National Ban on Bath Salts, K2-like Products Continues the Folly of Prohibition
A ban on bath salts and so-called “synthetic marijuana” products is on its way to the desk of President Obama. The bill, sponsored by Senator Chuck Shumer (D-NY) bans the sale of 31 chemical substances sold online, in convenience stores and in smoke shops nationwide.
But banning these products misses a much larger point, just like the bans on harder drugs does. A ban does take it out of the hands of visible businesses. These products will now “disappear” into the dark of the black market, where use will likely continue to rise.
"We have seen bath salts involved in some of the most heinous crimes in recent months," Schumer said in a statement. Multiple reports indicate violent tendencies, panic attacks and suicidal thoughts often accompany use if these man-made drugs.
But prohibition in ineffective, no matter what substance is involved. All efforts must be directed at education. People, especially teenagers, need to know how dangerous these substances are. But instead millions of dollars will flow into the DEA budget to combat this problem with guns and agents.
The continued failure of prohibition just doesn’t seem to faze many elected officials. Chuck Shumer will act like he’s fighting for the safety of kids and families, and President Obama will sign the bill for the cameras and talk about how he is fighting drug use, but’s it’s all a sham. Nothing is being fought. Drug dealers will just have more products to make money off of.
In the end the money will flow, and the better the profit margin, the more rivals will fight each other for a share of the market. This means guns, death and innocent lives destroyed.
Drug gangs don’t need more products to make money off of, kids need to hear why they should avoid these substances.
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A Decision on a Ban on Outdoor Medical Marijuana Ads in Denver, CO Will Have to Wait
A ban on outdoor medical marijuana advertising has been an issue in Denver for much of the spring, and now two competing ban proposals will have to come together before a city council vote in August.
Councilmember Debbie Ortega proposed a ban in May similar to one on tobacco ads, It would prevent ads from being 1,000 from schools, etc. But Medical Marijuana Industry Group director Michael Elliot says that sends a message that MMJ is something bad. The MMIG is actually pushing for a full, citywide ban.
"Such advertisements unite opposition to medical marijuana, undermine our support, and are largely responsible for the banning of MMJ businesses in Fort Collins and other jurisdictions," Elliott told Denver Westword. "As a community, we should decide whether these advertisements are doing more harm than good. Perhaps the best approach would be 'out of sight, out of mind.'"
Councilmember Christopher Herndon agrees, and will soon introduce a proposal for a full ban on outdoor ads. "I want to further legitimize the industry," he says. "And to do that, I think it's important for people to understand that this is for medical purposes -- and when you see the signage or the spinners, it gives the impression that it's more than medical."
But Councilman Charlie Brown opposes both bans, saying the only problem seems to be the “sign-twirlers” outside dispensaries, a problem that can be easily fixed.
Councilwoman Ortega will soon meet with Herndon to see if a compromise can be reached. "My hope is that we can sit down and walk through the ordinances and try and get to a place where we agree, or agree to disagree, on what a citywide ordinance would look like before [Herndon's proposal] is scheduled to go to committee on August 1," she said.
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Will Marijuana Be Obamas October Surprise?
Many in the cannabis movement agree that President Obama’s stance on medical marijuana has been inexplicable, especially considering his pronouncements before he arrived at The White House.
Many also wonder what the President hopes to gain by alienating those who voted for him in 2008. Republican votes? Not likely, and Independents favor medical marijuana by huge margins.
There have been some rumblings lately that Obama’s recent “evolution” on the issue of gay marriage may pave the way for a similar “evolution” on medical marijuana, or maybe even recreational marijuana.
When Obama announced support of gay marriage, he also basically said that while he supports it, he’s not going to do anything to make it legal. Would he do the same when it came to marijuana right before the election? How many marijuana users would vote for him then?
Would he get enough votes to put him over the top in states like Colorado? Believing that marijuana users (and young people for that matter) generally have short attention spans, is Obama holding marijuana up his sleeve until just weeks before the election when it will have the most impact?
Cynical questions to be sure, but questions that need to be asked.
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