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.
First place we must consider what is and is not a problem. Alcohol abuse is a problem and marijuana is not a problem other than it being ileagle which is why it may never be leagle. Let us consider the upside of alcohol abuse, first off it is sold at a profit and taxed so that brings in money to the state, second, it is the source of most trafic accidents resulting in money for the police to investigate and fine and incarceration thus bringing in more money from us, the tax payer, to the various police departments and though it cost us the tax payer the police departments justify there existance and the police make money for the state via the fines. Next the police also investigate the violence cause by alchol abuse such as spousal abuse and child abuse which then the judicial system gets involved to fine and the lawers get there fees and then the health system gets involved which the health care providers get there cut providing health care for health effects of alchol abuse, not to mention the health care of the alcohol abusers victims. In other words there is money to be made from beginning to the end by the effects of alchol consumption. Next there is the often erroneous propaganda to justify this terrorism by leagal means that if made leagle would justify control and taxing. This would mean for those that would want to control it for profit would limit the supply to keep the prices high by limiting the outlets and taxing it to keep the priices artificially high and restricting the individual from growing it them selves and having the buyers to register but would not prohibit employers from preemployment drug testing and random testing to keep the profiteers involved in the drug testing from loosing profits. Since it is probable that the consumption of marijuana would increase a bit but the abuse of alchol would decrease this would mean less money for the profiteers who are proffiting from the alchol consumption, keeping in mind that the capitolist control the government via their money and will not allow the government to curtail there profits, and it is all about profit, who pays the money and who is getting the money. If there is any doubt consider why the U.S. is involved in Iraq, do you really believe it was for the benefit of the Iraquis or was it for the benefit of the western capitoilis who are profiting from the war with no oversight and little to no regulation and almost unlimited funding. Remember the propaganda leading up to the invasion of Iraq which was in time shown all to be false, the same fear tactics are being used to terrorise people that smoke maijuana and convince the population of yet another harmful substance let loose on the public and their children when actually beer is the gateway drug and alcohol abuse is the real drug problem of this country.
No, these are the same people that let you get prescribed all kinds of drugs yet they contain some of the same chemicals found in poisons and your still trusting these people. Please do not blame drugs for how people act because that is based more or less on their on family and social factors. We all live different lives and let some things effect us more then others. Its just so easy for people to be easy on themselves and push the blame to something else. Everyone does it, take a time to notice when you drive in traffic how much you really blame other people for why your late or where your going. Its time the world has an awakening that equally we are divided we fall apart. Just in America there is a lot of divided groups, going thru highschool its divided. how about making this world so we all fit in, that way no one is ever left out and everyone looked at equally. I agree this goverment cant hold us back forever and this is going to be the best time to gain all human freedom back. All the laws need to be relooked at so I can see why its not going in a hurry to legalize drugs so easy, but it needs to be done for our futures and our kids futures. There is like thousands of good and bad things that come from drugs but you as a person need to seprerate the reality from all the bull####, soon as you do you can see drugs are only bad as you make them.
Things that negatively affect people other than the individual include:
Smoking, Alcohol, loud music, guys with better bodies than mine walking around shirtless, fat chicks.
I realize that these drugs can affect other people, but they don't always. Should we really ban the drug, or would penalizing people that do affect others lives be a better option? It is ok to drink, but if you crash your car while drunk then the punishment is more sever. If someone is tripping on "E" and drives there car, why not make it a very strict sentence....say 2 years?
I believe that line of thinking would be more productive.
Originally Posted by Ruxias
Should the government be allowed to tell people what they can and cannot put into their own bodies?[/B] I am interested in hearing people's answer to this question.
I agree that this is the right question to ask in continuation of our debate. My answer would be that government should control the use of certain substances ONLY if the exploitation of this substances negatively affects people other than individual who decides to put something into his own body.
I am speaking merely from experience. I have friends who stated smoking marijuana after high school and went nowhere. Dropped out of college and now live pay-check to pay-check.
I also have friends who smoke and are still in college, succeeding.
Marijuana can lead down a destructive path, that was my point. The reasons are numerous and yes...can be applied to other enjoyable activities (i.e. sex).
My friends that are at the bottom do not do harder drugs, they just are apathetic. This apathy started after smoking.
I do not know what happened to them, all I see is life going well, the marijuana, then life being halted.
I hope that helps
"It does not matter what you call it, at all..What does cocaine being processed have to do with the debate?..Personal attacks are never beneficial in a civilized debate..CAPS LOCK DOES NOT MAKE YOU CORRECT
Thank you" - Orge
Originally Posted by orge
Marijuana can, and does, ruin lives. Anyone that is disagrees with that statement is simply obviously to reality.
I am interested to know how you think marijuana by itself can ruin a life. If you mean by addiction, or overindulgence, then this can be applied to nearly anything that induces a pleasure response. People become attached to things that they find appealing, no doubt about that, but some people have what could be called "addictive personalities" and may very well let things get out of hand and may one day find themselves unable to let go. I guess I could sum my argument like this: people can become addicted to anything, not just drugs. For example, some people are sex addicts, but is that to say anything of sexual nature is inherently wrong to indulge in?
If your statement read "addiction can, and does, ruin lives," I would agree with you, but to say marijuana ruins lives is a bit of a jump to a false conclusion.
If you meant by another means that it ruins lives, I would love for you to explain. I can't think of anything else you could have meant, though. I don't want to strawman you, I just felt like saying something about addiction, which is what I think you may have been talking about.
It does not matter what you call it, at all.
What does cocaine being processed have to do with the debate?
Marijuana can, and does, ruin lives. Anyone that is disagrees with that statement is simply obviously to reality.
Personal attacks are never beneficial in a civilized debate.
CAPS LOCK DOES NOT MAKE YOU CORRECT
1) It isn't marijuana, it's Cannabis... for starters. Can we please use the correct terms and not slang the Harry Anslinger fomented to increase the FUD factor in 1937.
2) Cocaine is a separate item produced through a complex process which renders the end product very far indeed from the humble plant origin.
3) There are a number of Government Funded studies that have shown again and again and again and again that Cannabis is neither harmful [in most instances] nor deserving of the "evil bogeyman" reputation promulgated by the pharmacuetical industry... the Schaffer Commission Report comes to mind [google it - it is out in the public domain]
4) Most of the individuals who are vocally screeching about the dangers of decriminalization stand to lose either authority / funding / fancy toys OR have to go after REAL criminals who pose a true danger to society.
LEARN THE FACTS
KNOW THE HISTORY
UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH
CANNABIS IS NOT A DANGEROUS DRUG
Thank You For Your Time
I remember how it was about a quarter as expensive to get Weed than cigarettes during High/Middle School. In all honesty, the government has more control over the consumption of legal drugs rather than illegal drugs.