7 July 2016

First up is

Mark Davis: Softer marijuana laws hurt communities

Looks like this is my year for congratulating the Dallas City Council, although I do not pretend that the horseshoe is bending toward my worldview.

First they found a way to reject the absurdity that there was a First Amendment obligation to host a porn convention on city property. Now, at least for the moment, they are resisting widespread urgings to loosen marijuana laws.

As some state-level experiments plod forward with outright pot legalization, the Dallas issue involved ratcheting pot possession penalties down from a jailable offense to a mere ticket.

The initiative stalled, bogged down in questions about how enforcement would vary in the portions of North Dallas lying within Collin and Denton counties. This is a good thing, and it is time to embrace the reasons why it is unwise to follow all the cool kids, from journalism to government, who think going easy on pot is just a great idea.

Funny thing: among the oh, so clever voices calling for softening pot laws, almost none of them have to endure the ill effects of its widespread use in some communities and among some age groups.

What a bitter irony that some people who say they care about inner cities are flippant about facilitating a stoned society that makes those communities more dangerous. Their logical contortion that the laws themselves endanger society is either a hipster fantasy or a tired libertarian index card, neither one supported by residents in areas thick with pot haze or by the police officers who enforce those laws.

The voices lecturing us that we need to be more “sensible” about pot laws need to own the resulting damage they are ignoring among our nation’s children.

Read the full op ed at the link below

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20160705-mark-davis-how-softer-marijuana-laws-hurt-communities.ece

Voice of America Blog: Two Years After Legalizing Marijuana Sales, What Has Happened?

Two years ago the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado became the world’s first legal marketplaces for recreational marijuana. In other words, people in those states can now legally use marijuana for pleasure, not just for medicine.

A man VOA is calling “Ryan” is one of them. He is at a marijuana store in Denver. He shows a store worker a document that shows he is over 21 years old.

Ryan is buying about a small amount of marijuana. It will be placed in a container that is difficult for children to open.

Almost everywhere else in the United States, Ryan could be arrested for buying marijuana. And workers at the store could be arrested for selling it to him.

“In the past, I would have to go to the black market. But now I can freely go to any shop that I please and I can really pick someone that I feel comfortable with as opposed to going and calling a random number that I would have no idea where it’s going.”

One of the effects of making marijuana legal, Ryan says, is that buying it feels safer and more comfortable.

Pot problems

Police, advocates and researchers also want to know the effects of making recreational marijuana legal.

VOA spoke to a leader of the Boulder County Sheriff’s group that fights illegal drugs. He says that if they follow the rules like any other business, marijuana stores do not cause problems. But those who grow marijuana illegally do.

Full op ed at……

http://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/two-years-after-legalizing-marijuana-sales-what-has-happened/3402440.html