On the Legalization — or Not — of Marijuana

I have a favorite thought exercise: look at an issue that’s important, complex, and interesting — something like healthcare, education, or electoral politics — and pretend that you could rebuild the system from scratch, without the convoluted histories and incentives that currently exist.

What would the new system look like? How differently would you think about key issues if there were no precedent or blueprint?

So here’s an example. Pretend that humankind made it all the way to the 21st century without alcohol or marijuana. (Perhaps this would not have been possible?) Now pretend that alcohol and marijuana are simultaneously discovered, and think about what kind of laws would be put in place, if any, to govern their use.

My guess is that the alcohol laws might be tougher than they are now and that the marijuana laws might be more lenient — but, again, I am only guessing.

The alcohol vs. marijuana question is so speculative as to be nearly useless beyond a thought experiment. So we assembled a group of folks with expertise in this area and asked them a much more targeted pair of questions:

Should marijuana be legalized in the U.S.? Why or why not?

You will find that their replies routinely contradict one another, even on statements of fact. This is a limitation of nearly any debate of this sort, and while these contradictions illustrate what makes the issue a potent one, you may also be frustrated (as I was) by them.

That said, there is a lot of good and thoughtful information and argument in the following answers, and I thank everyone for participating.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon, associate professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, author of Marihuana Reconsidered, and coauthor of Marijuana, the Forbidden Medicine:

I began my study of marijuana in 1967 because I was concerned that young people were harming themselves by ignoring authorities’ warnings about a dangerous drug. I had hoped to write a paper that would definitively establish a scientific basis for this concern, and publish it in a widely read medium.

It was not long before I realized that despite my training in science and medicine, I had, like almost every other citizen of this country, been brainwashed by the United States government into believing that cannabis is a terribly dangerous drug. By 1971, the year Harvard University Press published Marihuana Reconsidered, I knew that, far more harmful than any inherent psychopharmacological property of this substance, was the way we as a society were dealing with its use. While marijuana is, in fact, remarkably free of toxicity, the consequences of annually arresting 300,000 mostly young people were not. Once I grasped the absurdity of this prohibition, I became devoted to the cause of changing these laws.

The development of marijuana laws began with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which was based on the same myths as the movie Reefer Madness — myths which have long since been abandoned. The prohibition itself should have been discarded after the publication in 1972 of the report of the Nixon-appointed National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. The report was titled “Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding,” and it affirmed the lack of a sound basis for prohibition. The Commission recommended the elimination of all penalties for personal possession and use of marijuana by adults, and for the not-for-profit transfer of small amounts of marijuana between adults. Instead, marijuana laws and their enforcement have become increasingly severe, buttressed by “new” myths dressed in scientific costume such as the present notion, developed largely in England and Australia, that marijuana causes schizophrenia.

The marijuana sector of the Drug War has seen annual increases in both its cost (now estimated to be about $11 billion) and the number of arrests. Marijuana arrests now constitute nearly 44 percent of all drug arrests in the U.S. The Uniform Crime Report figures for 2006 reveal that 829,625 people were arrested on marijuana charges, nearly a 15 percent increase from 2005. Nine out of ten were arrested for mere possession. More than 10 million people have been arrested on marijuana charges since 1990, and 75 percent of them were 30 or younger at the time of arrest.

Despite the increasing number of arrests, the growing demands of employers for urine tests, and the ubiquity of misinformation purveyed by the government and anti-marijuana organizations, the number of Americans who experiment with or regularly use this substance continues to grow. A December 2002 CNN/Time magazine survey found that 47 percent of American adults had tried marijuana. The number of people who use it regularly has increased to about 15 million.

This expanding use can no longer be dismissed as simply a youthful fad. It is a clear sign that adults who have a desire or need to stretch their consciousness are discovering that the least costly agent of this kind of experience is offered by marijuana. If used properly, it leads to a gentle alteration of consciousness, there is very little risk to health, the experience does not lead to any kind of antisocial behavior, and it is relatively (or would be, without the prohibition tariff) inexpensive. Marijuana has become part of our culture, and it is here to stay.

There are two other categories of use as well: medicine and enhancement, both of which overlap to some extent with each other and with recreational uses. Enhancement refers to that capacity of the marijuana high to add to the strength, worth, beauty, or other desirable qualities of experiences ranging from food and sex to creativity and appreciation of the natural world (see here for more information). So many people in the last decade have discovered its remarkable and versatile uses as a medicine that twelve states have now adopted legislation or initiatives which allow for its medicinal use. Unfortunately, the federal government, insisting that it has no medical utility, continues its merciless crackdown on patients, their doctors, and the people who grow this medicine within the legal limitations specified by the particular state.

The many thousands of patients who use marijuana for the treatment of a number of symptoms and syndromes do so because they find it to be as or more effective, and generally less toxic, than the conventionally prescribed medicines it replaces, plus it is less expensive, even at prohibition-inflated prices. Despite the federal government’s insistence that marijuana is more of a poison than a medicine, more states are now considering legislation or initiatives to make it available as a medicine, and some are considering initiatives to decriminalize it by reducing penalties for possession of small quantities.

Whatever interim changes we decide to take, ultimately we will have to cut the knot by giving marijuana the same status as alcohol — legalizing it for all uses, and largely removing it from medical and criminal control systems.

Dr. Robert L. DuPont, president of the Institute for Behavior and Health and former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Legalization of marijuana would solve the marijuana problem the way legalizing speeding would solve the speeding problem: it would remove the legal inhibition of a dangerous behavior, and thereby encourage the behavior.

Criticism of current marijuana policy typically starts by limiting the calculation of marijuana’s societal costs to the costs of arresting and imprisoning marijuana users. This way of calculating the costs minimizes those produced by use of the drug itself (i.e., the costs of treatment, drugged driving crashes, and lost productivity). When the costs related to the use of marijuana are minimized, the legalization of marijuana gives the appearance of reducing marijuana-related social costs in the same way that counting only the costs of enforcing the speeding laws and ignoring the high social costs of speeding would make legalizing speeding look like a smart idea.

Just as many people who speed do not have accidents, many people who smoke marijuana do not have problems as a result of their use, especially those who use the drug for brief periods of time and/or infrequently. The same is true for drunk driving — it is estimated that the drunk driver’s risk of an accident is about one in 2,000 episodes of drunk driving. Nevertheless, speeding and drunk driving are punishable by law because of the serious consequences of these behaviors. In all of these cases, legal prohibition serves as a reasonably effective deterrent to the behavior. For those who are undeterred by prohibition, the enforcement of the law produces escalating consequences for repeated violations.

Today in the U.S., the criminal penalties for marijuana use are mild, far more so than for speeding and drunk driving, and are usually limited to the payment of a small fine. The few people now in prison solely for marijuana use have almost all been charged with more serious offenses, and then pleaded guilty to this lesser offense.

The most remarkable aspect of the debate on marijuana legalization is the failure of legalization advocates to define the precise nature of legalization. Is marijuana to be prescribed by doctors, and dispensed by pharmacies like a medicine? If so, for what purpose, and at what dose? Doctors are not in the habit of negotiating with drug users over which drugs they would like to use for recreational purposes, and how much of the drugs they want. Does legalization of marijuana mean its sale to any willing buyer should be legal? What about the sale of legal marijuana to youth? We have not done a good job of keeping alcohol and cigarettes out of the hands of young people. There is a simple reason that it is rare to hear a description of the mechanics of marijuana legalization: all of the ways marijuana can be made legal are either ridiculous, or frightening, or both. In addition, the U.S. has international treaty obligations not to legalize marijuana, or any other illegal drug, for non-medical use.

As a public health physician, I am convinced that keeping marijuana illegal — messy as this sometimes appears to be — is in the public interest. Legalization of marijuana would lead to more marijuana use, and undermine the current prevention efforts which are reinforced by the force of law. Because more marijuana use means more marijuana-caused problems, removing legal prohibition against marijuana use would have adverse effects on the public health.

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML):

Regardless of one’s view of marijuana use as normal or immoral, healthy or unhealthy, the fact is that over 70 years of government prohibition has done little to nothing to achieve the long-stated public goals of increasing youth perception of harm from marijuana use, reducing youth access to untaxed and unregulated marijuana, increasing treatment for marijuana abuse and marijuana-related emergency room visits, and incarcerating users and dealers. In 2003, the Office of Management and Budget presented the Drug Enforcement Administration with a zero rating on a hundred-point scale for achievement of the bureau’s stated goals — an utterly failing grade.

Hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent by the government since 1937 to both enforce and prolong marijuana prohibition. Meanwhile, over 19 million people have been arrested since 1965 (830,000 marijuana-related arrests in 2006 with 89 percent on possession-only charges), and an estimated 45,000 to 65,000 marijuana-only prisoners are currently incarcerated. There are more marijuana arrests annually than arrests for all violent crimes combined. As such, the moral and economic imperatives are clear in seeking logical and pragmatic alternatives to prohibition.

If prohibition is such a desirable policy, why is marijuana America’s number one cash crop? Prohibition is an abdication of policy making, leaving an otherwise popular commodity to the problems and vagaries of contraband markets. In a country where alcohol and tobacco products are legal and taxed by all levels of government, what are the common sense, social, economic, public health, and safety reasons not to legally control marijuana in the same manner as other so-called “vice” products for responsible adults?

The fact is that our government can’t muster better than an “F” in its marijuana control efforts even after employing mandatory minimum sentences, civil forfeiture, ineffective school campaigns such as DARE, high-tech interdiction methods, and controls on the borders and ports, while at the same time overtly discriminating against patients who possess a physician’s recommendation to use medical marijuana and American farmers who, absent prohibition, would cultivate and prosper from industrial hemp (i.e., non-psychoactive marijuana, which is lawfully grown in most of the world including Europe and Canada). As such, it’s worth it to ask: why not adopt low-tech but otherwise effective control mechanisms such as tax stamps and other government controls, similar to how we currently control alcohol and tobacco products?

There is nothing wrong with the responsible use of marijuana by adults — reformers and prohibitionists alike concur that marijuana is not for children, and that logical and reasonable civil and criminal sanctions are necessary for non-compliant sellers and abusers. However, the continued arrests and legal harassment of adults who responsibly use marijuana punishes behavior where there is no discernible victim, and therefore should be of no public concern or cost to the taxpayer.

The U.S. Treasury houses the well-known Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which regulates and taxes three far more problematic and deadly products than marijuana. Rather than vilify and criminalize the producers, sellers and consumers of these products, the ATF, through taxation, controls these dangerous consumer goods from the point of production to consumer use.

After 70 years of laboring through another failed prohibition (interestingly, both the religious and medicinal use of alcohol were permitted during prohibition), arguably a far better and more effective public policy regarding marijuana is control and regulation of marijuana via taxation. Hopefully, in our lifetimes there will be a new division at the Treasury: the ATF & M.

Dr. David Murray, chief scientist of the Office of National Drug Control Policy:

Marijuana is legally a Schedule I Controlled Substance under a federal law that evaluates the balance of risks and benefits of drugs, with input from the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The reason for legal restrictions on controlled substances is to protect public health and public safety. Simply put, marijuana is a substance that intoxicates those who use it, injuring their health and the well-being of those around them.

Marijuana potency has grown steeply over the past decade, with serious implications in particular for young people, who are not only being placed at increased risk for schizophrenia, depression, cognitive deficits and respiratory problems, but are also at significantly higher risk for developing dependency on other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.

While marijuana is the most prevalent controlled substance, with an estimated 15 million users on a monthly basis, researchers agree that if legal disincentives were not in place, the number of users would soar, leading to far greater negative social impacts on everything from school performance to roadway and workplace accidents to the prevalence of serious mental illness and the rising numbers of emergency room visits.

Marijuana use is currently the leading cause of treatment need for those abusing or dependent on illegal drugs, is the second leading reason for drug-induced emergency room episodes, and has surpassed alcohol for young people in addictive risk and impact on dependency requiring treatment.

Some have argued that keeping marijuana illegal does damage, since people run the risk of arrest if they break the law. But this purported damage is much overstated. Though there are many arrests for marijuana use, increasingly the legal system is referring such arrestees to drug courts, where they received supervised drug treatment at the discretion of the court. A review of those actually convicted and sentenced for marijuana offenses shows that they are overwhelmingly drug traffickers or multiple, often violent, offenders, and not those arrested for simple possession or use.

The reason that marijuana is, and should remain, illegal is that the drug itself is harmful to the individual and to the community. This is the assessment of the medical and the law enforcement community. Increasingly, this is the assessment of young people as well, since marijuana use has plummeted by 25 percent over the past five years. Young people apparently agree with Australian researchers, who recently characterized marijuana, based on their comparative studies of youths who used versus those who did not, as “the drug for life’s losers.” Removing legal penalties would only make this drug more accessible, its use more prevalent, and its damage more widespread, and would swell the number of those at risk for becoming “life’s losers.”

Richard Lawrence Miller, historian and author of The Case for Legalizing Drugs, The Encyclopedia of Addictive Drugs, and Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State:

Fifteen or twenty years ago, I was active among drug policy reformers. I’ve participated in conferences, given public talks (including testimony before legislative committees), done radio call-in shows, and written three scholarly and thoroughly documented books on the topic. Skeptics would demand statistics and scientific studies, which I supplied aplenty in The Case for Legalizing Drugs and The Encyclopedia of Addictive Drugs. When confronted by such materials, skeptics would simply shift the topic.

In all of my studies, I concluded that the “war on drugs” masked a war on democracy. I explained my conclusion in Drug Warriors and Their Prey, and then retired from reform activity.

At the risk of being long-winded, I wanted to let you know why I’m not citing any studies here. Reformers know about studies, and opponents disregard them, so I see no benefit in mentioning any. If my previous documented writings fail to establish me as someone whose word is credible, reproducing two or three of my footnotes would hardly be sufficient either.

On these and other points, in my books on drug use I cite scientific studies aplenty. But opponents of reform are no more interested in the mainline scientific consensus than are persons who oppose taking protective steps to reduce risk of climate change. There is no debate, merely theater. Discussing drug policy is like discussing gun control or abortion: facts are irrelevant.

COMMENTS: 669


  1. geekpdx says:

    Sadly, it appears that Richard Miller has hit the nail on the head.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
  2. geekpdx says:

    Sadly, it appears that Richard Miller has hit the nail on the head.

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  3. mgroves says:

    Wow, lots of vitriol in those comments. It sounds like many of them ignored the “How differently would you think about key issues if there were no precedent or blueprint?” question completely in favor of plugging their agenda.

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  4. mgroves says:

    Wow, lots of vitriol in those comments. It sounds like many of them ignored the “How differently would you think about key issues if there were no precedent or blueprint?” question completely in favor of plugging their agenda.

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  5. Josh says:

    Looks like Miller has it correct. How is it that these people can’t even agree on basic facts? Is marijuana harmful? Is the war on drugs successful? Are those arrested hated drug dealers or unfortunate adults charged for possession? Does marijuana lead to other drugs, hardcore addiction, and diseases like schizophrenia?

    I find it disappointing. This round-table might have benefited from actual discussion, which might have allowed people to come to terms on the facts involved.

    This is doubly frustrating because it seems that if one had the facts correct, one could choose easily the best course of action.

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  6. Josh says:

    Looks like Miller has it correct. How is it that these people can’t even agree on basic facts? Is marijuana harmful? Is the war on drugs successful? Are those arrested hated drug dealers or unfortunate adults charged for possession? Does marijuana lead to other drugs, hardcore addiction, and diseases like schizophrenia?

    I find it disappointing. This round-table might have benefited from actual discussion, which might have allowed people to come to terms on the facts involved.

    This is doubly frustrating because it seems that if one had the facts correct, one could choose easily the best course of action.

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  7. Samora says:

    All drugs should be legalized, not just marijuana, and they should be sold at regulated government-run outlets. Here are the benefits:
    - The cost of drugs would collapse and the difference between the old and new price would flow into the ‘real’ economy. Hundreds of billions of $ would move to the real economy instead of into criminal bank accounts. Adjacent industries like prostitution would also be hit.
    - Countries like Colombia and Afghanistan can restart their long road to recovery. Our drug laws have destroyed these countries. The local security forces cannot compete with the billions poured into drug cartels.
    - Terrorists will have less access to money. Read history, most insurgents have used drug money proceeds, from Mao to Che to the Taliban.
    - Lower crime in the US obviously

    There would be a cost to our society due to an increase in usage, but this cost would be more than offset by the benefits. At the very least, it is an experiment worth conducting on a local level to see how the cost/benefit stacks up.

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  8. Samora says:

    All drugs should be legalized, not just marijuana, and they should be sold at regulated government-run outlets. Here are the benefits:
    - The cost of drugs would collapse and the difference between the old and new price would flow into the ‘real’ economy. Hundreds of billions of $ would move to the real economy instead of into criminal bank accounts. Adjacent industries like prostitution would also be hit.
    - Countries like Colombia and Afghanistan can restart their long road to recovery. Our drug laws have destroyed these countries. The local security forces cannot compete with the billions poured into drug cartels.
    - Terrorists will have less access to money. Read history, most insurgents have used drug money proceeds, from Mao to Che to the Taliban.
    - Lower crime in the US obviously

    There would be a cost to our society due to an increase in usage, but this cost would be more than offset by the benefits. At the very least, it is an experiment worth conducting on a local level to see how the cost/benefit stacks up.

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  9. Robin says:

    I would find it interesting to know which of these people have actually tried marijuana. They may be reluctant to comment, but I think it is a valuable question. I’d also like to know if people who try marijuana tend to have a more or less negative opinion of it than before they used it. This seems like the right place to ask such a question.

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  10. Robin says:

    I would find it interesting to know which of these people have actually tried marijuana. They may be reluctant to comment, but I think it is a valuable question. I’d also like to know if people who try marijuana tend to have a more or less negative opinion of it than before they used it. This seems like the right place to ask such a question.

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  11. Samora says:

    Dupont: “Legalization of marijuana would solve the marijuana problem the way legalizing speeding would solve the speeding problem: it would remove the legal inhibition of a dangerous behavior, and thereby encourage the behavior.”

    This analogy is incorrect. Most people on the interstate drive at 65 to 70 mph and would not speed up if the speed limit was completely removed. They do so because it is the most comfortable speed, due to the fact that the highway system was designed for 70mph, meaning that at 70mph the centrifugal force you felt on curves does not jeopardize your comfort or safety. Speeding is in fact a typical case where most people ignore the law and do what makes most sense (at least near where I live, that’s what they do).

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  12. Samora says:

    Dupont: “Legalization of marijuana would solve the marijuana problem the way legalizing speeding would solve the speeding problem: it would remove the legal inhibition of a dangerous behavior, and thereby encourage the behavior.”

    This analogy is incorrect. Most people on the interstate drive at 65 to 70 mph and would not speed up if the speed limit was completely removed. They do so because it is the most comfortable speed, due to the fact that the highway system was designed for 70mph, meaning that at 70mph the centrifugal force you felt on curves does not jeopardize your comfort or safety. Speeding is in fact a typical case where most people ignore the law and do what makes most sense (at least near where I live, that’s what they do).

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  13. Dave from OK says:

    Maybe I’m just an idiot, but I have never heard of someone being sent to the E.R. from smoking pot if it wasn’t adulterated with some other substance. There is absolutely no way that pot smoking is any where nearly as dangerous as alcohol consumption. I tend to feel like Mr. Miller. Opponents of drug policy reform aren’t interested in facts.

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  14. Dave from OK says:

    Maybe I’m just an idiot, but I have never heard of someone being sent to the E.R. from smoking pot if it wasn’t adulterated with some other substance. There is absolutely no way that pot smoking is any where nearly as dangerous as alcohol consumption. I tend to feel like Mr. Miller. Opponents of drug policy reform aren’t interested in facts.

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  15. zlguocius says:

    Why no philosophers (ethicists)? If anyone has expertise in “should” questions, it’s professional ethicists. That they’re un-represented in this panel lessens the panel’s credibility. Scientists and psychiatrists may have expertise in scientific and psychiatric issues, but why assume that they have any expertise at all in whether things should be legalized?

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  16. zlguocius says:

    Why no philosophers (ethicists)? If anyone has expertise in “should” questions, it’s professional ethicists. That they’re un-represented in this panel lessens the panel’s credibility. Scientists and psychiatrists may have expertise in scientific and psychiatric issues, but why assume that they have any expertise at all in whether things should be legalized?

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  17. John Fleming says:

    1. I know of no one who wants to use marijuana that chooses not to based on any legal disincentive. I simply don’t see these legal disincentives working on any level: discouraging use, creating scarcity, or changing public perception.

    2. I would argue that while many losers do use marijuana, using marijuana does not create a loser out of someone that wasn’t one already. Legal disincentives aren’t protecting anyone from becoming a loser. I find that argument pretty absurd. If only laws could eradicate losers from the world.

    3. And finally, I agree, sadly, that like many other issues of the day, this is more theater than debate.

    I am not a marijuana user. I have tried it, and guess what, I just don’t like it. It didn’t make a loser out of me or send me directly to cocaine or heroine.

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  18. John Fleming says:

    1. I know of no one who wants to use marijuana that chooses not to based on any legal disincentive. I simply don’t see these legal disincentives working on any level: discouraging use, creating scarcity, or changing public perception.

    2. I would argue that while many losers do use marijuana, using marijuana does not create a loser out of someone that wasn’t one already. Legal disincentives aren’t protecting anyone from becoming a loser. I find that argument pretty absurd. If only laws could eradicate losers from the world.

    3. And finally, I agree, sadly, that like many other issues of the day, this is more theater than debate.

    I am not a marijuana user. I have tried it, and guess what, I just don’t like it. It didn’t make a loser out of me or send me directly to cocaine or heroine.

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  19. Maureen says:

    I am afraid that Dr. DuPont’s argument is extremely weak. If, indeed, he is so concerned about the social costs of legalization of marijuana, then is he also for the prohibition of alcohol, tobacco, and guns, three items that are much more socially harmful than marijuana? If so, I’d ask him to please carefully study the social and economic costs of prohibition, not only in the US but also in countries where it is current policy. If, as Dr. Murray states, “The reason that marijuana is, and should remain, illegal is that the drug itself is harmful to the individual and to the community”, then alcohol, tobacco, preservatives, lead-containing products of all sorts, pollution-emitting machinery including cars, etc. should all also be made illegal. I’m sure that it is clear that this is a very slippery slope argument.

    I agree whole heartedly with Mr. St. Pierre. Prohibition is not a policy answer — it is an abdication of effective policy. If the government wants effective control over marijuana use, quality, safety, and sales, then prohibition is an inappropriate policy. If the response is that alcohol and tobacco still get into the hands of minors, my response is that irresponsible use of those things is a problem of the family, not a problem for national policy.

    I remain unconvinced of the purported trajectory of marijuana users to harder and more dangerous drugs, and argue in return that perhaps that itself is a symptom caused by prohibition. Drinkers do not regularly move on to absynthe. I believe that illegal marijuana purchases lead one to make relationships with those involved in other drugs, creating a social context in which use of harder drugs is condoned or even encouraged. This would not be the case with a legal and regulated market for marijuana.

    At the end of the day, I agree with geekpdx that Mr. Miller is right — this debate is a non-debate.

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  20. Maureen says:

    I am afraid that Dr. DuPont’s argument is extremely weak. If, indeed, he is so concerned about the social costs of legalization of marijuana, then is he also for the prohibition of alcohol, tobacco, and guns, three items that are much more socially harmful than marijuana? If so, I’d ask him to please carefully study the social and economic costs of prohibition, not only in the US but also in countries where it is current policy. If, as Dr. Murray states, “The reason that marijuana is, and should remain, illegal is that the drug itself is harmful to the individual and to the community”, then alcohol, tobacco, preservatives, lead-containing products of all sorts, pollution-emitting machinery including cars, etc. should all also be made illegal. I’m sure that it is clear that this is a very slippery slope argument.

    I agree whole heartedly with Mr. St. Pierre. Prohibition is not a policy answer — it is an abdication of effective policy. If the government wants effective control over marijuana use, quality, safety, and sales, then prohibition is an inappropriate policy. If the response is that alcohol and tobacco still get into the hands of minors, my response is that irresponsible use of those things is a problem of the family, not a problem for national policy.

    I remain unconvinced of the purported trajectory of marijuana users to harder and more dangerous drugs, and argue in return that perhaps that itself is a symptom caused by prohibition. Drinkers do not regularly move on to absynthe. I believe that illegal marijuana purchases lead one to make relationships with those involved in other drugs, creating a social context in which use of harder drugs is condoned or even encouraged. This would not be the case with a legal and regulated market for marijuana.

    At the end of the day, I agree with geekpdx that Mr. Miller is right — this debate is a non-debate.

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  21. John Thomas says:

    The “debate,” as sampled here, is simple really. Marijuana reformers tell the truth, and prohibitionists lie. We’ve known this for decades.

    Dupont says the “costs” of marijuana consumption are: “the costs of treatment, drugged driving crashes, and lost productivity”

    Lies.

    There is no real treatment for marijuana because it is not addictive, nor does it significantly impact health. There are court-ordered “treatment” sessions, but they are simply a joke and a huge waste of resources.

    Marijuana does not significantly contribute to traffic accidents. Some studies have shown marijuana consumers actually driver safer than perfectly straight people.

    Lost productivity is the biggest lie of all. The great majority of marijuana consumers act responsibly and consume after work. There is no hangover. The whole question of marijuana “impairment” has not been legitimately addressed, but the existence of so many medical marijuana patients indicates there is no problem functioning for them.

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  22. John Thomas says:

    The “debate,” as sampled here, is simple really. Marijuana reformers tell the truth, and prohibitionists lie. We’ve known this for decades.

    Dupont says the “costs” of marijuana consumption are: “the costs of treatment, drugged driving crashes, and lost productivity”

    Lies.

    There is no real treatment for marijuana because it is not addictive, nor does it significantly impact health. There are court-ordered “treatment” sessions, but they are simply a joke and a huge waste of resources.

    Marijuana does not significantly contribute to traffic accidents. Some studies have shown marijuana consumers actually driver safer than perfectly straight people.

    Lost productivity is the biggest lie of all. The great majority of marijuana consumers act responsibly and consume after work. There is no hangover. The whole question of marijuana “impairment” has not been legitimately addressed, but the existence of so many medical marijuana patients indicates there is no problem functioning for them.

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  23. mb says:

    1) Regarding the increase potency of pot: if it was legal, and there was a transparent market, you could choose the “strong” or the “weak”, like choosing between whiskey and beer. When it is illegal you can’t choose and don’t know what you are getting. That would have an impact on adverse affects and emergency room visits (if those are true)

    2) Marijuana is so much better than liquor, don’t people get this?

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  24. mb says:

    1) Regarding the increase potency of pot: if it was legal, and there was a transparent market, you could choose the “strong” or the “weak”, like choosing between whiskey and beer. When it is illegal you can’t choose and don’t know what you are getting. That would have an impact on adverse affects and emergency room visits (if those are true)

    2) Marijuana is so much better than liquor, don’t people get this?

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  25. beth says:

    but are also at significantly higher risk for developing dependency on other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.

    There’s no factual proof behind this statement, and any governmental studies presented as “scientific fact” are hard to take seriously as unbiased research into this matter.

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  26. beth says:

    but are also at significantly higher risk for developing dependency on other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.

    There’s no factual proof behind this statement, and any governmental studies presented as “scientific fact” are hard to take seriously as unbiased research into this matter.

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  27. Brynn says:

    Dupont: “Nevertheless, speeding and drunk driving are punishable by law because of the serious consequences of these behaviors. In all of these cases, legal prohibition serves as a reasonably effective deterrent to the behavior.”

    Additionally, the analogy fails in this area. Why not legalize marijuana use and possession (similar to alcohol) but prohibit driving under its influence? Then we can all say that prohibition failed miserably as a deterrent to its use, but reasonable limitations on its use have succeeded or failed relative to truly harmful behaviors such as drunk driving. After all, the fact that some people become alcoholics or engage in risky behaviors after consuming alcohol has not led to a nation-wide prohibition of its use . . . errr– has that been tried? To me, the parallels between alcohol and marijuana policy are the most instructive. Prohibition clearly failed, for all the reasons that marijuana prohibition is (and always has been) failing.

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  28. Brynn says:

    Dupont: “Nevertheless, speeding and drunk driving are punishable by law because of the serious consequences of these behaviors. In all of these cases, legal prohibition serves as a reasonably effective deterrent to the behavior.”

    Additionally, the analogy fails in this area. Why not legalize marijuana use and possession (similar to alcohol) but prohibit driving under its influence? Then we can all say that prohibition failed miserably as a deterrent to its use, but reasonable limitations on its use have succeeded or failed relative to truly harmful behaviors such as drunk driving. After all, the fact that some people become alcoholics or engage in risky behaviors after consuming alcohol has not led to a nation-wide prohibition of its use . . . errr– has that been tried? To me, the parallels between alcohol and marijuana policy are the most instructive. Prohibition clearly failed, for all the reasons that marijuana prohibition is (and always has been) failing.

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  29. Charles says:

    I’m fairly certain that Dubner’s frustration comment was about the speeding analogy. Its simply absurd that a man of such high power can be so blind on how to make a convincing argument. He was clearly thinking along the lines of ‘what is and what has happened’ instead of an ‘out of the box’ type thinking.

    Speeding isn’t a problem, its obviously the way we have enforced all driving from bad roads to easy licences. In Germany you don’t see people dying constantly on the Autobahn, where there is no speed limit. This is a result of very strict driving tests for a license, excellent road conditions and great cars. Just like the marijuana problem, if we regulated it we can control it and help people with addiction problems. Not to mention all the money saved from fighting it and additional revenues from taxing the hell out of it.

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  30. Charles says:

    I’m fairly certain that Dubner’s frustration comment was about the speeding analogy. Its simply absurd that a man of such high power can be so blind on how to make a convincing argument. He was clearly thinking along the lines of ‘what is and what has happened’ instead of an ‘out of the box’ type thinking.

    Speeding isn’t a problem, its obviously the way we have enforced all driving from bad roads to easy licences. In Germany you don’t see people dying constantly on the Autobahn, where there is no speed limit. This is a result of very strict driving tests for a license, excellent road conditions and great cars. Just like the marijuana problem, if we regulated it we can control it and help people with addiction problems. Not to mention all the money saved from fighting it and additional revenues from taxing the hell out of it.

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  31. Shawn says:

    What of the billions of dollars that are pumped into the underground drug trade? What corrosive effect does it have on an honest society? I think the truth is if we could see the damage prohibition is doing, if we could see all of the cost as we did with Alcohol prohibition we would make the same call we did back then and legalize and regulate.

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  32. Shawn says:

    What of the billions of dollars that are pumped into the underground drug trade? What corrosive effect does it have on an honest society? I think the truth is if we could see the damage prohibition is doing, if we could see all of the cost as we did with Alcohol prohibition we would make the same call we did back then and legalize and regulate.

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  33. Michael says:

    “The drug for life’s losers” great ‘science’. In other news depression is more common amoung those taking prozac. You mean to tell me that people who take an illegal intoxicant are less successful than those that don’t? Were marijuana absolutely harmless does anyone doubt that this would still be the case? Seriously? Am I supposed to be surprised that those who use an unpopular dangerous drug are likely to have used a popular less harmful drug previously? Show me actual experimental data that marijuana takes healthy people and makes them less healthy, takes happy people and makes them less happy, and takes successful people and makes them less successful and I will be prepared to take what you have to say seriously.

    Even then, I warn you I may be unmoved. People who watch a lot of television are less sucessful than people who watch less. People who overeat, people who don’t get enough exercise, people who don’t floss. We have as a society a blessedly high thresh hold for which consequences are grave enough to limit an induvidual’s liberty. If and only if marijuana is found to exceed this threshold should we make it illegal.

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  34. Michael says:

    “The drug for life’s losers” great ‘science’. In other news depression is more common amoung those taking prozac. You mean to tell me that people who take an illegal intoxicant are less successful than those that don’t? Were marijuana absolutely harmless does anyone doubt that this would still be the case? Seriously? Am I supposed to be surprised that those who use an unpopular dangerous drug are likely to have used a popular less harmful drug previously? Show me actual experimental data that marijuana takes healthy people and makes them less healthy, takes happy people and makes them less happy, and takes successful people and makes them less successful and I will be prepared to take what you have to say seriously.

    Even then, I warn you I may be unmoved. People who watch a lot of television are less sucessful than people who watch less. People who overeat, people who don’t get enough exercise, people who don’t floss. We have as a society a blessedly high thresh hold for which consequences are grave enough to limit an induvidual’s liberty. If and only if marijuana is found to exceed this threshold should we make it illegal.

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  35. Dave from OK says:

    Well Stoney, we don’t smoke marijuana in Oklahoma….at least not in Muskogee. ;) We prefer meth.

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  36. Dave from OK says:

    Well Stoney, we don’t smoke marijuana in Oklahoma….at least not in Muskogee. ;) We prefer meth.

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  37. John says:

    I learned that Marijuana usage has increased to 15 million Americans and yet somehow also has decreased by 25% in the last five years, wow!

    Richard Miller really nailed it

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  38. John says:

    I learned that Marijuana usage has increased to 15 million Americans and yet somehow also has decreased by 25% in the last five years, wow!

    Richard Miller really nailed it

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  39. Kimmitt says:

    Miller has it; the anti-weed folks just aren’t telling the truth on the matter.

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  40. Kimmitt says:

    Miller has it; the anti-weed folks just aren’t telling the truth on the matter.

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  41. StoneyMcStoner says:

    Marijuana has almost no illeffects when compared to alchol. I smoke it most days after work. I smoked it all through college and graduated with above a 3.0 in Engineering at a very good school, which is known for its marijuana use. I most certainly am not a loser, and am in fact very successful, and am very productive every day at work. In fact, if I went home and got drunk every night, I would be hungover and unproductive at work. stoneywageslave.com is correct about the hospital thing. It is very rare and usually it is some idiot who has never done it before and in actuality the freaking out is all mental in their head. Those people would have freaked out if you gave them oregano to smoke.

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  42. StoneyMcStoner says:

    Marijuana has almost no illeffects when compared to alchol. I smoke it most days after work. I smoked it all through college and graduated with above a 3.0 in Engineering at a very good school, which is known for its marijuana use. I most certainly am not a loser, and am in fact very successful, and am very productive every day at work. In fact, if I went home and got drunk every night, I would be hungover and unproductive at work. stoneywageslave.com is correct about the hospital thing. It is very rare and usually it is some idiot who has never done it before and in actuality the freaking out is all mental in their head. Those people would have freaked out if you gave them oregano to smoke.

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  43. Peter says:

    I liked Chomsky’s analysis of the Drug War in Deterring Democracy – it’d be useful in this hypothetical:

    http://www.zmag.org/Chomsky/dd/dd-c04-s05.html

    a small snippet:
    ———-
    A closer look at the drug crisis is instructive. There can be no doubt that the problem is serious. “Substance abuse,” to use the technical term, takes a terrible toll. The grim facts are reviewed by Ethan Nadelmann in Science magazine.28 Deaths attributable to consumption of tobacco are estimated at over 300,000 a year, while alcohol use adds an additional 50,000 to 200,000 annual deaths. Among 15- to 24-year olds, alcohol is the leading cause of death, also serving as a “gateway” drug that leads to use of others, according to the National Council on Alcoholism.29 In addition, a few thousand deaths from illegal drugs are recorded: 3,562 deaths were reported in 1985, from all illegal drugs combined. According to these estimates, over 99% of deaths from substance abuse are attributable to tobacco and alcohol.

    There are also enormous health costs, again, primarily from alcohol and tobacco use: “the health costs of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin combined amount to only a small fraction of those caused by either of the two licit substances,” Nadelmann continues. Also to be considered is the distribution of victims. Illicit drugs primarily affect the user, but their legal cousins seriously affect others, including passive smokers and victims of drunken driving and alcohol-induced violence; “no illicit drug…is as strongly associated with violent behavior as is alcohol,” Nadelmann observes, and alcohol abuse is a factor in some 40% of roughly 50,000 annual traffic deaths.
    ———-

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  44. Peter says:

    I liked Chomsky’s analysis of the Drug War in Deterring Democracy – it’d be useful in this hypothetical:

    http://www.zmag.org/Chomsky/dd/dd-c04-s05.html

    a small snippet:
    ———-
    A closer look at the drug crisis is instructive. There can be no doubt that the problem is serious. “Substance abuse,” to use the technical term, takes a terrible toll. The grim facts are reviewed by Ethan Nadelmann in Science magazine.28 Deaths attributable to consumption of tobacco are estimated at over 300,000 a year, while alcohol use adds an additional 50,000 to 200,000 annual deaths. Among 15- to 24-year olds, alcohol is the leading cause of death, also serving as a “gateway” drug that leads to use of others, according to the National Council on Alcoholism.29 In addition, a few thousand deaths from illegal drugs are recorded: 3,562 deaths were reported in 1985, from all illegal drugs combined. According to these estimates, over 99% of deaths from substance abuse are attributable to tobacco and alcohol.

    There are also enormous health costs, again, primarily from alcohol and tobacco use: “the health costs of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin combined amount to only a small fraction of those caused by either of the two licit substances,” Nadelmann continues. Also to be considered is the distribution of victims. Illicit drugs primarily affect the user, but their legal cousins seriously affect others, including passive smokers and victims of drunken driving and alcohol-induced violence; “no illicit drug…is as strongly associated with violent behavior as is alcohol,” Nadelmann observes, and alcohol abuse is a factor in some 40% of roughly 50,000 annual traffic deaths.
    ———-

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  45. JG says:

    I’d like someone who went to the hospital because of a weed-overdose to please stand up.

    Seriously, I’ve taken 5 billion bong rips in my life time. Sometimes at a million at one time. I’ve never been to the hospital because of it, never stabbed anyone, never been in a fight, never been in a car accident on it, there are a log of nevers here…

    The main never is our Dictators will never allow legalization because they are the hypocrites that are making money off it. A*#holes!

    Meanwhile this amazing weed carries a cash value of its weight in Gold.

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  46. JG says:

    I’d like someone who went to the hospital because of a weed-overdose to please stand up.

    Seriously, I’ve taken 5 billion bong rips in my life time. Sometimes at a million at one time. I’ve never been to the hospital because of it, never stabbed anyone, never been in a fight, never been in a car accident on it, there are a log of nevers here…

    The main never is our Dictators will never allow legalization because they are the hypocrites that are making money off it. A*#holes!

    Meanwhile this amazing weed carries a cash value of its weight in Gold.

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  47. world traveler says:

    I think the argument that legalizing marijuana would lead to more use is flawed – not just because prohibitions hasn’t worked (although ít’s a good point). Let’s look at the other “drugs” that are legal: tobacco and alcohol. I don’t smoke because:
    a) it would hurt sports performance (and while my age might be the major factor now, I can’t imagine smoking would help).
    b) it’s not acceptable in my office or other social spheres
    c) horror films of lung concer in junior high

    I do drink alcohol (and stared before I was legal because):
    a) it’s not addictive (to me) so has no lasting effects (other than the extra time on the tread mill to burn the calories)
    b) it’s expected in my job – although obviously not acceptable at my desk.
    c) there were ineffective barriers to acquiring prohibited alcohol.

    So how would I decide on pot? I think it is more like tobacco and would not be acceptable in offices or indoor functions. So it would be done on the deck by the people who wanted to. I think I’d be at the bar inside, but I wouldn’t think less of the people on the porch. On the job, being high would continue to be as frowned upon as being drunk.

    As the barriers to acquisition are so low now, I wouldn’t expect a spike in use.

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  48. world traveler says:

    I think the argument that legalizing marijuana would lead to more use is flawed – not just because prohibitions hasn’t worked (although ít’s a good point). Let’s look at the other “drugs” that are legal: tobacco and alcohol. I don’t smoke because:
    a) it would hurt sports performance (and while my age might be the major factor now, I can’t imagine smoking would help).
    b) it’s not acceptable in my office or other social spheres
    c) horror films of lung concer in junior high

    I do drink alcohol (and stared before I was legal because):
    a) it’s not addictive (to me) so has no lasting effects (other than the extra time on the tread mill to burn the calories)
    b) it’s expected in my job – although obviously not acceptable at my desk.
    c) there were ineffective barriers to acquiring prohibited alcohol.

    So how would I decide on pot? I think it is more like tobacco and would not be acceptable in offices or indoor functions. So it would be done on the deck by the people who wanted to. I think I’d be at the bar inside, but I wouldn’t think less of the people on the porch. On the job, being high would continue to be as frowned upon as being drunk.

    As the barriers to acquisition are so low now, I wouldn’t expect a spike in use.

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  49. Michael D says:

    I don’t think Dr. Dupont’s analogy to speeding is so absurd as others seem to think. The odds that you may cause serious injury to yourself or others does increase the faster you go. That is a fact. The fines imposed for ignoring speed limits do act as a disincentive to speeding. If speed limits were abolished everywhere, average speeds driven would increase without a doubt, as would the seriousness of injuries. I would assume marijuana use would also increase without legal disincentives. The question is whether this would increase the likelyhood of injury to ourselves or others. The answer most likely is yes, assuming marijuana use slows down reaction times. The same argument should be made for alcohol and cigarettes.

    The “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” arguments made by proponents of legalization seem to be more absurd. By those standards we should also legalize prostitution, tax fraud, etc.. since we’ve failed to eliminate these practices and continue to send offenders to prison year after year.

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  50. Michael D says:

    I don’t think Dr. Dupont’s analogy to speeding is so absurd as others seem to think. The odds that you may cause serious injury to yourself or others does increase the faster you go. That is a fact. The fines imposed for ignoring speed limits do act as a disincentive to speeding. If speed limits were abolished everywhere, average speeds driven would increase without a doubt, as would the seriousness of injuries. I would assume marijuana use would also increase without legal disincentives. The question is whether this would increase the likelyhood of injury to ourselves or others. The answer most likely is yes, assuming marijuana use slows down reaction times. The same argument should be made for alcohol and cigarettes.

    The “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” arguments made by proponents of legalization seem to be more absurd. By those standards we should also legalize prostitution, tax fraud, etc.. since we’ve failed to eliminate these practices and continue to send offenders to prison year after year.

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  51. cgarlandj says:

    As a high school teacher, I can testify that the current policy doesn’t stop children from getting drugs. What it does do is provide our street gangs with a very lucrative income stream. Without illegal drug sources and illegal drug profits, gangs wouldn’t be any where near as attractive to our disaffected young people.

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  52. cgarlandj says:

    As a high school teacher, I can testify that the current policy doesn’t stop children from getting drugs. What it does do is provide our street gangs with a very lucrative income stream. Without illegal drug sources and illegal drug profits, gangs wouldn’t be any where near as attractive to our disaffected young people.

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  53. cgarlandj says:

    Incidentally, I don’t toke.

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  54. cgarlandj says:

    Incidentally, I don’t toke.

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  55. Adam says:

    I was hoping to hear more about the economics of legalization. How much money would the government gain in this event? The cash crops link says it is a $35 billion crop. If they US stopped spending $11 billion on fighting the war, and received ~10% of the yearly sales of the drug, does that mean the economic advantage would be around $15 billion minus marginal increased medical expenses due to increased consumption?

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  56. Adam says:

    I was hoping to hear more about the economics of legalization. How much money would the government gain in this event? The cash crops link says it is a $35 billion crop. If they US stopped spending $11 billion on fighting the war, and received ~10% of the yearly sales of the drug, does that mean the economic advantage would be around $15 billion minus marginal increased medical expenses due to increased consumption?

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  57. BL says:

    This forum could’ve had some promise if Dupont and Murray made an effort to put forward any kind of credible argument. Leaving Dupont’s patently ridiculous speeding analogy to the side, Murray’s argument, where it is not entirely subjective, is intentionally misleading. If you open up the hyperlink to the graph he references for that “incredible” 25% decline, you’ll see what actually happened was, at most, a 3% absolute decrease in users over 5 years, which is modest even assuming that it is statistically significant.

    So, one of the two datapoints Murray used was misleading, while Dupont uses nothing but his stunning rhetorical ability to make his argument. Meanwhile, St. Pierre uses a number of well-respected sources to methodically construct his proof, you know, like a debate. How unfortunate that these two shills should be so woefully inadequate and intellectually lazy in such a public forum. Although, given that these guys are or were the heads of two of the largest drug enforcement agencies in the U.S., maybe their hollow threats and unfounded finger-wagging are the most powerful arguments for legalization yet.

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  58. BL says:

    This forum could’ve had some promise if Dupont and Murray made an effort to put forward any kind of credible argument. Leaving Dupont’s patently ridiculous speeding analogy to the side, Murray’s argument, where it is not entirely subjective, is intentionally misleading. If you open up the hyperlink to the graph he references for that “incredible” 25% decline, you’ll see what actually happened was, at most, a 3% absolute decrease in users over 5 years, which is modest even assuming that it is statistically significant.

    So, one of the two datapoints Murray used was misleading, while Dupont uses nothing but his stunning rhetorical ability to make his argument. Meanwhile, St. Pierre uses a number of well-respected sources to methodically construct his proof, you know, like a debate. How unfortunate that these two shills should be so woefully inadequate and intellectually lazy in such a public forum. Although, given that these guys are or were the heads of two of the largest drug enforcement agencies in the U.S., maybe their hollow threats and unfounded finger-wagging are the most powerful arguments for legalization yet.

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  59. Maynard says:

    One thing to keep in mind regarding the economics of legalization is that it’s called weed for a reason. If it were legal, people could very easily grow it for themselves. I’ve always wondered if this is one of the reasons it remains illegal.

    To Michael D: There are many similarities between prohibition of marijuana and prostitution (I have very disparate opinions on the morality of the two issues, but both are victimless whose prohibition causes further crime), but comparing them to tax fraud is absurd. If someone cheats on their taxes, they are stealing from every person in the country. If someone uses marijuana or solicits prostitution, they only affect the consenting people involved in the act.

    I loved that Dr. Murray almost argued that education is more effective than prohibition. Why can’t drug opponents see that this is by far the best way to limit use?

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  60. Maynard says:

    One thing to keep in mind regarding the economics of legalization is that it’s called weed for a reason. If it were legal, people could very easily grow it for themselves. I’ve always wondered if this is one of the reasons it remains illegal.

    To Michael D: There are many similarities between prohibition of marijuana and prostitution (I have very disparate opinions on the morality of the two issues, but both are victimless whose prohibition causes further crime), but comparing them to tax fraud is absurd. If someone cheats on their taxes, they are stealing from every person in the country. If someone uses marijuana or solicits prostitution, they only affect the consenting people involved in the act.

    I loved that Dr. Murray almost argued that education is more effective than prohibition. Why can’t drug opponents see that this is by far the best way to limit use?

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  61. JB says:

    So, Michael D, the same standards could be used to criminalization all kinds of activity. Should we ban any kind of prescription painkiller, even for those in serious need, because people might drive while intoxicated?

    Should we criminalize obesity because of the public health costs?

    Should we return to alcohol prohibition because of the dangers of drinking and driving?

    I’m inclined to agreee with the vast majority of posters so far: Mr. Miller has hit the nail on the head. What is most frustrating is that our government is not working to determine and implement policies based on what would be best for the public — rather they are working to suppress facts. Why?

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  62. JB says:

    So, Michael D, the same standards could be used to criminalization all kinds of activity. Should we ban any kind of prescription painkiller, even for those in serious need, because people might drive while intoxicated?

    Should we criminalize obesity because of the public health costs?

    Should we return to alcohol prohibition because of the dangers of drinking and driving?

    I’m inclined to agreee with the vast majority of posters so far: Mr. Miller has hit the nail on the head. What is most frustrating is that our government is not working to determine and implement policies based on what would be best for the public — rather they are working to suppress facts. Why?

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  63. Adrien says:

    The argument really has less to do with how dangerous the drugs are and more to do with who is making the money from the drugs we do use. It’s amusing to hear the debate over the danger of drugs when alcohol and fast food are legal and the side effects of the drugs advertised on the television include heat attack and kidney failure. Can we please stop wasting time and money building someone else’s business and spend more on education so we can make an educated decision when faced with the choice of cocaine or coffee?

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  64. Adrien says:

    The argument really has less to do with how dangerous the drugs are and more to do with who is making the money from the drugs we do use. It’s amusing to hear the debate over the danger of drugs when alcohol and fast food are legal and the side effects of the drugs advertised on the television include heat attack and kidney failure. Can we please stop wasting time and money building someone else’s business and spend more on education so we can make an educated decision when faced with the choice of cocaine or coffee?

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  65. Matt says:

    I don’t smoke marijuana or tobacco, or drink much–just not my style, though I’ve tried each of the three at least once. The question in my mind is how marijuana compares to the other two. Intoxication levels probably can’t be precisely measured, but I know that when people are high they’re a lot less motivated to go driving than someone who’s drunk. And you don’t usually smoke a pack of joints a day, meaning the long-term health impact is less than that of tobacco.

    So, in short, marijuana is less dangerous in the short term than alcohol, and less dangerous in the long term than tobacco. Why don’t our laws reflect this?

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  66. Matt says:

    I don’t smoke marijuana or tobacco, or drink much–just not my style, though I’ve tried each of the three at least once. The question in my mind is how marijuana compares to the other two. Intoxication levels probably can’t be precisely measured, but I know that when people are high they’re a lot less motivated to go driving than someone who’s drunk. And you don’t usually smoke a pack of joints a day, meaning the long-term health impact is less than that of tobacco.

    So, in short, marijuana is less dangerous in the short term than alcohol, and less dangerous in the long term than tobacco. Why don’t our laws reflect this?

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  67. Dave from OK says:

    #26 I don’t believe that I see anyone on here making a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” argument. The argument being made is that ending marijuana prohibition would NOT increase the likelihood of injury to ourselves or others. The argument being made is that marijuana prohibition is absolutely pointless. And to compare marijuana use to tax fraud is absolutely asinine. Also, I believe that many folks agree that pot should be decriminalized, it’s just that most politicians don’t have the balls to touch the issue. The War on Drugs propaganda has been extremely effective.

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  68. Dave from OK says:

    #26 I don’t believe that I see anyone on here making a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” argument. The argument being made is that ending marijuana prohibition would NOT increase the likelihood of injury to ourselves or others. The argument being made is that marijuana prohibition is absolutely pointless. And to compare marijuana use to tax fraud is absolutely asinine. Also, I believe that many folks agree that pot should be decriminalized, it’s just that most politicians don’t have the balls to touch the issue. The War on Drugs propaganda has been extremely effective.

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  69. Kurt says:

    Isn’t it interesting that the same people who come out so strongly against the legalization of marijuana, proclaiming that maintaining “illegality” creates a resistance that reduces availability and use; often don’t support calls for more restrictive gun laws? In fact, in the debate about gun control, those same “authorities” say that more restrictive gun laws will in fact not take guns off the street.

    Examples like this support Richard Miller’s assertion that there is no debate here.

    Me – Highly successful business person, responsible citizen, and yes, frequent marijuana smoker. Never an incident and cognizant of those around me. By the way, I don’t drink.

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  70. Kurt says:

    Isn’t it interesting that the same people who come out so strongly against the legalization of marijuana, proclaiming that maintaining “illegality” creates a resistance that reduces availability and use; often don’t support calls for more restrictive gun laws? In fact, in the debate about gun control, those same “authorities” say that more restrictive gun laws will in fact not take guns off the street.

    Examples like this support Richard Miller’s assertion that there is no debate here.

    Me – Highly successful business person, responsible citizen, and yes, frequent marijuana smoker. Never an incident and cognizant of those around me. By the way, I don’t drink.

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  71. Billy says:

    DuPont: “In addition, the U.S. has international treaty obligations not to legalize marijuana, or any other illegal drug, for non-medical use. ”

    I’m curious who this is with and why??

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  72. Billy says:

    DuPont: “In addition, the U.S. has international treaty obligations not to legalize marijuana, or any other illegal drug, for non-medical use. ”

    I’m curious who this is with and why??

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  73. Keith says:

    To know the facts about the effects and consequences of a certain action matters very little until you have constructed a logical philosophy of policy. The public is entitled to a straight-forward, predictable system of laws where they don’t have to guess which harmful substance is legal to consume and which isn’t.

    Before weighing the legalization (or outlawing) of any substance, we must first figure out what should be the criteria for a substance to be outlawed. How unsafe must it be to be prohibited by the federal government? Once we know that, then we can go about the process of figuring out which substances fit that bill.

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  74. Keith says:

    To know the facts about the effects and consequences of a certain action matters very little until you have constructed a logical philosophy of policy. The public is entitled to a straight-forward, predictable system of laws where they don’t have to guess which harmful substance is legal to consume and which isn’t.

    Before weighing the legalization (or outlawing) of any substance, we must first figure out what should be the criteria for a substance to be outlawed. How unsafe must it be to be prohibited by the federal government? Once we know that, then we can go about the process of figuring out which substances fit that bill.

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  75. Jason says:

    I think Stephen was right that this was an interesting question that was answered with less substance that would be desired. For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts on the answers:

    Grinspoon was congent and somewhat informative. He carried more of a credible “feel”, though he lacked scientific support.

    DuPont was one-sided and full of flawed logic. He flipped inconsistently between theoretical and pragmatic arguments to make a preconceived point.

    St. Pierre suggests that failed management means management is a failed approach. If that is the case, it suggests also a change to the treatment of alcohol and tobacco, as few would argue these are well controlled.

    Murray’s argument hold just as well for alcohol, yet he does not suggest an approach which addresses these two consistently.

    Miller made no real point.

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  76. Jason says:

    I think Stephen was right that this was an interesting question that was answered with less substance that would be desired. For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts on the answers:

    Grinspoon was congent and somewhat informative. He carried more of a credible “feel”, though he lacked scientific support.

    DuPont was one-sided and full of flawed logic. He flipped inconsistently between theoretical and pragmatic arguments to make a preconceived point.

    St. Pierre suggests that failed management means management is a failed approach. If that is the case, it suggests also a change to the treatment of alcohol and tobacco, as few would argue these are well controlled.

    Murray’s argument hold just as well for alcohol, yet he does not suggest an approach which addresses these two consistently.

    Miller made no real point.

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  77. Michael D says:

    To JB – Yes, my point was perhaps not clearly thought through. I was really defending the analogy rather than picking sides. I would criminilize obesity however. The death penalty for all fatties that like to drink and smoke.

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  78. Michael D says:

    To JB – Yes, my point was perhaps not clearly thought through. I was really defending the analogy rather than picking sides. I would criminilize obesity however. The death penalty for all fatties that like to drink and smoke.

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  79. Mbrown says:

    So – what gives with the paucity of anti-legalization voices? I’m pro-legalization myself, and I was looking for someone to disagree with, but the pickings are slim. Who are these people who are pro-prohibition? According to some 3/2006 poll, they constitute about 54% of adults nationwide. Where are they and why do they feel the why they do?

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  80. Mbrown says:

    So – what gives with the paucity of anti-legalization voices? I’m pro-legalization myself, and I was looking for someone to disagree with, but the pickings are slim. Who are these people who are pro-prohibition? According to some 3/2006 poll, they constitute about 54% of adults nationwide. Where are they and why do they feel the why they do?

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  81. Braskley says:

    I have two friends who have gone to the hospital immediately after smoking marijuana. The incidents were unrelated and happened about 10 years apart. The first guy was a regular user while the second was a heavy user; however, both described textbook symptoms for an anxiety attack. Know your limits, and remember that smoking is bad, so vaporize!

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  82. Braskley says:

    I have two friends who have gone to the hospital immediately after smoking marijuana. The incidents were unrelated and happened about 10 years apart. The first guy was a regular user while the second was a heavy user; however, both described textbook symptoms for an anxiety attack. Know your limits, and remember that smoking is bad, so vaporize!

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  83. Ryan says:

    I was going to say that I smoke pot and don’t feel the need to say that I’m an intelligent hard-working student, but then I got to thinking, do I? It seems like the way to get the word out that more than just the run-of-the-mill hippie stoner smokes is to say so. What would happen if in pro-legalization rallies instead of seeing tye-died hippies we saw businessmen in suits? Of course conforming to the social norm would go against the individualism they want to express in the first place.

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  84. Ryan says:

    I was going to say that I smoke pot and don’t feel the need to say that I’m an intelligent hard-working student, but then I got to thinking, do I? It seems like the way to get the word out that more than just the run-of-the-mill hippie stoner smokes is to say so. What would happen if in pro-legalization rallies instead of seeing tye-died hippies we saw businessmen in suits? Of course conforming to the social norm would go against the individualism they want to express in the first place.

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  85. Sparky says:

    Legalization will not increase use. Use has gone down in the UK since they decriminalized it there in ’04, according to the British Crime Survey.
    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/bcs1.html

    Use has essentially been legal in the Netherlands since the ’70s, and they have one half the rate of users as we do in the US, according to the latest statistics from the UN.
    http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/world_drug_report.html

    Use has decreased nationwide since Prop 215 passed in California, and at an even faster rate in some states (like CA and WA) that have medical use laws.
    http://www.mpp.org/atf/cf/%7BFC4E88DF-6ACE-4AA6-851C-0688A929D3C5%7D/2005TeenUseReport.pdf

    This all comes from the same data supposed “experts” like DuPont and Murray are supposed to be looking at. Do these people actually read?

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  86. Sparky says:

    Legalization will not increase use. Use has gone down in the UK since they decriminalized it there in ’04, according to the British Crime Survey.
    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/bcs1.html

    Use has essentially been legal in the Netherlands since the ’70s, and they have one half the rate of users as we do in the US, according to the latest statistics from the UN.
    http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/world_drug_report.html

    Use has decreased nationwide since Prop 215 passed in California, and at an even faster rate in some states (like CA and WA) that have medical use laws.
    http://www.mpp.org/atf/cf/%7BFC4E88DF-6ACE-4AA6-851C-0688A929D3C5%7D/2005TeenUseReport.pdf

    This all comes from the same data supposed “experts” like DuPont and Murray are supposed to be looking at. Do these people actually read?

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  87. Sean says:

    Dr. DuPont’s logical abilities show us why we’re in the mess we’re in now.

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  88. Sean says:

    Dr. DuPont’s logical abilities show us why we’re in the mess we’re in now.

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  89. charlie says:

    It seems to me that self-control is a very large factor when comparing alcohol and marijuana. As a high school student, many people I know, including myself, occasionally smoke before coming to school. I have never been confronted on behalf of my behavior while stoned. On the other hand, the day I decided to drink before school ended in 2 detentions and a demerit.

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  90. charlie says:

    It seems to me that self-control is a very large factor when comparing alcohol and marijuana. As a high school student, many people I know, including myself, occasionally smoke before coming to school. I have never been confronted on behalf of my behavior while stoned. On the other hand, the day I decided to drink before school ended in 2 detentions and a demerit.

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  91. Nathaniel says:

    I’ve worked in three different hospital emergency rooms over the past decade, in medium-sized cities that routinely have patients coming in with gunshot wounds, alcohol-induced accidents, drug overdoses, etc.

    I’ve never seen, nor heard of, anyone ever coming into an ER because of marijuana (though it’s statistically likely some of the car accidents had it involved, nobody was ever clearly baked the same way many people were clearly drunk).

    I will note for the record that I’ve never used marijuana in my life (though once in college I pretended to when a cute girl passed me the bong — I imitated what she’d done but was not able to operate it so I passed it back :P ).

    I know many people who HAVE used the drug, both recreationally and medicinally. One of my best friends was undergoing aggressive treatment for breast cancer (which killed her mother at 28) and the several thousand dollars/month worth of prescription medications did nothing to help her.

    Her husband, on advice from her doctor, went out and got her pot for $50/month that made it possible for her to endure the cancer treatment. She complained the whole time about how she disliked the effects of the marijuana, and she stopped cold-turkey as soon as she was off chemo. Several of her other drugs had to be tapered down slowly over the next year because — you guessed it — they were highly addictive.

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  92. Nathaniel says:

    I’ve worked in three different hospital emergency rooms over the past decade, in medium-sized cities that routinely have patients coming in with gunshot wounds, alcohol-induced accidents, drug overdoses, etc.

    I’ve never seen, nor heard of, anyone ever coming into an ER because of marijuana (though it’s statistically likely some of the car accidents had it involved, nobody was ever clearly baked the same way many people were clearly drunk).

    I will note for the record that I’ve never used marijuana in my life (though once in college I pretended to when a cute girl passed me the bong — I imitated what she’d done but was not able to operate it so I passed it back :P ).

    I know many people who HAVE used the drug, both recreationally and medicinally. One of my best friends was undergoing aggressive treatment for breast cancer (which killed her mother at 28) and the several thousand dollars/month worth of prescription medications did nothing to help her.

    Her husband, on advice from her doctor, went out and got her pot for $50/month that made it possible for her to endure the cancer treatment. She complained the whole time about how she disliked the effects of the marijuana, and she stopped cold-turkey as soon as she was off chemo. Several of her other drugs had to be tapered down slowly over the next year because — you guessed it — they were highly addictive.

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  93. Miggy says:

    All those opposed to legalizing marijuana do me a favor. One night have a couple of drinks, The next night smoke a half a joint. Tell me the difference. Tell me why one is legal and the other is not. You want to talk long term effects? I know plenty of people who’s lives have been destroyed by alcohol. I know alot of people that have been smoking weed for a long time. I don’t know anyone who’s life it has destroyed. Alcohol, cigarettes, guns ok, marijuana not ok… It’s plain stupid.

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  94. Miggy says:

    All those opposed to legalizing marijuana do me a favor. One night have a couple of drinks, The next night smoke a half a joint. Tell me the difference. Tell me why one is legal and the other is not. You want to talk long term effects? I know plenty of people who’s lives have been destroyed by alcohol. I know alot of people that have been smoking weed for a long time. I don’t know anyone who’s life it has destroyed. Alcohol, cigarettes, guns ok, marijuana not ok… It’s plain stupid.

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  95. CharacterZero says:

    “In addition, the U.S. has international treaty obligations not to legalize marijuana, or any other illegal drug, for non-medical use.” -DuPont

    Hmm, I wonder which country in these treaties is really concerned with enforcing this?

    “Legalization of marijuana would lead to more marijuana use, and undermine the current prevention efforts which are reinforced by the force of law.” -Dupont

    Is he stating that legalizing marijuana would undermine the current laws by changing them? That’s pretty insightful – I’d never really thought of it like that. I certainly wouldn’t want to hurt the old law’s feelings.

    “Marijuana use is currently the leading cause of treatment need for those abusing or dependent on illegal drugs.” -Murray

    I wonder if this has anything to do with current law enforcement efforts? I’m not really sure I find this very convincing if these people were forced into treatment because they got caught.

    By the way, I’m a law student, and I smoke, and it’s all good.

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  96. CharacterZero says:

    “In addition, the U.S. has international treaty obligations not to legalize marijuana, or any other illegal drug, for non-medical use.” -DuPont

    Hmm, I wonder which country in these treaties is really concerned with enforcing this?

    “Legalization of marijuana would lead to more marijuana use, and undermine the current prevention efforts which are reinforced by the force of law.” -Dupont

    Is he stating that legalizing marijuana would undermine the current laws by changing them? That’s pretty insightful – I’d never really thought of it like that. I certainly wouldn’t want to hurt the old law’s feelings.

    “Marijuana use is currently the leading cause of treatment need for those abusing or dependent on illegal drugs.” -Murray

    I wonder if this has anything to do with current law enforcement efforts? I’m not really sure I find this very convincing if these people were forced into treatment because they got caught.

    By the way, I’m a law student, and I smoke, and it’s all good.

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  97. You Officially Rock!!! says:

    You are officially uber awesome. I’ve been working on a paper about the legalizing of marijuana from an economic standpoint and for the most part my research has only gotten me through the academic journals, however, the material you just listed on your website seems like the missing puzzle piece to my research. Thanks for the help…ing.
    :-)

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  98. You Officially Rock!!! says:

    You are officially uber awesome. I’ve been working on a paper about the legalizing of marijuana from an economic standpoint and for the most part my research has only gotten me through the academic journals, however, the material you just listed on your website seems like the missing puzzle piece to my research. Thanks for the help…ing.
    :-)

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  99. Guevera says:

    Legalizing marijuana would destroy one of the last sectors of the economy that actually works for regular working class people. In the far reaches of economically-depressed Northern California where I grew up it’s the only industry left.

    We used to have timber and fishing industries. Now the old growth forests have been destroyed to line the pockets of Wall Street investors. The salmon fishery has been destroyed by, among other things, water use decisions that benefit big farmers and developers at the expense of both the environment and small-scale fishermen.

    The death of these traditional industries has led to an interesting transformation: people I know that used to be staunchly anti-pot are now growing it because there’s no other way to support their families.

    God forbid marijuana gets legalized and these people get shut down so corporate America can find a new industry to exploit.

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  100. Guevera says:

    Legalizing marijuana would destroy one of the last sectors of the economy that actually works for regular working class people. In the far reaches of economically-depressed Northern California where I grew up it’s the only industry left.

    We used to have timber and fishing industries. Now the old growth forests have been destroyed to line the pockets of Wall Street investors. The salmon fishery has been destroyed by, among other things, water use decisions that benefit big farmers and developers at the expense of both the environment and small-scale fishermen.

    The death of these traditional industries has led to an interesting transformation: people I know that used to be staunchly anti-pot are now growing it because there’s no other way to support their families.

    God forbid marijuana gets legalized and these people get shut down so corporate America can find a new industry to exploit.

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  101. anonymous says:

    Marijauna has different effects on different people. It’s true, some people do become “stupid” but it definitely has positive effects too. I myself smoke almost every day, I am a senior in high school, and I manage a 4.41 GPA, 33 on ACT, 800 on SATII for math and 740 for chemistry. I was high for all of these tests. Now tell me that weed creates losers.

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  102. anonymous says:

    Marijauna has different effects on different people. It’s true, some people do become “stupid” but it definitely has positive effects too. I myself smoke almost every day, I am a senior in high school, and I manage a 4.41 GPA, 33 on ACT, 800 on SATII for math and 740 for chemistry. I was high for all of these tests. Now tell me that weed creates losers.

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  103. MisterGadget says:

    The statements of Dr Dupont and Dr Murray sound as they came from the fairly unbalanced Fox News – we distort, you imbibe. Mr Miller is quite accurate in his description, as the “War on Drugs” has been an abysmal failure at tremendous expense.

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  104. MisterGadget says:

    The statements of Dr Dupont and Dr Murray sound as they came from the fairly unbalanced Fox News – we distort, you imbibe. Mr Miller is quite accurate in his description, as the “War on Drugs” has been an abysmal failure at tremendous expense.

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  105. Mike S says:

    Legalizing drugs in general makes a lot more sense than opponents believe. This is true, because:

    Crime has gone down in countries where drugs were legalized; a great example is marijuana, since it clearly is far less toxic and actually has some use. So many people are arrested each year that if we legalized marijuana, then we would have far less people going into prison or being punished. The benefit is two-fold:

    a) Less cases in court – The court system is irreparably clogged and removing a large number of cases would save money and time.
    b) Less people going into prison – The prisons are overcrowded, and that is an accepted fact. If we spent more on violent crime and the like, then there would be savings in many areas, namely those of technology and training for finding drug use.

    “Legalization of marijuana would lead to more marijuana use, and undermine the current prevention efforts which are reinforced by the force of law.” -Dupont

    I don’t think that this is true because, in post 44, we find this:

    Legalization will not increase use. Use has gone down in the UK since they decriminalized it there in ‘04, according to the British Crime Survey.
    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/bcs1.html

    The reasons go on and on.

    Personally, I think that it doesn’t matter what drugs people do since it’s their own business what they do in their homes. The benefits would be greater if we actually focused on violent crime and the various white-collar crimes that happen every year.

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  106. Mike S says:

    Legalizing drugs in general makes a lot more sense than opponents believe. This is true, because:

    Crime has gone down in countries where drugs were legalized; a great example is marijuana, since it clearly is far less toxic and actually has some use. So many people are arrested each year that if we legalized marijuana, then we would have far less people going into prison or being punished. The benefit is two-fold:

    a) Less cases in court – The court system is irreparably clogged and removing a large number of cases would save money and time.
    b) Less people going into prison – The prisons are overcrowded, and that is an accepted fact. If we spent more on violent crime and the like, then there would be savings in many areas, namely those of technology and training for finding drug use.

    “Legalization of marijuana would lead to more marijuana use, and undermine the current prevention efforts which are reinforced by the force of law.” -Dupont

    I don’t think that this is true because, in post 44, we find this:

    Legalization will not increase use. Use has gone down in the UK since they decriminalized it there in ‘04, according to the British Crime Survey.
    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/bcs1.html

    The reasons go on and on.

    Personally, I think that it doesn’t matter what drugs people do since it’s their own business what they do in their homes. The benefits would be greater if we actually focused on violent crime and the various white-collar crimes that happen every year.

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  107. rl says:

    Rise up, ye weedsmokers. You have only to lose the chains that bind you.

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  108. rl says:

    Rise up, ye weedsmokers. You have only to lose the chains that bind you.

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  109. c. perry says:

    A few years ago we could not let Chrysler fail. A government loan guarantee kept the company afloat. The economic cost of legalizing marijuana would probably be as large a Chrysler failure.
    Growing and distributing weed is a huge and profitable economic force. Hundreds of thousands of people are involved in this enterprise. literally billions of dollars are pumped into the economy but off the books.
    Fighting marijuana takes the efforts of thousands of men and many billions of dollars. Those involved in the fight will oppose legalization forever.
    A huge prison population needs prisons,guards, and services. In some districts of the country these are the best jobs available and prison guards have become an important voting block. Their jobs depend on current marijuana laws.
    The real opposition to a sane policy on marijuana is the large number of people depending on the current laws for their livlihood. Do not expect any change.

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  110. c. perry says:

    A few years ago we could not let Chrysler fail. A government loan guarantee kept the company afloat. The economic cost of legalizing marijuana would probably be as large a Chrysler failure.
    Growing and distributing weed is a huge and profitable economic force. Hundreds of thousands of people are involved in this enterprise. literally billions of dollars are pumped into the economy but off the books.
    Fighting marijuana takes the efforts of thousands of men and many billions of dollars. Those involved in the fight will oppose legalization forever.
    A huge prison population needs prisons,guards, and services. In some districts of the country these are the best jobs available and prison guards have become an important voting block. Their jobs depend on current marijuana laws.
    The real opposition to a sane policy on marijuana is the large number of people depending on the current laws for their livlihood. Do not expect any change.

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  111. J.C. says:

    Legalization would make it harder to for kids to get pot. 12 years ago, when I was in 9th grade (in an extremely safe midwestern suburb),I could have bought pot by lunch time every day of high school, but if I wanted beer, that would take a week of talks with upper classmen who had fake ids or older brothers.
    There was no underground market for beer because there was a legal market for alcohol.
    I also hate the argument that pot is a gateway drug. By outlawing pot, the government forces pot sales and purchases underground into a nefarious world where pot smokers are much more likely to encounter harder drugs and violence than they would be at the 7-11 picking up a six pack, or joint if it was legal. By moving the legal line, and putting pot on the side of beer, the government would send a clear message that this substance is for adults, and other, more dangerous drugs are not healthy under any circumstances. The minute a kid tries pot and they don’t go mad, it undermines the authority figures’ warnings about all drugs, and the distinction between pot and say, coke, easily gets lost on high schoolers. American society allows people to legally hurt themselves, but not others, with alcohol and tobacco, and taxes the hell out of these controlled substances for the benefit of the greater good. Why not partially end an expensive war on drugs and improve or education system with pot taxes rather than forcing a natural market underground to the financial benefit of drug dealers who don’t care if their customers are 40 or 12?

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  112. J.C. says:

    Legalization would make it harder to for kids to get pot. 12 years ago, when I was in 9th grade (in an extremely safe midwestern suburb),I could have bought pot by lunch time every day of high school, but if I wanted beer, that would take a week of talks with upper classmen who had fake ids or older brothers.
    There was no underground market for beer because there was a legal market for alcohol.
    I also hate the argument that pot is a gateway drug. By outlawing pot, the government forces pot sales and purchases underground into a nefarious world where pot smokers are much more likely to encounter harder drugs and violence than they would be at the 7-11 picking up a six pack, or joint if it was legal. By moving the legal line, and putting pot on the side of beer, the government would send a clear message that this substance is for adults, and other, more dangerous drugs are not healthy under any circumstances. The minute a kid tries pot and they don’t go mad, it undermines the authority figures’ warnings about all drugs, and the distinction between pot and say, coke, easily gets lost on high schoolers. American society allows people to legally hurt themselves, but not others, with alcohol and tobacco, and taxes the hell out of these controlled substances for the benefit of the greater good. Why not partially end an expensive war on drugs and improve or education system with pot taxes rather than forcing a natural market underground to the financial benefit of drug dealers who don’t care if their customers are 40 or 12?

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  113. Feshy says:

    My favorite comment is from David Murray. He states that marijuana is the leading cause of drug treatment therapy sessions. Just one paragraph later, he states that incarceration for marijuana is rare, because those accused are regularly sent to drug courts where they are — you guessed it — sentenced to addiction therapy. What a surprise, then, that therapy for its use is on the rise.

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  114. Feshy says:

    My favorite comment is from David Murray. He states that marijuana is the leading cause of drug treatment therapy sessions. Just one paragraph later, he states that incarceration for marijuana is rare, because those accused are regularly sent to drug courts where they are — you guessed it — sentenced to addiction therapy. What a surprise, then, that therapy for its use is on the rise.

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  115. J.C. says:

    Grow your own? Interesting point, the idea that if made legal, most people would grow their own and not contribute to the economy via pot taxes.
    But most people are free to brew their own beer, and the majority of us are much more inclined to stop by a bar or gas station when we want a beer. I think the same would be true with pot. This is America, delayed gratification is not part of the venacular.

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  116. J.C. says:

    Grow your own? Interesting point, the idea that if made legal, most people would grow their own and not contribute to the economy via pot taxes.
    But most people are free to brew their own beer, and the majority of us are much more inclined to stop by a bar or gas station when we want a beer. I think the same would be true with pot. This is America, delayed gratification is not part of the venacular.

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  117. Nick M. says:

    Thank you for another excellent quorum.

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  118. Nick M. says:

    Thank you for another excellent quorum.

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  119. Josh says:

    “the drug for life’s losers”
    Yeah, those really slow-witted ones like Bill Maher and Bill Clinton.

    And Richard Miller pretty much hit the nail on the head.

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  120. Josh says:

    “the drug for life’s losers”
    Yeah, those really slow-witted ones like Bill Maher and Bill Clinton.

    And Richard Miller pretty much hit the nail on the head.

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  121. Chad says:

    The reason marijuana is on the list for emergency room visits is a result of everytime you go to the emergency room the doctor asks you if you have taken any drugs? Marijuana? If your current condition, regardless what it maybe, requires you to go to the emergency room you are going to be honest with your doctor. What really upsets me about that fact is that statistic is getting out. I thought what I report to my doctor is private?

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  122. Chad says:

    The reason marijuana is on the list for emergency room visits is a result of everytime you go to the emergency room the doctor asks you if you have taken any drugs? Marijuana? If your current condition, regardless what it maybe, requires you to go to the emergency room you are going to be honest with your doctor. What really upsets me about that fact is that statistic is getting out. I thought what I report to my doctor is private?

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  123. alex j says:

    My favorite comment was by Robert DuPont when he compared the penalties of possession of marijuana to the penalties of speeding and drunk driving, which I found quite funny actually. He stated that the penalties are mild compared to that of speeding and drunk driving. That statement is a complete lie. Drunk driving does not become a felony until the 3rd or sometimes the 4th time you get caught in every state. That is unless you hurt or kill someone which he states himself that the estimated risk of accident is about 1 in every 2,000 attempts. Speeding is never a felony by itself but can come with different charges depending on how fast you were going, and it would have to be at least a good 50 miles over the speed limit to warrant that kind of legal action. Marijuana can easily be a felony by means of repeat offenders meaning the second time possession offender no matter how much you had or if you even were high when you got caught or by means of the completely idiotic tax stamp law in some states which is just the governments way of taxing something that is illegal because tax stamps do not exist realistically. I also liked the fact that all he talked about were things related to driving consequences, but thats not what the question was focused on. There is no proof of it hurting people when they are not driving, is all speculation and circumstantial. So why don’t they just make it illegal to drive on and make it legal to use. That sounds familiar though, kinda like alcohol. Wait, aren’t there alcohol deaths that don’t involve driving and cars? I believe so, 100 percent more than marijuana because if someone can provide me a case where someone has died of solely a marijuana overdose or of them going crazy then i will flip my opinion and agree with keeping marijuana illegal, but their proof has to be factual like it is with alcohol, not circumstantial or speculation.

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  124. alex j says:

    My favorite comment was by Robert DuPont when he compared the penalties of possession of marijuana to the penalties of speeding and drunk driving, which I found quite funny actually. He stated that the penalties are mild compared to that of speeding and drunk driving. That statement is a complete lie. Drunk driving does not become a felony until the 3rd or sometimes the 4th time you get caught in every state. That is unless you hurt or kill someone which he states himself that the estimated risk of accident is about 1 in every 2,000 attempts. Speeding is never a felony by itself but can come with different charges depending on how fast you were going, and it would have to be at least a good 50 miles over the speed limit to warrant that kind of legal action. Marijuana can easily be a felony by means of repeat offenders meaning the second time possession offender no matter how much you had or if you even were high when you got caught or by means of the completely idiotic tax stamp law in some states which is just the governments way of taxing something that is illegal because tax stamps do not exist realistically. I also liked the fact that all he talked about were things related to driving consequences, but thats not what the question was focused on. There is no proof of it hurting people when they are not driving, is all speculation and circumstantial. So why don’t they just make it illegal to drive on and make it legal to use. That sounds familiar though, kinda like alcohol. Wait, aren’t there alcohol deaths that don’t involve driving and cars? I believe so, 100 percent more than marijuana because if someone can provide me a case where someone has died of solely a marijuana overdose or of them going crazy then i will flip my opinion and agree with keeping marijuana illegal, but their proof has to be factual like it is with alcohol, not circumstantial or speculation.

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  125. smokealotapuss says:

    Overgrow the government.

    The U.S. is trying to extradite Marc Emery from Canada for selling marijuana seeds to U.S. citizens. The Canadians would charge him with a small fine if he was convicted there.

    However, U.S. drug czars are insisting that he be shipped to the U.S. to rot in a cell, possibly for the rest of his life.

    We must end the DEA and the war on drugs! Legalizing and regulating all drugs would fund a universal health care system that would be the envy of the world.

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  126. smokealotapuss says:

    Overgrow the government.

    The U.S. is trying to extradite Marc Emery from Canada for selling marijuana seeds to U.S. citizens. The Canadians would charge him with a small fine if he was convicted there.

    However, U.S. drug czars are insisting that he be shipped to the U.S. to rot in a cell, possibly for the rest of his life.

    We must end the DEA and the war on drugs! Legalizing and regulating all drugs would fund a universal health care system that would be the envy of the world.

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  127. Kip says:

    Instead of focusing on a drug war why don’t we have all this law enforcement stopping white collar crime, eh NY Times Economics enthusiasts? What’s the REAL cause of harm here? Why do we care so much about one and not about the other?

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  128. Kip says:

    Instead of focusing on a drug war why don’t we have all this law enforcement stopping white collar crime, eh NY Times Economics enthusiasts? What’s the REAL cause of harm here? Why do we care so much about one and not about the other?

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  129. Crash says:

    On the day that marijuana is legalized, I shall immediately purchase stock in Phillip Morris, RJ Reynolds, and every other public corporation poised to make billions marketing it to teenagers.

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  130. Crash says:

    On the day that marijuana is legalized, I shall immediately purchase stock in Phillip Morris, RJ Reynolds, and every other public corporation poised to make billions marketing it to teenagers.

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  131. stay smoking says:

    Like Louis Armstrong, I will probably smoke a little bit of pot every day of my life if possible. What I found in graduate school, especially graduate engineering, is that when it came time for homework problems, if I smoked some before, my ability to think abstractly dramatically increased. I found this to be true in finite elements, programming, advanced calculus, computational geometry, vector calculus, you get the picture. Some people can do the same with wine I gather, but that just puts me to sleep. I still find this true today when engaging in a task that is highly abstract in nature.

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  132. stay smoking says:

    Like Louis Armstrong, I will probably smoke a little bit of pot every day of my life if possible. What I found in graduate school, especially graduate engineering, is that when it came time for homework problems, if I smoked some before, my ability to think abstractly dramatically increased. I found this to be true in finite elements, programming, advanced calculus, computational geometry, vector calculus, you get the picture. Some people can do the same with wine I gather, but that just puts me to sleep. I still find this true today when engaging in a task that is highly abstract in nature.

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  133. aaa@gmail.com says:

    Dr. Robert L. DuPont is a jackass, we do have records of speeding killing people, but we do not have records of marijuana killing people and it is used like heck. Nevertheless , alcohol and tobacco do kill people, thousands a year, yet they are legal.

    Legalizing marijuana is just senselessly financing illicit groups.

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  134. aaa@gmail.com says:

    Dr. Robert L. DuPont is a jackass, we do have records of speeding killing people, but we do not have records of marijuana killing people and it is used like heck. Nevertheless , alcohol and tobacco do kill people, thousands a year, yet they are legal.

    Legalizing marijuana is just senselessly financing illicit groups.

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  135. buster says:

    “the drug for life’s losers” as much as a gun is “the death tool of choice for the world’s racists, criminal, insane, and just plain hate mongers”

    GIVE ME A BREAK

    i personally know plenty of business professionals, athletes, and many others who smoke. i do. i’m a business professional a couple years out of college making 6 figures, living in a major city. i don’t think of myself as a loser.

    incredibly, i think the folks in the comment section have stood up against these blatant lies those opposed to legalization are spreading better than the others on the panel.

    miller is pretty right, these people are frustrating, almost as frustrating as a recent encouter with some folks. i was in a bar in the south and i just love how everything “bad” is labeled as a liberal idea and “good” is conservative. this guy also had to tell me how “not racist” he was because he was married to a black woman, and in the next sentence espoused how they would love to see afganistan nuked because they “hate em all.”

    how about critical thinking instead?

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  136. buster says:

    “the drug for life’s losers” as much as a gun is “the death tool of choice for the world’s racists, criminal, insane, and just plain hate mongers”

    GIVE ME A BREAK

    i personally know plenty of business professionals, athletes, and many others who smoke. i do. i’m a business professional a couple years out of college making 6 figures, living in a major city. i don’t think of myself as a loser.

    incredibly, i think the folks in the comment section have stood up against these blatant lies those opposed to legalization are spreading better than the others on the panel.

    miller is pretty right, these people are frustrating, almost as frustrating as a recent encouter with some folks. i was in a bar in the south and i just love how everything “bad” is labeled as a liberal idea and “good” is conservative. this guy also had to tell me how “not racist” he was because he was married to a black woman, and in the next sentence espoused how they would love to see afganistan nuked because they “hate em all.”

    how about critical thinking instead?

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  137. Gadfly says:

    Stoney McStoner: “Marijuana has almost no illeffects when compared to alchol.”

    How does it affect typing?

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  138. Gadfly says:

    Stoney McStoner: “Marijuana has almost no illeffects when compared to alchol.”

    How does it affect typing?

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  139. Ed says:

    Amazing the proportion of pro-marijuana comments in this thread, and so many comments coming in so quickly. You don’t normally see things fill up this fast unless it’s a Q&A. What does this say about the demographic of Freakonomics Blog readers?

    My two cents…I smoked every day in University, while balancing two part-time IT jobs, and graduated on time and with honors in Electrical Engineering. I’ve been a successful engineer for several years now, and yes, I still smoke every day. My wife is also a successful professional, a 4.0 GPA University graduate, and we spark up together. We don’t use tobacco and use alcohol only rarely and in small quantities…no other drug use, no desire to.

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  140. Ed says:

    Amazing the proportion of pro-marijuana comments in this thread, and so many comments coming in so quickly. You don’t normally see things fill up this fast unless it’s a Q&A. What does this say about the demographic of Freakonomics Blog readers?

    My two cents…I smoked every day in University, while balancing two part-time IT jobs, and graduated on time and with honors in Electrical Engineering. I’ve been a successful engineer for several years now, and yes, I still smoke every day. My wife is also a successful professional, a 4.0 GPA University graduate, and we spark up together. We don’t use tobacco and use alcohol only rarely and in small quantities…no other drug use, no desire to.

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  141. Anonymous says:

    i feel no different about marijuana after i smoked it compared to before i smoked it. its like the occasional drink for me, i use it to relax after midterms and finals

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  142. Anonymous says:

    i feel no different about marijuana after i smoked it compared to before i smoked it. its like the occasional drink for me, i use it to relax after midterms and finals

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  143. Char says:

    From a clean slate, I would propose a system of “sin credits” much like carbon credits. We could create a secondary market at the CME and trade these things like pork bellies. Angels with no vices could cash in their sin credits each year providing them with a rebate of the taxes there are indirectly paying for the costs to the system of sin abuse. People that are heavy substance users would just pay more to buy credits on the CME. The government could monitor excessive buyers of credits and offer them substance abuse rehabilitation servcies. Individuals could choose to spend their annual sin credits on any numbers of vices. Administratively, this would require individuals receive and carry a sin card (like a debit card) that is renewed each year. Every time you buy a beer or joint you cash a credit. Retailers would be heavily fined for selling sin substances to an individual without debiting their sin card.

    An interesting challenge would be defining “sins”. Would it just be chemicals that soothe one’s perception of reality or addition items that simply provide physical pleasure (sex-related mainly) or other thrill actions that are potentially harmful to the public broadly (like speeding).

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  144. Char says:

    From a clean slate, I would propose a system of “sin credits” much like carbon credits. We could create a secondary market at the CME and trade these things like pork bellies. Angels with no vices could cash in their sin credits each year providing them with a rebate of the taxes there are indirectly paying for the costs to the system of sin abuse. People that are heavy substance users would just pay more to buy credits on the CME. The government could monitor excessive buyers of credits and offer them substance abuse rehabilitation servcies. Individuals could choose to spend their annual sin credits on any numbers of vices. Administratively, this would require individuals receive and carry a sin card (like a debit card) that is renewed each year. Every time you buy a beer or joint you cash a credit. Retailers would be heavily fined for selling sin substances to an individual without debiting their sin card.

    An interesting challenge would be defining “sins”. Would it just be chemicals that soothe one’s perception of reality or addition items that simply provide physical pleasure (sex-related mainly) or other thrill actions that are potentially harmful to the public broadly (like speeding).

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  145. David says:

    OK, so establishing a consensus on legalization seems to be impossible…

    …so can we work one out on what being ‘a loser’ means?

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  146. David says:

    OK, so establishing a consensus on legalization seems to be impossible…

    …so can we work one out on what being ‘a loser’ means?

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  147. john griffith says:

    Who are these” losers” anyway? Are they the people who took us to war or made corruption in government the norm or trashed the constitution. I don,t drink but I start my day with some smoke and have for about 45 years and I really don,t care what some bureaucrat thinks he knows. We live in an immoral self-righteous dull thinking terrorist country, so what are you going to do?

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  148. john griffith says:

    Who are these” losers” anyway? Are they the people who took us to war or made corruption in government the norm or trashed the constitution. I don,t drink but I start my day with some smoke and have for about 45 years and I really don,t care what some bureaucrat thinks he knows. We live in an immoral self-righteous dull thinking terrorist country, so what are you going to do?

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  149. Justa Bitofun says:

    Since this is a Christian nation we should outlaw everything immoral: weed, drugs, sex, alcohol and cigerettes. Then become a bunch of brain-washed prayer-bot Bushies!

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  150. Justa Bitofun says:

    Since this is a Christian nation we should outlaw everything immoral: weed, drugs, sex, alcohol and cigerettes. Then become a bunch of brain-washed prayer-bot Bushies!

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  151. dersk says:

    This is the only argument you need for legalizing weed and criminalizing alcohol: we’d then have the Department of WTF.

    This must be done.

    dersk, living in Amsterdam, where despite our (well, their) laws marijuana usage is actually lower than in any of the bordering countries.

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  152. dersk says:

    This is the only argument you need for legalizing weed and criminalizing alcohol: we’d then have the Department of WTF.

    This must be done.

    dersk, living in Amsterdam, where despite our (well, their) laws marijuana usage is actually lower than in any of the bordering countries.

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  153. dersk says:

    By the way, a data point on freakouts, etc.: I’ve had several people visit me out here in Amsterdam and eat space cake (basically hash pound cake). Because it takes so much longer to hit the brain compared to smoking, they’ve ended up ingesting WAY more than intended. Resulted in several hours of “no, you’re not going crazy, you’ll feel fine in the morning, now drink some water.” Scary for the person involved, but was fine the next day and made the flight back to middle America.

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  154. dersk says:

    By the way, a data point on freakouts, etc.: I’ve had several people visit me out here in Amsterdam and eat space cake (basically hash pound cake). Because it takes so much longer to hit the brain compared to smoking, they’ve ended up ingesting WAY more than intended. Resulted in several hours of “no, you’re not going crazy, you’ll feel fine in the morning, now drink some water.” Scary for the person involved, but was fine the next day and made the flight back to middle America.

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  155. G says:

    J.C. is right that the big problem with marijuana being illegal is that it provides access to an illegal drug market not limited to marijuana. If you know someone you can buy pot from, you probably know someone or can easily find someone to get coke, heroin, etc from too.

    Regarding DuPont’s analogy, speeding laws are not analogous to marijuana laws because speeding is regulated whereas marijuana is prohibited. In order to be analogous to the current situation with marijuana, driving should be completely prohibited to prevent speeding. Of course if all driving could be prevented, there would be no speeding, right? In fact, if he did present the analogy accurately, it would make a good argument for marijuana legalization because drivers and driving are also highly regulated and likely safer because of it. So, by analogy, regulation of a behavior engaged in by millions of people makes more sense than blind prohibition.

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  156. G says:

    J.C. is right that the big problem with marijuana being illegal is that it provides access to an illegal drug market not limited to marijuana. If you know someone you can buy pot from, you probably know someone or can easily find someone to get coke, heroin, etc from too.

    Regarding DuPont’s analogy, speeding laws are not analogous to marijuana laws because speeding is regulated whereas marijuana is prohibited. In order to be analogous to the current situation with marijuana, driving should be completely prohibited to prevent speeding. Of course if all driving could be prevented, there would be no speeding, right? In fact, if he did present the analogy accurately, it would make a good argument for marijuana legalization because drivers and driving are also highly regulated and likely safer because of it. So, by analogy, regulation of a behavior engaged in by millions of people makes more sense than blind prohibition.

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  157. Colleen McCool says:

    Cut the drug cartels’ throats by legalizing and regulating distribution. It would immediately cut off the major source of funding for terrorists worldwide and would increase our tax base instead of draining it.

    Restore justice in America; construct science based drug policies about saving and rehabilitating instead of ruining lives. Drug and alcohol abuse is a disease not a criminal activity.

    The tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceuticals gangs deal drugs that kill many more annually than all
    illicit drugs. We tolerate their salesmen!

    Across the US last year 40% of the murders, almost 60% of the rapes and about half of the aggravated assaults went unsolved. The cumulative effect
    of this is horrendous. While we police individual recreational and medicinal use of drugs; murderers and violent sexual predators roam free.

    Save the American Dream of self-government; free of tyranny and oppression! Get tough on violent crime, warriors can earn their pay and get their
    adrenalin rush catching murderers and violent sexual predators.

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  158. Colleen McCool says:

    Cut the drug cartels’ throats by legalizing and regulating distribution. It would immediately cut off the major source of funding for terrorists worldwide and would increase our tax base instead of draining it.

    Restore justice in America; construct science based drug policies about saving and rehabilitating instead of ruining lives. Drug and alcohol abuse is a disease not a criminal activity.

    The tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceuticals gangs deal drugs that kill many more annually than all
    illicit drugs. We tolerate their salesmen!

    Across the US last year 40% of the murders, almost 60% of the rapes and about half of the aggravated assaults went unsolved. The cumulative effect
    of this is horrendous. While we police individual recreational and medicinal use of drugs; murderers and violent sexual predators roam free.

    Save the American Dream of self-government; free of tyranny and oppression! Get tough on violent crime, warriors can earn their pay and get their
    adrenalin rush catching murderers and violent sexual predators.

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  159. Steve says:

    I agree with Richard Miller. Cannabis users, medical or otherwise have to face the fact that they are a permanent crimminal class in this country.

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  160. Steve says:

    I agree with Richard Miller. Cannabis users, medical or otherwise have to face the fact that they are a permanent crimminal class in this country.

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  161. w says:

    While it hurts me to think how right Miller is on this, I am also a little heartened by the flipside of his argument.

    One reason that policy hasn’t changed in the past forty years is because of a general social inertia, much like the case with gay marriage. No amount of facts have changed either of these policies (those facts: gay parents are just as good as straight parents and marijuana prohibition fails). I would imagine that the poll numbers are similar for these two issues in that, the younger you are, the more likely you are to support the more liberal policy. There is a majority of opinion that keeps marijuana prohibition in effect not because they all really, truly fear it, but because the proportion of those voting who have had positive first-hand experience with marijuana is only now rising to a level where it can influence policy.

    I think that it’s not the prohibitionists who are really keeping it illegal, but rather the vast but dwindling number of Americans who don’t have enough first-hand experience with marijuana to A) have any desire to see laws change or B) have the knowledge to definitively refute the rationale for prohibition.

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  162. w says:

    While it hurts me to think how right Miller is on this, I am also a little heartened by the flipside of his argument.

    One reason that policy hasn’t changed in the past forty years is because of a general social inertia, much like the case with gay marriage. No amount of facts have changed either of these policies (those facts: gay parents are just as good as straight parents and marijuana prohibition fails). I would imagine that the poll numbers are similar for these two issues in that, the younger you are, the more likely you are to support the more liberal policy. There is a majority of opinion that keeps marijuana prohibition in effect not because they all really, truly fear it, but because the proportion of those voting who have had positive first-hand experience with marijuana is only now rising to a level where it can influence policy.

    I think that it’s not the prohibitionists who are really keeping it illegal, but rather the vast but dwindling number of Americans who don’t have enough first-hand experience with marijuana to A) have any desire to see laws change or B) have the knowledge to definitively refute the rationale for prohibition.

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  163. Frank says:

    I don’t have any empirical evidence to refute Murray’s claim that use by young people has decreased 25% in the past 5 yrs, but based on personal experiences I would seriously doubt this. I am a college student and can count on one hand the amount of people I know who haven’t smoked atleast 1 time. I am not saying that marijuana needs to be decriminalized, but it its hypocritical to legalize alcohol, while marijuana remains illegal

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  164. Frank says:

    I don’t have any empirical evidence to refute Murray’s claim that use by young people has decreased 25% in the past 5 yrs, but based on personal experiences I would seriously doubt this. I am a college student and can count on one hand the amount of people I know who haven’t smoked atleast 1 time. I am not saying that marijuana needs to be decriminalized, but it its hypocritical to legalize alcohol, while marijuana remains illegal

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  165. jose says:

    Vote for Ron Paul.

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  166. jose says:

    Vote for Ron Paul.

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  167. Charles says:

    I’m just sitting here looking forward to the day when the Government ceases to be a diaper changing service. I have a problem with being told in a supposed free country what I cannot stuff in my face, whether that be chicken nuggets, reefer, or fermented hops when I’m 16.

    It’s pointless to the extent of becoming comedy to engage in this type of prohibition. It forces this stuff underground, and slumming in the underground becomes a right of passage. I personally enjoyed the challenge of illicit alcohol acquisition, storage, distribution, and celebratory consumption right up to the age of 21 when the fun suddenly disappeared. I do have to say that one positive externality of these bogus laws was to create an environment conducive to critical thinking, developing political leadership skills, and overall creativity. It’s a shame that the sword cuts both ways turning great people into criminals for wanting to smoke and drink chicken nuggets, as well as providing a market for the true slugs of society to operate within.

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  168. Charles says:

    I’m just sitting here looking forward to the day when the Government ceases to be a diaper changing service. I have a problem with being told in a supposed free country what I cannot stuff in my face, whether that be chicken nuggets, reefer, or fermented hops when I’m 16.

    It’s pointless to the extent of becoming comedy to engage in this type of prohibition. It forces this stuff underground, and slumming in the underground becomes a right of passage. I personally enjoyed the challenge of illicit alcohol acquisition, storage, distribution, and celebratory consumption right up to the age of 21 when the fun suddenly disappeared. I do have to say that one positive externality of these bogus laws was to create an environment conducive to critical thinking, developing political leadership skills, and overall creativity. It’s a shame that the sword cuts both ways turning great people into criminals for wanting to smoke and drink chicken nuggets, as well as providing a market for the true slugs of society to operate within.

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  169. Mani says:

    I’m curious how one measures the “cost” of “lost productivity” due to various intoxicants – and how marijuana use compares, on that scale, to alcohol, lack of sleep from over-working, caffeine dependency, stress from relationships or holidays, et cetera.

    I also find DuPont’s (IIRC) alcohol/tobacco argument interesting: “Keeping alcohol and cigarettes from children via prohibition has been ineffective – therefore the only way to keep marijuana from children is prohibition!”

    Equally dubious are the claims that THC is a potent or useful agent for expanding consciousness and general psychic “enhancement” – again, how is this measured? A stoned person may “feel” more perceptive, just as a cracked-out person may “feel” on top of the world; perceptions are not direct indicators of reality.

    Arguing that marijuana use will put you at higher risk to engage in more harmful substances is a perversion of causality that is an outright lie at best, and ignorance a grade-schooler could see through at worst: The fact that marijuana users may proportionally use other illicit substances more often than their counterparts does not show any causal relationship between those statistics due to any properties of the drug itself.

    It’s possible that the majority of those acquiring marijuana are in more situations to acquire other substances as well. It’s possible that marijuana appeals to a subset of people already predisposed towards experimenting with psychoactives.

    It’s also positive that the willingness to obtain illicit substances is goaded by the prohibition of marijuana: Experience is louder than authority. If you are told for years that a substance is potently life-ruining, and find out first-hand that it is not – how likely are you to trust the people who told you it was life-ruining about the rest of the suspect substances on their roster?

    And while we’re tallying fallacies, let’s not forget to include “I used to be [pro/anti], and now I’m [the other] – clearly this means I’m wiser and therefore correct!”

    I yearn for the day when both “sides” grow up or shut up. In any reasonable scenario, the only instance of “sides” at all would be on subjective positions of morality – not (mis)representation of objective facts. The reality, highlighted repeatedly in this post and its comments, that the majority of vocal contenders on either “side” aren’t responsible enough to be objective and accurate in the first place is shameful.

    And it is the reason this issue won’t be meaningfully “resolved” in the forseeable future, barring societal revolutions in opinion on par with those of the 1960′s.

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  170. Mani says:

    I’m curious how one measures the “cost” of “lost productivity” due to various intoxicants – and how marijuana use compares, on that scale, to alcohol, lack of sleep from over-working, caffeine dependency, stress from relationships or holidays, et cetera.

    I also find DuPont’s (IIRC) alcohol/tobacco argument interesting: “Keeping alcohol and cigarettes from children via prohibition has been ineffective – therefore the only way to keep marijuana from children is prohibition!”

    Equally dubious are the claims that THC is a potent or useful agent for expanding consciousness and general psychic “enhancement” – again, how is this measured? A stoned person may “feel” more perceptive, just as a cracked-out person may “feel” on top of the world; perceptions are not direct indicators of reality.

    Arguing that marijuana use will put you at higher risk to engage in more harmful substances is a perversion of causality that is an outright lie at best, and ignorance a grade-schooler could see through at worst: The fact that marijuana users may proportionally use other illicit substances more often than their counterparts does not show any causal relationship between those statistics due to any properties of the drug itself.

    It’s possible that the majority of those acquiring marijuana are in more situations to acquire other substances as well. It’s possible that marijuana appeals to a subset of people already predisposed towards experimenting with psychoactives.

    It’s also positive that the willingness to obtain illicit substances is goaded by the prohibition of marijuana: Experience is louder than authority. If you are told for years that a substance is potently life-ruining, and find out first-hand that it is not – how likely are you to trust the people who told you it was life-ruining about the rest of the suspect substances on their roster?

    And while we’re tallying fallacies, let’s not forget to include “I used to be [pro/anti], and now I’m [the other] – clearly this means I’m wiser and therefore correct!”

    I yearn for the day when both “sides” grow up or shut up. In any reasonable scenario, the only instance of “sides” at all would be on subjective positions of morality – not (mis)representation of objective facts. The reality, highlighted repeatedly in this post and its comments, that the majority of vocal contenders on either “side” aren’t responsible enough to be objective and accurate in the first place is shameful.

    And it is the reason this issue won’t be meaningfully “resolved” in the forseeable future, barring societal revolutions in opinion on par with those of the 1960′s.

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  171. John Thomas says:

    W

    You are right to a large degree. EVERYONE who is not part of the solution is part of the problem. The destruction of over 800,000 lives EVERY year is on all of their hands.

    Wake up Amerika and stop this persecution before it turns into genocide. Bush and others are already trying to equate marijuana consumers with terrorists!

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  172. John Thomas says:

    W

    You are right to a large degree. EVERYONE who is not part of the solution is part of the problem. The destruction of over 800,000 lives EVERY year is on all of their hands.

    Wake up Amerika and stop this persecution before it turns into genocide. Bush and others are already trying to equate marijuana consumers with terrorists!

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  173. Proud felon says:

    I’ve read all of this commentary to this point, and one thing seems evident…most response is in favor of Miller. Credibility…good. Cynical…yes. I think that after the cynicism , comes change… inertially speaking.

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  174. Proud felon says:

    I’ve read all of this commentary to this point, and one thing seems evident…most response is in favor of Miller. Credibility…good. Cynical…yes. I think that after the cynicism , comes change… inertially speaking.

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  175. Nick (http://ichooseto.blogspot.com/) says:

    The fact of the matter is the government is subsidized by billion dollar companies that stand to lose way too much by the legalization of marijuana. Hemp production would skyrocket, as would all of the wonderfully useful byproducts of hemp. Aside from the medicinal (and consciousness raising) value of cannabis; paper, rope, clothing, and many other items would be cheaply and easily harvested. Hmm, government forbid there could be a whole lot of good come from this.

    This is sadly another example of greed of the few destroying means to benefit the many.

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  176. Nick (http://ichooseto.blogspot.com/) says:

    The fact of the matter is the government is subsidized by billion dollar companies that stand to lose way too much by the legalization of marijuana. Hemp production would skyrocket, as would all of the wonderfully useful byproducts of hemp. Aside from the medicinal (and consciousness raising) value of cannabis; paper, rope, clothing, and many other items would be cheaply and easily harvested. Hmm, government forbid there could be a whole lot of good come from this.

    This is sadly another example of greed of the few destroying means to benefit the many.

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  177. Mason says:

    It appears that the ‘international treaties’ DuPont references were drafted under significant pressure from the United States. Not to mention that this was 1925 and scientific understanding of marijuana was limited. To argue against legalization by blindly saying that ‘treaties don’t allow it’ is obscuring the dubious origins of the agreements that can be changed today in the same manner as laws, given the support of the nation from which they orginated.

    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/aus/can_ch3.htm

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  178. Mason says:

    It appears that the ‘international treaties’ DuPont references were drafted under significant pressure from the United States. Not to mention that this was 1925 and scientific understanding of marijuana was limited. To argue against legalization by blindly saying that ‘treaties don’t allow it’ is obscuring the dubious origins of the agreements that can be changed today in the same manner as laws, given the support of the nation from which they orginated.

    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/aus/can_ch3.htm

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  179. John says:

    All of the people who argued against marijuana legalization in the article made no comparison of marijuana to alcohol. They couldn’t. Alcohol is far more dangerous than marijuana: you can overdose and die from alcohol, driving under the influence of alcohol is much more difficult than driving while high (trust me), alcohol has much worse long term health effects, and alcohol is much more likely to induce uncontrollable violent impulses.

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  180. John says:

    All of the people who argued against marijuana legalization in the article made no comparison of marijuana to alcohol. They couldn’t. Alcohol is far more dangerous than marijuana: you can overdose and die from alcohol, driving under the influence of alcohol is much more difficult than driving while high (trust me), alcohol has much worse long term health effects, and alcohol is much more likely to induce uncontrollable violent impulses.

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  181. Mason says:

    Here are some of the more recent treaties:

    “The international treaties relating to cannabis are the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 and the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Vienna Convention).”

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  182. Mason says:

    Here are some of the more recent treaties:

    “The international treaties relating to cannabis are the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 and the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Vienna Convention).”

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  183. Zach says:

    I could type pages explaining the half-truths and post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning on the anti-legalization advocates, but the bottom line is that in a free society we are allowed to take personal risks. Although I am, to say the least, unconvinced that marijuana will turn you into a schizophrenic and put you in the emergency room, I will admit that it might cause, say, a lower academic or work performance in the average individual. Would the overall effect on the economy end up costing more than the billions we spend keeping it illegal, the loss of productivity by those who are arrested, and the opportunity cost we lose by not taxing it? Who knows, but if it is, this seems to be all the cause that some individuals need to start arresting people, for daring to choose personal pleasure over maximizing the nation’s overall productivity. I, on the other hand, would prefer that America be a society in which we possess personal liberties and are not thrown in jail for disrespecting the common good.

    Most anti-legalization advocates repeatedly refer back to the effect of marijuana on children. However, no advocate of decriminalization would suggest allowing underage sale, and, while we may not be able to keep alcohol out of the hands of the youth. As a young person I can tell you that it is far easier to obtain marijuana in high school than alcohol. You need a fake ID or a willing 21 year olf to buy alcohol, which, as a regulated good, is only sold in specific locations that are licensed and risk great loss if they violate the rules. All you need to buy marijuana is a few bucks, because it is sold by all kinds of people, including teenagers, who face penalties anyway. The idea that having banned marijuana is successful in reducing youth access to it is laughable. The point is, if we decriminalize marijuana it will still be illegal for children.

    Likewise, it will still be illegal to drive stoned, just as the legality of alcohol does not mean that drunk driving is legal. To keep marijuan illegal for this purpose makes no more sense than repealing the 21st ammendment in order to reduce drunk driving.

    I like to believe that we are basically rational people, and that most of us who hold down jobs and pay mortgages will not all go out and get stoned all the time just because we are allowed to. In fact, the percentage of the Dutch who smoke marijuana is lower than the percentage of Americans, despite the fact marijuana is essentially legal in the Netherlands. Holland is an example of a western,, civilized nation that did not fall to pieces in the way that anti-legalization advocates imagine we will when it legalized pot. This example is probably the best evidence of the benefits of decriminalization – it has already happened, and worked.

    So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    So put that in your pipe

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  184. Zach says:

    I could type pages explaining the half-truths and post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning on the anti-legalization advocates, but the bottom line is that in a free society we are allowed to take personal risks. Although I am, to say the least, unconvinced that marijuana will turn you into a schizophrenic and put you in the emergency room, I will admit that it might cause, say, a lower academic or work performance in the average individual. Would the overall effect on the economy end up costing more than the billions we spend keeping it illegal, the loss of productivity by those who are arrested, and the opportunity cost we lose by not taxing it? Who knows, but if it is, this seems to be all the cause that some individuals need to start arresting people, for daring to choose personal pleasure over maximizing the nation’s overall productivity. I, on the other hand, would prefer that America be a society in which we possess personal liberties and are not thrown in jail for disrespecting the common good.

    Most anti-legalization advocates repeatedly refer back to the effect of marijuana on children. However, no advocate of decriminalization would suggest allowing underage sale, and, while we may not be able to keep alcohol out of the hands of the youth. As a young person I can tell you that it is far easier to obtain marijuana in high school than alcohol. You need a fake ID or a willing 21 year olf to buy alcohol, which, as a regulated good, is only sold in specific locations that are licensed and risk great loss if they violate the rules. All you need to buy marijuana is a few bucks, because it is sold by all kinds of people, including teenagers, who face penalties anyway. The idea that having banned marijuana is successful in reducing youth access to it is laughable. The point is, if we decriminalize marijuana it will still be illegal for children.

    Likewise, it will still be illegal to drive stoned, just as the legality of alcohol does not mean that drunk driving is legal. To keep marijuan illegal for this purpose makes no more sense than repealing the 21st ammendment in order to reduce drunk driving.

    I like to believe that we are basically rational people, and that most of us who hold down jobs and pay mortgages will not all go out and get stoned all the time just because we are allowed to. In fact, the percentage of the Dutch who smoke marijuana is lower than the percentage of Americans, despite the fact marijuana is essentially legal in the Netherlands. Holland is an example of a western,, civilized nation that did not fall to pieces in the way that anti-legalization advocates imagine we will when it legalized pot. This example is probably the best evidence of the benefits of decriminalization – it has already happened, and worked.

    So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    So put that in your pipe

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  185. Omar says:

    I highly recommend the Book Prescription Pot (by McMahon and Largen) I was able to attend a lecture by the one of the authors who is one of seven people who receive 300 marijuana joints a month from the US government. He is a living example that 1) marijuana is a valuable medicine and 2) the government knows this yet denies its benefits to people who could be saved by this drug.

    http://www.amazon.com/Prescription-Pot-Advocates-Legalize-Marijuana/dp/0882822403/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-0194659-2457647?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193846611&sr=8-1

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  186. Omar says:

    I highly recommend the Book Prescription Pot (by McMahon and Largen) I was able to attend a lecture by the one of the authors who is one of seven people who receive 300 marijuana joints a month from the US government. He is a living example that 1) marijuana is a valuable medicine and 2) the government knows this yet denies its benefits to people who could be saved by this drug.

    http://www.amazon.com/Prescription-Pot-Advocates-Legalize-Marijuana/dp/0882822403/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-0194659-2457647?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193846611&sr=8-1

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  187. Sparky says:

    This is a case of “divide and conquer”, and it’s working quite well. Until a leader puts together a group, consisting of every available expert (including reformers and excluding those who have a history of mass child abuse), we will never implement an effective solution to the world’s drug problem. Unfortunately, there are a few (you know who you are) who are able to convince those in power that the reformers are bent on selling heroin to pre-schoolers.

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  188. Sparky says:

    This is a case of “divide and conquer”, and it’s working quite well. Until a leader puts together a group, consisting of every available expert (including reformers and excluding those who have a history of mass child abuse), we will never implement an effective solution to the world’s drug problem. Unfortunately, there are a few (you know who you are) who are able to convince those in power that the reformers are bent on selling heroin to pre-schoolers.

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  189. econ2econ says:

    The History Channel had a good series on the history of drugs. One of the interestesting things pointed out was that often drugs were banned because of their association with certain racial groups (opium with Chinese immigrants, marijuana with Hispanic immigrants and African Americans). The current war on crack is highly race-related. I think if MJ and alcohol were discovered today, you would probably see it treated much like crack (which is a recent drug to the market); if “undesirables” are doing it, ban it.

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  190. econ2econ says:

    The History Channel had a good series on the history of drugs. One of the interestesting things pointed out was that often drugs were banned because of their association with certain racial groups (opium with Chinese immigrants, marijuana with Hispanic immigrants and African Americans). The current war on crack is highly race-related. I think if MJ and alcohol were discovered today, you would probably see it treated much like crack (which is a recent drug to the market); if “undesirables” are doing it, ban it.

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  191. Rasmus says:

    I live in The Netherlands where smoking marijuana is legal to some degree. There has not been a single fatality in this country because of this. Of course there are many thousands of deaths because of alcohol but somehow that is a different issue. Having also lived in the US and in France, I can say that teenagers in those countries are much more facinated by marijuana that the teenagers in The Netherlands. It is simply more cool when it is forbidden.
    There is one disturbing trend with marijuana and that is that professional growers (illegal in The Netherlands) have created marijuana with much higher levels of THC than previously. This makes the drug much more powerful. However, there was also a just completed study at a Dutch university claiming no effects on memory as seen by a fMRI scanner. I would like to see some more research into these new types so I can learn about the possible side-effects.

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  192. Rasmus says:

    I live in The Netherlands where smoking marijuana is legal to some degree. There has not been a single fatality in this country because of this. Of course there are many thousands of deaths because of alcohol but somehow that is a different issue. Having also lived in the US and in France, I can say that teenagers in those countries are much more facinated by marijuana that the teenagers in The Netherlands. It is simply more cool when it is forbidden.
    There is one disturbing trend with marijuana and that is that professional growers (illegal in The Netherlands) have created marijuana with much higher levels of THC than previously. This makes the drug much more powerful. However, there was also a just completed study at a Dutch university claiming no effects on memory as seen by a fMRI scanner. I would like to see some more research into these new types so I can learn about the possible side-effects.

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  193. SKM says:

    For the record, I hold a libertarian view and believe that only activities that directly harm others be criminalized.

    DuPont provides his speeding analogy and later criticizes legalization advocates of failing to define the terms of legalization. However, it is DuPont, in his speeding analogy, who tries to get away with conflating the terms decriminalization and legalization.

    Whether or not one believes that pot should be legalized, it is clear that it should be decriminalized. The criminality attached to marijuana use (and all drug use, for that matter) is the major problem.

    Why shouldn’t marijuana possession, like speeding, simply earn a civil penalty rather than a criminal one? Wouldn’t that solve DuPont’s problem of condoning marijuana usage by legalizing it? The government has other instruments of disfavoring certain activity without criminalization. Continuing with the speeding example, if speeding were to lead to another’s death, then the speeder may be held criminally liable for some level of homicide (i.e., negligent homicide, manslaughter, etc.). Likewise, the government could easily make the mere possession of marijuana a civil infraction, thereby showing its disapproval without ruining the lives of those who make the personal choice of marijuana usage. Imagine being taken to jail for going 10 miles over the limit…

    Receiving a criminal ticket for marijuana possession in any amount can prevent one obtaining a job or admission to school. A single infraction, by law, prevents a student from receiving any federal financial aid. These penalties are extremely disproportionate given the activity being punished.

    DuPont is quick to determine that criminalization is the only means of not condoning marijuana usage, even though by his own analogy civil penalties successfully curb speeding. His is the narrow-minded logic that guides government drug policy.

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  194. SKM says:

    For the record, I hold a libertarian view and believe that only activities that directly harm others be criminalized.

    DuPont provides his speeding analogy and later criticizes legalization advocates of failing to define the terms of legalization. However, it is DuPont, in his speeding analogy, who tries to get away with conflating the terms decriminalization and legalization.

    Whether or not one believes that pot should be legalized, it is clear that it should be decriminalized. The criminality attached to marijuana use (and all drug use, for that matter) is the major problem.

    Why shouldn’t marijuana possession, like speeding, simply earn a civil penalty rather than a criminal one? Wouldn’t that solve DuPont’s problem of condoning marijuana usage by legalizing it? The government has other instruments of disfavoring certain activity without criminalization. Continuing with the speeding example, if speeding were to lead to another’s death, then the speeder may be held criminally liable for some level of homicide (i.e., negligent homicide, manslaughter, etc.). Likewise, the government could easily make the mere possession of marijuana a civil infraction, thereby showing its disapproval without ruining the lives of those who make the personal choice of marijuana usage. Imagine being taken to jail for going 10 miles over the limit…

    Receiving a criminal ticket for marijuana possession in any amount can prevent one obtaining a job or admission to school. A single infraction, by law, prevents a student from receiving any federal financial aid. These penalties are extremely disproportionate given the activity being punished.

    DuPont is quick to determine that criminalization is the only means of not condoning marijuana usage, even though by his own analogy civil penalties successfully curb speeding. His is the narrow-minded logic that guides government drug policy.

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  195. Claire says:

    I smoke pot both recreationally and for it’s medicinal effects for MS. Like others in this forum, I am successful (under 40 and 6 figure income) and when I run out, I run out. No withdrawl symptoms. I describe the effects of pot to be quite gentle and I have never had a bad experience or hangover from it. I have never once blacked out, regardless of how much I took in one sitting, or ended up regretting something I did while high. This continued prohibition has no merit. When will the American public rise up to finally denounce this unfair prosecution?

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  196. Claire says:

    I smoke pot both recreationally and for it’s medicinal effects for MS. Like others in this forum, I am successful (under 40 and 6 figure income) and when I run out, I run out. No withdrawl symptoms. I describe the effects of pot to be quite gentle and I have never had a bad experience or hangover from it. I have never once blacked out, regardless of how much I took in one sitting, or ended up regretting something I did while high. This continued prohibition has no merit. When will the American public rise up to finally denounce this unfair prosecution?

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  197. Ryan Concannon says:

    The title of my thesis for the Economics department was “The Potential Economic Effects of the Decriminalization of Marijuana.” There is far too much that can be written on the topic to fit neatly into a Blog comment. But, briefly, one part of the paper was a comparative statistical analysis on drug use in the United States and the Netherlands, where marijuana is de facto legalized (cannot be fully legalized because of a 1961 United Nations Treaty, sponsored by the United States, stating that any country wanting to be a part of the UN must not legalize marijuana. This is the international treaty Dr. Dupont cites). My findings were that percentage wise more Americans have tried marijuana and more smoke it on a monthly basis than in a country where coffee shops sell weed over the counter to adults over the age of 18. A greater percentage of Americans has also tried harder drugs. Without getting into it further, the conclusion of the ninety page thesis was that the costs of Marijuana prohibition (societal and fiscal) far outweigh the potential benefits (which have yet to be realized), and that the policy needs to be rewritten. Sadly, as Dr. Miller correctly states, studies and facts will accomplish nothing in this debate. Marijuana has long suffered an intense public smear campaign, and until public sentiment shifts favorably towards marijuana, public policy change will not happen.

    On a sidenote, as I retained objectivity throughout the paper, I will now offer an opinion. Having grown up in the ‘Just Say No to Drugs’ culture, I was taught by the government that marijuana is wholly and irrevocably evil. Once I tried it and realized that this was not the case, (I didn’t lose my mind or my soul and heroin did not seem like a great idea, but I did laugh a lot and had a swell time watching the 4th of July fireworks) I began to question everything else I had been told about drugs. Maybe this is the reason that Marijuana is considered a gateway drug.

    (Which, by the way, those infamous studies have shown that most drug users start with tobacco and alcohol. Before the legal age of consumption.)

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  198. Ryan Concannon says:

    The title of my thesis for the Economics department was “The Potential Economic Effects of the Decriminalization of Marijuana.” There is far too much that can be written on the topic to fit neatly into a Blog comment. But, briefly, one part of the paper was a comparative statistical analysis on drug use in the United States and the Netherlands, where marijuana is de facto legalized (cannot be fully legalized because of a 1961 United Nations Treaty, sponsored by the United States, stating that any country wanting to be a part of the UN must not legalize marijuana. This is the international treaty Dr. Dupont cites). My findings were that percentage wise more Americans have tried marijuana and more smoke it on a monthly basis than in a country where coffee shops sell weed over the counter to adults over the age of 18. A greater percentage of Americans has also tried harder drugs. Without getting into it further, the conclusion of the ninety page thesis was that the costs of Marijuana prohibition (societal and fiscal) far outweigh the potential benefits (which have yet to be realized), and that the policy needs to be rewritten. Sadly, as Dr. Miller correctly states, studies and facts will accomplish nothing in this debate. Marijuana has long suffered an intense public smear campaign, and until public sentiment shifts favorably towards marijuana, public policy change will not happen.

    On a sidenote, as I retained objectivity throughout the paper, I will now offer an opinion. Having grown up in the ‘Just Say No to Drugs’ culture, I was taught by the government that marijuana is wholly and irrevocably evil. Once I tried it and realized that this was not the case, (I didn’t lose my mind or my soul and heroin did not seem like a great idea, but I did laugh a lot and had a swell time watching the 4th of July fireworks) I began to question everything else I had been told about drugs. Maybe this is the reason that Marijuana is considered a gateway drug.

    (Which, by the way, those infamous studies have shown that most drug users start with tobacco and alcohol. Before the legal age of consumption.)

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  199. Adam says:

    Great Article.

    When the cards are shown, it seems clear that the con folk either are perpetually bluffing — to keep their jobs — or painfully ignorant about the history and science of this plant.

    We are spending 10-12 billion dollars a year arresting people for marijuana, instead of arresting violent criminals. That is messed up.

    There are more marijuana arrests than arrests for all violent crime combined? These are remarkable statistics!

    No wonder so many violent crimes go unsolved: our law enforcement seems too busy busting mostly adults for what DEA Judge Francis Young concluded was “one of the safest therapeutic substances known to man.”

    An absurd and unconscionable misuse of our resources.

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  200. Adam says:

    Great Article.

    When the cards are shown, it seems clear that the con folk either are perpetually bluffing — to keep their jobs — or painfully ignorant about the history and science of this plant.

    We are spending 10-12 billion dollars a year arresting people for marijuana, instead of arresting violent criminals. That is messed up.

    There are more marijuana arrests than arrests for all violent crime combined? These are remarkable statistics!

    No wonder so many violent crimes go unsolved: our law enforcement seems too busy busting mostly adults for what DEA Judge Francis Young concluded was “one of the safest therapeutic substances known to man.”

    An absurd and unconscionable misuse of our resources.

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  201. funkyj says:

    Marijuana users … ” are also at significantly higher risk for developing dependency on other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.”

    The same could be said for tobacco and alcohol users.

    It would be one thing if the anti marijuana folks were consistent and also wanted to prohibit our currently legal recreational drugs (alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, viagra). I don’t agree with this approach but at least it could claim some consistency. Saying marijuana should stay illegal and not fighting to institute alcohol prohibition is ridiculous and hypocritical.

    I’ve heard that heavy esspresso drinkers are at higher risk of becoming meth users. Should we prohibit the dangerous substance known as coffee?

    Miller is correct. The War on Drugs is a political tool used to subvert true democracy.

    Oh, and for the record: I have tried marijuana in my youth but it didn’t take. All of my favorite recreational drugs (alcohol and caffeine) are perfectly legal (I’m high on a double cappuccino right now :^)

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  202. funkyj says:

    Marijuana users … ” are also at significantly higher risk for developing dependency on other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.”

    The same could be said for tobacco and alcohol users.

    It would be one thing if the anti marijuana folks were consistent and also wanted to prohibit our currently legal recreational drugs (alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, viagra). I don’t agree with this approach but at least it could claim some consistency. Saying marijuana should stay illegal and not fighting to institute alcohol prohibition is ridiculous and hypocritical.

    I’ve heard that heavy esspresso drinkers are at higher risk of becoming meth users. Should we prohibit the dangerous substance known as coffee?

    Miller is correct. The War on Drugs is a political tool used to subvert true democracy.

    Oh, and for the record: I have tried marijuana in my youth but it didn’t take. All of my favorite recreational drugs (alcohol and caffeine) are perfectly legal (I’m high on a double cappuccino right now :^)

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  203. Gus says:

    Pretty typical discussion in that there are facts on the reform side and flawed analogies and hysterical predictions of what legalization would do on the prohibition side. Dr. DuPont (any chance he’s related to the chemical giant family that lobbied to make weed illegal in the first place?) says that there is no model for the legalization process. He conveniently forgets that it was legal in Alaska to possess up to a quarter pound from 1975-1990. The Netherlands and Switzerland also provide good models. Full disclosure: I smoked for many years, but I rarely do any more. I just don’t have that much of an urge for it. I didn’t really make a concerted effort to quit, I just kind of did. Contrast that with the struggle it took to quit cigarettes, and it’s easy to see which drug is more dangerous.

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  204. Gus says:

    Pretty typical discussion in that there are facts on the reform side and flawed analogies and hysterical predictions of what legalization would do on the prohibition side. Dr. DuPont (any chance he’s related to the chemical giant family that lobbied to make weed illegal in the first place?) says that there is no model for the legalization process. He conveniently forgets that it was legal in Alaska to possess up to a quarter pound from 1975-1990. The Netherlands and Switzerland also provide good models. Full disclosure: I smoked for many years, but I rarely do any more. I just don’t have that much of an urge for it. I didn’t really make a concerted effort to quit, I just kind of did. Contrast that with the struggle it took to quit cigarettes, and it’s easy to see which drug is more dangerous.

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  205. Griff says:

    In the UK debate on marijuana has recently centred on the very high THC variety mentioned by Rasmus… some medical opinion indicates this ‘skunk’is responsible for triggering mental illness, e.g. schizophrenia in susceptible people. I have no idea as to the validity of this – and there is a long history of misinformation about alleged drug effects – but I’d like to see your experts’ opinions on this.

    Meanwhile why doesn’t the US reduce the drinking age to 18, as in the UK, if you’re looking to decriminalise something ? The resources you’re putting in to (unsuccessfully) blocking access to drink for 18-21 year olds must be enormous – and seem quite bizarre to Brits: breath testing 18 year olds the day after presumed parties ? Having undercover teens in clubs ? Locking up women who give their kids friends a few cans of beer ? Not in the UK !

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  206. Griff says:

    In the UK debate on marijuana has recently centred on the very high THC variety mentioned by Rasmus… some medical opinion indicates this ‘skunk’is responsible for triggering mental illness, e.g. schizophrenia in susceptible people. I have no idea as to the validity of this – and there is a long history of misinformation about alleged drug effects – but I’d like to see your experts’ opinions on this.

    Meanwhile why doesn’t the US reduce the drinking age to 18, as in the UK, if you’re looking to decriminalise something ? The resources you’re putting in to (unsuccessfully) blocking access to drink for 18-21 year olds must be enormous – and seem quite bizarre to Brits: breath testing 18 year olds the day after presumed parties ? Having undercover teens in clubs ? Locking up women who give their kids friends a few cans of beer ? Not in the UK !

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  207. John Thomas says:

    Griff

    No research needed. The whole “more potent pot” scam is as bogus as a three dollar bill. It’s a little more potent than in the past, but not as much as they exaggerate. And more potent pot is a GOOD thing because people smoke less to get the same high, and thus expose their lungs to less smoke.

    TRUTH SERUM TO ALL THE PROHIBITIONISTS!

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  208. John Thomas says:

    Griff

    No research needed. The whole “more potent pot” scam is as bogus as a three dollar bill. It’s a little more potent than in the past, but not as much as they exaggerate. And more potent pot is a GOOD thing because people smoke less to get the same high, and thus expose their lungs to less smoke.

    TRUTH SERUM TO ALL THE PROHIBITIONISTS!

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  209. Cheech says:

    All you guys are a bunch of potheads!

    I never understood many of the arguments for criminalizing marijuana.

    Even though my drug addled brain can’t recall why I am posting on this blog, I wanted to pitch in ona college day reminiscence of using pot as a ‘learning’ aid. Many papers were first drafted under the influence of the evil weed. Final drafts were done sober. It made for some colorful writing. I could concentrate and really put in the hours that way.

    I didn’t smoke pot for my advanced degrees. Mainly because I couldn’t afford it. I grew my own in undergrad school. Tax that!

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  210. Cheech says:

    All you guys are a bunch of potheads!

    I never understood many of the arguments for criminalizing marijuana.

    Even though my drug addled brain can’t recall why I am posting on this blog, I wanted to pitch in ona college day reminiscence of using pot as a ‘learning’ aid. Many papers were first drafted under the influence of the evil weed. Final drafts were done sober. It made for some colorful writing. I could concentrate and really put in the hours that way.

    I didn’t smoke pot for my advanced degrees. Mainly because I couldn’t afford it. I grew my own in undergrad school. Tax that!

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  211. iratecat says:

    Looks like I’m not the only one disappointed in this argument. Everything I wanted to say has already been said, but I will throw in my two cents, and agree that prohibition is ineffective and just plain stupid. It hasn’t worked for the past 70 years, it’s not working now, and it’s never going to work. Just legalize it already, and let the cops work on something else. Like maybe catching actual criminals.

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  212. iratecat says:

    Looks like I’m not the only one disappointed in this argument. Everything I wanted to say has already been said, but I will throw in my two cents, and agree that prohibition is ineffective and just plain stupid. It hasn’t worked for the past 70 years, it’s not working now, and it’s never going to work. Just legalize it already, and let the cops work on something else. Like maybe catching actual criminals.

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  213. Neal Smith says:

    Both Murray and duPont have vested interests in seeing Cannabis not relegalized. Likewise, DEA and FDA too have vested interests in keeping Cannabis illegal.

    Just as his grandfather realized, duPont knows that Hemp, that is the industrial uses of the plant, will provide great competition to his chemical empire.

    Therefore, they will be the last to admit the govt’s positions on Cannabis are morally and economically wrong.

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  214. Neal Smith says:

    Both Murray and duPont have vested interests in seeing Cannabis not relegalized. Likewise, DEA and FDA too have vested interests in keeping Cannabis illegal.

    Just as his grandfather realized, duPont knows that Hemp, that is the industrial uses of the plant, will provide great competition to his chemical empire.

    Therefore, they will be the last to admit the govt’s positions on Cannabis are morally and economically wrong.

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  215. Jerry Epstein says:

    DuPont is sooo full of it. When I helped organize an international conference on drug policy [Rice University/ Baker Institute] Dutch researcher Dr. Peter Cohen made it clear that DuPont’s Chicken Little predictions are nonsense; after 25 years of Dutch experience there have been no sigificant social problems during a time when we made over 10 million marijuana arrests.

    This year SAMHSA reported : on any given day, about 631,000 Americans aged 12 to 17 drink alcohol, and 586,000 use marijuana 13,000 use cocaine (including “crack”), and 3,800 use heroin.

    Marijuana, cocaine, and heroin are all prohibited but easily obtained. Yet 93 percent as many use marijuana as alcohol while only two percent as many use cocaine and a tiny six tenths of one percent as many use heroin. These dramatic differences in choices are obviously being driven neither by availability nor by legality but by other factors.

    As for marijuana, who’s left to try it?

    Finally, as mentioned earlier in this thread, marijuana is the backbone of the illegal distribution network … other drugs are hung from it. Former national commissions (and NDIC in 2005) pointed out that prohibiting marijuana is the gateway, but as Miller says, who wants facts.

    BTW, Miller’s book is fine.

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  216. Jerry Epstein says:

    DuPont is sooo full of it. When I helped organize an international conference on drug policy [Rice University/ Baker Institute] Dutch researcher Dr. Peter Cohen made it clear that DuPont’s Chicken Little predictions are nonsense; after 25 years of Dutch experience there have been no sigificant social problems during a time when we made over 10 million marijuana arrests.

    This year SAMHSA reported : on any given day, about 631,000 Americans aged 12 to 17 drink alcohol, and 586,000 use marijuana 13,000 use cocaine (including “crack”), and 3,800 use heroin.

    Marijuana, cocaine, and heroin are all prohibited but easily obtained. Yet 93 percent as many use marijuana as alcohol while only two percent as many use cocaine and a tiny six tenths of one percent as many use heroin. These dramatic differences in choices are obviously being driven neither by availability nor by legality but by other factors.

    As for marijuana, who’s left to try it?

    Finally, as mentioned earlier in this thread, marijuana is the backbone of the illegal distribution network … other drugs are hung from it. Former national commissions (and NDIC in 2005) pointed out that prohibiting marijuana is the gateway, but as Miller says, who wants facts.

    BTW, Miller’s book is fine.

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  217. Dominic Corva says:

    wow, overwhelming reader response in favor of at least decriminalizing marijuana.

    Why are the prohibitionists still winning? It’s amazing to me that an issue supported by so many famous and infuential people and fora on the right and the left — but most publicly on the right! — (Milton Friedman, William F Buckley, RAND, the Economist, Businessweek, American Heritage Foundation, Carl Sagan, Rick Steves …) we are further away from a common sense drug policy than in 1971 when Nixon’s commission recommended marijuana decriminalization).

    WHY? I’m beginning to think that the problem is that our government would have to eat SO MUCH crow if it ever reversed course. We’ve been pushing the punitive prohibition fight globally since Nixon, we’ve committed so many resources to an utterly absurd approach that to admit we have been wrong would be reputationally catastrophic. With alcohol prohibition, we only had to admit it to ourselves. With marijuana prohibition — and the punitive approach with all other illicit drugs — we’d have to admit it to the world. What would it take to get the national courage to admit we’ve not just been wrong, we’ve been disastr

    ously, horribly wrong for a very very long time … this, I think, is the main thing standing in the way of a common sense drug policy. it’s why the theater must continue.

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  218. Dominic Corva says:

    wow, overwhelming reader response in favor of at least decriminalizing marijuana.

    Why are the prohibitionists still winning? It’s amazing to me that an issue supported by so many famous and infuential people and fora on the right and the left — but most publicly on the right! — (Milton Friedman, William F Buckley, RAND, the Economist, Businessweek, American Heritage Foundation, Carl Sagan, Rick Steves …) we are further away from a common sense drug policy than in 1971 when Nixon’s commission recommended marijuana decriminalization).

    WHY? I’m beginning to think that the problem is that our government would have to eat SO MUCH crow if it ever reversed course. We’ve been pushing the punitive prohibition fight globally since Nixon, we’ve committed so many resources to an utterly absurd approach that to admit we have been wrong would be reputationally catastrophic. With alcohol prohibition, we only had to admit it to ourselves. With marijuana prohibition — and the punitive approach with all other illicit drugs — we’d have to admit it to the world. What would it take to get the national courage to admit we’ve not just been wrong, we’ve been disastr

    ously, horribly wrong for a very very long time … this, I think, is the main thing standing in the way of a common sense drug policy. it’s why the theater must continue.

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  219. dominic corva says:

    If we can unilaterally ignore Kyoto and the Geneva Conventions, why can’t the EU withdraw from the Single Convention and its 1971 and 1988 successors? Then, perhaps we could have a real public conversation in this country about it.

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  220. dominic corva says:

    If we can unilaterally ignore Kyoto and the Geneva Conventions, why can’t the EU withdraw from the Single Convention and its 1971 and 1988 successors? Then, perhaps we could have a real public conversation in this country about it.

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  221. Tom Buckner says:

    I’ve recommended Richard Lawrence Miller’s ‘Drug Warriors and Their Prey’ to people for twn years or more. All Americans should have read his books, unheeded warnings in a wilderness. The analogy I reach for is as follows: Before World War 2, the Germans tested many of their weapons by arming the Fascist side in the Spanish Civil War. The War on (Some) Drugs was like the Spanish Civil War, paving the way for the War On (Some) Terror.

    It got Americans accustomed to losing their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, also their Fifth Amendment right not to submit to self-incriminating drug tests and even their First Amendment right to advocate for legalization without getting censored and censured. We were ripe for the plucking in the War On (Some) Terror, in which every part of the Bill of Rights has been rendered meaningless (except the Second Amendment, the least useful of the bunch, and if you don’t believe me, ask David Koresh!)

    If the public had awakened to the growing specter of tyranny thirty years ago, and shouted down the War On (Some) Drugs, we wouldn’t have officially sanctioned torture in the United States now, would we? “First they came for the dirty hippie potheads, and I didn’t say anything, because I wasn’t a dirty hippie pothead…”

    O, and you knew George Washington grew the stuff, right? It’s de rigeur that someone mention that in all hemp-related threads. He separated male from female plants. Not necessary for rope hemp.

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  222. Tom Buckner says:

    I’ve recommended Richard Lawrence Miller’s ‘Drug Warriors and Their Prey’ to people for twn years or more. All Americans should have read his books, unheeded warnings in a wilderness. The analogy I reach for is as follows: Before World War 2, the Germans tested many of their weapons by arming the Fascist side in the Spanish Civil War. The War on (Some) Drugs was like the Spanish Civil War, paving the way for the War On (Some) Terror.

    It got Americans accustomed to losing their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, also their Fifth Amendment right not to submit to self-incriminating drug tests and even their First Amendment right to advocate for legalization without getting censored and censured. We were ripe for the plucking in the War On (Some) Terror, in which every part of the Bill of Rights has been rendered meaningless (except the Second Amendment, the least useful of the bunch, and if you don’t believe me, ask David Koresh!)

    If the public had awakened to the growing specter of tyranny thirty years ago, and shouted down the War On (Some) Drugs, we wouldn’t have officially sanctioned torture in the United States now, would we? “First they came for the dirty hippie potheads, and I didn’t say anything, because I wasn’t a dirty hippie pothead…”

    O, and you knew George Washington grew the stuff, right? It’s de rigeur that someone mention that in all hemp-related threads. He separated male from female plants. Not necessary for rope hemp.

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  223. Fred says:

    The quality of this roundtable sucked because several of the participants are politicians rather than scientists. Next time ask academics who research marijuana’s effects, or historians of prohibition, or economists who study legalization or societal costs of drug impairment. The only worthwile responses were from the researchers, Grinspoon and Miller; the guy who runs NORML and the government hacks were just preaching to the choir(s).

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  224. Fred says:

    The quality of this roundtable sucked because several of the participants are politicians rather than scientists. Next time ask academics who research marijuana’s effects, or historians of prohibition, or economists who study legalization or societal costs of drug impairment. The only worthwile responses were from the researchers, Grinspoon and Miller; the guy who runs NORML and the government hacks were just preaching to the choir(s).

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  225. Sparky says:

    “Straight’s predecessor program was called The Seed. The Seed had been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) under the directorship of Robert DuPont. Besides being director of NIDA Robert DuPont was also the second White House Drug Czar. NIDA stopped funding The Seed after a US Senate Report accused The Seed of using North Korean brainwashing methods on American kids. Dr. DuPont left government service and became a paid consultant for Straight. In fact, he claims that it was his idea that Straight go national. He also claims he was the one who got Nancy Reagan involved in Straight. Today he is on Straight’s Advisory Board, under its latest name–the Drug Free America Foundation.”

    http://republicanpartyandcults.blogspot.com/2005/11/straight-and-republican-white-house.html

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  226. Sparky says:

    “Straight’s predecessor program was called The Seed. The Seed had been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) under the directorship of Robert DuPont. Besides being director of NIDA Robert DuPont was also the second White House Drug Czar. NIDA stopped funding The Seed after a US Senate Report accused The Seed of using North Korean brainwashing methods on American kids. Dr. DuPont left government service and became a paid consultant for Straight. In fact, he claims that it was his idea that Straight go national. He also claims he was the one who got Nancy Reagan involved in Straight. Today he is on Straight’s Advisory Board, under its latest name–the Drug Free America Foundation.”

    http://republicanpartyandcults.blogspot.com/2005/11/straight-and-republican-white-house.html

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  227. Hazel Shade says:

    In highschool I had to had a major gastrointestinal surgery (to prevent an inevitable cancer). As a result I developed horrible nausea. Every minute of every day. It got to the point that not only couldn’t I eat, but I could barely stand up without vomiting.

    I tried every possible medication (one with side effects that almost paralyzed me), surgery, and diet recommended by my doctors. When nothing worked, my they finally said, with a wink: there’s one thing that will help, but I can’t prescribe it. But your in college, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

    He was right. Four years later I’m fine. I rarely get high– just a little, not even every day, is enough to settle my stomach so I can work, eat, support myself– and have a life besides starving to death on my couch.

    And when my uncle was dying of cancer, I was glad to share.

    Before even legalizing marijuana for recreational use (which I suport) it needs to be legal in every state for medical reasons. It’s not just a matter of getting high; for a lot of us, it’s a matter of getting healed.

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  228. Hazel Shade says:

    In highschool I had to had a major gastrointestinal surgery (to prevent an inevitable cancer). As a result I developed horrible nausea. Every minute of every day. It got to the point that not only couldn’t I eat, but I could barely stand up without vomiting.

    I tried every possible medication (one with side effects that almost paralyzed me), surgery, and diet recommended by my doctors. When nothing worked, my they finally said, with a wink: there’s one thing that will help, but I can’t prescribe it. But your in college, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

    He was right. Four years later I’m fine. I rarely get high– just a little, not even every day, is enough to settle my stomach so I can work, eat, support myself– and have a life besides starving to death on my couch.

    And when my uncle was dying of cancer, I was glad to share.

    Before even legalizing marijuana for recreational use (which I suport) it needs to be legal in every state for medical reasons. It’s not just a matter of getting high; for a lot of us, it’s a matter of getting healed.

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  229. Marcus says:

    but are also at significantly higher risk for developing dependency on other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.

    that’s like serving milk at a bar and calling it a gateway to alcohol…If marijuana were sold in stores behind shelves, the government would reap the tax benefit, it would be taken out of the black market, and therefore would disappear from the streets..with the government mass producing cannabis plants in huge plots of land, marijuana prices would be next to nothing, the tax being much of the cost… It would no longer one bit lead to any further drug use, because when you go buy it you’re not going to see a huge pile of cocaine on a table next to your bag of weed at the dealer’s house..

    The same idiotic federal government saying marijuana has absolutely no medical benefit is distributing 300 marijuana cigarettes to 7 americans who were grandfathered into being able to receive it for the rest of their lives after the IND (investigational new drug) program was shut down in the early nineties by bush sr. when it was discovered marijuana could stimulate the appetite of an AIDS patient…they’re the ones saying marijuana is not safe medicine?

    Bottom line, marijuana is a safe alternative to any legal intoxicant…Tobacco kills at least 400,000 americans each year, and alcohol kills plenty more. High school students can go out in one night, and drink too much alcohol and DIE because of it. You cannot consume enough marijuana to have a lethal response, it is impossible.

    The main ingredient in marijuana has shown the ability to eliminate tumors, and it’s unsafe? I don’t think so..The DEA is a freaking joke. They think they’re helping curb drug use, except for the fact that marijuana arrests have gradually risen every year to the highest ever, which was in 2006..Unfortunately, marijuana use is higher than ever, marijuana availability is higher than ever, and marijuana potency is higher than ever. These guys have done nothing except for lie to us…Marijuana should be legal. It is the only way to regulate it and allow it for adults, those who can use it responsibly. Sure you’re still going to have younger people able to get ahold of it, but the same thing happens with tobacco and alcohol, but it WILL NOT be near as easy for kids to get marijuana if it were sold in a store with an age limit.

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  230. Marcus says:

    but are also at significantly higher risk for developing dependency on other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.

    that’s like serving milk at a bar and calling it a gateway to alcohol…If marijuana were sold in stores behind shelves, the government would reap the tax benefit, it would be taken out of the black market, and therefore would disappear from the streets..with the government mass producing cannabis plants in huge plots of land, marijuana prices would be next to nothing, the tax being much of the cost… It would no longer one bit lead to any further drug use, because when you go buy it you’re not going to see a huge pile of cocaine on a table next to your bag of weed at the dealer’s house..

    The same idiotic federal government saying marijuana has absolutely no medical benefit is distributing 300 marijuana cigarettes to 7 americans who were grandfathered into being able to receive it for the rest of their lives after the IND (investigational new drug) program was shut down in the early nineties by bush sr. when it was discovered marijuana could stimulate the appetite of an AIDS patient…they’re the ones saying marijuana is not safe medicine?

    Bottom line, marijuana is a safe alternative to any legal intoxicant…Tobacco kills at least 400,000 americans each year, and alcohol kills plenty more. High school students can go out in one night, and drink too much alcohol and DIE because of it. You cannot consume enough marijuana to have a lethal response, it is impossible.

    The main ingredient in marijuana has shown the ability to eliminate tumors, and it’s unsafe? I don’t think so..The DEA is a freaking joke. They think they’re helping curb drug use, except for the fact that marijuana arrests have gradually risen every year to the highest ever, which was in 2006..Unfortunately, marijuana use is higher than ever, marijuana availability is higher than ever, and marijuana potency is higher than ever. These guys have done nothing except for lie to us…Marijuana should be legal. It is the only way to regulate it and allow it for adults, those who can use it responsibly. Sure you’re still going to have younger people able to get ahold of it, but the same thing happens with tobacco and alcohol, but it WILL NOT be near as easy for kids to get marijuana if it were sold in a store with an age limit.

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  231. ana says:

    “In addition, the U.S. has international treaty obligations not to legalize marijuana, or any other illegal drug, for non-medical use.”

    Well, the US also had international treaty and law obligations not to invade IRak…

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  232. ana says:

    “In addition, the U.S. has international treaty obligations not to legalize marijuana, or any other illegal drug, for non-medical use.”

    Well, the US also had international treaty and law obligations not to invade IRak…

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  233. AK says:

    Want to live to see marijuana legalized? Then stop acting like paranoid conspiracy theorists. Well, maybe it’s the weed that’s making you paranoid, so put the bong down for a day and think.

    54% of the country (at least) thinks that marijuana should remain illegal. Your job is to convince them, so you should know who they are. Who are those people? Surprise, they’re not political conservatives. Conservatives don’t make up 54% of the population, and besides many conservatives are pro-legalization and have been for at least two decades. No, the anti-legalization folks are a diverse groups, republicans and democrats, but mostly political centrists, the kind of people who decide elections. Average Americans!

    Here are a few things that have appeared in these comments that will NOT bring average Americans to your side:

    -Quoting Noam Chomsky. Seriously, if I need to tell you this, maybe marijuana does damage your brain.
    -Spelling “Amerika” thusly, with a k.
    -Calling religious folks “prayer-bots.”
    -Comparing attitudes on marijuana to attitudes towards same-sex marriage and global warming
    -Rants against the Iraq war
    -Any allegation of conspiracy/cover-up
    -Anything that would make you popular on DailyKos

    Chomsky! Good Lord.

    I can’t emphasize this enough: these are average Americans. They’re at least somewhat religious. They don’t think “9/11 Was An Inside Job.” They think conspiracy theorists are crazy. They’re skeptical of statist solutions to global warming. They don’t like to be insulted any more than you do. They’re not leftists, so don’t talk to them as if they were.

    There are plenty of good pro-legalization arguments that appeal to moderate and conservative voters. Many of them have been raised here. But blaming Chimpy McHalliHitler is not one of them.

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  234. AK says:

    Want to live to see marijuana legalized? Then stop acting like paranoid conspiracy theorists. Well, maybe it’s the weed that’s making you paranoid, so put the bong down for a day and think.

    54% of the country (at least) thinks that marijuana should remain illegal. Your job is to convince them, so you should know who they are. Who are those people? Surprise, they’re not political conservatives. Conservatives don’t make up 54% of the population, and besides many conservatives are pro-legalization and have been for at least two decades. No, the anti-legalization folks are a diverse groups, republicans and democrats, but mostly political centrists, the kind of people who decide elections. Average Americans!

    Here are a few things that have appeared in these comments that will NOT bring average Americans to your side:

    -Quoting Noam Chomsky. Seriously, if I need to tell you this, maybe marijuana does damage your brain.
    -Spelling “Amerika” thusly, with a k.
    -Calling religious folks “prayer-bots.”
    -Comparing attitudes on marijuana to attitudes towards same-sex marriage and global warming
    -Rants against the Iraq war
    -Any allegation of conspiracy/cover-up
    -Anything that would make you popular on DailyKos

    Chomsky! Good Lord.

    I can’t emphasize this enough: these are average Americans. They’re at least somewhat religious. They don’t think “9/11 Was An Inside Job.” They think conspiracy theorists are crazy. They’re skeptical of statist solutions to global warming. They don’t like to be insulted any more than you do. They’re not leftists, so don’t talk to them as if they were.

    There are plenty of good pro-legalization arguments that appeal to moderate and conservative voters. Many of them have been raised here. But blaming Chimpy McHalliHitler is not one of them.

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  235. John Thomas says:

    Who said marijuana prohibition doesn’t work?

    It works great. It works great at protecting inferior products like alcohol and many pharmaceuticals.

    It works great at making empires for the drug testing industry, the “rehab” industry, the prison industry and, most especially, for law enforcement.

    Law enforcement spokesmen used to say, “Don’t complain to us. We don’t make the law, we just enforce it.” You don’t hear that anymore. That’s because they’re lobbying like maniacs to preserve the prohibition golden goose. This lobbying is a clear conflict of interest and generator of corruption.

    Law enforcement make out like, well, bandits with marijuana prohibition. They seize everything they can get their grubby hands on. Any large amount of cash found on a citizen is now presumed to be drug money and is seized. The victims have to prove the money is “clean.” Cars, houses, land – anything of value is seized.

    Also, marijuana prohibition gives them a better class of prisoner – one that does not cause problems and is intelligent enough to work in any of the prison-labor businesses that are growing like wildfire. Marijuana arrests give them easy numbers for more funding, more police positions, and are the fast-track to promotions.

    But most important of all, marijuana prohibition gives them control. One hundred million Americans – half the of-age population have now smoked pot. Though they shed crocodile tears about the “harms” of marijuana, I’m sure they wish a lot more, maybe everyone, smoked pot. That way, they would have something on everyone. The police state would be one hundred percent in charge.

    The drug war serves the illegitmate government in its mad plan to rule the planet. It is their number one excuse for meddling in the affairs of other countries – to the point of invasion.

    And this is all just the tip of the iceburg. The trillions of dollars that have been made by the black-marketeers has not been stashed under mattresses. Mostly, it has been laundered and invested in U.S. corporations.

    Catherine Austin Fitts, a brilliant economist and financier who was a former Assistant Secretary of Housing Commissioner believes drug lords have become far more powerful than ever imagined because of their investments. The startling revelations are here:

    http://www.narconews.com/narcodollars1.html

    And without marijuana prohibition, all of prohibition would wither and die. The relatively small numbers of other “illegal” drug consumers just wouldn’t add up to justify the billions of dollars per year that are traditionally thrown at it.
    The drug war works just fine – for the thugs who hijacked our government. They turn fat profits off the outrageous persecution of a hundred million innocent citizens.
    Where is America?

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  236. John Thomas says:

    Who said marijuana prohibition doesn’t work?

    It works great. It works great at protecting inferior products like alcohol and many pharmaceuticals.

    It works great at making empires for the drug testing industry, the “rehab” industry, the prison industry and, most especially, for law enforcement.

    Law enforcement spokesmen used to say, “Don’t complain to us. We don’t make the law, we just enforce it.” You don’t hear that anymore. That’s because they’re lobbying like maniacs to preserve the prohibition golden goose. This lobbying is a clear conflict of interest and generator of corruption.

    Law enforcement make out like, well, bandits with marijuana prohibition. They seize everything they can get their grubby hands on. Any large amount of cash found on a citizen is now presumed to be drug money and is seized. The victims have to prove the money is “clean.” Cars, houses, land – anything of value is seized.

    Also, marijuana prohibition gives them a better class of prisoner – one that does not cause problems and is intelligent enough to work in any of the prison-labor businesses that are growing like wildfire. Marijuana arrests give them easy numbers for more funding, more police positions, and are the fast-track to promotions.

    But most important of all, marijuana prohibition gives them control. One hundred million Americans – half the of-age population have now smoked pot. Though they shed crocodile tears about the “harms” of marijuana, I’m sure they wish a lot more, maybe everyone, smoked pot. That way, they would have something on everyone. The police state would be one hundred percent in charge.

    The drug war serves the illegitmate government in its mad plan to rule the planet. It is their number one excuse for meddling in the affairs of other countries – to the point of invasion.

    And this is all just the tip of the iceburg. The trillions of dollars that have been made by the black-marketeers has not been stashed under mattresses. Mostly, it has been laundered and invested in U.S. corporations.

    Catherine Austin Fitts, a brilliant economist and financier who was a former Assistant Secretary of Housing Commissioner believes drug lords have become far more powerful than ever imagined because of their investments. The startling revelations are here:

    http://www.narconews.com/narcodollars1.html

    And without marijuana prohibition, all of prohibition would wither and die. The relatively small numbers of other “illegal” drug consumers just wouldn’t add up to justify the billions of dollars per year that are traditionally thrown at it.
    The drug war works just fine – for the thugs who hijacked our government. They turn fat profits off the outrageous persecution of a hundred million innocent citizens.
    Where is America?

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  237. GreenFloyd says:

    10/31/2007 10:21:10 PM

    Thank you Mr. Stephen J. Dubner and NY Times for bringing together – for the most part – a wealth of talent and experience on drug policy reform. However, there are still too many empty chairs at this virtual table. And with all due respect to you and those already at the table, the dearth of voices from the streets to the precincts renders this discussion rather pointless. Without the views of consumers, dealers and others involved in the drug business, along with law enforcement itself at the table this is no more than another boring academic exercise between “experts.”

    Nonetheless with them or without them, we must move forward, discard past failures (and those who cling to them), and most importantly restore the rule of law.

    The problem has gone way beyond mere “drugs,” although drug policy reform is critical to addressing it. The problem now revolves around the rule of law itself and how to restore respect for it and those who enforce it.

    Without respect for the law, there is no law. Anarchy and brutality prevail.

    Current drug laws are mostly unenforceable and widely ignored by the general population. And for good reason; unless you are black or fit some “profile,” even with record numbers of arrests for possession of marijuana, the average pot smoker has a less than 1 in 15 chance of being held accountable for his or her “crime.” The same is basically true of every other “illegal” drug.

    I am confident society can withstand legalized drugs. However, I know society cannot withstand this current level of lawlessness without eventual collapse of the criminal justice system, perhaps even government itself.

    This is particularly relevant now as the U.S. Senate considers Bush’s nominee to replace former Attorney General Gonzales and take over what has already been described in this paper as a “broken,” “dysfunctional,” “crony-filled” Dept. of Justice. In addition to “torture memos” and “water-boarding” I hope the deliberators might check out “Reno911!” and check-in on the culture of fear, hate and ridicule now associated with the rule of law and those who enforce it. The fish rots from the head down; the AG must be the biggest defender of the rule of law under the Constitution. I haven’t followed the hearings closely, yet I suspect the connection between our drug laws and this social breakdown all around us have gone largely ignored. Just like the drug laws.

    My suggestion to “reformers” is to focus on restoration of the rule of law itself. Drug or pot “legalization” may be fun to debate, but it will never be a central issue to most people, even the consumers themselves are ambivalent at best. Unless you or some one close to you are directly affected, most people will never care enough or get very excited about the injustice of the drug war. As much as possible reformers need to refer back to the bigger issue, the destruction of the rule of law itself as evidenced in the day to day “drug related” carnage and crime the people see everyday on their TV or read about in their local papers and web sites, or increasingly see in their own communities. Frankly, I think we need to become the new “Law and Order” movement.

    We must meet law enforcement on their own turf and keep repeating the obvious:

    TODAY’S DRUG LAWS ARE MOSTLY UNENFORCEABLE AND WIDELY IGONRED MAKING A MOCKERY OF THE LAW ITSELF, AND THOSE WHO ENFORCE IT!

    Legalization and careful regulation is the only proven effective way to control drugs, protect kids and restore the rule of law.

    Thank you for your kind consideration…

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  238. GreenFloyd says:

    10/31/2007 10:21:10 PM

    Thank you Mr. Stephen J. Dubner and NY Times for bringing together – for the most part – a wealth of talent and experience on drug policy reform. However, there are still too many empty chairs at this virtual table. And with all due respect to you and those already at the table, the dearth of voices from the streets to the precincts renders this discussion rather pointless. Without the views of consumers, dealers and others involved in the drug business, along with law enforcement itself at the table this is no more than another boring academic exercise between “experts.”

    Nonetheless with them or without them, we must move forward, discard past failures (and those who cling to them), and most importantly restore the rule of law.

    The problem has gone way beyond mere “drugs,” although drug policy reform is critical to addressing it. The problem now revolves around the rule of law itself and how to restore respect for it and those who enforce it.

    Without respect for the law, there is no law. Anarchy and brutality prevail.

    Current drug laws are mostly unenforceable and widely ignored by the general population. And for good reason; unless you are black or fit some “profile,” even with record numbers of arrests for possession of marijuana, the average pot smoker has a less than 1 in 15 chance of being held accountable for his or her “crime.” The same is basically true of every other “illegal” drug.

    I am confident society can withstand legalized drugs. However, I know society cannot withstand this current level of lawlessness without eventual collapse of the criminal justice system, perhaps even government itself.

    This is particularly relevant now as the U.S. Senate considers Bush’s nominee to replace former Attorney General Gonzales and take over what has already been described in this paper as a “broken,” “dysfunctional,” “crony-filled” Dept. of Justice. In addition to “torture memos” and “water-boarding” I hope the deliberators might check out “Reno911!” and check-in on the culture of fear, hate and ridicule now associated with the rule of law and those who enforce it. The fish rots from the head down; the AG must be the biggest defender of the rule of law under the Constitution. I haven’t followed the hearings closely, yet I suspect the connection between our drug laws and this social breakdown all around us have gone largely ignored. Just like the drug laws.

    My suggestion to “reformers” is to focus on restoration of the rule of law itself. Drug or pot “legalization” may be fun to debate, but it will never be a central issue to most people, even the consumers themselves are ambivalent at best. Unless you or some one close to you are directly affected, most people will never care enough or get very excited about the injustice of the drug war. As much as possible reformers need to refer back to the bigger issue, the destruction of the rule of law itself as evidenced in the day to day “drug related” carnage and crime the people see everyday on their TV or read about in their local papers and web sites, or increasingly see in their own communities. Frankly, I think we need to become the new “Law and Order” movement.

    We must meet law enforcement on their own turf and keep repeating the obvious:

    TODAY’S DRUG LAWS ARE MOSTLY UNENFORCEABLE AND WIDELY IGONRED MAKING A MOCKERY OF THE LAW ITSELF, AND THOSE WHO ENFORCE IT!

    Legalization and careful regulation is the only proven effective way to control drugs, protect kids and restore the rule of law.

    Thank you for your kind consideration…

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  239. special says:

    Hello!

    “Big buisness” and their lobbyists are the real problem. Money buys polititians and polititians make laws. Where is our liberty and the protectors of it? Do we live in a democratic country or one controlled by money and ignorance?

    Let’s shine the light on the real problem.

    Who will lose out if Marijuana is legalized? Drug dealers?

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  240. special says:

    Hello!

    “Big buisness” and their lobbyists are the real problem. Money buys polititians and polititians make laws. Where is our liberty and the protectors of it? Do we live in a democratic country or one controlled by money and ignorance?

    Let’s shine the light on the real problem.

    Who will lose out if Marijuana is legalized? Drug dealers?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  241. John Thomas says:

    GreenFloyd

    “society cannot withstand this current level of lawlessness without eventual collapse of the criminal justice system, perhaps even government itself.”

    It seems the thugs who have seized our government don’t care about society, the criminal justice system or anybody else’s idea of what to do with the government. I don’t believe Bush was joking when he said a dictatorship would be fine as long as he was the dictator.

    “most people will never care enough or get very excited about the injustice of the drug war. ….I think we need to become the new “Law and Order” movement.”

    I’m afraid that would be even more nebulous to the people. With an estimated 30 million consumers of marijuana, all it would take would be for half of them to say, “We’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!” – and prohibition would be over. Also, once started, many non-consumers would likely jump on the bandwagon to attempt to bring back freedom.

    Marijuana reform has made progress. Near a third of the states have made medical marijuana legal. Many localities have passed initiatives making the enforcement of marijuana laws their lowest priority.

    The Internet has raised public opinion to where now a majority of Americans want an end to marijuana arrests. All this is proved by the fact that whereas a decade ago, the Drug Czar’s office ignored marijuana reform, the tremendous success has caused that office to focus 90 percent of its resources in fighting against marijuana reform.

    I see marijuana reform as the clearest path to restoring freedom and justice to this country.

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  242. John Thomas says:

    GreenFloyd

    “society cannot withstand this current level of lawlessness without eventual collapse of the criminal justice system, perhaps even government itself.”

    It seems the thugs who have seized our government don’t care about society, the criminal justice system or anybody else’s idea of what to do with the government. I don’t believe Bush was joking when he said a dictatorship would be fine as long as he was the dictator.

    “most people will never care enough or get very excited about the injustice of the drug war. ….I think we need to become the new “Law and Order” movement.”

    I’m afraid that would be even more nebulous to the people. With an estimated 30 million consumers of marijuana, all it would take would be for half of them to say, “We’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!” – and prohibition would be over. Also, once started, many non-consumers would likely jump on the bandwagon to attempt to bring back freedom.

    Marijuana reform has made progress. Near a third of the states have made medical marijuana legal. Many localities have passed initiatives making the enforcement of marijuana laws their lowest priority.

    The Internet has raised public opinion to where now a majority of Americans want an end to marijuana arrests. All this is proved by the fact that whereas a decade ago, the Drug Czar’s office ignored marijuana reform, the tremendous success has caused that office to focus 90 percent of its resources in fighting against marijuana reform.

    I see marijuana reform as the clearest path to restoring freedom and justice to this country.

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  243. Dan Viets says:

    The irrefutable fact is that, where marijuana penalties have been decreased, there is no greater use attributable to the decrease; where penalties have been increased, there is no corresponding reduction in use. Therefore, no matter what evil one associates with marijuana use, if it does not icrease when penalties decrease, there is no logical or moral justification for maintaining criminal prohibition. Alaska legalized use in 1975, 10 other states decriminalized possession in the 1970′s. Use there is no greater than in states with criminal prohibition.

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  244. Dan Viets says:

    The irrefutable fact is that, where marijuana penalties have been decreased, there is no greater use attributable to the decrease; where penalties have been increased, there is no corresponding reduction in use. Therefore, no matter what evil one associates with marijuana use, if it does not icrease when penalties decrease, there is no logical or moral justification for maintaining criminal prohibition. Alaska legalized use in 1975, 10 other states decriminalized possession in the 1970′s. Use there is no greater than in states with criminal prohibition.

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  245. Troy says:

    Enjoyed reading most of the comments. I believe that the post regarding apathy towards the subject of marijuana legalization is the most prevalent point. A lot of marijuana users only use for a short period of time usually sometime in their youth. When they out grow that stage they issue no longer applies to them; leading to an apathetic public. I am currently a Sr. in college. I smoke on a regular basis, but i don’t know that I will continue to smoke once I graduate. There will be too much to lose. Just something to think about.

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  246. Troy says:

    Enjoyed reading most of the comments. I believe that the post regarding apathy towards the subject of marijuana legalization is the most prevalent point. A lot of marijuana users only use for a short period of time usually sometime in their youth. When they out grow that stage they issue no longer applies to them; leading to an apathetic public. I am currently a Sr. in college. I smoke on a regular basis, but i don’t know that I will continue to smoke once I graduate. There will be too much to lose. Just something to think about.

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  247. John Thomas says:

    Troy

    “There will be too much to lose.”

    That’s just the point. Why are you so willing to accept this marginalization?

    Though I believe marijuana reform is the key to regaining our freedom and rights, this is not ABOUT marijuana.

    In the late 90′s, newly retired Professor Julian Heicklen had never cared about or smoked marijuana. But he saw this country’s slide toward fascism and decided to do something about it. He conducted a marijuana smoke-in at the gates of Penn State every Thursday for a year. This brave stand raised much consciousness.

    As he said:

    “Marijuana is the messenger, not the message. The burning marijuana herb is the torch of freedom!”

    http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/j/p/jph13/Freedom.html

    *****

    Though this is a good article, the NYT has definitely fallen down in providing a forum for debate. Up until a few months ago, the NYT had a great collection of forums. One was drug policy and it was a terrific platform for ten years. Then, for some nebulous reason (they claimed economics) they ended the forums.

    A few of us are carrying on at Yahoo Groups. I post there as “old.greengo.” Please join us at:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/drugpolicyforum/messages

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  248. John Thomas says:

    Troy

    “There will be too much to lose.”

    That’s just the point. Why are you so willing to accept this marginalization?

    Though I believe marijuana reform is the key to regaining our freedom and rights, this is not ABOUT marijuana.

    In the late 90′s, newly retired Professor Julian Heicklen had never cared about or smoked marijuana. But he saw this country’s slide toward fascism and decided to do something about it. He conducted a marijuana smoke-in at the gates of Penn State every Thursday for a year. This brave stand raised much consciousness.

    As he said:

    “Marijuana is the messenger, not the message. The burning marijuana herb is the torch of freedom!”

    http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/j/p/jph13/Freedom.html

    *****

    Though this is a good article, the NYT has definitely fallen down in providing a forum for debate. Up until a few months ago, the NYT had a great collection of forums. One was drug policy and it was a terrific platform for ten years. Then, for some nebulous reason (they claimed economics) they ended the forums.

    A few of us are carrying on at Yahoo Groups. I post there as “old.greengo.” Please join us at:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/drugpolicyforum/messages

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  249. Sparky says:

    The Drug Czar’s blog has a post in reference to this page. Please send them a comment.

    http://pushingback.org/blogs/pushing_back/archive/2007/11/01/37974.aspx#comments

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  250. Sparky says:

    The Drug Czar’s blog has a post in reference to this page. Please send them a comment.

    http://pushingback.org/blogs/pushing_back/archive/2007/11/01/37974.aspx#comments

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  251. Ian says:

    For all of you out there dreaming that decriminalization is the pathway to end all the woes caused by marijuana prohibition, I would actually offer Holland as an example of why this is not the case. The Netherlands is seeing a resurgence of anti-immigrant, pro-”Christian” values, and right-wing leadership that is taking up the charge against what may arguably be the worlds best example of decriminalization. The problem with decriminalization is that it does nothing to address the supply side economics of the marijuana market. Where exactly are the fields of green anyway? The fact is that even in the Netherlands (because of the UN treaty cited above numerous times) it is illegal to have a commercial growing operation. As a result, most of the bud is being grown indoors in a sea of green under artificial lights (often on stolen power). As a result, house fires are a common occurrence, and what should be one of the most sustainable products in the world is actually drenched in pesticides and fertilizers to provide the highest, most potent, yields in the smallest space possible. This is now some of the fodder the conservative government in The Netherlands is using to “cracking down” on these illegal operations.

    Decriminalization is not a solution. Taking away the penalties for possession and consumption of marijuana while still pursuing the horticulturalists, farmers, and businesspeople who are part of the supply chain makes no sense. Decriminalization without legalization is in inherently unjust and would be another stumbling block along the way to reform. Just as the push for decriminalization in the late 60s was a response to the increasing number of white, middle class students having their futures jeopardized by draconian drug laws; the current initiatives on ballots around the US would largely serve to protect the rights of middle class white America.

    Of course I believe these rights should be protected, but they should be protected for everyone. When you start metering out justice, you end up with ridiculously racist laws such as the crack vs. cocaine sentencing discrepancies. Drug laws are, in practice, modern day Jim Crow laws.

    “Liberty and justice for ALL”

    not

    “Liberty and justice for those with a qualifying medical condition carrying no more than 2 ounces of dried cannabis.”

    We’re in a global catch-22 right now with regards to marijuana reform, but recognizing this is the first step toward breaking the cycle.

    [For the record, I only use marijuana on days ending in "ay".]

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  252. Ian says:

    For all of you out there dreaming that decriminalization is the pathway to end all the woes caused by marijuana prohibition, I would actually offer Holland as an example of why this is not the case. The Netherlands is seeing a resurgence of anti-immigrant, pro-”Christian” values, and right-wing leadership that is taking up the charge against what may arguably be the worlds best example of decriminalization. The problem with decriminalization is that it does nothing to address the supply side economics of the marijuana market. Where exactly are the fields of green anyway? The fact is that even in the Netherlands (because of the UN treaty cited above numerous times) it is illegal to have a commercial growing operation. As a result, most of the bud is being grown indoors in a sea of green under artificial lights (often on stolen power). As a result, house fires are a common occurrence, and what should be one of the most sustainable products in the world is actually drenched in pesticides and fertilizers to provide the highest, most potent, yields in the smallest space possible. This is now some of the fodder the conservative government in The Netherlands is using to “cracking down” on these illegal operations.

    Decriminalization is not a solution. Taking away the penalties for possession and consumption of marijuana while still pursuing the horticulturalists, farmers, and businesspeople who are part of the supply chain makes no sense. Decriminalization without legalization is in inherently unjust and would be another stumbling block along the way to reform. Just as the push for decriminalization in the late 60s was a response to the increasing number of white, middle class students having their futures jeopardized by draconian drug laws; the current initiatives on ballots around the US would largely serve to protect the rights of middle class white America.

    Of course I believe these rights should be protected, but they should be protected for everyone. When you start metering out justice, you end up with ridiculously racist laws such as the crack vs. cocaine sentencing discrepancies. Drug laws are, in practice, modern day Jim Crow laws.

    “Liberty and justice for ALL”

    not

    “Liberty and justice for those with a qualifying medical condition carrying no more than 2 ounces of dried cannabis.”

    We’re in a global catch-22 right now with regards to marijuana reform, but recognizing this is the first step toward breaking the cycle.

    [For the record, I only use marijuana on days ending in "ay".]

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  253. GreenFloyd says:

    #
    127.
    November 1st,
    2007
    3:48 pm

    The Drug Czar’s blog has a post in reference to this page. Please send them a comment.

    http://pushingback.org/blogs/pushing_back/archive/2007/ 11/01/37974.aspx#comments

    — Posted by Sparky

    Don’t waste your time. I went there and could find nothing but propaganda. No way to post comments that I found. An appropriate metaphor for this one-way street to nowhere Drug War!
    “Pushing back?” Or just pushing?

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  254. GreenFloyd says:

    #
    127.
    November 1st,
    2007
    3:48 pm

    The Drug Czar’s blog has a post in reference to this page. Please send them a comment.

    http://pushingback.org/blogs/pushing_back/archive/2007/ 11/01/37974.aspx#comments

    — Posted by Sparky

    Don’t waste your time. I went there and could find nothing but propaganda. No way to post comments that I found. An appropriate metaphor for this one-way street to nowhere Drug War!
    “Pushing back?” Or just pushing?

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  255. GreenFloyd says:

    Opps, sorry, I was wrong. There is a way to post comments at the ONDCP “Pushing back” site. It’s at the bottom of the page. What I meant to report is there is no way to view any of the posts.

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  256. GreenFloyd says:

    Opps, sorry, I was wrong. There is a way to post comments at the ONDCP “Pushing back” site. It’s at the bottom of the page. What I meant to report is there is no way to view any of the posts.

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  257. John Thomas says:

    Ian

    “Netherlands is seeing a resurgence of anti-immigrant, pro-”Christian” values, and right-wing leadership that is taking up the charge against what may arguably be the worlds best example of decriminalization.”

    No. Actually the Christian right in the Netherlands has always been a force to contend with and they have long wanted to get rid of the coffee houses. But the strong, traditional forces of fierce pragmatism have prevailed over this faction and there is no sign these forces are flagging.

    Of course total legalization is the final goal, but in this environment of oppression, every step forward is a victory. Not only does decriminalization provide much relief from the persecution, it plays a crucial role in destigmatizing marijuana.

    We need every break we can get.

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  258. John Thomas says:

    Ian

    “Netherlands is seeing a resurgence of anti-immigrant, pro-”Christian” values, and right-wing leadership that is taking up the charge against what may arguably be the worlds best example of decriminalization.”

    No. Actually the Christian right in the Netherlands has always been a force to contend with and they have long wanted to get rid of the coffee houses. But the strong, traditional forces of fierce pragmatism have prevailed over this faction and there is no sign these forces are flagging.

    Of course total legalization is the final goal, but in this environment of oppression, every step forward is a victory. Not only does decriminalization provide much relief from the persecution, it plays a crucial role in destigmatizing marijuana.

    We need every break we can get.

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  259. John Thomas says:

    Drew Carey makes video supporting medical marijuana – and freedom!

    http://reason.tv/video/show/57.html

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  260. John Thomas says:

    Drew Carey makes video supporting medical marijuana – and freedom!

    http://reason.tv/video/show/57.html

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  261. Nile says:

    Miller has hit the nail on the head. Fortunately the point is to deep in the wood for most people to see: we are not a democracy in any meaningful sense of the word: there is no debate and there can be no debate on any topic of any significance in health, morality, ecology and economics.

    No participant engages with the opposition – sometimes through ideology, sometimes because there is no advantage in appeals to the electorate outside a narrow constituency, and sometimes because the opposition ignores all evidence and refuses to engage in any debate beyond crude name-calling and subtle attempts to discredit ‘the enemy’.

    Further, no point of view can be reported in the media without distortion: either sensationalism in pusuit of circulation and advertising revenues; or deliberate distortion for the proprietors’ own political agenda.

    So what kind of public discussion and popular decision are we expecting on Marijuana?

    Maybe we should be glad that we are being dictated to by the executive. Even prohibition and mass incarceration is better than a policy vacuum in a society of ignorant mobs, irresponsible demagogues and irreconcilable partisan divisions that have poisoned and paralysed all rational policy-making and administration.

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  262. Nile says:

    Miller has hit the nail on the head. Fortunately the point is to deep in the wood for most people to see: we are not a democracy in any meaningful sense of the word: there is no debate and there can be no debate on any topic of any significance in health, morality, ecology and economics.

    No participant engages with the opposition – sometimes through ideology, sometimes because there is no advantage in appeals to the electorate outside a narrow constituency, and sometimes because the opposition ignores all evidence and refuses to engage in any debate beyond crude name-calling and subtle attempts to discredit ‘the enemy’.

    Further, no point of view can be reported in the media without distortion: either sensationalism in pusuit of circulation and advertising revenues; or deliberate distortion for the proprietors’ own political agenda.

    So what kind of public discussion and popular decision are we expecting on Marijuana?

    Maybe we should be glad that we are being dictated to by the executive. Even prohibition and mass incarceration is better than a policy vacuum in a society of ignorant mobs, irresponsible demagogues and irreconcilable partisan divisions that have poisoned and paralysed all rational policy-making and administration.

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  263. Ian says:

    John Thomas, you wrote, “Actually the Christian right in the Netherlands has always been a force to contend with and they have long wanted to get rid of the coffee houses. But the strong, traditional forces of fierce pragmatism have prevailed over this faction and there is no sign these forces are flagging.”

    If this is true, and you don’t see a resurgence of prohibitionist power in Holland, then how do you explain the fact that since the conservative government has taken over, several hundred coffee shops and grow operations have been shut down (thereby raising the price per gram of Marijuana)? How do you account for the fact that the country is seriously considering banning all sales of hallucinogenic mushrooms?

    There are signs that the fierce Dutch pragmatism you talk of may be waning (or at least being perverted) in the face of globalization and increased immigration. Do a quick google search, and you’ll find a number of articles from this past summer that highlight my point.

    I don’t consider myself a cynic my any means, and I’m not suggesting that efforts to decriminalize aren’t helpful in the overall goal of legalization, but I don’t yet see a clear enough agenda for most of the marijuana reform movements here in the US that will truly protect everyone. The road to legalization is full of caveats and I am just suggesting that people keep their eyes on the prize–total legalization so that drug laws can no longer be used as a tool of repression.

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  264. Ian says:

    John Thomas, you wrote, “Actually the Christian right in the Netherlands has always been a force to contend with and they have long wanted to get rid of the coffee houses. But the strong, traditional forces of fierce pragmatism have prevailed over this faction and there is no sign these forces are flagging.”

    If this is true, and you don’t see a resurgence of prohibitionist power in Holland, then how do you explain the fact that since the conservative government has taken over, several hundred coffee shops and grow operations have been shut down (thereby raising the price per gram of Marijuana)? How do you account for the fact that the country is seriously considering banning all sales of hallucinogenic mushrooms?

    There are signs that the fierce Dutch pragmatism you talk of may be waning (or at least being perverted) in the face of globalization and increased immigration. Do a quick google search, and you’ll find a number of articles from this past summer that highlight my point.

    I don’t consider myself a cynic my any means, and I’m not suggesting that efforts to decriminalize aren’t helpful in the overall goal of legalization, but I don’t yet see a clear enough agenda for most of the marijuana reform movements here in the US that will truly protect everyone. The road to legalization is full of caveats and I am just suggesting that people keep their eyes on the prize–total legalization so that drug laws can no longer be used as a tool of repression.

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  265. BlueSun says:

    In the end, the question of whether marijuana should be legalized, decriminalized, or treated as a menace the likes of heroin and crystal meth (and kept as a Schedule I drug) comes down to political and social values, not to any factual evidence of marijuana’s potential for personal and social harm.

    The first marijuana laws came about when marijuana was primarily used by Black and Hispanic Americans in the early 20th century. There were overt tones first of racism and later of oppression in the creation and enforcement of these laws – aimed almost entirely at racial minorities. Later, marijuana was taken up by other “outsider” communities, jazz musicians, artists, beatniks, hippies, peaceniks and new left intellectuals.

    There has always been a conservative element of our society that hates and fears anybody whose values diverge from their own, but simply having different values was not in and of itself illegal in America. However, conveniently, many of the very people who enraged and frightened these people had in common the fact that their communities had a high percentage of marijuana users.

    Laws against marijuana were seen as a handy tool to “punish” the nonconformists who dared question authority and orthodoxy, and coerce obedient behavior and conformity, or at least to remove the rebels from society and toss them into prisons.

    Even today, you can see the same breakdown over whether marijuana should be legalized. The arguments against legalization, because they are not the real reasons, are always shifting and morphing, often being grossly exaggerated or used in logically flawed analogies, while far worse and far more factual indictments against alcohol and nicotine are rationalized away.

    In the end, one wise man said, there are only two kinds of people in the world – those who want to control other people, and those who don’t. The former fill up the ranks of the DEA and other similar groups, working overtime trying to enforce their own morality on others, while the latter much prefer to spend their time sitting under a newly blossoming dogwood tree, smoking a joint, reading a good book, and enjoying the first beautiful days of spring.

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  266. BlueSun says:

    In the end, the question of whether marijuana should be legalized, decriminalized, or treated as a menace the likes of heroin and crystal meth (and kept as a Schedule I drug) comes down to political and social values, not to any factual evidence of marijuana’s potential for personal and social harm.

    The first marijuana laws came about when marijuana was primarily used by Black and Hispanic Americans in the early 20th century. There were overt tones first of racism and later of oppression in the creation and enforcement of these laws – aimed almost entirely at racial minorities. Later, marijuana was taken up by other “outsider” communities, jazz musicians, artists, beatniks, hippies, peaceniks and new left intellectuals.

    There has always been a conservative element of our society that hates and fears anybody whose values diverge from their own, but simply having different values was not in and of itself illegal in America. However, conveniently, many of the very people who enraged and frightened these people had in common the fact that their communities had a high percentage of marijuana users.

    Laws against marijuana were seen as a handy tool to “punish” the nonconformists who dared question authority and orthodoxy, and coerce obedient behavior and conformity, or at least to remove the rebels from society and toss them into prisons.

    Even today, you can see the same breakdown over whether marijuana should be legalized. The arguments against legalization, because they are not the real reasons, are always shifting and morphing, often being grossly exaggerated or used in logically flawed analogies, while far worse and far more factual indictments against alcohol and nicotine are rationalized away.

    In the end, one wise man said, there are only two kinds of people in the world – those who want to control other people, and those who don’t. The former fill up the ranks of the DEA and other similar groups, working overtime trying to enforce their own morality on others, while the latter much prefer to spend their time sitting under a newly blossoming dogwood tree, smoking a joint, reading a good book, and enjoying the first beautiful days of spring.

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  267. redx says:

    Richard Lawrence Miller has the one verifiable argument (ignoring studies akin to the Climate Change meltdown & polishing things up with “impact” vocabulary or in the final case rhetoric) – it’s verified in this very blog post.

    Even in a write-up using very many citations one is this trinket: “the drug for life’s losers.”

    I read a portion of the study and it is a bit odd wrt somehow seeming to try and give alcohol a boost since I think they are saying beer is totally OK, but in this case its mostly the helpful one-liner “life’s losers” that comes out of their study (that has scientifically stopped at age 25 and measures “meaningful relationships”). Get back to me in 5 years and add in the % of alcoholics.

    Dr. Robert L. DuPont had an argument that it was a bit tough to read for an expert. It seemed like he threw a few straw men into the ring and started juggling them. Not sure I want to go back and dig through that again, though I could well be wrong. It would seem that if deterrent means work great for alcohol then one simple thing we could do is to make hard punishments for drugged driving (which I would assume we already have – how about some numbers on how many people with weed-only and weed and booze are charge with the offenses?). I think the speeding thing was used just to tie in with drunk driving and death. He also has a knack for somehow making alcohol seem OK with the 1:2000 drunk drivers are likely to crash… In fact that is based on moderation, yes a non-zero limit has been set – and if people are far above that level they have a much better the 1:2000 chance of an accident, as a matter of fact .1 drunk, .2 almost dead, .3 dead (and in each case a potential killer).

    Another point people seem to rarely mention is that heroine and cocaine user are more likely to use all sorts of other drugs – would they be gamblers or alcoholics or be addicted chemically to something else, it anchors down the “pathway” drug statistics that are studied and cited in a number of ways (of course a “meth head” is going to drink beer (often 30-packs) and smoke likely weed as well, and of course a “dope head” is likely going to drink 30-packs or micro-brews or martini (some also being alcoholics anyway – others in moderation/special occasions). Of course everyone is going to be trying alcohol – as a matter-of-fact when mixed with caffeine it’s -the drug for WINah’s (winners)-

    Heck a “Coke head” is going to party up a storm and likely do all sorts of other drugs. Is there a coke head out there that does not drink booze?

    Another point people miss is the War on Drugs was there to keep the wars going, we have a new one now – yet we still do not want to give up the carry over war for Bush’s and Clinton’s to carry over from the Cold War. I would have to wonder if it’s because they added a revenue stream to the War on Drugs (the “prohibition tariff” noted) – if that conspiracy theory is true maybe it was a mistake to add those billions of dollars.

    My theory has always been that it sucks to give Billions of dollars away to criminals, and gangs, and have a problem with drugs and drug-traffics crossing the border (to get to the rich consumers). It’s not safe. We could also take the 8 or 14 Billion on the taxes and fund anything we wanted. As for funding for problems that would occur due to legalization I would imagine AA or NA or a similar private support group can cover it, maybe give them 10% of the tax in years 1-3 and make some free ads for them.

    Heck, look at it this way you could use the money you saved on tax revenue & less expenditure on prisons (shall we say cut current offenders sentences in half?) and use it based on what your priorities were – you could build a big wall across our Southern border – or you could build a big 20-lane highway to bridge the US Mexican border.

    Another item is smoking – heck that kills everyone and cost a bundle, but as we see it final getting regulated step by step it is still legal as can be and shows itself to be a killer.

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  268. redx says:

    Richard Lawrence Miller has the one verifiable argument (ignoring studies akin to the Climate Change meltdown & polishing things up with “impact” vocabulary or in the final case rhetoric) – it’s verified in this very blog post.

    Even in a write-up using very many citations one is this trinket: “the drug for life’s losers.”

    I read a portion of the study and it is a bit odd wrt somehow seeming to try and give alcohol a boost since I think they are saying beer is totally OK, but in this case its mostly the helpful one-liner “life’s losers” that comes out of their study (that has scientifically stopped at age 25 and measures “meaningful relationships”). Get back to me in 5 years and add in the % of alcoholics.

    Dr. Robert L. DuPont had an argument that it was a bit tough to read for an expert. It seemed like he threw a few straw men into the ring and started juggling them. Not sure I want to go back and dig through that again, though I could well be wrong. It would seem that if deterrent means work great for alcohol then one simple thing we could do is to make hard punishments for drugged driving (which I would assume we already have – how about some numbers on how many people with weed-only and weed and booze are charge with the offenses?). I think the speeding thing was used just to tie in with drunk driving and death. He also has a knack for somehow making alcohol seem OK with the 1:2000 drunk drivers are likely to crash… In fact that is based on moderation, yes a non-zero limit has been set – and if people are far above that level they have a much better the 1:2000 chance of an accident, as a matter of fact .1 drunk, .2 almost dead, .3 dead (and in each case a potential killer).

    Another point people seem to rarely mention is that heroine and cocaine user are more likely to use all sorts of other drugs – would they be gamblers or alcoholics or be addicted chemically to something else, it anchors down the “pathway” drug statistics that are studied and cited in a number of ways (of course a “meth head” is going to drink beer (often 30-packs) and smoke likely weed as well, and of course a “dope head” is likely going to drink 30-packs or micro-brews or martini (some also being alcoholics anyway – others in moderation/special occasions). Of course everyone is going to be trying alcohol – as a matter-of-fact when mixed with caffeine it’s -the drug for WINah’s (winners)-

    Heck a “Coke head” is going to party up a storm and likely do all sorts of other drugs. Is there a coke head out there that does not drink booze?

    Another point people miss is the War on Drugs was there to keep the wars going, we have a new one now – yet we still do not want to give up the carry over war for Bush’s and Clinton’s to carry over from the Cold War. I would have to wonder if it’s because they added a revenue stream to the War on Drugs (the “prohibition tariff” noted) – if that conspiracy theory is true maybe it was a mistake to add those billions of dollars.

    My theory has always been that it sucks to give Billions of dollars away to criminals, and gangs, and have a problem with drugs and drug-traffics crossing the border (to get to the rich consumers). It’s not safe. We could also take the 8 or 14 Billion on the taxes and fund anything we wanted. As for funding for problems that would occur due to legalization I would imagine AA or NA or a similar private support group can cover it, maybe give them 10% of the tax in years 1-3 and make some free ads for them.

    Heck, look at it this way you could use the money you saved on tax revenue & less expenditure on prisons (shall we say cut current offenders sentences in half?) and use it based on what your priorities were – you could build a big wall across our Southern border – or you could build a big 20-lane highway to bridge the US Mexican border.

    Another item is smoking – heck that kills everyone and cost a bundle, but as we see it final getting regulated step by step it is still legal as can be and shows itself to be a killer.

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  269. SoberlyStoned says:

    “I would find it interesting to know which of these people have actually tried marijuana. They may be reluctant to comment, but I think it is a valuable question. I’d also like to know if people who try marijuana tend to have a more or less negative opinion of it than before they used it. This seems like the right place to ask such a question.
    -Robin”

    Robin, as you are one of the first people to post an intelligent question, I, as a long-time user of marijuana (and worse, hashish!) would like to offer the following, FWIW:
    1. Cannabis does not cause brain damage, as far as scientists have been able to prove/disprove.
    2. Since I started smoking it at age 16, and am now 47, I can second that fact. I am in a “creative” profession, and continue to indulge in lateral thought.
    3. You may have heard certain rumours that consumers claim heightened awareness, creativity, telepathy or sensitivity when they’re stoned. This is true of all 6…+ senses, except for the other type, aka “junkies”, an entirely separate and thok breed. We’re talking about brain here.
    4. As far as regret about its use is concerned, I think there are certain guided people, and certain uncertain types, mentioned above, who indulge in it. The latter are doomed, of course. Remember, (and I have experienced it) that ancient Indian ‘Rishis’ retired to the Himalayas (and I’ve met one such, an educated & disillusioned bureaucrat, unexpectedly at the mouth of the Ganges), in order to THINK.
    5. Ultimately, marijuana is a Thinking Man’s drug of choice (I have suffered since I switched over to alcohol, due to its unavailability).
    Need I say more?

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  270. SoberlyStoned says:

    “I would find it interesting to know which of these people have actually tried marijuana. They may be reluctant to comment, but I think it is a valuable question. I’d also like to know if people who try marijuana tend to have a more or less negative opinion of it than before they used it. This seems like the right place to ask such a question.
    -Robin”

    Robin, as you are one of the first people to post an intelligent question, I, as a long-time user of marijuana (and worse, hashish!) would like to offer the following, FWIW:
    1. Cannabis does not cause brain damage, as far as scientists have been able to prove/disprove.
    2. Since I started smoking it at age 16, and am now 47, I can second that fact. I am in a “creative” profession, and continue to indulge in lateral thought.
    3. You may have heard certain rumours that consumers claim heightened awareness, creativity, telepathy or sensitivity when they’re stoned. This is true of all 6…+ senses, except for the other type, aka “junkies”, an entirely separate and thok breed. We’re talking about brain here.
    4. As far as regret about its use is concerned, I think there are certain guided people, and certain uncertain types, mentioned above, who indulge in it. The latter are doomed, of course. Remember, (and I have experienced it) that ancient Indian ‘Rishis’ retired to the Himalayas (and I’ve met one such, an educated & disillusioned bureaucrat, unexpectedly at the mouth of the Ganges), in order to THINK.
    5. Ultimately, marijuana is a Thinking Man’s drug of choice (I have suffered since I switched over to alcohol, due to its unavailability).
    Need I say more?

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  271. Paul says:

    Just think what would happen to the economy if pot was legal. DEA would be gone, no reason to invade other countries (latin America). The army would be reduced to fighting in Iraq. Oh my God the US Goverment would have to find more places to invade.
    Gangs would have to find other sources of revenu

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  272. Paul says:

    Just think what would happen to the economy if pot was legal. DEA would be gone, no reason to invade other countries (latin America). The army would be reduced to fighting in Iraq. Oh my God the US Goverment would have to find more places to invade.
    Gangs would have to find other sources of revenu

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  273. Philostover says:

    Soberly Stoned,
    I sit on my throne and I think
    Have you lost your invisible link?

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  274. Philostover says:

    Soberly Stoned,
    I sit on my throne and I think
    Have you lost your invisible link?

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  275. GreenFloyd says:

    Dear friends,

    Don’t allow the prohibitionist to stick a finger in your eye and blind you. There is a clear and simple bottom line:

    DRUGS ARE OUT OF CONTROL. TODAY’S DRUG LAWS ARE MOSTLY UNENFORCEABLE AND WIDELEY IGNORED.

    Prohibitionists are wrong, have been wrong and will always be wrong, period. Throw them on the scrapheap of history and lets move on. I have seen the future and it does not include prohibition!

    On this I am a fundamentalist. Drug leaglazation and rational regulation is the ONLY effective and fair way to control drugs, protect kids and restore respect for the rule of law.

    Cheers!

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  276. GreenFloyd says:

    Dear friends,

    Don’t allow the prohibitionist to stick a finger in your eye and blind you. There is a clear and simple bottom line:

    DRUGS ARE OUT OF CONTROL. TODAY’S DRUG LAWS ARE MOSTLY UNENFORCEABLE AND WIDELEY IGNORED.

    Prohibitionists are wrong, have been wrong and will always be wrong, period. Throw them on the scrapheap of history and lets move on. I have seen the future and it does not include prohibition!

    On this I am a fundamentalist. Drug leaglazation and rational regulation is the ONLY effective and fair way to control drugs, protect kids and restore respect for the rule of law.

    Cheers!

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  277. d says:

    It’s a moot point. Any politician who comes out in support of legalization would get trashed by his opponent as “soft” on drugs/crime/morals. The opponent’s actual opinion wouldn’t matter any more than the facts.

    BTW – The illegality does prevent me from smoking. It’s simply not worth the risk.

    – a 45 y/o social drinker.

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  278. d says:

    It’s a moot point. Any politician who comes out in support of legalization would get trashed by his opponent as “soft” on drugs/crime/morals. The opponent’s actual opinion wouldn’t matter any more than the facts.

    BTW – The illegality does prevent me from smoking. It’s simply not worth the risk.

    – a 45 y/o social drinker.

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  279. Sparky says:

    As much as I despise DuPont, he did make one good point: What would legalization look like? The discussion always revolves around the “why” or “why not”, but never “how”. The fact is, there is an enormous amount of evidence to show that it will work, and how to do it. Only an uninformed person (or a liar) would deny that.

    The answer is always clear to reformers — start with the models that have been proven to actually work. But the average person, who really hasn’t given it much thought, pictures this chaotic free-for-all. I don’t think there are very many people who truly want that.

    So, based on what we already know, and a little common sense, maybe we need to come up with some concrete models.

    Here’s what makes sense to me:

    1) License growers to produce pot legally, as legitimate, taxpaying businesses.

    2) Sell it in liquor stores, in small quantities, with age restrictions (say, 18). No advertising allowed.

    3) Allow people to grow their own reasonable quantity — no distribution allowed by unlicensed growers.

    4) Enforce the above rules.

    As for the hard drug issue…

    1) Use some of the tax money from pot to fund harm reduction and treatment, such as the Swiss heroin clinics.

    2) Work on the supply side of the hard drug market by implementing poppy for medicine and similar projects.

    And where the UN agreements are concerned, production of marijuana is apparently allowed for research purposes, right? So, why not start a pilot project, as research, implementing the model above in a major city, like NY or SF? If it were a successful test run, and ended up being an effective means of curbing crime, and freeing up law enforcement to deal with more serious issues, the international treaties could be renegotiated.

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  280. Sparky says:

    As much as I despise DuPont, he did make one good point: What would legalization look like? The discussion always revolves around the “why” or “why not”, but never “how”. The fact is, there is an enormous amount of evidence to show that it will work, and how to do it. Only an uninformed person (or a liar) would deny that.

    The answer is always clear to reformers — start with the models that have been proven to actually work. But the average person, who really hasn’t given it much thought, pictures this chaotic free-for-all. I don’t think there are very many people who truly want that.

    So, based on what we already know, and a little common sense, maybe we need to come up with some concrete models.

    Here’s what makes sense to me:

    1) License growers to produce pot legally, as legitimate, taxpaying businesses.

    2) Sell it in liquor stores, in small quantities, with age restrictions (say, 18). No advertising allowed.

    3) Allow people to grow their own reasonable quantity — no distribution allowed by unlicensed growers.

    4) Enforce the above rules.

    As for the hard drug issue…

    1) Use some of the tax money from pot to fund harm reduction and treatment, such as the Swiss heroin clinics.

    2) Work on the supply side of the hard drug market by implementing poppy for medicine and similar projects.

    And where the UN agreements are concerned, production of marijuana is apparently allowed for research purposes, right? So, why not start a pilot project, as research, implementing the model above in a major city, like NY or SF? If it were a successful test run, and ended up being an effective means of curbing crime, and freeing up law enforcement to deal with more serious issues, the international treaties could be renegotiated.

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  281. grumpyoldlady says:

    Y’know, I never see critiques of the well-known statement that marijuana is a “gateway drug” and “leads to” use of harder substances. I’ve always wondered if that isn’t due simply to its illegality. As an illegal drug, marijuana is forced to “keep company” with hard drugs, and throws the marijuana smoker into contact with hard drug users and sellers. I wonder if THAT, and not some effect of marijuana itself, isn’t responsible for the “gateway” effect – that it’s entirely a creation of the prohibitionists themselves.

    Without trying to minimize the damage that drug abuse does to users, their families and their community, one of the prohibitionists’ arguments strikes me as a straw man. That is the “if we don’t ban it everybody will do it” argument – that without government intervention, drug use will increase until it engulfs the whole population, or at least such a huge part of the population that society will no longer be able to function — that your doctor will be high, the pilot of your plane will be high, every other driver on the road will be high, etc.

    The fact is that even when drugs are widely available, with few or no legal consequences for drug use, only a small fraction of the population uses drugs, and only a small fraction of users become “problem users” whose actions impact non-consenting third parties. Drug use is basically self-limiting; most people are either never tempted to try drugs or try it a few times and decide they don’t like it.

    So the bottom line is that our government spends billions of our tax dollars and erodes our liberty to solve a “problem” that only involves a fraction of a fraction of the population, and in so doing creates more and worse problems, such as the rise of “supergangs” (the ethnic-based criminal organizations that dominate our prisons and extend their violence into most of our cities) and the link between drug money and terrorism. How long before Al-Qaeda or some other terrorist group gets into bed with one of these supergangs?

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  282. grumpyoldlady says:

    Y’know, I never see critiques of the well-known statement that marijuana is a “gateway drug” and “leads to” use of harder substances. I’ve always wondered if that isn’t due simply to its illegality. As an illegal drug, marijuana is forced to “keep company” with hard drugs, and throws the marijuana smoker into contact with hard drug users and sellers. I wonder if THAT, and not some effect of marijuana itself, isn’t responsible for the “gateway” effect – that it’s entirely a creation of the prohibitionists themselves.

    Without trying to minimize the damage that drug abuse does to users, their families and their community, one of the prohibitionists’ arguments strikes me as a straw man. That is the “if we don’t ban it everybody will do it” argument – that without government intervention, drug use will increase until it engulfs the whole population, or at least such a huge part of the population that society will no longer be able to function — that your doctor will be high, the pilot of your plane will be high, every other driver on the road will be high, etc.

    The fact is that even when drugs are widely available, with few or no legal consequences for drug use, only a small fraction of the population uses drugs, and only a small fraction of users become “problem users” whose actions impact non-consenting third parties. Drug use is basically self-limiting; most people are either never tempted to try drugs or try it a few times and decide they don’t like it.

    So the bottom line is that our government spends billions of our tax dollars and erodes our liberty to solve a “problem” that only involves a fraction of a fraction of the population, and in so doing creates more and worse problems, such as the rise of “supergangs” (the ethnic-based criminal organizations that dominate our prisons and extend their violence into most of our cities) and the link between drug money and terrorism. How long before Al-Qaeda or some other terrorist group gets into bed with one of these supergangs?

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  283. John Thomas says:

    Ian

    Grow operations have always been hit in the Netherlands. Most of the coffee shops that have been closed are in cities dominated by conservatives. When they become endangered in Amsterdam, I’ll start taking notice.

    The conservatives made great political hay with the recent teenager’s death from consuming mushrooms. This will never happen with marijuana and demonstrates why marijuana, with its clear lack of significant harms, is the Achilles Heel of prohibition.

    Of course, all of the reform movement would like to see the complete legalization of marijuana for responsible adults, but politics is often called the art of what is possible. After almost a century of big brother propaganda and persecution, the public is understandably skittish about big changes. The reform groups realize this and choose their battles carefully, educating the public while they take their hands, leading them with baby steps.

    I believe SAFER has the clearest agenda – equalize marijuana’s legal status with alcohol. They have had great success with this message and it is catching on all over.

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  284. John Thomas says:

    Ian

    Grow operations have always been hit in the Netherlands. Most of the coffee shops that have been closed are in cities dominated by conservatives. When they become endangered in Amsterdam, I’ll start taking notice.

    The conservatives made great political hay with the recent teenager’s death from consuming mushrooms. This will never happen with marijuana and demonstrates why marijuana, with its clear lack of significant harms, is the Achilles Heel of prohibition.

    Of course, all of the reform movement would like to see the complete legalization of marijuana for responsible adults, but politics is often called the art of what is possible. After almost a century of big brother propaganda and persecution, the public is understandably skittish about big changes. The reform groups realize this and choose their battles carefully, educating the public while they take their hands, leading them with baby steps.

    I believe SAFER has the clearest agenda – equalize marijuana’s legal status with alcohol. They have had great success with this message and it is catching on all over.

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  285. GreenFloyd says:

    Dear ‘d’ (a 45 y/o social drinker),

    Please repeat after me:

    “DRUGS ARE OUT OF CONTROL!”

    “DRUG LAWS ARE MOSTLY UNENFORCEABLE!”

    “DRUG LAWS ARE WIDELY IGNORED!”

    These are the most important drug facts we all need to understand and most importantly, keep at the top of the argument. Regulatory details are complicated, yet certainly not beyond our ability. When the time is right.

    You wrote, “Any politician who comes out in support of legalization would get trashed by his opponent as “soft” on drugs/crime/morals.” That’s very true and it’s very intimidating, if you don’t understand the above 3 key points and their horrible implications for civil society. Or, simply don’t care and just want to get elected.

    Is that someone you would vote for?

    Thank you for your kind consideration…

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  286. GreenFloyd says:

    Dear ‘d’ (a 45 y/o social drinker),

    Please repeat after me:

    “DRUGS ARE OUT OF CONTROL!”

    “DRUG LAWS ARE MOSTLY UNENFORCEABLE!”

    “DRUG LAWS ARE WIDELY IGNORED!”

    These are the most important drug facts we all need to understand and most importantly, keep at the top of the argument. Regulatory details are complicated, yet certainly not beyond our ability. When the time is right.

    You wrote, “Any politician who comes out in support of legalization would get trashed by his opponent as “soft” on drugs/crime/morals.” That’s very true and it’s very intimidating, if you don’t understand the above 3 key points and their horrible implications for civil society. Or, simply don’t care and just want to get elected.

    Is that someone you would vote for?

    Thank you for your kind consideration…

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  287. John Thomas says:

    grumpyoldlady

    The charge that marijuana is a “gateway” drug leading to the use of hard drugs has been thoroughly disproved. That doesn’t stop lying prohibitionists from trying to keep getting mileage out of it, though.

    One of the most credible trashings of that theory was done in a study that was commissioned by the Drug Czar’s own office, the 1999 Institute of Medicine Report on Medical Marijuana. From their report:

    http://stills.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6376&page=6

    “Because it is the most widely used illicit drug, marijuana is predictably the first illicit drug most people encounter. Not surprisingly, most users of other illicit drugs have used marijuana first. In fact, most drug users begin with alcohol and nicotine before marijuana—usually before they are of legal age…. because underage smoking and alcohol use typically precede marijuana use, marijuana is not the most common, and is rarely the first, “gateway” to illicit drug use. There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.”

    Like all other major government studies on marijuana, the IOM Report found that only the smoke caused any significant problems, as breathing the smoke of any material would. The great, near criminal failing of the IOM Report was to ignore the fact that vaporizers eliminate these potential problems – thus giving the ONDCP a bone with which to proclaim the study found marijuana to be harmful.

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  288. John Thomas says:

    grumpyoldlady

    The charge that marijuana is a “gateway” drug leading to the use of hard drugs has been thoroughly disproved. That doesn’t stop lying prohibitionists from trying to keep getting mileage out of it, though.

    One of the most credible trashings of that theory was done in a study that was commissioned by the Drug Czar’s own office, the 1999 Institute of Medicine Report on Medical Marijuana. From their report:

    http://stills.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6376&page=6

    “Because it is the most widely used illicit drug, marijuana is predictably the first illicit drug most people encounter. Not surprisingly, most users of other illicit drugs have used marijuana first. In fact, most drug users begin with alcohol and nicotine before marijuana—usually before they are of legal age…. because underage smoking and alcohol use typically precede marijuana use, marijuana is not the most common, and is rarely the first, “gateway” to illicit drug use. There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.”

    Like all other major government studies on marijuana, the IOM Report found that only the smoke caused any significant problems, as breathing the smoke of any material would. The great, near criminal failing of the IOM Report was to ignore the fact that vaporizers eliminate these potential problems – thus giving the ONDCP a bone with which to proclaim the study found marijuana to be harmful.

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  289. grumpyoldlady says:

    John Thomas
    Thank you. This is not something I really follow – it’s just something that smells if you look at it closely. However, it’s not only politicians who are afraid of being labeled “soft on drugs” or even “soft on crime” if they oppose drug laws. Many ordinary people have a very real fear of being targeted as potential drug users, by their employers as well as local authorities, if they go on public record as opposing drug laws, even on purely philosophical or humanitarian grounds. This attitude even extends to “medical marijuana” for people dying of cancer.

    The history of our drug laws, particularly those dealing with marijuana, is rife with exaggerations, distortions, out-and-out fabrications and no small amount of racism. A tree this poisonous cannot bear anything but poisonous fruit.

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  290. grumpyoldlady says:

    John Thomas
    Thank you. This is not something I really follow – it’s just something that smells if you look at it closely. However, it’s not only politicians who are afraid of being labeled “soft on drugs” or even “soft on crime” if they oppose drug laws. Many ordinary people have a very real fear of being targeted as potential drug users, by their employers as well as local authorities, if they go on public record as opposing drug laws, even on purely philosophical or humanitarian grounds. This attitude even extends to “medical marijuana” for people dying of cancer.

    The history of our drug laws, particularly those dealing with marijuana, is rife with exaggerations, distortions, out-and-out fabrications and no small amount of racism. A tree this poisonous cannot bear anything but poisonous fruit.

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  291. John Thomas says:

    grumpy old lady

    “Many ordinary people have a very real fear of being targeted as potential drug users, by their employers as well as local authorities, if they go on public record as opposing drug laws,”

    Of course. That is the main reason we still have marijuana prohibition. Studies show that 100,000 Americans have smoked pot. That’s half of the of-age population. Add to that their sympathetic friends and family and you see where America really stands. Polls show that a majority of Americans want an end to marijuana arrests.

    BUT, as you say, people are afraid of being labeled – with good reason. This is basically an Inquisition, and once you are permanently labled – by either an arrest or a drug test, you forever barred from full access to society.

    THE EMPEROR IS NAKED!!!

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  292. John Thomas says:

    grumpy old lady

    “Many ordinary people have a very real fear of being targeted as potential drug users, by their employers as well as local authorities, if they go on public record as opposing drug laws,”

    Of course. That is the main reason we still have marijuana prohibition. Studies show that 100,000 Americans have smoked pot. That’s half of the of-age population. Add to that their sympathetic friends and family and you see where America really stands. Polls show that a majority of Americans want an end to marijuana arrests.

    BUT, as you say, people are afraid of being labeled – with good reason. This is basically an Inquisition, and once you are permanently labled – by either an arrest or a drug test, you forever barred from full access to society.

    THE EMPEROR IS NAKED!!!

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  293. Sparky says:

    Reading between the lines of DuPont’s speeding analogy, I believe it is a veiled suggestion that marijuana should be decriminalized.

    A prior look at his opinion on the subject reveals that criminalization is merely a political facade, designed to protect against a media frenzy.

    Notice his answer to the question of marijuana decriminalization:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/interviews/dupont.html

    DuPont, you owe it to those of us who have been scarred for life by this war on pot, to use your influential powers to “make amends”. How can you sleep at night knowing how many lives have been destroyed by these lies?

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  294. Sparky says:

    Reading between the lines of DuPont’s speeding analogy, I believe it is a veiled suggestion that marijuana should be decriminalized.

    A prior look at his opinion on the subject reveals that criminalization is merely a political facade, designed to protect against a media frenzy.

    Notice his answer to the question of marijuana decriminalization:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/interviews/dupont.html

    DuPont, you owe it to those of us who have been scarred for life by this war on pot, to use your influential powers to “make amends”. How can you sleep at night knowing how many lives have been destroyed by these lies?

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  295. brentandrews says:

    Put me down on the side of the reformers. The drug war must be stopped, at all costs.

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  296. brentandrews says:

    Put me down on the side of the reformers. The drug war must be stopped, at all costs.

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  297. Joe Trybyszewski says:

    I agree with Mr. Miller. In fact, I believe most if not all issues, today, are discussed not on the basis of facts, but over-emotionalism and/or pseudo-moralistic idealism.

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  298. Joe Trybyszewski says:

    I agree with Mr. Miller. In fact, I believe most if not all issues, today, are discussed not on the basis of facts, but over-emotionalism and/or pseudo-moralistic idealism.

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  299. js says:

    The devil is in the details. The question is HOW can marijuana become legalized. Are we going to allow tobacco companies to grow and market it? Will it be available for purchase in the local liquor store? Although I’m in favor of legalization, I’m not sure I’d want to see the above happen. Would smoking pot in public become as casual as smoking a cigarette on the street or would it carry the same stigma as drinking liquor out of a brown bag on the street?

    The benefits are obvious, the drawbacks would depend on implementation. Opponents will never be won over until a real plan is put forward.

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  300. js says:

    The devil is in the details. The question is HOW can marijuana become legalized. Are we going to allow tobacco companies to grow and market it? Will it be available for purchase in the local liquor store? Although I’m in favor of legalization, I’m not sure I’d want to see the above happen. Would smoking pot in public become as casual as smoking a cigarette on the street or would it carry the same stigma as drinking liquor out of a brown bag on the street?

    The benefits are obvious, the drawbacks would depend on implementation. Opponents will never be won over until a real plan is put forward.

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  301. Mel says:

    I would argue against Dr. DuPont’s claim that the decriminalization of marijuana would increase its use…at least in the long run.

    Similar to alcohol use, marijuana use entails a certain sense of rebelliousness, especially among younger users. I believe many find enjoyment in the drug not only because of its physical effects, but the satisfaction of doing something “wrong” that is against the rules. Just as alcohol is rampant among people under 21, people always find it thrilling to be doing something they’re not supposed to be doing – especially when it feels good (similar to dating “bad boys” or having affairs).

    I think legalizing the drug may increase use in the short-term. People who were reluctant to try it because it was not readily available may be curious to finally see what all the fuss was about. But after a period of time, I think the novelty will wear off and the people who have always smoked it will continue with it and people who never made a habit of it will continue on with their previous lives. (If alcohol were legalized for people 18+, I think there would be a similar effect. The young people would probably go crazy with a few parties then soon realize that alcohol is expensive and puking all night is not that much fun.)

    My other point is that why is marijuana use any worse than alcohol use?

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  302. Mel says:

    I would argue against Dr. DuPont’s claim that the decriminalization of marijuana would increase its use…at least in the long run.

    Similar to alcohol use, marijuana use entails a certain sense of rebelliousness, especially among younger users. I believe many find enjoyment in the drug not only because of its physical effects, but the satisfaction of doing something “wrong” that is against the rules. Just as alcohol is rampant among people under 21, people always find it thrilling to be doing something they’re not supposed to be doing – especially when it feels good (similar to dating “bad boys” or having affairs).

    I think legalizing the drug may increase use in the short-term. People who were reluctant to try it because it was not readily available may be curious to finally see what all the fuss was about. But after a period of time, I think the novelty will wear off and the people who have always smoked it will continue with it and people who never made a habit of it will continue on with their previous lives. (If alcohol were legalized for people 18+, I think there would be a similar effect. The young people would probably go crazy with a few parties then soon realize that alcohol is expensive and puking all night is not that much fun.)

    My other point is that why is marijuana use any worse than alcohol use?

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  303. osisbs says:

    You’re not even in the ballpark.
    What happens when millions of tons of high protein seed is dumped on the market. What happens when billions of feet of cheap hemp rope comes up for sale? What happens when millions of barrels of high-grade lubricant is suddenly available, domestically?
    There are many, many industries which will be harmed by this and the list of them can be found among the donors to Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
    It has very little to do with smoking pot.

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  304. osisbs says:

    You’re not even in the ballpark.
    What happens when millions of tons of high protein seed is dumped on the market. What happens when billions of feet of cheap hemp rope comes up for sale? What happens when millions of barrels of high-grade lubricant is suddenly available, domestically?
    There are many, many industries which will be harmed by this and the list of them can be found among the donors to Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
    It has very little to do with smoking pot.

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  305. mb says:

    One issue that has yet to be raised in this discussion is that the US government’s scheduling of marijuana has greatly hindered domestic scientific research on cannabis. Researchers who do wish to study cannabis are subject to a great deal of scrutiny to make certain that their research will support our current administration’s position that cannabis is a dangerous substance with no medicinal or societal benefits. Even a cursory glance at the body of research that is accumulating outside the US would lead one to believe that crude herbal cannabis is a reasonably safe drug.

    The latest scare tactics employed by prohibitionists in the UK trying to support a link between adolescent use of cannabis and schizophrenia is based on specious science. Landrace cannabis strains found around the world naturally contain a substance, cannabidiol (CBD), that reduces the risk of THC-induced mental disorders. Prohibition has forced illicit growers to breed smaller varieties of cannabis that can be grown indoors. These indoor strains contain little or no CBD, which probably accounts for the increase of mental illness among young users of marijuana whom are susceptible to THC-induced psychosis. The strong argument can be made that these tragic side effects are the direct result of prohibition, since cultures that have used outdoor-grown cannabis for centuries have seen no rise in mental illness that can be attributed to cannabis.

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  306. mb says:

    One issue that has yet to be raised in this discussion is that the US government’s scheduling of marijuana has greatly hindered domestic scientific research on cannabis. Researchers who do wish to study cannabis are subject to a great deal of scrutiny to make certain that their research will support our current administration’s position that cannabis is a dangerous substance with no medicinal or societal benefits. Even a cursory glance at the body of research that is accumulating outside the US would lead one to believe that crude herbal cannabis is a reasonably safe drug.

    The latest scare tactics employed by prohibitionists in the UK trying to support a link between adolescent use of cannabis and schizophrenia is based on specious science. Landrace cannabis strains found around the world naturally contain a substance, cannabidiol (CBD), that reduces the risk of THC-induced mental disorders. Prohibition has forced illicit growers to breed smaller varieties of cannabis that can be grown indoors. These indoor strains contain little or no CBD, which probably accounts for the increase of mental illness among young users of marijuana whom are susceptible to THC-induced psychosis. The strong argument can be made that these tragic side effects are the direct result of prohibition, since cultures that have used outdoor-grown cannabis for centuries have seen no rise in mental illness that can be attributed to cannabis.

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  307. coiln schingle says:

    I myself am a non-violent drug offender, with a charge of USE OF MARIJUANA on my record, and a pending possession charge. I am enrolled in college, get my grades and sure as s#@$ dont hurt nobody, what’s the problem, wheres the crime.

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  308. coiln schingle says:

    I myself am a non-violent drug offender, with a charge of USE OF MARIJUANA on my record, and a pending possession charge. I am enrolled in college, get my grades and sure as s#@$ dont hurt nobody, what’s the problem, wheres the crime.

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  309. jds says:

    In response to Dr. Dupont’s inquiry of what the limits of legalizing marijuana should be, why not treat marijuana the same way we treat other toxic substances the govt has deemed “safe” enough to legalize (tobacco and alcohol)? By placing similar restrictions on purchase (age 21) and the activities that one is restricted from doing while under the influence (ie-driving), we would be placing marijuana on a similar footing to a substance far more harmful to both the individual and society.

    I also feel compelled to discuss the economic benefits associated with legalization. People who want to smoke weed are going to smoke it, in the same way that people who wanted to drink during Prohibition drank. If one could conveniently purchase marijuana at their local convenience store, and pay the current street market price, the large majority of which would be taxes, think of how many useful programs the government could subsidize. To say nothing of the savings in having to arrest, prosecute, and potentially incarcerate those arrested on marijuana-related offenses.

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  310. jds says:

    In response to Dr. Dupont’s inquiry of what the limits of legalizing marijuana should be, why not treat marijuana the same way we treat other toxic substances the govt has deemed “safe” enough to legalize (tobacco and alcohol)? By placing similar restrictions on purchase (age 21) and the activities that one is restricted from doing while under the influence (ie-driving), we would be placing marijuana on a similar footing to a substance far more harmful to both the individual and society.

    I also feel compelled to discuss the economic benefits associated with legalization. People who want to smoke weed are going to smoke it, in the same way that people who wanted to drink during Prohibition drank. If one could conveniently purchase marijuana at their local convenience store, and pay the current street market price, the large majority of which would be taxes, think of how many useful programs the government could subsidize. To say nothing of the savings in having to arrest, prosecute, and potentially incarcerate those arrested on marijuana-related offenses.

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  311. jj from pa says:

    why does nobody look at the facts:
    for one thing they say marijuana leads to other drugs im sorry to say but drug dealers lead to other drugs kids who get into other harder things are exposed to it by the people selling them there weed. if you really want to stop people from getting addicted to things like cocaine and heroin why not legaliz marijuana and sell it at certain stores. i also just want to say to the few people in here who are talking about how cool it is they can just get pot now and about doing meth and things like that people like you are the reasons that no one will listen to our argument and if you really want to help our strugle just stay out of it -jj from pa

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  312. jj from pa says:

    why does nobody look at the facts:
    for one thing they say marijuana leads to other drugs im sorry to say but drug dealers lead to other drugs kids who get into other harder things are exposed to it by the people selling them there weed. if you really want to stop people from getting addicted to things like cocaine and heroin why not legaliz marijuana and sell it at certain stores. i also just want to say to the few people in here who are talking about how cool it is they can just get pot now and about doing meth and things like that people like you are the reasons that no one will listen to our argument and if you really want to help our strugle just stay out of it -jj from pa

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  313. Dr. Mitchel W. Eisenstein says:

    The question is not whether Marijuana is harmful, but rather, to whom is Marijuana harmful. From personal experience I can say it was harmful to me. I have a congenital heart condition in which when my heart beats faster it causes my blood pressure to drop and fainting can follow. Not knowing this for the last 50 years, I used Marijuana infrequently, but never felt as good as my friends while on it. In fact there was often a feeling of dread and paranoia and a shakiness, preceeded by a spurt of creative thinking and scanning thinking with realizations that seemed absurd when not “high”. In fact I usually got “stoned” which is a euphimism for being “wasted”. Do all users of Pot get stoned and wasted? Probably not. And sometimes it was an aphrodesiac which allowed me to experience the rythyms of lovemaking more intensely. Overall, Marijuana was a giant letdown. I believe it affected my short term memory which damaged my long term memory, although the alternate reality experience did have some value in helping me to develop perspective and observation skills. Healthwise Marijuana causes the heart to race. If you have heart disease I believe Marijuana can kill you. Depressed people might or might not benefit from its use. The point is, Marijuana is a drug, and a drug is best dispensed by a doctor who knows how to use it, when to use it, and when not to use it. Legalization of Marijuana is just not in the cards because any use of Marijuana leads to intoxication. It is not like alcohol where you can have one or two drinks and still be able to drive reasonably well. I recall taking one toke of “wheelchair weed” once and was almost unable to drive my car. The lamp posts looked like space craft from war of the worlds and made vibrating noises as i passed each one at 20 miles per hour on the 55 mph northern parkway, paranoid that I wouldnt make it home alive. This is not a benign drug. It is a toxic plague that destroys adolescent minds. I know alot of burn outs that started with marijuana. The include doctors and professionals. They do not see their dysfunction and how it limits them. They are in denial.
    I suppose that Marijuana is alright for artists, but can you imagine a mechanic that gets high or a surgeon? Getting high is for rejects who have to disassociate in order to function. I guess we all have our ways and people find their drug of choice but i would expect that marijuana should be, if legalized, under the supervision of a medical doctor.

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  314. Dr. Mitchel W. Eisenstein says:

    The question is not whether Marijuana is harmful, but rather, to whom is Marijuana harmful. From personal experience I can say it was harmful to me. I have a congenital heart condition in which when my heart beats faster it causes my blood pressure to drop and fainting can follow. Not knowing this for the last 50 years, I used Marijuana infrequently, but never felt as good as my friends while on it. In fact there was often a feeling of dread and paranoia and a shakiness, preceeded by a spurt of creative thinking and scanning thinking with realizations that seemed absurd when not “high”. In fact I usually got “stoned” which is a euphimism for being “wasted”. Do all users of Pot get stoned and wasted? Probably not. And sometimes it was an aphrodesiac which allowed me to experience the rythyms of lovemaking more intensely. Overall, Marijuana was a giant letdown. I believe it affected my short term memory which damaged my long term memory, although the alternate reality experience did have some value in helping me to develop perspective and observation skills. Healthwise Marijuana causes the heart to race. If you have heart disease I believe Marijuana can kill you. Depressed people might or might not benefit from its use. The point is, Marijuana is a drug, and a drug is best dispensed by a doctor who knows how to use it, when to use it, and when not to use it. Legalization of Marijuana is just not in the cards because any use of Marijuana leads to intoxication. It is not like alcohol where you can have one or two drinks and still be able to drive reasonably well. I recall taking one toke of “wheelchair weed” once and was almost unable to drive my car. The lamp posts looked like space craft from war of the worlds and made vibrating noises as i passed each one at 20 miles per hour on the 55 mph northern parkway, paranoid that I wouldnt make it home alive. This is not a benign drug. It is a toxic plague that destroys adolescent minds. I know alot of burn outs that started with marijuana. The include doctors and professionals. They do not see their dysfunction and how it limits them. They are in denial.
    I suppose that Marijuana is alright for artists, but can you imagine a mechanic that gets high or a surgeon? Getting high is for rejects who have to disassociate in order to function. I guess we all have our ways and people find their drug of choice but i would expect that marijuana should be, if legalized, under the supervision of a medical doctor.

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  315. DHH says:

    It’s a frustrating piece to read, and the problem is the structure. The Times essentially asked people who represent strongly differing viewpoints to spout off, and left it at that. This was a set of glib summaries, not a conversation, and it certainly wasn’t a debate; a pity, because each writer was clearly expert and could contribute to a real discussion if given the chance. It would be cool if the paper were to structure something more interesting, that takes advantage of the virtual word; that might, for example, employ branching threaded discussions, so that data points on an argument could be documented and challenged from each side, and compared by the reader. If nothing else, a structure like this might discover questions that deserve reportage. And it would be more fun to read.

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  316. DHH says:

    It’s a frustrating piece to read, and the problem is the structure. The Times essentially asked people who represent strongly differing viewpoints to spout off, and left it at that. This was a set of glib summaries, not a conversation, and it certainly wasn’t a debate; a pity, because each writer was clearly expert and could contribute to a real discussion if given the chance. It would be cool if the paper were to structure something more interesting, that takes advantage of the virtual word; that might, for example, employ branching threaded discussions, so that data points on an argument could be documented and challenged from each side, and compared by the reader. If nothing else, a structure like this might discover questions that deserve reportage. And it would be more fun to read.

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  317. Theadore says:

    I dont see why all you hippies and communists can’t just do what the government tells you to. There is a reason America is the greatest country in the world and that is because we have the greatest leaders in the world. If our leaders tell us not to do drugs (as yes, folks, marijuana is a drug!) then we shouldn’t do them. I belive you all should be arrested for insighting the next Moaist revolution.

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  318. Theadore says:

    I dont see why all you hippies and communists can’t just do what the government tells you to. There is a reason America is the greatest country in the world and that is because we have the greatest leaders in the world. If our leaders tell us not to do drugs (as yes, folks, marijuana is a drug!) then we shouldn’t do them. I belive you all should be arrested for insighting the next Moaist revolution.

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  319. Jeremy says:

    I live in the Netherlands, a country that is well-known for having “legalized” marijuana (actually not legalized, because that would be a violation of international drug control treaties, but personal possession and use and the commercial sale under controlled circumstances are not prosecuted). It has been this way for over 30 years now.

    I believe the statistics are (roughly): 60% of the Dutch population has tried marijuana or hashish at one point in their lives– in fact, a majority of members of Parliament admits to having tried it. However, only 8% of the population has used it sometime in the last year, a statistic that is, I suspect, lower than the corresponding statistic for the US. The reason why? When it’s easily and “legally” available, it’s just not as exciting or interesting anymore. This seems to be a point that is missed by both the pro-legalization and the pro-prohibition camps, which assume that everyone will light up with abandon if marijuana is legalized (where the legalizers say it’s harmless, and the prohibitors say it’s the devil). The reality is: for most people it is harmless. Some people, on the other hand, would be better off not smoking marijuana. But the great majority of people, when given the freedom to use it, will simply decide they’re not all that into it.

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  320. Jeremy says:

    I live in the Netherlands, a country that is well-known for having “legalized” marijuana (actually not legalized, because that would be a violation of international drug control treaties, but personal possession and use and the commercial sale under controlled circumstances are not prosecuted). It has been this way for over 30 years now.

    I believe the statistics are (roughly): 60% of the Dutch population has tried marijuana or hashish at one point in their lives– in fact, a majority of members of Parliament admits to having tried it. However, only 8% of the population has used it sometime in the last year, a statistic that is, I suspect, lower than the corresponding statistic for the US. The reason why? When it’s easily and “legally” available, it’s just not as exciting or interesting anymore. This seems to be a point that is missed by both the pro-legalization and the pro-prohibition camps, which assume that everyone will light up with abandon if marijuana is legalized (where the legalizers say it’s harmless, and the prohibitors say it’s the devil). The reality is: for most people it is harmless. Some people, on the other hand, would be better off not smoking marijuana. But the great majority of people, when given the freedom to use it, will simply decide they’re not all that into it.

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  321. Jared says:

    Ours is a Drug society – They are pushed at us constantly. Just look at the TV commercials – “Ask your doctor if this is right for you . . . ” (Yep – We have to help the zillions of folks out there with Restless Leg Syndrome – though none of them probably never heard of it before). Then listen to the possible side effects they rattle off, they are often/usually frightening. Much worse that any alleged side effect proven to result from marijuana. These drugs are created by huge, rich & powerful drug companies. The drugs they “push” result in some of the highest profits in the business world. But these drugs are OK with our society because they come from big respected icons of American business, so – they must be OK. Of course these drugs help both real or imagined maladies. But marijuana also helps a malady – the malady of living in our insane, authoritarian, money nuts society. And money – not the its good/ its bad argument, is the real reason Marijuana is lllegal & will stay that way. You can grow pot in your closet or basement – resulting in Zero profit for anyone. That is un-American.
    Of course, marijuana is not for everyone. Just like alcohol, religion, or buying show off posessions is not for everyone. But ours is suppose to be a society of freedoms & choice. Unfortunately it is not. Our choices are limited to what “The Man” tells us is OK. And if “The Man” can’t make a buck – no luck. Ya can’t have it! It is sad that we can not choose how to live our lives ” What ever gets you through your life ” is a right of being alive – but only if there is money to be made.

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  322. Jared says:

    Ours is a Drug society – They are pushed at us constantly. Just look at the TV commercials – “Ask your doctor if this is right for you . . . ” (Yep – We have to help the zillions of folks out there with Restless Leg Syndrome – though none of them probably never heard of it before). Then listen to the possible side effects they rattle off, they are often/usually frightening. Much worse that any alleged side effect proven to result from marijuana. These drugs are created by huge, rich & powerful drug companies. The drugs they “push” result in some of the highest profits in the business world. But these drugs are OK with our society because they come from big respected icons of American business, so – they must be OK. Of course these drugs help both real or imagined maladies. But marijuana also helps a malady – the malady of living in our insane, authoritarian, money nuts society. And money – not the its good/ its bad argument, is the real reason Marijuana is lllegal & will stay that way. You can grow pot in your closet or basement – resulting in Zero profit for anyone. That is un-American.
    Of course, marijuana is not for everyone. Just like alcohol, religion, or buying show off posessions is not for everyone. But ours is suppose to be a society of freedoms & choice. Unfortunately it is not. Our choices are limited to what “The Man” tells us is OK. And if “The Man” can’t make a buck – no luck. Ya can’t have it! It is sad that we can not choose how to live our lives ” What ever gets you through your life ” is a right of being alive – but only if there is money to be made.

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  323. Linda says:

    Like others who have posted comments, I have smoked and no longer do (just don’t like it), and would say that I am, overall, in favor of legalization. HOWEVER– that being said, I do need to pony up and be more honest than I feel some folks have been in this forum. I know TONS of people who smoke marijuana. Some of them balance it with family and career very successfully. BUT, do I know people who have lost the desire to do anything productive as they have increased their smoking, until they spend all of their days doing little else? OF COURSE. Do I know people who’ve gone to the ER because of freaking out (and no, it was not laced, and no, it wasn’t just that they casually mentioned to the doc they’ve used–the visit was directly because of smoking it)? OF COURSE. Do I know people who’ve developed respiratory problems due to their smoking of it? OF COURSE. Do the recently and soon-to-be published studies on the links between marijuana use and depression or schizophrenia give me pause? OF COURSE.

    Yes, some people use it responsibly. Kudos to them. Yes, some get relief from medical problems with it. That’s all good. And while I do think it should be legalized, for too many reasons to document here (all have been mentioned in this forum, and by some rather eloquently), please, let’s not then pretend like marijuana is completely harmless.

    Linda

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  324. Linda says:

    Like others who have posted comments, I have smoked and no longer do (just don’t like it), and would say that I am, overall, in favor of legalization. HOWEVER– that being said, I do need to pony up and be more honest than I feel some folks have been in this forum. I know TONS of people who smoke marijuana. Some of them balance it with family and career very successfully. BUT, do I know people who have lost the desire to do anything productive as they have increased their smoking, until they spend all of their days doing little else? OF COURSE. Do I know people who’ve gone to the ER because of freaking out (and no, it was not laced, and no, it wasn’t just that they casually mentioned to the doc they’ve used–the visit was directly because of smoking it)? OF COURSE. Do I know people who’ve developed respiratory problems due to their smoking of it? OF COURSE. Do the recently and soon-to-be published studies on the links between marijuana use and depression or schizophrenia give me pause? OF COURSE.

    Yes, some people use it responsibly. Kudos to them. Yes, some get relief from medical problems with it. That’s all good. And while I do think it should be legalized, for too many reasons to document here (all have been mentioned in this forum, and by some rather eloquently), please, let’s not then pretend like marijuana is completely harmless.

    Linda

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  325. m says:

    prohibition does not work, didn’t work for alcohol, and hasn’t/won’t for pot. Prohibition and enforcement is a waste of taxes that could be spent on more useful causes. Regulation seems like a more pragmatic recourse. Further, alcohol and tobacco which clearly cause health and safety issues are legal, therefore isn’t it reasonable that we should be uniform in the application of control?

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  326. m says:

    prohibition does not work, didn’t work for alcohol, and hasn’t/won’t for pot. Prohibition and enforcement is a waste of taxes that could be spent on more useful causes. Regulation seems like a more pragmatic recourse. Further, alcohol and tobacco which clearly cause health and safety issues are legal, therefore isn’t it reasonable that we should be uniform in the application of control?

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  327. Alex Hoffmann says:

    It should be handled as a prescription Drug, and controled by your own doctor.

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  328. Alex Hoffmann says:

    It should be handled as a prescription Drug, and controled by your own doctor.

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  329. Tom says:

    All the reasons for legalization were elucidated in the 1972 Schafer Commission, convened by Richard Nixon. Rather than finding justifying evidence for increasing penalties, which was their unspoken mandate, they found the opposite. Lacking the political chutzpah to come right out and say this, they invented “decriminalization” as a compromise. As they had come to the “wrong” conclusion, the Committees findings were quickly mothballed.

    35 years, millions of needless arrests, and an unimaginable amount of economic wastage later, along with millions of lives needlessly perturbed, the failed policy stagggers on.

    I think the Al Gore quotation of Upton Sinclair obviously applies to many in the pro-War On Drugs camp: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

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  330. Tom says:

    All the reasons for legalization were elucidated in the 1972 Schafer Commission, convened by Richard Nixon. Rather than finding justifying evidence for increasing penalties, which was their unspoken mandate, they found the opposite. Lacking the political chutzpah to come right out and say this, they invented “decriminalization” as a compromise. As they had come to the “wrong” conclusion, the Committees findings were quickly mothballed.

    35 years, millions of needless arrests, and an unimaginable amount of economic wastage later, along with millions of lives needlessly perturbed, the failed policy stagggers on.

    I think the Al Gore quotation of Upton Sinclair obviously applies to many in the pro-War On Drugs camp: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

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  331. Mike from the hills says:

    One industry that does profit from current pot legislation is law enforcement. The social and legal climate arising from pot use has also been a cash cow for to the drug testing niche of the medical industry.
    When the legislative climate favors your job, you are likely to support it, even if you consider yourself objective. (Just ask a lawyer about tort reform).
    I have also known people who have had problems with pot and have known many more who have not.
    It seems that adult use and possession of a small amount should be significantly decriminalised or made legal. This might allow the law enforcement industry and the testing industry to focus their considerable resourses on more dangerous compounds like meth and crack.

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  332. Mike from the hills says:

    One industry that does profit from current pot legislation is law enforcement. The social and legal climate arising from pot use has also been a cash cow for to the drug testing niche of the medical industry.
    When the legislative climate favors your job, you are likely to support it, even if you consider yourself objective. (Just ask a lawyer about tort reform).
    I have also known people who have had problems with pot and have known many more who have not.
    It seems that adult use and possession of a small amount should be significantly decriminalised or made legal. This might allow the law enforcement industry and the testing industry to focus their considerable resourses on more dangerous compounds like meth and crack.

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  333. moonlightlady says:

    Osisbs…can you post a link to the list of donors to Partnership for a Drug-Free America? Now THAT would be useful information. Your analysis rocks, and now I want the ammo for it.

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  334. moonlightlady says:

    Osisbs…can you post a link to the list of donors to Partnership for a Drug-Free America? Now THAT would be useful information. Your analysis rocks, and now I want the ammo for it.

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  335. Greg says:

    While legalization of marijuana may be a goal that many advocates would like to see enacted, it should be viewed as more of a hindrance to the “healthy use” argument. Consider this: cultivation of marijuana is suddenly legalized and corporations explode at the possiblity of profiting on America’s biggest cash crop. No longer will mom-and-pop cultivators continue to operate as before, but vast amounts of corporate entities will stake their claim – especially big tobacco. Marijuana now becomes an additive to tobacco that will not only enhance their product, but it also opens up a new market of users who can be lured into the tobacco trap. The additives in tobacco cigarettes contribute to its highly addictive properties besides the nicotine alone. This would be the same case for marijuana cigarettes if companies like Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds seize the market. Marijuana would become tobacco’s next sibiling.

    The real solution lies in the decriminalization of marijuana and established medicinal use as enacted by the federal government and not just state legislatures. This would allow users and patients to possess certain amounts of the drug without the fear of prosecution while preventing large corporations from commanding the market. Think of it as the means for keeping marijuana an organic crop.

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  336. Greg says:

    While legalization of marijuana may be a goal that many advocates would like to see enacted, it should be viewed as more of a hindrance to the “healthy use” argument. Consider this: cultivation of marijuana is suddenly legalized and corporations explode at the possiblity of profiting on America’s biggest cash crop. No longer will mom-and-pop cultivators continue to operate as before, but vast amounts of corporate entities will stake their claim – especially big tobacco. Marijuana now becomes an additive to tobacco that will not only enhance their product, but it also opens up a new market of users who can be lured into the tobacco trap. The additives in tobacco cigarettes contribute to its highly addictive properties besides the nicotine alone. This would be the same case for marijuana cigarettes if companies like Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds seize the market. Marijuana would become tobacco’s next sibiling.

    The real solution lies in the decriminalization of marijuana and established medicinal use as enacted by the federal government and not just state legislatures. This would allow users and patients to possess certain amounts of the drug without the fear of prosecution while preventing large corporations from commanding the market. Think of it as the means for keeping marijuana an organic crop.

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  337. Rick Stewart says:

    Anyone who cannot immediately see the deliberate lies and distortions in the statements of Mr. DuPont and Mr. Murray, our government spokesmen, should be condemned to a life surrounded by politicians.

    Marijuana is illegal because a small minority of people use it, and politicians can get more votes by being anti-marijuana than they can get by being pro-marijuana. Politicians don’t get elected because they are stupid.

    On the other hand, once marijuana is legal in a continental state (sorry, Alaska is just too far away to play that role), it will work its way around the country until an equilibrium is reached such as we have reached with alcohol (which, believe it or not, is still illegal in many parts of the US, but not in the entirety of any state).

    Consider gambling. When I was young everyone knew we would pretty much go to hell if we gambled. Now, 57 years later, my state has riverboat casinos, Indian casinos, dog tracks, and slots at the dog tracks. Did I mention the lottery? Or the Internet?

    The ‘full legalization’ of marijuana is inevitable. The sadness of those who will suffer in the interim is immoral, anti-human, expensive, violent, you get the point. But it is the price we pay for thinking that the job of government is to ‘do things’ for us, instead of merely protecting us from other people who want to do things to us. There is a huge difference.

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  338. Rick Stewart says:

    Anyone who cannot immediately see the deliberate lies and distortions in the statements of Mr. DuPont and Mr. Murray, our government spokesmen, should be condemned to a life surrounded by politicians.

    Marijuana is illegal because a small minority of people use it, and politicians can get more votes by being anti-marijuana than they can get by being pro-marijuana. Politicians don’t get elected because they are stupid.

    On the other hand, once marijuana is legal in a continental state (sorry, Alaska is just too far away to play that role), it will work its way around the country until an equilibrium is reached such as we have reached with alcohol (which, believe it or not, is still illegal in many parts of the US, but not in the entirety of any state).

    Consider gambling. When I was young everyone knew we would pretty much go to hell if we gambled. Now, 57 years later, my state has riverboat casinos, Indian casinos, dog tracks, and slots at the dog tracks. Did I mention the lottery? Or the Internet?

    The ‘full legalization’ of marijuana is inevitable. The sadness of those who will suffer in the interim is immoral, anti-human, expensive, violent, you get the point. But it is the price we pay for thinking that the job of government is to ‘do things’ for us, instead of merely protecting us from other people who want to do things to us. There is a huge difference.

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  339. Toddros says:

    Theadore – Yikes. Your post makes me think that if you don’t already have a job in the Bush White House, you definitely should. Turn off Fox News for five minutes and try engaging in some rational, conscious thought.

    I am someone who has been diagnosed with HIV for over 22 years and has been through full blown AIDS along the way (and just for you, because I have a feeling it’ll matter a lot, I’ll tell you I’m a hetero who got it from blood). Just as I can say with 100% conviction that I would not be alive today were it not for the HIV drugs that became available in the mid-late 90′s, I can say with equal veracity that I would not be alive today had I not been able to use marijuana to address HIV wasting as well as nasty drug side effects. Period.

    I will also fess up to being a recreational user prior to being a medical user, and I will say that unfortunately my dependence on its use for my very survival has decreased substantially the enjoyment I used to get from it (and I imagine that unfortunately this fact might please some people).

    Having used it for about 30 years for both reasons, I am in favor removing the prohibition on its use in favor of managing it, both for medical and non-medical use. Doing so would go a long way to addressing many societal problems we currently deal with every day.

    Finally, imagine you see an unfortunate, disheveled person passed out in an alley somewhere next to a dumpster – now think about what you might find on that person:

    cigarettes? – very possibly
    a crack pipe? – could be
    a hypodermic needle? – yep
    a bottle of rotgut? – you betcha
    crystal meth? – odds are high
    a joint? – you must be joking

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  340. Toddros says:

    Theadore – Yikes. Your post makes me think that if you don’t already have a job in the Bush White House, you definitely should. Turn off Fox News for five minutes and try engaging in some rational, conscious thought.

    I am someone who has been diagnosed with HIV for over 22 years and has been through full blown AIDS along the way (and just for you, because I have a feeling it’ll matter a lot, I’ll tell you I’m a hetero who got it from blood). Just as I can say with 100% conviction that I would not be alive today were it not for the HIV drugs that became available in the mid-late 90′s, I can say with equal veracity that I would not be alive today had I not been able to use marijuana to address HIV wasting as well as nasty drug side effects. Period.

    I will also fess up to being a recreational user prior to being a medical user, and I will say that unfortunately my dependence on its use for my very survival has decreased substantially the enjoyment I used to get from it (and I imagine that unfortunately this fact might please some people).

    Having used it for about 30 years for both reasons, I am in favor removing the prohibition on its use in favor of managing it, both for medical and non-medical use. Doing so would go a long way to addressing many societal problems we currently deal with every day.

    Finally, imagine you see an unfortunate, disheveled person passed out in an alley somewhere next to a dumpster – now think about what you might find on that person:

    cigarettes? – very possibly
    a crack pipe? – could be
    a hypodermic needle? – yep
    a bottle of rotgut? – you betcha
    crystal meth? – odds are high
    a joint? – you must be joking

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  341. Dave says:

    Chill dudes, all this arguing is harshing my buzz, man.

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  342. Dave says:

    Chill dudes, all this arguing is harshing my buzz, man.

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  343. A Student says:

    Much of the concern about both marijuana and alcohol use seems to be in regard to young people. So as a 20-year-old college student who has witnessed countless peers in either a high or drunk state, I thought I’d weigh in.

    I’ve seen fellow students get drunk, then proceed to get into car wrecks, destroy property, rape people, and go to the ER to get their stomachs pumped. Not to mention all the classes they skip due to hangovers.

    On the other hand, when I see students get high, they sit around and chill.

    These are just my personal observations, but I have witnessed countless painful incidents caused by intoxication, and not one caused by being high.

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  344. A Student says:

    Much of the concern about both marijuana and alcohol use seems to be in regard to young people. So as a 20-year-old college student who has witnessed countless peers in either a high or drunk state, I thought I’d weigh in.

    I’ve seen fellow students get drunk, then proceed to get into car wrecks, destroy property, rape people, and go to the ER to get their stomachs pumped. Not to mention all the classes they skip due to hangovers.

    On the other hand, when I see students get high, they sit around and chill.

    These are just my personal observations, but I have witnessed countless painful incidents caused by intoxication, and not one caused by being high.

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  345. Mitch says:

    Haven’t read all the 175 previous responses, so don’t know if someone has already mentioned that the Dutch Ministry of Health has done studies establishing that the social costs of alcohol (in terms of injuries and deaths from drunk driving, domestic violence, bar room brawls, overdoses, etc) are 400 times greater than cannabis. Likewise, the ratio of intoxicating dosage to lethal dosage is like 40x for alcohol and 20,000x for cannabis.

    Of course, the people who “just know” that cannabis is dangerous and can not be swayed by any “facts” will most likely respond by denigrating the Dutch people as total degenerates and the Netherlands as a modern day Soddom and Gammorah. I would say that the vast majority of these people have never visited the Netherlands and would never consider it for just that reason; i.e. – they might suffer cognitive disonance when they discover that there is a contradiction between reality and their prejudices.

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  346. Mitch says:

    Haven’t read all the 175 previous responses, so don’t know if someone has already mentioned that the Dutch Ministry of Health has done studies establishing that the social costs of alcohol (in terms of injuries and deaths from drunk driving, domestic violence, bar room brawls, overdoses, etc) are 400 times greater than cannabis. Likewise, the ratio of intoxicating dosage to lethal dosage is like 40x for alcohol and 20,000x for cannabis.

    Of course, the people who “just know” that cannabis is dangerous and can not be swayed by any “facts” will most likely respond by denigrating the Dutch people as total degenerates and the Netherlands as a modern day Soddom and Gammorah. I would say that the vast majority of these people have never visited the Netherlands and would never consider it for just that reason; i.e. – they might suffer cognitive disonance when they discover that there is a contradiction between reality and their prejudices.

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  347. Tatiana Covington says:

    Marijuana is only a species of plant. So too are opium poppies and coca. Thus, around the world, we have grown men fighting to the death about what? Mere vegetables which one is perfectly free not to use.

    And you thought kids were bad about brussels sprouts!

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  348. Tatiana Covington says:

    Marijuana is only a species of plant. So too are opium poppies and coca. Thus, around the world, we have grown men fighting to the death about what? Mere vegetables which one is perfectly free not to use.

    And you thought kids were bad about brussels sprouts!

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  349. Bill says:

    Ok. Some of you-pros and cons can’t make a valid point even if it was nailed to your head. I smoke weed; have for a decade but Im not what you’d call a “good” student because there are subjects that are a big hit or miss for me. But thats just the way its always been. I can’t stand the people who comment “i smoke weed daily and I have a 4.0″ so what?! When you say thats the ultimate reason why pot should be legalized causes you to be cornered in a debate. It shouldn’t matter if you smoke pot and you are either a good or bad student. The point is: the reason pot is and will never be legal is that the government has had the idea of pot being a “horrible-evil” substance ingrained into our heads for decades. And that its considered unexceptible to believe anything other then what the government tells us. Now alcohol and tobacco? I hope you guys are intuned enough to reality that our government IS trying to rid tobacco and alcohol, but their measures are an absolute flop. Why? Because for decades our govenment and the companies they helped rise to the top spent decades ingraining the idea that tobacco and alcohol is ok so its hard to get that idea carved out of societies initial acceptances. That is why weed isn’t and never will be legalized and why we still have alcohol and tobacco on our store shelves. Because we as a society accept it.

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  350. Bill says:

    Ok. Some of you-pros and cons can’t make a valid point even if it was nailed to your head. I smoke weed; have for a decade but Im not what you’d call a “good” student because there are subjects that are a big hit or miss for me. But thats just the way its always been. I can’t stand the people who comment “i smoke weed daily and I have a 4.0″ so what?! When you say thats the ultimate reason why pot should be legalized causes you to be cornered in a debate. It shouldn’t matter if you smoke pot and you are either a good or bad student. The point is: the reason pot is and will never be legal is that the government has had the idea of pot being a “horrible-evil” substance ingrained into our heads for decades. And that its considered unexceptible to believe anything other then what the government tells us. Now alcohol and tobacco? I hope you guys are intuned enough to reality that our government IS trying to rid tobacco and alcohol, but their measures are an absolute flop. Why? Because for decades our govenment and the companies they helped rise to the top spent decades ingraining the idea that tobacco and alcohol is ok so its hard to get that idea carved out of societies initial acceptances. That is why weed isn’t and never will be legalized and why we still have alcohol and tobacco on our store shelves. Because we as a society accept it.

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  351. In CT says:

    Drug testing is yet another barrier for low income workers to jobs. Also, racial profiling creates more of an impact on minority users and dealers, and is a form of systemic racism. If you want to regulate, bring it out into the sunlight, don’t push it underground.

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  352. In CT says:

    Drug testing is yet another barrier for low income workers to jobs. Also, racial profiling creates more of an impact on minority users and dealers, and is a form of systemic racism. If you want to regulate, bring it out into the sunlight, don’t push it underground.

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  353. Jeanne M. says:

    Just another great Internet resource for Scientific research on Psychedelics” http://www.maps.org (the Multidisciplinary Assoc. for Psychedelic Studies.
    Just an FYI – I may have missed the link in your story but if not, here ya go.

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  354. Jeanne M. says:

    Just another great Internet resource for Scientific research on Psychedelics” http://www.maps.org (the Multidisciplinary Assoc. for Psychedelic Studies.
    Just an FYI – I may have missed the link in your story but if not, here ya go.

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  355. gramma in the midwest says:

    I think everone should be able to buy weed at the local farmer’s market- no government involvment whatsoever. That’s pretty much what we do anyway.

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  356. gramma in the midwest says:

    I think everone should be able to buy weed at the local farmer’s market- no government involvment whatsoever. That’s pretty much what we do anyway.

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  357. John Thomas says:

    Common Sense In Massachusetts

    http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinions/x1149879423

    A stream of witnesses brought a common sense approach to marijuana policy to a hearing on Beacon Hill this week. The current law making possession of small amounts of marijuana a criminal offense wastes money – $24 million a year, according to a Boston University study – and hurts people, especially young people, they testified. And after 35 years of the war on drugs, it’s hard to argue that the current policy is preventing people from using marijuana.

    The bill before the Joint Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee would impose a $250 civil fine for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, freeing offenders of the criminal record that can close off access to jobs and student aid.

    Nobody showed up to speak in opposition to the bill, but that doesn’t mean there is clear sailing ahead. The state Legislature has been reluctant to vote on anything that might brand members as soft on crime, and a spokeswoman for Gov. Deval Patrick reiterated his campaign pledge to veto any decriminalization measure.

    Patrick, who looks more like a conventional politician by the day, showed more common sense in endorsing bringing casinos to Massachusetts. While agreeing that gambling can be addictive, he recognized that, for most people, it isn’t. A 10-year study by Harvard Medical School found that 3 to 5 percent of people will develop a gambling problem, which is another way of saying that for 95 to 97 percent of the people, gambling is a harmless entertainment.

    Can the same be said for marijuana? Yes, but alcohol is an easier comparison. Marijuana is far less addictive than booze and, strictly speaking, it’s not addictive at all. It is less destructive to your liver and other organs than alcohol, nor is it as associated with violence, family break-up or other social ills. There is no known fatal dose of marijuana.

    Alcohol prohibition failed because people finally admitted that, while alcohol is a problem for some people, it’s a harmless entertainment for most. Marijuana prohibition is more punitive than alcohol prohibition ever was, since the Volstead Act never simple possession of alcohol illegal.

    Consistency would argue that whether the vice in question is a hobby or a habit, drinking beer, smoking pot or playing poker is an individual decision, not something that should come with a prison sentence.

    Consistency may be more than we can expect from our state Legislature. Rep. Ruth Balser, D-Newton, who has endorsed the marijuana decriminalization bill, is an opponent of legalizing casinos. A similar marijuana bill was approved by Balser’s committee last year, but was never brought to the floor of either house for a vote.

    In Massachusetts, as in other states, the public is way ahead of the politicians on marijuana reform. Since 2002, voters in 30 House districts approved nonbinding ballot questions endorsing some form of decriminalization, often by wide margins. Activists are now circulating petitions to put an initiative decriminalizing marijuana possession on the statewide ballot in 2008.

    Eventually, common sense will bring change to the state and nation’s drug policies. The wonder is that it is taking so long.

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  358. John Thomas says:

    Common Sense In Massachusetts

    http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinions/x1149879423

    A stream of witnesses brought a common sense approach to marijuana policy to a hearing on Beacon Hill this week. The current law making possession of small amounts of marijuana a criminal offense wastes money – $24 million a year, according to a Boston University study – and hurts people, especially young people, they testified. And after 35 years of the war on drugs, it’s hard to argue that the current policy is preventing people from using marijuana.

    The bill before the Joint Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee would impose a $250 civil fine for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, freeing offenders of the criminal record that can close off access to jobs and student aid.

    Nobody showed up to speak in opposition to the bill, but that doesn’t mean there is clear sailing ahead. The state Legislature has been reluctant to vote on anything that might brand members as soft on crime, and a spokeswoman for Gov. Deval Patrick reiterated his campaign pledge to veto any decriminalization measure.

    Patrick, who looks more like a conventional politician by the day, showed more common sense in endorsing bringing casinos to Massachusetts. While agreeing that gambling can be addictive, he recognized that, for most people, it isn’t. A 10-year study by Harvard Medical School found that 3 to 5 percent of people will develop a gambling problem, which is another way of saying that for 95 to 97 percent of the people, gambling is a harmless entertainment.

    Can the same be said for marijuana? Yes, but alcohol is an easier comparison. Marijuana is far less addictive than booze and, strictly speaking, it’s not addictive at all. It is less destructive to your liver and other organs than alcohol, nor is it as associated with violence, family break-up or other social ills. There is no known fatal dose of marijuana.

    Alcohol prohibition failed because people finally admitted that, while alcohol is a problem for some people, it’s a harmless entertainment for most. Marijuana prohibition is more punitive than alcohol prohibition ever was, since the Volstead Act never simple possession of alcohol illegal.

    Consistency would argue that whether the vice in question is a hobby or a habit, drinking beer, smoking pot or playing poker is an individual decision, not something that should come with a prison sentence.

    Consistency may be more than we can expect from our state Legislature. Rep. Ruth Balser, D-Newton, who has endorsed the marijuana decriminalization bill, is an opponent of legalizing casinos. A similar marijuana bill was approved by Balser’s committee last year, but was never brought to the floor of either house for a vote.

    In Massachusetts, as in other states, the public is way ahead of the politicians on marijuana reform. Since 2002, voters in 30 House districts approved nonbinding ballot questions endorsing some form of decriminalization, often by wide margins. Activists are now circulating petitions to put an initiative decriminalizing marijuana possession on the statewide ballot in 2008.

    Eventually, common sense will bring change to the state and nation’s drug policies. The wonder is that it is taking so long.

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  359. GreenFloyd says:

    The 3 most important drug facts today:

    1) Illegal drugs are out of control.

    2) Drug laws are mostly unenforceable.

    3) Drug laws are widely ignored.

    Legalization and regulation is the only proven effective way to control drugs, protect kids and restore respect for the rule of law itself and those who enforce it.

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  360. GreenFloyd says:

    The 3 most important drug facts today:

    1) Illegal drugs are out of control.

    2) Drug laws are mostly unenforceable.

    3) Drug laws are widely ignored.

    Legalization and regulation is the only proven effective way to control drugs, protect kids and restore respect for the rule of law itself and those who enforce it.

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  361. AMBER says:

    LEGALIZE MARIJUANA! IT NEVER HURT ANYONE, IT IS A NATURAL HERB THAT GROWS FROM THE GROUND.ITS NOT ADDICTIVE, YOU CANT OVERDOSE, AND NO MATTER HOW HARD THE GOVERNMENT TRIES TO GET PEOPLE TO QUIT SMOKING IT, IT WILL BE AROUND FOREVER! THE BATTLE WILL NEVER QUIT! THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH WEED AND IT SHOULD BE LEGAL!!!

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  362. AMBER says:

    LEGALIZE MARIJUANA! IT NEVER HURT ANYONE, IT IS A NATURAL HERB THAT GROWS FROM THE GROUND.ITS NOT ADDICTIVE, YOU CANT OVERDOSE, AND NO MATTER HOW HARD THE GOVERNMENT TRIES TO GET PEOPLE TO QUIT SMOKING IT, IT WILL BE AROUND FOREVER! THE BATTLE WILL NEVER QUIT! THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH WEED AND IT SHOULD BE LEGAL!!!

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  363. Freakazoid says:

    Legalize pot and quit arresting our young people and putting them in jail/prison for possession! This is absurd. Wake Washington and smoke a joint!!

    Support norml.org

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  364. Freakazoid says:

    Legalize pot and quit arresting our young people and putting them in jail/prison for possession! This is absurd. Wake Washington and smoke a joint!!

    Support norml.org

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  365. Bruce Bond says:

    DuPont leans too heavily on an inappropriate metaphor in comparing marijuana use to speeding. There is limited inherent risk to marijuana use and its use is clearly less harmful to society than its suppression.

    Governmental policy must be fair and logical. Punishing the users of pot while letting drinkers and tobacco smokers off the hook threatens the general legitimacy of public policy regarding substance use and makes it clear what a fraud the whole exercise is.

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  366. Bruce Bond says:

    DuPont leans too heavily on an inappropriate metaphor in comparing marijuana use to speeding. There is limited inherent risk to marijuana use and its use is clearly less harmful to society than its suppression.

    Governmental policy must be fair and logical. Punishing the users of pot while letting drinkers and tobacco smokers off the hook threatens the general legitimacy of public policy regarding substance use and makes it clear what a fraud the whole exercise is.

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  367. spinster says:

    Alway follow the money. All of these so-called debates are really trial balloons being floated by the Democrat Party. Why? Another source of taxation, of course. Tax revenues from tobacco products are down, the tobacco settlement money spent. The tax against butter/fats is moving slowly, but will expand over time as more states jump on the bandwagon. However, marijuana is the largest cash crop in Kentucky and possibly, in the US. Legalizing and regulating the cultivation and sale of marijuana would create huge tax revenues for the US. Politicians don’t care about us, they care about power and control. Legalizing marijuana would increase both. Always follow the money.

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  368. spinster says:

    Alway follow the money. All of these so-called debates are really trial balloons being floated by the Democrat Party. Why? Another source of taxation, of course. Tax revenues from tobacco products are down, the tobacco settlement money spent. The tax against butter/fats is moving slowly, but will expand over time as more states jump on the bandwagon. However, marijuana is the largest cash crop in Kentucky and possibly, in the US. Legalizing and regulating the cultivation and sale of marijuana would create huge tax revenues for the US. Politicians don’t care about us, they care about power and control. Legalizing marijuana would increase both. Always follow the money.

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  369. Kate says:

    I take issue with Dr. Grinspoon’s calling the link between marijuana and schizophrenia a myth. No, marijuana use does not cause schizophrenia. But excessive use of high-potency marijuana does increase the risk of schizophrenia (and other forms of psychosis). Numerous scientific papers available on PubMed attest to this. And the link to psychosis must be taken into account when deciding whether to legalize marijuana. I was always in favor of legalization, until my brother, a very heavy pot smoker, became psychotic.

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  370. Kate says:

    I take issue with Dr. Grinspoon’s calling the link between marijuana and schizophrenia a myth. No, marijuana use does not cause schizophrenia. But excessive use of high-potency marijuana does increase the risk of schizophrenia (and other forms of psychosis). Numerous scientific papers available on PubMed attest to this. And the link to psychosis must be taken into account when deciding whether to legalize marijuana. I was always in favor of legalization, until my brother, a very heavy pot smoker, became psychotic.

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  371. Steven says:

    Dr. Murray inadvertantly names the number one reason why marijuana should be legalized…”A review of those actually convicted and sentenced for marijuana offenses shows that they are overwhelmingly drug traffickers or multiple, often violent, offenders, and not those arrested for simple possession or use.”

    If it were legalized and the sale controlled as alcohol and cigarettes are today, would it not take these dangerous traffickers out of the equation?

    I must also question Dr. Murray’s concern for the health of those who would use marijuana when the FDA has reported that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than marijuana and that Federal classifications should be updated to reflect the latest findings…yet alcohol and tobacco are still legal and 44% of drug related arrests are for marijuana. That sounds to me as if the Office of National Drug Control Policy and other policing agencies would have 44% less funding if they were to allow the legalization of marijuana. Where is the concern really projected?

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  372. Steven says:

    Dr. Murray inadvertantly names the number one reason why marijuana should be legalized…”A review of those actually convicted and sentenced for marijuana offenses shows that they are overwhelmingly drug traffickers or multiple, often violent, offenders, and not those arrested for simple possession or use.”

    If it were legalized and the sale controlled as alcohol and cigarettes are today, would it not take these dangerous traffickers out of the equation?

    I must also question Dr. Murray’s concern for the health of those who would use marijuana when the FDA has reported that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than marijuana and that Federal classifications should be updated to reflect the latest findings…yet alcohol and tobacco are still legal and 44% of drug related arrests are for marijuana. That sounds to me as if the Office of National Drug Control Policy and other policing agencies would have 44% less funding if they were to allow the legalization of marijuana. Where is the concern really projected?

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  373. Ira Eisman says:

    I have read the article and perused most of the comments and myself must say that marijuana is not really dangerous as almost anyone without a vested interest in stopping its use knows. The fact is that the laws against it have a collateral affect of actually fostering addiction to it by making it absolutely impossible to buy a single dose, the dealers won’t sell it because it costs too little and certainly won’t risk jail for a profit of 1 or 2 dollars. Thus the casual user or person only interested in trying it is forced to have a large enough supply for several uses and is thus on the road to addiction. I hesitate to say that this is true of all “dangerous drugs” because I am sure that I will hear someone saying in response; “Alright, then what are we supposed to do, legalize heroine as well?” Anyway hasn’t this polemic gone on far too long? In a society such as ours, it is supposed to be a symbol of how democratic we are that we can have this conversation, but really it a sign of how undemocratic we are that simple, probably safe and at most borderline dangerous activities should be outlawed and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I once lived in the good ole USA, but I’ve sadly given up on it as it’s become a dangerous and vindictive society as anyone who isn’t a native will tell you.

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  374. Ira Eisman says:

    I have read the article and perused most of the comments and myself must say that marijuana is not really dangerous as almost anyone without a vested interest in stopping its use knows. The fact is that the laws against it have a collateral affect of actually fostering addiction to it by making it absolutely impossible to buy a single dose, the dealers won’t sell it because it costs too little and certainly won’t risk jail for a profit of 1 or 2 dollars. Thus the casual user or person only interested in trying it is forced to have a large enough supply for several uses and is thus on the road to addiction. I hesitate to say that this is true of all “dangerous drugs” because I am sure that I will hear someone saying in response; “Alright, then what are we supposed to do, legalize heroine as well?” Anyway hasn’t this polemic gone on far too long? In a society such as ours, it is supposed to be a symbol of how democratic we are that we can have this conversation, but really it a sign of how undemocratic we are that simple, probably safe and at most borderline dangerous activities should be outlawed and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I once lived in the good ole USA, but I’ve sadly given up on it as it’s become a dangerous and vindictive society as anyone who isn’t a native will tell you.

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  375. Pocono George says:

    A Question to
    Bush,Clinton,Gingrich,,Gore and all who have acknowledge smoking marijuana.

    Q. At what point in your pot smoking career would it have been a good thing for you to get arrested
    and gone to prison?
    Q. If an arrest wouldn’t have been good for these high achievers, why do they think prison is the
    best way to deal with others who smoke pot?

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  376. Pocono George says:

    A Question to
    Bush,Clinton,Gingrich,,Gore and all who have acknowledge smoking marijuana.

    Q. At what point in your pot smoking career would it have been a good thing for you to get arrested
    and gone to prison?
    Q. If an arrest wouldn’t have been good for these high achievers, why do they think prison is the
    best way to deal with others who smoke pot?

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  377. M T Bolin says:

    One very important issue that seems to be overlooked in this debate is confusing all usage with abuse. Regardless of the substance (alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, even coffee) there is wise use and there is abuse. Even tobacco in moderation(5-10 cigarettes or one cigar a day) shows little ill effects to health. Same is true with alcohol and marijuana. Adults who has a one or two drinks per day or only social drink at weddings and celebrations are not the problem. Same is true with the marijuana user who does the same.

    The problem is not with the majority who control their drug use (including alcohol and tobacco) it is those individuals who abuse it regardless of the substance.

    Not all users are abusers, and the fact is there will be socially accepted drugs. This country has chosen alcohol caffeine and tobacco and seems to be choosing marijuana as well. Most well adjusted adults know that if you overdo anything you will destroy your life or reduce the quality of your health. That is why most will self regulate their usage of any drugs. Those that will not or cannot will do so regardless if it is legal or not.

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  378. M T Bolin says:

    One very important issue that seems to be overlooked in this debate is confusing all usage with abuse. Regardless of the substance (alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, even coffee) there is wise use and there is abuse. Even tobacco in moderation(5-10 cigarettes or one cigar a day) shows little ill effects to health. Same is true with alcohol and marijuana. Adults who has a one or two drinks per day or only social drink at weddings and celebrations are not the problem. Same is true with the marijuana user who does the same.

    The problem is not with the majority who control their drug use (including alcohol and tobacco) it is those individuals who abuse it regardless of the substance.

    Not all users are abusers, and the fact is there will be socially accepted drugs. This country has chosen alcohol caffeine and tobacco and seems to be choosing marijuana as well. Most well adjusted adults know that if you overdo anything you will destroy your life or reduce the quality of your health. That is why most will self regulate their usage of any drugs. Those that will not or cannot will do so regardless if it is legal or not.

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  379. Mr Happy says:

    Here is the simple test I give to anyone who thinks the current legal approach makes sense: If you are taking your children to a crowded and potentially rowdy public event, would you feel safer in the stoned section or the drunk section of the stadium? I have never met anybody who has observed the effects of both and still wants to hang with the drinkers.

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  380. Mr Happy says:

    Here is the simple test I give to anyone who thinks the current legal approach makes sense: If you are taking your children to a crowded and potentially rowdy public event, would you feel safer in the stoned section or the drunk section of the stadium? I have never met anybody who has observed the effects of both and still wants to hang with the drinkers.

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  381. ed says:

    Follow the money. Marijuana grows freely, if allowed to. It needs no pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers or other chemical help. The only way for it to be profitable is to make it illegal. Who benefits? Criminal drug dealers; prison shareholders; drug-enforcement organizations; terrorists; antiterrorists. All the wrong people. Who loses? Regular people.

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  382. ed says:

    Follow the money. Marijuana grows freely, if allowed to. It needs no pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers or other chemical help. The only way for it to be profitable is to make it illegal. Who benefits? Criminal drug dealers; prison shareholders; drug-enforcement organizations; terrorists; antiterrorists. All the wrong people. Who loses? Regular people.

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  383. Gerald Sutliff, USA says:

    Richard Miller’s, “Drug Warriors…” makes a solid case for reform; more importantly it explains why there’s so much support for maintaining the dysfunctional status quo. It’s the vested (need I say “economic”) interests in maintaining prohibition, i.e. humans as revenue producing cargo, police staffing (law enforcement jobs) etc.

    Marijuana Prohibition also prevents the R & D for more useful drug treatments. Also it prevents development of the great potential of industrial hemp as a food, oil and fiber among other things.

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  384. Gerald Sutliff, USA says:

    Richard Miller’s, “Drug Warriors…” makes a solid case for reform; more importantly it explains why there’s so much support for maintaining the dysfunctional status quo. It’s the vested (need I say “economic”) interests in maintaining prohibition, i.e. humans as revenue producing cargo, police staffing (law enforcement jobs) etc.

    Marijuana Prohibition also prevents the R & D for more useful drug treatments. Also it prevents development of the great potential of industrial hemp as a food, oil and fiber among other things.

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  385. Gerald Sutliff, USA says:

    Richard Miller’s, “Drug Warriors…” makes a solid case for reform; more importantly it explains why there’s so much support for maintaining the dysfunctional status quo. It’s the vested (need I say “economic”) interests in maintaining prohibition, i.e. humans as revenue producing cargo, police staffing (law enforcement jobs) etc.

    Marijuana Prohibition also prevents the R & D for more useful drug treatments. Also it prevents development of the great potential of industrial hemp as a food, oil and fiber among other things.

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  386. Sean says:

    Quick question. If MJ were legalized would corporations take over the marketing of it? If so, what would the ads promote? There’s plenty to say in defence of MJ when it is under attack, but is there any reason to promote its use?

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  387. Sean says:

    Quick question. If MJ were legalized would corporations take over the marketing of it? If so, what would the ads promote? There’s plenty to say in defence of MJ when it is under attack, but is there any reason to promote its use?

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  388. Casey says:

    The whole gateway drug argument makes me laugh. Marijuana is currently a gateway drug because the people willing to risk selling pot to kids are often into harder things. I used to buy pot from coke fiends and heroin addicts when I was 16 (this is in a small alaskan town too) and I wouldn’t have been around those people if Marijuana was legal.

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  389. Casey says:

    The whole gateway drug argument makes me laugh. Marijuana is currently a gateway drug because the people willing to risk selling pot to kids are often into harder things. I used to buy pot from coke fiends and heroin addicts when I was 16 (this is in a small alaskan town too) and I wouldn’t have been around those people if Marijuana was legal.

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  390. ab says:

    I find the comments from readers far more instructive than the purported debate among these so-called experts with their agendas and well-developed skills of obfuscation. I am very much of two minds about MJ legalization in America (bearing in mind the historic facts, that is). I tend more towards regulation and taxation by the ATF, however, as I think this makes more sense than the current policy of prohibition. That would, of course, raise problems with international treaties, as Dr. DuPont points out, but if we can march into Iraq without UN and international approval, then BY GOD we should be able to legalize weed in the same way! But the federal government has made up its mind on this policy issue, and will not change it until we have someone in the White House with some balls, or a Supreme Court bench with some integrity, or until so many individual states decriminalize marijuana that the feds have no choice but to back down. In other words: don’t hold your breath, folks…

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  391. ab says:

    I find the comments from readers far more instructive than the purported debate among these so-called experts with their agendas and well-developed skills of obfuscation. I am very much of two minds about MJ legalization in America (bearing in mind the historic facts, that is). I tend more towards regulation and taxation by the ATF, however, as I think this makes more sense than the current policy of prohibition. That would, of course, raise problems with international treaties, as Dr. DuPont points out, but if we can march into Iraq without UN and international approval, then BY GOD we should be able to legalize weed in the same way! But the federal government has made up its mind on this policy issue, and will not change it until we have someone in the White House with some balls, or a Supreme Court bench with some integrity, or until so many individual states decriminalize marijuana that the feds have no choice but to back down. In other words: don’t hold your breath, folks…

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  392. ab says:

    Also, what I gather from the overwhelming pro-decriminalization comments here is that the American public is overwhelmingly against pot prohibition. Then again, one has to wonder whether the NYTimes readers are a representative sampling of the American public — I tend to doubt it ;) But this has always been my experience in life, too, and I don’t just hang out with Democrats and Lefties.

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  393. ab says:

    Also, what I gather from the overwhelming pro-decriminalization comments here is that the American public is overwhelmingly against pot prohibition. Then again, one has to wonder whether the NYTimes readers are a representative sampling of the American public — I tend to doubt it ;) But this has always been my experience in life, too, and I don’t just hang out with Democrats and Lefties.

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  394. cxb says:

    FACT:

    almost all crime in america is the result of the War on Drugs.

    EX: guess where almost all teens get their handguns from? Did they save up the money from their paper route? Their job at McDonald’s?

    Nope.

    They not only have endless cash to buy weapons (thanks to nutjobs like Giuliani who insist prohibition works), but they also have MOTIVE to buy weapons (to protect them from other dealers, etc, or even the cops)—all courtesy of prohibition.

    Most cops have been killed thanks to Reagan and the GOP’s prohibition. (Not to say the Dems aren’t evil too.)

    Now, how much discussion of this crisis will enter the prez election?

    Not much. B/c the media would rather write about hack endorsements and fundraising, and poll numbers (which, so far, show us the most famous candidates with the best name recognition…are… leading! Shocker!)

    (Why not report whether the earth revolved around the sun yesterday?)

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  395. cxb says:

    FACT:

    almost all crime in america is the result of the War on Drugs.

    EX: guess where almost all teens get their handguns from? Did they save up the money from their paper route? Their job at McDonald’s?

    Nope.

    They not only have endless cash to buy weapons (thanks to nutjobs like Giuliani who insist prohibition works), but they also have MOTIVE to buy weapons (to protect them from other dealers, etc, or even the cops)—all courtesy of prohibition.

    Most cops have been killed thanks to Reagan and the GOP’s prohibition. (Not to say the Dems aren’t evil too.)

    Now, how much discussion of this crisis will enter the prez election?

    Not much. B/c the media would rather write about hack endorsements and fundraising, and poll numbers (which, so far, show us the most famous candidates with the best name recognition…are… leading! Shocker!)

    (Why not report whether the earth revolved around the sun yesterday?)

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  396. En Passant says:

    There are two classes of people in favor of prohibition: The well meaning uninformed ones and those who make money from the status quo. The latter category are the most influential: underfunded law enforcement agencies who get to auction off your house or car when they catch you, corporations who provide drug tests, organized crime, terrorists, and corrupt politicians (foreign and domestic). The government realizes that taxing pot will never be a big source of revenue because if it was legal it would be so easy to grow your own.

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  397. En Passant says:

    There are two classes of people in favor of prohibition: The well meaning uninformed ones and those who make money from the status quo. The latter category are the most influential: underfunded law enforcement agencies who get to auction off your house or car when they catch you, corporations who provide drug tests, organized crime, terrorists, and corrupt politicians (foreign and domestic). The government realizes that taxing pot will never be a big source of revenue because if it was legal it would be so easy to grow your own.

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  398. Dr. Lazarus says:

    It would be interesting to do a survey on mental health patients especially those with depression and schizophrenia to see if there is any correlation between prior marijuana use and their current mental health issues.

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  399. Dr. Lazarus says:

    It would be interesting to do a survey on mental health patients especially those with depression and schizophrenia to see if there is any correlation between prior marijuana use and their current mental health issues.

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  400. Hunter says:

    Current policy in this matter is deeply flawed. First, the inability of our government to make a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana is a remarkable failure of leadership. We continue to subsidize the over production of corn and other commodities when simply legalizing commercial hemp production would give farmers the freedom to rotate an incredible useful crop into the mix and reduce their need for government help.

    Second, as a regular user of marijuana for 15 plus years, I can’t help but shake my head at the government bureaucrats and talking heads that keep telling me I am being both self-destructive and anti-social. While smoking marijuana on a daily basis, I completed an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree and have had a successful career in finance. I am active in the community and generally a good citizen who follows current events and politics closely and votes in every election. I know I may not be the prototypical marijuana user, but there are millions more like me. All we ask is for some common sense policy that isn’t based on fear and lies.

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  401. Hunter says:

    Current policy in this matter is deeply flawed. First, the inability of our government to make a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana is a remarkable failure of leadership. We continue to subsidize the over production of corn and other commodities when simply legalizing commercial hemp production would give farmers the freedom to rotate an incredible useful crop into the mix and reduce their need for government help.

    Second, as a regular user of marijuana for 15 plus years, I can’t help but shake my head at the government bureaucrats and talking heads that keep telling me I am being both self-destructive and anti-social. While smoking marijuana on a daily basis, I completed an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree and have had a successful career in finance. I am active in the community and generally a good citizen who follows current events and politics closely and votes in every election. I know I may not be the prototypical marijuana user, but there are millions more like me. All we ask is for some common sense policy that isn’t based on fear and lies.

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  402. Josh says:

    It just seems as if both sides are using their OWN facts to propagate their ideas, instead of meeting in the middle and seeing what is really true.
    And about legalization: Even though I am a person who uses marijuana on occasion, I don’t think it could ever be legalized. Decades and decades of prohibition would make legalization a disaster.

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  403. Josh says:

    It just seems as if both sides are using their OWN facts to propagate their ideas, instead of meeting in the middle and seeing what is really true.
    And about legalization: Even though I am a person who uses marijuana on occasion, I don’t think it could ever be legalized. Decades and decades of prohibition would make legalization a disaster.

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  404. Ravenowner says:

    DuPont…DuPont….Where have I heard that name before? Wasn’t the DuPont Corporation instrumental in enacting the Marijuana Tax Act since hemp represented a competitor to Dacron and Nylon fiber?

    The similarity in names is probably just a coincidence.

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  405. Ravenowner says:

    DuPont…DuPont….Where have I heard that name before? Wasn’t the DuPont Corporation instrumental in enacting the Marijuana Tax Act since hemp represented a competitor to Dacron and Nylon fiber?

    The similarity in names is probably just a coincidence.

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  406. Dan Saki says:

    has anyone considered the race effect? especially dubner and levitt. the percentage of minorities in jail because of these laws

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  407. Dan Saki says:

    has anyone considered the race effect? especially dubner and levitt. the percentage of minorities in jail because of these laws

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  408. GreenFloyd says:

    Dear friends,

    Sometimes it is disheartening to see all the confusion and misunderstanding about drugs and our society. However, after 30+ years of “war,” propaganda and fear I guess it’s understandable.
    Every rational debate proceeds from a premise. The purpose of a debate is to determine if the premise is true or false. My premise is simple, in 3 short easy to understand sentences:

    1) Illegal drugs are out of control.
    2) Current drug laws are mostly unenforceable.
    3) Current drug laws are widely ignored.

    Everything else is irrelevant, immaterial and incompetent.

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  409. GreenFloyd says:

    Dear friends,

    Sometimes it is disheartening to see all the confusion and misunderstanding about drugs and our society. However, after 30+ years of “war,” propaganda and fear I guess it’s understandable.
    Every rational debate proceeds from a premise. The purpose of a debate is to determine if the premise is true or false. My premise is simple, in 3 short easy to understand sentences:

    1) Illegal drugs are out of control.
    2) Current drug laws are mostly unenforceable.
    3) Current drug laws are widely ignored.

    Everything else is irrelevant, immaterial and incompetent.

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  410. Nelson says:

    The legalization of marijuana can be justified through economic factors alone.

    1. The prohibition of marijuana takes money out of the pockets of tax payers (11 billion a year)
    2. The legalization of marijuana would create a (legitimate) new domestic industry which would not only create an entire new job market and number of business oppurtunities, but also could be taxed as highly if not higher than alcohol, tobbacco or firearms.

    The substance’s legalization would be money in rather than out of our pockets, which would adequately cover the proclaimed “costs of treatment, drugged driving crashes, and lost productivity.” (which of course, are not already affects of alcohol)

    We will save the argument addressing severe health issues and the adverse affects caused by marijuana (that are not already caused by alcohol) for another day.

    So for all of you US citizens who can’t stand taxes, just remember what they’re actually going to; the prohibition of a harmless substance which could be a money maker for our government if legalized.

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  411. Nelson says:

    The legalization of marijuana can be justified through economic factors alone.

    1. The prohibition of marijuana takes money out of the pockets of tax payers (11 billion a year)
    2. The legalization of marijuana would create a (legitimate) new domestic industry which would not only create an entire new job market and number of business oppurtunities, but also could be taxed as highly if not higher than alcohol, tobbacco or firearms.

    The substance’s legalization would be money in rather than out of our pockets, which would adequately cover the proclaimed “costs of treatment, drugged driving crashes, and lost productivity.” (which of course, are not already affects of alcohol)

    We will save the argument addressing severe health issues and the adverse affects caused by marijuana (that are not already caused by alcohol) for another day.

    So for all of you US citizens who can’t stand taxes, just remember what they’re actually going to; the prohibition of a harmless substance which could be a money maker for our government if legalized.

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  412. Charles Hastings says:

    Dupont: “Legalization of marijuana would solve the marijuana problem the way legalizing speeding would solve the speeding problem: it would remove the legal inhibition of a dangerous behavior, and thereby encourage the behavior.”

    Interesting that the prohibitionist side assumes a “problem” exists–if so, what is it specifically? is it documented? if so, how? One can build a strong case against cocaine, heroin or meth but whatever “problem” marijuana causes is ill-defined at best. For example, I suspect the emergency room visits are the result of overconsumption of THC causing racing heartbeats and short-term paranoia rather than actual emergency-response medical conditions but this relevant nugget isn’t clarified. If there is a problem, describe it and quantify it. Comparing marijuana use to speeding (and thence to drunk driving) is like comparing coffee drinking to jaywalking (and thus to trespassing or breaking and entering). In other words, worse than useless.

    But maybe DuPont’s comparison is more apt than it seems. Does anyone find speed limits any more than a nuisance and a way for state governments to fatten their coffers? A google search for “revenue from speeding tickets” brought up this link from Scottsdale, Arizona, where a photo enforcement system gave out 59,721 tickets in a four-month period. Do the math on the minimum $157 fine and that’s well over $9 million in citizens’ money generated by an almost completely automated system.

    The definition of terms in this debate need clarifying before even the facts. Our government’s continuing effort to eradicate marijuana use is only “unsuccessful” if you define “success” as the eradication of marijuana use. Financially, anti-drug programs are extremely successful, employing thousands at taxpayer expense.

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  413. Charles Hastings says:

    Dupont: “Legalization of marijuana would solve the marijuana problem the way legalizing speeding would solve the speeding problem: it would remove the legal inhibition of a dangerous behavior, and thereby encourage the behavior.”

    Interesting that the prohibitionist side assumes a “problem” exists–if so, what is it specifically? is it documented? if so, how? One can build a strong case against cocaine, heroin or meth but whatever “problem” marijuana causes is ill-defined at best. For example, I suspect the emergency room visits are the result of overconsumption of THC causing racing heartbeats and short-term paranoia rather than actual emergency-response medical conditions but this relevant nugget isn’t clarified. If there is a problem, describe it and quantify it. Comparing marijuana use to speeding (and thence to drunk driving) is like comparing coffee drinking to jaywalking (and thus to trespassing or breaking and entering). In other words, worse than useless.

    But maybe DuPont’s comparison is more apt than it seems. Does anyone find speed limits any more than a nuisance and a way for state governments to fatten their coffers? A google search for “revenue from speeding tickets” brought up this link from Scottsdale, Arizona, where a photo enforcement system gave out 59,721 tickets in a four-month period. Do the math on the minimum $157 fine and that’s well over $9 million in citizens’ money generated by an almost completely automated system.

    The definition of terms in this debate need clarifying before even the facts. Our government’s continuing effort to eradicate marijuana use is only “unsuccessful” if you define “success” as the eradication of marijuana use. Financially, anti-drug programs are extremely successful, employing thousands at taxpayer expense.

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  414. sean says:

    first of i think it is sad that in the 21′st century we as humans, the supposed most advanced race on the planet,is still having this conversation. pot has been around for centuries before alcohol, before jesus and, before we left the jungles naked. i find it appaling that our government continues to turn a blind eye to facts and continues to support a war on drugs. yes hard dugs such as cocaine and heroin are horrible and should be regulated outside ones own home. but marijuana should not. it has been proven time and time again to cause no harm. it is past time that we the people should stand up to what the founding fathers founded this great nation upon:revolution and the right to stand up to tyrany. it goes deeper than just pot but its a start.

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  415. sean says:

    first of i think it is sad that in the 21′st century we as humans, the supposed most advanced race on the planet,is still having this conversation. pot has been around for centuries before alcohol, before jesus and, before we left the jungles naked. i find it appaling that our government continues to turn a blind eye to facts and continues to support a war on drugs. yes hard dugs such as cocaine and heroin are horrible and should be regulated outside ones own home. but marijuana should not. it has been proven time and time again to cause no harm. it is past time that we the people should stand up to what the founding fathers founded this great nation upon:revolution and the right to stand up to tyrany. it goes deeper than just pot but its a start.

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  416. Jason says:

    I’m a college student with a 3.92 GPA over 2 years (and I’ve smoked almost 5+ days a week throughout that time) while also maintaining a 40+ hours per week salaried job as a Software Engineer. While doing all this, I’ve also successfully pursued a very wide range of interests, including surfing, snowboarding, cooking, creating music, reading, working on cars, gardening, art (creation and appreciation), hiking/camping, and politics.

    The stereotypes and myths about the effects of pot smoking need to be reevaluated!

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  417. Jason says:

    I’m a college student with a 3.92 GPA over 2 years (and I’ve smoked almost 5+ days a week throughout that time) while also maintaining a 40+ hours per week salaried job as a Software Engineer. While doing all this, I’ve also successfully pursued a very wide range of interests, including surfing, snowboarding, cooking, creating music, reading, working on cars, gardening, art (creation and appreciation), hiking/camping, and politics.

    The stereotypes and myths about the effects of pot smoking need to be reevaluated!

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  418. Chuck says:

    I agree with Jason. I am a hard working IT professional, I went to college with my own money while working, and I smoke cannabis often. I pay taxes, volunteer in the community and donate to charity. I’m not some “fried” pothead. The stereotype that is given to smokers is not really true. I’ll admit, there are some unmotivated people that like to smoke pot that just sit around and don’t do anything but that doesn’t mean that we all do. Legalization is the way to go and it will allow our law enforcement agencies to crack down on crimes with victims such as rape, murder and child molesting. Wake up! “Reefer Madness” is bunk and is not the truth! I can’t believe it is the year 2007 and it has not been legalized already. Come on people!

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  419. Chuck says:

    I agree with Jason. I am a hard working IT professional, I went to college with my own money while working, and I smoke cannabis often. I pay taxes, volunteer in the community and donate to charity. I’m not some “fried” pothead. The stereotype that is given to smokers is not really true. I’ll admit, there are some unmotivated people that like to smoke pot that just sit around and don’t do anything but that doesn’t mean that we all do. Legalization is the way to go and it will allow our law enforcement agencies to crack down on crimes with victims such as rape, murder and child molesting. Wake up! “Reefer Madness” is bunk and is not the truth! I can’t believe it is the year 2007 and it has not been legalized already. Come on people!

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  420. Mark says:

    Re: Have you tried it?

    Yes, I was addicted to pot for a long time. My brain is sensitive to the drug, I believe it messed up my normal adolescent development. In small doses (if I could control myself) and infrequently taken, this drug would benefit my life from a creative, introspective, and musical areas.

    Am I responsible enough? Not really.

    Is society responsible enough to make its own decisions?…………..

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  421. Mark says:

    Re: Have you tried it?

    Yes, I was addicted to pot for a long time. My brain is sensitive to the drug, I believe it messed up my normal adolescent development. In small doses (if I could control myself) and infrequently taken, this drug would benefit my life from a creative, introspective, and musical areas.

    Am I responsible enough? Not really.

    Is society responsible enough to make its own decisions?…………..

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  422. jessica swang says:

    I find it quite humorous that when people bring up the negative affects of marijuana, they fail to bring up the negative affects of alcohol. In fact, I believe that the consumption of alcohol has much greater affects than the consumption of marijuana. In fact, it takes a person to smoke their body weight in order to OD on the plant, however it takes far less than that for someone to get alcohol poisoning or, worse, die. And i’m sure that some of our over the counter drugs are just as great of a risk as marijuana itself.

    Another interesting fact, if the government is failing so badly at keeping marijuana at a minimum, then how would it make a difference if it was legalized. People don’t simply avoid it because it is illegal, most people who don’t use the drug, don’t use any drug and not specifically because it is illegal.

    People don’t get addicted to the drug. They get addicted to the feeling, like one can get addicted to soda, or anything for that matter. It’s not the drug that is addictive, it is the person that makes the drug addictive, which depends on the personality and the way in which they are raised. People get addicted to pain killers, but those are not illegal, and those have similar risks, if not worse.

    What I am trying to say is that this whole ordeal over the legalization is ridiculous. People have their opinions (which are often based off of biased or religious views) however, if people look at the facts, then maybe this issue would be more easily and quickly dealt with.

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  423. jessica swang says:

    I find it quite humorous that when people bring up the negative affects of marijuana, they fail to bring up the negative affects of alcohol. In fact, I believe that the consumption of alcohol has much greater affects than the consumption of marijuana. In fact, it takes a person to smoke their body weight in order to OD on the plant, however it takes far less than that for someone to get alcohol poisoning or, worse, die. And i’m sure that some of our over the counter drugs are just as great of a risk as marijuana itself.

    Another interesting fact, if the government is failing so badly at keeping marijuana at a minimum, then how would it make a difference if it was legalized. People don’t simply avoid it because it is illegal, most people who don’t use the drug, don’t use any drug and not specifically because it is illegal.

    People don’t get addicted to the drug. They get addicted to the feeling, like one can get addicted to soda, or anything for that matter. It’s not the drug that is addictive, it is the person that makes the drug addictive, which depends on the personality and the way in which they are raised. People get addicted to pain killers, but those are not illegal, and those have similar risks, if not worse.

    What I am trying to say is that this whole ordeal over the legalization is ridiculous. People have their opinions (which are often based off of biased or religious views) however, if people look at the facts, then maybe this issue would be more easily and quickly dealt with.

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  424. Tim says:

    I am a 17 year old high school student in New Jersey.I know a girl who got caught with Marijuana by her parents and was only penalized because it was illegal. She now has started doing coke only because she gets random drug tests and coke stays in your system for a significantly less period of time.

    Now you tell me… what is a gateway: Prohibition or Marijuana?

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  425. Tim says:

    I am a 17 year old high school student in New Jersey.I know a girl who got caught with Marijuana by her parents and was only penalized because it was illegal. She now has started doing coke only because she gets random drug tests and coke stays in your system for a significantly less period of time.

    Now you tell me… what is a gateway: Prohibition or Marijuana?

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  426. GreenFloyd says:

    The 3 most important drug facts today:

    1) Illegal drugs are out of control.

    2) Drug laws are mostly unenforceable.

    3) Drug laws are widely ignored.

    Legalization and regulation is the only proven effective way to control drugs, protect kids and restore respect for the rule of law itself and those who enforce it.

    All else is irrelevant, immaterial and incompetent.

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  427. GreenFloyd says:

    The 3 most important drug facts today:

    1) Illegal drugs are out of control.

    2) Drug laws are mostly unenforceable.

    3) Drug laws are widely ignored.

    Legalization and regulation is the only proven effective way to control drugs, protect kids and restore respect for the rule of law itself and those who enforce it.

    All else is irrelevant, immaterial and incompetent.

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  428. DannyG says:

    Look here’s the real deal on marijuana:
    It’s not as unhealthy as the gov. likes to say it is. Smoking weed does not make u antisocial, depressed or a skitzo. It does the opposite actually. It livens up ur life, releases endorphens (happines), and there is no evidence that it causes schitzophrenia. The only real reason the government has to continue to make marijuana illegal is that is how it has been for generations and that they do not recieve any taxes on it.
    If they were to legalize and tax marijuana, it would solve so many problems. The mafia would lose money, less arrests would be made, and the government could lower other people’s taxes since they would make tons off of weed. If it were processed and refined it could be made to be a healthier alternative to smoking and alcohol.
    Marijuana does not cause accidents
    Marijuana can be vaporized, eliminating smoke and all threats of cancer.
    marijuana does not make some people prone to violence as alcohol does.
    Marijuana is an overall better choice.
    Restrictions would have to be made of course. Just like everything it needs rules, they just don’t need to be overkill.
    Age-limits, restrictions at work and some resturaunts, public use prohibition, and buying illegaly. ie. must be bought from certified/permitted places.

    If the government would be willing to make some changes then we could make this a better place to live.

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  429. DannyG says:

    Look here’s the real deal on marijuana:
    It’s not as unhealthy as the gov. likes to say it is. Smoking weed does not make u antisocial, depressed or a skitzo. It does the opposite actually. It livens up ur life, releases endorphens (happines), and there is no evidence that it causes schitzophrenia. The only real reason the government has to continue to make marijuana illegal is that is how it has been for generations and that they do not recieve any taxes on it.
    If they were to legalize and tax marijuana, it would solve so many problems. The mafia would lose money, less arrests would be made, and the government could lower other people’s taxes since they would make tons off of weed. If it were processed and refined it could be made to be a healthier alternative to smoking and alcohol.
    Marijuana does not cause accidents
    Marijuana can be vaporized, eliminating smoke and all threats of cancer.
    marijuana does not make some people prone to violence as alcohol does.
    Marijuana is an overall better choice.
    Restrictions would have to be made of course. Just like everything it needs rules, they just don’t need to be overkill.
    Age-limits, restrictions at work and some resturaunts, public use prohibition, and buying illegaly. ie. must be bought from certified/permitted places.

    If the government would be willing to make some changes then we could make this a better place to live.

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  430. tpupnt says:

    i do believe everyone is missing a BIG thing. WOW!
    it is just like when the green party almost had 5% of all the states votes, and the reaction on the telly was so… so…. off the mark. i never thought they were that stupid. we as the people the president is SUPPOSETA represent have failed as a hole. How hard is it to see we want change, so what do they do? you can answer that yourself.
    i had enough verity of friends in high school that i learned something you all missed, sorry but facts are facts. they do not want to tell you the actual reason why its called a “gate way drug”
    how meny times do you tell us as children [you are ment to guild] not to do this or that and do it youself? i might be in my late 20s but i remember and see it played out on a daily base.
    so you tell them that its harmful. what else is really harmful:
    DRUNKING PERIOD CAN LEAD TO (DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, OD AND ALCOHOAL DETOXS THAT OUT OF ALL NORCOTIX CAN KILL!! DRIVING ACTIDENTS, HANG-OVERS, IMPARES EVERYTHING EVEN SEX)
    SMOKING CIGERATES CAN (GIVE YOU CANCER OR IS THAT STRESS MIXED WITH OTHER BAD THINGS? OR LACK OF MARI JANE?)
    LACK OF REAL DR THAT CARE ABOUT THEIR PATIENCE AND NOT THE KICK DOWN BY DRUG AMISTRATION?
    ON THAT NOTE WHY DO SO MENY GET PAID FOR MAKING US WORSE?
    MONOPOLY ILLGISED BUT TILLED CHANGE TO CORPORATIONS
    M

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  431. tpupnt says:

    i do believe everyone is missing a BIG thing. WOW!
    it is just like when the green party almost had 5% of all the states votes, and the reaction on the telly was so… so…. off the mark. i never thought they were that stupid. we as the people the president is SUPPOSETA represent have failed as a hole. How hard is it to see we want change, so what do they do? you can answer that yourself.
    i had enough verity of friends in high school that i learned something you all missed, sorry but facts are facts. they do not want to tell you the actual reason why its called a “gate way drug”
    how meny times do you tell us as children [you are ment to guild] not to do this or that and do it youself? i might be in my late 20s but i remember and see it played out on a daily base.
    so you tell them that its harmful. what else is really harmful:
    DRUNKING PERIOD CAN LEAD TO (DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, OD AND ALCOHOAL DETOXS THAT OUT OF ALL NORCOTIX CAN KILL!! DRIVING ACTIDENTS, HANG-OVERS, IMPARES EVERYTHING EVEN SEX)
    SMOKING CIGERATES CAN (GIVE YOU CANCER OR IS THAT STRESS MIXED WITH OTHER BAD THINGS? OR LACK OF MARI JANE?)
    LACK OF REAL DR THAT CARE ABOUT THEIR PATIENCE AND NOT THE KICK DOWN BY DRUG AMISTRATION?
    ON THAT NOTE WHY DO SO MENY GET PAID FOR MAKING US WORSE?
    MONOPOLY ILLGISED BUT TILLED CHANGE TO CORPORATIONS
    M

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  432. sara h. says:

    i think it’s an interesting question: is marijuana more dangerous than legal drugs? what are the risks? of course, we have to look at both sides of the argument instead of just listing the pro side. this site has pros and cons: http://www.medicalmarijuanaprocon.org.

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  433. sara h. says:

    i think it’s an interesting question: is marijuana more dangerous than legal drugs? what are the risks? of course, we have to look at both sides of the argument instead of just listing the pro side. this site has pros and cons: http://www.medicalmarijuanaprocon.org.

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  434. erik says:

    I love the speeding comparison. It just shows how government officials spew crap so much they begin to believe it themselves.

    from wiki under autobahn

    Accident Record

    The overall safety record of autobahns is comparable to other European motorways, and generally motorways are considered safer than other road types and despite the high traffic density comparably low. A 2005 study by the German Interior Ministry indicated that motorway sections with unrestricted speed have the same accident record as sections with speed limits.

    I actually believe this is a great analogy when the correct facts are being used. In Germany it is a lot tougher to get your license. They have to do a lot more training w/ driving schools and they also have to be older. The drivers are better and more responsible.

    If we had educational programs instead of propaganda programs, I believe responsible drug use can be taught. I still remember DARE classes from the 2nd grade and all they did was inform me that all drugs are terrible and all users are miserable failures at life.

    The government simply won’t do it because they are scared that a small minority might be irresponsible much like drunk drivers. So instead of letting us make our own decision, the government has decided to make that decision for everyone.

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  435. erik says:

    I love the speeding comparison. It just shows how government officials spew crap so much they begin to believe it themselves.

    from wiki under autobahn

    Accident Record

    The overall safety record of autobahns is comparable to other European motorways, and generally motorways are considered safer than other road types and despite the high traffic density comparably low. A 2005 study by the German Interior Ministry indicated that motorway sections with unrestricted speed have the same accident record as sections with speed limits.

    I actually believe this is a great analogy when the correct facts are being used. In Germany it is a lot tougher to get your license. They have to do a lot more training w/ driving schools and they also have to be older. The drivers are better and more responsible.

    If we had educational programs instead of propaganda programs, I believe responsible drug use can be taught. I still remember DARE classes from the 2nd grade and all they did was inform me that all drugs are terrible and all users are miserable failures at life.

    The government simply won’t do it because they are scared that a small minority might be irresponsible much like drunk drivers. So instead of letting us make our own decision, the government has decided to make that decision for everyone.

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  436. Jon Castle says:

    There are two points by Murray I would like to address. First, marijuana will not lead to schizophrenia. People who already have a risk of schizophrenia can aggravate and expedite the symptons of the disease with marijuana use. Early diagnosis can help indicate an individual’s risk for this.

    Marijuana does not lead to harder drugs. That marijuana is illegal makes it a gateway drug, introducing smokers to drug dealers who may have other drugs available.

    These are two common arguments which take an end result and posit marijuana as the cause, regardless of the bystander role the drug plays in these situation. They are not valid arguments, and indicate either bias or logical deficiencies in those who expound them.

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  437. Jon Castle says:

    There are two points by Murray I would like to address. First, marijuana will not lead to schizophrenia. People who already have a risk of schizophrenia can aggravate and expedite the symptons of the disease with marijuana use. Early diagnosis can help indicate an individual’s risk for this.

    Marijuana does not lead to harder drugs. That marijuana is illegal makes it a gateway drug, introducing smokers to drug dealers who may have other drugs available.

    These are two common arguments which take an end result and posit marijuana as the cause, regardless of the bystander role the drug plays in these situation. They are not valid arguments, and indicate either bias or logical deficiencies in those who expound them.

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  438. Bailey says:

    (A response to claims of Dr. Murray and the ONDCP)

    There’s so much wrong with this position I’ve no choice but to just go paragraph by paragraph.

    Marijuana’s place as a Schedule I drug is a bizarre miscalculation that serves more of a “saving face” purpose than a legitimate scientific one. The three components of Schedule I inclusion are regularly embellished and outright fabricated for marijuana to fit. It is addictive, which is sold as “breaking news” by some drug warriors, but the reality is it’s less addictive than alcohol or tobacco. This reality has been admitted by both the ONDCP and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That marijuana “intoxicates” is also breaking news, in 1920, but Starbucks and the Olsen twins have been known to intoxicate, neither is illegal. Finally, to be a Schedule I drug, a substance must have no accepted medical value. Well 13 states and many other industrialized countries allow medical use of marijuana, not to mention that marijuana’s active chemical (THC) is now a synthetic drug that the politicians endorse right before saying marijuana has no medical value. Simply put, marijuana is a Schedule one drug to maintain the circular logic of it’s threat. It’s there because it’s bad, it’s bad because it’s there.

    Now we’re at the second paragraph (I know, I know, but don’t fret it’s taking much longer to write this than to read it). Marijuana has gotten more potent over the last 30 years. Let me rephrase that. Marijuana has gotten more potent as the government’s tried to ban it. Any claims of success in stopping supplies of marijuana is shot pretty well to hell because the ONDCP admits that marijuana is stronger, cheaper, and just as available as when they started the Drug War. Drug Warriors used to claim that even a single use of marijuana could lead to incurable insanity. Today the lingo is “higher risk” or “increased risk” and the reality that marijuana just seems to highten pre-existing mental problems is massaged. The reality is that if there was 100% of marijuana by Americans, schizophrenia would leap from 5 in 1,000 to 7 in 1,000. This isn’t good, but it’s not the threat of mass hysteria that the government (until recently) put forward. Gateway drug claims have merit because we’ve created a system where marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and meth are all in the same market, making access easy. But the facts remain that 99% of marijuana users won’t become heroin addicts, and 99% of marijuana users won’t become cocaine addicts.

    The ONDCP can afford good researchers, which makes the fact that they don’t have them very sad for taxpayers like me. But it’s safe to say that many health and social scientists agree that a regulated marijuana market would do much more to keep marijuana from youth, and treat those few who end up addicted to the plant. The Netherlands is a prime example of how regulation leads to better control, Dutch teens use marijuana at a signifigantly lower rate than American teens.

    Claims about marijuana treatment and accidents showcase what the ONDCP is actually good at, namely the manipulation of data. The ever rising number of marijuana arrests are being diverted to treatment programs, which base marijuana “abuse” on the number of people in the program, rather than the number of people meeting the criteria for addiction. There can be no arguement from ONDCP of this fact, since the recent trend to “drug courts” as diversion to treatment is mentioned in the very next paragraph.

    Similarly, any mention of marijuana in an emergency visit causes it to be listed as a contributing factor to the ER visit. Meaning an alcohol overdoes for someone who puffed on a joint earlier makes pot a causing factor of the ER visit.

    The second to last paragraph (we’re getting near the end now). The idea that prison time is the only way that marijuana laws could punish individuals is a shockingly dense oversimplification. Arrest records haunt people for years, and even without current use, can cause people to lose jobs, housing, welfare, loans, scholarships, and other opportunities.

    Now when you say the medical and law enforcement community, be so kind as to mention that you’re refering to Britain and not the U.S., otherwise it might appear to be a misleading statement. Again the reality is that police and doctors are far from united behind the idea that prohibition is the best policy. And the drop in use by young people just bears out that stronger marijuana strains are either or both not more addictive, or not more common. While it is tragic that many teens who use marijuana go on to struggle later in life, this is as much a combined result of it’s legal status, and pre-dispositions of addiction by the individuals. Marijuana users report a higher level of satisfaction with their lives than non-users. “Life’s losers” are the victims of bad public policy. Legalization offers regulation and accontability which will keep marijuana out of the hands of youth, and de-fund criminal enterprises while re-funding police. Prohibition keeps marijuana under the control of dealers, gangs, and cartels, not the ONDCP.

    I have no delusions that this note will change anything. It was cute that you added “What do you think?” sections to the site, but a contempt for the public and your opposition reveals this move as showboating more than responsive government. But I will add this note both to the myspace link I’m giving you, as well as the origional Freakonomics article this article was composed for. Oh, one last thing.

    I personally know that individuals and organizations of all kinds have pressured the ONDCP and Director Walters for a public debate on this matter. And Walters himself has publically called for a “national debate” on this topic. Yet no such debate has happened. This is because your positions, like those above, cannot withstand reasonable scrutiny in comparison to the facts. I haven’t cited sources for this note, even though I clearly can, because you’re not interested in my sources, and if I’m wrong on this feel free to request any and all information to support my “outlandish” claims. I look forward to silence (or maybe a cookie-cutter “Thanks for your comment” auto-response) in regards to this note. Don’t feel the need to argue with me, we won’t ever convince the other, I only write this to sharpen my own rhetoric on this topic, and demonstrate to the ONDCP (and any other interested party) how easily your policies can be toppled by a 23 year old.

    Hope to hear from you soon ;)

    Bailey
    bailey@norml.org

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  439. Bailey says:

    (A response to claims of Dr. Murray and the ONDCP)

    There’s so much wrong with this position I’ve no choice but to just go paragraph by paragraph.

    Marijuana’s place as a Schedule I drug is a bizarre miscalculation that serves more of a “saving face” purpose than a legitimate scientific one. The three components of Schedule I inclusion are regularly embellished and outright fabricated for marijuana to fit. It is addictive, which is sold as “breaking news” by some drug warriors, but the reality is it’s less addictive than alcohol or tobacco. This reality has been admitted by both the ONDCP and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That marijuana “intoxicates” is also breaking news, in 1920, but Starbucks and the Olsen twins have been known to intoxicate, neither is illegal. Finally, to be a Schedule I drug, a substance must have no accepted medical value. Well 13 states and many other industrialized countries allow medical use of marijuana, not to mention that marijuana’s active chemical (THC) is now a synthetic drug that the politicians endorse right before saying marijuana has no medical value. Simply put, marijuana is a Schedule one drug to maintain the circular logic of it’s threat. It’s there because it’s bad, it’s bad because it’s there.

    Now we’re at the second paragraph (I know, I know, but don’t fret it’s taking much longer to write this than to read it). Marijuana has gotten more potent over the last 30 years. Let me rephrase that. Marijuana has gotten more potent as the government’s tried to ban it. Any claims of success in stopping supplies of marijuana is shot pretty well to hell because the ONDCP admits that marijuana is stronger, cheaper, and just as available as when they started the Drug War. Drug Warriors used to claim that even a single use of marijuana could lead to incurable insanity. Today the lingo is “higher risk” or “increased risk” and the reality that marijuana just seems to highten pre-existing mental problems is massaged. The reality is that if there was 100% of marijuana by Americans, schizophrenia would leap from 5 in 1,000 to 7 in 1,000. This isn’t good, but it’s not the threat of mass hysteria that the government (until recently) put forward. Gateway drug claims have merit because we’ve created a system where marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and meth are all in the same market, making access easy. But the facts remain that 99% of marijuana users won’t become heroin addicts, and 99% of marijuana users won’t become cocaine addicts.

    The ONDCP can afford good researchers, which makes the fact that they don’t have them very sad for taxpayers like me. But it’s safe to say that many health and social scientists agree that a regulated marijuana market would do much more to keep marijuana from youth, and treat those few who end up addicted to the plant. The Netherlands is a prime example of how regulation leads to better control, Dutch teens use marijuana at a signifigantly lower rate than American teens.

    Claims about marijuana treatment and accidents showcase what the ONDCP is actually good at, namely the manipulation of data. The ever rising number of marijuana arrests are being diverted to treatment programs, which base marijuana “abuse” on the number of people in the program, rather than the number of people meeting the criteria for addiction. There can be no arguement from ONDCP of this fact, since the recent trend to “drug courts” as diversion to treatment is mentioned in the very next paragraph.

    Similarly, any mention of marijuana in an emergency visit causes it to be listed as a contributing factor to the ER visit. Meaning an alcohol overdoes for someone who puffed on a joint earlier makes pot a causing factor of the ER visit.

    The second to last paragraph (we’re getting near the end now). The idea that prison time is the only way that marijuana laws could punish individuals is a shockingly dense oversimplification. Arrest records haunt people for years, and even without current use, can cause people to lose jobs, housing, welfare, loans, scholarships, and other opportunities.

    Now when you say the medical and law enforcement community, be so kind as to mention that you’re refering to Britain and not the U.S., otherwise it might appear to be a misleading statement. Again the reality is that police and doctors are far from united behind the idea that prohibition is the best policy. And the drop in use by young people just bears out that stronger marijuana strains are either or both not more addictive, or not more common. While it is tragic that many teens who use marijuana go on to struggle later in life, this is as much a combined result of it’s legal status, and pre-dispositions of addiction by the individuals. Marijuana users report a higher level of satisfaction with their lives than non-users. “Life’s losers” are the victims of bad public policy. Legalization offers regulation and accontability which will keep marijuana out of the hands of youth, and de-fund criminal enterprises while re-funding police. Prohibition keeps marijuana under the control of dealers, gangs, and cartels, not the ONDCP.

    I have no delusions that this note will change anything. It was cute that you added “What do you think?” sections to the site, but a contempt for the public and your opposition reveals this move as showboating more than responsive government. But I will add this note both to the myspace link I’m giving you, as well as the origional Freakonomics article this article was composed for. Oh, one last thing.

    I personally know that individuals and organizations of all kinds have pressured the ONDCP and Director Walters for a public debate on this matter. And Walters himself has publically called for a “national debate” on this topic. Yet no such debate has happened. This is because your positions, like those above, cannot withstand reasonable scrutiny in comparison to the facts. I haven’t cited sources for this note, even though I clearly can, because you’re not interested in my sources, and if I’m wrong on this feel free to request any and all information to support my “outlandish” claims. I look forward to silence (or maybe a cookie-cutter “Thanks for your comment” auto-response) in regards to this note. Don’t feel the need to argue with me, we won’t ever convince the other, I only write this to sharpen my own rhetoric on this topic, and demonstrate to the ONDCP (and any other interested party) how easily your policies can be toppled by a 23 year old.

    Hope to hear from you soon ;)

    Bailey
    bailey@norml.org

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  440. Anarchy over Socialism says:

    Legality, it’s one of those questions that irk me to no end. Truths are simple, excuses are complex. I am personally agnostic but inspect at the 10 commandments and then inspect at the Declaration of Independence. Outside of the self propagating ones and coveting which is silly because it there is no action only thinking (the thought police) remains the following actions: murder, adultery, thievery, and lying. Question: In the event that pot were legal and obtained legally does its use break the 4 relevant commandments – NO. In the event any of those actions have been taken and using pot was blamed is only an excuse and the true problem is the person not the substance. “Each man must for himself alone decides what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You can not shirk this and be a man.” – Mark Twain.

    Question: How did it become illegal?
    The first 130 or so year of this country what you thought, or read, smoked, drank, ate…etc. etc. was the persons choice not the governments. Nor was it even fathomable that the government could enforce such a fascist law. Even Heroin was sold through the Sears mail order catalog, soon after Bayer re-invented it in 1898 until the 1914 Harrison Narcotics Act until it was completely banned in 1924. This was followed by the Marihuana Tax act in 1937, yes it was spelled with an H, and finally to the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. After 1970 the People no longer had the right to vote on the legality of any drug, the FDA just added it to the list.

    Onto the Declaration of Independence – The intended purpose of this document was our (The Peoples) freedom which is being stripped from us little by little every day, 231+ years later. It’s a wonder that as a country of adult responsible and educated Americans who claim to value freedom have allowed ourselves to be led under the guise of the infamous parental statement “It’s for your own good”. The self-evident truth is I am an adult and my decisions are mine, alone, only laziness or fear could allow someone else to make decisions for me, that realization burdens me with responsibility and grants me true freedom.

    “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

    Add that to one of the cited complaints of the King of Great Brittan:
    “He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.”

    Sounds a whole lot like what Nixon did to allow the idea of schedule drugs to be decided by the FDA as opposed to the Peoples Vote. The FDA simply put marijuana on the list of schedule 1 drugs – TaDah – you are now a law breaker. I have never been allowed to vote on the leaders of the FDA who are making these decisions.

    Back to the original question. Should Marijuana be legal – or – not?

    Yes for an adult, children are governed by their guardians and those guardians are responsible for the actions of their children until they become adults and are granted the power of decision for themselves and must be the sole reaper, for good or bad, of the results of those decisions.

    Furthermore, it should never have been illegal in the first place. If the people decide that it is not a good thing then they have the right to educate their peers through free speech as to why it is no good but the final decision is always the individuals.

    Results of legalization of marijuana:
    The dealers will be out of business except for the few who open “marijuana bars”.
    Growers will not have the level of disposable cash flow they have grown accustom but on the flip side they no longer have the added expenses associated with keeping the secret and face the real potential for imprisonment.
    Corporations will certainly have a new cash crop.
    The legal acquisition of pot will certainly curtail all users access to other drugs or illegal activities because you simply pick it up like beer at the store as opposed to the necessity of associating themselves with people whom most likely are involved in more serious criminal activity or heavier drugs. Marijuana is not a gateway drug, it’s illegal status is the true gateway by means of association with others who chose the heavier drugs.
    A reduction in prison population, court system backlog, and police enforcement requirements. which, if the system were fair and just, would result in lower taxes. For the one who said keeping it illegal creates jobs and promotes the economy, he forgets the following: We all pay dearly in the form of taxes to reap the leftovers. We sacrifice every second we go to work and will never get back. We perform directed tasks instead of the 1000 things we would rather be doing. And we associate with and are directed by people we would not be around for any other reason. Every tax takes away from our personal lives. Many are just and gladly paid for the services received but to cumulatively as a society pay for the enforcers of the marijuana law and the imprisonment of people for choices they made which have absolutely no effect on anyone but themselves is ridiculous. It costs the taxpayers (the working people) on the order of $20K per year per prisoner to keep them incarcerated and untold billions on enforcement. We could of put an entire colony on Mars for what we have wasted. At least we could have pride in an accomplishment of great magnitude as opposed to simply throwing our efforts, standard of living, and precious limited time away.

    For those wondering, I smoked pot liberally every day for several years in junior high and high school. I do not currently smoke pot and haven’t by personal choice for 20+ years.

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  441. Anarchy over Socialism says:

    Legality, it’s one of those questions that irk me to no end. Truths are simple, excuses are complex. I am personally agnostic but inspect at the 10 commandments and then inspect at the Declaration of Independence. Outside of the self propagating ones and coveting which is silly because it there is no action only thinking (the thought police) remains the following actions: murder, adultery, thievery, and lying. Question: In the event that pot were legal and obtained legally does its use break the 4 relevant commandments – NO. In the event any of those actions have been taken and using pot was blamed is only an excuse and the true problem is the person not the substance. “Each man must for himself alone decides what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You can not shirk this and be a man.” – Mark Twain.

    Question: How did it become illegal?
    The first 130 or so year of this country what you thought, or read, smoked, drank, ate…etc. etc. was the persons choice not the governments. Nor was it even fathomable that the government could enforce such a fascist law. Even Heroin was sold thr