Originally published October 19 2010
Legalize marijuana, says former US surgeon general
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Next month, California voters will decide whether or not to legalize marijuana in the state for recreational use. And former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders recently made an announcement on CNN that she supports both the initiative and the decriminalization of marijuana.
"What I think is horrible about all of this, is that we criminalize young people," she told reporters. "And we use so many of our excellent resources ... for things that aren't really causing any problems. It's not a toxic substance."
Proposition 19, the California bill that will legalize marijuana if passed, has come under fire from opponents that insist it will be the downfall of the state. But proponents of the bill say that removing marijuana from the controlled substance list will make it available to people that need it while decriminalizing thousands who have been jailed or fined, many while using it for legitimate treatments.
The federal government has stated that even if the bill passes, it will continue to enforce federal laws in spite of it. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder added in a letter that the passage of Prop. 19 would cause a lot of strain between federal and state and local authorities as it pertains to drug enforcement.
But Elders says the government would do better to focus on other things that are more important, including alcohol abuse which is far more damaging than marijuana use.
"We have the highest number of people in the world being criminalized, many for non-violent crimes related to marijuana," said Elders. "We can use our resources so much better."
Marijuana abuse is problematic, but the substances found in the plant do have therapeutic functions that work better than some drugs at treating illness, without the harmful side effects. To learn more about marijuana, visit:
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