October 20th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Federal gov't OKs medical marijuana. First step toward legalization?


Signs advertise medical marijuana prescriptions outside an evaluation clinic on Venice Beach in Los Angeles. (PHOTO CREDIT: MARK RALSTON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Public support for legalizing marijuana is at an all-time high - no pun intended.

And coincidentally, the Obama administration is easing up on the use of medical marijuana. The Justice Department now says pot-smoking patients and their authorized suppliers shouldn't be targeted for federal prosecution in states that allow the drug for medicinal purposes.

Officials say it's not a good use of prosecutors' time... Although they say agents should pursue marijuana cases that involve violence, the illegal use of firearms, selling pot to minors, money laundering or other crimes.

Supporters say marijuana helps treat chronic pain, nausea and other illnesses... while critics say this move is a step backward in the fight against Mexican drug cartels.

14 states currently allow some use of marijuana for medical reasons. California is especially known for having pot shops everywhere.

A new Gallup poll shows support for legalizing marijuana has shot up in the last few years to 44 percent. 54 percent are opposed. Support for legalizing weed had been fixed at around 25 percent from the late 70s through the mid-90s.

Liberals and younger people are more likely to favor decriminalizing pot... no surprise there... while conservatives and seniors are more likely to be against it.

Gallup suggests that if public support continues growing at the same rate - the majority of Americans could favor legalizing the drug in the next few years. California voters may get to weigh in next year with a ballot initiative to legalize and tax marijuana as a revenue source.

Here’s my question to you:The federal government OKs medical marijuana. Is it the first step toward legalization?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Robert in Eugene, Oregon
Yes, it most certainly is, and it's about time. If there's one thing Mexican drug cartels fear, it's legalization of the drugs they're selling. Millions of Americans are already using marijuana on a regular basis, whether legally for medical purposes or illegally for leisure purposes. Why not take the money out of the hands of Mexican drug cartels and put it into the hands of the U.S. taxpayer?

Paul writes:
I have absolutely no problem with marijuana being used for medical purposes. But many people out there undoubtedly would like to abuse this right, so the distribution of medical marijuana needs to be strictly controlled.

Bert from Denver writes:
We can only hope; this is truly change we can believe in.

Kyle from Greensboro, North Carolina writes:
Medical marijuana… brilliant strategy, really. How in the world will anyone be able to oppose healthy people using marijuana after sick people have used it for years without incident? The slippery slope is in sight, folks.

Michelle from Canada writes:
One can only hope. My husband is a paramedic, we have friends and family who are police, and they all say the same thing: they've never gone to an assault caused by pot, alcohol but never pot. Pot is not addictive, has very little side-effects, and contrary to popular belief is not a lead in drug to hard drugs. If that were the case, half of Canada would be addicted to heroin.

Patrick writes:
Let's hope so. I don't inhale personally, but I can certainly see the myriad benefits of legalizing, regulating and taxing the hell out of marijuana. In one fell-swoop, you'd flood government coffers, reduce violent and petty crime and massively increase revenue for Frito-Lay. I say: smoke 'em if you've got 'em!

Filed under: Government • Health
soundoff (266 Responses)
  1. EIWatson

    I am 65 years old (almost) and I believe that marijuana should be legal in ALL states. The government should stop prosecuting users! Its a total waste of time. I think the feds should figure out a way to tax weed. Talk about reducing the national debt!

    Love your show, Jack!!

    October 20, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  2. Kellen Pucher

    The push through the Obama administration's Justice Department to stop the prosecution of those who are not in violation of BOTH state and federal law is hardly a push toward legalization. If anything, it is a somewhat "conservative" approach to the problem, essentially delegating responsibility for these issues to the state legislature and removing the power of federal authorities.
    Ultimately all of the debate about the safety and legality of marijuana boils down to propaganda and truth. Neuroscientists, including a former professor emeritus of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical will argue (with scientific backing and expertise) that THC is a remarkably non-toxic substance. Similarly, longitudinal studies done throughout the world have shown explicit neurological benefits to the use of cannabis even in recreational application. Ultimately, THC acts upon the most prevalent neuro-receptor in the brain and has never been medically linked to any deleterious "brain damage" as is told to our youth. In plain speak, Marijuana is less damaging to the cells of your body than are chemicals like alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, and even many artificial sweeteners.

    October 20, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  3. Al

    Legalize, tax, and regulate NOW!!

    October 20, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  4. Scott

    Isn't it hysterical that legalizing pot is widely supported in California yet gay marriage isn't. Thank God for our Puritanical roots.

    October 20, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  5. green party

    In the states that have legalized mediucal marijuana, youth use of the herb has gone DOWN, not up. It's no longer "cool" but is no big deal...

    And by the way, it really helps with chronic back pain from a job sitting or standing all day long!

    Jim, Hawaii

    October 20, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  6. Gaucho420, Los Angeles CA

    Yes, it is and its about time. Alcohol and Tabacoo are far worse for you than Marijuana, create legions of alcoholics and smokers and both can cause death in excess.

    Marijuana does not create a physical addiction (I got on vacations with no MJ for months at a time & no cravings), you cannot over dose on it and its about time all the myths and fictional stories associated with this drug be left in the past where they belong.

    There's no boogeyman under your mattress, Elvis Presley's hip sway doesn't cause girls to act like whores and MJ shouldn't be treated like a devil weed anymore either.

    Its time we grow up as a country and act like adults, and not scared 10 year olds...let's get real and do what shoul'dve been done long ago.


    From a six figure income earner, with a bacherlor's degree, who donates to charity, votes in every election...and smokes every day.

    October 20, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  7. Josh

    I hope it is towards the Legalization of Cannabis. It is time to Legalize!

    October 20, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  8. Tom

    I sure hope so. Not only should the feds make prosecuting medical users a low priority, marijuana users, in general, should be left out of the phony "war on drugs". Decriminalization of pot smoking and growing for personal use would save this country a lot of money and keep harmless, non-violent "criminals" out of the penal system.

    October 20, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  9. InfoWarrior

    Yes. Hopefully...

    October 20, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  10. JBizzle

    If it means that we can get out of this recession sooner...Im all for it...But now there is the question of who gets to control the flow...

    Govt or Smugglers?

    October 20, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  11. davidblaine

    Yes! Long overdue...

    los angeles, ca

    October 20, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  12. Nick

    Legalize it already, the pros far out weigh the cons.

    October 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm |

    a great sopurce of revenue

    October 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  14. Charles

    Goodness imagine the horror if adults could decide for themselves what they do in the privacy of their own homes with a plant that makes you happy, hungry and calm. To answer your question, I freaking hope so.

    October 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  15. Jason

    Anybody with an open mind and willing to do some research will come to the conclusion that legalization is the least bad alternative to the "problem". Honestly, the problem, the cartels, etc. all come from the fact that MJ is illegal to begin with. It's illegal because it's bad, and it's bad because it's illegal.

    Bottomline, MJ is less dangerous than tobacco and alcohol, and could be a great revenue stream, not to mention safer to use if it was legal, regulated, and kept out of the hands of the Cartels.

    Pot is only a gateway drug because of who you have to go to to get it.

    The reason the cartels are making so much money is because there is a major demand (that is not going away) and they are the only people willing to supply it.

    October 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  16. chuck

    Let us hope that it is the first step in legalization. When I was in college in the early 80's I was taxed on $2.01 an hour as a waiter. They created a number out of the blue as an estimate on how much you probably made in tips. It was something like $5.00 an hour. Whether you made those kinds of tips or not, you were still taxed on this imaginary tip number. I can tell you that living in a small town in Texas where many people did not know the word "tip", I did not always reach that imaginary number. So, in my logic, I was taxed heavily on that $2.01 an hour. We could tax marijuana to death and people would still buy it. We could then stop taxing waiters and waitresses who get no money from parents and are eeking out an existence while taking a full load of college classes.

    October 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  17. Russ


    Critics who say that medical marijuana laws undercut the fight against mexican drug cartels are simply uninformed. Does anybody really think medical marijuana dispensaries distribute mexican products? Domestic production and distribution of medical marijuana, even when used recreationally, only takes business away from violent mexican gangsters. That's the biggest benefit of reformation of marijuana laws in the states.

    October 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  18. Michelle Nelson

    One can only hope....my husband is a paramedic, we have friends and family that are police, and they all say the same thing – they've never gone to an assault caused by pot – alcohol but never pot. Pot is not addictive, has very little after effects, and contrary to popular belief is not a lead in drug to hard drugs – if that were the case half of Canada would be addicted to heroin.


    October 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  19. Asten

    Its about time America moved forward with drugs and just legalized them all so that all the drug cartels can die in peace. Those " critics" need to realize that the drug war FAILED and that America's policy towards drugs have FAILED. Its better to have people do "real" drugs on the streets than to have them kill for it.

    October 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  20. ndjoe0103

    I believe this is a step in the right direction. We should also legalize and then tax/control adult users (over 21) who want to grow small amounts for their own personal use. We waste too many resources and too many man hours on small time possession charges.

    October 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  21. Bill

    I sure hope so. I'm in Sonoma Ca. and lived in S.F. for a time. As you know we have a very liberal attitude about many lifestyle questions.
    Oakland and S.F. both have passed city resolutions declaring pot use as the very lowest priority for their Police. There are cafes in Oakland that serve coffee and many of their customers openly smoke in full view of anyone passing by. Seems to work fine and it makes sense to legalize and tax. Always with a view towards smugglers etc.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  22. Jeff (Sarasota, FL)


    I think it is going to be more of a state by state thing before the Federal government actually endorses the legalization of it... If enough states legalize and it turns into as profitable a commodity as predicted, I feel the federal government will eventually endorse it for the added revenue... As we all know, sooner or later when profit is out there the Federal government will eventually get their hands into it...

    October 20, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  23. Walther Shmit, Oregon

    I pray with all my heavenly might that this is the first step on the road to ending the ridiculous prohibition of this useful plant.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  24. John in Iowa

    In Iowa I can buy as much alcohol as I want and drink myself silly. I can buy guns and cigarettes, and spend an afternoon at the casino frittering away my hard-earned cash. But smoke marijuana?No way because in addition to being bad for my health, it's immoral. Seems odd, doesn't it?

    October 20, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  25. Justin in Las Vegas

    Well, Jack. Since the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies charge so much for medications that ease pain and suffering, this might be just what the Doctor ordered.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  26. KTC

    To be entirely honest, I have no idea about the kind of logic those who are against legalization of pot are using.

    The facts are simple. You cannot overdose on pot. You can (quite easily) on alcohol, which is legal.

    How many people have you ever seen get high (on non laced pot-which there wouldn't be anymore of if they government was regulating it) and then do something violent or stupid, or get into a fight. Again, not nearly as likely as what happens to many people when they drink.

    There are studies that suggest that not only does pot not cause lung cancer, but may protect against it. So the whole health thing? Non- issue, esp since it has many positive uses in the medical community as we have seen.

    As for the cartels, if the US was growing and taxing their own marijuana, Mexican drug cartels would be put out of business before we know it. Furthermore, prisons would be emptied, allowing room for real criminals, who at this point, are often let go bc there simply is enough room. Our prisons are filled with non violent offenders bc of marijuana. This makes no sense.

    What are the arguments against it? When weighed against non-puritan, well informed logic?

    October 20, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  27. Aaron

    Hi Jack,

    The United States has the largest prison population in the world where almost 1% of the people are in prison. Most of these are non violent drug offenders and many are in for pot. Sending all these people to prison for marijuana is what is destroying families and making kids grow up without a father or mother, and this is what is causes these kids to get into more trouble. The unfortunate thing is that private prisons are booming and for stockholders to make a profit the prison must be at 90 to 95% capacity.

    When anything is made illegal (like alcohol) in the old days there will be criminals wanting to make a profit off the skyrocketing price of the drug. Most of the crime in our cities would disappear overnight if these criminals couldn't make a business off of selling a marketable prohibited item.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  28. Josh

    It is a step, but it will be a long while before the government decides to legalize marijuana. They will not legalize marijuana, so long as they have no way of getting a cut of the profits.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  29. William Lohr

    Is that the first step toward legalization? I sure as hell hope so.... grow it, regulate it, tax it and stop the madness. When the police are for legalization, its time to legalize!!!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  30. MJ

    Isn't it common sense that law enforcement should be protecting our cities and borders from violent drug cartels rather than busting peaceful marijuana users?

    October 20, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  31. Rick

    I think that while legal recreational marijuana use is still at least 10 years down the road, the fact that this subject is even getting talked about is evidence of the move towards legalization. Being pro-legalization used to be so taboo, but now it just makes sense. I'm not sure why critics think that this is a step backwards against Mexican drug cartels. The medicinal marijuana stores in California and other states are growing their own marijuana AND PAYING TAXES THAT SUPPORT THE FIGHT AGAINST THESE CARTELS. If marijuana was legalized, these cartels would lose a significant amount of revenue to American marijuana farmers.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  32. Ken

    Yes this is a first step. By refusing to target those authorized by states to provide medical use marijuana, they have effectively ceded the right to decide to the states. The conflict between federal and state laws has been a major issue in many states yet to allow medical use. With this impediment gone, more states will approve medical use. And once this goes over a certain point....

    October 20, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  33. David Arnold Fountain

    aslong as there is drug testing, what is the point.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  34. Bob

    I hope so. Used responsibly, pot is no more harmful than alcohol or cigarettes. People forget the meaning of the word "liberty".

    St. Louis

    October 20, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  35. Scott

    I think the medical marijuana issue is not the right path for the legalization movement. Though it can help pain, nausea, etc. its not a medicine, the best you could call it is an herbal supplement, because of its varying effects on different people. I think there are more potent arguments for legalizing, mainly that the reason its illegal is racist and its still illegal because of political correctness coupled with this country's fixation on the obsolete "War on Drugs"

    October 20, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  36. Matthew Hensley

    Jack, I love the idea of marijuana being legalized in this country. This political move would help weed-out the pot heads of good employers, thus giving me a chance of landing a decent job and not being stuck working for Wal-Mart for the next five years... I've been at Wal-Mart since I was axed from my great job three years ago.


    October 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  37. Craig

    As much as my liberal friends might want to see another break down in the moral fiber of this country by leagaizing marijuana, it just wont happen. With Obama's dwindling support it would be a death sentence to his next campaign to allow this to happen. He would awake the sleeping giant in this country, and Republicans would win huge in 2012.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  38. L.A.

    While the medicinal use of marijuana has been well documented for over 5,000 years – I'm appalled at the government's route of action in that they would rather legalize medicinal marijuana than legalize hemp.

    The real problem is that the government recognizes that the people really cannot be stopped as the movement has grown too big. However, had they taken the approach of legalizing hemp for manufacturing purposes, we could seriously decrease the threat of global warming – which is a much bigger issue than easing the pain of glaucoma and chemo therapy.

    Hemp has long been deemed the most valuable plant on the planet simply because it's uses are so varied.

    Imagine if hemp oil replaced the good 'ol Texas Tea we're used to... hmm... what a stir that would cause.

    So then, the government chooses to focus on the medicinal aspect because they're already in bed with the pharmaceutical companies and it would be a natural extension of their services to include medicinal marijuana and reap the benefits of it's taxation.

    The same is not true for the oil and timber industries.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  39. Mark In Chicago

    I'm thinking that the end result of this is process nation-wide medical marijuana, with personal use laws varying from state to state, or even from county to county.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  40. Ryan

    No. This is about the 12th or 13th step. I'm only 30 but this movement was probably started back in the 60's. It will still take some time to weed out (pun intended) the old guard, but this is another step in the long process of the inevitable.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  41. Patricia

    Of course it's the first step. After all the Soros money that went towards getting Obama in office, his (Soros') drug legalization agenda must be fulfilled. Isn't it odd that Obama finds time to focus on this while sitting on his hands about troops in Afghanistan, and even ahead of his Obamacare?

    October 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  42. Paul Chang

    Justice is better served, if laws reflect the will of the people

    October 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  43. Thomas Gates

    I sure hope so!
    All I have to say is, look at prohibition and then the DEcriminalization of alcohol.
    Yeah, there might be some alcoholics out there, but is it not nice to sit back and enjoy a couple of beers every now and then?

    If it's legalized and taxed wouldn't that get us out of our current economic crisis?
    It would also cut down on the NEED for Mexican Cartels bringing THEIR supplies here if we can supply it ourselves.

    Everyone needs to chill out anyways! 😉

    October 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  44. kwietwon

    I personally think it should be legalized for a number of reasons. If it's legalized, we will have many people who can have legitimate business pursuits instead of the shady drug dealing business. There will be a market and pricing set on the standard supply and demand that drives the rest of the business world. By removing the illegal status, the courts get freed up to pay more attention to more serious crimes, we aren't paying for jailing drug dealers and users of pot lessening the burden on the prison system. It can be turned into a needed revenue generation for states that are hurting budget wise through some form of taxation. It could be treated like purchasing alcohol with age limits established with consequences for not adhering to that; it could have consequences like those with drunk driving associated with it too address those societal concerns. It would take money away from the So. America cartels by letting American's grow and sell it legally, keeping american money in America.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  45. Kirk

    We can only hope that this is the first steps to legalization. It's about time we stop the senseless war on drugs. America has the highest rate of incarceration in the civilized world thanks to our crazy policies on drug use. Let's try a policy that works for a change, treat a public health issue as such and stop criminalizing otherwise productive members of our society.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  46. Mike Duford

    I am very pleased to hear the Government is finally acting responsibly. Instead of wasting millions of taxpayer dollars chasing the sick, and non-violent marijuana users.

    It has been a long battle, but it seems they finally realized they are on a losing side of a war that never needed to be fought.

    Focus on the cartels that are ruining our national forests.

    Grandpa John isn't hurting anyone with the 4 plants in his closet.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  47. Tyler from KC, MO

    Jack, I certainly hope so. It is no secret that marijuana is a safer drug than alcohol, there is no solid reason for it being illegal. We could use some of the tax revenue for education. Not only marijuana and drug education, but pump some of the money into school systems that need it. Around 40% of Americans have smoked the herb, how is it's illegality been stopping it? Lastly, this would ease the strain on our prisons, and leave room for the violent offenders to stay longer.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  48. Bob

    I most certainly do hope so! Legalize it, control it, tax it like tobacco and alcohol, then watch the deficit shrink. Not to mention the fact it will remove the profitability from the cartels, making marijuana unattractive to them as a source of revenue. For an example, look at what happened to the speakeasy bars and Al Capone style mob activity after the repeal of the Volstad Act, ending prohibition.

    Reallocate law enforcement assets to chase down the cocaine and meth traffic, these are the people thriving off of robbery and murder while they peddle drugs that will rob a person of their very soul.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  49. Kyle Irvine, CA

    I think so Jack, and I would not be suprised if California legalizes it as a revenue source next year. If I remember right, Governor Schwarzenegger said he would sign a bill legalizing it if it passed in the state legislature.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  50. Matt Burns

    Hell yes it is, and its about time. The harm in prohibition is far more damaging than the drug itself.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  51. Chris G. Dallas, Texas

    If marijuana was legalized like alcohol or tabacco, it could be produced locally. This would promote local economies, and it would reduce Mexican crime cartel's reach into the United States. It's less dangerous than alcohol, and helps relieve chronic pain. Where is the debate?

    October 20, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  52. Gary Jaussaud

    Gary's Comment is:

    I don't like the idea of Pot being in my life, as I don't smoke, but those
    that do, always will, so the Government might as well give in and figure a way to tax such a thing, like cigarettes, and liquor that they now
    Might as well allow the governments state by state to get the money
    rather than the drug dealers and underworld people that now sell it
    with wild abondon and keep the profits.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  53. Don from Overland Park, KS.

    I watch all these commercials for all these prescription drugs and I hear the list of side effects and they are usually far worse than those for marijuana. Meanwhile, the criminalization of Marijuana costs us a ton of money in law enforcement and incarceration while not providing tax money and making Mexican growers rich off the "black market premium".

    I say legalize it and tax the heck out of it. Pay for health care for the whole country. Create a new cash crop and a new real industry in this country. Stop the need for importing (illegally) and put the Mexican cartels out of business (or at least making them go legit). And maybe we cut down the alchoholism rates and abuse rates because Marijuana is actually less harmful than beer and has less negative side effects. Granted, the beer companies and drug companies would probably be the staunchest critics.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  54. Devin

    It's about time that the United States began considering legalizing and taxing marijuana. Marijuana is the safest drug, by far safer than Pharmaceutical drugs and alcohol, both legal. It's safe to drive under the influence of marijuana and makes driving more fun. Marijuana can greatly alter your daily perceptions. By seeing the world from a new perspective, you are able to gain worldly insight that you may have never gained before.

    Vaporizers are machines that heat the psychoactive component in marjiuana, "THC", to a level of combustion in which no smoke is inhaled, only THC. This type of "smoking" should be marketed to the masses to ensure safer marijuana consumption. Vaporizers eliminate toxins involved in the smoking process and offer a "healthier" alternative to joints, blunts and bongs. Vaporizers also present a second mechanism for taxation in that their sales may increase with the stronger exposure of their benefits to mainstream consumer audiences.

    Prohibition never worked for alcohol, and it has obviously failed for marijuana as evidenced by the abundance of pot available across the nation. Cops can't stop it, no matter how much they try. Regular pot smokers search for their high daily. Daily tax dollar inflow to the American economy is needed. No logical economic arguments can be made that keeping pot illegal will help the US economy. Drug cartels will fall in Mexico with the legalization of pot.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  55. Ken in Mt

    It should be. it's been long time in coming, The costs of the low level used of Pot are out of proportion to the offence.
    The other thing is that we had a war on drugs and the drugs have won

    October 20, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  56. Matt Sherman In Minneapolis

    This is an age old Argument, with no real right or wrong point of view. America is changing, and the general public is far more informed on this subject then they have been in the past. That is the reason for the drastic change in public opinion. The fact is, In my opinion, the use of marijuana shouldn't be looked at so much as criminal act as a personal choice just like alcohol. Americans would never buy Marijuana from Mexico if they or there neighbors could grow it themselves. The U.S legalizing marijuana would stop the mexican drug cartels from even trying to send marijuana to the U.S.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  57. Marine Vet

    I sure hope marijuana is legalized soon. The money we spend locking up non-violent people is obscene and pointless. By making it illegal, we just put money in the pockets of drug dealers. As soon as we legalize it, we can regulate, tax it and get it out of the hands of kids. Ask any school kid–they can buy pot in 5 minutes, but alcohol (legal and regulated) is tough for them to obtain because there is no lucrative black market. The money from the taxes on it would go a long way to helping us with our budget problems.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  58. Joseph

    Yes, and it's HIGH time this happened. One benefit seldom mentioned is that legalization would reduce the gang warfare going on along our southern border. Therefore, it's time for our government to get off the pot and legalize pot.

    Joe in Delray Beach, FL

    October 20, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  59. James

    When handled in the same fashion as alcohol, there is no reason for pot to be illegal. Watch documentaries on why it is illegal and you'll note that the main reason for it was control of the government over minorities and people they didn't like. Economically, if pot were legalized, the tylenol industry would collapse. Pot is far less bad for your body than those pills are. Pot has less long term health risks attached to it than alcohol does. Pot doesn't cause violent reactions.

    There is no good reason for it to be illegal other than someone didn't like someone else's good time (the american government didn't like the mexicans... Woody Harilson's documentary)

    October 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  60. Steve B (California)

    My question here would be are we basing our laws on public opinion or popularity? If that is the case then same sex marriage is off the books.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  61. Dan from Baltimore, Maryland

    Yes, at least I certainly hope so. We have to have the political will to acknowldge that the "war on drugs" is a disaster. It has resulted in the creation a huge illegal marijuana industry and filled our prisons with potheads, putting an enormous financial burden on the country. Time to legalize & tax marijuana as we do cigarettes & alcohol.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  62. CARLOS

    So begins the slippery slope. What many have not thought through is the far reaching implications of legalization of pot. I personally do not want my surgeon having toked up before my heart by pass. Nor do I wish my 757 pilot to have indulged before take-off...hmmm..whats that smell coming from the cockopit? I do not want my 4th grader being taught by a teacher who is high on pot from hitting one on the way to school. I don't want 7 out of 12 jurors on my trail to decide my fate while high on pot. Nor do I wish the firemen, the police, the ambulance drivers, the pharmacists, the eye surgeon, the bus driver, the tractor trailer driver, the air traffic controllers etc. etc etc. to be high on pot because its now it's OK. Don't get me wrong..I'm a moderate liberal..but think it through folks. The devil is in the details and the far reach affects of such a decision. Think it through!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  63. Steve LaMere


    Not sure I understand how legalization would be a step back against fighting Mexican drug cartels. In fact, it would actually help. They make a ton of money and derive their power from smuggling drugs, which are extremely valuable because they are illegal and in high demand in the United States. If we legalized drugs, the value would diminish drastically and the demand for illegal drugs would go away; they would be legal. The cartels would lose their source of revenue and would therefore lose their power. Much like the mafia during prohibition. We create the problem ourselves.


    October 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  64. Will

    Jack, I argue that this is, in fact, the first of many steps toward the legalization of marijuana. In the Netherlands, marijuana is not technically "legal," yet the authorities choose not to prosecute it. This is similar to the strategy seen here. That way, if it does become a problem, enforcement can easily take control of the problem.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  65. srichey

    The only people that benefit by making pot illegal is the narco-enforcement industrial complex and the drug cartels. Prohibition hasn't benefited society at all. All prohibition does is force people to buy something they want through illegal means. Legalize, regulate and tax the heck out of it. Lets quit sending money to other countries that are supplying our habits.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  66. John

    The critics' notion that this supports Mexican drug cartels is completely backwards, because this actually weakens them. The places in California that sell medicinal marijuana don't buy from the cartels, they buy from local growers. Therefore the clubs are TAKING AWAY business from the illegal dealers.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  67. S Callahan

    Jack, It should be legalized yet resistence reigns because marjuannia(canabis) is so emeshed with the work force dollars (start with police, judges, bail bondspersons,jails, probation,drug courts, drug rehabs, mental health clinics, blood labs, drug companies with artifical drugs etc , etc) so I don't think there will be an overnight move to decriminalize the drug known as canabis but this is a start.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  68. Paul Forbes

    Re: Legalizing pot. The Obama adminstration and Democratic party are simply demonstrating again why the Republicans will retake Congress and the White House.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  69. Eric in NJ

    Jack, I'm hoping my state will legalize it soon and maybe it will help the debt we're in. It should be policed the same alcohol is, you can't do it while driving or in public. This is another one of those conservative vs. liberal arguments. Conservatives try to control every aspect of people's life until you conform to their way of thinking, whether it be what a woman chooses to do with her body, who a person is allowed to marry, or what a person decides to put in their lungs...and for some reason they always claim it's protect other people. Republicans let government and big business get away with anything they want with their free market and consumer choice B.S. but heaven forbid if you extend a little more individual freedom to the American people.There is no solid argument against legalizing it, if there is please let me know.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  70. stephen

    Yo Jack,
    If it is, that would be great (and I'm not a pot smoker). My main beef with it being illegal is that its illegality is what keeps the cartels in business. Anyone who says that legalizing marijuana helps the cartels doesn't know too much about what happened to the moonshiner mobs after prohibition was lifted. Maybe I'm missing something, but other than the unsubstantiated argument that marijuana is a "gateway drug", people against legalization don't have a whole lot to stand on...Dude!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  71. Judy

    Iam a 62 year old retired teacher with a Master's in Ed. Over the years I've seen plenty of pot smoking, and I musy say the PENALITIES imposed for possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use do FAR MORE DAMAGE to people than the substance itself ever could. Let's get over all this "gateway drug" business, stop ruining young peoples' lives, and legalize marijuana!

    A Senior in Bethany Beach DE!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  72. Tim


    Marijuana is illegal because the ruling oligarthy do not want a renewable source of energy, paper and, yes, a cheap high to exist. Big business would much rather have you hooked on alchohol and cigarettes so they can continue to make money while they kill you. Our country's drug policies have never been about protecting our children. They have been about corporate profit and greed.

    In fact, I think it was only outlawed after newpaper magnet Hearst became concerned it would undermind his logging and paper industry.

    As a drug it's pretty benign. Noone dies from an marijuana overdose. It just doesn't happen.

    Plus just imagine if you could grow it in your backyard. That would destroy many many companies profits. The ruling oligarthy will not let this happen, not if they want to be re-elected.


    October 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  73. Tim, Fort Wayne, Indiana

    We should all hope so. We have to have something to tax under the Obama regime. Instead of putting revenue from this relatively harmless drug into the hands of the cartels, let's have it pay for this public option that people are clamoring for.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  74. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    How many Americans are in jail for using marijuana, and at what cost? I see a government tax on marijuana coming down the road, What is legal today is a crime the next. Look at one time their was coke in coke cola , you could even buy a beer,or wine but the majority of Americans change the law, or people with money will change the laws

    October 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  75. Smythe

    Hopefully it is. With legalization and regulation, the US gov't could actually win the war on pot, taking the wind out of the cartels' sails, providing better education about its uses and stopping the criminalization of a healthy chunk of the population that enjoys the drug recreationally. It would also save the justice and penal system millions and millions of dollars a year. If cigarettes and alcohol are legal, there is no justifiable argument for why pot should be illegal.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  76. Heather

    I certainly hope that this is the first step in legalizing marijuana. I would also love to see hemp legalized for growth and use in manufacturing in the US. Imagine the economic opportunity....hemp can be used in so many ways and is sustainable.

    Legalize and tax it...

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  77. Dick Hodgin

    Yes, it is the first step......and the RIGHT step. Cigarettes, alcohol, prescription drugs are all legal. Making pot a criminal offense is just plain dumb.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  78. Terrance

    Jack I am not a pot smoker,but I can see its benefits for legalization. I am not speaking of the munchies or as a pain reliever. I am speaking of the REVENUE!. If senoirs want to get there social security and medicade then stay out of the way on this. This could begin a whole new industry that would bring in uncle sams hunger for dollars in healthcare. I say WHY NOT! The old farts had there days in the 1930's and there Great Depression. I say Let the Stoners Get High . The jails will empty and Healthcare bills will decrease.! Then I can take up a new hobby!!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  79. Kevin S.

    I sure hope so Jack.

    But to suggest that it is the governments intent to use this as a first step toward legalization is very doubtfull. This is just a more rational way of thinking as opposed to filling up jails with recreational users. Who by the way are responsible working class, upper class and every class in between, everyday people.

    It's about time North America gets real about this issue.
    The "war on drugs" is society's Viet Nam. It's is an enourmous cost to the tax payer with little to no effect on the problem.

    Marijuana should be removed from the War on Drugs hit list.

    By the way, Marijuana doesn't lead to harder drugs. Addicitve personalities lead to harder drugs with or without marijuana.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  80. Karl from SF, CA

    I hope it is for those that need it. How hypocritical can we be to have alcohol legal considering bar room fights, domestic violence and drunk drivers killing people compared to pot smokers that just giggle, eat and fall asleep? We need those enforcement resources diverted to traffic patrols to catch drunk drivers before the do hurt someone.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  81. Ben

    I sure hope so!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  82. John, Fort Collins, CO

    I'm a non-user, but it appears to me that the billions of dollars wasted on the sieve-ern border and mariguana grows in the California forests could be better spent fighting hard drugs and hard crime. Just like tobbaco and alcohol - lay on heavy taxes and control the distribution. Why keep spitting into the wind?

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  83. AftaMidNite

    'bout time

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  84. Chip Davis

    I would hope that it is the 1st step and not the last. This country wastes far to much time and resources on prosecuting and jailing the "criminals". As far as giving in to the drug cartels, thats a bunch of hooey. Most of our weed is grown in someones basement. It used to be gin in the bath tub. Legalize it and tax the hell out of it.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  85. Dave E

    There is no question in my mind that the legalization and taxation of pot would benefit this country. No teen has trouble finding pot as it is, so the war on pot is no longer relevant. Far fewer lives are ruined by pot than the other legal drug, alcohol...

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  86. Allen L Wenger

    I cetainly hope so. I had a lot of fun smoking weed back in the day. Now that I'm retired, it would be nice to smoke a bowl on the deck in the evening while watching the sunset.

    Mountain Home ID

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  87. Heath

    Prosecutors have better things to do than go after medical marijuana suppliers and users. This will allow them more time to prosecute the people who are using/selling marijuana illegally.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  88. Hector

    It about TIME!!! foolish war on drugs is a failure and strictly political anyways

    October 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  89. Chris

    Absolutely. It's time for our government to cash in on the widely accepted herb.

    Los Angeles, CA

    October 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  90. Iggy from Mi.

    Whats sad is when you have people saying that if pot becomes legal then everyone will be a pot heads. But alcohol is a LEGAL drug. So shouldn't by theory everyone by alcoholics? This "drug war" is a failure. Make it legal already so it can help those who need it like my brother who has M.S. and tax it so we can get this economy growing again!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  91. Edward - Atlanta, GA

    I find it very interesting that tobacco is legal even though it causes 400,000 deaths per year, and alcohol is legal even though it causes 100,000 deaths per year. At the same time, marijuana has never been attributed to a single death, has been used for tens of thousands of years for a wide variety of reasons, causes no harm to anyone, and yet it is illegal. The gateway theory has never been proven true, and the 1972 National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommended ending prohibition and creating other methods to discourage use. We spend $2.8 billion per year to fight illegal drugs. I think there are more efficient ways to use our scarce resources.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  92. Jim Jamesson

    The mere notion that marijuana can be taxed and treated as a revenue stream was/is the legitimate first step. This 'step' by the government is more appropriately the second step, Jack.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  93. Paul Chang

    pot regulation and control will have similar effects as when alcohol went from prohibition to regulation and control: reduction in crime and violence, transfer of pots of money from the black markets to taxes and legitimate enterprises, reduction in corruption at all levels, a better informed and healthier public, police and court resources focused on real crimes, a more just society

    October 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  94. Jim

    It is time to stop the hypocrisy over keeping marijuana illegal. Cigarettes and alcohol contribute to more deaths in this country than marijuana ever will. My state is the main gateway for the infusion of pot, so I feel a little responsible for the violence, deaths and mayhem associated with cartels getting rich off our stupid prohibition of marijuana. Repeal the laws now, make pot legal and save lives... it's that simple.

    Grand Prairie,

    October 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  95. Jim Harte

    If Obama makes a second term, you bet it will end up legal. This is probably the best bet for paying off the national debt, legalize it and tax it to no end. Why should the cartels be getting all that cash?

    October 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  96. Travis

    The legalization of marijuana changes with the towing of the political tide. When conservatives take control again, any progress will be regressed. For that reason, I'll "just say no."

    October 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  97. Mikey Evans

    I don't see the medicalization of Marijuana as a step towards legalization, as much as its a step AWAY from NORMALIZATION.

    Under the medical system, cannabis is a tool used to treat illness and symptoms. Abuse of prescription medicine is illegal, so should the abuse of the medical marijuana system be equally illegal.

    In an adult society with balanced rights and responsibilities, an adult citizen should not have to ask his government's permission to be healthy, or unhealthy. As Thomas Jefferson said over 200 years ago "
    "Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now."

    October 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  98. Jon

    Probably. I'll be ok with legalized pot as soon as we no longer have drunk drivers on the roads. Do we really think people are going to use pot "responsibly". C'mon. I guess I sold my bell bottoms and paisley tunic too soon!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  99. shellibelli

    This is great news! Never saw the point in the Feds wasting time and money to raid a state legalized clinic for medicinal pot – what a wonderful thing to see both sides of the law working together rather agaisnt.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  100. James Beranis

    I'm not sure how someone can think if marijuana is legalized, that it will increase illegal drug running. If it's legal won't shops have to buy from legal sources and have tax stickers to show for it? I'd think the dope crimes and gangs would be driven out of market, just as the booze smuggling disapeared after prohibition.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  101. martin ferrante

    just think all the pot head will move to Calf this may be good for the rest of the U.S.but we will have to put up check points when you leave Calf to sopt the pot going back into the rest of the country. and health care is good enof for all americans but not good enof for our congress they will not be coved by the health they will have there own for only $500.00 a year now that is real helath care

    October 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  102. mike

    How in the world is legalizing pot "a step backward in the fight against Mexican drug cartels"? If anything this action is more likely to hurt the cartels! if marijuana is legal what's the incentive for the cartels to contunue selling it. Who would you rather buy pot from a potentually dangerous drug dealer or a legal business? We tried banning alcohol and the booze pushers had a field day.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  103. Whitney

    I hope it is the first step toward legalization. It would solve so many problems.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  104. george

    one can only hope.............

    October 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  105. Ken in NC

    I don’t know but there is going to be a whole lot of smoking going on and I don't mean cigarettes.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  106. erik

    The legalization of pot would benefit society in so many ways. Jails would have more space, the police force could concentrate on violent crimes, you could tax it like tobacco and fund all kinds of public works, and obviously the proven medical treatments. It really seems like a no brainer to me.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  107. Daryl

    God, I hope so. It can only help at this point. The government needs more things on which to assess sin-taxes, since they've already taxed booze, tobacco and gasoline as much as they possibly can, and they can't tax junk food, because that would affect the Congressmen directly. Pot's the next tax frontier.

    Plus, people would rather cool out with a bag of Cheetos watching SpongeBob than storm the Capitol protesting our inept public officials. And the government likes it that way with people passive and ignorant.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  108. Richard

    Yes and its something that is way overdue, we have legalized everything else that is bad for us, Sugar, alcohol, Reality TV, cigarettes and Dancing with the Stars. Marijuana actually has some real benifits to cancer patients, glocoma and a host of other aliments and was only made illegal based on discimination of latinos who whites wanted to keep out of certain areas.

    Who knows maybe it will actually be made totally legal one day and it will be a huge source of revenue that the goverment can then use to implement more ineffective programs that don't help anyone other than a politicians image or their corporate sponsor.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  109. Tom

    Some of these conservatives and old geezers need to take a toke and chill out!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  110. Luther

    Its about time common sense and scientific evidence prevailed in this failed attempt at prohibition.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  111. ernie

    we should legalize it , tax it , and use the money for healthcare! but that isint gonna happen because too many scumbags are getting rich off the system we have now. so sick people will continue to suffer so some burocrat will have a job harassing the pot using public. for shame america ! there is a flipside to this, that same burocrat may someday get cancer and have to live with the same suffering that they csused! remember scumbag there is a god and his wrath is worse than you can imaqgine

    October 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  112. Adam Goldstein

    Let's Hope so! It could help balance the budget.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  113. Nick D. Neighbour

    Yes. Just in case you still DOUBTED that this Country is going to hell!!
    Pasadena. CA.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  114. P

    Let's hope so!

    Everyone who works for Hostess.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  115. Hudson

    'The Justice Department now says pot-smoking patients and their authorized suppliers shouldn't be targeted for federal prosecution in states that allow the drug for medicinal purposes.'
    So those who can legally sell, or use canabis won't be prosecuted now!?
    This is simply the enforcement of an in-place law, not a new development. Focus on the dangerous drugs, all marijuana enforcement is a waste of public money, and law enforcements' time.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  116. Kenny Brown

    Yes, I believe it is. And a long awaited one at that. It is about time the Federal Government pay attention to the facts, and get their hands out of the pharmaceutical companies pockets. Marijuana is a safe and effective way to handle many different medical ailments, and the recreational use is physically and mentally healthier for you than that of legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. Prohibition did not work with alcohol, and it is not working with marijuana. This first step towards legalization is a breath of fresh air for an America that actually upholds its ideals of freedom, personal liberties, and the disdain for cruel and unusual punishment.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  117. Tom W.

    I hope so Jack! Prohibition didn't work back in the 20's and it doesn't work now. Just like back then, the law's only effect is making very bad people incredibly rich. The United States has practically ruined all of Central and South America with our ridiculous "War on Drugs", spent untold billions of taxpayer dollars and killed or locked-up countless people. At some point you have to step back and ask yourself "What am I actually accomplishing?" The definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  118. Tom

    I hope it is.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  119. waylon

    Jack, Ive always wondered what you thought, on the legalization mariquana and do you think it should be legalizez

    from kentucky

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  120. Paul in LONG BEACH CA

    Yes Jack.

    Legalize it, take it out of the black market, and tax it, and growers and sellers will have no incentive for making money on it since it is so cheap.

    The reason it costs so much is because it is illegal! I guess all the money and time spent advertising against it in the 40s really worked on all those uneducated baby boomers who are pampered beyond belief.

    So while you baby boomers are working at Boeing making loads of money for no effort, I'll be here paying the highest education costs ever just to get to the job! Thanks for making it the hardest possible for us!!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  121. Todd Fichter

    "Is it the first step toward legalization?" I surely hope so! Even if cannabis didn't have medicinal properties (which it does!) it is far less dangerous of a substance than cigs and alcohol and should be legalized, advertised and taxed.
    Smoking in Texas

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  122. Tim K

    God, I hope so!!

    Tim K
    in Ft Laud

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  123. Ralph Patch

    I hope so!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  124. Walter Wilson

    No, but what's happening is the pot de-criminalization opponents are losing their escape from reality...... comfort in numbers.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  125. Kenny Brown

    Yes, I believe it is. And a long awaited one at that. It is about time the Federal Government pay attention to the facts, and get their hands out of the pharmaceutical companies pockets. Marijuana is a safe and effective way to handle many different medical ailments, and the recreational use is physically and mentally healthier for you than that of legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. Prohibition did not work with alcohol, and it is not working with marijuana. This first step towards legalization is a breath of fresh air for an America that actually upholds its ideals of freedom, personal liberties, and the disdain for cruel and unusual punishment.

    Kirkwood, New York

    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  126. Sara

    I truly believe that State and Federal governments should legalize marijuana. The drug could follow right along with alcohol; same laws and punishments. State governments, especially, could benefit from the taxation on the sale of marijuana. Why not reduce the number of hours our law enforcement members have to spend on control and prevention? Why not add marijuana to sin tax and put the money towards things that the States and country truly need? How about taking a nice chunk out of our State and national debts? California is near, if not already bankrupt. Sounds like a plan to me.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  127. Harleynut

    Legalize it and buy American. At least we will have a product made in America.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  128. CK

    There will certainly be loosening of enforcement. Howvere, since seniors are the most reliable voting block, there will be no legalization of marijuana untill the current younger folks are seniors.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  129. Gail from Montana

    YES! YES! YES!
    It is way past time to end the war on the most versatile and incredible plant on earth that cannabis is! Food, fuel, fiber, farmaceutical medicine, safe recreational fun will be had by all!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  130. Roeland, Netherlands

    I sure hope so... peace to you Jack and Wolf

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  131. Matt

    Absolutely, and about time! Prohibition for alcohol created the Al Capone's and the like. Prohibition for marijuana and other drugs have created the Mexican drug cartels, the Columbian drug lords, and so on. The "War on Drugs" has not worked. It's amazing older generations are so against legalization, when some of them probably saw the ill-effects of Prohibition in the 1920s first-hand.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  132. Mary

    No..I only think they are using federal resources more wisely. Remember, medical marijuana is legal in the states that are told to not enforce the law on patients who use marijuana for medical purposes.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  133. Ray

    I have been a medical marijuana patient for a number of years now and recently moved from California to Seattle Washington. I hope this is the first step toward legalization because I need the medicational effects of pot and when I cross state lines from a state that allows medical use to one that doesn't I am risking fines or possible arrest. I say legalize it now, or drug laws need to be balanced and humane, bedause now my travel is necessarily restricted.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  134. Jon

    I think its a good thing. Alcohol is scientifically a worse drug than Pot could ever be. TOO much of our governments time and money goes in to nonviolent criminal actions of marijuana. Think of all the money we would save and how much they would make. Think about how much it costs to house one prisoner for one day. Think about the salaries of pot cops that is wasted when they could be fighting actual violent crimes. Think about the increase in revenue for convenience stores for a munchy run. Think about the taxes they could make from selling the stuff. There is no real reason for it to stay criminalized. From my personal experience I can definitely tell you that the gateway drug lie is a huge one. Alcohol helps you to make the worst decisions and you are more likely to try hard drugs while drinking then smoking pot.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  135. John in Lake Tahoe

    Jack, of course we should legalize marijuana. Heck, thirty Republican legislators recently voted to legalize rape in the workplace, why won't they legalize the marijuana they're probably already using anyway?

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  136. Wally

    Yes, and it is long overdue. Marijuana has been demonized for far too long and far more lives have been by ruined by enforcement than by the drug itself. If we really want to hurt the Mexican drug cartels, legalize pot, grow it here, and tax it. I can't imagine anyone that would by cartel pot from a dealer if there was a safe, reliable, and reasonably priced legal alternative.

    Youngstown, OH

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  137. Manuel F.

    "... while critics say this move is a step backward in the fight against Mexican drug cartels." The critics don't know the facts, if marijuana was legalized on a federal level, the cartels and drug dealers would go out of business and wouldn't exist.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  138. Bonnie from New Mexico

    I think we are moving toward legalization of pot and it is about time. As boomers become seniors, you will see that demographic more in favor of legalization. Medical pot is grown in this country and is not controlled by Mexican drug cartels, so every pound grown locally is one less being brought over the border or grown illegally on public land. As legalization increases, the gov. need to be sure drug cartels don't try to get control of production and that it is taxed for a substantial new revenue source.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  139. Donna Mansfield

    It used to be legal before prohibition. I think those who sell and make liquor have been the ones more staunchly against legalization. Everybody else just knows that it's "illegal", therefore bad. Just think of all the money the government could make if they treated it like liquor?? Wheweeeee!! We'd get out of debt AND pay for everybody's healthcare!!!!

    Donna Mansfield from Kirkland, WA

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  140. Scott

    I think legalizing marijuana would be great for the country. If the government legalizes the selling of marijuana, then it can also tax it, just like tobacco products. One would think that legalizing pot would hurt the Mexican cartels and they'd want to push "harder" drugs such as cocaine and heroin. That's where the real "war on drugs" should be anyway. Most marijuana smokers that I've had runs in with are usually smarter than the brain-dead politicians running the country anyway. Legalize pot!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  141. kznny

    Ask the spouse and children of any alcoholic if they could trade their parent's alcohol addiction for a marijuana addiction, I would suspect the majority would say yes. I have never smoked marijuana in my life, but I wonder how much I would have to smoke to feel as I have after drinking too much vodka. The fact that marijuana is illegal and alcohol is legal is so stupid I will not lower myself to discuss it. Tax it and use it to improve the community, while saving money on senseless prosecutions and jail sentences.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  142. Trevor

    This is absolutely the first step toward the legalization of pot. It is about time we stop wasting valuable resources on the prosecution of people that can hardly be considered "criminals".

    October 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  143. Mike in St. Paul

    Let's hope so. If marijuana was legalized, the tax revenue would not pay off the deficit, it would pay off the national debt! Not to mention, our liberties as human beings and free choosers would finally be acknowledged.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  144. John in Santa Barbara

    Prohibition didnt work, bootleggers and mobsters got rich. Now Mexican cartels get rich on Marijuana sales. American, get your heads out of your behinds, it's the same song all over again.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  145. mike

    Just legalize it.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  146. Howard Chicago


    I do not think so. If you are driving while high what is the legal limit?

    But Officer I did not inhale.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  147. Steven Guwnteli, San Diego,CA

    Well i sure hope so. Legalizing marijuana would be a step forward not a step back.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  148. Mark Godfrey

    Re-legalize privacy.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  149. Eugene

    I vote yes

    October 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  150. Elyzabethe

    Marijuana should be legal and regulated and taxed like alcohol is, legalization would all but wipe out it's trafficking, and the taxes on it would bring in revenue for states.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  151. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    I actually do not care either way, because I do not do drugs, but I will be happy to see the drug growers, and drug dealers lose billions as we get billions in tax dollars to pay for our services, it is time for us to benefit and the criminals to lose out as they lose profit share in the near future!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  152. Jim Lemos

    Marijuana will be legal in 2 years; then we can shut up about it forever thank God.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  153. Michael Burton

    I'm extremely excited to see that there are intelligent conversations being held towards legalizing marijuana. It's ironic how legalizing a drug would actually bring the crime rate down. Besides, beer, cigarettes and alcohol kills more people annually than do handguns. Let's get real about legalizing pot, America. Not to mention the economic boost.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  154. ron

    I certainly hope so. As a 64 year old who has watched the "war on drugs" result in incarceration of far too many of my fellow citizens, I think legalization is a far better approach than the staus quo. For the record, I'm a Ph.D. and retired management consultant who served the nation's top corporations, so I'm hardly an aging hippie who thinks this is a good idea because I find smoking pot all that appealing.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  155. Zach

    We should tax it and regulate it. The government will get an incredible amount of money, and the Mexican cartels will be out of business. And all that talk about marijuana being harmful? No more so than alcohol or tobacco.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  156. Lisa

    I hope so!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  157. Manny

    Miami, Florida: "... while critics say this move is a step backward in the fight against Mexican drug cartels." The critics don't know the facts, if marijuana was legalized on a federal level, the cartels and drug dealers would go out of business and wouldn't exist.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  158. Ryan Urbaniak

    Let's hope so. Last time I checked all kinds of drugs were legal...alcohol, sleeping pills, etc., many of which come with a list of side-effects that are frightening to say the least. If the govt. wants to win the so-called "war on drugs", there is only one way to do it and that is legalization. Like you said, grow it here, tax it here, sale it here...put the thugs and murderers OUT OF BUSINESS!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  159. Tom

    "The federal government OKs medical marijuana. Is it the first step toward legalization?" GOD I HOPE SO!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  160. susan

    Is it the first step? God, I hope so. It's about time. If the concern is to discourage the Mexican drug cartels...then legalizing it here solves that problem. Many fine, otherwise law-abiding citizens have been flying under the legal radar for too long. Legal pot is an idea whose time had come ages ago...and is inevitable before too long.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  161. Jenni

    I hope so. The Drug War is a stupid war based on racism. We stopped prohibition because we could see how it was useless and criminalized good citizens. Why is this any different? I have yet to find any stats that say it's dangerous on it's own. It's the cartels and gangs that make money off the illegality that are dangerous not some little plant. As a mom I don't fear my children getting weed nearly as much as I fear them getting caught in the crossfire. America needs to grow up in a lot of ways this would be a good start.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  162. Mark M


    We are a growing nation, who cares if you smoke pot these days there are worse things in the world that can happen.

    If it is legal we tax it we have rules like we do with drinking and everyone is happy (well all but the uptight anti pot folks)

    I dont smoke pot I dont like the way it makes me feel but if people want to its there choice as long as like drinking they do it wisley.

    I say make it legal, put these illegal drugg sellers out of business and lower crime at the same time, maybe use the taxes from it to fight the druggs that actually kill people like crystal meth.

    San Francisco Ca

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  163. Martin

    The tobaco companies r ready and waiting

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  164. Mark G.

    We should have legalized marijuana years ago. I've seen many marijuana help cancer patients going through chemo-therapy. It was the only thing that helped them keep their food down. Keeping it illegal is idiotic. I wonder if the beer manufacturers and whiskey distillers are behind this or is it just the drug companies?.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  165. Justin

    Marijuana should definitely be legalized. Rum-runners, and bootleggers used to be associated with the Mafia and violent crime, but when the Prohibition on alcohol was lifted, they were all put out of business by American capitalists. There is no possible way the Mexican marijuana cartels could compete with Uncle Sam. Once pot goes corporate, it's all over for the violent gangs south of the border. They'll get outsold, undercut, and elbowed out of the game.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  166. Cesar Montero

    Legalize it!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  167. Mark

    I can only hope so

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  168. Tom Keough

    I am a senior (65) in favor of legalizing pot! It makes sense on all levels and I will retire in the US rather than British Columbia or Amsterdam!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  169. Laura

    In the next 5-10 years I hope to live in a country where marijuana has been decriminalized in all states. When we ended Prohibition mob activity and cartels running booze from Canada were all weakened. The same effect will happen with the Mexican cartels and the violence that bleeds over into Arizona and California.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  170. DM - San Diego

    I don't want the government rationing my pot. What was the question again? I forgot what I was going to say...

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  171. anonymous

    I sure hope so, I've been down the "slippery slope" with other treatments for my chronic pain and pot was recently shown in a survey of existing studies to be as effective as opiates with only minor side-effects (eating too many M 'n' Ms).

    October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  172. thedoberman

    Yes its about time.Im 69 yrs old and have been taking drug tests for the past 20yrs for my job.And i have Glacoma.In arizona or california you can buy it any ware any way.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  173. marcella stewart

    Yes, however, you should ask the question to those who participated in Woodstock, shopped at head shops, and smoked many a joint. Who are they- your senators and congressmen, CEO's, and others in leadership.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  174. Theodore R. Wade Jr.

    Yes, and why not? You have allowed cigarettes to be sold for centuries. You know now that they are addictive and carcinogenic, yet you still allow them to be sold for the almighty dollar. Legalizing marijuana will reduce crime and produce income in one sweep.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  175. A normal citizen

    About time. The current situation is ludicrous. Its a plant that has grown wild for thousands of years. As usual the people are way ahead of the politicians on this issue.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  176. Mary Yohn

    while marijuana remains illegal the only people who are benefiting are the criminals. Legalize it, tax it, regulate it like alcohol… a new crop for the farmers and a new business for the cigarette companies

    Fort Hood Texas

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  177. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    How much tax do you pay on plants you grow in your yard, Jack? I don't so this as ever being a cash cow since any idiot with a flower pot and running water can grow a WEED at home. It's a ridiuclous argument. i also don't by that it is no different than alcohal. If I get pass out cold drunk today, 6 days from now I will not test positive that alcohal is still in my system.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  178. jorge

    I don't understand? US is spending millions of dollars fighting drugs cartels in latin america and at the same time wants to legalize it????help please help!!!!!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  179. Eric

    The first step toward legalization of marijuana was when it became illegal in 1937. The law was used to discriminate against Latinos and Blacks. That underlying reason is no longer valid. It is less harmful than tobacco and less intoxicating than alcohol. The government just needs to tax it to see the real value in legalization.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  180. Chet Aeschliman

    I certainly hope so. We should let our hurting farmers produce pot and coke and sell it thru Govt. stores to declared addicts at a reasonable profit. This would put all the drug cartels out of business overnight. The huge resources we've put into the anti-drug effort have failed miserably, so it's time for a new approach. I can't understand why Americans can't see this simple, obvious solution. As they habitually do, Californians are about to show us the way, but it should have been obvious to all of us long before now.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  181. Michael Scott

    I think that this is once again a cop out to a movement that can't and shouldn't be stopped. Despite Phillip Morris and many drug and tobacco companies attempts, it is becoming blatantly obvious that Marijuana is a miracle cure for stress, cancer, depression, bi polar disorder, OCD, anger issues, and many other issues. It is a blessing to America's financial problems and many peoples lives. The only problem is it's hard to tax, so no one will move against it. Be a real man Obama, and Legalize it.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  182. Ron in Rochester New York


    Dude..., Like...., Most affirmatively!!!!

    In all seriousness, why not legalize it? We allow alcohol consumers to purchase their drug of choice. The argument about marijuana being a gateway drug is absurd, particularly when you consider that cigarettes and booze are typically the gateways to pot. As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, I can honestly say it isn't the substances that are the issue, it is the person. Some people are going to have a chronic condition that keeps them from being able to tolerate any type of compulsion, be it booze, drugs, food or gambling. In a free society, why penalize the many for the weakness of the few? I will add however, that marijuana is where the line should be drawn as far as substances go. Opium, heroin or any other substance beyond marijuana carry penalties for society that we can ill afford, DUDE!!!!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  183. Dan

    This is indeed the first step toward legalization at least in some states. States that legalize and regulate will see an increase in income statewide, and at the same time they will see a large drop in drug related crime.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  184. nick from arkansas

    jack it's re-legalization, and i sure hope so.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  185. ej in ABQ

    You're right Jack, it makes a LOT of sense (more legalization.) It's a weed, for heaven's sake. It's not a processed drug and trying to control growing it has always been ridiculous, IMHO. You're right again, in a few more years the U.S. population will be heavily "pro pot." We can grow it, tax it, and end the smuggling crisis. Let's start now!!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  186. HENRY

    To all opposed: what has weed ever done to you?
    Think of all the profit the government could make by distributing marijuana, it could match Tobacco, it could boost the economy, why not?

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  187. Kurt

    The question is NOT should marijuana be legalized. It's been a part of our culture for decades. The question IS: Where does the money go? To illegal organizations or to the public coffer? It is crazy to spend public dollars fighting windmills when we could fund teachers and other worthy public intersts with the proceeds.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  188. Derek

    No, the first step towards 'legalization' was making it illegal in the first place - which, by the way, never should have happened.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  189. Bobby

    it's 4:20. About time the Federal Government woke up got back to work at what it does best: impose taxes on a pack of J's. Similar to a pack of cigs, an a six pack of beer. It's not a dream.
    Stockton, CA

    October 20, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  190. Kyle Lee

    Legalizing marijuana in California alone would also be good for the environment. Marijuana farmers grow in national parks, pollute waste and sewage, burn the land when they're done.

    If it were legal, agricultural guidelines could be established and the growers would not have to hide and destroy national parks.

    I wrote a nine page argument on legalizing marijuana in california, at college.

    Thanks for bringing up the issue and have a good day.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  191. Julie

    What is it that people can't get about this? At least half of the country is using its head.

    Gee, lets see....if pot were legalized, oh...lets say in all 50 states, I wonder what would happen to the violence on our southern borders?

    Do you think that maybe it would spell the end to the mexican dope peddaling?

    Hmm.....let me think about that one.


    October 20, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  192. Jon

    We can only hope so. So much time, money, and lives have been wasted, with no clear and positive result, to eradicate marijuana, which is far less dangerous than alcohol. Its criminalization in the first place was a political sham. The "plant of a thousand uses" is a very real threat to many monied interests in this country, namely our own government. So even if 99% of the country was in favor of decriminalization, it would still be a very steep uphill battle.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  193. Dark Gable

    Jack, looking for a way to take a bite out of the deficit? Legalize marijuana, tax it and watch the money roll in. Legalization takes would reduce court costs, free up police to pursue hardcore criminals, decrease the number of people in prisons (that we pay for) and provide natural relief for people who have medical needs. Plus, with this economy, lack of jobs and general stresses of life, a doobie might just be what the doctor (no pun intended) ordered.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  194. Roger

    We waste countless amounts of money fighting it ,instead fight it by legallizing it and push out crime.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  195. George Edwards

    Sure. Brilliant- legalize it, tax users, income tax from growers, money saved from prosecution, money saved from prison, hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars can be used to bolster the education system and teach our citizens the ramifications of drug use.

    Education is a far more powerful tool than prison and threats. Our "stick your head in the sand" or Just Say No policy, simply sends all of our assets to Mexico and South America and we still have a sub culture of drug users in spite of the threat of prison, death and despair.

    We must educate now to reap the harvest in future generations.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  196. Andrea

    I certainly hope it is the first step of making pot legal. I am a senior and it sure takes care of my cronic pain. I am very far from a pot head and have been smoking it since my late twenties never to try anything else.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  197. Carol

    Hell yeah it's the first step and it's WAY overdue!
    From Charleston, SC.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  198. Jamie

    When weighing the pros versus the cons, I think it is time to legalize marijuana. I believe the majority of Americans will agree within the next 5 years. It's a shame it has taken this long.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  199. James McCollum

    Jack, if they let everyone smoke pot then are country will be a better place. If they Tax the sales then we could use the money to pay for healthcare for everyone including the people who will get lung cancer from smoking marijuana. I'm sure that's what the Obama Administration is thinking in the long run. – James McCollum from Fayetteville, North Carolina.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  200. gene

    'move is a step backward in the fight against Mexican drug cartels?'
    please. none of the clinics would sell imported weed. only the finest domestic varieties will do. none of the lowbudget, lower quality imports.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  201. Gary Wichita

    I don't know if medical marijuana laws are the first step toward legalization or not. If they are it is about time. We have far too many people in jails and prisons for the use of a drug no more and by most accounts less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. In addition, legalization of marijuana would generate greater revenues in the form of taxation, would generate much needed jobs in this country, and decimate the ability of brutal Mexican drug cartels to carry out their war on us and their own people. Prohibition did not work in the 1920s and 1930s, all it did was make criminals out of otherwise hard working honest people, make the Canadian brewers rich, and enriched the criminal element in the U.S. Sound familiar?

    October 20, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  202. Matt, Providence RI

    Who knows? But it's worth noting that the last time they ceased prohibition of a recreational drug, it was done, at least partially, in response to an economic crisis and rising levels of gang violence. That was in 1933. Maybe these medical marijuana dispensaries are analogous to the speakeasies of that era? History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes. Anyway, here's to legalization!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  203. Reno Red


    I'm 59 years old, I hope it goes full on legal soon.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  204. Justin

    "...while critics say this move is a step backward in the fight against Mexican drug cartels."

    These critics are wrong. Legalization would cripple these cartels who thrive from its criminalization.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  205. Ray Victory

    Vero Beach, FL
    Sorry Jack, this is not the first step. It's probably numbered No.15 or so. Since at least the '70's more and more people have rationally come to the conclusion that marijuana is not a social problem but may in fact be a solution.

    My mother had breast cancer and on an experimental basis was prescribed marijuana which came in the form of rolled cigarettes packaged in a clear plastic box with the seal of the U. S, embossed in gold on the cover with the legend "Product of the U. S. Government For Medicinal Use Only".

    It is absolutely clear that the marijuana counteracted the effects of radiation and chemotherapy and resulted in a life extension of 6 or more years. For which I and my family are eternally grateful.

    Oh yeah, it may not be the first step, but I increasingly believe that this society is becoming more, not less, rational and the decriminalization of marijuana is coming sooner not later.

    The irrationality of the last 8 years has served its purpose in making more Americans think. All is not lost.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  206. Tim from Hot Springs, AR

    Of course it's the first step. Whether you agree with outright legalization or not, it will soon be a necessity for federal and state revenue. Raising 'sin' taxes on things like alcohol and tobacco have been so prevelant that the result has been a substantial reduction in the number of smokers. Less smokers equal less tax revenue. Aaahhh...I can see it now: Marlboro Marijuana.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  207. Brenda B

    The question shouldn't be whether or not this is the first step toward legalization, but instead, why is this drug treated differently than any other drug? Like Morphine or Codeine that are made from certain types of poppies. Dr's are free to prescribe these drugs; why not marijuana? I cannot believe that marijuana would be any worse than these meds. To my knowledge, marijuana has never killed anyone. I just don't understand why our government bans a drug like marijuana for dr's to prescribe but allows the serious opioid drugs on the market.
    Brenda of Chesterton, IN

    October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  208. MrHuxley

    I support the complete legalization of marijuana. The war on drugs is an utter failure and the tax dollars generated therefrom would help to shore up many state budgets. Moreover, we would limit the prison population by keeping what would otherwise be upstanding citizens out of the legal system.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  209. WashingtonMike

    It makes all the sense in world to legalize weed. We are spending billions of dollars on law enforcement to control something that is certainly no worse than beer. The conservatives would hate legalization. But then the conservatives hate anything that makes good sense.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  210. Rking

    I am 58 yrs old and & think marijuana should be made legal. It has medical benefits and tax income benefits . Alchohol should be illegal. You never hear of anyone smoking a joint and then go the wrong way on a freeway and kill people . If it's good enough for Willie, it's good enough for me !

    October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  211. Brian ohio

    I hope not. but thats what it looks like.Do you realize that if the goverment gets a hold of this one ,they will run with it.Pot will cost 5 times what it does now.There will still be laws to control it,because of the back yard grower.This is another no win situation for the american people again.
    I say SMOKE ON..

    October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  212. jeffrey g. mooney

    i have known people for years that has smoke it and i have never ever seen or heard of them getting in an accident or oding on it, I think you are very right about our borders, and it would give much needed room in our jails for the real criminals.I could go on and on about all the good it could do. it is pass due on being legalized

    October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  213. Mark S

    This seems more like a step towards getting past the inherent conflict between federal and state rights on this issue. The Feds have continually refused to fund any sort of testing to determine whether medical marijuana can help people. Towing the line that pot has no medicinal benefits without scientific justification for that position is a strategy that has played on fear and ignorance for decades. If patients benefit from this medicine and get their supply through regulated sources, noone else is negatively affected. Cheers to the Obama Administration for properly directing federal resources towards crimes that impact us as individuals and as a society.
    Mark, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA

    October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  214. Simon

    Hey I'm Simon infrom Delaware, Seaford.
    I personaly like that Idea, but I don't think this would be the first step to legalization. To much people are against the legalization of marijuana, so the government never could pass that law. It probably would reduce the work of the police and the state could make money. The System in the Netherlands work, there you can buy marijuana legaly. I'm actually from Europe and they use this System well.
    I think it's a plant, of course it is bad if you smoke too much, but marijuana is , if you consume once a week it is harmless

    October 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  215. Jason

    I sure hope so. The enforcement policies toward marijuana thus far have been leading up to yet another fight between the overreaching federal government and the inherent rights of states to pass their own laws. It's sad that pot laws thus far have lead to prison overcrowding and wasted government money and resources. Let states decide whether or not it should be legal within their borders. Furthermore, regulation and taxation can be a cash cow for both the feds and the states. Legal operations in California are already yielding significant tax revenue. All in all, we have more to gain by legalizing pot than not.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  216. mark osmond

    Dear Jack, I am 70 years old and I have smoked marajuna just about every day of my life since the early 70's. I normally live in California and I doubt if you know rhis, but last year the head of the California Highway Patrol, ordered his troops to not take marajuna from those whi have a prescription. RIGHT ON.
    I go to AA meetings and I know many other sober individuala who don't drin alcohol but will at least smoke marajuna before they go to bed like I do.
    I was told by a doctor that I was bipolar, and now I take nothing for that, I just use marajuna! God Bless AmericaI
    Mark Osmond

    October 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  217. Don Marco

    I can't wait for the Tommy Chong commercials.
    "No stems, no seeds, nothing you don't need."
    Too good. Too good.
    BTW, Dave's not here.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  218. Robert

    They can't change state law and marijuana won't be legalized in the South for decades if ever. Just because Obama's DOJ doesn't want to focus on it doesn't mean local authorities won't.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  219. Paul H

    My name is Paul, and I am from Phoenix, Arizona. I certainly hope Obama's move is a step toward legalization... Not only do we waste money going after harmless consumers of this so-called drug, we waste even more money by incarcerating offenders. Our prison populations are at near-disastrous capacities thanks to "the war on drugs," yet we have not seen a decrease in drug-associated violence? Why? Because these measures do not work. We need to undercut the profits of Mexican cartels by eliminating the opportunities presented by smuggling Marijuana or growing it domestically. It is their cash crop and supports their endeavors with dangerous and addictive substances. Also, let's face it – marijuana is fun to use recreationally, FAR safer than alcohol, and has medicinal qualities that far outstrip its undeserved label as a gateway drug. Marijuana has gotten a bad rap – I hope to see it legalized in my lifetime. Either way, I'll keep smoking it.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  220. Lucy

    I never understood why pot was ever illegal. It's a plant that grows from the ground, I find it funny that the government thought a need to ban something that was here long before we were. It's a choice to put it in your body, a personal choice, just like eating those poisonous little red berries would be a personal choice, but those aren't illegal.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  221. robbie

    it's really good to hear you guys talk about this issue this way. its time for people to wake up and realize the ONLY negatives effects of marijuana come from it being illegal. It is the definition of a cash crop. marijuana is not the monster people make it out to be. tobacco kills well over 400,000 people per year, alcohol over 80,000 aspirin kills well over 5,000. do you know how many weed kills? 0 not one person has ever been killed directly by marijuana.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  222. Luwanna Guysville Ohio


    Marijuana and the entire hemp plant family were criminalized by the cotton industry because they didn't want the competition. It is time to correct that ridiculous prohibition based on zero science and the spreading of lies and fear by the cotton industry in the early 1900's.

    The hemp family of plants could provide us with a renewable source of energy, clothing, oils, medicines, and too many other advantages to mention them all here.

    Washington himself encouraged the growth of hemp plants in this country for all the economic advantages it would provide our infant democracy. If the 'Father" of our country can see the advantages, then certainly it would be reasonable to expect our politicians to open their eyes as well.

    Luwanna Guysville Ohio

    October 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  223. Tim from Idaho

    Hopefully, then our law enforcement could spend more time arresting criminals instead of chasing around flowers.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  224. Louis

    I really hope so jack. I'm a Texas peace officer and I have seen from a first hand perspective that the only dangers of marijuana comes from it being on the black market. It puts revenues in the hands of drug dealers, gangs and cartels, instead of the government. You wanna pay for a public option there is the potential taxes right here

    October 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  225. Glenn

    No, it's one of the last steps. Now that the Fed won't go after medical marijuana users or legal dispensaries and leaves enforcement and monitoring up to the cash strapped states, their can be no other outcome than for states to yield, like it or not, to the growing reality that significant marijuana use, legal and illegal, is already here and it's here to stay.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  226. Bad_Species

    I hope it is the first step. Because if you can deal a hard blow to the drug cartels, keep thousands and thousends of young people with an otherwise bright future out of jail and earn millions of tax dollars just by changing a few laws you should do it. And if you think legalization will lead to a complete brakdown of society, well then take a look at the netherlands. Their society still seems to work quite well.
    greetings from munich germany

    October 20, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  227. David from Austin, TX

    The federal government is just agreeing to respect the individual states' legislative decisions here. It's not a step towards legalization, it's a step towards allowing states to make their own decisions, as it should be.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  228. Leslie Borrelli

    Its time to legalize marijuana ,so many Americans use it anyway.Its time to make it a legit business and tax it.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  229. Cyle in Dublin

    There's a joke in the movie "Oscar"
    Snaps (a mob boss) – "Aldo! I'm suprised at you. Haven't you ever heard of Prohibition?"
    Aldo – "Heard of it? What do you think paid for this house?"

    The drug war is the Prohibition of our generation.
    It only serves to enrich the cartels, because people will partake of their vices no matter the cost or the punishment.

    We may as well make a profit from it, too.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  230. Mark

    Cottonwood, Arizona

    Legalization is long over due. The war on drugs has been a waste of money and peoples lives since the 60's. Turn all the drug ofenders loose and put the crooks on wall street & K street in the empty cells. The taxes paid on legal drugs could help pay for universal health care.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  231. Louis

    About damn time! I have a friend who has been jail for 25 years for pot while all the chesters are let out to kill childern. You know why they do not go after child molesters the way they do weed dealers? Because there is no money in it. The police do not get to take the molesters homes and wealth if they could there would be a rash of busts. Just like Iraq we are fighting the wrong war. I have fought in the war on drugs for 27 years and am proud to say we are winning! Go Green!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  232. Bill

    It certainly is not the first step. In case you haven't noticed Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and even many third world nations have legalized or at least do not prosecute possession, only trafficking. America is so stuck in 1920, it believes legislating habit is effective.

    No, keep the prohibition going. Wouldn't the US lose its record incarceration rates? Who would populate America's 'for-profit' prison systems? What would all those unemployed lawyers, judges, policemen, prison guards do then? Why should the government earn taxes on vice when it can spend deficits fighting a 'special interests' war on drugs?

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  233. Andy

    In Alaska we've long held the belief that your right to privacy trumps most laws. We've long had legal medicinal use of marijuana and owning a small amount for personal use in the privacy of our homes was legal for some time.

    Since then, both the left and right have been too concerned with interfering in our lives, telling us what we can and can't do based on their political or religious beliefs. Usually this is in spite of studies and research showing the folly of their reasoning.

    Alaska is a libertarian state and we've got little patience for the religious right that have taken over our politics or even the liberal left which at least reflects many of our beliefs of live and let live.

    We're all for government that legislates against violent and dangerous crime, but not that which interferes with our personal lives. We don't want lunatics running around shooting what they please and we don't want crack dealers in our schools. But smoking weed in the privacy of your own home is none of anyone's business.

    Anchorage, Alaska.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  234. PhAzE

    It is not really the first step towards legalization, but perhaps another step towards decriminalizing it. It draws many parallels to the prohabition laws that were made and overturned so very long ago. In this case, we are dealing with a drug that is no worse than the 'drug' of alcohol, and if treated with similar rules (ie: illegal to produce but not illegal to consume) it can be contained and be used as a benificial factor towards the debt. As for the drawbacks, again its really no different than alcohol in the sense that soem will use it for recreation, and some will abuse it. In the end, the abusers are not dealing the same damage to their system as they would with alcohol, and its a much easier problem to tackle from a recovering smokeaholics point of view. I think if this was the first step to legalization, then its a step that needs to be made.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  235. unknown

    yes it should , why we dont learn from europe and canada * less crime ,less spend money on so called drug war ,healthier society and not to forget alcohol and ciggr and pills killing thousand every year , beside we are blind to see pot helping millions for all kind of illness ,tax it and let people live ,

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  236. DudeoRama

    To everyone who says marijuana affects brain function .... oh wow man ... I forgot what I was going to say...

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  237. Ashley

    Legalizing a drug for medicinal purposes does not necessarily mean it will be fully legalized. Cocaine is used as an active ingredient in prescription eye drops in the U.S. today yet 44% of Americans are not calling for the legalization of THAT drug. Marijuana is literally a weed that can grow almost anywhere, has less side effects than most prescription pain meds and is much less harmful to both healthy or ill patients than even alcohol–a once illegal substance that if anything worsens disease states rather than improves them. When will Washington realize that we are spending all these law enforcement dollars trying to outlaw a harmless plant that could be our country's next cash crop?

    -Ashley Wakefield, RI

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  238. Polski

    I'm 55 and in favor of legalization even though I've not toked in decades. Regulate it and tax it. If you don't want to smoke it, then don't smoke it. When I retire, it will again be brownie time again.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  239. Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    It is a first step and full legalization should come quickly.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  240. Jakedog

    Just have the surgeon general issue a blanket prescription for the country. That will be the first step. We are all suffering from depression watching all the wall streeters get the big bonuses. This will help stimulate the economy with pizza and snack food sales.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  241. Nick, Phoenix AZ

    Just what we need, more lazy Americans. Have you ever seen a pot head with a to-do list.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  242. Solomon Greene

    Yes We Should leaglize weed,We did it with alcohol and alcohol harms more people than marajauna ever has!It will help save tax dollars on prosecuting petty crimes and also help bring in revenue by taxing it!COME ON PEOPLE MARAJUANA NEVER HURT ANY ONE!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  243. Annie, Atlanta

    Probably not, but it should be. Expending huge amounts of limited resources fighting marijuana possession is absurd. And if it were to become legal, we wouldn’t need the drug cartels for pot. We could grow our own (we meaning all Americans, of course).

    October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  244. TO, Chicago

    Legalizing and taxing pot is the most pragmatic solution to this issue. Prohibition doesn't work, it just puts the profits in more dangerous hands. Imagine it, a general pain killer/nausea treatment/ mild recreational drug you can grow in your garden... think pharmaceutical & alcohol companies will take this lying down?...I doubt it.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  245. Hoop

    It is time to recognize that the use of marijuana is not the ultimate evil. Let the federal government return some of the tax money being spent in fighting this non-dangerous drug and to prevent our dollars from crossing the border to the drug lords of Mexico. Take the politics out of the discussion and focus on the big picture.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  246. Shea Brode

    Yes. If smoking cigarets and alcohol consumption are both legal at the permitted age, then why they hell is pot illegal. Both alcohol and cigarets have been proven to be much more harmful. Marijuana has been tested as a proven pain reliever for serious aliments. Not to mention the government can make money from taxing and regulating it. Legalization should and will happen eventually!!!!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  247. Brian P - Oklahoma City, OK

    In fact, legalization/decriminalization is the first countermeasures undertaken to fight cartels. The wheels of the gov't turning slowly yet again. The domestic user would be able to grow their own supply of marijuana effectively eliminating the demand for illegally trafficking the substance cross-border. Simple supply/demand principle. Now on to the human element: Most in the U.S. who have experimented with Marijuana can readily attest to the rather benign effects, regardless of amount of consumption it is placed somewhere below the potency of 2 alcoholic drinks. Yet, there are no known cases requiring medical intervention or a high rate of motor vehicle accidents such as this case with alcoholism/use of alcohol.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  248. Steve

    We can only hope!

    I say legalize pot and outlaw booze, the country would be better off.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  249. John

    I'm one of the seniors who is for legalization!! Stop the Mexican cartels, tax it, and free up the courts and prisons. Also how are we suppose to put up with Congress without it.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  250. Kanova, georgia

    Jack, I'm fairly you, only twenty-five years old, but this issue has been debated my entire life. In all that time, i have never heard a good argument against the legalization of marijuana. Of course, one of the prominent arguments seems to be the legalization of marijuana would be a slippery slope to legalizing other drugs. I think this is a ridiculous argument. If the legality of alcohol and cigarettes hasn't led to legalizing deadly narcotics, neither will making marijuana legal. I believe marijuana should be classified as something than a drug, like tobacco. Once we began to view marijuana as simply a natural plant, there will be no question it is well past time to legalize it

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  251. Green and Proud

    I make 350k a year and smoke everyday. It does make some people lazy, but not me. However, I am only going to make 249k next year on purpose thanks to Obama (deferred comp, 401k, reinvest in my business). So legalize it now, so I have something to do while I am not working and spending time in leisure. Thanks Obama...you really are going to kill work ethic now, whether its through taxes for hard workers or marijuana for the lazy masses!

    Just think...legalize it and then lower taxes on people who actually are busting their butts for their families and this country.....hmmmm.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  252. Matt

    Legalizing Marajuana would HURT the Mexican drug cartels as it would become REGULATED (see taxed) by the government. I have heard upwards of 80% of the drug lord's revenue is weed. That $ shifts to REGULATED (see taxed) legal growers. The additional benefit is environmental as illegal growers destroy the surrounding natural habitat, much of which is in out national parks!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  253. Jim in Phoenix AZ

    I cant think of a single logical reason for not legalizing pot. It should be an individual choice for adults, like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. If you legallize it you will cut deeply into the revenue of the drug traffickers and dramatically cut crime, not just here but in Mexico as well. This will lessen the need for prisons to house the criminals associated with the marijuana trade. it will also cut into peripheral crime that is currently associated with illegal marijuana use. Gangs and other criminal organizations will not be able to use it to finance their other illegal activities. Otherwise law abiding citizens, but for their marijuana use, could continue to be contributing members of society, minus the threat of ending up in jail for 'drug use.' Once it is legal it can be taxed and regulated. We could solve some of our tax revenue problems, put Americans to work legally trading in marijuana, and it would be easier to keep out of the hands of minors. Today, drug dealers dont care how old their users are since it is illegal to sell to anyone, young or old. Will it have negative impacts to the health of users? Probably. But so do cigarettes and alcohol. At least if it is legal, and taxed, we can funnel some money into health care to offset the health problems. The arguments I have heard for continuing to keep pot illegal stem strictly from fear and ignorance.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  254. Maggie

    Finally this coming to fruition for the legalization of pot. I bet you 10-1 the cartels wouldn't be as strong or gotten so out of hand had pot been legalized to begin with.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  255. Adam

    Yes...I am estatic about it too!!!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  256. Liz

    Yes, I would say, this appears to be the first step toward legalizing marijuana, and it's about time. Legalized medical marijuana makes a great deal of sense from an economic standpoint, in that it could be taxed, not to mention an actual agricultural crop. It's never made sense why a so-called G~dly nation would legally or illegally, categorize a created plant with manufactured chemicals. Let's simply consider reality. The drug war has been "raging" for over 25 years, and in that time 14 states have legalized marijuana. People are using it, so it would seem a wise direction of the government, to get the revenue of what is being sold and consumed, anyway.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  257. hatesmorons

    I find it odd that authorities (who profit from fines, fees, property confiscation, etc) threaten that the Mexican cartels will be worse if we de-criminalize pot. Does anyone remember what happened to the mob and various other rum running organizations? The situation got better, not worse.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  258. stephen

    yes! legalize it! tax it and make it a win-win for all.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  259. A.

    Critics say that this is a step backward in the fight against the Mexican drug cartels?? HOW??? If it is legalized in the U.S., then THE MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS DON'T GET ANY MORE POT MONEY! The drug cartels NEED it to stay illegal, otherwise they become obsolete.

    The ONLY sure way to get rid of the drug cartels is to LEGALIZE IT!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  260. Capt. Bill Kelso

    Best health care reform idea he has come up with so far. Free the plant!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  261. SoSaysSam in Dallas, tx

    Legalize it.

    Pot is not a gatw way drug. Following that logic, milk is the true gate way drug, because all drug users started drinking milk first.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  262. sarah

    i am a conservative. i believe it should be legal and taxed!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  263. Rick cline

    If my calculations are correct thats 7 Yeas and 0 Neas, I think that it would be almost overwhelmingly popular vote. Too many positives for this not to happen. I for one would quit drinking tommorrow if it were legalized and would pay. make that 8 Yeas.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  264. Charles in Lawrence, NJ

    Legalization of pot is the toughest thing you could do to the cartels without jeopardizing Americans health and safety, just like legalization of alcohol after prohibition. It’s less addictive and damaging than alcohol or tobacco but we’ll have trouble raising money from taxing it since it grows easier than crab grass and dandelions.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  265. T-Jay

    Not necessarily towards legalization, but certainly a huge step away from pinning those who need and benefit from medicinal marijuana as criminals. Further, imagine our war on drugs without marijuana as a factor. Focusing on truly destructive drugs that are on the rise (like heroin) would be much more beneficial to the U.S. than chasing down pot smokers!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  266. Jackie in Dallas

    Boy, CNN just loves to lose my comments.

    The answer is, I should HOPE SO, Jack! We have spent billions on trying to ban it, which could have spent on education to prevent abuse, enforcement to keep out the cartels, and medical research for other possible uses.

    So, instead, we have the conservatives puffing on their federally-"price supported" cigarettes (from the 30s to 2002) or their cigars, and guzzling their Jack Daniels telling us that pot is the devil's weed. It causes less side effects, and has more potential for medical uses than either of THEIR vices! Led, of course, by Boehner (R) whose own scandalous acceptance of money from the tobacco industry during the vote on tobacco subsidies caused a rewrite of the House ethics!

    October 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm |