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article imageLiveblog Debate: Should Marijuana Be Decriminalized?

By David Silverberg     Jun 2, 2009 in Crime
DigitalJournal.com's first Liveblog Debate will focus on marijuana laws around the world. Should weed be decriminalized? Or should the war on drugs continue unabated? The debate occurred June 2 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time.
Note: This liveblog debate is now over, but scroll down to the bottom of this article to replay the debate and find out what people had to say.
In almost every country, marijuana use is a hot topic. Politicians clash on whether to loosen legal restrictions on smoking the plant. Religious groups continue to take a hardline stance on drugs. Law enforcement spends billions of dollars on policing tokers and growers.
Recently, especially in the U.S., more local governments are moving ahead with medicinal marijuana legislation. Michigan recently approved a med-pot law and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has called for "an open debate" on proposals to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana. Pennsylvania introduced legislation late last month that would legalize medicinal marijuana.
In Canada, 400,000 people in Canada use marijuana for medical reasons. Netherlands, Spain and Portugal have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana.
Due to the enormous popularity of these laws, pot supporters say it's time to legalize it. As reported on DigitalJournal.com, a Zogby poll found 52 per cent of respondents in favour of pot legalization. Proponents say legalizing pot would kill the black market and Mafia strange hold on the drug trade, allow pot smokers to enjoy their recreational activity without fear of imprisonment, and free up millions in tax dollars.
But critics point out the negative side of allowing the public to smoke weed freely: marijuana can be harmful to the health if abused, grow-ups create hazardous home environments and legalizing pot would send the wrong message to children.
Today, we wanted to hear what you think about this controversy and here is how the debate panned out. Click replay to see who said what, and why. The results may surprise you!
More about Liveblog, Marijuana, Weed, Decriminalization, Pot
 
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