June 17th, 2009
09:12 AM ET

Morning Buzz: To Legalize Pot, or Not

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/05/28/addiction.costs/art.marijuana.gi.jpg]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

Demonstrations are planned in Iran following Friday’s disputed election. Journalists have been told to stay in their hotel rooms, and the situation continues to be tense and volatile. The Iranian government is jamming cell phone lines and radio transmissions, as many of the images and 'word from the street' is now coming out via the internet.

We'll follow developments and tell you more about Mir Hossein Moussavi, the opposition candidate, who is at the center is of this storm. Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour and Reza Sayeh, our reporter in Tehran, join us tonight.

It’s a busy day for President Obama at the White House. He will lay out a new set of regulatory measures aimed at preventing another financial crisis. We want details! The President will also sign a memorandum extending government benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

This decision comes after gay rights groups were giving the President heat for not repealing the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” military policy. What will be the fallout from this decision?

Back to Pot-a topic we hope you are learning more about this week. Tonight, Joe John introduces you to King Bong- he’s the ‘great fixer’, the guy running the clinics where most of Oregon’s marijuana prescriptions are doled out. But his real goal is fully legalized marijuana.

He grows, he smokes, and he has a weekly cable show related to the topic. We’ll hear his arguments for legalization, and also hear from those who think he is dead wrong.

Strange story of the day: A Brooklyn man named Thomas Prusik-Parkin is accused of wearing a wig, putting on nail polish, and wearing dresses to impersonate his deceased mother and collect $115,000 in Social Security and rent subsidies. Geez, some people will do anything for a buck.

That’s a full plate, make sure you tune in tonight! We’ll be waiting for you.

Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Chuck Brown

    It is begining to look like a waste of time Big Pharma has greased the palms of so many Government officals,that it will never be even given a fair chance.I am growing weary of fighting this 24/7 when anyone with 1/2 a brain can see the obvious.Marijuan should be legal for anyone 18 and over.But lets face it this country is so messed up that kids 18 who are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot even consume a beer.Its almost laughable.This conutry is for the rich and your'e screwed if your not.Plain and simple.Shame Shame on all of them.Corruption is part of everyday life here in America.Our founding fathers are rolling in thier graves.

    June 18, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  2. Leah

    At the moment I am neither anti nor pro marijuana legalization as I haven'e made up my mind if this will have a negative or positive impact on our society. I can't help but wonder if those of you that are pro legalization have thought about how this would work should it be legalized. Do you all fantasize that the government is going to just say ok, go for it. Keep buying from your dealer[s] and nothing else will change. Do you envision being able to go into a bar or restaraunt and order a blunt to go with your Perrier, Diet Coke or God forbid, your Bud Light or Crown and Coke?? Frankly, I don't see either of those two things happening. If they legalize it, the FDA is going to have to conduct a formal study that should take no more than 20 years. They will have to specify it's ingredients, and how much. There will have to be a dosage amount and you may noe even get it in the traditional tobacco form. By the time you are able to legally ingest it, there likely won't be much to give you even a slight buzz. Then there is the income tax that dealers are going to have to start paying. That means the tax cost will trickle down to you in the form of an increase because I don't see dealers willing to take a pay cut, do you? Think also about all the legal ramifications that will have to be worked out. The legalization of pot isn't likely to happen in our lifetime, if ever.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  3. Neal Smith

    I'm concerned that there is not enough time being devoted to the heart of this debate. CNN's resident doctor also didn't seem to acknowledge the difference between a physical addiction and habituation.

    There has been no mention of the studies showing marijuana's minimal impact on driving or affect on productivity though those questions were raised.

    I am glad to see these reports lack the typical cliches and giggly references to marijuana that frequent mainstream media reports on the issue.

    Please...less on the peripheries and more on the substance of the debate.

    June 18, 2009 at 8:24 am |
  4. William Graves

    its bout barn time.

    Dont you?

    June 17, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  5. Paul

    Leah, all my smoking buddies and I are software and hardware engineers working for high tech communications and computer companies in a high profile industrial research park. We are all in our 40's and 50's and have smoked for decades. We aren't stupid people, in fact I'd put us at the top of the scale on the average. We all maintain our jobs, some of us are married with families, others not. We are no more or less lazy than anyone else. As far as a reason for getting high, yes, its because we enjoy it, but no not because its the only way to have fun. We are golfers, kayakers, skydivers, motorcycle riders, skin divers and fishermen. Most of those activities can be accentuated with judicial use of a litle weed. Weed will not make you stumble, or slip, or slur your words, its only real impairing effect is an increase in reaction time, a condition that is offset quite nicely by a total lack or urgency getting where you're going. As for it being insane to want to get high, I wonder do you feel the same way about alcohol. Whether you do or don't doesn't reall matter though. There will always be self-righteous facsist creeps that believe everyone should share their opinions about any issue.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  6. Frank Uli

    It's a sad day when CNN starts to censor its bloggers. I left a blog last nite about the pot issue. 20 minutes after I posted my comment my blog was removed and yet I've read all the above blogs and the stories above were not much different than mine. CNN isn't any different then the haters in North Korea that are trying to censor its people. SHAME ON CNN. You've lost all creditabity with me.


    June 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  7. Trenity in SC

    Regulate marijuana. Age restrictions based on the States. 18-21.

    Take away the billions from the drug cartels now!

    I want to be TAXED.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  8. Paul

    You miss the point Brian. We don't want to legalize it to hurt the cartel's business, thats just a happy coincidence. We want it legalized because there is no good reason for it to be illegal we enjoy it, and we don't want legal or societal stigmas placed upon us for our choices in recreational drugs. It doesn't happen to alcohol drinkers or tobacco smokers and there is nothing fair about it happening to us. If the cartels bring in a new drug some people will use it yes, but after 30 years of smoking pot I never felt the need for another drug.

    June 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  9. Mark Fitt

    Marijuana prohibition is so 20th century. Today, we have real problems to address, like terrorism, energy shortages, global warming, world hunger, violent crime, improving health care and education, to name a few.

    Time and money spent enforcing marijuana laws is nuts. Numerous civil rights have been lost while pursuing this misguided war on marijuana. Billions of dollars in marijuana prohibition profits fund criminals and terrorists. Legalization removes this large cash cow for criminals with the stroke of a pen, frees police resources, and supplies needed tax money for domestic projects.

    As to Marijuana's purported health health concerns, most are smoke and mirrors. After 40 years of government funded studies, cannabis smoking hasn't been shown to induce cancer, while government testing in the 70's tied cancer to tobacco in about 2 years. Cannabis is basically non addictive and death through overdose is unknown. Thousands of years of cannabis use by humans has produced no apparent negative health effects. Typically, users are non aggressive and overindulgence usually results in sleep.

    Medicinally marijuana is safe effective medicine. Our country's laws should not intrude into the doctor patient relationship. Antecedal reports of cannabis' benefits abound.

    Legal marijuana provides substantial tax income while reducing payments to organized crime. Legalized cannabis (hemp) empowers small local farmers to profitably produce paper, fabrics, medicine, oil, fuel, and building materials as they reduce our consumption of oil, cotton, pesticides, and trees.

    In short, removing an ill conceived 1930's law, involving a victimless act, will provide enduring benefits for Americans, our children, and our American way of life in the 21st century.

    legalize it!

    June 17, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  10. Houston Womble

    I think that if more people knew that there was a topical oil that uses medical marijuana for pain they would be more inclined to use it because you just rub it in where it hurts and it just blocks the pain. It does not get you high. They claim that it even works on migraine headaches. You just put it at the base of your neck and on your temples and your headache goes away. You do not have to smoke it to get the benefits. of medical Marijuana.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  11. John Jones

    Those of you who don't think cannabis should be legal and want to make a quick $100,000 go to Jack herer's web site, he wrote "The Emperor Wore No Cloths" and take his challenge;
    If all fossil fuels and their derivatives, as well as trees for paper and construction, were banned in order to save the planet, reverse the Greenhouse Effect and stop deforestation;
    then there is only one known annually renewable natural resource that is capable of providing the overall majority of the world's paper and textiles; meet all of the world's transportation, industrial and home energy needs, while simultaneously reducing pollution, rebuilding the soil and cleaning the atmosphere all at the same time...
    and that substance is the same one that has done it before . . .

    No one has been able to prove him wrong and never will. The lies by Anslinger, DuPont and Hearst are still used today by those less educated. Anslinger even lied to congress, finally J.F.K. thru him out. Too bad he didn't get caught suppling morphine to Joseph McCarthy, which he admitted in his autobiographical book, The Murderers.
    The reason it's illegal are dark and dirty. Do the research.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  12. Linda Stanley

    What I don't get about the pot debate is the fact that we use prescription drugs for stress, anxiety, depression, and in my opinion pot helps with these same problems and pot is natural, not manufactured. People say that the use of medical marijuana is just a way for people to get high but what is alcohol for if not to chill out, relax and yes, get high. I've never seen anyone who smoked a joint go home and beat their wife, crash their car, or die from liver disease. I truly think the only reason it is not legal yet is because the government has not figured out a way to control it's use like it has with alcohol. Once they figure that out it will be, the almighty buck out weighs all concern for peoples health and any moral issues that go with it.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  13. Barb

    Depression has always been a part of my life as far back as I can remember as a child and growing up. I’m 50. My question is why was it the first time I got high I felt my depression melt away. I have quit several times any where from a few years to a few months and in between. My depression always comes back. Sometimes it takes longer sometimes not. Sometimes worse sometimes not. But as soon as it comes back to a point, I break down and take my life and future in my hands in hopes the law won’t catch me. This is the only way I’ve been able live a “productive” life. I don’t want the pharma depression pill. I had a certain instinct telling me to hold off on that. Boy, glad I listened. Side effects don’t look good. The thing is, God provided a plant to help with this and so much more. Who are they to tell me, or worse yet tell God I can’t use this plant to help me and many many more. Legalize it!!!

    June 17, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  14. leah-listen

    Leah – all of the pot smokers I know are some of the most productive and creative people around, and who are you to say what they do with their free time? This is America, remember, a "free country." Pot can give you an open mind and clarity, its a natural substance, remember, if you're religious God created it. Pot smokers tend to be the most accepting people out there, and just because they live laid back and judgement free lifestyle doesn't mean they're lazy. Yes, life is good sober, but fun high too, are you going to judge everyone who drinks too?

    If you disagree, when pot is FINALLY legalized, don't smoke it!

    June 17, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  15. Geoffrey

    Penny Manis!,
    Anderson Cooper!

    could you set up a poll to show America what americans really think! take away all the political correctness, and show them raw stats about this issue!.. get the word out.. show it on CNN

    June 17, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  16. Leah

    I think you have to make a distinction here between uppers and downers. Most people don't use both....although some do. Pot is a downer, a depressant while meth and cocaine are uppers and give you energy. So, while they are all drugs, it's kind of like comparing apples and oranges. If I had to choose, I's rather be in the company of pot and alcohol users than meth and cocaine. Users of any of them put society at risk while driving and also not driving as the uppers can cause people to go nuts and want to fight and do extraordinary thinks they normally wouldn't, like commit armed robbery. There are many people who can and do use alcohol and pot recreationally and don't consume more than they can handle. It isn't these individuals that I am worried about. It is the ones who think they can handle themselves but cannot.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  17. anti-Leah

    Leah–you couldn't punch your way out of a paper sack with the quality of your arguments. Our last 3 presidents smoked Cannabis. That guy that just won 8 gold medals at the Beijing Olympics? Pot-smoker! This could go on for a long long list Leah, but it should be enough to note that over 100,000,000 Americans have smoked pot, or currently do smoke pot–and that is a conservative estimate. According to you, that would result in over 1/3rd of our nation being stupid and lazy. And yet. This isn't the case, now is it?

    Further–and I don't expect you to believe this, because you are obviously proud of your ignorance–there are studies in which the conclusions are that drivers that are solely under the effects of Cannabis actually drive better–as they are more attentive, more cautious and drive slower. This does not mean that I am advocating anyone driving under the influence of anything, including pharmaceuticals, but it does mean that you have made no effort to support your propagandist positions.

    And like a good propagandist parrot, you use another straw man argument by accusing pot smokers of fearing sobriety. These states of consciousness are not mutually exclusive honey. I am sober for 164 of the 168 hours of any given week. But when the weekend comes around, and I've finished all of my housework and yardwork, if I want to relax with some fine organic, homegrown Cannabis–I'm going to do it. And I'm not going to feel guilty about it. And my wife of many years supports this. And my friends and professional colleagues support this. And I shower daily and brush my teeth AND floss twice daily.

    What else do you have to say Leah?

    June 17, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  18. Houston Womble

    In Michigan where we passed the Medical Marijuana law by a 63 percent. We are aloud to have a caregiver grow up to 12 plants for your medical needs. My wife is disabled from the chronic pain of arthritis. There is an oil that is made with olive oil, marijuana,and a couple of other natural ingredients that only costs the caregiver $10 to $15 for a months supply for her pain. You do not smoke it , it does not get you high. You just rub it on where it hurts and the pain goes away. Sense using this oil my wife has stopped using [4] four different prescriptions that her doctor had prescribed for pain. The prescriptions made her dizzy and she fell several times and could not sleep without taking sleeping pills. Now she sleeps most of the night without taking any of those pills. A friend of mine got His Dr. to prescribe Marinol, the prescription drug with THC from marijuana and they charged the insurance company $2400.00 for a three month supply. You can see why the drug companies are against having people get medical marijuana without a prescription. They are taking advantage of the insurance companies and people that need relief from pain and suffering. You do not have to be a pothead to get the benefits of medical marijuana. My wife does not smoke anything. Most people think everyone that uses medical marijuana, smokes it ,so not true. We pay less for the oil than we payed for the co-pay on the prescriptions that she stopped getting. that alone saves the insurance company a lot of money.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  19. Cliff J.

    CNN- i am really excited that you guys are covering this issue because it is 72 years overdue. I would just like to say however that, i wish you would stop being so biased regarding this topic. Maybe instead of getting so called "experts" to argue on your show, why don't you have an online poll open to all the American people. I think it is more important to hear what the majority of America has to say. Clearly this is an important topic to many people and it needs to be decided upon in the democratic way.... Vote on it!!! i think everyone will be surprised when well over half the country will advocate for its legalization.

    As for the other bloggers if you agree with this proposal, mention it in your posts... VOTE ON IT!!

    June 17, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  20. truthandconsequences

    It is time NOW to end Marijuana Prohibition in the United States. Marijuana Prohibition is a failed policy which costs federal, state and local governments billions of dollars per year in ineffective enforcement efforts, not to mention the immeasurable human and social costs attendant upon criminalizing a large segment of the citizenry. Aside from being an obscene waste of ever more precious taxpayer dollars, marijuana prohibition has perpetuated the black market, which serves to divert billions of dollars annually from the legitimate (i.e. taxpaying) economy into the hands of drug cartels and illegal organizations.

    Marijuana Prohibition in the U.S. is a policy which was born in racism and vested commercial interests. Prohibitionists initially justified their cause by identifying marijuana as “the reason all Mexicans are lazy and stupid” and warning the public that “reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men”. Marijuana Prohibition in the United States began at around the time that alcohol prohibition ended. It has evolved from the demagoguery of “Reefer Madness” to the current status in which the government seeks to criminalize and punish its citizens who choose to use marijuana.

    Marijuana Prohibition has been perpetuated upon notions that marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug that causes criminal and antisocial behavior. These notions have been thoroughly and universally disproven. Yet while we no longer prohibit the use of alcohol, and have never prohibited tobacco use, our government continues to spend billions attempting to enforce marijuana prohibition in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence and public opinion to the contrary.

    In a nation which places great value on individual liberties, each citizen has the right and responsibility to decide for himself or herself whether or not to use alcohol or tobacco, eat red meat, practice birth control, and yes, smoke marijuana. We the people should not tolerate, let alone encourage, any government to make these decisions for us. Prohibition, this time of marijuana, has once again become a national boondoggle and an unwarranted infringement of personal liberty in a country which calls itself the Land of the Free. This is the fundamental reason why marijuana should be legalized, altogether aside from the economic arguments.

    President-elect Obama has said that our elected leaders must work to restore faith and trust in government. That purpose will be frustrated if we continue to waste taxpayer funds and resources on a prohibitionist policy that is now almost universally recognized to be without intellectual, moral or economic justification. The now well known practices and tactics employed by government in attempts to enforce prohibition continually diminish the credibility and character of those governments. These practices range from the militaristic assaults by heavily armed federal DEA agents upon medical marijuana dispensaries in California, all the way down to the local county sheriff who stages a big marijuana sting operation 2 weeks before an election.

    Truth and reliable information are what we must demand from our government, not continued stubborn adherence to wrong-headed policies.

    Mr. Obama has also recently said that he and his staff are going to have to look at “every line on every page” of the federal budget in light of the current economic crisis. Funding for many programs may have to be cut or eliminated. Ending prohibition now will eliminate billions of dollars of waste from the federal budget, and will be a positive step in rebuilding our belief that our government tells us the truth, acts rationally, and respects the rights and personal privacy of all of its citizens.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  21. Dan

    @ Leah

    "...But getting high because you can’t have any fun otherwise is insane. Is being sober all that painful?"

    Is allowing me to make my own rational adult decision regarding whether I prefer cannabis to alcohol that painful?

    I like to think that America still believes in the ability for individuals to decide how to live their lives.

    Organizations like NORML and MPP and LEAP exist because there are a great many of us who feel that way.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  22. Morgan

    I think that pot should be legalized and taxed. It would create space in the jail system. it would save money by not having to arrest and prosecute pot smokers. Also all the revenue generated by taaxing it would greatl benefit the economy. I don't think we can afford to keep pot illegal. Hopefully the goverment will realize that before it's to late.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  23. campbell

    it would take 900 jionts in one sitting to overdose, so you know knowone can do that, it is impossiable to become addicted to it, if some one acts stupid from smoking it is because they were before they smoked and it is a bet they arent any smarter smoking cigarettes or drinkigg booze, they're are so many people that are successful from smoking marijuana, its made to believe all are stupid from this drug, we seemed to be still like cavemen not quite civilized enough yet, centeries from now man will look back at prohabition and laugh at it saying how stupid man was for not understanding, remember we only use 1/10th of our brain, so how do we know the good of this drug, as the govnment puts it, being ignorant doesnt excuse us. look at all the money we hand out for taxes that gets wasted by putting non-violent marijiuana users away, some had good jobs and lost it, so then the tax payer gets to pay $30,000-$40,000 a year for per person. so i know of someone who murdered her own daughter and got 25 yr. less than someone who was happy on weed and got his life ruined by going to prison longer than a murderer. the govn could make more money fining someone, taxing this plant, and getting smart about its use, people arent going to run out to start smoking just because its legal, just like people choose not to smoke cigaretes or dring liquor. this is one of the reason i will not vote and i know many that wont, because the ones that are being voted into office are afraid to open there mouths about it, the other reason i wont vote is my husband who is successful and works hard, got it for a sm. amt of marijiuana, never sold anything, and will never be able to vote, non-violent felons in the usa. are consider worthless till the day they die, as the probabtion officer put it even good people go to max. prison and that is sick to say that someone harmless has there life ruined when they never had a mean bone in ther body. we need to wake up and smell the coffee, oh yea another drug.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  24. nccpn

    If cannabis had no medical value why do you think the US Government would hold not 1 but 5 patents on it? Go to the US Patent Office website and search Patent # 6630507, Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants, obtained 10/7/2003. The first paragraph clearly states medical properties for cannabis. On page 6, you can see the numbers of the other 4 patents our lying government holds on this plant.

    Our government has been giving marijuana as medicine to citizens for over 25 years with no harmful effects to any of them. One is a stock broker in Florida and legally receives over 300 marijuana cigarettes per month.

    It is time our government leaders let science and truth guide them, not politics and propaganda. Cannabis has been used by humans for medicine for over 5000 years with no a single death nor case of toxicity. We can overdose from water but not cannabis, where is the question of safety?

    I think cannabis should be immediately legalized for medical purposes and for adult recreational purposes as well. It is safer than tobacco or alcohol and less addictive than your morning cup of coffee.

    It is time to do the morally, constitutionally and fiscally responsible thing and allow cannabis to be utilized by American citizens.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  25. David

    If I'm using Cannabis in my own home, and not driving around. Let me be.

    Cannabis is a much better and safer alternative to Alcohol. The prohibitionists think that it will compound the problems caused by booze and cigarettes but they don't account for the millions who already use it.

    Don't they think for one moment that Cannabis could be the SAFER alternative over Alcohol?

    And what of HARD DRUGS? Legalize Cannabis and lets get these people off of substances like Cocaine and Meth.

    Just look at factory workers and truck drivers that get drug screening. They are recreating with Coke, Meth and Alcohol because Cannabis, the SAFER alternative is illegal and easy to detect over a much longer period.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  26. HB

    The pro-prohibition slant to this story is so typical and obvious. Why won't CNN let its reporters cover this issue from an objective i.e. rational angle? Why must they continuously frame the cannabis issue in a negative light, when a vast segment of society thinks otherwise?

    June 17, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  27. Leah

    If we legalize marijuana for everyone to use as they please, then we have to decide what the legal limit is for the idiots that will smoke and drive and put our lives at risk. So, now pot smokers are going to be put in jail, only not because it is illegal. I have no problem with it being used for medicinal use. I don't know how much it helps pain but I do know that ill people use it to give them an appetite so they can eat to sustain themselves while undergoing medical treatment. I don't see anything wrong with that either. But getting high because you can't have any fun otherwise is insane. Is being sober all that painful? All pot does is make people lazy and unable to function at a productive level. Obviously people are going to use it whether it is legal or not and they don't seem to mind taking the risk. Gee, maybe if they didn't smoke so much pot, they'd care a little more about themselves.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  28. brad

    Well Melissa. It is a non toxic herb. I am sure there will be Non-Smoking places where you can go as there is with tobacco smoking. I kinda think it is you that is being "Selfish"

    June 17, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  29. Alan

    @ Melissa
    Your allergy to pot smoke sounds the same as my allergy to tobacco smoke. So why is tobacco still legal, or, why is weed still illegal? The laws limiting smoking in public should (will) be enforced in either case.

    I add my voice to the overwhelming majority of comments in favor of legalizing marijuana, or at the very least, decriminalizing it.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  30. josh korbin

    i think legalizing pot is the best thing america could do we have freedoms here like guns beer and porno why are we not able to buy pot it is an example that freedom is not going to come unless we have an all out civil war as in the same way other freedoms are won in this country we have asked for it for 75yrs and all we get is spit in our faces we have to fight if we want freedom !!!!!

    June 17, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  31. Chris

    Harms of Marijuana–Kempia is wrong–marijuana can be addictive, especially to teenagers–and studies have shown a withdrawal syndrome. It also causes lung damage. A new study out of England shows that it damages DNA and potentially causes cancer.

    Medical marijuana should be regulated and controlled through the FDA. In California it is being prescribed for everything and anything. I believe only a small % are legitimate patients with serious illnesses for whom sidestepping the FDA might be appropriate. Many are young adults who just want to get high. The so-called pharmacy showed is more like a candy store, just like undercover marketing to kids.

    I've looked at research on both sides and I still don't feel comfortable about my kids smoking marijuana–or tobacco, like Teen use? above. (By the way, Teen use?, the % of monthly users is 5%, not 80%, with the highest age group of users 17-24). Kids are already drinking and smoking and legalizing marijuana will give a stamp of approval. Legalizing will cause use to go up and law enforcement will have to police driving, kids using, secondhand smoke, all the issues we have with cigarettes and alcohol and the health care system will have to deal with addiction and health issues.

    The idea that people go to prison for possessing small amounts of marijuana is also incorrect as David Evans says. It is miniscule. That is just a ploy of Kempia's lobby. As many people get pulled over for speeding tickets in a week as get arrested in a year for marijuana possession, and we are not calling for an end to speed limits. The penalty for pot possession in California is a fine less than the fine for a speeding ticket. People in prison are traffickers. And people have a choice if they want to avoid the risks.

    Obama may have smoked it, but he also smokes cigarettes, which Michelle doesn't like. I can bet Michelle would not want her kids to smoke marijuana. Let's put it to the Obamas and get them on the record, Anderson.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  32. Cliff J.

    Melissa – if that is the only problem you have with marijuana then i think it is you who are being selfish. Marijuana is not like cigarettes, it doesn't kill many thousands of people do to its burning, in-fact there hasn't been a single recorded death due to marijuana.

    The medicinal, and spiritual benefits that marijuana has are so vast that you should consider what you are saying. This plant has actually helped cancer patients through their struggles by dealing with pain. I think that your small reservation regarding the smoke of marijuana is much more selfish then a cancer patient wanting to "just get high" to deal with pain.

    Bottom line if you don't like marijuana then stay away from it, as for everyone else let them think for themselves 🙂

    June 17, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  33. Chuck Brown

    I'd say 90% for legalization just in this short blog.Mellissa-why if you are allergic would you hang around folks who smoked? It sounds as if you are the one not making the intelligent choice.USA lies have made this an issue that can be debated for hours.My thoughts are when kids smoke it and finally know the thruth about pot,that it isn't the Devils Weed,then they will automatically assume that the USA is lying about meth,coke and heroin.Its a teenage mindset.We need to stop the outright lies about pot and educate them that it isn't a wise choice to use pot until you are old enough to know the conciquences.Its been proven in Holland that the amount of tennage users diminished once it wasn't a crime to use it.Its all there black and white.The owner of a cannabis shop in Amsterdam refuses to sell booze at his establishment on account that booze=violence and since he serves pot only he has not had a fight or violence in 25 years of owning the business.All of you who use the words "stoner" and "pothead" really need to do some research.The net has all the resources you need to find out the truth.Jack Herers Emporer book says it all.I think there may be a free download so you can read it w/o spending hard earned $$.Half the reason pot should be legal is the amount of $$ one has to spend to have it.Absurd amounts of $$-take out the black market,allow folks to grow a limited ampount of plants and tax its use.If I were told I had o pay 1000$ a year to use-where do I send the check?? Peace and One Love

    June 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  34. Joe Girouard

    Cindy in GA if you were paying attention, Melissa Etheridge took pot because she had 2nd stage breast cancer, Not because she had simple heartburn. Please get the facts straight.. Not in the history of mankind has 1 death been attributed to Cannibas. Can we say this about tobacco and alcohol??? I think not. Case closed.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  35. Seriously Melissa?

    Seriously? Perhaps you should, maybe, stop going into rooms in which there is a lot of Cannabis smoking going on?

    And if this is your argument, then you aren't very convincing. Have you ever seen a No Smoking sign? Have you seen what happens when someone tries to light up a cigarette in a non-smoking facility or location? Need a little help here? Right. They are asked/told to extinguish their cigarette/cigar/pipe.

    That wasn't so hard to navigate, was it?

    June 17, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  36. Dan

    @ Melissa

    "...they will be smoking it all over the place saying “its legal, I can do what I want...Sick of American selfishness."

    With all due respect to, what I'm sure are, your impressive powers of prognostication, I beg to differ Melissa. Laws are in place to prevent public intoxication/drinking/ smoking tobacco,etc. Cannabis would be no different.

    As for 'American selfishness' – Your hypocrisy is truly impressive – You are trying to dictate how I choose to live my life.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  37. Jesse

    Who has marijuana ever killed,of course you know this Anderson.How many Americans are in prison because of the high demand for the better alternative to tobacco and alcohol.Anderson,all those people pro-pot you interview are probablly high you just cant notice as much as they think.Now,go try to interview a drunk man and have him try to tell you why alcohol should stay legal,you'll probablly feel very diffrent if it was that topic right now.

    Legalize say the American people!

    June 17, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  38. Melissa

    Yes, there will be more people using and it will now be out in public. People don't care about anyone else as it is and they will be smoking it all over the place saying "its legal, I can do what I want".

    I'm severely allergic to pot smoke. So much so that five minutes in a room filled with it sends me crawling on my hands and knees with my head pounding. In an outside space, it starts to make me cough and my eyes water uncontrollably until I can leave the area. as quickly as possible.

    But no one cares about that because they'd rather get high.

    Instead of just thinking about yourselves for a change, why don't you try thinking about other people? I'd rather actually live than die because someone got it up their butt that they wanted to smoke pot whether it had the potential to kill me or not.

    Sick of American selfishness.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  39. Christian

    Cannabis should be legal, plain and simple!

    Only uneducated people think it should not be!

    If anyone really cared about keeping it out of our kids hands they would support legalization. This statement of being worried about our children is simply a lie or a confusion of the truth.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  40. anti-Leah

    It would most certainly NOT be easier to initiate prohibitions against alcohol and tobbaco, rather than legalize Cannabis! The War of Drugs hasn't put a dent in reducing the usage of Cannabis for ANY age group in the USA, in SPITE of the Billions of $USD spent trying to do just that. In the meantime, a narco-war has developed to our South, reputable financial reports indicate that the USA's banking system is in part shored up by vast amounts of narco-money, an entire indoor gardening industry has thrived, 13 states have introduced MMJ programs or reduced penalties for possession, and numerous politicians have called for the issue to be discussed.

    You don't like Cannabis? Don't smoke Cannabis. Myself? I'm of the opinion that I was born to exist in a natural world, surrounded by the flora and fauna that co-evolved with human beings. My system is far more in tune with and prepared for imbibing in Cannabis than it is sitting in an office 50+ hours a week. You're a fool if you cannnot reconcile that.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  41. Dan

    As Mr. Kampia explained last night – Cannabis activists would love nothing better than for FDA testing of Cannabis. Doctors in 12 states already prescribe cannabis for their patients. If M.D.'s believe it has medical value in those states, how does that value cease to exist at the state line?

    For parents concerned for their kids, worried that legalizing cannabis for recreational use sends the wrong message, consider this:

    Kids surveyed recently said it's easier to get cannabis than it is to get a six pack of beer. The same was true 20 years ago, when I was a kid.

    The message I got when I was a kid, as it is as an adult, is that the government would rather continue to pursue a failed puritanical policy than be pragmatic and practical.

    What kind of message is that?

    June 17, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  42. brad

    Let's end this war on Marijuana!! It is just not worth our tax money to keep up this war going! All this money spent "just on pot" to keep this PLANT not legal! Just put it to a real vote! And see how many non voters come out and get reg. to vote..It would make your heads spin. Thanks Coop!!!

    June 17, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  43. Regina is a fool

    Regina–you have a very narrow understanding of the predominance of Cannabis in our soicety and in the history of humanity. Conservative estimates indicate that more than 1/3rd of the entire US population has or does smoke Cannabis. If you were correct, then our unemployment rate would be closer to 40% nationally.

    Further, it is the propagandists such as yourself that use derogatory terms for Cannabis such as 'dope', 'burnout', 'pothead', etc in an attempt to deride that which they do not understand.

    I work for a Fortune 1000 company that refuses to drug test its employees, because they realize that they'd have to lay off more than half of the company.

    For anyone compaining about the unhealthy aspect of /smoking' Cannabis–there are such devices known as vaporizers and water pipes that remove most, if not all toxic effects associated with smoking.

    You have no ground to stand on. The Government has been lying to you. Do the research. Anslinger and Hearst got us into this mess. Follow the money. Cannabis doesn't kill–Prohibition kills.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  44. Edward L Wainwright

    Thank you for the opportunity to voice my comment about the legalization of marijuana. One comment that I read on your site stated that marijuana cause cancer. There was a study done in Boston during the late 80’s that found that not true.

    Until America gets a handle on what to do with pot, I agree with the position of jury nullification of anyone caught with simple possession as long as there is no violence or weapons involved. The costs involve in our courts, law enforcement and incarceration is not justified. Law enforce should be focused on violent offenders and white collar crimes that cost every American.

    When was the last time anyone heard of someone smoking pot (thereby becoming paranoid) and robbing a bank.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  45. Leah

    It would be easier to make alcohol and cigarettes illegal than to legalize marijuana – for everyone to use. And I fail to see how marijuana being illegal forces people to become drug dealers. That is absurd. People don't need marijuana or other mind altering substances to exist. They crave them to make their psychological existance easier and more pleasant. These folks need to visit a psychiatrist and find out why they cannot function and find any pleaseure in this world without using.

    As for medical cases, that is entirely different. Marijuana can be dispensed and used medicinally and legally. But, the goverment is going to have to make it themselves or allow pharmacutical companies to do so.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  46. Claire

    Anderson – are you going to say how many of these comments are FOR legalizing pot versus not? Maybe put it to a vote.. this series is usless unless you give an idea of which side of the debate the American people are on.

    legalize it!

    June 17, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  47. Regina

    Regular marijuana smokers are people that don't have anything better to do with their lives, I know that because I've been there. The life style choice is a unhealthy one. It will cause physical harm to your body in the long run and it is addictive. Think about the words associated with it. DOPE, STONED.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  48. Canuck

    Why is it that every time a debate about cannabis starts, the debate ends up being about whether it should be in our societey. That was decided by our ancestors thousands of years ago. The only real debate is about who do we want controling this substance, we have a choice –violent gangs, crimminal organizations, terrorists– OR THE PEOLE (govt.) End the violence End Prohabition

    June 17, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  49. Lynnette Perry

    It would benefit us all financially and health-wise to legalize pot.
    As a non-pot smoker, I still see the advantaged to legalizinng it. -It could be taxed, which our economy does need. Also, our farmers could benefit from growing this legally, along with valuable hemp plants that we can make clothing from. And from what I understand the hempseed oil is one of the most nutritious substances to consume. (Lots of minerals and vitamins/amino acids.)
    It would help us keep our prison popuation from mass expenses that are created from housing those who choose to be consumers of this product. Better to put the sex offenders in there than a guy that smoked a joint or two.
    As for the hemp plant that is NOT pot, (there's a difference,) our naval ships are tethererd to shore with ropes that are made with durable hemp fibers we have to import form Canada. This is a waste And we have to pay millions of dollars for import taxes! Why pay import taxes on something we can grow here?
    I say we should put the same rules/laws in place for pot that we have for alcohol. Tax them both. When a person is caught driving under the influence, they should, of course, be arrested for DUI. Otherwise...for those that are OK to have an occaisional joint in the living room and then stay home, harming none, to watch a TV show (Say..Anderson Cooper?) and eat a few M&M's or other munchies, really, what IS the harm? More harm comes from not letting our farmers make a living, not letting the taxes come from the sales and..it is HORRIBLE that family members that could have relief when terminal and cannot get pot to help them.
    My sister had throat cancer 3 times! She did not smoke pot, was 6'1" tall and got down to 90 pounds because she was too sick to eat. We begged her to smoke pot. She gave in, recovered and could eat and not be sick and has now been cancer free 11 years! HOW can we deny this to the sick? Right now an uncle is dying. He should have this relief. Tis is cruel for him to suffer like this.
    Let the pot be taxed and regulated! Let consumers have it. It is like the Prohibition Times..you will NEVER stop people from drinking. Criminals are made from this, also. Pot prohibition causes crime, not the smokers. Allow the pot smokers to come home from jail and let's start paying attention to our economy. Growing pot here stops the Mexican border issues and pulls the rug out from under the drug lords.
    Hey..good enough for our presidents to grow and smoke..how hypicritical not to allow the comman man/woman to have it!
    ..Just my own opinion. I don't smoke it, but have NO problems with those that choose to!

    June 17, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  50. simon

    pot is thowt by many,to be gate drug,ones that brings you down to harder ones such us cocain,in my eyes,its a gate crime,one that makes you get use to brake the law,and ithink that exept the helta effects,with ristriction on advertisments,-all the bad will go away when it is legalized.
    i dont belive-that in western socciaty,their is anything else,that around 20$ of the people want to do,in does not harm anyone else,and it is not legal,its kind of an absurd,even it is worse than eating a big mac a day-citizens are adults -not kids that need some one to tell them whats bad and whats good,we have the internet for that...
    does it not bother you,that some people think that they know so much beter-they can make it elegal for you to make their choice....

    June 17, 2009 at 11:29 am |
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