Yesterday was April 20th, which as "4/20 day" is an unofficial day of marijuana, shall
we say, awareness. With medical marijuana provisions and even some
legalization laws slowly moving through various U.S. state and local
legislatures, April 20th is often used by legalization advocates as an
opportunity to take stock of their progress. The Wire covered the state of the legalization debate yesterday. Here's a look at some specific measures, including ones being pushed in D.C. and Philadelphia.
Legalization Laws Doing Well
Politics Daily's Sandra Fish cheers, "On this
4/20, with medical marijuana legal in 14 states and outright
legalization on the ballot in California and possibly Colorado, the
drug's legitimacy is clearly gaining ground." However, "As medical
marijuana becomes more prevalent and states consider legalization, a
range of issues emerge about how pot would be regulated." Smoking bans,
taxation concerns, and question about distribution all pose real
But Public Opposes Politics Daily's Bruce Drake notes, "polls find
most oppose legalizing marijuana." For example, "A CBS News poll
conducted March 29-April 1 says that 51 percent of Americans oppose
legalization while 44 percent support it, with 5 percent undecided. That
result was not much different than a CBS survey conducted last July,
but it did show a drop in opposition from March 2009 when those against
legalization numbered 63 percent."
D.C. Approves Medical
Marijuana The Washington Post's Tim Craig explains the bill,
"unanimously approved" on 4/20 day, to "allow chronically ill patients
to receive a doctor's prescription to use marijuana and buy it from a
city-sanctioned distribution center." Wonkette's Jim Newell scoffs, "Happy
National Marijuana Day, hippies."
Decriminalization The Philadelphia Inquirer's Craig McCoy reports, "The
city's new district attorney and the state Supreme Court are moving to
all but decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for
personal use in an effort to unclog Philadelphia's crowded court
dockets. Under a policy to take effect later this month, prosecutors
will charge such cases as summary offenses rather than as misdemeanors."
Legalizing Doesn't Make Economic Sense Former
Congressman and DEA official Asa Hutchinson cuts
against the pro-legalization argument that the market would provide
big tax revenues. "Put plainly, marijuana was made illegal because it is
harmful; citing revenue gain as reason to legalize the drug emphasizes
money over health and ignores the significant cost burdens that will
inevitably arise as a result." For example, the health harms would
ultimately cost more than those tax revenues would produce.
Marijuana Market In a massive, multi-part report, CNBC
explores the $40 billion/year U.S. marijuana industry, touching on
everything from the economics of the market to the legalities of the
trade to the drug's surprising role on Wall Street and in U.S. business.
Here's an excerpt:
The Atlantic Wire is your authoritative guide to the news and ideas that matter most right now. Our team tracks newsmakers and opinions across the entire media spectrum: newspapers, web sites, television, radio and magazines.
But we do more than just collect information. By synthesizing, analyzing and summarizing what’s out there, and adding new information when we can, we are a news engine that gives you a quick and valuable account of the issues of the day.