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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Marijuana Should Be Decriminalized By Toure' & Pat Robertson

Back in 2004 Pres. Obama supported the idea of Marijuana Decriminalization.
However after his Election he made Marijuana Possession a Felony & said he was No longer in Favor of Decriminalizing Marijuana even though he knows Millions of BLACK Men are Arrested and Jailed for Pot each year.
What's Up with that Obama?

For the record NO I do NOT Smoke Weed or Cigarettes, nor do I drink Alcohol. So why am I in favor of Decriminalizing Weed?
I am in favor of any Legal Reform that will help keep Millions of BLACK & Latino Young Men out of America's Prisons.
Heads Up Congress: Fix Our Country's Broken, Racist Criminal Justice System!

Marijuana Should Be Decriminalized

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to change New York’s laws to decriminalize marijuana. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have rushed to agree. Cuomo’s proposed change is a repudiation of Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk program, which has arrested more than 400,000 people for marijuana crimes— more than were arrested by the three prior Mayors combined — while still not denting marijuana use or availability in New York. It seems that Bloomberg’s previous tactic was doing little besides creating unwilling clients for the prison-industrial complex.

Everyone who has been a teenager knows how prevalent marijuana is throughout America and how easy it is to acquire. If the police did stop-and-frisks of every white boy in almost any city or college, they would yield plenty of arrests for marijuana possession. But black men are targeted and stopped and frisked for the crime of being black in poor black neighborhoods, and those found with small bags of marijuana are sucked into the justice system and forever branded a criminal. This means they will struggle to find work, may not qualify for student-aid and likely stay in public housing. These men are virtually removed from society for a nonviolent offense that many Americans commit. They are failed by America.

Cuomo recognizes that arresting those caught with small amounts of marijuana is not pragmatic in terms of the time and energy of police, prosecutors and courts — in New York more people are arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana than any other crime. Cuomo also knows that it doesn’t make sense to ruin the job prospects of so many New Yorkers for this crime. Twelve states have already decriminalized marijuana, including California, but because of New York’s size and place in America, decriminalizing marijuana in the state represents a significant turning point.

Recognizing that, I called Ohio State University Associate Professor of Law Michelle Alexander, the author of the The New Jim Crow, a definitive study of the impact of the War on Drugs. Professor Alexander told me that the loss of human potential for possessing small amounts of marijuana is staggering. “If Barack Obama had been caught for making that mistake [smoking weed in high school], he would have been branded a criminal and the odds that he would’ve made it to college are slim,” Alexander said. “He might not even be eligible to vote.” Decriminalization is a positive step toward stopping the damage, Alexander said, but she also thinks we should do even more.

“I find it encouraging that Cuomo acknowledged the racial dimensions of these marijuana arrests and the lifelong consequences of acquiring a criminal record. Once you are branded a criminal, even for marijuana possession, that record follows you for life,” Alexander said. “It’s encouraging that Cuomo acknowledges how people of color have been subject to discriminatory enforcement, and a criminal record can relegate you to permanent second-class status. What I’d like to see is Cuomo go even further and call for the expungement of records for those who’ve been criminally charged with marijuana possession to ensure those who were ensnared before this likely policy change aren’t branded for life.”

But what do we say to those who think if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime? Or those who think it’s the perpetrators’ fault for having weed in their pockets and thus their problem? Alexander has an answer. “There are those who believe the government shouldn’t be in the business of locking people up and putting them in literal cages because they ingest marijuana. Drug consumption should be treated as a public health problem and not as a crime.

I share that view,” she said. “Why criminalize marijuana at all? If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve gotta admit the harm associated with being branded a criminal for life is vastly more devastating to individuals and families than any potential harm associated with smoking marijuana. So if we’re gonna point fingers and say, ‘If you don’t wanna do the time, don’t do the crime,’ then we have to ask ourselves why is this conduct criminalized? Why is it treated as a crime rather than a public-health problem, and why are the odds of being punished so much greater if you’re a person of color than if you’re white? Why should young people in ghettoized communities pay for their mistakes for the rest of their lives, while middle-class white kids get to make those mistakes and then go off to college?”

The War on Drugs has a movement rising against it, a movement that’s toppled the Rockefeller drug laws and is now battling stop-and-frisk and the criminalization of small amounts of marijuana. When major politicians who have an eye on the White House, such as Cuomo, are willing to listen and make changes, signaling that they know legislation is not going to hurt them in a run for national office, then in terms of reforming the War on Drugs, it just could be early morning in America.

Pat Robertson: Marijuana should be legal

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says marijuana should be legalized and treated like alcohol because the government's war on drugs has failed.

The outspoken evangelical Christian and host of "The 700 Club" on the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network he founded said the war on drugs is costing taxpayers billions of dollars. He said people should not be sent to prison for marijuana possession.

The 81-year-old first became a self-proclaimed "hero of the hippie culture" in 2010 when called for ending mandatory prison sentences for marijuana possession convictions.

"I just think it's shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of a controlled substance," Robertson said on his show March 1. "The whole thing is crazy. We've said, `Well, we're conservatives, we're tough on crime.' That's baloney."

Robertson's support for legalizing pot appeared in a New York Times story published Thursday. His spokesman confirmed to AP that Robertson supports legalization with regulation. Robertson was not made available for an interview.

"I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol," Robertson told the newspaper. "If people can go into a liquor store and buy a bottle of alcohol and drink it at home legally, then why do we say that the use of this other substance is somehow criminal?"

Robertson said he "absolutely" supports ballot measures in Colorado and Washington state that would allow people older than 21 to possess a small amount of marijuana and allow for commercial pot sales. Both measures, if passed by voters, would place the states at odds with federal law, which bans marijuana use of all kinds.

While he supports the measures, Robertson said he would not campaign for them and was "not encouraging people to use narcotics in any way, shape or form."

"I'm not a crusader," he said. "I've never used marijuana and I don't intend to, but it's just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn't succeeded."

In a statement Thursday, Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said Robertson's "clearly stated and well-reasoned comments throw a curve ball into the growing debate over legalizing marijuana."

"Defenders of marijuana prohibition... must be wondering if it's only a matter of time before theirs proves to be a lost cause," he said.

Christian advocacy group Focus on the Family opposes legalization for medical or recreational use, Carrie Gordon Earll, the organization's senior director of government and public policy, said in a statement. The group would not comment specifically on Robertson's statements.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana. Several states also have decriminalized marijuana, which removes or lowers penalties for possession. Legalization, however, would eliminate penalties and pave the way for regulated sales similar to alcohol.

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Sources: ABC, CBN, CBS News, The Young Turks, TIME Magazine, Youtube, Google Maps

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