is not dangerous. when will people learn its harmless and actually benefits people.

    April 14, 2009 at 1:32 am |
  98. John

    Jackie Q,
    No one has ever died from an overdose of Cannabis, Mushrooms, or LSD. Overdoses from heroin and cocaine are mostly the result of the prohibition of these substances. Outlaw caffeine and nicotine and you would see deaths from overdose from people using these drugs. Just like people today don't use the cocoa leaf so much, people will be freebasing caffeine or nicotine extracted from coffee or tobacco. (It's fairly easy to do. All you need is clean ammonia or ammonium hydroxide, coffee or tobacco, aluminum foil and a heat source.)

    Dustin,
    Alcohol is the most dangerous of hard drugs. LSD is relatively benign. Don't listen to urban legends or propaganda. LSA is similar to LSD, and can be obtained by eating morning glory seeds. Perhaps the most potent hallucinogenic substance is nutmeg. Eat a few spoonfuls of fresh nutmeg and you'd better not plan on doing anything for about a week. DXM is a powerful disassociative similar to PCP. Drink two bottles of cough syrup and prepare for the 24-hour trip of your life.

    Eric,
    The re-legalization of cannabis would probably not include anyone under 18 or on school property if this was the case with you. (Besides, blunts are a horrible waste.)

    ---

    Prohibition doesn't control drugs, it relinquishes control over drugs.
    http://leap.cc
    LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

    April 14, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  99. rasta man guam

    shooshoot legalize it smoke it share it tax it whatever lechey just do it bobmarley one love

    April 14, 2009 at 1:18 am |
  100. Korynn

    To Eric and others of the same midset:

    Um, wow. No. First of all, if you go out of your way to break a law that you KNOW is in place (I'm not talking about speeding or anything, here, because such things CAN and DO happen on ACCIDENT) then chances are you deserve to be in jail. You broke the law. And you're probably breaking others. You're supporting criminals-murderers and thieves-with your purchase and use of drugs. You need to get out more and stop wasting your time. The legalization of drugs are NOT going to stop druglords from doing illegal things, that's so juvenile to think that way. They'll find another, more dangerous way to make money.

    If drugs were legal, imagine the fatality rates. People are NOT responsible, that's the sad and simple fact of it. People are greedy and indulgent and don't know when to stop, and that majority ruins it for the rest of us. Bottom line is, legalizing drugs will kill off the country.

    Then again, if you're dumb enough to use drugs that can kill you, maybe we don't need more stupidity poisoning the populace.

    April 14, 2009 at 1:03 am |
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