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US Open Government Initiative Enters Phase Three 572

circletimessquare writes "The Obama administration opened a discussion forum in January of this year which has become an electronic suggestion box. It is now entering stage three, following brainstorm and discussion phases: the draft phase, in which the top subject matter is codified into suggestions for the government. 'Ultimately, the visitors advanced more than 3,900 ideas, which in turn spawned 11,000 comments that received 210,000 thumb votes. The result? Three of the top 10 most popular ideas called for legalizing marijuana, and two featured conspiracy theories about Mr. Obama's true place of birth.'"
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US Open Government Initiative Enters Phase Three

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  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:2, Informative)

    by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <> on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:07PM (#28433921) Homepage Journal

    The Government's leading expert on marijuana says legalize it.

    His name's Dr. Donald Tashkin.

    I could not find anything to support your claim of Mr. Tashkin being a "government expert". Can you provide a citation for that claim?

  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:5, Informative)

    by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:09PM (#28433953) Journal

    Marijuana is a fairly safe herbal supplement with thousands of years of demonstrated safe use. By even the most exaggerated accounts it is less addictive than most cough syrups. The known side effects are less severe and occur with less frequency than over the counter medications like say Aspirin and many other herbal supplements.

    According to the FDA's own rules an herbal remedy with an established long term history of safe use should be unregulated right alongside all the other herbal supplements from the scam diet pills to those supported by clinical evidence like Ginko Biloba.

    There is no legitimate reason to make marijuana a black market product but there are plenty of illegitimate reasons.

  • by Starlon ( 1492461 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:10PM (#28433961)
    That's a lie. The only connection marijuana has with psychosis is that it irritates schizophrenic symptons, but so does alcohol. The psychiatric community is deathly afraid of marijuana, and make all sorts of claims as to its dangers, without a hint of hard, real research. If a patient smokes marijuana, they claim every single problem the patient is facing stems from the fact he or she smokes marijuana. From psychosis to depression -- it's all caused by marijuana. They claim marijuana's a depressant. The government claims it's a hallucinogen. Science claims it's medicine -- anti-nausea, pro-appetite, anti-depressant qualities. Don't believe me? Believe some real research. "The endocannabinoid system has been involved in the control of several neurophysiological and behavioural responses. Indeed, recent studies have suggested that the cannabinoid system could represent an important substrate for the control of emotional behaviour, and further research would probably help to identify new promising therapeutic targets. This paper reviews the results obtained in different animal models used to investigate emotional states after the manipulation of the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoid compounds can induce anxiogenic- and anxiolytic-like responses in rodents depending on the experimental conditions. Studies using knockout mice lacking the CB1 cannabinoid receptors have shown the participation of this receptor in several behavioural responses including anxiety- and depressive-like states. Furthermore, the endocannabinoid system regulates the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis, which is involved in providing an appropriate response to stressful situations. Recent studies have also demonstrated that the endocannabinoids can function as retrograde messengers, modulating the release of different neurotransmitter, including opioids, GABA and cholecystokinin that have been classically involved in the control of anxiety-like responses. All this recent information has further clarified the role played by the endogenous cannabinoid system in the control of emotional behaviour and provides data to support a new possible therapeutic use of cannabinoid compounds." Valverde, O. "Participation of the cannabinoid system in the regulation of emotional-like behaviour." 26 Nov. 2005. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 5 Jan. 2009.$=relatedreviews&logdbfrom=pubmed []
  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:14PM (#28433999)
    The only way to have a truly free government is to have a government that protects only against force and fraud. That way you have freedom to do whatever you want to while being safe because of the government.
  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Starlon ( 1492461 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:19PM (#28434069)
    He's a researcher at UCLA and has ran a government study over the course of 30+ years to conclude that marijuana does not cause cancer, and even possesses anti-cancer qualities. Cells die before they have a chance to mutate. The closest thing you'll get to his research is an interview with him on Youtube. [] And you can see Dr. Tashkin's profile at the UCLA website. [] He's America's leading expert into smoked marijuana, and he was employed to conduct this research by the US Government quite some years ago.
  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:5, Informative)

    by UncleTogie ( 1004853 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:20PM (#28434071) Homepage Journal

    I could not find anything to support your claim of Mr. Tashkin being a "government expert". Can you provide a citation for that claim?

    Sure, if you include the NIH! [] His name came up in multiple studies on pot when I entered his name in the search bar there. He's also referenced here [] in paragraph 8.

  • Re:Really?? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Korin43 ( 881732 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:32PM (#28434207) Homepage
    Hemp happens to be really useful though. Good for most kinds of clothing (they can make surprisingly soft clothes out of hemp), ropes, belts. My shoes are hemp and rubber. All of that stuff would be cheaper if we could grow it here. Add to that medical uses for THC and the huge amounts of money we waste arresting people who are just hurting themselves and it starts to get really obvious that legalizing marijuana is actually worth pursuing.
  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:36PM (#28434265)

    No, the leading cause of that is forgetting to set the formatting mode to "plain old text" rather than "HTML formatted".

  • Re:Really?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <oarigogirdor>> on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:42PM (#28434327) Homepage

    when you legalize it you would also allow for new industries to thrive

    You're really stretching the plural on that one. I was unaware that making bongs was considered a potential new growth industry.

    Paper. Clothes. Construction materials. Food. Medicines. Fuel. There's a lot that you can do with hemp. End your ignorance. []

  • Re:Really?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ( 745855 ) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:59PM (#28434473) Homepage

    I would just like to point out that Narconon runs the web site you pulled this info from. According to Wikipedia:

    Narconon is an in-patient rehabilitation program for drug abusers in several dozen treatment centers worldwide, chiefly in the United States and western Europe. Each Narconon center is independently owned and operated under a license from ABLE International, a Scientology-related entity.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:5, Informative)

    by BKX ( 5066 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:15AM (#28434599) Journal

    People always think that the only reason to legalize cannibus is pot. It's not. It's not even the best reason. It barely makes the top ten, and even then, only because it's the most effective anti-nauseant (anti-emetic for pedants) known to modern science. Hemp fiber could replace wood pulp for use in paper tomorrow for a tenth our current cost. It could replace synthetic fibers in textiles and increase the strength, durability, comfort, threadfastness and affordability of the clothing and cloth products that it goes into. As a byproduct of the hemp fiber industry, hemp oil could replace synthetic lubricants at a fraction of the current cost in industrial applications.

    Proper crop rotation with hemp and other cash crops can virtually eliminate the need for artificial fertilizers. The list just keeps going on and on. And all you prohibitionists can think about is getting stoned.

  • Re:Really?? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:34AM (#28434725)

    There is no way you can argue for marijuana to not be legalized by a purely financial standpoint.

    The evidence strongly suggests that regular use of marijuana impairs short-term memory, amongst other things. It continues to effect the person for days or weeks, unlike many other kinds of drugs. I'm not good enough with statistics to venture a guess on the impact on productivity at a societal level, but I'm confident it would dwarf the DEA's budget. Are you really that sure that the tax revenue and private sector profits would outweigh that loss?

    Like most people, you are severely misinformed about marijuana. There is no effect on short term memory after intoxication has passed, usually less than a few hours. If you research the study that claims marijuana causes brain damage it's just a bunch of B.S. They pumped strait marijuana smoke into a mask, worn by a monkey, without additional oxygen. After five minutes the brain cells began to die. Marijuana didn't cause the brain damage, suffocation did.

    Some studies even suggest that THC stimulates brain cell growth.

    You may find this site of Marijuana Myths interesting to read.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:36AM (#28434737)
    You're wrong about these organizations. They are very organized for a bunch of "stoners." And not all of the supporters/members are marijuana users.

    Look up the organizations: Some are medical marijuana oriented.
    NORML (
    Marijuana Policy Project (
    Americans for Safe Access (
    I'll include MAPS (
    Students for Sensible Drug Policy (

    It definitely stems past the High Times magazine.
  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily@g m a i l . com> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:13AM (#28434985)

    I'm fairly certain they're still ignoring the issue that the most people were interested in changing, legalization of marijuana.

    California already voted on that. [] Then Washington told them they don't get to choose anymore.

  • Re:Really?? (Score:3, Informative)

    by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:13AM (#28435335)

    Marijuana is Hemp but Hemp is not necessarily Marijuana. We could continue the ban on Marijuana and still legalize hemp. In fact Marijuana (as even cited by your own Wikipedia link) is an inferior plant for non-recreational and medicinal applications.

    End your ignorance.

  • Re:My suggestions (Score:2, Informative)

    by benjamindees ( 441808 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:17AM (#28435377) Homepage

    Apply Civil Rights Uniformly. Restore Habeas Corpus and eliminate kangaroo courts. Try prisoners as either POWs or in our own criminal courts. End renditions. And for FSM's sake, end the discrimination against gay couples and soldiers.

    1) Habeas Corpus is not a "civil" right.
    2) Are you really suggesting we afford civil rights to non-Americans? Equal voting rights? Employment?
    3) Does ending affirmative action fall under the rubric of "applying civil rights uniformly", or do you have some exception in mind?
    4) Do single people get whatever it is your proposing for gay couples, or again is there an exception?

    Equality is hard, isn't it?

  • by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @03:42AM (#28435887) Homepage

    I'm absolutely sure the government would have a better run system that costs less.

    Actually, the medical systems in countries with socialized medicine or socialized medical insurance do run better and cost less. Steve Jobs wouldn't be able to buy himself a new liver like he just did, but the aggregate health outcomes would be vastly superior. There's a reason that the U.S. has the highest infant mortality rate in the first world.

  • Re:Really?? (Score:3, Informative)

    by totallyarb ( 889799 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @06:14AM (#28436613)

    Typical Alcohol Side Effects:

    Most of yours...

    • Enhanced cancer risk
    • Diminished or extinguished sexual pleasure
    • Psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect
    • Sleepiness
    • Difficulty keeping track of time, impaired or reduced short-term memory
    • Reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car
    • Increased heart rate
    • Potential cardiac dangers for those with preexisting heart disease
    • Decreased social inhibitions
    • Paranoia, hallucinations
    • Impaired or reduced short-term memory
    • Impaired or reduced comprehension
    • Altered motivation and cognition, making the acquisition of new information difficult
    • Paranoia
    • Psychological dependence
    • Impairments in learning and memory, perception, and judgment - difficulty speaking, listening effectively, thinking, retaining knowledge, problem solving, and forming concepts
    • Intense anxiety or panic attacks


    • Risk of liver disease
    • Increased agression and irritability
    • Dizziness
    • Vomiting
    • Chemical dependence
    • Depressed immune system
    • Weight gain

    According to the Lancet [] journal (simplified graph on the Wiki []), alcohol is both more addictive and more dangerous than cannabis. If adults can be trusted with booze, they should be trusted with weed.

    I'm sorry about your friend, I really am, but I can tell you a thousand stories of lives ruined by alcohol and tobacco, two products that are medically more dangerous but legally more available. If you want to learn from your friend's example and never smoke weed, good for you. But you don't have the right to make that decision for me, or for any other adult.

    If a man is not free to chose wrongly and irresponsibly, he is not free at all.

  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Baron Eekman ( 713784 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:08AM (#28437185)
    I live in Amsterdam. I feel extremely safe. Most people here shrug when one criminal shoots another, as long as no innocent people are involved.

    Most criminal activity is probably drug-related, but that's because hard drugs like cocaine are still illegal, and handling large quantities of marijuana, necessary if you want to make a business selling it semi-legally, is as well. International treaties and pressure prevent legalization and thereby decriminalization.

    Oh, and another thing: crime rates are higher in big city, is that surprising?
  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:3, Informative)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:33AM (#28437393) Journal
    In our Republic, laws are set forth through a strict set of procedures to ensure fairness to all parties involved, not just the most popular. This is why we were formed as a Republic and NOT a Democracy.

    Your country was formed as a Republic because a bunch of slave owning bastards who had massive political and economic power saw it as a way to have even more power and less responsibility for their slaves. It wasn't formed by God and The People because they thought it was fair, it was formed by incumbent powers who thought it was a good deal for themselves.
  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Daimanta ( 1140543 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:10AM (#28437715) Journal

    "I can't see how a monarchy can be democratic. The monarch has ultimate power and so the people do not."

    Honestly, did you even do basic research on various types of monarchies in the world?
    Didn't think so.

    There are vast differences between types of monarchies just as there are vast different differences between republics.
    For example, here's a list of 3 republics:
    -the US
    - North Korea
    - Iran

    They are ALL republics(look it up if you don't believe me) yet they ALL have vastly different types of goverment. If you would compare them, they would be put in three totally different categories yet they are ALL republics.

    In the same way there are different types of monarchies with three examples:

    - Saudi-Arabia
    - The Netherlands
    - Sweden

    These types of monarchies are again vastly different. 1 is an absolute monarchy, 2 are democracies. 2 out of 3 have the monarch as head of goverment yet all 3 have the monarch as head of state. If you do some further research about the topic you will notice that pretty much all sates are different in the way they function and that the words "republic" and "monarchy" can have vastly different meanings in different parts of the world.

    But don't let me stop your bashing, please.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:3, Informative)

    by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:49AM (#28438133)

    What? What? Am I the only one who can see this? A monarchy is a form of democracy?

    Don't think so one-dimensional. Monarchy-republic is orthogonal to democracy-dictatorship.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:17AM (#28438465) Journal
    "I strongly prefer that we tax vices, not necessities."

    Agreed, the US alone spends $100 Billion/yr just to enforce pot prohibition, the DEA recieves $10 billion/yr of that directly, again this is just for pot. Pot is the largest cash crop in the US in dollar terms (yes bigger than corn, cotton, wheat, etc). Take that $100 billion/yr plus the tax bonanza on legal pot and fix the health system or something useful. Once the US legalises pot the rest of the western world will follow.

    One american is arrested for pot every 18 seconds. And yes, he is getting sick and tired of it!

    Citation []
  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jvkjvk ( 102057 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:20PM (#28444501)

    "We conclude that smoking marijuana, regardless of tetrahydrocannabinol content, results in a substantially greater respiratory burden of carbon monoxide and tar than smoking a similar quantity of tobacco"

    You do know that is terribly misleading though, don't you?

    People don't smoke marijuana in a "similar quantity" to tobacco.

    in fact, there are types of systems that deliver much less carbon monoxide and tar even when similar quantities are used. See [] for the current state of research of this kind.


The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.