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Marijuana Majority? State and Local Laws Ease Access

The number of annual marijuana arrests have been setting all-time records lately. Sales and trafficking aside, there are more possession charges nationally than violent crimes combined. Maybe there are a lot more smokers than violent people, or it could be prosecuted disproportionately.

The latter explanation is the logic behind several state and local decisions to ease restrictions. On Tuesday, Michigan joined 12 other states that have legalized medical marijuana. Licensed dispensaries are not part of the law, so Michiganders will have to get themselves a good dealer.

Over in Massachusetts, marijuana is still illegal. But thanks to voters, possession of up to one ounce is no longer punishable by jail time. Instead, marijuana possession will be punishable with a citation, $100 fine, and confiscation of the drug — almost like getting a speeding ticket minus the license points! In both Massachusetts and Michigan, voters rejected widespread campaigns that argued easing marijuana laws would increase adolescent drug abuse, permit large-scale trafficking, endanger workplace safety, and sharply increase traffic fatalities.

To find out what local laws passed,


Three promarijuana laws at local levels prevailed. Fayetteville, AR, voted to make minor offenses a low priority and Hawaii County decided to make marijuana its lowest priority. Berkeley, CA, where medical marijuana is already legal, put no limit on the amount a patient or dispensary can possess.

So that’s today in soft-core drugs! Do you think increasing access to marijuana for people who need it outweighs potential abuse of the laws? Are voters right to demand that marijuana possession go to the bottom of law enforcement priorities?


Join The Conversation
runningesq runningesq 8 years
'Sokay, Cheytown :)
meringue meringue 8 years
It is no secret that I am pretty conservative, but, I have an opinion on this because it has greatly affected someone in my life...
meringue meringue 8 years
I am curious if anyone here has dealt with a loved one who smokes too much marijuana...
cheytown cheytown 8 years
running, I am sorry if you thought I was speaking directly to you,I was not, I was just saying that comparision is so ridiculous and it is such a common misunderstanding! Again my apologies, I wasn't aiming my comment at you, I was just commenting on the situation!
runningesq runningesq 8 years
For the record, I never compared weed to PCP, herion, crack, etc. I was responding to organicsugar's comment: It's hard to believe we tell people what to put into their bodies in a free country. and was curious - honestly curious, not snarky ;) - what her opinion was on ALL drugs.
cheytown cheytown 8 years
I think marijuana should be legalized, the proven health benefits are insane (great for cancer patients), it has no damaging side effects unlike the legal drug- Alcohol, it is nothing like PCP, CRACK or Heroin and anyone who thinks it is, has obviously never tried it. It is a cash crop with many resources, if we taxed it that would boost the economy like crazy! No one has ever died from Marijuana and thats a fact! I recommend HIGH TIMES to anyone that has continued issues with Marijuana. We would be able to clear our jails and actually focus on violent crimes instead of a stoner who decided to grow a plant- honestly who are they hurting!
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
I give up! :)
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
OMG argh. Okay I was trying to say thread like this and the gay marriage one make me <3 libertarians a little more. And our differences, the economic ones really probably are on a spectrum too. I mean, my grandpa is very economically conservative, and I'm a liberal, but he still supports like 70% of the programs I do. It's not like all liberals want to flush taxpayer money directly down the toilet! MarinerMandy- One thing I wanted to point out- reefer madness is pretty ridiculous, except there have been credible studies that have shown marijuana use can trigger schizophrenia in those who are genetically predisposed to it! So if someone has a history of mental illness in their family, the studies are worth checking out before you make the decision to light up! But I don't think this will be a problem for most people. :)
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Threads like this one and the gay marriage one make me realize I should <3 libertarians more! I mean, economically, we're all on a spectrum. I may call myself a liberal, but my grandpa who is economically conservative supports like 75% of the govt. programs I do, I'm not like a fan of crazy government spending and regulations. Marinemandy- reefer madness is sort of stupid, but some studies really have shown it can trigger schizophrenia in people predisposed to getting it, which is one reason I don't smoke it, schizophrenia runs in my family! I'm not 100% convinced it can trigger mental illness, but I"m not going to mess around with it. However, I think for the majority of people this isn't a concern and they shouldn't worry about it! I did just want to point that out though, because if someone does have that genetic history, they should at least look into the research themselves! :)
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
"Shadow I have video evidence of the "stoners statements" and or "i think i can actually sing" moments. Its good TV." I believe it..hehe. :) "I think this is the most peaceful thread I've read on citizen." Well..that's pot for ya. :D
Roarman Roarman 8 years
I go to school with a guy who is a liberterian and says that he thinks the only role of the government should be to look after the rights of citizens. But he also believes in pushing moral beliefs onto society.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Oh, god, libertarians? Aren't those the weirdos who talk about privatizing the sky and making heroin-baby food legal?
gemini7827 gemini7827 8 years
it is definitely positive progress :)
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
:true: Exactly!
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
Or to use the drug topic as an example, many people know someone whose life has been ruined because of drugs and think that everything should be illegal because of that. They are certainly entitled to their opinion, but it's not sound policy making.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
I think emotional judgement should be taken out as well, you just can't make the best decisions when you're emotional. The Founding Fathers tried to prevent emotional law making by purposely making our legislative system slow. The Patriot Act (and not trying to get in a discussion about that) is the perfect example of emotional law making. Whether you support it or not, you can't argue that it was exactly the sort of thing the Founders were trying to prevent.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
MM, where that backfires in our support is a lot of people like that moral judgement is taken out, but get upset when emotional judgement is taken out as well.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Amen Mich.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
There's crazies in any husband calls himself a Libertarian, but he is most def on the moderate side of that. What I really like about Libertarians is that I feel like that philosophy takes moral judgement out of the picture and puts government where it belongs: in providing a stucture, but not filling in the details. I think it was Michelin who said we should focus on crimes with a victim. If there's no victim then it's just a moral judgement by the government and there shouldn't be a place for that.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
GS, it seems like everybody thinks we're anarchists! Which is just so far from the truth. I'm a strong believer in the justice system, I just think it needs to be as fair and rational as possible.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
What so many people don't understand is that Libertarians have the different shades just like reps and dems. We have moderates, extremes and radicals too. And, like the other two, a lot of the press granted to the libs is from the more extreme side, so many people think that all libs want to just abolish all laws and just set everyone loose on their own accord.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
MM, I really think there's something in Libertarian philosophy for just about everybody. I can't wait for it to get more popular.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
GS, I'm down with libertarians...I feel like they talk more sense than other viewpoints have been the last few years. And you know if you go with that setup, Bam! the war on drugs is over.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Sigh, I was cute back then. When you see a pic like this of yourself when you were young, you realize just how great you looked back then.
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