Wednesday July 1 | Legalizing Marijuana

June 29, 2009 at 1:15 pm | Posted in Coming Up | 34 Comments

For the first time ever, legislation has been introduced in North Carolina to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. A movement to legalize the drug is gaining momentum all across the country. Our panel of experts will explore the health, political and economic implications of legalizing a drug that has been vilified for decades.

Stephen Newman – Administrator, Prevention/Wellness, Meck Co. Health Dept.
Dan Bernath – Asst. Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project
Dr. Jeffrey Miron – Visiting Asst. Professor of Economics, Harvard

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  1. […] Link: Wednesday July 1 | Legalizing Marijuana […]

  2. If you legalize marijuana you can tax it and the gov’t could make a lot of money. This could help with the huge U.S. defecit.
    It would also be good for the economy, b/c new stores selling pot would be built, jobs in those stores would be created, etc.
    It could save the gov’t money since it would be legal and there would be no need to prosecute marijuana users.

  3. I recently heard someone make the point that marijuana was legal for hundreds, thousands, millions of years, and as such the term that should be used is “re-legalize”. It has been legal a lot longer than it has been illegal.

    Secondarily, I suspect there is great pressure from potential competitors, such as tobacco, alcohol, and prescription drugs.
    How much pressure is applied by these industries to keep marijuana illegal?

  4. My brother and his family live in Rancho Palos Verdes, a very upscale area near LA. I was under the assumption that once legalized, cannibus would only be available for MEDICAL REASONS. NOT SO. There are medical offices manned by physicians in shopping mall strips. My 18 year old nephew walked in and complained of sleep problems and was given a prescription for marijuana. Needless to say, my brother & sister-in-law are not happy about this. Their view is that anyone can walk into these “clinics” and get marijuana.
    If it should become legalized in NC, I hope there are much stricter guidelines and oversight of how this drug is dispensed.
    Having been a social worker and done substance abuse counselling, my view is that marijuana is far from a harmless substance.

    • I would much. much, much rather someone get some pot for a hangnail than someone incur any legal repurcussions for growing a plant or two. Linda gets to wake up and see the whole picture relative to all the self-abuse, social injustice, and indigence caused by our abysmally destructive “war on drugs”.

    • I concur on this point. If cannabis is to gain any real, legitimate acceptance in this day and age, it will have to do it through REAL medicinal uses. Even as a strong supporter of the decriminalization of marijuana, I’ll grant that some of the “prescriptions” being written in California are nothing but a cover to get high.

    • Linda I am curious – what are the harmful effects of marijuana that you have personally witnessed? I simply wonder because, in my experience, the negative consequences of prohibition (people going to jail or losing their jobs from criminal charges related to possesion, people being robbed for marijuana, and underage kids scoring weed practically at will) far outweigh those of the drug’s actual use.

    • Linda, I respect your view but, Prescribed drugs do far more harm than Cannabis as does the laws of prohibition its self. We also have a war at our southern border that has claimed many more lives that the wars in Iraq. This all over a plant that should be rgulated. Prohibition has not and will never stop people from using cannabis. Any health costs that may incur from cannabis use is already here,ending prohibition wont change that,but it will stop the ruining of Americans live by stopping arrests for possesion.
      Pronibitionist are always saying we cant legaize cannabis cause kids will get it. Kids get it just as easy as adults now. Drug dealers dont ask for I.D.s nor do they care.

      Lastly, our prison comlex system is way out of controll as are the taxes taken to fight cannabis. This law and the war at our border is being used by some of our leaders to remove our rights and freedoms.

      Lets control this problem,lets educate people,and lastly lets be parents again.

    • ok im my opinion if your 18 you should have the choice to smoke like cigs…. and those kill you now if your against it heres a question who likes beer here most ppl who dont smoke pot well u may not smoke it but your drinking it… thats right hopps is a spieces branched from cannabis smoke it or drink it i dont care same plant. and linda problems let me ask what problems i went to mexico to live with my dad i was kiddnapped and beat for 2 weeks not to mention the other shit i went through there.. i have ptsd (post tramatic stress disorder) i dont believe in the doctors pills i like organic weed slows my time reaction only a fraction so im never starttled and regress. abuse how can u abuse sumthing like a plant u me gluttony look how many ciggs ppl smoke a day my grandma smokes 4 packs a day i smoke 6 joints im goin to bed what harm in society ppl that smoke pot are peaceful i dont believe in selling pot but i dont believe a kid should smoke now i would rather my kid smoke pot that take pills that are addictive and gonna kill his liver one day and his kidney another no fuck that weed will do

    • Linda you need to try some pot then make an opinion..

      • Linda wouldnt you rather your nephew get his stuff from a facility were its safe instead of going on a pot run into the cities gettos were the there are desparate criminals and low lives/..

  5. Thank you for having this discussion, Charlotte Talks. It was really well done.

  6. As a natural substance, MJ is much safer than all the drugs distributed by the drug companies.

    What about the use in other products? Paper, Rope, Etc.
    Early in US history you were required to grow hemp. Jefferson had it on his estate.

  7. If anyone doubts the medical benefits of cannabis, please check the US Patent office website and search patent # 6630507 and read, in our government’s own words, that cannabis is an antioxidant and a neuroprotectant. It is in the first paragraph!
    We feel that cannabis is safer and has a much longer track record of safety, 5000 years without a single death, than most prescription and many over the counter medications, such as Tylenol, and should be medically available in our state.
    NC has some of the best and brightest physicians in the USA and we should not deny them the opportunity to study, test, research nor recommend this medication.

  8. I have experienced overwhelming evidence of marijuana’s medical efficacy. My first wife died of cancer and despite availability to the unlimited range of commercial pharmocology, marihuana was the only thing that allowed her to feel good enough to sit at the dinner table with her family in her last two months of life. Marinol didn’t work.

    I have a brother who is a survivor of a tumor the size of a football in his chest. He is the only survivor of a study group at a major medical university of eight people who had his severity of cancer. Among the speculative reasons for his survival was his ability to maintain his appetite and not experience the severity of body wasting from the therapy that others in his group experienced. He used marijuana. Marinol didn’t work.

    I have a very close friend who is a quadriplegic. Marijuana is the only substance that would minimize the extreme muscular spasms without the extreme psycho-tropic effects of the solutions provided by commercial pharmacopoeia.

    I could go on, but as much as I am in favor of complete decriminalization of “pot”, I do wish you had as one of your guests, a criminal-justice professional who is opposed to decriminalization to provide balance, and to give the pro-decrim guests more myths to confront.

    Finally, anyone who says pot is decriminalized in NC is smoking too much and not sharing. Law enforcement and prosecutors constantly stretch the laws of what trafficing is, and combine charges with other charges. They unfairly prosecute people growing one or two plants to which they give the absurd “street value” of $2,000.00. They arrest and imprison (either jail for those who can’t afford excessive secured bonds, or prison from incarationm as a result of our abysmal public defender system) hundreds of people a week. This is not justice, this is hypocritcal puranitism and headline-seeking victimization of unfortunate victums of, to put it mildly, quaint laws.

    • Very well put, thank you for your comment.

  9. Will someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that hemp marijuana– the kind George Washington told the colonials they had to grow in their gardens for use in ropemaking for the Revolutionary War effort, etc.–is a different variety of kannabis than the variety that we know as pot.

    If they are the same plant, then it is possible our country was founded by a group of potheads. Given how many people enjoyed tobacco, I would be surprised they if many colonials didn’t like a more potent smoke.

    Upon legalization, there might be more jobs for the marijuana trade, but what about all the jobs that will be lost when the DEA is slimmed down ? Not to mention the local law enforcement job loses and prison guards. And what about all the confiscated assets communities will lose? So many other losses, too. No wonder we hear straw man arguments against legalization.

    • Well the hemp that has been used for thousands of years comes from the same type of plant… sort of. To get the smokable material that most people are talking about requires preventing the male and female plants from mating and then harvesting the leaves and flowers of the female plant.

      But yes, the laws that have been enacted over the past 110 years have been in the face of common sense, scientific facts, large-scale commission recommendations, and quite frankly, were nothing more than politically motivated. I think many people would be surprised to learn that “The Greatest Men Of Our Country’s History” were actually just “pot-heads.”

      • Mary, smoke-able marijuana and hemp are two products from the same plant, in the same way you might tap syrup from a sugar maple tree or use the wood to make a table.
        So, your point about the founding potheads, er fathers, is well taken. On the USS Constitution (Ol’ Ironsides) is a 10 ft length of the ship’s original massive hemp rope, making it our nation’s oldest and biggest joint.
        Van, your points are well taken, there are certainly many techniques used to push THC production. Michael Pollan tells the story beautifully in “The Botany of Desire”. But, botanically, all Cannabis, both male and female, can produce cannabinoids including THC.
        In CT’s excellent, open-minded discussion, nobody raised the point of the potential value to small farmers, particularly those interested in creating an ‘organic’ product for medical uses, as opposed to the current practice – due to our current laws – of growing pot indoors hydroponically with intensively chemical (including pesticides) methods under grow lights. Think of those hydroponic ‘garden stores’ seen around Charlotte. I don’t think most of their clients are simply growing indoor salad bars.

  10. As someone who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, I’m thrilled to hear that the state is looking at these issues. Marijuana is the BEST option for pain management with MS, as traditional pain treatment does nothing. I already use it medicinally, and I continue to hope for the day when I don’t have to worry about legal recourse for such a wonderfully effective treatment.

  11. BaaaaBaaaa, hey sheeple, why can’t this be a lesson to you. Any time we as a people allow any type of regulation to regulate us, we will always be at the mercy of those whom we give this power to, as in the past, there are those that just to be alive is not enough, they want to have control over every aspect of their property’s being. And will stop at nothing to further their goal at the expense of the people-sheep of this country. Lives lost mean less revenue for the coffers. So as peaceful as they may muster, their forces will enforce their will upon us as they see fit. till the day or revolution is upon them.

  12. Cannabis was part of the pharmacopeaia until the 1940’s in America. The majority of medicines contained some form of cannabis. It is only reasonable that cannabis would still contain the same medicineal benefits. Queen Elizabeth used cannabis and this is well documented. Surely if it is good enough for a queen, it is good enough for citizens in North Carolina.The latest research show even greater benefits from cannabis, including prevention of cancer-cell growth, the reduction of tumors, neuroprotective properties as well as antioxidant benefits.

  13. Beware! I smoked marijuana regularly (almost everyday) thoughout college and grad school and all I ended up with was near perfect grades and a PhD in computer science 🙂

  14. Let’s be honest, the whole medical marijuana issue is driven by potheads.

    • From reading this blog, that doesn’t sound like the case to me. It appears to be people that have seen the benefit of medicinal marijuana and the hypocricy of it being illegal while other more dangerous substances are still legal.

    • Sorry greg this isnt about pot heads .Its about not being afraid of government,its about science and medical use,its about rights,its about stopping a war or wars.Its about dismissing lies propetuated by racists and crooks. Its about industry that canada alread has,harvesting hemp for the many many uses it has.Its about alternative fuel source(hemp oil). Shall I go on? If someone says they are for reform just to get high legaly then they are selfish and/or misguided.

  15. In all honesty, I guess Gregg has a point. I am a “pothead”, although a pain free one. And yes, I’m one of those driving the issue..matter of fact, I was the first caller to the program today,

    So, to better understand these potheads driving the issue, let me introduce myself. In addition to being a pothead, I am also a retired DPE (Designated Pilot Examiner); a retired Corporate Safety Director, (Certified Safety Professional with the American Society of Safety Engineers) and a retired military pilot with over 30 months of combat flying experience (including an award of the Distinguished Flying Cross) during 28 years of military service.

    I also served in various volunteer organizations and am a Rotarian.

    I say that not to call attention to myself..except to say I am not so different from many of the potheads you refer to in driving this issue.

    The great difference now is that, for all those years when I was “somebody”, the mere mention of the word marijuana could have taken my job, put me in prison and destroyed my life. As a retured “professional”, I still must be cognizant of the threat to my way of life, but because of the injustice of ignorance on this issue, I am committed to speaking out.

    Please..I beg you to listen to the pot smokers pushing this issue; they may be very different than the ones you thought were pushing the issue. They very well could be your doctor, your lawyer, your minister, and yes, your judge. You see, for years, I was part of this closet society of professionals. My conscience and my spirit will no longer let me be silent!

  16. I should be clear. I think it’s stupid for doctors to be able to prescribe morphine or oxy-contin but not pot. The medical uses, and even more so, the industrial uses are vast. I don’t mean to belittle the real relief that it provides to many. However, IMHO most people don’t care about altruistically helping the masses. They just want to get high.

  17. Great comments everyone. Don B., Vance and others, I am working on a show about the industrial uses of Hemp. Look for it on our calendar soon and if anyone knows local experts in the regard, I’d love to hear from you!

    Associate Producer, Charlotte Talks

    • Looking at wikipedia, it seems that some cannabis is bred for high fiber and low drug content and some for more leaves and a high THC. Thanks for the clarifications from the CT fans……

      One great thing about america is that once a substantial and mouthy part of the population decides something should be changed, it usually is…..
      sooner or later….ain’t america great!!!!

  18. wow, great comments. couldn’t listen to the original broadcast, but starting to stream it now. robert, i am sorry for your loss. perry, i know this closet society is larger than many would believe, and i admire and envy your courage. but i’m not retired yet, and well, you know…

  19. My wife and I are part of the underground, we’re both cancer survivors and can attest to the medicinal properties of marijuana.
    As long as it is illegal we will continue to be a part of the underground until there is a legal solution that keeps us from having to seek drug dealers to obtain it.

  20. Perhaps the legalization could actually reduce the use of the drug for purposes other than medicinal ones. I think part of the appeal of the drug for young people is the thrill of the illegality of it. has some interesting ideas on the subject. If a teenager and a parent smoked pot together, would there really be such a craze to take a hit?

  21. Had a drug raid here in my county recently. If I recall correctly, the paper said that 7 to 12 plants were taken. If they don’t know exactly how many, someone must have been smoking something…..
    The street value was set at something around $35,000.
    Anyone know how close this estimate is to REALITY?

    Sounds like a “green” crop to me–in more ways than one.
    I wouldn’t recognize pot if it were served to me on a silver tray, but with that kind of cash for grass, I could be persuaded to think about growing it!!!!! It would help pay to run my car and buy grub in these tough times.

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