This week, Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank plans to introduce a bill to decriminalize the personal possession and use of marijuana. When announcing it on Real Time with Bill Maher, he jokingly referred to it as the “Make Room for the Serious Criminals” bill. Out here in Washington State, Edmonds resident and travel show host Rick Steves continues to fight for similar reforms. He has a column in the Seattle PI and, as always, he does a great job of explaining why we need to completely re-think our marijuana laws:
Some concerned U.S. parents are comforted by the illusion of control created by our complete prohibition of marijuana. But the policy seems to be backfiring: Their kids say it’s easier to buy marijuana than tobacco or alcohol. (You don’t get carded when you buy something illegally.) Meanwhile, Dutch parents say their approach not only protects their younger children, but also helps insulate teens over 18 from street pushers trying to get them hooked on more addictive (and profitable) hard drugs.
After a decade of regulating marijuana, Dutch anti-drug abuse professionals agree there has been no significant increase in pot smoking among young people, and that overall cannabis use has increased only slightly. European and U.S. government statistics show per-capita consumption of marijuana for most of Europe (including the Netherlands) is about half that of the U.S., despite the criminal consequences facing American pot smokers.
When it comes to marijuana, European leaders understand that a society must choose: Tolerate alternative lifestyles or build more prisons. They’ve made their choice. We’re still building more prisons.
To be fair, though, I should probably point out this news article from November to provide an example of the how dangerous this drug can be:
Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne fired back Thursday at criticism of his leadership and allegations of inappropriate behavior published in the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal reported that Cayne was playing bridge and golf and was often out of touch from his embattled Wall Street firm this past summer while its hedge funds collapsed and helped to spark a credit crisis in global financial markets.
The Journal said that during what it described as 10 critical days of the crisis in July, Cayne was playing in a bridge tournament in Nashville, Tenn., without a cell phone or an email device.
Cayne shot back in a memo to Bear Stearns employees that he “stands by” his 14-year record at the firm and that allegations of “inappropriate conduct” are “absolutely untrue.”
The paper also reported that Cayne has sometimes smoked marijuana after bridge tournaments, citing attendees at the tournaments, although the paper did not say whether he did so in Nashville in July.
Cayne denied one specific alleged incident in 2004 that the paper asked about, but it reported that when it asked more generally whether he smoked pot during bridge tournaments or on other occasions, he said he would respond only “to a specific allegation.”
Remember kids, if you smoke pot, the stock holdings in the company you run might fall from $1 billion to less than $100 million. Stay away from that shit.