Way to go, Tom Ammiano. He's a California assemblyman who has introduced a bill to legalize marijuana in his state.
The bill doesn't have much chance of passing, given the United States' irrational drug policies. But it's a much-needed step in the right direction.
Recently New Scientist ran a story, "Radical alternatives proposed for cannabis controls," that described why legalizing marijuana makes both scientific and societal sense.
What should we do to minimise the harm cannabis can cause to the health and welfare of users and to society at large? One answer, according to a report by a group of prominent academics and government advisers, is to change the law to allow the state to prepare and distribute the drug for recreational use.
This proposal is the most controversial of several recommendations from a commission assembled by the Beckley Foundation, a British charity dedicated to exploring the science of psychoactive substances. "The damage done by prohibition is worse than from the substance itself," says Amanda Feilding, the founder of the Beckley Foundation.
Click on this image to see the relative harm of cannabis, tobacco, heroin, and alcohol. It makes absolutely zero sense that the least harmful substance, cannabis, is illegal while tobacco and alcohol are blessed (and taxed) by governments.
The NORML blog keeps track of marijuana-related legislation and other policy initiatives aimed at bringing this country out of its crazy Reefer Madness! mentality. It was good to see that the Obama administration is going to put a stop to federal raids on state medical marijuana providers.
I also found "10 Reasons to Get High About Marijuana in 2009." Excellent.
If the Oregon legislature ever takes up a bill to legalize the selling of marijuana, I'll go to a hearing and present myself as living testimony in favor of cannabis' harmlessness. For a couple of years during my San Jose State college days, 1966-1971, I was stoned nearly every day.
Yet I got great grades, nearly all A's. My friends and I drove our cars and motorcycles all around the Bay Area, with nary a marijuana-fueled accident on our record. Nobody ever had the slightest desire to try hard drugs -- just other varieties of psychedelics.
Most perusasive of all in these difficult economic times, we contributed mightily to local restaurant profit margins. Those midnight munchie runs to Denny's put a lot of money into corporate pockets, and tips in the waitresses'.