Marijuana leaves
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Pot and the age of tolerance

by Dan Katzir and Ravit Markus

Less than two weeks ago was historical for the marijuana legalization movement, as demonstrated by the many front page stories as this one on NBC News: DOJ’s blessing of states’ pot laws ‘the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition’.

After Colorado and Washington legalized in 2012, many are predicted that 10 other states including California will probably legalize in the next few years.

As those of you who have been reading our stories know, we’re in the final editing stages of our new documentary feature: Legalize It, which was made in collaboration with Willie Nelson’s Luck films. In it we followed the campaign to legalize pot in California, which paved the way for the amazing change we see happening now culminating (so far) in Attorney General Eric Holder’s important statement.

The media is focused on the economic aspects of this change, mainly the expected money downpour from this multi-billion dollar industry becoming legit. But what we think is missing from the conversation is the huge shift in public perception of this issue.

Until recently, many believed (and many still do) that fear is the best way to cure people from behaviors they regard as unhealthy, such as the use of marijuana. The idea was that fear of prison sentences, personal ruin and public humiliation of those caught using, will stop those behaviors.

What the change in the current marijuana policy is showing is that the nation is evolving to realize that some problems can’t be solved by fear. As a society we are becoming more tolerant of one another.

We are all different and if some of us have what others perceive as an unhealthy behavior – we should try to change people’s minds by educating rather than by incarcerating, focusing on rehabilitating instead of punishing.

Those who don’t like marijuana should create marketing campaigns to persuade people not to use it – similar to what has been done with tobacco. If the public is persuaded, they will change their behavior.

We are all human and we are all flawed. Some of us have an unhealthy relationship with food, alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, nicotine, caffeine, physical activity, etc. And we could all use a helping hand to work on that, but tolerance brings help whereas intolerance brings ineffective punishment. Perhaps once society starts being more tolerant towards pot users, people will start being more tolerant with many other things – and most importantly more tolerant with each other.

Dan Katzir and Ravit Markus

About Dan Katzir and Ravit Markus

An award-winning Israeli filmmaker, Dan Katzir's first film, Out for Love . . . Be Back Shortly, was narrated by Sacha Baron Cohen, and aired on multiple stations world-wide including the HBO network. He and his business and life partner Ravit Markus made together the critically acclaimed documentary Yiddish Theater: A Love Story. They are currently in post-production of a new film Legalize It, in collaboration with Willie Nelson's production company, Luck Films, and producer Lati Grobman. They will alternate writing this blog, updating from the road on their journey to release of this new documentary. To read more about their previous works go to: www.newlovefilms.com, to read more about their current venture and watch some clips from the film go to: legalizeitmovie.com or Facebook.com/legalizeitmovie. Follow them on Twitter: @Dankatzir and @legalizeitmovie.

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