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March 26th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Time for U.S. to legalize drugs?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As drugs and related violence from Mexico continue to infect 230 cities in the United States, some politicians, economists, and even drug law enforcement leaders say legalizing drugs may be the answer.

One Texas city councilman tells CNN "it's the least worst option to ending cartel violence." He says decriminalizing drugs would take away a lot of the financial incentive for the cartels to kill. Arizona's Attorney General says 60 percent of the battle is marijuana - and he's called for "at least a rational discussion" on ways to take the profit out of weed.

Some insist legalizing drugs like pot would help our economy. One California congresswoman says it would pump $1 billion into her state's budget alone every year. A senior economics lecturer at Harvard says federal, state and local governments spend $44 billion a year to enforce drug prohibition. If drugs were legal, they could be making about $33 billion per year in tax revenue.

Jeffrey Miron describes how prohibition creates violence because it drives the drug market underground. He says the same was true with alcohol; and is also the case for illegal gambling or prostitution. He says prohibition of drugs also corrupts politicians and law enforcement, which is why bribery, threats and kidnapping are common for industries that are prohibited; but rare in other cases.

But critics say the consequences of legalizing drugs would far outweigh the benefits. Some focus on the moral and health related concerns about drug use. One former special agent for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration told CNN "No way. We would lose a generation." Some wonder if drug use itself can cause violent behavior; and others aren't sure if decriminalization would make much of a difference in the Mexican drug war. However, the country has managed to survive the repeal of Prohibition almost 80 years ago.

Here’s my question to you: Is it time for the U.S. to legalize drugs?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Kevin from the Netherlands writes:
Let American politicians ask us here in the Netherlands how we are successfully dealing with the drug problem. Most of the junkies here are foreigners who are not free to smoke weed in their countries. Check the crime statistics in America and the Netherlands, then I’ll leave the answer to you.

C. from Tampa, Florida writes:
We seem to be running out of ideas on how to make money. Legalizing and taxing the hell out of some softer drugs like marijuana could bring us considerable amounts of money.

Danny from Williamsburg, Kentucky writes:
Absolutely not. You don't legalize murder or rape because they keep happening, nor should you legalize drugs. Drugs put us all in danger, not just from the violence that surrounds them, but because of their adverse effects on society. Do not trade one evil for another.

Jacob writes:
Only somebody who's high could think that fighting this "war" has been effective. I don't do drugs, and I don't support doing so, but we've got to realize that everything isn't in our control. For now, we're only burning dollars.

Mark from Columbus, Ohio writes:
Jack, It seems like more and more people are calling for this rational discussion, so why is Obama laughing off the question like it’s some sort of joke? There have been many studies showing broad potential savings from a legal Cannibus plant and also broad potential earnings, including from taxes, industrial, textile, and biofuel resources. Maybe if Obama would sit down and "relax" for a few minutes, someone could explain to him some of the benefits that aren't necessarily recreational.

Bill writes:
I don't agree with the legalization of drugs. I do agree with the legalization of marijuana.

Dean from Modesto, California writes:
You are on the right track, Jack. We have to keep in mind that the "demonization" of drugs came from the federal government’s "easy" solution to something that they didn't want to bother on figuring out how to tax.

R. writes:
If Palin becomes president, yes.


Filed under: Law Enforcement • United States
soundoff (353 Responses)
  1. Deb I , Nauvoo, IL

    Prohibition never works. I only thank God that we aren't treating alcohol like we are other natural substances. Can you imagine people with assault rifles selling you a beer? The mind boggles. Let users be responsible for their lives. I don't trust governmental enforcement of a purely moral issue.

    March 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  2. Sharon in Virginia

    The U.S. should NOT legalize drugs period. We have more than enough addicts without it being legal.

    March 26, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  3. bob brost owen sound

    If we keep on doing what we've been doing (about drugs)........we're
    gonna keep on what we've been gettin !

    March 26, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  4. Mack in Traverse city Michigan

    Jack there is no way drugs should be legalized, Marijuana on the other hand should be. Its two different discussions. Anyone who believes the prohibition on pot is doing anything to prevent it's use is probably to naive to be caring for theirself. The only thing marijuana's legalization would change is to whom the profits of it's sale would benefit. By all means regulate its use as we do alchohol, Punish those who are irresponsible with it, and tax the crap out of it.

    March 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  5. Joan B

    Why not? We are on the road to the finality of Rome – let's move forward fastter.
    Joan B
    MN

    March 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  6. Melanie Sandusky, Ohio

    Jack,

    Well, don't know about drugs, but making pot legal is more than a good idea. It would solve problems, cut crimes, cut cost and show a profit. I don't understand those who blow smoke in your face as they swill down a beer saying pot should never be legal.
    Get real, people.

    March 26, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  7. Allen L Wenger

    Yes, prohibition does not work. We should redirect the billions we spend, in the war on drugs and incarceration of nonviolent criminals, to improve the lives of Americans.

    Mountain Home ID

    March 26, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  8. David in Raleigh, NC

    We shouldn't legalize drugs. To fix the drug problem, we need to increase enforcement and have a mandatory jail sentence without parole for all drug violations.

    March 26, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  9. Rob of Brooklyn

    its time. people aren't going to stop using it. And jail time for use of this–well its outdated. this isn't 1950 with "Reefer Madness"- make money selling it .and as for the we'll lose a generation–we've lost more than that because of Bush...lets be relevant as a country for a change

    March 26, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  10. Ed Reed

    Yes! Rush Limbaugh appears to be in a lot of pain!

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    March 26, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  11. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    No no no no......................Drugs are DRUGS
    Bad stuff and we should not legalize any of them.That is the easy way out and the easy way in for a catrostrophic national problem.
    David

    March 26, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  12. arlene in iowa

    i do think pot should be legalized as far as medical purposes. I think if you legalize it for recreational use it is a big mistake. The consequences would outweigh the benefit by far in my opinion..legalize one drug and you open up the road for legalization of more dangerous drugs.Isn't that one objective in Afghanistan, getting rid of the poppy plants..?

    March 26, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  13. Rose in Az

    No, not now, not ever. If the U.S. legalizes drugs then watch out for our health care costs to soar. Drug are not now and never have been good for anyone, I can't imagine that the U.S. would even consider such an action.

    March 26, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  14. Esther , Massillon Ohio

    yes i believe it is time to go back to Hemp and see what Marijuana can also do for the economy. why not

    March 26, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  15. Ken M . Millington MI

    Hello Jack. Yes i believe that it is time to legalize marijuana, it definitely will raise revenue for states and federal gov't. Also it can be regulated and controled, not to mention it will cut the cartels revenue and power as well as local crime rates.

    March 26, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  16. C Greene Oklahoma city

    I think if you legalize drugs, the sale of them would simply go underground. It seems that no matter what you do, criminals always find a way to break the law.

    March 26, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  17. Gina in Racine, Wi

    I know marijuana has been said to be the "gateway" to other drugs but....lets face it. There are probably millions of Americans that smoke it for recreational purposes.

    I am surprised that our greedy government hasn't calculated the revenue they could bring in if they legalized it and taxed the heck out of it.....just like they do gas, cigarettes and alchohol.

    March 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  18. elizabeth, sacramento

    We deserve a thorough, unbiased dialogue about legalizing marijuana. For those who insist upon legislating morality due to their religion, to paraphrase the Bible, God gave us the herbs of the field for our use.

    March 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  19. Peg

    Dear Jack,
    Clearly it is time to legalize marijuana.
    Peg from NY

    March 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  20. Michael Elmore

    Of course drugs should be legalized. As for morality, since when is hypocrisy moral?

    March 26, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  21. Gerry In Toronto

    The ones for legaization of drugs are users, the ones against aren't. The real cost of legalizing marijuana would far outway the benefits.

    March 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  22. Arlene

    No.

    Arlene in Atlanta

    March 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  23. Kevin Taxachusetts

    NO! If drugs are legalized you won't be able to buy them on Sundays.

    March 26, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  24. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    I think educated Americans would abstain just like from Cigarettes. We know the dangers. I worry that you would have more less educated high, and driving on the same streets I drive on. If you legalize pot, better make dui penalties more severe as well!

    March 26, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  25. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    As far as I’m concerned, anyone fool enough to do drugs is making their own bed. It’s not for me and I’m not judgmental about it. But I see this as an opportunity. Yes, legalize drugs and tax them like we tax the other government sanctioned drugs alcohol and tobacco. That should go a long way toward helping to dig us out of our financial problems. Further, it will put the drug lords out of business as long as the product we make is as good or better. Works for me.

    March 26, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  26. Nick

    Are we done spending tax payer money on harassing non-violent drug offenders? Are we done creating a lucrative and violent blackmarket for drugs? Are we ready to generate huge tax revenue from the sale of marijuana? How about quality control and regulation? Let's grow up already, America.

    March 26, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  27. odessa

    i don't know.tough question but i would legalize marijuana for medical purposes only..if marijuana was selling in stores, most tobacco would be hurting and lot of stores would be losing money.think about it.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  28. John A. Maloney Jr.

    Yes prohibition dose not work. It did not work for alcahol. It will not work for drugs. Make them legal tax them and educate people about them. Try this apporach for the same amount of time as the war on drugs and see if their is a diffrent result. If not try something else.
    John From St. Marys Pa.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  29. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    IF legalizing drugs would end the drug cartel war, yes. But I do not believe that legalizing hardcore drugs will help anyone.

    However, marijuana should be legalized, its no worse that cigarettes and alcohol.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  30. Scott

    Sure, then the government can tax that too.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  31. Richard

    Yes,take the profit out of drug sales and the government will get the tax money instead.Prohibatiion didnt work nor are the drug laws.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  32. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    In the pursuit of everyday life, it is difficult enough engaging people who have consumed too much alcohol. Engaging people who have consumed too much mind altering substances like heroin, methamphetamine, crack-cocaine, and PCP would be a living nightmare.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  33. simonsays/Orlando

    I say legalize it, grow it, and tax it in America. Unfortunately, they will probably want to unionize it too which will make it cost prohibitive.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  34. Chuck in Warren, Ohio

    Jack: No, drugs, booze, And the like are just a way to hid from life. Two times on a County Grand Jury and every case to do with child rape or child abuse was a long time marijuana user.
    Legalizing drugs is a fast way to become a LOSER NATION.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  35. Doris/St. Louis

    No way, this should never happen, however, this could possibly happen in America; to date we have legal alcohol and tobacco, while millions are dying as I type my comment.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  36. J Georgia

    I don't know about "legalize", but I think it's way past time we prioritize our efforts and resources to more pressing things. However we do need to make it clear that if people ruin their health with drugs, they must understand there will be no rescue at public expense.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  37. Theresa in Atlanta

    Legalize it, control it, tax it. Economic problem solved. The teetotaling wingnuts will just have to get over it.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  38. Chuck from Gulf Shores, Alabama

    As long as the politicans use "the war on drugs" as a .
    platform for their "family values" voters we will never legalize drugs in this country. Never mind that the use of marijuana has no medical evidence of a health concern – it actually helps many health issues. Legalize drugs and you remove the criminal element. It's a "no brainer!"

    March 26, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  39. DAME-O / TEXAS

    Jack I say yes to legalizing drugs, but just marijuana...

    March 26, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  40. Justin

    I prefer to think of it as "realistic regulation". Right now marijuana is easy to get but hidden. Take it out of the shadows. More people might use it openly, but I doubt you'll see an actual increase in drug use.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  41. Randy from Salt Lake City

    Ah, yeah.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  42. Brad from Virginia

    It is foolish to think that a government that can't keep drugs out of PRISONS would somehow be able to keep drugs out of an entire country. As long as people want drugs, they will be able to get them. The question is this: Do we want drugs to be sold in this country by honest businessmen with families to feed, or by ruthless criminals with gangs to arm?

    March 26, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  43. Karen - Missouri

    NO

    March 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  44. Liz, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

    Legalize drugs! It's the lesser of two evils – terrible violence and torture would drop immensely, and the drug cartels would serve no useful function anymore.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  45. Mobius

    If you actually read the recent rash of bailout legislation, it's obvious that many in Congress have been not only thinking about legalizing drugs, but they've also been doing some first-hand research.

    It's about time. Let's do this!

    Mobius
    Washington, DC

    March 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  46. Ruilt

    Maybe not all drugs but the marijuana maybe. It'd cut down on people set to jail for possession of that drug alone. would create taxable revenue from the sales. And it would put a dent in the drug wars in mexico since there'd be fewer clients in america to sell to.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  47. Brett Kelly

    Yes, with high regulation and taxation.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  48. kellye

    oh yes, please! end the insanity of prohibition of this personal choice.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  49. Mike McKibben, lady lake, Fl

    No! The damage I've seen from illegal drugs, 33 billion dollars won't even come close to clean up the mess that this will cause.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  50. Norah, Ocala, FL

    The profits from wacky tobaccy must travel pretty high up the political ladder, otherwise it would've been decriminalized decades ago. Heck, tax the stuff and bolster the coffers with the proceeds.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  51. steve o barstow ca

    Does this mean if we had functioning drug addicts running our banks and AIG, all this ecomonic disater could have been avoided? Or would some one expolt thier tax forms and cheat society out of money to fund schools. Oh wait Jack didn't this mess come out of dysfunction!
    What will they want next a Congressional medal of honor for who can smoke the most pot, without going out for a munchy binge.
    Do not go for legalization it is just a pipe dream for fools.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  52. Jon

    Yes, legalize them. Drug prohibition does not succeed at stopping drug use. Our government spends millions and millions of dollars each year trying to stop drugs. Our prisons are full of drug offenders. People die every day because of drug violence. Legalize them and that all goes away. Yes, some people will abuse drugs if they're made legal, but some people abuse drugs now.

    As for the apparently anonymous drug enforcement agent who says we'd lose a generation, that person is clueless. I'm a young person, and the vast majority of my friends do not use drugs. We don't use them not because they're illegal. We don't use them because we don't want to, and that's not going to change.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  53. Mary

    While I don't agree with drug abusers in the way they choose to life their life, I don't think putting them in jail is making any difference as a deterrent to drug use. We don't want a society of drugged out zombies but we already have one; then maybe our law enforcement and justice system won't be so overwhelmed and can focus more on violent offenders.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  54. Joe, Philadelphia

    Yes it is time to legalize. I am sure the same arguments were made during Prohibition. But seriously is anyone who does not do heroine going to wake up one day and say hey i think I'll shoot heroine today because it is legal. I don't think so.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  55. jay

    it's time for this country to wake up. legalizing and taxing selling through liquor agencies would help balance the budget and pay for some of the problems the illegal drugs brought on.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  56. Joe in Missouri

    Either legalize drugs or make AK-47s and other non-hunting weapons illegal.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  57. william,oregon

    Should be up to the states, not the feds.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  58. barbara in tacoma

    Why not,it would put alot of drug dealers out of business.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  59. Bill in Texas

    Only today's inept youth, devoid of principles, integrity, and responsibility, would come up with legalizing drugs as a solution to any problem. Have we lost our stature in the world because of Wall Street, bad loans, too much debt, - or is it really about today's morally bankrupt generation?

    March 26, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  60. Kristin from D.C.

    Absolutely. The Secretary of State herself acknowledged that our drug policies have fueled cartel violence in Mexico. It is time for a sensible policy that promotes education and treatment rather than making criminals out of ordinary people.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  61. Mr. Gatto, Seminole, Florida

    I feel it would be helpful to legalize weed. It's just a waste to go after and frankly, 33 billion more in income and would be worth it in my opinion. It's time to end this prohibition, it failed in the '20s and '30s and it's failed again.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  62. Salley

    Yes, we should have done it years ago. Legalize it, put a high tax on it and have better control over it. Like alcohol and tobacco. People will do what people will do. It they want to be be stupid enough to use it let them. Also let them pay for the problems it causes.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  63. J.L.

    No let them remain illegal then people feel like there getting over on the government. We need that you know. Maryland.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  64. Ronald Holst

    Jack can we all legalize euthanize ill people too it would be far better to put so many of these people that are hooked on drugs just to put them out of there misery instead of feeding there addiction .
    Robn Holst
    San Antonio .

    March 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  65. flying wolf, Manchester NH

    The only way to end the crime is to end the Prohibition! We've forgotten our history with the Prohibition in the Twenties and now we're condemned to repeat it. Also allowing farmers to grow hemp again would do a lot to help the economy too

    March 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  66. Bob Mutch

    Jack,

    Legalization, in a country as outwardly judgmental as ours, is a political non-starter. Decriminalization of marijuana, on the other hand, ought to be "doable"; and is a step toward reducing prohibition-related crime, as well as keeping some of the money related to its sale in the country.

    The level of opinionated subjective blather on both sides of this issue all but ensures that it will never be faced, much less resolved. By the way, I have a 1988 issue of Time with this very topic as cover story.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  67. Brian - Dallas, Tx

    Absolutely not. At no point should we throw away our moral compass simply because "times are hard and we have bigger fish to fry". I assume that next we should legalize murder or child abuse because it will greatly reduce the occurance of those acts. I think not.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  68. Pugas-AZ

    Just what this country needs: more gambling and legalizing illicit drugs. This should help dull our senses as we continue to spiral downhill as a country. This would also put too many people in law enforcement and homeland security out of work; not to mention an increase in illegal immigration from Mexico due to the drying up of money flow from this country

    March 26, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  69. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Coke, meth, and heroin are bad news. Cannabis is hard on your lungs, but alcohol is hard on your liver, so what's the difference? Legalize pot and continue to use prescriptions for cocaine and opium. That would help solve some of the problems.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  70. Dan from Alliance, OH

    Yes, Let the governent tax the stuff and sell it at stores. The drug and cigarette companies would have the stuff on the market in no time.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  71. JOHN N.H.

    They should legalize Marijuana so at least we won't have to bailout the snack food industry!

    March 26, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  72. Bonnie in Arkansas

    Marijana should be legalized, but it will never happen because of the demonizing mindset and because the local law makes too much money confiscating people's possessions.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  73. John O'Malley

    I don’t do drugs nor will I ever, but this is a fight between science and morally and it is frustrating to always see morally win over science. Legalize it, tax it, and help end violence and these drugs create.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  74. steph

    Marijuana for medical use? Yes. Any drug for recreational use? No!

    March 26, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  75. Craig from Mass

    Most definitely jack!

    The only people who oppose decriminalization/legalization are the ones who can't pull their heads out of their you know where.

    deaths from tobacco per year- 435,000
    deaths from alcohol per year- 85,000
    deaths from marijuana per year- 0

    Journal of the American Medical Association, March 10, 2004, Vol. 291, No. 10, pp. 1238, 1241.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  76. Ken Indianapolis, IN

    Drugs...no, marijuana yes. There are more dangerous things like alcohol and cigarettes for the american populus to harm their bodies with. It's time we stop treating it like heroin and crack.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  77. John O'Malley

    I don’t do drugs nor will I ever, but this is a fight between science and morally and it is frustrating to always see morally win over science. Legalize it, tax it, and help end violence and these drugs create.

    Kearney, NE
    John

    March 26, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  78. Alexandra in the urban Northeast

    Yes, but only pot. Legalize it, regulate it, and then tax the heck out of it.

    Alexandra

    March 26, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  79. Tom from Philly

    Didnt the great depression help us realize we couldnt afford toTRY to remove alcohol from society? Ok were broke again you do the math. We cant sell heroin at 7/11, but how bout instead of people walking around with huge quantities trying to get people hooked to support their addictions, we limit the quantity that one person can get their hands on thru medically supervised taxed regulated distribution. Over time the number of addicts will decrease. Right now new addicts are made to suppport existing addicts by addicts, this war is lost. Controlling potency is a huge key to stemming addiction.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  80. Tim B.

    Legalize the 'Bud' for God's sake.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  81. Independent for Obama

    Pot, yes (because it is basically harmless). Everything else, no....the temptaion to try hardcore drugs may be too much for college kids and weekend partiers, and the accessability and addictive nature of substances like herion are just too dangerous to play with.
    Katie, Springfield MA

    March 26, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  82. David

    As a criminal prosecutor, I favor the legalization of the simple possession of less potent drugs such as cannabis. There is no positive correlation between cannabis use and violence - and if anything, the evidence may reveal a negative correlation. Moreover, my state wastes millions of dollars a year investigating and prosecuting drug related offenses instead of taxing them and spending the revenue on public health and safety.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  83. Ari

    Somehow, we have forgotten the lesssons learned from alcohol prohibition. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, yet it is fought over as if it was gold. We need to stop arresting otherwise lawful citizens, and cut the funding of drug cartels.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  84. John B.

    It's a tidal wave, so would we prefer to ride on it or under it? Legalizing marijuana might give us a fighting chance. I have a feeling those who do smoke pot would continue openly and those who have no interest would continue on their chosen path.
    Hey, as long as the same smoking rules apply to pot as cigarettes and I don't have to eat in a smoke-filled restaurant, I'm okay with it.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  85. Ari

    Somehow, we have forgotten the lesssons learned from alcohol prohibition. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, yet it is fought over as if it was gold. We need to stop arresting otherwise lawful citizens, and cut the funding of drug cartels.

    -Gainesville, FL

    March 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  86. Mary Ann M. Reed

    Cannabis is an excellent agricultural product that could be a boon for the failing economy of my state. New York State is an agricultural state. My understaanding is the FDA has to approve it's usage before the President can do anything to change the laws. Peace.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  87. David

    As a criminal prosecutor, I favor the legalization of the simple possession of less potent drugs such as cannabis. There is no positive correlation between cannabis use and violence - and if anything, the evidence may reveal a negative correlation. Moreover, Florida wastes millions of dollars a year investigating and prosecuting drug related offenses instead of taxing them and spending the revenue on public health and safety.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  88. hapie..

    hi there,, i personally believe it's time to Legalize soft drugs,, i also believe we should be looking towards Hemp (not Marajuana) as a source for use in clothes,, paper,, rope,, etc etc i believe we could go along way towards improving the and saving the Earth..

    hapie..
    Brunswick,, Maine..
    (The Way Life Should Be)

    March 26, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  89. matthew todd

    jack,
    It is absolutely time to legalize drugs. This is a civil rights issue, and the federal government has no right to tell someone what to do with there own bodies. We have been told what we can and can not do with our on lives for far too long. We waste billions of dollars a year fighting a war on drugs that can never be won.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  90. Joe - Chicago, IL

    Alcohol, legal. Tobacco, legal. There's two of the most dangerous drugs I can think of right there. Yes, there are problems from taking drugs, but I know this might come as a surprise to some people, but outlawing things doesn't make them impossible to get.

    Legalize, regulate, tax. Lets stop pumping huge amounts of cash into criminal enterprise, and wasting huge sums of tax dollars trying to fight these enterprises.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  91. Mark, Bradenton, FL

    No I don't think so we can stop it if the useless idiots in Congress would seal off the border.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  92. Morgan

    Legalize it, regulate like alcohol and tobacco, and then tax it.
    It is that simple!

    March 26, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  93. Brandon Franz - Olympia, WA

    Absolutely. America's desire for illegal drugs is not going away no matter how many anti-drug programs we have in schools, how many anti-drug commercials we have on TV, or how many other anti-drug campaigns that have been thrown at the American public for decades. The illegalization of drugs here in America is what gives the Mexican drug cartels power. Legalize drugs and the people in the drug cartels will have to find another line of work.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  94. Jeff Crocket New Britain CT

    It sure is! Grow em here and make jobs. Tax em here! Regulate quantity and distribution just like Alcohol! Save billions on the senseless war on drugs!

    It is win, win, win and I am a republican old guy too!

    Jeff

    March 26, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  95. Cyndi

    In answer to your question: "Is it time for the U.S. to legalize drugs?"
    The answer is: You're damn right it is!

    The key to your article is to have "a rational discussion". This means to leave out the lunatics that think legalizing pot would cause the loss "of an entire generation" as well as the ones that think we should legalize heroin, crack, and other much more dangerous drugs.

    If we had a *reasonable* discussion, there's no doubt in my mind it would lead to the legalization of pot. But the chance of that is slim and nill. The politics of this country are too far divided to ever come to a reasonable discussion on this, or social security, or poverty, or abortion, or any other topic that with a loud lunatic fringe attached to it.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  96. mike

    yes more tax money, less violence, control !

    March 26, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  97. Casey

    Jack, it really is. We spend a ridiculous amount every year on this drug war and it's enough! Not only does it pump money into the economy it stops the need for a violent "black market".

    March 26, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  98. Jeff

    Congressman Ron Paul has been advocating the legalizing drugs for many years.

    Where he was once laughed at for such an absurd solution to our drug and border problem, it seems so much more logical now doesn't it? In light of a crisis, people finally start to listen.

    People should be at liberty to make choices about what they do with their own health, so long as it does not affect the liberties or security of others. In the process we will save billions annually, re-secure our borders, and better control access to drugs by minors.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  99. Scott, Wichita

    How about we try a little reverse-Prohibition, Jack?

    Give it a try for ten years, and after that, end the trial and re-evaluate. Make sure that the people doing the evaluation aren't under the influence, though.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  100. Kehrin

    I think another large part of the debate that keeps getting overlooked is the HUGE amount of resources, manpower, money and jailspace that would be freed up if marijuana (JUST marijuana) were made legal. If one had to find a silver lining to the dogged refusal on the part of the government to legalize it, it would be that we can finally say we've seen our politicians say NO to money for once.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  101. Greg

    Yes it’s time to end the Prohibition. Marijuana doesn’t kill people, Prohibition kills people. Why are we wasting billions on an ineffective war on drug? It’s cost us our rights, our freedom, and has spectacularly failed to stop drug use. For no other personal action are we put in jail, only drug use, and only certain drugs (no one goes to jail just for using Oxycotten, or alchohol,). It’s like putting someone in jail for becoming too fat! Prohibition is cruel and unusual and must end.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  102. Tony IL

    Now that would be a 180 for the President. Instead of bettering our education so that the young can lead the world through the 21 st century, we will have a nation of Cheech & Chongs running around getting stoned all of the time.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  103. Roger Biggs

    There should be the most serious of discussions on the topic of all drugs.

    but for marijuana, this discussion has been had 100 million times. the answer is yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes YES. it's time to say yes. this is the year 2009 for goodness sake.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  104. Nichole, Tulsa, OK

    I'm not in favor of legalizing ALL drugs, but I do support the legalization of marijuana. I never quite understood how you could criminalize something that grew naturally anyway, but to make the argument that "we would lose a generation" because of marijuana is absolutely absurd. It doesn't seem that the opposing side can come up with a legitimate argument, so instead they force their morals down everyone's throat. I've never seen marijuana itself (and only by itself) cause anybody to have violent outbursts... quite the opposite, actually.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  105. michael huddleston

    It is long past time to legalize drugs. Look at all the money that would be saved from the failed War on Drugs!

    March 26, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  106. Jeff, Galena, MO

    $77B is no joke, Jack. ($44B for enforcement, $33B in revenue) However, at the online town hall meeting this morning, President Obama basically turned the subject into a joke. I know he did this because he was unsure how to seriously address the subject with a live audience hanging on every word. But it is time for this country to wake up to the fact that what's happening on the Mexican border is simply the 2009 version of Al Capone, Bugs Moran, and the boys just having at it again. Only difference this time is it's over pot and not bootleg alcohol. We all know how the violence was stopped in the '30's and it will take the same action now to put an end to it again. Yes, it's time to legalize pot. Tax it, regulate it, and move on like we did with alcohol.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  107. Mark Rooster

    Like the late, great Bill Hicks said, "Alcohol . . . is a drug. And there are safer–and better–drugs to use than alcohol."

    March 26, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  108. Deborah in Grain Valley,MO

    The only way we are going to be able to successfully eradicate these Mexican drug cartels is to take their market away from them. As politically distasteful as it may be, the United States must legitimize the demand for illicit drugs by legalizing and heavily regulating the manufacture and sale of these drugs in our country.
    National responsibility dictates that we classify heroin, cocaine, LSD, meth, and other fatal illicit drugs under the FDA, controlling the purity and potency and requiring a doctor’s prescription. Cannabis should be legalized, regulated, and taxed as alcohol and tobacco are currently, as cannabis is a non-fatal substance WIDELY used for recreation and medicinal use. We will earn tens of billions of dollars; jobs will be created by the crops that are currently in hiding, awaiting legalization.
    The industry is in place. We just need to bring it into the sunlight, cutting the cartels off at the knees. Our demand? Our supply.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  109. Benny

    Jack,

    I am for legalized Marijuana. However, legalizing the other drugs would be a grave mistake.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  110. Daniel Villa

    Jack, why not take the billions of dollars that has been spent and will be spent on prosecuting and investigating Marijuana suppliers and instead, spend it on drug education, and addiction treatment centers?

    Believe me, the last thing these cartels and local criminals want is for us to be able to pick up Marijuana at the local store, like we do alcohol or tobacco. I think that given the current economic crisis, and the growing violence at the U.S./Mexican border, legalizing a relatively harmless plant that costs WAY too much to prosecute, is becoming palatable to people who never thought they'd advocate for legalizing drugs (like me).

    March 26, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  111. Blake

    Given that marijuana was in use for thousands of years before prohibition was instated, I doubt we will "lose a generation". We will, however, lose a portion of our generation to the drug war if it continues.

    Prohibition still does not work.

    Blake – Lafayette, La

    March 26, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  112. will

    It's time at least to legalize marijuana. I've never met a violent pothead. And the funny thing is they're all around us in our everyday life already, even in the (highest!) government positions. You can easily fool a urine test, and people with a little intelligence do it all the time, so chances are your best friends, siblings and even parents or some elderly person you greatly admire is already smoking pot for recreational/medicinal purposes. People who criminalize and look down on marijuana use are clearly those who have never tried it (and are probably a bunch of religious fundamentalists! Ugh!)

    March 26, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  113. Denis Duffy

    This is one of those damned of you do, damned if you don't questions. But consider,this,"the war against drugs" has been going on for fifty years and more. The government has spent billions and billions with no result. The only thing they haven't tried is legalization with some control. Try it. If it doesn't work, change the laws again.

    Denis
    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  114. JC Mada

    Yes marijuana

    March 26, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  115. Randy Cerda

    I think we should legalize marijuana! Alcohol and cigarettes are more damaging to our health. Also, we have to think of the financial wealth it will have for America. It will help people gain extra money or even make a living by growing and selling the marijuana. Let's not forget the financial benefit, through taxes, our politicians will have. I believe if we legalize marijuana than drug crimes will decrease as well as other drug related crimes

    March 26, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  116. will

    oops. arlington, VA

    March 26, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  117. it's time

    Legalizing marijuana would be the smartest move government made in quite a long time.Legalization would create tax revenue and jobs.Not to mention that it would benefit taxpayers and the hard-working farmers of America.Marijuana is the number one cash crop in some states(probably even most of the country) and legalization would create a HUGE profit for the government and farmers.
    There are many different ways in which marijuana legalization would create revenue.Money could be made through marijuana it's self but also through the sale marijuana seeds,plants and pipes.
    Legalization would also take away from the drug cartels' and street gang's profits without risking any of the lives of our men and women in uniform.Legalization would also reduce use by high school students.
    The only negative aspect of legalizaton would be if the government over-taxed marijuana like they do alcohol and tobacco

    March 26, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  118. Joanna

    Yes! It's a win/win for all concerned. The legalization and govt regulation of 'pot' would bring in Millions in badly needed State/Federal revenue AND cripple the power/crime of various gangs and the Central/South American drug cartels.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  119. Isaac Simon

    The way Obama handled the most popular question voted on by 3.5 million people was appalling. To not only give a simple, one worded answer, but laugh about the question makes my blood boil. The fact that millions of voters made this the most popular question just to be joked about by Obama shows how little he considered the question. He should look into the economic aspects of this. If taxed like alcohol and tobacco, the government could receive hundreds of billions of dollars in profits. Not only that, but the money saved on controlling the cartels and local and federal law enforcement would be tremendous. One hundred million Americans have admitted to trying marijuana. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if all these people were put in jail for possession which is what the law calls for?

    March 26, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  120. John R Creech jr

    "Decriminalizing Drugs" is no different than saying "we give-up"!

    The people who make their living expenses from durgs come out in the open and act exactly the same. They will sell to the youngest people first because they are the easiest to sell to and more readily become lifetime customers. They will still be just as violent, just as arrogant in breaking any law that diminishes their income and they will be just as quick to kill anybody, including police and drug enforcement officers that threaten their income.

    If you really want drug reform you have to go all the way back to its source. Take all the "left-over from Vietnam, vegetation defoilent", "Agent Orange" and spray it over all the Marajuana, Cocaine and Herion Poppy fields Worldwide. Most of the governments know where the drugs are being grown for "petes sake". Thats a good place to start!

    Then go after the people that cultivate and distribute it. Put their asses in prison and leave them there. Take their assassins and put them in high security, solitary confinement prisons and leave them there. Assassins do not deserve any foregiveness. Their crime againstt decent society earns them a permanent life in prison with a first conviction.

    If you are caught producing or distributing Drugs the minimum sentence is 20 years. No time off for good behavior. A second conviction grants everyone the privilege of the "rest of their life in prison without the possibility of parole".

    We can put a man on the moon and we can't stop flagrantly open, drug production, distribution and use! The statement is absurd!

    Nothing will ever change unless society and their respective governments make it happen. Everything "Can" be changed if those two groups work collectively to ensure it isn't "in vogue" or "excessively profitable".

    The only thing more destructive to society than "Drugs" is "Socialism".

    Best Regards Jack!
    "Tell it like it is!"

    March 26, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  121. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    This is why we will never return to a nation founded as a republic as our founding fathers intended. This position alone should be a warning to every citizen that our government has no intentions of allowing the lives of private citizens to be free. No matter if you are against or for the use of smoking pot. The government is sending you a message that they will watch your every moment from cradle to grave like you are a slave here to serve them.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  122. Rob from IA

    You are also forgetting the thousands of prisoners we are supporting that were busted for possessing a plant. Think of that in dollars.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  123. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    If any drugs were leagalized, it should be only marajuana, but for medicinal use. Now in my seventies, I remember as a child my mother was an asthmatic to the point of not being able to breathe. I found out that the green powder she burned and inhaled was marajuana. It saved her life many times.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  124. Patrick, Seattle

    Legalize 'drugs'?

    First, this is vague. Lots of things are drugs (like caffeine) so I must assume you mean 'illegal' or 'illicit' drugs.

    So are we talking about legalizing Meth and heroine? I doubt that is a good idea, but Marijuana would be manageable, even profitable.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  125. Ryan

    Marijuana should be legal and people in jail for marijuana related offenses should be released. Right now it is easier for kids to get marijuana than to buy alcohol. At least this way the government could regulate it and tax it just like alcohol. Why would such dangerous drugs like alcohol and tobacco be legal when marijuana is not? Nobody has ever died from weed. Not to mention the effect legalization would have on our border security. That alone is enough reason for legalization. Some people need a big dose of reality.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  126. Randy

    It is past time to legalize drugs. The war on drugs has been a dismal failure and consumes billions of our tax dollars annually. Wake up Obama. We want real change NOW. Stop arresting non-violent offenders and filling our cesspool prison system. Stop ruining families lives over a plant that has never killed anyone. Stop keeping the medication of choice for many who are suffering and dying. I have faith in your intelligence and I believe that if you truly weigh the facts you too will believe as many of us do. The savings from trying to enforce this ridiculous war on drugs coupled with the revenue generated will be an enormous boost to our economy. The cartels will be deflated just as the gangsters were in the age of prohibition.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  127. That_Guy

    It's about 20 years past due. We have now had three presidents in a row who admit to their drug use. Drug USE isn't ruining 1/1000th the number of lives that drug prohibition is.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  128. James the lion

    YES, it should be completely legalized! The benefits FAR outweigh the negatives, which by the way are only created due to the prohibition.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  129. Gregory

    I think legalizing marijuana is a good idea it will bring in millions of dollars in sales. and create millions of jobs. it is also less harmful than alcohol

    March 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  130. Mark

    Legalization and regulation of controlled substances is the only way to prevent the violence associated with their sale. In the 1980s, Miami and the Caribbean was the primary avenue for smuggling, and endured catastrophic violence. Once shut off there, the routes simply moved to Mexico. Once legal, the price would drop considerably, removing the profit motive on the supply side and the need to committ crimes for money on the demand side. Drug prohibition failed years ago in its primary objective, to reduce drug consumption, and for political reasons is not even debated anymore as a matter of policy. Unfortunate that so many more innocent people may need to be affected before some alternative solution may be sought.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  131. Zach

    Prohibtion isnt working its a total failure. war on drugs isnt working and we need to do something fast. were payin way to much money keeping it illegal and digging ourslefs father into this economic crisis. Legalize it and alot of problems we have will start to disappear.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  132. Michele

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    YES!!!! Start with marijuana and see what the true impact would be on society. We need to have real control of this situation, which we obviously do not. Aside from the numerous politicians that have admitted to use (any many more, I suspect, that have not) there are millions of Americans that feel that these laws are violations of their civil right to do as they wish in their own homes; history has proven you cannot enforce laws the people feel are unjust. More than twenty million Americans have been arrested for minor marijuana offenses which has led to severe prison overcrowding; the money thrown at prohibition has obviously not worked; medical patients that could benefit are being denied or forced to obtain the drug through illegal channels; and if we keep increasing enforcement we might eventually become militarized in our own towns like the Mexican border cities. Another possible benefit to consider-marijuana lowers testosterone levels which is a hormone that contributes significantly to rage emotions-would it be such a bad thing for a little less anger and a little more laughter in our society?

    Michele
    Pensacola, FL

    March 26, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  133. Chad Wyoming

    Just do it already.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  134. TheCrux

    I have been involved in federal criminal law practice for more than ten years.

    Time and time again you see defendants with records of crimes of violence fueled by alcohol abuse, and, albeit not as frequently, narcotics such as methamphetamine.

    You almost never see this with admitted marijuana users. Indeed, both my anecdotal observations and extant scientific evidence demonstrates that marijuana is an anitcriminogenic substance (euphoric effect renders the user less likely to commit crime).

    Basic economic theory informs that, if marijuana were legal, rather than dramatically increase the overall use of mind altering substances, users would substitute marijuana for other drugs and alcohol. It is reasonable to posit this would lead to less violent crime; particularly regarding domestic violence..

    I would further like to add that, although I have searched with some fervor, I have yet to hear someone render a cogent argument supporting marijuana prohibition. Most of the quips you hear from prohibitionists, such as the gateway drug argument, are torn asunder by even cursory logical and factual analysis.

    Legalization of the more potent illicit substances is more problematic. Regarding marijuana, in the absence of a sound basis for infringment of the rights of citizens, principles of freedom and liberty should prevail.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  135. Angel

    I find it amazing that people react the way they do over marijuana. Even though a large number of American's are on anti-depressents, that have very serious, if not life threatening side effects. Marijuana has been used for hundreds of years, with what side effects. Besides the responsibilty factor just as with Alcohol, I don't get how or why it's illegal in the first place. I've never heard of anyone overdosing.
    I love what the US Department and Human Services Publication No (SMA) 3710D, printed 2002 has to say…Why do people use Marijuana? In addition to seeking generally pleasurable feelings, those who use marijuana may be looking for specific effects such as relaxation and reduced inhibitions. Others are drawn to Marijuana expecting to gain insight and creativity or to enhance sensual experiences. Where is the scientific evidence that Marijuana is any more harmful than Alcohol, Anti-Depressents or Cigarettes.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  136. Charles from NJ

    This is not even a sane question.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  137. Carol Southampton, PA

    Absolutely – let's go green! A multi-billion dollar crop! Government controlled, addictive, get 'em hooked, then raise the price, cause multiple health problems from the effects of smoking to keep the docs and hospitals in business – not counting the farmers. And a mellow country that won't give a hoot about the failing economy and global warming.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  138. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    I think educated Americans would abstain just like from Cigarettes. We know the dangers.

    I worry that you would have more less educated, high, people driving on the same streets I drive on. If you legalize pot, better make dui penalties more severe as well!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  139. Carl from MI

    Yes... we are LATE in decriminalizing it. As a nation, we can no longer financially afford to keep it illiegal and use taxes to lock up those who get caught with it. It's a non-violent and victimless offense, they need treatment not incarceration. It's time...

    Let's look at this more closely: moral concerns... are completely subjective. When there are those who claim that 'dancing' is even the work of the devil, we must admit that everything is a moral concern to these people. Alcohol and tobacco are already legal and a moral concern already... let's add more drugs to the list if those two are going to stay legal (which they are...).

    Health related concerns: Alcohol and tobacco are among the most dangerous and addictive of drugs already, and they're legal. Any other drug that would be legalized would be hard pressed to be any more dangerous than those two. Let's do more studies and let the facts do the talking.

    Violent behavior: Current studies show that chemical imbalances in the body are mostly to blame for violent tendancies... not recreational drug use. Let's do more studies and let the facts do the talking.

    "We'll lose a generation": I'm not quite sure what this statement means... other than to just promote fear. The only thing we're losing right now is the WAR ON DRUGS!! That's proven... that's factual.

    We can do more studies on the subject... but they all seem to come up the same!!! It's time to decriminalize drugs, because we're losing the war on two fronts and that is no longer financially or morally acceptable.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  140. Dan, Chantilly VA

    There's really not much reason why marijuana is illegal other than political inertia. It's no more harmful than tobacco or alcohol. If marijuana was a major industry back in the 1700's it would probably be legal today, and no one would be questioning it. On the other hand, cocaine is a very dangerous drug and should not be legalized. So while I don't have a problem with legal marijuana, I don't think making all drugs legal is the right solution to this problem.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  141. Demarcus Jackson, from Columbia, TN

    No, it is not time for the U.S. to legalize drugs. Legalizing and/or decriminalizing some drugs, such as marijuana, may help in the short-term, but I believe firmly that the long-term consequences of such a move will be mostly negative. The healthcare costs associated with treating tobacco-related illness and alcohol-related illness is extreme, and tobacco and alcohol both are legal, regulated substances. You cannot solve one problem by adding another!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  142. Karl from SF, CA

    Jack, I live in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco where the amateur pharmacists abound and fill prescriptions 24/7. It’s mostly crack because we have a legal pot shop around the corner. The police do undercover buys but it doesn’t really do much. They are back out the next day selling again. Only the ignorant can look at this mess and say it’s worth the 44 billion a year we are wasting for nothing. Prohibition breeds crime and immorality and it’s time to get smart and stop promoting them.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  143. Derek

    Jack, drugs are already legal, as long as they are made by Pfizer, Miller Brewing Company, or Marlboro. When it comes to substances our government allows us to partake in, science shows cannabis to be the least toxic and least life threatening. What is with this country's inability to separate the morality of a few with the rationality of many?

    March 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  144. Kumar

    I view legalization of marijuana as the inevitable consequence of an out-of-control health care system that becomes less affordable by the year.

    Perhaps by regulating marijuana, most of the money spent on enforcement could be used elsewhere, like on drug testing city. state and federal employees.

    No doubt the drug cartels would take a huge hit if a major recreational drug was legal and supplied by growers in the states, but it would also mean there would still be a bootleg market of sorts, able to make a steady profit on a higher strength product.

    I think the greatest benefit would be seen in our own inner cities. Legalization would mean that scores of street dealers would be jobless, and drug related violence would more than likely plummet as a result.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  145. LInda in Bisbee, Arizona

    Why not? Has anything else ever worked? Did we learn nothing from Prohibition? Timorous, moralistic republicans are afraid if we decriminalize drugs, their own brats will become addicts. Got some news for y'all. Keeping your children off drugs is YOUR responsibility as parents. And it's not as if all drugs aren't readily available now anyway. Legalizing would send the drug cartel kingpins back to growing maize or waiting on tables. I doubt if we, as a nation of backward ignoramuses, will ever do it on a federal level, but more progressive, intelligent states may start the movement to sanity.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  146. Douglas Ford

    Jack,
    Heck ya, the number of drug related violence is in excess at this time. I am not a drug user and I will always be against people using drugs, however I am all for legalizing drugs to reduce drug related violence. There are plenty of studies out there to prove Pot is no worse for the human body then alchohal, when alchohal became legal again violence significantly decreased, and I believe if they did the same for Pot, a similiar ripple will be caused.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  147. Kathy LaCroix, Cheyenne

    Alcohol is no longer the center of organized criminal activity. It's as simple as that. If marijuana is not illegal, we can tax it and regulate it to minimize certain risks that might come from 'additives.'

    If the illegality of drugs is a deterrent, then why do we have an epidemic of drug use here, in one of the best-educated countries in the world? Alcohol has also shown us that you cannot legislate morals. People will make poor choices regardless of laws.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  148. Cheryl

    NO! The US should invade Mexico like they did Iraq! Take out the drug lords like the Taliban.

    Oh, a side point.

    Why does anyone get upset when weapons are used. We have a free market economy that allows the gun businesses to sell to the craziest people in society. So, when these same guns are turned on US citizens then no one should really object right? This is the real war on terror!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  149. David Myers

    Clearly the situation is just as it was during prohibition. Prohibition created the Mob and made it powerful. The repeal of prohibition and regulation of alcohol ( a truly dangerous and destructive drug) by the government, brought that untenable situation under control. The Mob and all of the current new gangs still exist because they were able to turn their influence and interest from alcohol to other drugs, particularly marijuana (a much less destructive drug than alcohol). If we want to pull the rug out from under an increasingly virulent and aggressive organized crime in all of its competing and warring variations, we must legalize all drugs. We must also tax and regulate these drugs and spend a lot of that tax income on treatment and education. Children should be taught (in grade school and high school) about the dangers of physiological addiction and the medical hazards associated with each drug – (it is different for each drug), including caffine, tobacco, and sugar. Marijuana is the least dangerous of all of these drugs and it is not physiologically addicting. For a good over-view of the negative costs of the US's war on drugs over the last forty years, take a look at the 1999 film, "Grass", narrated by Woody Harrelson, available in most video stores. If we don't fundamentally change things, they will only get worse, a whole lot worse!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  150. Alan

    It is the hight of stupidity to continue to put people in jail for the possession of marijuana. Taxpayer dollars are just going to waste in a bottomless pit fueled by a stupid and failed drug policy which appeals to law enforcement who makes money off enforcing stupid laws which are unenforceable. Legalize and tax the situation and maybe the money can be channeled in much needed programs which help people and not bureaucrats. And the other idea of drug testing those receiving welfare, unemployment or food stamps is just as stupid. Why don't the members of Congress be drug tested for throwing this economy into the tank. That's where drug testing could do some good!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  151. Allen, Hartwell GA

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Jack, here’s a thought: why not legalize marijuana and then regulate a persons usage of it, like alcohol is treated? That way it would be legal to buy, sale and use marijuana for persons over 21, but don’t drive under the influence of it.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  152. curt@twin cities

    Yes it is time to legalize and tax pot. Prohibition has already proved not to work.It's really no laughing matter.Any intelligent person who studies the matter objectively would probably come to the same conclusion. It is some of the greedy dealers people must go through that push the killer drugs that get people into trouble. Let's put them out of business.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  153. Ken

    Yes, it is time for the U.S. to legalize drugs. The "War on Drugs" has been a miserable failure and costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year. Legalization would curb violence and allow the government to regulate and tax the producers, suppliers, and consumers of drugs. That revenue could then be used to pay for drug education and awareness programs and treatment programs, which are far more effective methods of curbing drug use and hence demand than imprisonment. Legalization would be a far better approach than maintaining the status quo.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  154. Dan from Hollywood

    Jack, the comparisons to prohibition are entirely appropriate. Marijuana should be treated exactly as alcohol is: legal (but with age restrictions), taxed heavily by both state and federal governments, and illegal to sell or produce without meeting certain government regulated criteria.

    This would create millions of jobs, save billions in law enforcement budgets, free up our nations already overcrowded jails, create a ton of tax revenue, and most importantly save thousands of lives lost every year in tis countries futile "war on drugs."

    March 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  155. The Broker.

    I wouldn't know one, if I saw one. Except what is bought over the counter.. But they have to do something...

    March 26, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  156. Keith Moll

    Here in California, we like to medically research the effects of substance abuse regarding the major vices. After watching our state-backed ads which showcase the results of pot, alcohol and tobacco usage, I'd much rather pass out and get my face written all over in permanent marker than kill an innocent bystander in a car accident or spread emphasema via second hand smoke, respectively. Seems to me that the downside of the other legal 'drugs' more than validates happy, hippie-bud for legalization.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  157. Jessica

    Hey Jack,

    Whatever way we choose, there will be a death one way or the other. 😦

    March 26, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  158. Ken in NC

    A generation has already been lost. They were not lost because of drugs. They were lost because there is no strength in them. Strength comes from parents. Make it legal to find drug dealers guilty and then bury them. If the courts will not allow them to be buried then put them in a cell and weld the lock shut.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  159. Brandon

    Jack,

    Honestly, what exactly has U.S. law-enforcement accomplished since the War on Drugs was first declared in 1969? Have any of the gains made in nearly four decades justified the continuation of what has amounted to a zero-sum policy? Countless individuals and dollars have been lost to this vacumn, and for what...a misguided quest for American values? No one wants to permit rampant drug-use, but given the feebleness of our current approach, a thoughtful discussion, free of ideology, and based primarily on factual data is what the issue demands.

    Brandon in Kew Gardens

    March 26, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  160. Girard , Rochester,NY.

    Jack,

    Legalize Pot ? Oh Yes Absolutely ! Will It Happen ? No !
    Just Think Of The Problems That Would Be Resolved !
    Oh By The Way, Got A Light ?
    Girard

    March 26, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  161. Mitch, Newport News, VA

    There are so many reasons that it makes sense to legalize marijuana. First, it would be a great source of revenue if taxed, especially now when we're debating how to pay for all the programs needed to fix our economy without raising income taxes for working Americans. Secondly, legalizing marijuana would do more than anything else to hurt the drug cartels that are terrorizing Mexico and the border states. It would also free up prison space, saving us billions, and allow law enforcement to focus more on violent crimes that actually endanger people. Marijuana has never caused a fatality, while alcohol kills thousands every year, so it's hypocritical to prohibit marijuana while allowing alcohol to continuing taking lives. Other drugs should, of course, remain illegal.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  162. Allen, Hartwell GA

    Here’s a thought: why not legalize marijuana and then regulate a persons usage of it, like alcohol is treated? That way it would be legal to buy, sale and use marijuana for persons over 21, but don’t drive under the influence of it.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  163. Eric

    I have seen marijuana use for many years. I have never seen abberant behavior as a result. I have seen alcohol use for many years. I have seen abberant behavior a few times as a result. I have never seen anyone go on to other drugs as a result of the use of either. I have seen marijuana and alcohol users function normally in society as per work and family obligations. Prohibition didn't work for alcohol and obviously doesn't work for marijuana. It has just enriched trafficers. The financial devestation it would cause the trafficers would free up all that money to be spent elsewhere in the economy. Very little would end up going to the other drugs. Even then we should take the money we spend on incarceration/interdiction and use it toward the public health issue drug abuse actually is.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  164. Charles Illinois

    Brooze or Drugs! Take your pick. Thank goodness I don't drink & I don't smoke, this country is already messed up so lets mess it up more by legalizing drugs, hell we already have it on the books but the law calls it PRESCRIPTION DRUGS!. All you see on TV are commercials for RX's, take this Rx and it'll make you sleep! take this Rx and it'll make you wake up & feel refreshed. No Jack! we already have enough legalized drugs and zombies walking around.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  165. tim q

    Legalize Marijuana, and release all non-violent drug offenders form prison. This would build revenue, and save tax payers millions.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  166. Roanna Martin Peoria, AZ

    I've got a better idea Jack, Mexico should legalize drugs. Think about it. The tourism industry would explode creating enough jobs in Mexico to stop the flow of illegals into the United States and the druggies will leave the US for permanent residency in Mexico. We will begin to see Americans sneaking into Mexico and we will get to watch the Mexican government try to deal with it.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  167. C.Black

    We seem to be running out of ideas on how to make money. Legalizing and taxing the hell out of some softer drugs like marijuana could bring us considerable amounts of money.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  168. ML Fowler

    At least decriminalize marijuana, but not any of the drugs that require cooking or processing to increase their potency (hard drugs).

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  169. David Gerstenfeld

    Yes, and it won't happen. If it was, how would it work? Would the government sell the drug or license dealers? The logistics & moral outrage from the right would never let it happen, UNLESS, it was their idea!!
    David, Las Vegas

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  170. Matt

    No, legalizing drugs in a rough economy would just make matters worse. More and More would turn to drugs instead of working through the recession. Horrible idea

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  171. Bruce Marshall

    Jack Pot yes it is less harmful than Cigs. but the others NO WAY

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  172. LInda in Bisbee, Arizona

    And, by the way, marijuana is not a drug. Prozac is a drug. Marijuana is a plant.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  173. Eddie

    Legalizing is the way to go

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  174. Arun

    I personally know doctors, lawyers, businessmen and women that occasionally use marijuana. Yes, it's time to legalize marijuana.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  175. Tom

    Let's legalize drugs but with the stipulation that anyone who causes property damage or death while under the influence of drugs is subject to the harshest of punishment.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  176. Dean from Modesto

    You are on the right track Jack. We have to keep in mind that the "Demonization" of drugs came from the Federal Governments "easy" solution to something that they didn't want to bother on figuring out how to tax.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  177. Ian

    Sure!

    If only so that pot heads never have anything to talk about again.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  178. Larry H

    It's way past time to legalize, or at the least, modify in some substantial way our failed war on drugs. We've wasted Billions of dollars on this for too many years.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  179. Ray in Lakewood, CO

    Absolutely time to legalize.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  180. John

    Jack marijuana is not a drug, it is a plant. Its effects are no worse than liquor and nor more dealy than cigarettes. I think for America it would be more profitable to take more prudent measures instead of letting old prejudices determine our policies.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  181. Dianne: Paducah

    If the US legalizes drugs, Than the polilticians and the drug cartel will not have anything to bargin with.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  182. Tim Osborne

    It is absolutely time for the United States to legalize drugs, in particular, marijuana. Not only would it help boost the economy through taxation and regulation, but it would also free from overcrowded prisons millions of non-violent offenders. The "War on Drugs" is a failure and huge waste of federal dollars. Our taxers would be better spent keeping violent criminals off the streets.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  183. Jacob Kelly

    Only somebody who's high could think that fighting this "war" has been effective. I don't do drugs, and I don't support doing so, but we've got to realize that everything isn't in our control. For now, we're only burning dollars.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  184. Ann in Asheville, NC

    YES! Legalize and let people have free choice. Even the Republicans ought to agree with this version of "less government"? When a commodity is prohibited, there is a certain amount of "wanting what you can't have" and everything is out of balance. The financial savings, and tax income, are also very positive benefits!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  185. Adam T

    Maybe the money it brings in would help stabilize our economy, but i feel that the dealers on the street now will still deal. They would compete with the government and its taxes. Why buy it so expensive from the government when you can get it half the price?

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  186. Michael

    I think that more research should definitely be brought about, but not necessarily legalization, not yet that is.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  187. Steve Palmer

    Yes. Enough said. Anything has to be better than what we have now.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  188. Michael in NC

    Jack, certainly not. We cannot legalize drugs in this country...But marijuana, definitely!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  189. Bruce

    We should legalize or decriminalize all drugs. It is a wining plan on all fronts. National security and personal safety would be improved, gangsters(not the banking type) would lose much of their reason to exist, taxes to support prison inmates would drop dramatically, and folk could more easily reintegrate into society after their medical addiction. It is nuts to pursue a model that is solidly proven to not work

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  190. Jake

    Absolutely it is time. Read the March 5th Economist. They summarize it well- it's the least bad solution . BUT it will take guts and inetlligence and patience to address- not flip answers like Presidnet Obama gave today.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  191. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Sorry to all the druggies and pot heads but the answer is NO!

    I don't want you driving on the roads I drive on: drunk drivers are bad enough. Those who think life if better lived in a bubble of drugs with a comfortable distance from reality are likely to do more harm to others than themselves.

    As for government ruling our lives: its call laws and makes life for everyone reasonable... starting with the commandments against theft & murder. Shall we get rid of those laws too?

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  192. Jerry

    It's interesting that more than a few posts distinguish between marijuana and "drugs." "Legalize drugs" is hardly a rallying cry that anyone can fully get behind, but decriminalizing marijuana is about two decades late.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  193. John

    This country has been blinded for far too long. Look at the effects of alcohol versus those of pot. So many more deaths, injuries, overdoes etc.. If we regulate alcohol, we can and SHOULD regulate marijuana.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  194. mike

    yes

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  195. Mark, Columbus OH

    Jack,

    It seems like more and more people are calling for this rational discussion, so why is Obama laughing off townhall questions like this as some sort of joke? There have been many studies showing broad potential savings from a legal Cannibus plant and also broad potential earnings, including from taxes, industrial, textile, and biofuel resources. Maybe if Obama would sit down and "relax" for a few minutes, someone could explain to him some of the benefits that aren't necessarily recreational.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  196. joe cannon

    Jack legalizing drugs would lead to costly accidents in the work place, if they even show up for work!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  197. Ray Smith

    The war on drugs has been a complete failure. I'd rather drugs were legal and the money stayed in the U.S.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  198. Dennis Chisago City MN

    Jack, It's Now or Never. We all know It's Getting Ugly Out There.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  199. Robert Greenberg

    Legalize all drugs? Of course not.
    Legalize marijuana? Absolutely.
    Tax it like alcohol, and free law enforcement to pursue dangerous offenders.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  200. John Lawrence

    Jack,

    Prior to 1914 there were no laws against drugs of any kind in the US. So now we're talking of going back to the good ol' days. Legalize drugs. It's what our great-grandfathers did.

    John from Eugene

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  201. CommonSense

    Jack, as a former law enforcement professional I tell you it's time to end the drug war. Prohibition has never worked. this is a public health issue and not a law enforcement issue. How many people die every year as a result of turf battles over alcohol or tobacco these days?

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  202. Danny L., Williamsburg, KY

    Absoulutly not. You don't legalize murder or rape becuase they keep happening nor should you legalize drugs. Drugs put us all in danger, not just from the violence that surrounds them, but becuase of their adverse effects on society. Do not trade one evil for another.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  203. Linda

    It is a fabulous idea to legalize drugs for all the reasons you just listed. Regulate it and tax it like alcohol, use some of the proceeds to fund drug treatment for those who get into trouble with drugs and focus our engery and money on more important problems.

    If it's okay for adults to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes, it ought to be okay for them to smoke a joint.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  204. Nikki

    Legalizing drugs may stimulate the economy but at the price of a generations health. We need to focus on things more important.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  205. John

    I think that legalizing marijuana could help stabilize our economy. Legislation needs to pass on Legalizing grass. Look at tobacco. Even with hiked up prices people still give their money, so what is so different about another plant that grows out of the ground

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  206. Marietta

    What are we going mad–legalize what meth, cocaine, heroin this is not just grass Jack. What and now call this all normal for our kids?

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  207. Eric

    I can tell you as a former Federal Law Enforcement Officer, most cops would rather deal with a stoner than a drunk anyday. While marijuana is not harmless, it does far less damage to society than alcohol. The very idea that we'd "loose a whole generation" is non-sense. My guess is that was said by a DEA agent.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  208. Guy

    I'm not sure if it is time to legalize all drugs, but I don't see any harm in legalizing Marajuana and treating it like alcohol with the exception that a person being convicted of driving while under the influence face a mandatory minimum of 18 months in jail.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  209. bryan young

    i think its long past time we legalized drugs. legalization does not increase the amount of consumers in general. if that were true everyone would drink, but not everyone does. the money to be gained back from the fight against drugs and the money to be gained from taxing drugs could go a long way to helping us not only balance budgets, but to remove a huge social stigma that is mostly unwarranted.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  210. sara

    Most Diffently,most of my family smokes it anyway and they function just fine and all have jobs,

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  211. sue miller

    Thirty or so years ago, my father said the only way to manage the drug trade was to legalize it. I agreed then; I agree now. Legality offers controls – illegality doesn't.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  212. whitney

    It makes no sense for us to not legalize drugs. We shouldn't be jailing people if they want to use drugs – just look at alcoholics, we can help them if they choose to be sober but it's a person's right if they choose that path. Who are we to say what a person can or can't do to their own body?

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  213. Christie - Arizona

    Jack, when I was sixteen in 1965 there was a column in Newsday called the Teen Irritant. At that time I wrote about giving drugs to drug addicts. I still have a copy of my published letter. It is now 2009 and we are mired in red tape and fear. I think at the least that marijuana should be legalized. People could grow their own. Maybe the unemployed (like me) could sell and make some money. The times they are a changin!!!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  214. Emily

    Marijuana should be legalized. Think about it- we can tax it, there would be less people in prison for possession (less expenses for the government)...and WHEN has marijuana EVER killed anyone?? Never. There should be a legal age for buying and using it, like with alcohol.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  215. Tehran

    And how do the Gov plan on taxing drugs. O the same way they tax income and people get away with not paying taxes for years. Yes that the solution.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  216. Thomas F.

    It is absolutely time to legalize Marijuana, Jack. Perhaps without the specter of a laid back pot user hiding around every corner our police force can finally find something useful to do. Like holding back the drug cartels and keeping people from breaking in to my car.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  217. Luis, Brooklyn, NY

    No Jack. Im a former pot smoker and all I could say about the drug is it gives you a high for about 2 hours a joint, waste money, and makes you stupid. If we legalize drugs I could just imagine how the politicians and scientiest of the future are going to be.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  218. Alex

    What "Moral hazard" are these people talking about? What lost generation? These statements without any context are empty. These arguments are listened to because because they are prone to simple slogans and require no subtlety. People distinguish between drugs we receive from a pharmacist, and the same standard should be applied for other drugs. For example, most research on drugs containing psilocybin has been completed in the 1970s and have been shown to be scientifically unsound, and as a result, we often make comments about certain drugs without any scientific knowledge. Recently, the FDA has approved studies on the effects of psilocybin in clinical settings, and the results have been surprisingly positive. In the December 2007 issue of Scientific American Mind, and article was published elucidating some of the mental health benefits, particularly relating to OCD and terminally ill patients, of psilocybin.

    If nothing else, this matter should be considered a matter of public health and not criminal justice.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  219. Ken Peake

    I sent this to the President right after town hall:

    Dear President Obama,
    I watched your town hall today. I can't put into words how disappointed I am about how you dismissed the legalization of marijuana. I voted for you because I thought you were smart enough to see that the drug war can not be won and there must be change. You said non-violent drug offenders should not be incarcerated or lose any chance of success in life. You lied to us. People are getting smarter and realize we need to approach drugs from a treatment point of view not criminal. Legalization of Marijuana, regulating it and taxing it, along with letting non-violent marijuana offenders out of jail to become taxpaying contributing members of society, using hemp for 15,000 different non-toxic environmentally safe products, and you make marijuana sound like a joke. You have lost my support, and I feel lied to once again by just another politician.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  220. rick may

    YES! it's about time!! wake up america!!!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  221. Willie From Weston, Florida

    Jack,

    Legalizing drugs will certainly help curb the excessive violence and tax evasive activities here in the U.S. Drug use is not effectively deterred by legislation and concomitant enforcement. While I don't readily accept that ALL drugs under current use should be legalized, we should at minimum begin with marijuana since it's current view within society and that of the law permits for such an expriment. The old model hasn't worked and a new model is needed. One predicated on the ulitarian principle that we need to spread greater happiness by preventing greater misery.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  222. Sillst

    Absolutely, I don't smoke marijuana personally but seeing as it is fairly harmless and could easily be regulated by the government like alcohol and tobacco for increased tax revenue. It would also massively undercut the Mexican cartels and help to reduce the violence in that country.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  223. FP

    Legalizing drugs should be "high" on everyone's lists.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  224. John, from richmond va.

    Yes, Jack.
    It is "oppression" whenever innocent Americans are imprisoned by their government. It is, simply put, time to stop prosecuting Americans for drugs, they are not harming others, besides, our country's resources have been spent for years on this, only to watch a war get worse and worse, which other war has lasted so may years and never improved anything?

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  225. Dicky Neely

    Hi Jack,
    Didn't you ask this yesterday? In any case, it is time to end drug prohibition for the same reasons we ended alcohol prohibition.
    Drug prohibition has had the same result that did,
    It would quickly shut down the income of the cartels and other criminal drug rings and instantly open room in our jails if all the people now criminalized were released and no longer incarcerated.
    Dicky Neely
    Corpus Chrisit, Tx.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  226. Adam

    The time to legalize marijuana is upon us. The huge profits raked in by the Mexican cartels are not the only reason. How about the 800,000 people arrested for simple marijuana possession, and deemed violent criminals by our legal system? This is a prime example that criminalizing personal choice does not work. It didn't work with alcohol prohibition, and it certainly hasn't ,and will not work with marijuana.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  227. Realist

    Yes. There is no evidence to suggest that it is more harmful than alcohol or many prescription drugs. Marijuana doesn't kill people, people kill people. Legalize it NOW.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  228. TIm Perry

    Legalize drugs. No. That's stupid.

    Legalize Marijuana? Yes.
    If anyone actually did research they would see that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, it can be used as biofuel, paper, cloth, not mention the medical benefits.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  229. Cory

    Yes, of course it time to legalize Marijuana. Never mind the financial benefits that would be realized through taxation and job creation as well as prison population reduction. The big advantage to the legalization today would be the reduction of the gang related violence we see on the news every day; US drug policy is solely responsible for this problem. Any idiot can see what alcohol prohibition did to America and Marijuana prohibition is doing it again; those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it. Do you ever hear about Mexicans who are smuggling in Tequila and killing people to sell it in new territories, I think not and it’s because alcohol prohibition is gone, wake up America!

    Don’t worry though, as long as our current stance on Marijuana is maintained (untaxed) black markets profits will increase, people will get rich and greater numbers of otherwise law abiding citizens will be imprisoned or even killed. The fact is the thugs you see on the news do not want the laws to change they have too much to gain; it’s mostly responsibly law abiding citizens who want reform.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  230. nancy w

    yes yes yes

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  231. Sam

    Decriminalize, at the very least.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  232. Jay

    Really guy's pot isn't drugs. The Drug Makers make drugs and there already legal. DUHHHH........

    Legalizing pot is a different question.........

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  233. Steve

    As Bill Mahar says "it's a no brainer". Legalize at the very least marijuana. $77 Billion savings we could use.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  234. glenn shoemaker

    Yes, time to legalize drugs. g.s.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  235. donna

    outlaw guns and legalize marijuana.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  236. Sam

    Yes, absolutely. Besides all of the reasons you've mentioned, people don't usually realize that legalizing drugs can actually reduce drug use. In the Netherlands, where marijuana is essentially legal, the population uses less marijuana less often than counterparts in the United States. The argument that legalization will lead to increased drug use has no basis in actual events.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  237. Steve Mallia

    Yes, it is time for the US Government to legalize naturally growing and time tested drugs. Marijuana and other substances have been used for recreation and spiritual use for thousands of years. How can the DEA argue against time? Lets tax the hippie out of pot and use some of that money to fund public awareness and alcohol addiction recovery programs.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  238. Ian Epstein

    Richmond, VA

    Sure!

    If only so that pot heads never have anything to talk about ever again.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  239. B Seattle

    FINALLY!!! I can't believe that it has taken this long to atleast begin discussing it! Crime would decrease and Tax Revenues would increase...and don't tell me Marijuana kills!!!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  240. Kingsley O. - Georgia

    What do marijuana, McDonalds, video games, and church have in common? All four are absolutely HARMLESS, unless done in excess due to an addictive personality. In fact, pot has been proven to have medicinal properties. The most "violent" act you'll get from a person high on pot is him or her quelling the "munchies" via your fridge. Obama and most of the American media need to look into this issue and stop being ignorant.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  241. Gabriel Rodriguez

    Well lets look at the facts. First thing is what drugs we legalize, because chronic has been used by almost everyone in this country one time or another and people who do it if they were paying taxes on it, well guess what economy is going to stimulate just like cigarette sales. So you tell me if something that is more liked than cigarettes and more purer than a cigarette why are we not using this, which is also medically used and religiously used? I thought this was a free country? Rasta Luv

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  242. BigSexy

    No we have enough problem with kids drinking now lets not make it worst. Besides Pres. Bush was reason enough.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  243. Tim Osborne

    Alcohol and tobacco are addictive. Pot is not. Alcohol and tobacco are fatal. Pot is not. Enough said.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  244. Mike

    I'm not sure I agree with a blanket legalization of all drugs. However, the bottom line is that if people want to do drugs, they're going to do them regardless of the legality. Legalizing Marijuana would take a significant financial strain off of our government and law enforcement agencies which could be used to fund programs to curb use of much worse drugs.

    Mike
    Seattle, WA

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  245. Ammar

    Its remarkable how we are discussing legalizing one addictive substance (marijuana) when we are still reeling from the societal and healthcare costs of another (Tobacco). Boston, MA

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  246. Richard

    Yes. Before alcohol Prohibition was repealed, those against repeal claimed if alcohol were legalized, everyone would be drunk and no one would work anymore. Today, although there is alcohol abuse, most people are able to maintain responsible lives in spite of the easy availability of alcohol. Another way to look at this is to say that if drug prohibition is doing so well, why not add alcohol to the list of thousands of drugs that are currently illegal. Maybe we could eliminate drunk driving and alcohol-driven crime and domestic abuse. Jack, let's either legalize 'em all or add alcohol to the list of forbidden substances.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  247. Sherri Illinois

    Regarding Marijuana well it should be legalized and the laws should applied just like alcohol.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  248. P in California

    You cannot legislate morality forever. Conservatives may try but eventually that fails. Prohibition is proof positive that you cannot legislate morality. It is historically known as the great experiment that failed.

    I would legalize marijuana and put restrictions on it the same as cigarettes and alcohol. I would also tax, tax, tax it!

    It would put a huge dent in the drug war that has failed.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  249. Paul Donnelly

    I think it's important to make a distinction between marijuana and the rubric "drugs" Crack, heroin and alcohol are all more destuctive than pot and have none of the proven ability to relieve nauseau and wasting.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  250. Sue Wallace

    For God's sake, when are we going to get smart? We need to get over our antiquated puritanical outlook and legalize drugs. We can save money that we spend on prohibition & create revenue in the process. This country was smart enough to vote an amazingly capable president into office because we've had enough of incompetance. We should be smart enough to give drug legalization a shot!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  251. Los

    Legalize drugs? We already have one legal drug that accounts for untold pain and suffering every year. It's called alcohol.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  252. Peggy King Garcia

    It's way past time to legalize marijuana. It's the best way for the government to control it, and to put the drug cartels out of business. Duh.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  253. Concordia

    Industrial hemp for the eastern states and medical marijuana for the western states.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  254. A. Anderson

    It's time to legalize drugs in the US (and I never thought I'd say that!).

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  255. Lou

    The tenet of personal freedom and the laws of economics support the legalization of marijuana. It's only a matter of time until the politics fizzle.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  256. Dennis Logan

    it's over due to legalize drugs. People think that we will lose a generation but that's not true. How many sit in prison for minor drug offences. we have 7 million people in prision. Only people who would do drugs anyway will use drugs if they are legal, the nay sayers have it all wrong. Is it right to put young non violent offenders in prision with hardened criminals? I think not.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  257. Marie Born

    I think it's time to legalize. Bring it all out in the open, reduce illegal activities, enable people to get treatment. It's not like the existing prohibition has wiped out the problem, just drove it underground.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  258. Ajay

    I'm all for the legalization of marijuana. And I don't even use the stuff. Marijuana is so much safer than alcohol. How many bar fights or driving accidents have you seen from people high on pot?

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  259. Ryan McCarthy

    Absolutely, it is insane that you can get oxycontin with a prescription, which is highly addicting and dangerous, but you can't get marijuanna with a perscription, which isn't addicting and less dangerous then most medications.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  260. Cynthia Loring MacBain

    Jack - legalizing drugs is not the same as decriminalizing drugs. The pro/con discussiionmakes no sense unless you differentiate.
    Legalizing means that you will have the right to smoke pot wherever you want. Decriminalizing means that you won't be put in jail for possession.

    Cynthia
    Skaneateles, New York

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  261. Rita Kelley

    Well Jack what we have now in the way of controlling drugs is not
    working, so let's try legalizing it and see if it reduces the problems and
    cost.
    Rita Kelley, Crystal Lake IL

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  262. Andrew

    What the former special agent for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration doesn't realize or can't admit to himself is that everyone in America who wants to smoke weed already does. It's past time for politicians in Washington to get real.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  263. andrew

    Legalizing marijuana and decriminalizing drug use would help the US in a multitude of ways,from helping to remove non-violent criminal offenders from the prison already too crowded population and reducing the amount of tax payer dollars used to fight another losing war on drugs. Let's focus on things more relevant than teens getting high

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  264. Gary LeDrew

    Look at Holland sensible drug laws
    Cause violence no! Cost money to government no
    I'd like to go to Holland wooden shoe?

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  265. Natalia, Albuquerque, NM

    At the very least, it is time to consider the legalization of marijuana. I believe that all politicians and all Americans need to watch the Kevin Booth documentary "American Drug War: The Last White Hope" before making any judgements. I was anti-legalization until I saw this film. It really exposes the reality and failures of the U.S.-led policy of the "War on Drugs."

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  266. Oliver Munjal

    The costs of prohibition include over 6,500 deaths a year in Mexico and the financing of these violent drug cartels. Over 60% percent of their revenue comes just from Marijuana. Marijuana is safer than both alcohol and tobacco. Not including the huge economic benefits to our country, wouldn't legalizing pot be the lesser of two evils?

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  267. Daniel

    You're kidding me! I'm only a teenager myself, and I don't want to live next to a country full of drugs! (I'm Canadian) If the US allowed drugs, it would increase all sorts of things, like crime and health care costs from the inevitable side-effects of these poisons, all problems that Mr. Obama is trying to stop. Also, it could possibly drizzle into Canada! I don't want this at all!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  268. michele

    of course pot should be but anything else no hemp makes clothes ,paper and other things that would definatley benefit our current situation

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  269. Larry

    Decrim yes, Not legalize two different things.It's not legal for minors to drink or smoke.Decrim yes, legalize no .It's not legal to drink and drive or cause public problems with the use of alcohol ect,ect. Learn to use the correct terms very important..

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  270. allan from ohio

    you might as well because there are drugs on the market already that are harmful. plus who says what someone can do with there body even though it is harmful. ps some people make smarter choices than others

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  271. Fellwock

    Look, marijuana is everywhere. Having this drug legalized like alcohol is something that I think should have been done a long time ago. If America mirrored the marijuana laws against alcohol laws, the government could tax the sales, gain income from infractions and at the same time, cut back on crime.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  272. Fay

    Dear Jack,
    No, the time is not right to legalize drugs in general but definitely marijuana. It's safer than alcohol and not habit forming. You can be sure that I'm objective about the subject when I tell you that I don't smoke OR drink!!!
    Fay in Suffern

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  273. Kay Anderson

    Yes...It's about TIME to have this discussion!!!
    Legalize drugs. If you see it doesn't work – go back to the "prohibition" way of how we're handling things now...creating an industry for thugs.
    It doesn't surprise me at all that a DEA spokesperson is against it. Keeping drugs illegal is his job security. Duh.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  274. Zain

    It is time to legalize drugs. I don't understand why critics of drug legalization talk about health and moral concerns when there are health and moral concerns with alcohol as well. Prohibition didn't work in the twenties, it won't work now and never will.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  275. Joanna

    Jack it's about time we accept the fact that we can't legislate EVERYTHING. People who want to use drugs will use them whether they are legal or not. People who have no interest in drugs won't. It's really very simple.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  276. Jerry Jaar

    The Netherlands took a stab at legalizing pot, and it helped them fight hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. Given the current situation of drug violence and smuggling on the border, this just might be the solution we need.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  277. Jeffery, Toledo, Ohio

    Those who oppose the legalization of marijuana and cocaine should spend some time living in a modern inner-city neighborhood. I am the co-leader of a neighborhoood coalition and blockwatch that represents a fourteen square block area in just such a neighborhood. In cooperation with local law enforcement, in our little patch of land, we have closed down over 100 drug houses in just two years–and more keep springing up. If pot and coke were legal, these places would disapear overnight, along with the "pushers" who infect our schoolyards, and our police forces could get back to the business of "normal" day-to-day law enforcement. And what's more, our strapped state budgets would have a whole new source of revenue. As far as I know, every State already has regulatory apparatus in place for alcohol and tobacco–we simply need to extend that umbrella to the substances in question. The "war" on drugs has been an abject failure from the beginning. It's time to call a truce

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  278. cb

    Yes, legalize it and tax it just like we've done with cigarettes, alcohol and gambling.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  279. David Raleigh NC

    When comparing the personal loses attributed to alcohol it would seem Marijuana is pretty benign. Legalize pot and aid the economy, lessen border issues, or outlaw alcohol (AGAIN) and save lives.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  280. Harry Bloomington, IN

    Jack I don't mind legalizing drugs, but that'll just increase health care costs. If the government finally gets rid of or radically reforms medicare/medicaid, then I am all for the legalization of drugs. However, it seems like Obama's universal healthcare fantasyland will prohibit drugs from ever being legalized.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  281. Ron _ Mich

    It's long overdue for the legalization of marijuana

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  282. Rick

    Jim,

    I think it's past time.

    Our medical professionals have state that marijuanna in not physically addiciting like other drugs can be (i.e. Cigarettes) while posing no great risk to public health the other drugs (i.e. Cigarettes).

    Our economic professionals have stated that, if legal, the economic impact could provide a material benifit to our economy.

    It appears to me that this is prohibition all over again. The current policy of harrassing criminal organizations in an effort to drive prices so high that demand lowers just isn't working.

    The US government is funding half of this war and the US people are funding the other half. While the criminal orginzations behind this business are reaping the profits.

    I think it's time we had a serious conversation about this, I think the federal governent should legalized it, set up federal regulations like alcohol industry. Age limits, THC % limits, FDA standards, etc... then let the states decide.

    There are some counties where it's illegal to drink alchol in this country. I say we give the states the same authority here as well.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  283. anne pagano

    Absolutely!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  284. Japanese Happa

    Since marijuana contributed greatly to the American culture, I think that it should be legalized.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  285. Ben

    I din't think legalizing drugs is a good idea because while it would help the economy, we are forgeting one small thing... DRUGS KILL PEOPLE!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  286. Kay Giddens

    The legalization of drugs is a dialogue which this country should have had decades ago. As long as drugs are illegal you will have these powerful cartels causing havoc. How quick this country forgets the blood letting surrounding the prohibition of alcohol, and how it ended when prohibition ended.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  287. Colin

    To the person comparing the US to the fall of Rome...
    You do realize that the fall of Rome was due to the expansion of their empire to the East.. I.E. the Byzantine Empire. They just left Rome to be taken by raiders and attacks.

    Has nothing to do with the US but good try.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  288. Andy

    Yes, we should legalize, regulate and tax drugs. We've heard and understood the possible advantages, but only get fearful rhetoric when discussing the potential downside (if there is one). So I'm asking, seriously, why NOT legalize them?

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  289. Greg G

    Legalizing marijuana would help alleviate the financial strain that we have going on right now in the United States. The ban against marijuana is outdated and needs to be looked at rationally.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  290. Bob in Houston, Texas

    The answer is yes. Ultimately, staying away from drugs has to be a personal choice. My ten-year-old grandson has more access to illegal drugs then I ever had. We have lost the war on drugs and we must admit it. We have to focus on teaching self-control in all forms of vice rather then depend on law enforcement to do it for us.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  291. randy

    YES. How strange that the question even needs to be asked in this day and time. Let's be real.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  292. Jim Draper, Bossier City, La

    NOT NO BUT HELL NO!!!!!!!!!Drugs relate to better than half the Prison population & more than half of the Crime in these United States. NO, NO, NO. Should drugs be legalized, we will all be required to carry firearms for protection...

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  293. Charles Mitchell

    Yes, it is time. Comparisons to prohibition are valid. Unscientific hysteria and politics created the "war on drugs." This war is as phony and misguided as the "war on terror," and it has caused as much damage or more. Knowledgeable people understand this.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  294. Jason

    The war against marijuana since its inception has been based on lies and drachonian ideals. Marijuana is the largest cash crop in the country and is far less harmful than legal alcohol or cigarettes that kill more people than any other means. There is clearly a demand for the product so why wouldn't the government want to stop spending billions of dollars on enforcing laws with no deterent value, and spend the billions of dollars created in tax revenues on treament programs with people who have drug problems. Obama can scoff at the idea now, but the American people are learning the secret truth about marijuana...

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  295. Anthony

    How long will we pretend to to fight this unwinable "WAR" the Government makes it a "war". its sad and it's a shame.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  296. Atownaction

    Yes I think that the U.S should legalize drugs and do it responsibly and use that money to help out with the economy of some sort .........Drugs are like good and evil you can get rid of one without the other it will never die.....if there is a will there is a way!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  297. Wes

    legalizing meth and herion is a terrible idea. I cannot stand when marijuana is thrown in the mix with these drugs. Legalize it, tax it, watch it create jobs and undercut the mexican cartels.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  298. Moe, Vancouver, B.C.

    Tobacco and alcohol kill more people than weed. Legalize it and tax the heck out of it!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  299. Alfred Papiewski

    Hell, YES!!!!!!!! What does it take to make the politicians realize that this is the only way to defuse the present situation, which is only going to get worse as we "bury our heads in the sand"?????

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  300. Matt, San Diego CA

    There are several upsides and downsides to this, and it really is a question of would hte benefits outweigh the consequences? We have millions upon millions of people in the American prison system that did nothing more than put an illicit substance in their body. The people that committed crimes on drugs still committed crimes. If someone puts a substance into their body such as marijuana and commit no crime (other then the drug use), then where is the harm?

    All drugs should not be made legal. Meth, cocaine, heroin etc. have serious problems, and consequences related to their use. Marijuana however might be the drug of choice for legalization. The highs are mild, and nowhere near as destructive as government groups would have you believe. The drug has benefits for cancer patients, who have probably spent every dome on treatments that either dont work, or make it hard for them to eat.

    We have to weigh the consequences and benefits, plain and simple. Lower prison population, less people criminalized for pot smoking, large amounts of potential revenue, it opens the doors to better fuels, textiles, papers, etc, hemp seeds can be used as food and contain no THC... and the downside MIGHT be that the reckless individuals commit crimes. I highly doubt that given the nature of marijuana's effects. And if they did commit a crime while high on pot... well, they wouldnt be too hard to catch. Just look in the candy isle of the nearest 7/11.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  301. Samuel T Richardson

    No.
    Legalization would be a mistake.
    However, I believe a rational option is decriminalization of use and aggressive pursuit of dealers.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  302. Craig K (Sarasota, Fl)

    It is amazing to me that the general public has been so misinformed about marijuana over the years. I personally do not consume marijuana as it is not appealing to me, however, I have always disagreed with the prohibition of marijuana. I have no political affiliation, I however, am a capitalist and lean more to the right on approximately 70% of major political issues. Marijuana is in fact one of the safest drugs, (if that's what you want to call it), on the planet. Every drug, including alcohol and most pharmaceuticals have an excessive limit, leading to overdose and or death. Marijuana is the ONLY drug that a person cannot overdose or die from due to any amount of consumption. The DEA lines its pockets with seized drugs and drug money by the multi-millions of dollars every year. Why would they want to respect any state legislation that legalizes marijuana??? Hmm??? Marijuana has been a political issue since the prohibition began in 1937 and has never been the "choice" of the people! Get a grip Washington! Allow people who need medical marijuana to obtain it legally. Allow entrepreneurs to start a successful marijuana cultivation and distribution business. Allow the state, local and federal governments to tax and regulate this product. Marijuana is only considered a gateway drug to our youth because it is illegal. Any youth who wants to be involved in illegal activity due to poor guidance and poor parenting is going to get into a scene where illegal things become trendy and enticing. President Obama, should immediately pardon the 800,000 people last year who were convicted of non-violent marijuana crimes!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  303. Shane

    Prohibition didn't work with alcohol, what's makes anyone think it's going to work with drugs?
    What the US should do is have the government produce and sell the drugs, that way they can add small amounts of contraceptive to the formula so that anyone who can't control themselves won't produce another generation of addicts.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  304. Sierra Morgan

    It is time to legallize most drugs.

    It will not improve our economy, but it will help our population as a whole. We are supposed to be free to pursuit happiness, we are supposed to be responsible for our actions. If a person using a "drug" acts irresponsibily and/or harms or endangers their fellow citizens, then they should be charged, tried, and if convicted put in prison.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  305. merle in Washington

    It is absolutely time to legalize drugs in this country. The ultimate hypocracy is a Nation popping prescription drugs like Rush Limbaugh while broadcasting that all the addicts should be put to death or jailed for life. If we taxed drugs, we would hav a pile of money for treatment. The corruption in government from the so called "War on Drugs" must end.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  306. Samantha

    Legalizing pot should be a no brainer,do it ,regulate it and tax it.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  307. Dave

    Obama publicly stated that the time for idealology is over and the time of sound, science based decisions is now. This, of course, was in reference to stem cell research. But how is the war on drugs any different? Either marijuana should be legal, or the public should be presented with sound scientific evidence that its harmful. I don't see marijuana's current legal state a departure from idealology!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  308. Lauren Valentine

    I believe the US should legalize Marijuana, but not other drugs. Marijuana is not addictive, and it helps patients with cancer, several diseases that cause appetite suppression, and epilepsy. Alcohol is a lot more damaging than marijuana, and so are cigarettes. Alcohol is addictive and causes people to do things riskier than they would otherwise do. If alcohol is legal marijuana should be too. Also the economy would be much better if we didn't spend taxes on jailing something as petty as pot, and if the government just taxed it heavily as they do cigarettes, marijuana would be great for the economy. Under the influence driving laws of course would still apply.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  309. Mark Rubenstein

    Marijuana, the wasted lives that result from the criminal prosecution of its users, the lost tax $, the needless killings, corruption, etc. The cost to society of our antiquated law created in the 1930's by one lying zealot is insane. Give us a break. Jail the Tobacco merchants instead.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  310. JasonAF Massachusetts

    Yeah, legalize it, what's the worst that can happen?
    We have a bunch of doped up people walking around and I'll be among the most intelligent in the nation. Works for me.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  311. Annie, Atlanta

    People who want to smoke pot do, legal or not. Legalize it. And keep us updated, Jack. I have two planting areas tilled and ready to go. I don't smoke it, but will be happy nonetheless to do my part.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  312. John (Kansas)

    Legalizing Marijuana would open the door to some good financial possibilities. Instead of spending more on hiring more federal agents for other sectors of enforcement we could shift some that we already have from the war on drugs. We sould spend less money there. We would ultimately hit the drug cartels in the only place that it is going to effect them, their bank accounts. We could use the taxation to generate revenue to pay back some of our national debt. It is time. I do not think we have many other options.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  313. Ron Moton

    The question I have about legalized drugs is what does tha tmean to our children and the unprecedented school drop out rates? What does that mean for the police or miltary?

    Ron Moton
    USAF (Ret)

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  314. W.J. McKay

    They already are in many cases. Being in their late forties, my friends are less likely to be abusing pot and cocaine these days. However, I have a few friends who are hopelessly addicted to prescription drugs and worst of all, alcohol. Whether you're for legalization or not, it's time to treat ALL drugs with the same fear and respect.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  315. Nick

    It's past time! People are gonna do drugs if they want anyway. Their are drug rehabs all over the US and the legal drug,alcohol, is way down the list of abuses.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  316. Trevor, Carthage, MO

    I think it is time. Even though they are illegal they still move freely among people. Usage is still high. If drugs were legal and regulated like alcohol stigmas could be attached to them helping people to think otherwise. It is a senseless war, lets embrace the usage and try to educate after. We all know that when things are forbidden they seem intriguing.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  317. Janet, Yosemite Gateway, California

    Prescription drugs are legal. Have you read their side effects?
    Legalize marijuana.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  318. daniel brewer

    Legalize Maryjane and hemp, Tax revenues, biofuels,paper,textiles, and biodegradeable plastics. All these products are more green than the products they replace. The economic benefit would be huge and it would deprive the drug cartells 50-60% of the income. That would be amazing

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  319. Tommy

    Cocaine & Heroin, as well as most other "chemical" drugs must be processed after they are picked – marijuana is a plant & I've always wondered who it was that claimed it was a drug in the first place. Seems to me nicotine is much worse, in fact it kills – I don't think marijuana has ever killed anyone, unless you count the loss of life that was connected to selling it. I thought this was a free country – or is that something else everyone just assumes is correct .

    March 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  320. David

    I believe that Marijuana is a drug that should be legalized for the fact that we already us it as a prescribed drug. It will also slow some of the smuggling from Mexico. It has already been down graded to a misdermeaner if you are caught with a small amount of Marijuana so the government knows that its not a hard drug like Cocaine or Meth.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  321. Dave G

    There are 3 options here:
    1) Make it legal
    2) De-criminalize it (keep it illegal, but not a criminal offense)
    3) Status quo (keep it criminal)

    Given the costs of jail time, law enforcement and jail time, I think we should seriously consider option #2.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  322. Tom Smith

    Jack,
    I have never used illegal drugs but it is time to eliminate the drug pushers by legalizing them and using the money saved to teach the futility of drug use. If drugs are no longer "cool" and the down side of drug use is explained they will appeal only to those who still smoke cigarettes. I will be happy with the taxes they pay.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  323. Dallas

    It depends on the drug. Heroin and Cocaine should be illegal. I have seen too many friends die from those two drugs. It would only get worse. Marijuana on the other hand, is much less harmful than alcohol, is far from deadly, and actually has medical uses. Where as alcohol is only good for a cleanser.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  324. Ted

    It doesnt matter if it doesnt help the economy. It matters that alcohol and tobacco are legal and more harmful, while cannabis is still demonized like heroin. Its a civil rights issue, we should have the right to smoke cannabis if we so choose.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  325. Margaret Via

    I am 87 years old and i have lived thru many decades of dangers threatening our great country. This seems one so easy to solve. Take the profit out of the street drug industry, especially marijuana ,and reap the benefit by redirecting it into taxes. Duh!
    The timing is finally right.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  326. Ronh

    Some European countries have legalized pot with little or no repercussions. Whether this country could handle that change I am skeptical,and would foresee a big fight between pro/con advocates.

    Drug and,alcohol abuse in this country are such a scourge,that even legalizing drugs will not help the problem,but probably add to it.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  327. barbara Tavares

    Yes, to legalize drugs is to control them. Ask any teen which is easier to get, pot or beer. BTW, I am a 62 year old teacher who has nothing more than a couple of glasses of wine each week.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  328. Mary from Colorado

    Drugs should be legalized.
    I am a 67 yr old RN and I have seen what the so called war on drugs has done and it is not pretty. Legalize Drugs, take the power from the drug cartels.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  329. sue from Ct

    No. It is addictive and has effects that not only affect the user but the members of their family and friends and if it leads just a few to other drugs then it is not worth it.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  330. Brandon

    Are you kidding me..........one of the worst drugs already is legalized, its called NICOTINE. Can you honestly tell me a fifth of whiskey is better for your body than a joint. Maybe a few more people would still be alive today, if that drunk driver was high instead of drunk. It should have been legal 40 years ago.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  331. MP

    Is everyone okay just ignoring the multi-billion dollar marijuana industry and leaving it for criminals to control? We need regulation for marijuana just like we need it for any other industry.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  332. Maria Arambula

    Decriminalize first and then we can talk about legalization.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  333. Denny

    Dear Mr Cafferty,
    It is time to de-criminalize marijuana. Not only is it costing the U.S. too much money to inforce the laws. It doesn't make sense tying up the court systems with people that get arrested for having even less than one ounce of pot. It is time we look at the positive aspects and look beyond the negative connatations it has unjustly recieved. It could help more than we know at this time. It isn't man-made and it does help a lot of medical situations. God Bless Us all
    Jake05

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  334. J. Cappy

    Hi Jack

    This is a no brainer; legalize and tax marijuana. This would free up our jails and help our economy.

    Cappy

    March 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  335. David

    Jack,
    Yes for marijuana only it will cut down on the people we send to jail for years for possession and sale. The avg inmate cost 45Gs per year.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  336. Del, Utah

    Knowing we are much larger then Amsterdam, It might not be bad idea to see how they have done.
    I feel it might be some what like Liquor, which I abused
    and now can't indulge.
    The same could happen to other forms of recreational drugs to other people.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  337. Jeff D

    Marijuana is only illegal because Pfizer and other drug companies want it that way. If you can grow your own painkiller instead of spending plenty for a pill, thats bad for business. I get a kick out of all the side effects listed on every drug commercial when the worst side effect you can get from pot is the "munchies".

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  338. James Columbia, MD

    Yes it's time to legalize Marajuana if not any other drugs. If some States think it's a bad idea, then they should have it banned like slots or casino's.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  339. Doug J

    By all means legalize. The war on drugs has ruined more lives and torn more families apart than the use of drugs themselves ever will. Legalize, tax and regulate. The snack food industry alone would make a windfall.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  340. Joe

    Prohibition creates crime & always will. The US Goverment has always had the ability to wipe out drug dealers, legalize and regulate. Thats not going to happen though because the real owners of this country not only make money off of war but control the drug cartells as well.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  341. Chuck from AZ

    Marijuana should finally be legalized. It is non-addicting and no more dangerous than alcohol. We should put the same restrictions on pot as we do on alcohol and enjoy the tax revenues. Governments shouldn't restrict based on moral grounds. That is for individuals to do for themselves.

    Perhaps you could post a vote on your site. Seems most comments are for legalization. Further, those who do not support legalization could provide a reason. This way, we would know if the person is just ill-informed if they select "will lead to more dangerous drug use" or "will lead to addiction"

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  342. Grayson

    Drugs should not be decriminalized, with the exception of marijuana. Billions have been spent fighting it, when billions can be made through governmental regulation and tax revenue. It would free up a large part of the non-violent, petty drug charges in the courts and jails.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  343. joe

    no hell no! hell no!...hell no!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  344. thomas reilly

    Its way past time to legalize drugs Jack.I can't imagine all the money that has been wasted by this government since I first saw government helicopters flying over Big Sur in the 1970's.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  345. ron satterthwaite

    wake up america!! nobody seems to care about how much alcohol destroys familys all over the world let alone the various health care issues and costs in the billions. pot smokers are regular folks , and there are many more users than america wants to admit !! somebody in washington doesnt want to lose money by ending this absurd so called war on drugs , hint dea, fed prison system, drug czar.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  346. Brad in Tampa

    Prohibition never works. Funny how many who are against ending the drug war are usually the ones that scream about Government meddling with other things.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  347. thomas reilly

    Its way past time to legalize drugs Jack.I can't imagine all the money that has been wasted by this government since I first saw government helicopters flying over Big Sur in the 1970's.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  348. Patsy

    yes, yes and yes! Prohibition didn't work either.
    Simi Valley, California

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  349. mike

    everybody does drugs

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  350. easter ross

    YES!
    We have two problems.
    Users by the tens of millions.
    Controls that cost billions, and don't work.
    Lets have it legal, like alcohol, and have that problem, and revenue.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  351. Dan Wood (Pittsburgh, PA)

    Legalizing marijuana would reduce the murders in and out of country linked to drug trade. This would help control this wild situation.

    To those with the idea that we would lose a whole generation of children to drugs: We already are.

    If it is legalized we will need to educate our children more than ever about the dangers of drugs, but if one day they do fall into smoking marijuana, they won't be killed for it.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  352. Joe

    Prohibition creates crime & always will. The US Goverment has always had the ability to wipe out drug dealers, legalize and regulate. Thats not going to happen though because the real owners of this country not only make money off of war but control the drug cartells as well.

    Joe in Virginia

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  353. Paul Lynch

    This is a tough question. Jack. Even though I am all for the legalization of marijuanna I am totally against the legalization of "hardcore drugs" like cocaine, heroin. and meth. That idea is insane because we can not produce them within our borders.
    Our country needs to embrace the idea of legal pot, grow it within our borders, tax the hell out of it, and use the tax revenue to enforce our borders. We need to be a homegrown nation!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |