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Found this on my local news channel website. My personal opinion is that marijuana should be legalized. It has never made sense to me that alcohol, with it's devastating health effects should be legal while a natural plant such as marijuana should not. Anyway, here's the article from http://www.koco.com/news/9998254/detail.html?taf=okl:
 
Clergy Make Moral Case For Legalizing Pot Legalization Would Be For Adults Only

POSTED: 8:38 am CDT October 4, 2006

RENO, Nev. -- A coalition of religious leaders made a moral case Tuesday for legalizing the sale and possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana for adults in Nevada while stiffening penalties for sales to youths and driving under the influence.

At least 33 members of the clergy have endorsed ballot Question 7 on the November election ballot, which if approved would make Nevada the first state in the nation to allow people 21 and older to legally possess small amounts of marijuana and purchase it at government regulated and state-taxed pot shops.

The clergy argued the move would cut down on minors' access to marijuana, reduce gang-related violence and generate money for the state to help finance treatment programs instead of making drug dealers rich.

"On it's face, our current marijuana laws appear to be moral, but it is a cosmetic morality," said the Rev. Paul Hansen, senior pastor at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Las Vegas.

"Our current laws are causing virtually unfettered access to marijuana. Marijuana is far easier to access than alcohol because drug dealers don't card," he said.

Hansen was among four religious leaders who appeared with representatives of the Committee to Regulate & Control Marijuana at a news conference holding signs that read "Yes on 7. Tax and Regulate Marijuana."

Nevada is among 12 states that have decriminalized possession but still issue fines. Under Nevada law, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana has been a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $600 fine since October 2001.

"Some of us Protestants believe that one of the functions of government is to curb sinful behavior," said the Rev. Ruth Hanusa, chaplain at Campus Christian Association at University of Nevada, Reno.

"But our marijuana laws are not curbing marijuana use and they are causing more harm than good by filling the pockets of dangerous criminals and ensuring that children have the easiest access of anyone," she said.

Hansen said he recently asked his 16-year-old daughter if she could find marijuana if she wanted to and before she could answer, his 18-year-old son burst out laughing.

"He said, 'What a stupid question dad,"' Hansen said.

The Nevada AFL-CIO, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce are among groups opposed to the measure.

"Proposing to legalize another intoxicating drug is not the best thing for Nevada. The message it sends to youth is that smoking pot is just part of growing up," said Todd Raybuck, who operates the Web site www.nevadasaysno.com for the Committee to Keep Nevada Respectable that opposes the measure.

"There are two sides to every story but I believe if the clergymen that spoke in favor of Question 7 had been given the entire picture, many of them if not all would have not come down on it the way they have," he said. "I'm sure there are many clergymen in the state of Nevada who haven't spoken out yet against it but I'm sure they will."

The Rev. David Scheuneman, a Unitarian Universalist community minister in Las Vegas, said his church approved a resolution in 2002 advocating alternatives to current marijuana laws.

"One of the roles of religion is to point out hypocrisy in society. By any means, marijuana is less dangerous to individuals and society than alcohol," Scheuneman said.

"Ads for alcohol are plentiful. You are allowed to buy unlimited amounts, and in Las Vegas we give it away for free to gamblers in casinos and allow people to drink it on the streets," he said.

Sister Toni Woodson, a Roman Catholic nun and former teacher at Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman High School, said she's worried about the Mexican drug cartels that are growing marijuana on national forest land in nearby California and protecting their turf with dangerous weapons.

"Marijuana doesn't cause this disregard for human life. Our marijuana laws do," Woodson said.

"Jesus said you could judge a tree by its fruit. If our marijuana laws are a tree, I'm afraid the fruit is failing," she said.

Neal Levine, campaign manager for the committee pushing the initiative, said the backing of the religious community - "people who obviously have deep moral beliefs" - shows the breadth of the support for the change.

"I think our campaign is gaining traction and moving forward and I think we're going to pass this in November," he said.

Recent polls have the measure trailing, 51 percent to 42 percent.

Nevada voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing marijuana use for medical purposes in 1998 and 2000, but four years ago, state voters overwhelmingly rejected a petition that would have legalized up to 3 ounces of marijuana. A similar petition failed to qualify for the 2004 ballot.

The newest version imposes a $45 per ounce excise tax, which would be used to defray administrative costs. Remaining tax dollars would go to the state general fund, with 50 percent earmarked for alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse programs.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

By the way, this last little blurb about redistributing this material...is posting it here in violoation of copyright laws?

 

Honestly, I'm not entirely opposed to some drug legalization, myself, and the sister actually does make a good case for drug laws having some adverse consequences.  I know some will jump down her throat for that, but I hope people actually read what she said, first.

The states just want the tax dollars.
Fact: Cigarettes are poison.  What does the gov't do?  Tax them higher instead of banning them.  Personally, I think they should do neither and let people just smoke them if they want.
 
Did I ever mention my condom tax idea?  If not, you'll hear it eventually.  I'm going to get that made law someday.
Progress!  Does anybody know the 11 other states which have decriminalized?[Image: smokin.gif][Image: pipe.gif][Image: pipe.gif][Image: pipe.gif]    There are way more urgent things to crack down on than weed.
Legalization gets my vote. I know someone who has untreatable, chronic pain and it is the only thing that alleviates her suffering and has the added benefits of alleviating nausea and increasing her appetite. I think it is unconscienable that she has to put herself at odds with the law to get some relief.  
Marijuana does have long term health consequences but not more severe than alcohol. America puritian morality is in play here, like alcohol, our culture percieves there is something sinful about smoking pot but its not objectively more harmful to the body or soul than alcohol.
It doesn't matter to me personally, I'm a recovering addict and I can't use pot or alcohol safely so legal or not I won't be partaking, but there certainly is a good argument that the war on drugs is more harmful than moderate pot use.
JHS
 
Doesn't pot kill brain cells? 

I'm for it being legalized but only for medicinal purposes and by perscription.  And even then, it should be given to specific cases.
 
Doesn't the "down" on marijuana cause people to become mean?  I did research on it when someone I knew and was close with was dying of breast cancer and it was suggested that she take it.   We decided it was not a good idea for her, since she was having a lot of emotional ups and downs, and this would have made it, overall, harder to deal with the downs, since she couldn't possibly function in a perpetual state of "high".  (Note: her pain was severe and constant.)
 
And marijuana influence makes for very dangerous drivers.
 
I hate to say this, but I have a few cousins who were/are pot-smokers, and they regret that they ever started, due to the long-term effects.   Their slogan is that it kills brain cells, and they aren't laughing when they say this (and they can HARDLY be called, "puritanical").
 
Also, I knew a guy once we used to call, "Stoner Steve".  He was the same way as a few of these cousins who stopped smoking pot.  It was a miracle he stopped, but he was so sad that he wasted all that time in his life getting high from pot*. (Steve didn't drink hardly at all, or do any other drug, just pot...  and it apparently made him very lazy during that time.  Steve was a very intelligent guy who tossed away those years he could have done something productive, instead he did pot. )
 
Pot isn't just a recreation, it's a way of life for most of those that smoke it.  That isn't because it's illegal; that is an effect on those who can get to it... they tend to do it as frequently as they can. 
 
Just the facts, jack!
 
Tell me these are extreme and rare cases, and I'll laugh.
These are just my opinions and experiences, not backed by science or statistics.
 
I think any substance out there, including FOOD, has the potential for dependence/addiction or abuse. I believe with all my heart that sugar is one of those foods. We know this for certain about alcohol. We know that there are people, who, for physical or emotional reasons are inclined to abuse any number of different substances. We cannot possibly outlaw all substances which are abused. We also know people become "addicted" to certain behaviours. Think of any number of sins to which you or someone you know has become habituated. Again, this is my opinion, but I tend to think that one of the reasons pot smokers get into the habit is BECAUSE of it's underground status. Unless one is continually growing it, or is in the unusual circumstance of having it always at his fingertips, it is "feast or famine" in it's availability.  I think that may be why pot smokers use it gluttonously when they have it and "jones" for it when they don't. That could be absolutely false, but I have seen this behaviour first hand for a number of years in my life. I have also seen and know some people who can hold onto their "stash" for months on end. (And one of these people near and dear to my heart is an alcoholic.) We do choose our poisons, eh?
 
Certainly there are problems with habitual marijuana use. When I returned to the faith, it was one of the realizations I had to come to in my own life. I had developed a life-long habit of use off and on. For myself, it made me lazy, gluttonous, promiscuous, and of course, hung out with the wrong crowd. This is true for many users, looking to escape . But again, I think these problems go hand in hand with it's underground nature. If it's use was acceptable like alcohol, I think we'd see a whole different behaviour. In fact, I have also seen this different behaviour at parties where many of the attendees were among the social upper-class, and you'd just drop your jaw in disbelief (not me, anymore) at WHO all was partaking! It's a really strange thing.
 
I do believe in the moderate use of natural substances, including marijuana, especially for medicinal purposes. We considered using it for my mom when she had active lung cancer--not smoking it, but vaporizng it. She would have tried it in a heartbeat, but knew Dad would never be able to accept it. It has become so easy to get--you can order it online and have it delivered to your door! Quite risky, but it's there! I don't believe there is any way our govt. can get a handle on it, and to keep spending billions of dollars trying is a waste.  Again, these are just my opinions and experiences.
 
-Robin