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    The Case For The Leagalization Of Cannabis

    October 28th, 2009

    180px-HerbalThis is a very interesting topic that was brought to front of mind due to a recent Fortune magazine article on it.  Actually, it made the front cover.  I think that the article was very well written and, furthermore, I thought I should chime in.

    I think the case for legalization of cannabis is crystal clear for very simple reasons.  And if someone can refute my points below in any reasonable manner, then I may reconsider.

    First I will hit on the two most obvious points for the legalization of cannabis:

    • Cannabis, in any form – smoking to brownies, is not as addictive as cigarettes and cigarettes are legal.
    • Cannabis, in any form – alters your mind  to no greater extent than alcohol does and alcohol is legal.

    So beyond the issue of individual rights (or the ties to racial and ethnic fears that led to the criminalization), which is a whole different topic, cannabis should be legal for no other reason than that we currently allow other drugs that are both more addictive, more mind-altering, and worse for you with the only requirement to getting them being your age.  How does this make sense?

    It seems to me that if one wants cannabis to be illegal they would also have to be against both alcohol and tobacco.  How could they be for either of those drugs and against cannabis and not be a complete hypocrite?  But let us not stop there, and explore a bit more.

    Then there are other arguments, such as the violence surrounding cannabis.  Somehow these people must be forgetting the prohibition era in the early 1900’s where cannabis wasn’t the problem but alcohol.  The very drug that gave LOTS of money to mobsters and gangs and was the cause of countless acts of violence.  So I must ask again, how is the prohibition of cannabis different than the one against alcohol?  Why are we trying the same thing (prohibition) and expecting different results?  I just don’t get it.

    Okay, so that’s not the reason, but there must be one.  How about the fact that it is a ‘gateway drug’ to other drugs.  Interesting idea but it fails for the same reason as the other arguments, a double standard.  Just because alcohol and tobacco are not illegal does not make them any less of a drug.  So then, if cannabis is a gateway drug, what does that make tobacco and alcohol?  Anybody using harder drugs probably is using those two drugs at least as much as cannabis (but probably a lot more) and arguably at an earlier age too.

    And as if we needed any additional icing on the cakes, there is the health aspect.  No, I’m not even talking about the medical uses that our government knows about (and actually dispenses cannabis to people – yes the US gov has a program that dispenses medical cannabis).  Beyond that blatant hypocrisy (as if we needed another example) one can just look at four additional facts:

    1. In 1988 Judge Francis Young stated: “Marijuana…is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man” when ruling on a marijuana case.  It is basically impossible to overdose on cannabis, unlike alcohol that kills binge drinkers and alcoholics every year.
    2. Many studies (according to Fortune) also say that smoking cannabis (which there are many other ways to consume than smoking) is less detrimental to health than smoking tobacco – no hard proof that it causes lung cancer exists yet.
    3. Marinol, a synthetic version of the active psychoactive agent of cannabis, was approved by the FDA in 1986, further verifying that it has legitimate medical uses.
    4. When marijuana was criminalized in 1937 it was done “over the objection of the American Medical Association“.

    As one final point (last one I promise) the money aspect comes up.  From Fortune 9/28 p. 148:

    Assuming a national consumer market for marijuana of about $13 billion annually, Harvard economist Jeffery Miron has estimated that legalization could be expected to bring in state and federal governments about $7 billion annually in additional tax revenue, while saving them $13.5 billion in prohibition related law enforcement costs.

    That’s an estimated $20.5 BILLION in additional money for any number of activities, including law enforcement on the very gangs that that money would have been going to.

    Knowing all of this, does anyone have any ideas why it should be illegal?   I’m just plain baffled.

    This has been a Thought From the Cake Scraps.



    Fortune Fails

    April 14th, 2009

    warren_buffett_fortune_magazineRecently I got quite the offer from Fortune Magazine on a 3 year subscription.  I have always thought about getting a subscription but it always seemed just a bit to expensive for me.  If you know me you know I take my money very seriously.  So after much consideration (mostly in the form of having the offer sit on my desk for a few weeks) I decided to go ahead and send in the form.

    At this point I would like to admit that I am a credit-card-aholic.  I hate to use cash and never use a check – at least when it can be avoided.  Its not that I rack up the debt, it’s more that I just prefer it as a form of payment.  I like the perks that it offers.  I like the convenience of it.  I like being able to review my transactions BEFORE the money is taken out of my account.  And that’s my beef with debit cards.  I can contest a credit card charge before the money ever leaves my holdings.  I have to get the money back if there is an error and I used a debit card.

    With that background in mind, I move on to my issue with Fortune.  On the slip they provided, an option was to be billed later (and probably use my own stamp), send a check, or fill in my credit card info.  I did the credit card info.  It was just the easiest and quickest way to pay.  I slipped it into the provided return envelope (postage paid by them), licked it shut, and was all ready to send it off when I noticed something odd.  I could basically see right through the paper and read my credit card number.

    This didn’t take some special light, or even holding it up to the light.  Literally all I had to do was set it on my desk and press down on the envelope and I could see, plain as day, my credit card number.  Hmm….seems a bit odd.  So I didn’t send it and instead put in an inquiry to Fortune Customer Service – to verify that the offer was in fact real – and said the following:

    Comments : Hello – I got an offer in the mail for Fortune that advertises a corporate rate of x yrs. for $xx. The listed address is PO BOX 61xxx Tampa FL 33xxx-1xxx I have filled out the form, but before I send it off, I wanted to see if the offer was real. Main reason I question it is that you can see right through the envelope. Odd for an offer that asks for payment info to have a return envelope that is easily seen through.
    Thanks,
    David

    It took them nearly the full 2 business days they quote to get back to me and they said:

    Thank you for contacting FORTUNE Customer Service.
    Yes, the offer is a legitimate offer from FORTUNE magazine.  Any further questions, please let us know.

    We appreciate this opportunity to be of service.

    And then they had a bunch of links to useless info at the bottom.  Does this strike anybody as an odd response?

    Here I am, a potential customer.  I was suspicious about the offer but I didn’t discard it.  I went through the trouble of making sure it was real.  But more importantly I let them know why I was concerned and they didn’t even address the issue.  And they certainly didn’t thank me for bringing it to their attention.

    Keep in mind that this is Fortune magazine.  One would think they would be savvy about the real danger of identity theft.  And yet, they seem to have no problem giving you return envelopes requesting payment information that can easily be seen through.

    This is the sort of stuff I just don’t get.  How can they totally ignore the issue in their response?  I know there is just a small chance of anything actually going wrong but in the days where it is not difficult to hear about one story after another about a stolen identity, one would think a magazine of Fortune’s reputation would do what they can to protect the people they are prospecting to.  I don’t want to make a big issue out of nothing, but I can’t help but feel that being able to see my credit card number and expiration date through a business reply envelope is a big deal.

    What do you think?

    This has been a Thought From The Cake Scraps.