Marijuana is by some estimates California's largest cash crop, bringing in more than twice the revenue of vegetables, yet we don't tax this green. Legalizing and taxing pot could provide $1.3 billion to help our hemorrhaging economy, but it might also lead to additional problems and undermine anti-drug efforts. Is this crop just cash waiting to be reaped, or is it more complicated? Come hear advocates on both sides argue the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana.
Scott Kirkland is the Chief of the El Cerrito Police Department. He is also a member of the board of directors of the California Police Chiefs Association.
Richard Lee has been working to end cannabis prohibition for 17 years. In 1992 he co-founded Legal Marijuana - The Hemp Store in Houston, Texas, one of the first hemp products retail outlets in the United States. Lee moved to Oakland in 1997 and co-founded the Hemp Research Company, supplying cannabis to the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Club and researching efficient and environmentally friendly cannabis horticulture. In 1999, he opened the Bulldog Coffeeshop, the second cannabis outlet in "Oaksterdam". In 2003 Lee founded the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance, the PAC that passed Oakland's Measure Z making private sales, cultivation, and possession of cannabis the lowest law enforcement priority and mandating that Oakland tax and regulate cannabis as soon as possible under state law.
From 2005 to 2007, Lee published the Oaksterdam News quarterly newspaper with a circulation of over 100,000. In 2007, he founded the first cannabis college in the United States, Oaksterdam University. In 2008 he funded the startup of the monthly magazine West Coast Cannabis, current circulation 30,000. Since 2005, Lee has been serving on the City of Oakland Cannabis Regulation and Revenue Ordinance Commission, which was created after Measure Z passed with 65% of the vote 2004. He manages several other Oaksterdam companies, including the Oaksterdam Gift Shop and Nursery. His dedication to ending cannabis prohibition continues to play a crucial role in the revitalization and economic growth of Oakland.
Josh Richman covers state and federal politics for the Bay Area News Group - East Bay.
A New York City native, he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997.
He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9's "This Week in Northern California.
Dr. Schoenfeld practices psychiatry, with a specialty in psychopharmacology. His work in psychopharmacology includes the study, diagnosis, and treatment of problems related to drug abuse and addiction. Since 1983, he has served on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
Dr. Schoenfeld is a member of the court-appointed psychiatrist panels for the Superior Courts of Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, and San Francisco, CA. In 1997, the University of Miami School of Medicine selected him as a Distinguished Alumnus.
Psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld debates Police Chief Scott Kirkland over potential savings from legalizing marijuana. Schoenfeld argues that in addition to several other benefits, legalizing marijuana would save the legal system time and money, while Kirkland suggests that any proposed savings are likely exaggerated.
Scott Kirkland, Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld, and Richard Lee debate the root causes of substance abuse. Kirkland suggests that the media plays a large part in glorifying drug use, while Schoenfeld and Lee counter that legalizing marijuana would reduce its "forbidden fruit" appeal.
Indian hemp plant (Cannabis sativa) or the crude drug made of its dried and crushed leaves or flowers. The active ingredient is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Also called pot, grass, and weed, the drug has long been used as a sedative or analgesic; it was in use in China by the 3rd millennium BC and had reached Europe by AD 500. Today it is used worldwide, though it has been generally illegal at least since the International Opium Convention of 1925. Its psychological and physical effects, including mild euphoria and alterations in vision and judgment, vary with strength and amount consumed, the setting, and the user's experience. Chronic use is not physically habit-forming but may be mildly psychologically habit-forming. Marijuana has been shown to be medically therapeutic for patients with glaucoma, AIDS, and the side effects of chemotherapy; in 2001 Canada became the first country to legalize the use of marijuana by people with terminal illnesses and chronic conditions. Supporters of legalization claim that it is a more benign drug than alcohol; opponents contend that it is addictive and leads to use of more serious drugs. A resin from the plant is the source of hashish.
What Mr. Kirk fails to realize is that people addicted to tobacco smoke as much as 1 pack of cigarettes a day. do the math. thats easily 560 cigarettes a month. so yes, Marijuana is more cancerous then tobacco BUT people who smoke pot do NOT smoke 20 joints a day. so in the long run, people do not inhale as many cancer causing carcinogens as they would with tobacco.
Godisabuddhist...is your definition of 'should be made legal' is based solely on if its processed or not? I'm sorry but that is terrible logic. That is like someone not liking Trix cereal because the "fruit" has been processed. Marijuana is illegal currently because it is deemed to dangerous for open consumption (and i guess one could argue shady business dealings with drug cartels..but thats pure speculation).
Marijuana being treated or not is not a valid argument.
There is a very easy way to separate Marijuana from other drugs that it has ignorantly been grouped with. Marijuana is the natural product of the cannibas plant. It is a flower/bud. The plant is harvested, dried (cured) and clipped. That is all. There is no further processing or addition of addictive and harmful substances like with your precious tobacco.
Cocaine and heroin are NOT natural products of their plant. You cannot grow a cocoa leaf and extract cocaine out of it. Tons of plants must be processed chemically and physically to extract out a tiny amount of desired product.
Heroin is NOT a natural product of the opium plant. It must be processsed chemically and physically from opium to become heroin.
Marijuana has also been shown to have beneficial medicinal uses while the other two, though used as medicinal products, tend to result in more harm than good to the patient. And if there was no medicinal benefit to marijuana/THC then why would the pharmaceutical market produce a lab-made version of THC in pill form?
So bottom line - Marijuana - natural, not processed or treated = ok to legalize
Cocaine / Heroin - not natural, very much processed and treated = not ok
Now of course the argument's biggest hole - opium is a natural product. BUT it is further processed from its goo state to a solid. So loophole potentially closed.
Thank you for your time.
And WHY is a law enforcement officer even part of this discussion when what we're talking about is whether or not cannabis is good or bad for a person's health? This is the equivalent of having law enforcement throwing in their opinion as to whether or not oregano or parsley should be illegal. Of course LE wants popular commodities illegal because it garners them billions of dollars in tax money that gives them jobs. There would be a lot of police officers, DEA, special forces, detectives, lawyers, judges, prison guards and other prison-related employees who would be out of work.
The opinion of a law enforcement officer is useless and biased in this discussion and should never have been part of it.
His opinions are interesting, though, as much of what he says contradicts the pro-prohibition stance that he takes.
Time for Americans to wise up. We'll be a better country when cannabis is legalized, taxed and regulated.
God made cannabis. God made us. It is our life right to choose what we put in our bodies, not the choice of politicians, police officers, judges, or anyone else. Period.
Kirkland's fallacy is that he lumps marijuana abuse with the abuse of all other illegal substances in order to argue that marijuana abuse costs taxpayers money. But He is a Chief of Police so naturally, he would say anything to keep marijuana illegal. Probable 60% (I'm Guessing) of his quota arrests are for un-armed nonviolent citizens with small amounts of marijuana on them.
I am certainly for legalizing cannabis, and other illicit substances. But to focus just on cannabis, it is illegal because of racist prejudices, unjustified fears, and political opportunism.
First, when cannabis was coming around to being made illegal there was a fear associated with it coming from the new influx of Mexican immigrants and other minorities who brought it with them to the United States. This sort of tactic has been used with other substances recently and before cannabis, i.e. opium(Chinese), crack/cocaine(African Americans). There were also false claims made about cannabis leading to the loss of moral character, going insane, and cannabis leading to homosexual activity and aberrant sexual behavior. At the congressional hearings in the 30's there was only one expert/doctor testifying on cannabis and its medical benefits (which have been known since around 2737 B.C..
The status as a legal substance creates criminals and creates an environment that fosters criminal activity. Most people who do drugs or smoke cannabis are everyday working people, lawyers, doctors, teachers, but they are turned into criminals if they want to buy some pot.
Secondly, the majority of people who do drugs are not addicts, this seems to be highly misunderstood, and a relatively small amount of the population does substances that are more addictive such as heroin and cocaine, and an even smaller amount even become addicted to those substances. If cannabis were legalized it would take away much if not most of the profits from the cartels. People would KNOW what they were smoking if it was being distributed by licensed distributors versus a dealer on the streets or someone you rarely know. Most overdoses with other substances involve people not knowing what they were taking (in terms of purity, potency, and additives). This would also have a drastic effect on our prison system, reducing mass amounts of the incarcerated for possession crimes. Most drug arrests are for marijuana offenses, in 2005 88% of marijuana arrests were for possession, and in 2005 more than 1.6 million drug arrests occurred, is that the priority our law enforcement should have?
Lastly, and briefly a few extra points because I've typed so much and bored people to death. Due to the status of some drugs as illegal, doctors are unable to use them for medicinal benefits (for those that are known). One example, recently it has been shown that small doses of heroin in heroin addicts have helped ween people off the drug, instead of using other substances. Policies such as this have been used in Switzerland with success, and recently in the U.K., not to mention curbing the transfer of diseases through syringes.
The U.S. Budget for fighting the war on drugs is around 14-15 billion (really closer to 20 billion), the cartels and the illicit drug market make a few hundred billion off the sale of narcotics, is 14-15 billion going to make a dent, and in the history of drug wars, nearly a century, has it made any kind of dent?
Point 1: Do not insult me. I am a intelligent person and you have no right to ridicule me and compare me to Nazi sympathizers. You should read more about 1940's Germany before you insult and belittle a generation of people. Is there issues with the 9/11 story, yes. Are there underhanded reasons for keeping most major narcotics illegal, probably.
Point 2: "it take a multi-million dollar corporation to produce alcohol products but anyone can grow cannabus" - wrong
Self-breweries and mirco-breweries are a big deal these days..anyone can produce their own alcohol.
Did you not watch the video? The whole point was to make a business out of cannabis.
Not everyone can grow cannabis, at least in a useful volume. Just like any other form of gardening it takes a lot of effort and time.
Point 3: What false or erroneous evidence did I put forth? I asked you for empirical evidence....
Point 4: Did you read any of the past three pages of posts? Maybe you should see the debate that happen before you appeared to get a better understanding of my opinion.
As for myself, I am not saying that the government is evil but that the right wingers that always supports the corporations and profiteers no matter what is, and since this government runs on money and the corporations have the money and they donate to those that suppot there objectives,it is only reasonable to see how things will get out of hand and as far as imperical evidence, I can tell you that it is all around. Take, for example, it take a multi-million dollar corporation to produce alcohol products but anyone can grow cannabus so how can the capitolist cornor the market or the government control it to make maney, or tax it, but by having it ileagle it can be controlled by punitive actions and the profiteers can make profit from the very process of enforcement as I have already stated above.
As far as conspiracy movies I would say that Clancy could not have a better plot. I would say that orge would not see a conspiracy if it was slapping him across the face and probably still does not accept that the lead-up to the Iraq war was a conspiracy and would not accept that there was a conspiracy in 1941 Germany. Some people are incredibly blind and deaf to what is happening all around them even though it is blantly obvious. People like orge are like the German population that readly believed what the hate mongering propaganda of the time put out without giving it much thought till it effected them personally. Orge has the mind set of Chief Scott Kirkland putting forth false and erroneous evidence that within a fair and open debate can not stand on it's own marits. I am by no means against capitolism or profit but when they control the government on so many fronts it gets to a point that it has to be stopped and talking about it is the first step in countering it, even if it means being subject to slander by those that support the tyranny.
It seems to me that travis and nightlight have been watching a lot of conspiracy movies...lol. It is easy to say the government is evil and trying to hold back our "rightful liberties", but that does nothing to solve the problems at hand.
Also nightlight, do you any empirical evidence for your claims. What proof do you have that alcohol brings in so much money and pot would not? Furthermore, have you ever smoked up? Its pretty hard to do much of anything while blazed lol...
But honestly, blaming the government (as it seems you two are doing) is counter-intuitive and progress the discussion none.