Opinion

The Great Debate

Driven to drink by marijuana laws?

By Bernd Debusmann
July 23, 2009

(Bernd DebusmannBernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

Tough marijuana laws are driving millions of Americans to a more dangerous mood-altering substance, alcohol. The unintended consequence: violence and thousands of unnecessary deaths. It’s time, therefore, for a serious public debate of the case for marijuana versus alcohol.

That’s the message groups advocating the legalization of marijuana are beginning to press, against a background of shifting attitudes which have already prompted 13 states to relax draconian laws dating back to the 1930s, when the government ended alcohol prohibition and began a determined but futile effort to stamp out marijuana.

How dismally that effort has failed is not in doubt. Marijuana is so easily available that around 100 million Americans have tried it at least once and some 15 million use it regularly, according to government estimates. The U.S. marijuana industry, in terms of annual retail sales, has been estimated to be almost as big as the alcohol industry — $113 billion and $130 billion respectively. On a global scale, marijuana is the world’s most widely used illicit drug.

Since the United States, and much of the rest of the world, plunged into a recession last year, the most frequently used argument in favour of legalizing marijuana has been economic: if it were taxed, the revenue would help stimulate economic recovery just as a gusher of dollars in fresh tax revenue from alcohol helped the United States pull out of the Great Depression after the 1933 repeal of prohibition.

That idea enrages some leading drug warriors, including the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa. In the preface to the U.N.’s 2009 World Drug Report, he asks whether proponents of legalization and taxation also favour legalizing and taxing human trafficking and modern-day slavery “to rescue failed banks.”

Never mind that drug abusers hurt themselves and human traffickers hurt others. It’s the kind of topsy-turvy logic which has made sober discussion of national and international drug policies (largely driven by the United States) so difficult for so long.

The case for adding a compare-and-contrast dimension to the debate is laid out in a statistics-laden book to be published next month entitled “Marijuana is Safer, So why are we driving people to drink?” The authors are prominent legalization advocates – Steve Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project, Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and Mason Tvert, co-founder of SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation).

“The plain and simple truth is that alcohol fuels violent behaviour and marijuana does not,” Norm Stamper, a former Seattle police chief, writes in the foreword of the book. “Alcohol … contributes to literally millions of acts of violence in the United States each year. It is a major contributing factor to crimes like domestic violence, sexual assault and homicide. Marijuana use … is absent in that regard from both crime reports and the scientific literature. There is simply no causal link to be found.”

LACK OF COMMON SENSE

Violence committed by belligerent drunks apart, there is the question of which drug — marijuana or alcohol — is more harmful to your health. The authors cite government statistics and a long string of academic studies that show marijuana is less harmful.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, around 35,000 Americans die of alcohol-related diseases every year. That’s almost 100 a day. Add to this another 16,000 people killed in road accidents involving drunk drivers. There are no equivalent statistics for deaths linked to marijuana use.

Yet alcohol is legal, marijuana is not. The monumental lack of common sense in the attitudes of successive U.S. administrations towards marijuana is one of the explanations for a steady shift in public attitudes as reflected by opinion polls. In May, a Zogby poll found 52 percent support for treating marijuana as a legal, taxed and regulated substance.

Opposition to legalization, polls show, has been weakening over the past few years. Before 2005, no national poll showed support for legalization above 36 percent.

But surveys also show that there is a persistent perception that alcohol and marijuana are equally harmful and that legalization would merely add another vice.

“This perception is wrong,” says Tvert, “and it can’t be corrected overnight. What we aim for is legislation that would give adults the choice between alcohol and a less harmful alternative. Current laws steer people towards alcohol because they fear the consequences of being caught using marijuana. But I think we are nearing a tipping point.”

Perhaps. One of the biggest obstacles on the road to policy changes is a sprawling bureaucracy of drug warriors who have an obvious interest in keeping things as they are and have long practice in shrugging aside data and evidence. During the eight years of the Bush administration, they were led by a staunch, ideologically-driven proponent of prohibition at any cost, drug czar John Walters.

The man President Barack Obama chose as his top drug policy official, Gil Kerlikowske, is likely to be more open to rational argument. Kerlikowske succeeded Norm Stamper as Seattle police chief and during his tenure, possession of marijuana by an adult ranked as the city’s lowest law enforcement priority. Lower than running a red light.

(You can contact the author at Debusmann@Reuters.com)

(Editing by Kieran Murray)

Comments
298 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

My brother works in an industrial facility and is regularly drug tested, and does not do drugs. But he gets sloberin drunk every weekend and some weeknights and makes a fool of himself every time. When he was younger he smoked pot, consumed far less alcohol and was a much better person. Policies that we have now force him into heavy alcohol use, the legal drug.

I love my brother and wished I could just get him to relax and smoke one or attend AA.

I have given this problem much of my thoughts and I conclude that legalization of marijuana in the US would deal such a blow to the drug cartel in mexico that they’d be out of business, they wouldn’t have enough money left to continue selling other drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. Since marijuana is their mainstay wouldn’t this help put them out of business? Also as a side benefit, farmers and related industries would spring up in the US stimulating our own economy with taxation. For one thing, why is marijuana is illegal? More people smoke marijuana than ever before, it should be legal. Please legalize marijuana now.

 

>>My rebuttal:

July 26th, 2009 12:06 am GMT – Posted by Anon

The rationalization habits of a marijuana user:

1. They will refuse to accept that there are links between marijuana and addiction, health problems and mental illness. This is simply a case of denial, which they use to pretend that their actions have no consequences.

eg: “It’s perfectly harmless”
>>It’s is the safest pyschoactive substance known to man. Cannabis does has effects but they are less harmful than a cup of coffee (caffeine kills people every year). And yes we know that smoking anything has negative side effects but you can either vaporize or ingest cannabis which eliminates that argument.

2. They equate it to alcohol, even though they know that marijuana has additional effects which set it apart from alcohol and other legal drugs. This is an attempt to equate themselves with drinkers, in a way to try and create the impression that any attack on their habit is hypocrisy.

eg: “Well you drink beer. Drugs are no different”
>>Your biggest problem here is you don’t see alcohol as a drug when in fact its quite a dangerous one. Last time I checked people don’t black out, get poisoned, or die from cannabis consumption. People do not get angry or violent when smoking. So what are these extra effects are you talking about?

3. They focus on the self-centered perspective, refusing to consider the detrimental effect they may have on their family, friends, victims of crime and society as a whole. This allows them to exist in a ‘closed circuit’ reality where they can ignore the fact that their choices have consequences for other people.

eg: “It’s my choice. Nobody else gets hurt”
>>Sounds like a good reason to legalize. The reason marijuana use hurts people and their friends and family is because it is illegal status. Countless non-violent, upstanding citizens have had their lives changed for the worst due to our oppressive laws. Furthermore, if the marijuana is taxed and regulated you just destroyed the black market for the product and all the ills associated with it.

4. They claim to have used the substance over a long term period, yet deny that they could ever be addicted to the substance. This gives them the feeling that they are in power and control over their use of the drugs, even when the reality may be that they are firmly gripped by a mental and physical dependence.

eg: “I can give it up whenever I like.”
>>Yes there is a chance of addiction with any substance and it is up to user to exercise moderation. However with marijuana their is virtually no physical withdraw symptoms and rather it is all mental. Compared to other already legal substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs the potential of addiction is significantly lower. I find it quite sad that Americans see it as perfectly normal for someone to have a drink or two every night, but if you were to change that substance to marijuana that person is a addict/druggie/burnout/loser.

5. They claim that they should have the liberty to do as they please. It is common for people being punished for incorrect behaviour to seek to portray themselves as victims of oppression. By cultivating a perception of being repressed, they can use this perceived “moral highground” to justify their breaking of the law.

eg: “It’s not fair! I should be able to do what I like! Daddy can’t tell me what to do! I don’t want to sit in the corner. Waa. Waa.”
>>Seems like to me the government has haphazardly decided which substances should and should not be legal to ingest. Why does the government allow to consume alcohol and tobacco, two well-known and well-documented cancer causing substances? At the same time a less-harmful substance, marijuana, is having wars fought against it. People are just asking for some common sense policy.

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive
 

For comparison:

You can die from an overdose of alcohol, and it’s not terribly difficult to do so.

You can’t die of an overdose of marijuana, I don’t care how much you smoke in one sitting.

Alcohol is well-known to cause a myriad of serious diseases, cyrrhosis of the liver, brain damage, heart disease.

Name one disease that marijuana is well-known to cause. Really? If there were even one case of lung cancer caused by long term marijuana smoking, don’t you think you’d be hearing all about it, like you do with cigarettes?

Alcohol use causes loss of coordination, memory, impaired judgment, changes in personality and behaviors.

Can you show me what a stoner looks and acts like after getting stoned? A security staff at a 1977 Eagles concert in Houston was quoted in a local paper as saying they were more vigilant for alcohol and its containers than for anything related to pot because, they said, “it’s the drinkers that get in fights and cause trouble, the pot smokers just sit back and watch the show.”

Alcohol use causes physical impariment, both perceptual and motor control. It’s pretty obvious when a driver has had too much to drink, and the rate of accidents and fatailties is well-known.

Pot, not so much. Many snowboarders will tell you that getting high enhances their boarding skills. Maybe, maybe not, but can you show me one news article or feature showing a car accident caused by smoking pot? If there were I’m sure that ONDCP and the DEA would be all over it like flies on a cowpile.

All in all, I can’t wait for the book to come out, and yes, I think we are reaching a tipping point in terms of public support of legalization, and yes, I think society will be better off for it.

Posted by Fireweed | Report as abusive
 

Bill Hicks (MHRIP) was right on the money. There’s a reason why marijuana is against the law. Why would governments decriminalize something that helps people understand how they’re being f***** everyday of their lives? No, you can’t have that drug. It’s the devil leading you astray. Instead, have a Bud, and a Marlboro. Here, drink this, smoke that, shut-up. And congratulate yourself on living in the land of the free.

Posted by Bill Hicks for Messiah | Report as abusive
 

Thank you. Anon. I completely agree with you. But, seeing as how its us against the masses than this will be my last word on the matter.

A user is a user. I don’t understand how anyone here can legitimately claim that being a marijuana user is not “BAD”. Once you get to the point of fetishizing something by coming up with rationales for why it is so good. I really don’t understand how people can go out of their way to justify things without realizing exactly what they’re doing.

The only legitimate argument I’ve heard from potheads. Is the fact that the US can tax it. But, once you use that argument you lose all moral high ground.

I find it hard to believe that pot smokers are honestly saying that pot is not addictive. The physiological reason that nicotine is so addictive is because there are certain receptors in the brain that respond to the chemical nicotine. Of which admittedly there is no enough evidence to prove that pot is addictive but NEITHER is there enough evidence to prove that it is not.

So why don’t you do a home study. Smoke everyday for a month and then go cold turkey. If you get cold chills and start craving than yes it is addictive.

Marijuana is not “Harmless”. It has more tar than cigarettes. Anyone here that’s willing to look at a non-bias study can look this up themselves. Not to mention it severely impairs your short term memory.

And finally there is no such thing as a Perfect Right. Rights exist in proportion to the rest of the population.

Posted by J | Report as abusive
 

Anon

You obviously need a 12 step program to help you stop lying.

I’ll just stick to one subject…you’re addiction myth.

I have smoked marijuana practically daily for 35 years.Recently because of my financial status I had to make some changes,the first being to cut down on entertainment costs.

I stopped buying marijuana and haven’t had any for over 3 months…just stopped…no withdrawals or craving…no sleep loss…just stopped.

Anon…stop your lying.

Posted by mntnman444 | Report as abusive
 

Should marijuana be legal? Of course it should be legal.
Will it be legal? No.
More than half of the American people could be up in arms demanding it’s legalization and the government would over look science and claim that it’s a dangerous drug and “do what’s best and protect the people” and keep it illegal. Marijuana and is to versatile as a medicine.
If it is legal there will be major restrictions.

Posted by Alexander | Report as abusive
 

I am pleasantly surprised at the number of positive comments concerning this topic. As an adult child of two alcoholic parents, I am acutely aware of the consequences of addiction. Thankfully I made it successfully through my own battles with alcohol addiction earlier in life. I have smoked weed off and on through out my life and can say for me, weed is a much more forgiving means by which to “unwind”. I continue to drink on a very selective basis, and find myself feeling very agitated when under the influence of as few as two alcoholic beverages. On the other hand, sharing a joint with a friend tends to result in smiles, laughter and most times involvement in some creative endeavor or another.
I cannot say what is right for others, only myself. I could drone on about what I feel, but thanks to many of the previous posters, I don’t have to. My only conclusion is that “all things in moderation” is an effective approach to most things in life. I do hope that hemp is decriminalized. When this is successfully accomplished, maybe then, we as a society can start to examine our unhealthy and unrealistic attitudes toward other important issues of public policy. Then, we as a nation can truly claim to be morally just and leaders of a “free” World. Peace, love and happiness to you all.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive
 

Wow. Talk about people getting defensive. Yet in many cases my points were not refuted, but rather confirmed.

If you believe that marijuana is harmless, then talk to the health professionals. They are the ones who pick up the pieces.

If you believe that the laws are to blame for crime, then talk to the addict who blames his habit when he mugs someone for cash.

If you believe that you are not addicted, even after long habitual use, then don’t waste words proving it to other people. Prove it to yourself, if you can.

If you truly believe that your habit is justifiable and good, perhaps you are just very good at rationalization?

The purpose of my post was to confront not just the issues with marijuana, but the excuses people use to justify their habit to themselves and others.

Perhaps people should look behind the ‘noble’ excuses they make for themselves, and try to find the true motivations that lie behind them?

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive
 

First of all J, being a marijuana user isn’t necessarily bad, nor is it good. It’s bad as far as smoking it damages your lungs, but there are alternatives to smoking it.

Furthermore, pot isn’t physically addicting like nicotine is. I smoked heavily for 4 months and quit cold turkey with no adverse effects. It’s habit forming, but so is going to the gym or spitting. And I don’t think anyone tries to make the argument smoking marijuana is harmless. Smoking anything does damage to your lungs.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive
 

Directed towards a misinformed anon poster

If you believe that marijuana is harmless, then talk to the health professionals. They are the ones who pick up the pieces. IGNORANCE.
———SMOKING marijuana is harmful,VAPORIZING marijuana has no ill medical effects, and some medical benefits.

If you believe that the laws are to blame for crime, then talk to the addict who blames his habit when he mugs someone for cash. IGNORANCE
——— No one is robing anyone over any small amount of marijuana to get high. People do get robbed and shot over large amounts of marijuana because prohibition has forced the market underground

If you believe that you are not addicted, even after long habitual use, then don’t waste words proving it to other people. Prove it to yourself, if you can. IGNORANCE
——–Marijuana is NOT an addictive substance, however people can get into the habit of smoking marijuana. Its an easier habit to kick then biting you nails however.

If you truly believe that your habit is justifiable and good, perhaps you are just very good at rationalization?
——-Or maybe if you believe that a broken system of laws ruining thousands of peoples lives over a benign plant is right, you might just be very good at rationalization

Check you facts before you post people

Posted by Charles | Report as abusive
 

Alcohol vs. Marijuana shouldn’t even be debated, Pot wins hands down. I dislike drunk people, even the famous “I love you man!” drinker. Now with that being said, I don’t think Alcohol should be illegal, Neither should pot.
There is no legitimate reason for pot to be illegal,it’s just a bunch of “I don’t do it so no one else should” type people telling us what to do. Until that changes, the law wont either.

 

Anon, I agree. Marijuana is not “harmless”. Nothing is harmless, not even water. We learned that water, when ingested in large quantities, can kill. How did we learn this? We learned this from young adults trying to pass urine tests by attempting to flush their systems. No, nothing is harmless. The question is given marijuana’s relative harmlessness should this society continue to cause much greater harm by keeping it illegal? Obviously, the greatest harm in possessing marijuana is the laws outlawing it. These laws perpetuate a black market which funds criminal activity, not only in this country but, many other countries. You have nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol, even aspirin that kills more people annually than marijuana has killed in the last 100 years or more. This National Institute of Mental Health conducted studies in Jamaica of life long users and found that there was no higher rate of lung disease than non-smokers and showed that users who smoked tobacco had a lower instance of lung disease. The Nixon administration conducting one of the largest reviews of current research and found nothing that would justify the laws against marijuana – not what the Nixon administration wanted to hear. Australia conducted the largest analysis of car accident data ever and concluded that marijuana did not contribute to accidents. In fact, they found that drivers under the influence of marijuana were less likely to be involved in an injury causing accident than straight drivers. And no, not I nor they recommended we drive high. The points being this should not be illegal. Individuals of flawed character trying to blame inanimate substances they chose to use for recreation on their behavior have no bearing on the legality of marijuana. They just as readily blame their mother. It is just a testament to the fact they need psychological help. Marijuana is not harmless but, relatively speaking, if made legal, it would be one of the least harmful recreational substances on the market. In my opinion it would rate somewhere below Oreo cookies and Coca Cola.

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive
 

Anon,
You and I seem to disagree on everything but yet we can debate topics rationally and like adults, like we’ve proven.

Quickly to the man who sided with you J, I’ve never smoked pot once in my life, never will, and I’m 100% for legalization. Blindly calling all pro-legalization people potheads completely wipes away any comment or thought you have.

Anon many health professionals will say pot is perfectly healthy, and many would prescribe it if it were legal. If I get sick and need a pain remedy I can promise you I’d rather be prescribed marijuana than many of the fanatically addictive pain medicines that are normally prescribed (morphine, codeine, etc). I’ll bet even more would outspokenly agree with pot prescription if they knew society and gov’t wouldn’t scorn them for doing so because of the stereotypes that have been created.

That person with the habit wouldn’t have to mug anyone if he could buy a pack of marijuana cigs for a few bucks at the store.

People can be addicted to anything based on habit, I was addicted to biting my nails. I don’t think marijuana is to blame for people being addicted to marijuana, it’s the person’s personality.

I don’t think someone using marijuana is a good thing, I just don’t think it’s a bad thing. I also don’t want another trillion dollars of taxpayer money flushed down the toilet with zero positive consequences.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

“VAPORIZING marijuana has no ill medical effects, and some medical benefits.”

There is a strong link between use of marijuana and increased risk of long-term mental illness. In laymans terms, it slowly sends you batshit. Just like most illegal drugs. And the health professionals are the ones who have to pick up the pieces.

“No one is robing (sic) anyone over any small amount of marijuana to get high.”

If a person needs money to get their fix, to a drug that they are dependent on, you will be surprised what a drug user is capable of.

“People do get robbed and shot over large amounts of marijuana because prohibition has forced the market underground”

So following your logic, we should also legalise crack, heroin, amphetimines and military grade munitions. After all, if these things were legal, there would be no crime connected to them, right?

“Marijuana is NOT an addictive substance”

I wonder if anyone on this forum supporting that conclusion has done so via their medical degree? Or a science degree? Chemistry? Psychiatry? Or do they read relevent accredited journals?

“if you believe that a broken system of laws ruining thousands of peoples lives over a benign plant is right, you might just be very good at rationalization”

Ok. I stand corrected. Cannibis users are not only very good at rationalization of their drug habit, they are also good at the psychological projection of their flaws on to others.

The reality is that people want to get high, regardless of the harm they will do to themselves and to others. And they will come up with any excuse to justify their behaviour.

Try to tear their rationalizations away, though, and look how flustered and upset they get. Just as well they protect themselves with justification, or they would feel like that all the time.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive
 

Morning (or is it afternoon?), Mr Ham.

You do make some good points. The main issues I have is that:

1. The majority of users, I think, do not use Marijuana for any justifiable medical purpose.

2. While some medical professionals see marijuana as harmless, others believe that it may cause or increase the risk long-term mental illness. While causation has not been proven as an absolute fact, there is enough correlation to cause a serious concern.

3. The long-term social costs of a ‘recreational’ drug which may cause permanant mental illness cannot be understated.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive
 

I don’t know why anyone doesn’t think that marijuana should be legalized. First of all it does help when sick or naucious. I can’t tell you the number of times I have stayed home from school or work feeling absolutely terrible, hit my bong, and within a half an hour my mind is active and I can eat without throwing up.
Although I will admit that after 10 years of fairly heavy marijuana use when I stop it is hard for me to fall asleep some nights and other activities like TV or video games seem some what pointless, but my mind is still sharp and I excercise daily. (Marijuana helps to open up your lungs, something to do with stimulating different parts of your lungs)
But to you fools who believe that marijuana makes people more dangerous or messed up more than liquor think again. When I smoke normally I end up staying home with some friends and get some take out…sounds like some dangerous front page news action huh? NOT. No one is saying to legalize every drug, because nearly every drug is extremely addictive and most are dangerous because you can overdose on your first use.
The only reason some people are opposed to the legalization of marijuana is because they are ignorant to the fact that if you use marijuana properly it does improve the quality of your life. Also if marijuana were legalized it would stop people from having to deal with drug dealers. Half of the time the dealers are plotting to steal your money when they claim to walk away to get your weed. Also it would keep those morons from having any real power or money in society because once they lose the power to peddle their weed (which in some cases could be laced with dangerous drugs) they will no longer need to bother the peaceful pot smoking community ever again!

Posted by SmokeyBear | Report as abusive
 

responsibilty….the first thing to think about when using mj. as with anything else.i work every day of the week.i pay bills when thet are due.im good to my family and all those around me. after a hard day at my job, i like to unwind.my personal feeling is that a few hits from a pyrex bowl of gods green is for me. i dont need to empty a whole sack to get a comfortable buzz that will last the evening. i spend very little on it so, i have no problem paying my bills.i know when i can smoke and when not to.it creates a calm and peaceful feeling for me that allows me to function in a jovial comfortable manner even in stressful situations. i have smoked it 32 yrs. two years longer then i have worked at my only job of thirty years. i dont smoke before work. my employer asked that we not do that and i respect that. i have quit many times through the years for different personal reasons due to, children,church,personal change. i enjoy mj and will enjoy it all that i can.i had to quit again because my employer feels the need to destroy what little privacy i have with drug testing. i understand he needs people to not come to work high but, its wrong. they wont create a test for mj to show results on the job so. i must go without the peace and comfort. i dont drink for that reason because alcohol has ruined a part of my childhood, my family and ultimatly, my sweet mothers life.i wont let it get me too. their are many responsible, ordinary,kind, helpful people who smoke marijuana who dont deserve their lives to be destroyed by the present ruling. mj runs no ones life, rather, we rule the plant and, used responsibly,it is a great sourse of inner peace, and a provision to slow down just a little to keep our perspective in check. thank you for your time

Posted by fla activist | Report as abusive
 

I smoke marijuana as a public service. Everytime I have to deal with jerkoffs in my daily affairs when I am stoned the conversation is better for it because I am less likely to throw it back in their face.

Whenever I drive stoned I am a much better driver, less aggressive, and prone to bouts of road rage.

So be thankful I am a guerilla smoker your society is somewhat safer for you to consume the planet in, because of it.

Posted by Legalize It | Report as abusive
 

I want to hear of one verifiable case where long term use made someone ‘go batshit’. I personally quit smoking because of my asthma, but I have friends that have used for the better part of 40+ years, and not one of them has a mental health issue. Who’s spreading this stuff? Not the pot smokers, that’s for sure.

Posted by MargaD | Report as abusive
 

Good Day Anon.

You said: “There is a strong link between use of marijuana and increased risk of long-term mental illness. In laymans terms, it slowly sends you batshit. Just like most illegal drugs. And the health professionals are the ones who have to pick up the pieces.”

If you like the science of it let me just give you one very important lesson in Statistics:

The concept of correlation is particularly noteworthy for the potential confusion it can cause. Statistical analysis of a data set often reveals that two variables (properties) of the population under consideration tend to vary together, as if they are connected. For example, a study of annual income that also looks at age of death might find that poor people tend to have shorter lives than affluent people. The two variables are said to be correlated; however, they may or may not be the cause of one another. The correlation phenomena could be caused by a third, previously unconsidered phenomenon, called a lurking variable or confounding variable. For this reason, there is no way to immediately infer the existence of a causal relationship between the two variables. Correlation does not imply causation.

The correlation you allude to in your statement has been cleared up as individuals with mental illness self medicating to elevate their symptoms. Not the “batshit” scenario the propaganda spin drs feed the Fox news media for shock value.

You said: “I wonder if anyone on this forum supporting that conclusion has done so via their medical degree? Or a science degree? Chemistry? Psychiatry? Or do they read relevent accredited journals?”

Would you believe a Dr. at the University of Texas?

“Hello, I’m Dr. Allen Battle, a psychologist with UT Medical Group and professor of psychiatry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Today we are talking about addictions.

Q: Is marijuana addictive?

Dr. Battle: No, marijuana is not addictive. It isn’t addictive because the active ingredient in it, THC, does not become a part of the body chemistry. So that then, that body, would be dependent on it just as it is dependent on water or food. That is the essence of addition; it is physiological!

Gambling, food, sex, are not addictive. To use the word addiction in connection with these activities is to pervert the meaning of the word addiction. These things can become obsessions, that is to say, thoughts that repeat and repeat in spite of the individual not desiring to have them. They can become compulsions, in which the individual must act upon those thoughts. They can become habitual. They may be used as a way of escaping from problems in the here and now. But none of these things are physiological.”

If you want to see the entire interview: http://www.utmedicalgroup.com/pages/webc hat_addiction.html

You also seem to have issues with people wanting to “get high”. I wonder why that is? Many people want to relax after a stressful day. Some drink others get high and…well there are various ways to relax and each to their own. But, you obviously have issues with getting high. Why would anyone have to justify wanting to feel better? You seem to think they must.

You Said: “Cannibis users are not only very good at rationalization of their drug habit, they are also good at the psychological projection of their flaws on to others.”

You obviously think those that use marijuana are flawed. How funny! Surly you wrote that in haste. Because that would mean Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were flawed as well. I think most Americans would be honored to be as flawed as them. However, you Sir, seem to be under the misconception that marijuana use equates to ignorance, and character flaws. You suckered a few into your false arguments but I doubt many will continue to fall.

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive
 

As a matter of principle, I’m in favour of legalisation (note, not promotion) of all drugs. When I explain this, some people think I want to use drugs – and nothing could be further from the truth – though, I admit, I’ve consumed a fair amount of alcohol over the years… I’ve never smoked anything – including tobacco – even to “try”.

I found it fairly easy to avoid tobacco (though it was easier once I’d turned 16) because, with it being a legally available drug, there is no credible peer pressure and a free-choice can be made to decline without losing face. It is my considered opinion that the illegality of drugs itself is key to promoting their use… where, I suspect, many people who start do so because they feel they might not get another opportunity… which leads to them making under-informed decisions… which are, in and of themselves, dangerous.

One problem I see with cannabis is the effect it has on those who are merely nearby… while cigarette smoke can smell unpleasant (and might, arguably, have long-term health effects) I’ve noticed (when I’ve inadvertently been passively affected by exotic smokers) that it takes many, many hours for my head to feel clear again – sometimes over a day. Perhaps this is an effect similar to a single glass of wine making a 5-year-old paralytic (on account of my lack of exposure) but I think the implication worth considering… If space-cookies were the vehicle of choice, I’d have no objection at all to others consuming cannabis. In fact, I think it would be liberating – perhaps leading to social activities that don’t involve alcohol… where, with a variety of recreational consumption, people would feel relaxed to decline any or all substances as they see fit.

To my mind, the illegality of drugs is insane – and represents a statute that is dangerous and damaging in the way it promotes a reckless underground culture and desensitizes otherwise law abiding citizens to criminal behaviours.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive
 

Anon,

1.) I agree 99% of use isn’t medical, but this is a non-issue to me.

2.) I agree breathing in marijuana smoke is likely less healthy than breathing in oxygen. I’m of the opinion that if someone wants to hurt themselves they should have the freedom to do it, whether it be eat fatty food, do bad drugs (i want them all legal not just marijuana), jump out of a tree and onto the ground, anything that doesn’t hurt others.

3.) I think our long term social costs of locking up non-violent criminals and a large % of them turning into violent criminals when they leave is far worse than legalizing drugs.

I think people who want marijuana legalized and not all drugs are being as hypocritical as people who want marijuana to remain illegal while alcohol/nicotine are ok.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

Is it possible there aren’t comparable numbers for accidents caused by marijuana because alcohol is easier to obtain?

And the idea that legalizing marijuana would give an alternative choice to alcohol is rediculous. People would just combine them. I would never believe someone who said they drink because pot is illegal, or that they’d quit drinking if they could light up.

With all the smoking bans going across the country, I find it incredible that people are pushing to be able to smoke more things. How long would it be before pot smokers were looked down upon like tobacco smokers?

 

Stop Funding Border Violence! – Legalize Cannabis Now!
The Border Violence is being funded by the U.S. Government’s Prohibition. The U.S. Government could put a stop to 70% of the Mexican Drug Cartel’s War Money simply by obeying the wishes of the American People! (While at the same time keeping this Taxable Money in the U.S.)!!!

Stop Forcing Alcohol on People who want to make the SAFER choice! – Legalize Cannabis Now!
Forcing people to take urine tests in order to be employed encourages Drinking Disorders. Many people CANNOT drink. People are Arrested and Jailed EVERY DAY if they pursue the SAFE ALTERNATIVE – so MANY, MANY People DRINK even though they know that Alcohol is BAD for them and that Cannabis is NOT… This is a horrible thing for the Government to do!

Stop Sending Our Children To Dealers of Hard Drugs – Legalize Cannabis Now!
Because Cannabis is not regulated by law, many people selling it do not feel obligated to follow any rules. The U.S. Government puts YOUR CHILDREN in the hands of illegal Drug Dealers by continuing Cannabis Prohibition! Keep Cannabis illegal and we will send our Children into DANGER.

Add Billions of Dollars to Local, State and Federal Government! – Legalize Cannabis Now!
Milton Friedman and many other have demonstrated that this Country (and indeed the World) would benefit greatly financially from the repeal of Prohibition! This will mean BILLIONS of DOLLARS for Local, State and Federal Government! Currently the U.S. Government enjoys giving this money to Mexican Drug Cartels. We The People want the U.S. Government to Stop Supporting Terrorism and allow the American People to rebuild our economy!

Stop Prison Overcrowding! – Legalize Cannabis Now!
Over Three Quarters of a MILLION People are arrested every year for Cannabis! These are GOOD, OTHERWISE LAW ABIDING Citizens! This horror is breaking up families and the family structure. It also takes most of the Police Force away from real crime! There are more Police harassing good people than there are pursuing real crime! Broken families and people who are not allowed a good job (because of a Cannabis-Related Arrest) is a huge problem with our Country and its economy!

Stop Deforestation by using Cannabis Paper – 4 times more efficient than trees! – Legalize Cannabis Now!
One of the Main Reasons that Cannabis was criminalized was to make money for William Randolf Hearst (vested Timber Interests).

Start Removing Carbon from the Atmosphere! – Legalize Cannabis Now!
With the Deforestation Problem, we need all the Carbon Buffers that we can grow to help save ourselves from extinction!

Stop Forcing Very Dangerous Pharmaceuticals on People who would benefit from the Proven Medical Benefits of Cannabis! – Legalize Cannabis Now!
Cannabis is a VERY EFFECTIVE MEDICINE! Our Government will not let us use a SAFE ALTERNATIVE. The U.S Government says “Risk of Heart Attacks, Stokes and Death” and other horrible side-effects for U.S. Government Approved Pharmaceuticals are acceptable – but Cannabis, while being totally SAFE, must remain illegal as it actually makes the patient feel better!

We The People Want Cannabis Legalized!
We Are The Majority! We know that Cannabis is safe and that Alcohol is NOT!
We DEMAND Cannabis Law Reformation! There needs to be NO DEBATE! The People have Spoken!

Legalize Cannabis Now!

Posted by FiddleMan | Report as abusive
 

Great article, if only more people had as much sense. I definatly agree that pot is far safer than alchohol, although I feel that it shouldn’t be nessasary to make these arguments. Where in the Constitution of the United States of America does it say that the federal goverment can prohibit a substance. It doesn’t and they don’t have the right to, period. Stand up for your rights people, this is supposed to be a free country.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive
 

B.Free

While it is true that the causation of Marijuana related mental illness has not been proven as a fact, there is enough data corralation to make it a serious issue.

It is funny how the exact same thing applies to Global Warming but in reverse. Causation has not been proven, but people accept the significant corralation that exists.

I checked your reference regarding the doctor. He also mentioned that in his opinion, the substance has a potential for psychological addiction.

And in the end, he is only one medical opinion. As Marijuana has tangiable physical effects on the body, it is possible for the body to become used to having those effects.

My issue is not about people getting high and relaxing. I have never said that, and it is a false argument to suggest I do.

My issues is that confronted with all the secondary effects related to marijuana (health, mental and social) most users will simply dismiss these issues offhand because of their singular desire to get high.

I also have an issue that those same people blame the presence of laws for crime. That is a logical fallacy.

And while we are talking about false arguments, the hemp commonly used for wood can not be smoked. There should not be, and probably isn’t, any connection with the criminalisation of the actual drug.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive
 

At this point in the game the resistance mostly comes from conservatives due simply their inability to accept change. We can pile stacks of studies in front of them and that won’t help in the least, just as creationists can deny and dismiss all the science that proves natural selection. It’s no coincidence that there are few, if any, liberals pushing Intelligent Design.

There’s also the backroom dealings of the powerful law-enforcement unions…or “fraternities” as they prefer to be called, who know that prohibition is the bread and butter issue of their continued employment. While they wont openly admit it, a very significant portion of their reasoning comes from this, admittedly more practical, albeit extremely immoral, position.

Posted by Mycos | Report as abusive
 

“My issues is that confronted with all the secondary effects related to marijuana (health, mental and social) most users will simply dismiss these issues offhand because of their singular desire to get high.”

My experience is that many individuals who don’t smoke marijuana do make baseless assumptions and generalizations about individuals who do smoke it. Before you criticize it, try it. You don’t have to smoke, there’s edibles, oils, and tinctures.

Marijuana does have a potential to be psychologically addicting (been there done that). Marijuana does have health effects. So does chocolate. So does everything else in this material plane. If somebody wants to live the live of an aesthete, that’s their prerogative. I prefer the life of a stoner myself. Don’t expect me to walk your path.

Again, I’ll restate my position that’s the individual, not the drug that causes the problems. Not many I’ve met that perpetrate while smoking marijuana. There’s exceptions to every rule, though. Many a pub crawler should not be allowed next to alcohol. If you have a propensity for mental illness then neither alcohol or MJ may be good for you.

Maybe now, with a US presidential administration that appears to have some sense, we’ll be able to finally get good samples of medicinal MJ grade into the hands of researchers. Then we can answer some of these questions and issues definitively.

One final thing. Folks: THERE IS NO DRUG. IT’S A PLANT. Calling it a drug is new age legal legerdemain to allow justification for criminalization. As an example, the coca leaf is not a drug. It’s a plant that contains psychoactive alkaloids. It becomes a drug when you process the coca leaf into cocaine. So is it with marijuana. In marijuana, there are over 70 natural psychoactive alkaloids to my knowledge. Which on is this putative drug?

 

Thank you for all your efforts Steve! This article is truly informative and will be kept for ages. :)

 

Mr. Debusmann: I read a very good article writen by you recently, dealing with alcoho and marihuana, and I wanted to make a warning related with what Mr. Stamper marks in his prologue to his book as an absolut lack of evidence about a link between marihuana use and violence. This is not a very well known issue, and as you may know, all of us who speak european languages like my native spanish, or english or french or italian, use the word assassin ( asesino in spanish), to refer to a killer, and the etymology of the word is…

assassin
1531 (in Anglo-L. from c.1237), via Fr. and It., from Arabic hashishiyyin “hashish-users,” pl. of hashishiyy, from hashish (q.v.). A fanatical Ismaili Muslim sect of the time of the Crusades, under leadership of the “Old Man of the Mountains” (translates Arabic shaik-al-jibal, name applied to Hasan ibu-al-Sabbah), with a reputation for murdering opposing leaders after intoxicating themselves by eating hashish. The pl. suffix -in was mistaken in Europe for part of the word (cf. Bedouin).

I am a medical doctor, an internist, and I´ ve seen violent attitudes and conducts in persons under the effects of all of the circulating legal and ilegal drugs found in my City of Rosario, Argentina. I agree with legalization of marihuana, but I prefer an oppen debate, and as in many other fields of medicine, we should or could say that we do not have evidence about the above mentioned link, making clear that this does not allow us to say that the link willl never be found nor that it is unexpected. Instead, we better say that it is much more probable to find it than not. Drugs are used by different people in different moments of history for several pourpouses. Nothing says that violent alcohol-drinkers of now a days will not be replaced in the future by violent marihuana smokers. Personally, I have no doubt it is the way it will be, but, this is a personal view, may be favored by some aspects of arabic cultures I have had the opportunity to know.

Please let me know you have receveid my mail, (and forgive my mistakes, I do not write in english very frequently).
Yours sincerely.
Damián Lavarello MD
Rosario
Argentina

Posted by Damian Lavarello | Report as abusive
 

I am a 32yr old disabled veteran and father of two. I have tried numerous medications and treatments for pain and other issues I am stricken with due solely to my service of our country. I have been through electro-stimulation, experimental deep acupuncture and countless amounts of pharmaceuticals. The only thing that resulted from these methods was either more pain, damage to other parts of my body or a mindless sedated uninvolved father.

I smoked Marijuana as a kid prior to my service recreationaly and was familiar with its effects. I decided to give it a shot at easing my daily hardship with the blessing of my wife. At that point I had been dealing with my condition for around 18 months with no escape accept sleep. Within seconds of taking one drag of a joint I could feel the relief, one more hit and minutes later I was almost brought to tears by the fact that I almost felt like my old self again. I immediatley adopted a redgiment of two hits about every 8 hours and in no time I was nearly as functional as before my injuries. It has been a few years now and I have struggled to find a way to treat my self and stay employed and out of jail. I vowed to not support dealers that were involved with any other criminal behavior and do my best to keep the money out of cartels and terrorists hands. It was an impossible commitment is what i soon realized and fell back into the trenches of pain and anguish due to the complications it could cause my family if my criminal activities were discovered and the people one is forced to deal with on black markets. I decided to try and grow my own and after some good research and the help of some of the most generous online communities I have witnessed I was successful in supplying my self with almost a years worth of treatment for very little money and the joy of nurturing one plant to completion. We are all familiar with the therapeutic effects of gardening. That was a very pleasant hobby that I never expected going into this that was beneficial in many ways, those who have grown their own know exactly what I am speaking of. But alas growing your own is not always an option that is available, so here I am again in pain and knowing exactly how to solve it but hands tied by those who know better for my health and well being. Please don’t believe the propaganda and when it comes time for you to speak your piece on voting day please help me be able to be myself again and be the dad my kids deserve. Thank you for your time, best wishes.

Posted by Veteran and father | Report as abusive
 

Hmm, a quick thought here…Could it be possible that all these legal and harmful substances are in place for something along the lines of population control? Think about it, they all go hand in hand…People love to smoke cigarettes when they drink, drinking pushes the effects of most prescription drugs to a dangerous level, and they all are poisonous to our bodies and have the ability to shorten our lives, dramatically, in some cases. Is our government in it like this to keep us dying at a faster rate?
So many questions, so few answers. I’m tired of this prohibition. The debate is over. Legalize Marijuana, and stop driving us to drink-I mean die

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive
 

I think that a lot of people are naive in saying that marijuana will not cause any harm to your body. Now, don’t read that the wrong way, I’m all for legalization. However, the American consumer needs to understand the health risks related to the use of this drug. Like anything else in life, moderation is key. Most of the comments above are rational, but there are those that are strongly opposed or strongly supportive with no thought to anything but their view. I believe we should all be open-minded in this situation and discussion. We should all demand that this topic be given a fair assessment and the truth be given. Not some mocked up survey and set of tests by an individual paid for specific results. We know there will be risks and there will be abusers, but is it not the same for anything else. Food leads to obesity and other diseases with major health risks. Alcohol leads to many diseases as well and sometimes death when abused. Yet both these items are legal and have a tendacy to be abused. So ask yourself, whey would marijuana be any different. For all those people who are using health risks as an excuse, you are lazy. It is easier for you to fight to keep marijuana illegal than to try to fight against other substance abuse. All I ask is for a fair assessment of this topic.

Posted by People are crazy | Report as abusive
 

I just can’t pull myself to understand that with all these intelligent thoughts posted here from all walks of life everywhere – that this is still an unanswered issue regarding the ‘Legalization of Marijuana’… I am a 49 year old man stricken with a disease named ‘Multifocal Motor Neuropathy’ who is currently prescribed – going on two years now – to the pain medication percocet (240 – 7.5 mg tabs per month) to control the pain of my body falling apart on me. On this medication I am still legally licensed to drive a motor vehicle and pursue my life without the criminal element attached to this prescription medication. I have smoked marijuana since the age of 12 both medically and recreationally. Like the comment posted by – The ‘Veteran & Father’ above… at my age the risk of going to jail over my use of marijuana simply isn’t warranted any longer in my opinion. If I had the legal choice, which is what my God given right should be… I would choose the option of smoking marijuana in a ‘New York Minute’.

I’ve decided to take action and contribute my efforts to the cause… please visit my webspace for more information.

pEACE,
hAROLD J mORALES
http://basicexposure.com/HTOISG_.html
pHX, aZ uSA

 

I hope that there is further research into the link between cannibis and long term mental illness.

It is obvious that while people will accept strong corralation as proof of global warming, they require a higher burden of proof before they start questioning their personal drug habits.

If there is a causal link between the drug and mental illness, then this link must be discovered through proper research and data.

For each additional research paper which shows strong corralation, the decriminalisation of cannibis becomes more and more unlikely to ever occur.

And if a concrete causal link is found, then this must displayed to the public. Then heavy criminal penalties will be easily passed into law by society, and personal rationalization of a habit will become that much harder.

Such research is the only way to dismiss the many myths believed about cannibis, by people who refuse to entertain the possibility that their habit may eventually end up harming themselves and the people they care about.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive
 

ANON, not to be rude, but you are an idiot….. Go check your historical facts about when ‘hemp’ became an issue in the 1930s and the real reason it was maligned and eventually made illegal. Check the history of William Randolph Hurst and DuPont. Why would DuPont want ‘hemp’ which is organic, can be grown anywhere, and is quite proliferate to stand in the way of their new invention, oil based plastics? And Hearst Paper Manufacturing Division of Kimberly Clark owned vast acreage of timberlands. The Hearst Company supplied most paper products. It’s all about money, baby. Hey, are you my Father? If not, you could be his twin.

Posted by MargaD | Report as abusive
 

I dont see how anybody could possably truley belive that Pot is harmfull to anyone. When i was a teen i was told it was a gateway drug and yet i smoked cigerets and drank alchol way befor i ever smoked pot. Now i only drink when i cant find pot and have not been able to stop smoke cigerets. I was recently threatend with a C.H.I.N.A for my 3 children because DHS found out i smoke pot that means they wanted to take away my kids and put them into foster care because i smoked pot i stoped smoking pot now i drink every couple of days which i feel is worse for my kids then smoking pot everyday. im a stay at home mom and need stress relife which i belive i get from smoking pot without making impossalbe for me to care for my children whom i Love very much and only want the best for. i live in Iowa where pot is fully illegal and prosicutable by prison time , probation, a serious fine and possablity of children being removed from their homes. Iowa is having an open forum debat next month about weather or not pot can be used as medical. The first of the 4 is 1-5pm. Aug 19 at the State Historical building in Des Moines Iowa. please i encourage anyone with serious medical evidence or any Advocate with the means to attend this meeting and help Iowa come out of the dark and into the light . Thank You. A Loving Mother and Wife..

Posted by Dinky | Report as abusive
 

This past weekend, a young man was beat to death in the parking lot of one of the sports venues in Philadelphia by individuals who have previous records for violence attributable to drinking. It happen because of one individual bumping into another and spilling their beer. Yet another fragile individual with extraordinary problems using alcohol as the trigger to free them towards violence.
Taking away the alcohol will not solve their deep rooted problems but will at least keep others safe from the effects on such people. Replacing the drink with a joint might replace a violent chemical transmitter with a more passive one?

Posted by Jeffrey Peezick | Report as abusive
 

ANON, why are you so hung up on this mental illness issue? Has something happened in your family that gives you this strong opinion? I have a mentally unstable son who uses pot to get through daily life. It eases his anxiety to a level where he can function. The psych drugs he’s given have horrendous side effects and he is unable to work or do anything else constructive on them. The ‘legal’ drugs cause more problems than they help. I hate to see my son flat, with no perceivable personality and drooling on occasion. This is why he would rather use pot.

The use of a substance doesn’t make a person mentally unstable, they are already that way. I will agree that under these conditions any substance can worsen symptoms of instability, but does not cause it. This is even true of certain foods, by the way. My son can’t consume large quantities of processed white flour products, such as pasta or bread, without going ‘batshit’ to use your term. Even my son’s psychiatrist does not disapprove of his using pot for his anxiety. Every time he uses legal ‘anti-anxiety’ meds, he ends up in jail…usually for violent crimes. I would love nothing more than for my only son to be able to get legal medical marijuana to ease his symptoms. And I just learned that he is again in jail for possession, a victimless, non-violent offense that should not even be a crime.

Posted by MargaD | Report as abusive
 

I have a question which seems very hard to prove. I would like some thoughts/opionions. Politicians seem to be getting really good at answering questions with questions when it comes to the subject of cannabis legalization. They continue to use old info that has long been disproved like the gateway theory and that it causes addiction. So my question is are they defending something that is so obviously untrue because they are being paid? Are tobacco, alcohol, and pharmesuetical lobbyist paying large sums of money to congress men to stop legalization? If this is the case should we take steps to boycott certain products? Is there a possibility that switching to a local brand of cigarettes, and alcohol or saying no to a doctor who wants to prescribe a drug that isn’t really needed could it potentially deprive the political strength of a law that has robbed the quality of life, and violated the rights of millions and is shifting America into a Draconian style of government?

Posted by James | Report as abusive
 

Anon,

One problem with many of the studies is their government funded, the only way our government (under democrats or republicans) will legalize marijuana is if they’re absolutely forced too. Here in this country we don’t truly honestly care what our gov’t does, we don’t riot, we don’t make demands, so they’ll just keep doing what they do at the expense of the american middle and lower class.

If we aren’t going to do anything serious, they don’t need to.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

the sheer volume of replies to this opinion vs. other opinions posted on this site should tell you the people want marijuana legalized. is this still a democracy? (of course not.)

Posted by kyle | Report as abusive
 

“Gambling, food, sex, are not addictive. To use the word addiction in connection with these activities is to pervert the meaning of the word addiction. These things can become obsessions, that is to say, thoughts that repeat and repeat in spite of the individual not desiring to have them. They can become compulsions, in which the individual must act upon those thoughts. They can become habitual. They may be used as a way of escaping from problems in the here and now. But none of these things are physiological.”
Posted by B.Free

Actually they are addictive. Look up the physiological effects of sex and read about the chemicals that are released. There’s an interesting university study floating around. I can’t recall the name. Search around Jstore. Anyway a rat was tied to a buzzer that gave the rat an orgasm. The rat kept tapping the buzzer until it eventually died from starvation. Gambling is also an addiction. Compulsive gamblers gambler because they think they’re win. They’re addicted to the rush. And finally food may also become an addiction. Grab any psychology handbook and you’ll see for yourself. In all these cases its not the act that matters. It’s the result.

MargaD, this is a discussion. Please keep the personal attacks out of this. Someone can just as easily say something very nasty back to you.

Posted by J | Report as abusive
 

Great. So then you would have both alcohol and pot legalized? Double the whammy. It’s not like you’re going to make alcohol illegal, and turn your nation into a bunch of potheads? Research all you want, things in place are exactly the way they are.

Second, you don’t want a nation of stoners. Go to your local drumming circle and see how brilliant stoners can be. If you’ve missed that, you’ve missed everything.

Posted by Rich | Report as abusive
 

Brilliant article, i’m glad to see that a mainstream article can present the facts of cannabis in a well balanced and unbiased manner. I can only hope that the tide of mari-phobia is easing and that your president Obama will view both arguments and encourage widespread research into MJ. Sadly, being from Scotland, I can’t see our dear old leader Gordon Brown and the Labour party following suit. My only hope is that the next government is Conservative, which ironically seem to be one of the few parties that will openly debate the suitability of MJ.

I don’t want to regurgitate many of the points listed below as the are all valid, excluding the ‘MJ sends you batshit’ quote. What I will say is that it can be a catalyst for those with shortcomings to regress and shy away from confronting those issues. For many years I used cannabis to blot out painful experiences from my school days, This was more a sub-conscious act than one of using drugs to escape. I realised a few years ago that things needed to change and chose to completely stop smoking while I confronted my issues so that I had no excuses for failure. I am happy with everything that has gone before me now, and I have eradicated my lazy streak for good. It’s not about MJ destroying people and their lives, the simple fact is that people destroy themselves left right and centre with or without drugs, and they refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

I completely agree with the booze/MJ discussion as well, but think it would be unfair to label booze as a more destructive substance than pot. I am unsure as to what life is like with alcohol in the states, but here in Britain alcohol is assisting in destroying the youth and ruining social morals. Violence is markedly up, city centres are a no go area in the evening at weekends and the moral fibre of this country is being destroyed. We have the record for being the nation of drunks, especially when on holiday. I really would love to see what would happen if a pint of lager was substituted for a joint! I am not for a second blaming alcohol for all woes, and can see that marijuana will be abused by those people who need an excuse.

All I ask for is that our respective governments treat us like adults and give us the choice. They forget who put them there in the first place, and I consider their lack of respect for our collective judgement insulting. My understanding is that the law and law enforcers are there to protect us from others, not to protect us from ourselves. Is that too much to ask??

Good luck with the struggle, I would hope that in the next 5-10 years perception of MJ and hemp will have changed enough so that I dont have to shell out hundreds of pounds every few months so that I can take a trip to Amsterdam!

Peace,
Keith

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

IMHO, James, there’s powerful forces at work in the back rooms doing everything they can to keep cannabis sativa/indicia(CanSat) illegal in the US. I can only speak about here.

I honestly don’t think, in the majority, that congresspersons/senators are keeping CanSat illegal because “they are being paid”. Realpolitik isn’t that simple, James. The pecuniary side of it is for the, “under par”, so to say. Power and “juice” have MANY manifestations that don’t always equate to Benjamins. Subtle pressures are being applied to insure that this issue doesn’t progress. Maybe with less effectiveness in the Obama administration, but there nonetheless. There’s all kinds of special interests with their pinky in this pie, because there’s so much money involved.

Boycotts worked back in the day. They have lost much of their effectiveness due to globalization. Do you really think that Mega-C cares if you boycott something in Tulsa, when they are an international corporation. Folks, you’re wasting your time with some of these old methods. The corporate/customer(consumer) paradigm has changed over the last 3-4 decades. Individuals that care, such as yourself, need to change their operating paradigm accordingly.

There is no local brand of tobacco, usually, unless you live in the tobacco producing states. Alcohol is brewed locally, Fort Collins having some world renowned breweries, and it’s already getting consumed in lieu of “corporate” brands, which are also brewed locally.

When you talk to law enforcement in the street, they know that enforcing the marijuana laws to the letter is an absolute waste of resources, because it doesn’t decrease overall crime much. Regardless of that, you must consume with responsibility, as with any other inebriant. Failure to do so is what causes the issues… You’re mostly adults, you know what I’m talking about.

Colorado has some of the most progressive laws in the US, with defacto decriminalization of under an ounce of possession of CanSat(concentrates are still a felony), whereas some other states are draconian, such as Florida, with even a gram being a felony. There’s no coherent scheme along the states, and whether it’s draconian or not appears to follow whether it is Republican or Democratic in political stance respectively.

The only way we can answer the valid issues posted previously is to get consistent specimens of medicinal grade CanSat into the hands of scientific researchers or allow them to grow their own strains. That way we can apply the scientific method and a vast array of tools to the question of first: Is marijuana an efficatious treatment for pain, glaucoma, and various other ailments, and what are it’s dangers, in a controlled setting, and second: should society reap the benefits of legalizing what is at root just a natural plant. In Colorado the first has been realized by the voter (2000 Amendment to the Colorado Constitution allowing for medicinal marijuana and registered patients), and the second is in progress.

You want to change it: GET INVOLVED!

Namasté

Al – Front Range NORML Volunteer

 

Just a side note I forgot: If cannabis consumption is wrong, then why are human equipped with cannabinoid receptors in the brain. How did that evolve, and if the theory of evolution is correct, which it appears to be, how did that benefit natural selection?

That’s why the scientists need to be allowed to get seriously involved.

 

i want to know how everyone thinks pott is better,if you smoke it your addicted ,if you drink everyday you shouldnt , i like to have one drink once in a great while,so am tired of people excuses that been a drug addict is acceptable! its a disgrace ,i am very proud never to have drunk or have never experminated with pott! so please everyone just grow up!!!!!!!

 

Prohibition has failed as it did the first time. When the United States prohibited alcohol, use decreased and crimes decreased. After the criminal element set in, use and crimes sky rocketed. Look at today’s struggle with drug cartels in Mexico, any resemblance to the mafia and bootleggers? Sad thing, use of alcohol was declining before prohibition. We filled our prisons to over capacity just like now. Everything that happened then is happening now, only question is, when is our government going to take the criminal aspect out of it? I wonder how many of these mental disorders are related to Mexican cartel cannabis that is sprayed with all sorts of pesticides and what not.

I support legalisation of cannabis. Alcohol taxes helped pulled the USA out of the Great Depression, why not take the money out of the cartels hands and put it into the community’s that need it the most? I laugh when I read a comment that says anyone who smokes is an addict. People don’t smoke every day, or even every month. Just like people don’t drink everyday or monthly. For most it’s a social thing. Some thing that some adults like to do, is hang out with friends that aren’t overly aggressive.

People are not going to stop smoking, the government is only touching 5% of the market. This is not going away, why not tax it so they don’t have to raise my property tax or my gasoline tax. They will be raising taxes soon why not tax pot and have less taxes on those who don’t smoke?

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive
 

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