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Support for Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Growing in U.S.


Catharine Leach has two sons and is married. She has a job with a federal contractor and she said she smokes pot almost every day of the week. Leach worries that by showing public support for marijuana she could lose her job or have the police show up at her home but she decided she no longer wanted to remain in hiding.

“I’m done being afraid,” she said. “People in this country are finally coming around and seeing that putting someone in jail for this doesn’t make sense. It’s just a changing of the time.”

Supporters of marijuana are helping the drug come closer and closer to becoming legal at some point in the United States. In fact, 17 states and the District of Columbia have authorized medical marijuana. Also, 14 states have reduced criminal penalties for small amounts of pot found in possession of people. The state of Rhode Island is looking to become the 15th state to decriminalize the possession of marijuana. Earlier last week, the General Assembly in the state passed legislation that would eliminate large fines and jail time for possessing an ounce or less of pot. Any adult found with a small portion of pot would face a civil fine of $150. The pot would be confiscated by police and the incident would not be posted to the criminal record. Any minor caught with marijuana would need to attend and complete a drug awareness program and perform community service. Governor Lincoln Chafee has told the public that he is planning to sign the legislation into law.

“America’s 50-year war on drugs has been an abysmal failure,” said Rep. John Savage. “Marijuana in this country should be legalized. It should be sold and taxed.”


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“What kind of message are we sending to our youth? We are more worried about soda – for health reasons – than we are about marijuana,” Rhode Island state Rep. John Carnevale, an opponent, said.

Last month, a survey conducted by Rasmussen showed that 56 percent of those who responded favored the legalization and regulation of marijuana. Last year, a poll conducted nationally by Gallup found that support for the legalization of pot increased to 50 percent. The support levels were at 46 percent in 2010 and 25 percent in the middle of the 1990s.

“It’s now politically viable to talk about these things,” said Robert Capecchi, legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project. “The public understands that there are substances that are far more harmful – alcohol, tobacco – that we regulate. People are realizing just how much money is being wasted on prohibition.”

Robert DuPont served as the nation’s drug czar for presidents Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon.

“It is a major drug of abuse,” he said. “People ask me what the most dangerous drug is, and I say marijuana. Other drugs have serious consequences that are easy to recognize. Marijuana saps people’s motivation, their direction. It’s a drug that makes people stupid and lazy. That’s in a way more dangerous.”

  • kevin

    It’s obvious that 75 years of marijuana prohibition hasn’t reduced supply or demand. Conservatives agree that prohibition is a form of socialism. Let’s move past the chaos that is prohibition and regulate the market.

  • denbee

    Mr.Dupont, as one of those “stupid and lazy” potheads let me tell you a few things. Lawyers, doctors, presidents, senators, teachers and many, many more are cannabis users. My best friend’s mom was a cannabis user in the last 8 moonths of her life. My platoon leader in Vietnam was a cannabis user and one of the bravest and motivated people I heve had the honor to know. Want me to tell you about the motivation of alcohol users? How about the violence of alcohol users? Or the stupidity of alcohol users? Your drink causes you to pee your pants in public, to puke all over yourself, to slur your speech, to make you stumble and fall all over and you want to tell me about potheads being stupid and lazy??? Sir, I can smoke a dozen joints and stand up and recite my ABC’s. I will bet you that you can’t drink a fifth of Jack Daniels and do the same. I can smoke pot until the cows come home and not harm myself. You, Mr.Dupont, are an ass. You need to be put out to pasture with all the other folks who believe in the “gateway theory” or the “causes white women to want sex with black men theory” or the “makes you violent and dangerous theory” or the “very habit forming theory” or the “stupid and lazy theory” or the…well, take your pick from the many, many lies. You are preaching to an audience who is much more informed and intelligent than you are about the subject. That’s what I love about you guys who oppose legalizing pot, you don’t know what your talking about because you have never used it. You simply repeat the lies someone else told you or you read in a book so it must be true. Education, education, education Mr.Dupont will make you a contributing member of our society, otherwise you are just a parrot, a mimic, a lie monger who sucks on the teat of induced public ignorance and fear. The “Marijuana Wars” have provided a good living for you sir but I suspect that the gravy train is coming to an end. Time to re-invent yourself.

  • Andee

    Get it right, Marijuana is not a drug. If you want to call it a schedule one substance, go right ahead… that is an arbitrary title assigned by a group of (ignorant) lawmakers. Drugs are compounds found in nature that are replicated and synthesized for treatment of ailments. Marijuana is not replicated in a lab, it is just a plant… I repeat, it is just a plant… stop calling it a drug, you sound ignorant.

  • Mother Mary Jane

    Mother Mary Jane is taking over the country and there’s nothing you can do about it. Soon we will have Weed Stamps along with Food Stamps for those in need.

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