Saturday, January 15, 2011

What Is It About Marijuana That Makes People Into Such Fanatics?

I was having a polite email conversation with someone who supports legalization of marijuana.  I explained that my big concern is that by making it legal, it makes it even more difficult to keep it away from teenagers--a group that is at considerable risk because of the apparent causal connection between marijuana use and the development of schizophrenia.  The analogy to alcohol is pretty obvious, which also substantially increases schizophrenia risks.  (Since nearly all schizophrenia hits by mid to late 20s, the schizophrenia risk for people in their late 20s and above is probably nil.)

His argument is that it is easier for kids to get pot than beer--and if we made marijuana legal, it would be harder for them to get.

This is a rather astonishing claim, since simply by being legal, it would reduce the price and increase the number of retail locations.  In spite of alcohol being legal, and considerable regulation, it is not at all difficult for teens to get access to alcohol.  They get it from sympathetic young adults and from parents (with or without parental awareness).  I pointed out that this is a real risk with marijuana.  Adding marijuana to the existing problem of alcohol abuse is likely to make things worse.  Being half wrong (our current situation where alcohol is legal but marijuana is not) is better than being completely wrong.

His response was to say, "If you are really worried about teenagers (I don't believe it for a minute)"

I've made it clear for a very long time that my primary concern about marijuana availability is the mental illness risk, and that risk appears to be primarily for those who start smoking it before the years that schizophrenia hits--teens to 20s.  To make such a statement is to call me a liar.

Why do potheads insist on turning their intoxicant into a religion?  This is not the first time that civil discussions have turned bad because potheads are so hopelessly insistent on seeing every difference of opinion as dishonesty.  If they were pushing for a religion, it would be obvious that they were fanatics.

There must be people who get this fanatical about alcohol.  I just never get into conversations with them, I guess.

UPDATE:  For those who think that marijuana was made illegal because of anti-Mexican feeling, how to explain Mexico's making it illegal when its use in the U.S. was still quite rare?  From The Plant World 11:181 (1907), describing the author's first seeing of marijuana:
it was of common growth in central and southern Mexico, where however, "taboo" had been placed upon it by the Mexican Government. Under flaring head-lines a recently published newspaper article recites the seizure of "eight large boxes of marijuana, the largest collection of the national dope weed of the Mexican peon ever captured in a single haul by the police, and perhaps the greatest quantity of this weed ever seen at one time out of the field." * * * "Enough of this brain-wrecking weed was seized to have caused any number of murders had it reached the poor persons for whom it was intended.'' * * * "The effects of marijuana are like, but worse than those of opium. It has the tendency to craze the brain of the smoker. The weed has a pleasant aromatic odor and its immediate effect when smoked is considered more seductive than opium, but in the end it produces a murderous mania. To fight its use among soldiers is one of the hardest tasks before the army authorities.''
  
If sold in the tedejons of Mexico, and detected, the tendero is arrested, his store closed, his goods confiscated and he is either sent to the army or the penitentiary. In Tucson it is grown to supply the trade which amounts to, so my convict friend informed me, an average of $2.50 per day. The Mexican railroad laborers, he said, use all that is grown here outside of what they are able to purchase at the drug stores. There are several small gardens bordering the river in which the plant is grown, but the fear of publicity and punishment leads the growers to suppress this fact where possible.
UPDATE 2: There is a widespread belief that Prohibition did not reduce alcohol consumption--largely coming from ideologues who just know that laws don't change behavior.  One of the best proxies for alcohol consumption is cirrhosis of the liver death rates.



Remember that many states had already gone "dry" before Prohibition went national in 1920, so it is not surprising that the cirrhosis of the liver death rate started falling in 1910, and stayed at half the 1910 rate until the 1960s--when alcohol consumption rates (the gray part of the graph) started to rise.

36 comments:

Tom said...

I think that the argument that "if we made marijuana legal, it would be harder for them to get" is plausible. Currently, all marijuana sales are illegal, and thus sellers are not further constrained by restrictions as to age. If legalized, the price would likely drop (although maybe not if taxes were applied), but then most sales would take place through legal channels, where age restrictions would more likely be respected. At least, that's the theory. Is it true? I don't know, but I think it could work that way if properly implemented.

Of course, if the level of taxation is too high it might mean an illegal market in untaxed contraband marijuana could still flourish.

I am not a marijuana user, but I would like to see it legalized because I think that more harm is done by the present policy (e.g., weakening of civil rights, violent SWAT raids, disrespect of law, etc.) than there are downsides to legalization. Unlike your correspondent I do not deny the downside, and I appreciate your concerns---they are absolutely legitimate. I'm just tired of the escalation of the "war on drugs" to the detriment to the rights of all of us. There would be a price to pay, but I think it would be less than what we are paying now.

Clayton said...

No question that legal sellers of marijuana would be more respectful of the laws than illegal sellers--but twice nothing isn't much.

As we can see today with alcohol, even with considerable regulation, there are a lot of unlawful transfers. Older young adults; parents who don't see a big problem with it; parents who don't know that their kids are getting into their stash. Even today, police spend a lot of time making underage purchases of alcohol from stores.

Aaron Turpen said...

What it boils down to is not whether or not a substance is "legal," but rather it becomes a question of who's rightfully to account for those teenagers you're so worried about.

Where are these kids' parents? Who's watching them?

Kids are going to drink, they're going to have sex, they're going to smoke pot, and they're going to do all of the stuff we think they shouldn't be doing. They always have. It's a matter of upbringing more than it is of whether or not the "bad stuff" is "available" to them.

Marijuana is no worse for these kids than is alcohol--which they can get plenty of as well and which is abused at a much higher rate than is pot.

The next question is: does the welfare of these teenagers trump the liberties of the rest of us? Do we make pot, alcohol, etc., etc. illegal so that the teenagers can't get it, thereby throwing the freedoms of adults out the window?

I highly doubt that whether pot is legal or not is going to change the number of teenage users all that much.

When I was a kid, you could bring your rifle to school and there were even extra-curricular activities involving shooting. Now? Even making a gesture like you're shooting something is grounds for expulsion. What changed? There sure as hell weren't any mass shootings and Columbine incidents when I was a kid. Therefore, it wasn't the presence of guns that did it...

Same goes with marijuana.

Clayton said...

"Marijuana is no worse for these kids than is alcohol--which they can get plenty of as well and which is abused at a much higher rate than is pot."

Hmmm. One of them is legal, and is abused at a much higher rate than the illegal drug. Do you suppose that there might be a connection there?

"I highly doubt that whether pot is legal or not is going to change the number of teenage users all that much."

Are you really claiming that our laws have no effect at all on use? Can you think of anything else where laws have no real effect on use?

Your analogy of guns to marijuana is defective because no one is claiming is claiming that marijuana is causing mass shootings. We do know that it very likely causes mental illness in those who are genetically prone to it.

jsknow said...

Clayton,
I think the reason so many “potheads” as you call them, get offended by folks like you is because you seem fairly intelligent but you also seem incapable of understanding that the Government and corporations that profit from marijuana/hemp/cannabis PROHIBITION are lying to you about marijuana and using tens, maybe hundreds of millions of your tax dollars every year to do biased so called “research” and to spread deceptive information, often outright lies, over the media.

Don’t you ever wonder why the government is so hell bent on keeping this NONTOXIC plant illegal? You have a computer, do some searches for things like “documented cases proving marijuana causes schizophrenia” or ”marijuana cures cancer” or rational searches about any of the other fear mongering talking points trumpeted by the anti-marijuana crowd. Every time you find anti-marijuana rhetoric (especially when it comes from sources you consider reliable) ALWAYS look for words like: may, might, maybe and probably. Those are NOT the words of scientific proof! They are the words of drug war propaganda, bought mostly with your tax dollars and intentionally structured to deceive you.

After you educate yourself about marijuana and marijuana prohibition, you’ll more than likely be among the 80% that favor complete legalization. Decriminalization leaves the marijuana TRADE in the hands of criminals, gangsters, illegal aliens and terrorists. “When you fund something you get more of it” (Ron Paul). Does anyone really believe we need more criminals, gangsters, illegal aliens and terrorists?

All major authorities agree that the vast majority of so called “drug-related” violent crime is caused by the prohibition of drugs, rather than the drugs themselves. It was the same during alcohol prohibition. Alcohol prohibition created violent criminal organizations just like every other drug prohibition has. These violent crimes should be labeled PROHIBITION RELATED, not drug related. Ending alcohol prohibition is exactly why you don’t see shootouts over that drug trade any more. Stop funding criminals, gangsters, illegal aliens and terrorists with hundreds of billions of tax free $ every year! THE YEAR ALCOHOL PROHIBITION ENDED VIOLENT CRIME FELL BY 65%! Marijuana accounts for roughly half of the entire illegal drug trade. Legalizing this one nontoxic plant that it is impossible to overdose on will take away HALF of all the illegal tax free money that is funding the entire illegal drug business.

Anyone that wants marijuana is already getting it. Legalizing and rationally regulating marijuana is not adding another harmful intoxicant to society, legalizing gives people the legal opportunity to make the SAFER CHOICE! Alcohol, tobacco, many Rx drugs, many over the counter drugs, even caffeine, aspirin and non-aspirin, can all be deadly and are well documented as being the direct cause of hundreds of thousands of deaths in the USA every year! http://www.saferchoice.org/content/view/24/53/

jsknow said...

By the latest Government estimate about $113 Billion worth of marijuana is consumed in the USA every year. Huge amounts of marijuana have been consumed in the USA for decades, much of it by young people. Use a little common sense! If that much marijuana has been consumed, where are all the sick kids or mindless adults that marijuana use has produced?... THEY DON’T EXIST!

Virtually all the problems attributed to marijuana are actually problems directly and completely caused by marijuana PROHIBITION!

Want your freedom back? Legalize marijuana! That will take away Uncle ”Sham’s” most common excuse to trash the Constitution and pretend like the Government is protecting you from yourself over a plant that has never killed anyone of any age in all of recorded history anywhere on planet earth!

Why is the most useful plant known, a plant that has never killed anyone, illegal? It’s illegal because corporations that buy politicians fear competition from superior, safer and more environmentally friendly hemp products and because the Government loves to oppress jail and steal from the people! Alcohol, tobacco, petroleum, cotton, timber, chemical and pharmaceutical companies, just to name a few all see marijuana as unwanted competition.

But “what about the kids”? Marijuana prohibition does not keep kids from using marijuana, in fact it increases the amount of marijuana kids use by a huge margin! Illegal dealers don’t ask for ID! It’s a lot easier to track down how a kid got alcohol or tobacco than it is to track down how they got illegal marijuana. There are no alcohol or tobacco cartels selling unlabeled, untraceable products to kids! Would you rather have your kid locked up with killers and child molesters, or would you prefer to do your own parenting? Do you really believe an arrest record on a drug charge that will follow them for life and possibly a criminal conviction record on a drug charge that will follow them for life is going to help little Mary and little Johnny be stellar successful citizens?

But, but, but “what about marijuana causing car wrecks”? LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT THAT TOO!
http://peaceandloveism.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=4692
Google MARIJUANA DRIVING STUDY. You'll see 2 common findings:
1. Drivers under the influence of marijuana are VERY SLIGHTLY impaired.
2. Unlike those under the influence of alcohol, marijuana consumers are aware they are SLIGHTLY impaired and they CONSISTENTLY ADEQUATELY COMPENSATE by slowing down a little and being a little more cautious. That doesn’t mean they get in the fast lane on the interstate and drive 15 miles per hour. Marijuana makes you cautious, not crazy! Those Cheech and Chong movies were comedies, NOT documentaries!

http://www.jackherer.com/thebook/chapter-four/
"In the 1920s and 30s, Hearst's newspapers DELIBERATELY MANUFACTURED a new threat to America and a new yellow journalism campaign to have hemp outlawed. For example, a story of a car accident in which a marijuana cigarette was found would dominate the headlines for weeks, while alcohol-related car accidents (which outnumbered marijuana-connected accidents by more than 10,000 to 1) made only the back pages. This same theme of marijuana leading to car accidents was burned into the minds of Americans over and over again..."

Virtually all the drug war propaganda is nothing but pure lies. Marijuana does not cause aggressive behavior. Marijuana does not cause dangerous driving. Marijuana does not cause cancer, brain damage or any serious health problems. Marijuana prohibition does not keep kids away from marijuana. Marijuana is not a “gateway drug”, there is absolutely NOTHING about marijuana that causes people to use other drugs. Marijuana is not addictive. In fact marijuana is one of the safest substances known! Marijuana is SAFER than many foods we consume all the time and give to our kids. Exactly what good is this prohibition doing and who is benefiting from it?

jsknow said...

THE LAWS PROHIBITING MARIJUANA ARE NOT A RESULT OF ANY HARM FROM MARIJUANA. THEY ARE THE RESULT OF LIES, GREED AND RACISM. Read the well documented proof of that and a lot more marijuana TRUTH in these two articles: “MARIJUANA AND HEMP THE UNTOLD STORY, Thomas J. Bouril” and “WHY IS MARIJUANA ILLEGAL, Pete Guither”, click the links to those articles on this webpage:
Internet Explorer web browser: http://jsknow.angelfire.com/home
All Other Browsers: http://jsknow.angelfire.com/index.html

No matter which side of this issue you’re on PLEASE read the two articles linked above. It’s almost certain you’ll learn things about marijuana and marijuana prohibition that you never knew before.

Please save this message and actually CONSIDER, READ and WATCH the information contained in these links if you REALLY want to know the truth!

Watch Irvin Rosenfeld who gets his marijuana from the Federal Government destroy all the lies about marijuana consumers being lazy and unproductive. Watch him destroy all the lies about long term heavy marijuana use being harmful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvzX8aNwxgM

Listen to these high ranking narcotics officers expose the harms and waste of the drug war. Learn the truth about the drug war. It is a FAILED HARMFUL UNCONSTITUTIONAL UNLAWFUL VIOLENT WAR AGAINST NONVIOLENT CITIZENS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LayaGk0TMDc

Be sure to read this!
The World Health Organization Documents Failure of U.S. Drug Policies: http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/90295/

Cannabis Reduces Infant Mortality: http://www.salem-news.com/articles/june272010/marijuana-infants-sc.php This is a great example of information the drug war prohibitionists suppress every way they can. If babies are getting natural cannabis like substances in mother’s breast milk, do you still believe marijuana is harmful at any age?

If you want a good look at how far the government will go to promote its illegal anti-marijuana drug war message read this: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2000/03/31/magazines

Protestant, Catholic and Jewish Clergy Speak Out Against The War On Drugs
http://www.csdp.org/news/news/clergydvd.htm

WELL WORTH READING! Free online book: "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and The Conspiracy Against Marijuana http://www.jackherer.com/chapter01.html

Watch this documentary about marijuana curing cancer! There are 7 parts, watch them all! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjhT9282-Tw

If you doubt marijuana is good medicine read: Granny Storm Crow’s List
http://forum.grasscity.com/medical-marijuana/436257-granny-storm-crows-list-july-2009-a.html
It’s more like a library than a list!

jsknow said...

On March 22, 1972 the Richard Nixon-appointed, 13-member National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommended the decriminalization of marijuana, concluding, “[Marijuana's] relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it.” Richard Nixon chose to ignore the advice of his own well qualified, expensive, taxpayer funded, commission and start the modern escalation of criminalizing marijuana consumers. The lies he promoted have done much harm! He started the “war on drugs”, which is actually a violent unconstitutional war against nonviolent citizens which are no threat to their selves or society. The so called “drug war” is also a war on everyone’s Constitutional rights and liberties.

Google: Drug War Victims.

In 1988, after reviewing all the SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE presented in a lengthy lawsuit against the government’s prohibition of medical marijuana, the DEA’s own administrative law judge (Judge Francis Young) wrote: “MARIJUANA, IN ITS NATURAL FORM, IS ONE OF THE SAFEST THERAPEUTICALLY ACTIVE SUBSTANCES KNOWN. IN STRICT MEDICAL TERMS, MARIJUANA IS SAFER THAN MANY FOODS WE COMMONLY CONSUME.”

Starting to get the picture yet? You have been duped! You actually believed the Government when they told you a nontoxic plant that has been consumed safely by billions of people over thousands of years without ANY documented scientific proof of serious harm is somehow going to make kids go crazy. Now that you see how ridiculous that is please try being a little more respectful to others! Marijuana consumers are just every day people, except that they choose to use a safe nontoxic natural plant provided by the Creator in spite of Uncle Sham and his legion of crooked corporations and lawyers conspiring against them. Marijuana consumers don’t deserve being called “potheads” any more than someone that holds the same marijuana policy opinions as you deserves being called an ignorant gullible moron gleefully marching to the tune of Uncle Sham’s drug war propaganda right over a cliff that leads to the destruction of their Constitutional rights and liberties.

The Constitutional right to freedom of religion, free speech, a free press, to keep and bear arms, to be secure in your person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizure, to life, liberty and property, to be protected from having your property taken by the government without due process of law and without just compensation, to confront the witnesses against you, to be protected from excessive bail, excessive fines, cruel and unusual punishment, to vote and others have been unjustly denied to tens of millions of Americans in the name of the drug war.

Someone is arrested in the USA every 38 seconds on a marijuana charge. What good is that doing?

jsknow said...

I’m not a fanatic, or a pothead! I’m not an addict nor am I accurately described by any of the other nonfactual labels that people ignorant of the honest facts about marijuana and marijuana prohibition tend to use. I’ve been doing research on this subject for several years and the facts speak far louder than the drug war propaganda lies spewed by those that profit from marijuana prohibition and those that believe it. I will debate anyone anywhere any time on this issue. Marijuana prohibition is a sham! It is doing much harm and NO good whatsoever! Take back your freedom! LEGALIZE MARIJUANA! If you want your kids safe then do your job as a parent.

Marijuana PROHIBITION is not only making it easier for kids to get marijuana, it’s also greatly increasing their chances of being harmed by violence from the illegal marijuana trade gagsters that will not exist when marijuana is re-legalized. Violence from law enforcement trying to enforce the prohibition that put the gangsters in business will not exist either! You don’t see shootouts on our streets over the alcohol or tobacco trade or violent gangs being funded by tobacco or alcohol sales! You don’t see badge carrying SWAT thugs kicking in the doors of nonviolent alcohol or tobacco consumers either!

Based on current marijuana policy logic, everything that could possibly harm a child (whether scientifically proven to do so or not) should be illegal and anyone that possesses any of those substances should be thrown in jail, have their Constitutional rights trashed, have their home invaded by black mask clad machinegun toting badge carrying Government thugs, possibly be shot in the process, have their pets shot if they even dare to bark at the home invaders, have their money stolen by the police, have their property stolen by the police, be denied the opportunity to work, have their kids taken from them or possibly shot and killed during the raid, their home confiscated and be subjected to every other outrageous action that is routinely carried out in the name of marijuana prohibition.

Paramilitary styled SWAT raids are carried out against about 150 private homes in the USA every day, often with disastrous unnecessarily deadly results. Many times there are children in these homes that are traumatized for life or even killed. Maybe considering these results of marijuana prohibition will help you understand why so many citizens have become vocal and seem fanatical about ending this harmful, wasteful unconstitutional violent WAR that is being waged against them by their own Government.

Most people have far more harmful substances than marijuana under their kitchen sinks, in their bathrooms and in their garage.

Get a grip! You are promoting the illegal status of something that is far less harmful than aspirin or coffee!

Don’t decriminalize! LEGALIZE! Put away your “what about the kids” prohibition promoting security blanket! The kids were just fine during the thousands of years before marijuana prohibition and they will be fine when marijuana is re-legalized! In fact they will be far safer when marijuana is re-legalized!

Art Deco said...

IIRC, Fuller Torrey has said that the initial onset of schizophreniform disorders occurs prior to age 45 (almost invariably), with many psychiatrists of the opinion that similar symptoms with later ages of onset are a different disorder altogether. He also said that the age of onset tends to be earlier for men than for women. The schizophrenic I am best acquainted with was cut down at age 34. It was helpful to her in getting back on her feet that she was already established in a trade.

Clayton said...

Like most things involving people, there's a peak age, and the tails go both directions. One schizophrenic killer that I am aware of was diagnosed at age 4. I do not find it surprising that there are a few cases as late as 45.

Rich Rostrom said...

Tom said: I would like to see it legalized because I think that more harm is done by the present policy (e.g., weakening of civil rights, violent SWAT raids...

If you want an end to "violent SWAT raids", then you should advocate free trade in all psychotropic drugs. There are very few "violent SWAT raids" on marijuana traffickers, and none on users.

Such raids are almost always against dealers in crack or powder cocaine, heroin, or crystal methedrine. Meth cookers and dealers are especially dangerous because they are often affiliated with motorcycle gangs. Black and hispanic street gangsters run most of the cocaine, with the supplies controlled by the hyper-violent Central America "cartels".

Does anyone believe the thousands of murders in Juarez were over the marijuana trade?

Clayton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clayton said...

jsknow: Some of your data is outdated.

I've previously pointed out the rather large number of studies in the last few years demonstrating a likely causal connection between marijuana use and the later development of schizophrenia. I am not surprised that you may not know about these studies. The notion that the scientific community has suddenly decided to make themselves unpopular by producing bogus studies concerning marijuana and mental illness is quite an astonishingly paranoid claim. Do you have some evidence to back that up?

Let me point out that the concerns about the intoxicating effects of marijuana are surprisingly old, and not confined to the U.S. I found this account from The Plant World 11:181-2 (1907):
"it was of common growth in central and southern Mexico, where however, "taboo" had been placed upon it by the Mexican Government. Under flaring head-lines a recently published newspaper article recites the seizure of "eight large boxes of marijuana, the largest collection of the national dope weed of the Mexican peon ever captured in a single haul by the police, and perhaps the greatest quantity of this weed ever seen at one time out of the field." * * * "Enough of this brain-wrecking weed was seized to have caused any number of murders had it reached the poor persons for whom it was intended.'' * * * "The effects of marijuana are like, but worse than those of opium. It has the tendency to craze the brain of the smoker. The weed has a pleasant aromatic odor and its immediate effect when smoked is considered more seductive than opium, but in the end it produces a murderous mania. To fight its use among soldiers is one of the hardest tasks before the army authorities.''

"If sold in the tedejons of Mexico, and detected, the tendero is arrested, his store closed, his goods confiscated and he is either sent to the army or the penitentiary. In Tucson it is grown to supply the trade which amounts to, so my convict friend informed me, an average of $2.50 per day. The Mexican railroad laborers, he said, use all that is grown here outside of what they are able to purchase at the drug stores. There are several small gardens bordering the river in which the plant is grown, but the fear of publicity and punishment leads the growers to suppress this fact where possible."

Clayton said...

jsknow:

I have something of an advantage over you in that I used to be on the side of decriminalization of marijuana, and I've read just about everything that you have, it appears. The difference is that new data has pretty effectively demonstrated that there is a pretty substantial risk involved.

The number of those at risk from marijuana is small--but the risk involved is lifelong mental illness, which is an enormous social cost. Even more tragic, the risk is most pronounced among those most likely to be major contributors to our society: those of above average creativity and intelligence.

There's no question that concern about Mexicans smoking marijuana drove a lot of our laws--but as I point out above, the Mexican government by the opening of the 20th century was trying to suppress marijuana because of the already known problems with madness and murder. This concern wasn't invented by the U.S. government. Was Mexico driven by racism? Argue if you want that they were wrong about marijuana's effects (and ignore the evidence of its causal relationship with mental illness), but it pretty well blows out "marijuana laws are because of hatred of Mexicans" claim.

Clayton said...

"If you want an end to "violent SWAT raids", then you should advocate free trade in all psychotropic drugs. There are very few "violent SWAT raids" on marijuana traffickers, and none on users."

Rich makes a good point. Even back when I supported decriminalization (before publication of recent studies), it always seemed to me that the argument for decriminalization of marijuana applied far more strongly to heroin, for which the health risks are nil, and where the problem of addiction is far more destructive in terms of crime problems.

There's a hard truth here that most commenters seem to recognize, but that a lot of those supporting decriminalization seldom confront: intoxicants of all types (including legal ones like alcohol) have substantial problems with crimes that happen under the influence. Murder. Rape. Child abuse. Even purely economic crimes, such as burglary and robbery are disproportionately done while high (not while withdrawing, oddly enough).

There's no question that making all intoxicants legal would wipe out most of the crimes associated with trafficking. It is conceivable that at free market prices, there would be a reduction in robberies and burglaries committed by addicts to pay for their drugs. But reducing the price of a commodity will increase demand, unless prices are already so low that there is no demand for the good.

Does anyone seriously think that lowering the price of any intoxicant won't increase consumption? Increased consumption inevitably means more hours intoxicated, which increases the number of crimes committed under the influence.

At best, you are moving the crimes from one category (drug trafficking and related violence) to another category (murder, rape, child abuse). What's the net change? Some of those commenting here are clearly aware that there is a trade-off, and think that we will have a net gain. I'm not sure. Comments that seem to regard marijuana as a wonder drug/crop/fiber source that is completely without problems show a sort of religious fervor. I am rather concerned that once we let this cat out of the bag (as California and Oregon already have done), it may be nearly impossible to get it back in without a lot of injuries.

Epsilon Given said...

Clayton said: "Hmmm. One of them is legal, and is abused at a much higher rate than the illegal drug. Do you suppose that there might be a connection there?"

I tend to favor legalization of all drugs, and so, by default, marijuana...in part, because I favor a so-called "anarcho-capitalist" society. While I think these things should be legal, I also think that if you're involved in marijuana, or tobacco, or alcohol, or other hard-core drugs that interfere with responsibility, then these things should be deciding factors in divorce, hiring and firing, child custody, etc.

Having said all that, I remember hearing this argument that you are refuting years ago: "We should legalize drugs because no one uses them--not like tobacco, alcohol, and prescription drugs, which almost everyone uses!"

Let's see: tobacco is the most used, and probably the least regulated...alcohol is second...prescription drugs is third...and then, way down on the list, is illegal drugs.

Yeah, that is not a convincing argument, to me at least, that drugs should be legalized! At least, it is if you're concerned about how many people are using these things.

"If you want an end to "violent SWAT raids", then you should advocate free trade in all psychotropic drugs. There are very few "violent SWAT raids" on marijuana traffickers, and none on users."

Even if we maintain the illegality of drugs, I'd still suggest we should just get rid of SWAT teams! They were first developed to tackle hostage situations, but have had substantial mission creep since then. Whether or not our rights are protected ought to be independent of what substances or activities are illegal--we just need to find ways to enforce these laws that also respect our rights.

Clayton said...

"Even if we maintain the illegality of drugs, I'd still suggest we should just get rid of SWAT teams!"

I agree that no-knock warrants are grossly overused. They involve substantial risk to police, to those being served (if the police are at the right address), and to those being served (if the police are at the wrong address, as happens). There are circumstances where they make sense: a hostage situation; certain rare national security cases (you don't want Ahmad lighting off an A-bomb while you wait patiently at the door).

If you are serving a warrant for a drug sale, either the quantity is small, in which case putting so many people at risk seems very questionable, or the quantity is large. How many flushes does it take to get rid of several hundred pounds of cocaine?

Tom said...

In a comment by Rich, "There are very few 'violent SWAT raids' on marijuana traffickers, and none on users." This is demonstrably false. Case in point: http://www.lohud.com/article/20110113/NEWS03/101130420/-1/newsfront/Spring-Valley-man--Cops-targeted-wrong-address--rousted-my-family. Admittedly, this is only one, but it is one of the many that I read about frequently. Marijuana is a big time target of the drug warriors. Furthermore, all too often a suspicion of use elicits a response that escalates to charges of "possession to sell" simply because the amount exceeds a pretty small quantity that passes for personal use.

The damage done by making these drugs illegal is, IMHO, far greater than any benefits of their prohibition. The problem is parallel to alcohol prohibition. Prohibition did little to reduce the problems associated with alcohol consumption of which we are all familiar (and some say it made those problems worse), but it did a great deal of damage to society by empowering gangsters and corrupting police. The same thing is happening now, with the addition now of SWAT teams that conduct raids on otherwise non-violent offenders. (Check out Radley Balko at www.theagitator.com for frequent documentation of the abuses.)

Clayton said...

According to the article, this seems to have been a wrong address service, and it does not appear to have been a no-knock warrant. The home owner opened the door, and the police rushed in.

It was aimed at pretty large scale traffickers, not at users: more than a metric ton of marijuana according to the warrant.

The claim that "Prohibition did little to reduce the problems associated with alcohol consumption of which we are all familiar" is actually incorrect. At least one measure of alcohol consumption (especially of the most severe abuse of it) is cirrhosis of the liver death rates--which fell by about half as Prohibition went into effect (remember that many states had gone dry even before 1920), and started rising again a few years after Prohibition was repealed.

There's no question that Prohibition had some very destructive effects. The question is whether the social costs of marijuana would simply be added to the social costs of alcohol.

A lot of marijuana enthusiasts insist that if it were legal, it would replace alcohol, and we would end up with a more peaceful society. I'm skeptical. Most people that I have known that smoked pot regularly also drank heavily as well--and some did meth, too.

Tom said...

Yes, the raid referenced in my post a few minutes ago was a bust of a pretty large marijuana operation, but it was a counterpoint to Rich's statement that there are few SWAT raids for marijuana traffickers. Maybe I should have researched more instances before posting, but this was a report that was coincidentally open in another tab at the time of my comment, and was meant as an example. Was it a SWAT raid? Maybe technically not, but when the police "...roused his family out bed, pointed a machine gun at his 13-year-old daughter and threatened to shoot their poodle" not many people would regard it as a significant difference. (And if we're being accurate, it was probably not a "machine gun" either.) These type of incidents are becoming far too frequent, and many of them result in real violence and sometimes death. There is ample evidence of SWAT raids gone bad against users and small time dealers (and often these are wrong address incidents, which in no way excuses them).

As far as cirrhosis, the incidence being reduced is eminently believable, but I do not think that single statistic falsifies the conclusion that prohibition did little to reduce the problems related to alcohol consumption. Naturally there was far less alcohol available to those who wanted it, so the grossest problems related to excessive use were reduced, too. But the more subtle societal and relationship problems, I think, grew much worse, and along with them all of the additional problems brought on by making something people wanted illegal.

That marijuana has some significant adverse effects is, IMHO, incontrovertible, and they are with us today because marijuana use, though illegal, is widespread. Those of us that favor legalizing believe that any resultant additional use would do less harm to society than the damage done in trying to suppress marijuana use as is done today.

Clayton said...

Rich referred to "violent SWAT raids," by which he was referring to the sort of no-knock warrants that are associated with drug raids. I would say that this is a significant difference. No-knock warrants are disasters waiting to happen because the police either fail to identify themselves, or behave in a manner that might make a sensible person suspect that these were not police at all.

Concerning, "But the more subtle societal and relationship problems, I think, grew much worse...." On what basis do you make the claim that "societal and relationship" problems grew worse? The particular problems that Prohibitionists were concerned about were family violence and impoverishment. These are pretty directly tied to the problem of intoxication. If Joe comes home drunk one night of the week, instead of six nights of the week--or the price of alcohol means that he only comes home a bit buzzed instead of nine sheets to the wind--there's likely to be less bruised wives and molested daughters.

Murder rates appear to have risen during Prohibition (and I say "appear" because the reporting system from which the early 20th century murder rates comes has some serious deficiencies which are fixed rather slowly during this time), but it may well be that the gang-related violence increased faster than the family violence declined.

Obviously, the gang-related violence is a big problem, and I am not discounting its importance. I do point out that if people in the crack distribution business kill each other, it bothers me less than if someone gets loaded and kills a family member. If only we could improve the aim of the drug gangs!

Tom said...

Well, I'm on the road in a couple of minutes, but one last comment...

I don't purport to know that Rich was referring to "no-knock" raids, since neither he nor I used those words, but even if that's so, it's still not true. There's plenty of evidence that small time dealers are subject to "no-knock" raids, and even sometimes mere users. If you want to check it out, read "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America" at Cato.org. (Doesn't deal exclusively with drug raids, but most are for narcotics violations.) And is Clayton saying that since this was not a "no-knock" raid (a status we do not know for certain from the news report), it was thus okay? Perhaps that's not his thought, but, absent evidence to the contrary, I think the raid was over the top and abusive.

Regarding Clayton's thoughts on the Prohibitionist's concerns it almost sounds as if he views Prohibition as, if not a smashing success, at least a victory for moderation. But where is the evidence for that? Where are the statistics showing that there were fewer battered wives and molested daughters? There is such a thing as moderate drinking, and it is how most people drink. A beer after work or a glass of wine with dinner is a common and everyday occurrence for many. But with prohibition that was impossible for the law abiding, so many became non-law abiding. And since finding beer and wine was more difficult than before (though by no means impossible), but finding hard liquor was easy (since it's easier to smuggle alcohol when it's more concentrated), it tended to turn soft domestic drinkers into hard drinkers. It's just as likely that there were more battered wives and molested daughters because of prohibition. It's a similar problem we have with alcohol use by some college students today---it's illegal to drink in moderation, so they binge drink as the opportunity arises.

My original point in bringing up Prohibition was that it caused more problems than it solved. Clayton seems almost, but maybe not quite, willing to concede that the overall level of violence increased during Prohibition. I think it's a well established fact. Try reading "Only Yesterday" by Frederick Lewis Allen (published in 1931); Chapter X, "Alcohol and Al Capone" gives an interesting perspective from someone writing at the tail end of the Prohibition era. Prohibition was a notably unsuccessful social experiment, and failed to achieve its goals while imposing far reaching unintended consequences.

And so it is with marijuana prohibition today. The whole difference of opinion here is that Clayton sincerely believes that marijuana legalization would cause a dramatic increase in psychological damage to our youth, but seems to minimize the damage done by the current policy. I don't doubt that there are adverse effects, but I think we are doing severe damage to our society with the present policy which, in my mind, far outweighs any adverse effects we are likely to see.

Clayton said...

"And is Clayton saying that since this was not a "no-knock" raid (a status we do not know for certain from the news report), it was thus okay?"

Since the news account says that the police rushed in after the homeowner opened the door, it pretty established that this was not a no-knock raid, or they would have smashed the door in.

I'm not saying that it was okay. Search warrants can be (and often are) served in an abusive manner. But that is a problem with all sorts of search warrants, and not just drug search warrants.

"And since finding beer and wine was more difficult than before (though by no means impossible), but finding hard liquor was easy (since it's easier to smuggle alcohol when it's more concentrated), it tended to turn soft domestic drinkers into hard drinkers."

And your evidence for this is what? I can't imagine why anyone would drink whiskey. I can enjoy a glass of champagne or wine every now and then. I don't like beer. But distilled alcohol is like bad cough syrup. I can well imagine that someone who could not get beer or wine might well decide to not drink at all. The decline in cirrhosis of the liver rates does strongly suggest an actual decline in total alcohol consumption, or if they switched to distilled beverages, they must have been even more gingerly in the amount that they drank.

I am not arguing that violence rates did not go up during Prohibition; I'm pointing out the annual murder rates that are often cited for this period are far less complete and certain than they often appear. The national death registration law requiring states to report this data took a number of years to become fully functioning. It is likely that the murder rates for this period are correct, but it is far less certain than the same date for 1961 onward.

Prohibition was certainly regarded as a disaster at the time. I've seen historians argue that had it been limited to banning distilled alcohol, it might have achieved many of the same positive effects, without quite as many of the negative effects. For example, some states used to limit beer to 3.2% alcohol content. I'm sure that you can get rip-roaring drunk on 3.2--but you have to work at it a bit, don't you? Whiskey, on the other hand...

Keep in mind that the reasons for repeal of Prohibition were a bit wider than just the crime issue. The Americans Against the Prohibition Amendment (AAPA) was organized by wealthy Americans who were hoping that a tax on again-legal alcohol would allow a reduction in income tax rates on the very wealthy because of all the revenue that would come pouring in. (Does this sound familiar?) In fact, they made projections based on the illegal price of alcohol, and the taxes that would come based on that. Guess what? Once legal, the taxes were trivial.

Art Deco said...

Must dissent. I quit drinking in 1987, but one thing I miss at Christmas time is a glass of bourbon. With regard to scotch, on the other hand, you have a point.

Clayton said...

Art Deco: this is definitely a matter of taste. I didn't grow up around beer, and the smell of it for a long time made me want to vomit. Or perhaps it was because my babysitter's husband, when I was a bit under two, decided it would be a laugh to give me some beer. I have a vivid memory of how disgusting it was, and how much he laughed at my reaction.

Considering how much risk I probably was at from alcohol with my family's history of mental illness, it is probably a darn good thing that I didn't like it, and I grew up in a home where my parents did not drink. But also, I grew up in a culture where alcohol just did not seem to be a particularly important part of the culture. (Santa Monica may have been a bit weird.)

I did sit next to a marijuana dealer in 7th grade Mechanical Drawing class. His parents would bring it back from Mexico, and he would retail it.

jsknow said...

No one, of any age, in all of recorded history, anywhere om planet earth, has ever died from the ingredients in marijuana. Marijuana is nontoxic!

Black mask clad SWAT thugs conducting low level marijuana raids are a far bigger threat to public safety than the marijuana they claim to be protecting us from. They have killed MANY citizens, their children, their parents, their friends, their pets and completely disregarded their oath of office, which states that they will uphold and defend the Constitution, protect and serve. If you doubt what I’m saying read this: http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/drug-war-victim/ Also, Google: Drug War Victims.

Do any of these references seem lawful, justified and necessary to you:

Officer Shoots Pregnant Unarmed Woman During Drug Raid:
http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2010/09/officer_shoots_pregnant_unarmed_woman_during_drug.php

Several examples are listed here:
http://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2008/jan/10/alert_swat_team_shot_mother_and

Cops Kill Father-to-Be in Botched Marijuana Raid:
http://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2010/jun/15/cops_kill_fathertobe_botched_mar

Maybe you haven’t read any of the MANY well documented cases of narcotics officers moonlighting as thieves and robbing drug dealers but I have. It happens more often than you think! Here are a few examples I found in a quick Google search for “Cops rob drug dealer”:

Bad Idea Squared: Cops Rob Drug Dealer ... Except He's One of Them:
http://legalblogwatch.typepad.com/legal_blog_watch/2010/10/bad-idea-squared-cops-rob-drug-dealer-except-hes-one-of-them-.html

Downers Grove cop plotted to rob drug dealer, officials say:
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-07-24/news/ct-met-0724-downers-cop-20100724_1_caudill-drug-dealer-undercover

Police Officer Accused of Helping Gang Rob Drug Dealers:
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/police-officer-accused-of-helping-gang-rob-drug-dealers/

Cops: Dirty cop busted plotting to rob drug dealer of stashed cash:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/05/13/2009-05-13_cops_dirty_cop_busted_plotting_to_rob_drug_dealer.html

jsknow said...

No one, of any age, in all of recorded history, anywhere om planet earth, has ever died from the ingredients in marijuana. Marijuana is nontoxic!

Black mask clad SWAT thugs conducting low level marijuana raids are a far bigger threat to public safety than the marijuana they claim to be protecting us from. They have killed MANY citizens, their children, their parents, their friends, their pets and completely disregarded their oath of office, which states that they will uphold and defend the Constitution, protect and serve. If you doubt what I’m saying read this: http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/drug-war-victim/ Also, Google: Drug War Victims.

Do any of these references seem lawful, justified and necessary to you:

Officer Shoots Pregnant Unarmed Woman During Drug Raid:
http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2010/09/officer_shoots_pregnant_unarmed_woman_during_drug.php

Several examples are listed here:
http://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2008/jan/10/alert_swat_team_shot_mother_and

Cops Kill Father-to-Be in Botched Marijuana Raid:
http://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2010/jun/15/cops_kill_fathertobe_botched_mar

Maybe you haven’t read any of the MANY well documented cases of narcotics officers moonlighting as thieves and robbing drug dealers but I have. It happens more often than you think! Here are a few examples I found in a quick Google search for “Cops rob drug dealer”:

Bad Idea Squared: Cops Rob Drug Dealer ... Except He's One of Them:
http://legalblogwatch.typepad.com/legal_blog_watch/2010/10/bad-idea-squared-cops-rob-drug-dealer-except-hes-one-of-them-.html

Downers Grove cop plotted to rob drug dealer, officials say:
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-07-24/news/ct-met-0724-downers-cop-20100724_1_caudill-drug-dealer-undercover

Police Officer Accused of Helping Gang Rob Drug Dealers:
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/police-officer-accused-of-helping-gang-rob-drug-dealers/

Cops: Dirty cop busted plotting to rob drug dealer of stashed cash:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/05/13/2009-05-13_cops_dirty_cop_busted_plotting_to_rob_drug_dealer.html

jsknow said...

Maybe you missed these vicious acts of violence carried out by our boys in blue that are sworn to “protect and serve”:

SWAT Team Kills Mayor's Dogs In Botched, No Knock Raid.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6P2WATPmjU

Pot Raid: Mayor Sues Police
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XkiojgfAQU

Drug War Police Shoot Dog:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLJo0Fg3Wkg

Columbia Mo SWAT Raid 2/11/2010. Cops Shoot Pets With Children Present:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbwSwvUaRqc

Cops Shoot Dog For No Reason While Trespassing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBP3nHJ-BGw

Police Brutality: Cop Shoots, Kills Unarmed Man & His Dog
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXkBbAdySNc

Police Shoot Dog During Standoff
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca73iLBypTA

Cop shoots dog even after owner tells him not to cut through yard & warns him that the dog bites
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNJ0G6PvOs4

Police Shoot, Kill Grandmother's Dog
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eul8Bohn_Zk

I could keep posting this stuff all day long! I am not anti-cop or against law and order but I am adamantly opposed to the abuse of authority that is not only common but often standard procedure and shamefully defended by over zealous unlawful public servants.

The Constitutional right to freedom of religion, free speech, a free press, to keep and bear arms, to be secure in your person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizure, to life, liberty and property, to be protected from having your property taken by the government without due process of law and without just compensation, to confront the witnesses against you, to be protected from excessive bail, excessive fines, cruel and unusual punishment, to vote and others have been unjustly denied to tens of millions of Americans in the name of the drug war.

I urge everyone that is concerned about the unnecessary over use (abuse) of SWAT to sign this petition:
http://www.swatreform.org/index.shtml

jsknow said...

As far am marijuana causing violence in crazy people I can’t swear it doesn’t but I can say that I have been around many hundreds probably thousands of marijuana consumers in my life and I have NEVER seen anyone, even once consume marijuana and then get violent just from using marijuana. I can also say that I have seen people consistently get more calm and relaxed after consuming marijuana.

Alcohol is well known for causing violence, in fact if I remember what I read about this correctly alcohol is well documented as being one of the most violence causing drugs known. All drugs are not the same and neither are their effects. People do not just naturally get violent from consuming MOST drugs. All major authorities agree that the vast majority of so called “drug-related” violent crime is caused by the prohibition of drugs, rather than the drugs themselves. This was the same during alcohol prohibition. Alcohol prohibition created violent criminal organizations just like every other drug prohibition has. These violent crimes should be labeled prohibition related, not drug related. Ending alcohol prohibition is exactly why you don’t see shootouts over that drug trade any more. THE YEAR ALCOHOL PROHIBITION ENDED VIOLENT CRIME FELL BY 65% AND ALCOHOL IS WELL KNOWN FOR CAUSING VIOLENCE, UNLIKE MARIJUANA WHICH IS KNOWN FOR CAUSING PEOPLE TO BE CALM, RELAXED AND CAUTIOUS.

When was the last time you heard of the cops being called to break up a fight at a marijuana party? NEVER! When was the last time you heard about a marijuana consumer beating his wife? NEVER!

The cops and the politicians know marijuana is no threat to society but they keep screaming their fear mongering marijuana lies at every opportunity. Did you ever wonder why? FOLLOW THE MONEY AND YOU’LL LEARN THE TRUTH!

READ:“MARIJUANA AND HEMP THE UNTOLD STORY, Thomas J. Bouril” and “WHY IS MARIJUANA ILLEGAL, Pete Guither”, click the links to those articles on this webpage:
Internet Explorer web browser: http://jsknow.angelfire.com/home
All Other Browsers: http://jsknow.angelfire.com/index.html

No matter which side of this issue you’re on PLEASE read the two articles linked above. It’s almost certain you’ll learn things about marijuana and marijuana prohibition that you never knew before.

jsknow said...

As far as evidence of bought and paid for outright LIES from so called professional researchers, scientists and doctors proclaiming the scientific so called proof of marijuana being harmful, I can’t believe you’d even go there! Virtually every piece of anti-marijuana propaganda out there is nothing but pure lies or misrepresentations and has been exposed for all the world to see. My favorite is the one about marijuana killing brain cells! People still parrot the nonsense and so called “scientific proof” from that “study” to this very day and still believe it is factual BUT it turns out that in that “study”, monkeys were strapped down and forced to inhale exorbitant amounts of marijuana smoke through gas masks over extensive amounts of time. Their brain cells didn’t die from marijuana, THEY DIED FROM LACK OF OXYGEN.

It has been claimed that marijuana causes people to go crazy and kill their families since the reefer madness era of the 1930’s. That is a lie!

It has been claimed that marijuana causes cancer, marijuana has actually been proven to cure and may even prevent cancer.

It has been claimed that marijuana is a gateway drug, that is a lie. Using marijuana does not cause people to want stronger drugs, the person makes up their own mind about that and virtually everyone that uses marijuana tries alcohol and/or tobacco before marijuana, so why is marijuana called the gateway?

I could go on about kids and driving and anything else you want to talk about but marijuana simply is not causing any serious harms to individuals or society and the Government knows that very well. On March 22, 1972 the Richard Nixon-appointed, 13-member National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommended the decriminalization of marijuana, concluding, “[Marijuana's] relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it.” In 1988, after reviewing all the scientific evidence presented in a lengthy lawsuit against the government’s prohibition of medical marijuana, the DEA’s own administrative law judge (Judge Francis Young) wrote: “MARIJUANA, IN ITS NATURAL FORM, IS ONE OF THE SAFEST THERAPEUTICALLY ACTIVE SUBSTANCES KNOWN. IN STRICT MEDICAL TERMS, MARIJUANA IS SAFER THAN MANY FOODS WE COMMONLY CONSUME.”

Use your head Clayton! Marijuana has been used for thousands of years with no deaths and no serious health problems caused. Take a deep breath and accept the truth! Marijuana prohibition is all about greed! Lies and racism have been prime ingredients of marijuana prohibition in the USA too but the real reason marijuana is illegal is because corporations that fear competition from hemp/marijuana/cannabis products have bought politicians and duped them and/or persuaded them to dupe the public into believing marijuana is a dangerous drug when it is actually less dangerous than sugar, aspirin, caffeine and a host of other substances we use every day!

Step away from the drug war propaganda Kool-Aid. Admit you are addicted to the drug war propaganda and kick your habit. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, your Government has brainwashed you with trillions of dollars worth of taxpayer funded propaganda, with laws and every dirty trick in the book to get you to buy the products of those that control them. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2000/03/31/magazines

jsknow said...

Think about what a power shift it would cause if we started growing our own fuel here in the USA and imported NONE or virtually no fuel through the bankster owned petroleum cartels. It’s estimated that we could grow 95% of all our fuel needs right here in the USA, by planting hemp (which is useless as a drug) on cleared land that is not being farmed but which is ready to plant. Toxic fuel is just one of over 50,000 products the banksters are pushing as they suppress superior less toxic, more environmentally friendly hemp/marijuana/cannabis products.

If the real concern is drug use, then why is hemp illegal? Hemp has so little THC that it is completely useless as a drug.

I urge everyone to read this book: "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and The Conspiracy Against Marijuana http://www.jackherer.com/thebook/

jsknow said...

Think about all the very successful people you have read about being arrested on marijuana charges. Musicians, athletes, politicians, lawyers, doctors and a host of others that are very successful people and have no problems using marijuana as a recreational drug. These people have no problems working their jobs, raising their families and living perfectly normal lives as long as they don’t get caught. The worse problem normal people can have with marijuana is getting arrested and other problems directly caused by marijuana prohibition.

I am not convinced that marijuana which always causes normal people to be calm, relaxed and a bit more cautious can somehow trigger violence in crazy people. From what I’ve read violence in crazy people that use marijuana is much more frequently noted when these people stop using marijuana, which suggests to me that marijuana may be a safe effective medicine to help these crazy people stay calm and refrain from violence. From what I’ve read the guy that shot the congresswoman and others in AZ recently had stopped using marijuana for quite some time (2 yrs according to someone that knew him), if I remember the information posted by his associate online correctly.

We can both post evidence all day long that supports our position but I’m more inclined to base my opinion on the multitude of marijuana consumers I have known personally and the fact that I have never seen even one person get violent simply because they consumed marijuana. There were many thousands of opportunities for that to happen but I never saw it even once. There had to be a few crazy people in a group that large. There were a few I’m pretty sure weren’t mentally stable and quite a few that I saw go from calm to violent after drinking alcohol but never saw them or anyone at all get violent after using marijuana.

If we’re going to outlaw everything that could set off a crazy person then I think alcohol should top the list and what about the fact that crazy people might drive, should we outlaw cars?

I do think all drugs should be legalized and rationally regulated according to the honest proven dangers each drug presents to society and individuals. Prohibition has proven not to prevent anyone from getting anything they want and prohibition has created dangers from contaminated products, violent drug cartels and a host of other problems that simply will not exist in a legal rationally regulated drug market. The organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is one of the most respected drug policy reform groups in the world. They have a saying at LEAP: “You pick out the drugs you want sold on playgrounds to kids and those are the drugs you need to prohibit”. When I first read that I thought they were crazy dope addicted cops but after I researched their website and considered the source (high ranking narcotics officers, judges and others in law enforcement) I had to admit that legalizing all drugs makes a lot more sense than what we are doing now. If you have never been there I suggest you visit their website: www.leap.cc

jsknow said...

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/video-outrage-utah-police-kill-marijuana-smoker-in-own-home

Clayton said...

I think I'm going to stop this discussion. jsknow's comments here have done a better job of making my point than I could.

fallsrock said...

If we're going to be 'half wrong' with any drug, it should be marijuana. Make alcohol illegal and legalize pot.