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The Dude abides. Should we? [legalization of Marijuana]

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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    I am against legalizing harder drugs, though. I don't want to see Crack at my local Publix. Though that might make hilarious commercials.

    This is the only component of the legalization argument I think is interesting. Were you aware that only a handful of narcotics are as dangerous as hard alcohol? Cocaine is actually quite 'soft', alongside LSD and (as far as current knowledge takes us) MDMA, with some long-term consequences that are arguably much less harsh than those of regular acetylsalicylic acid use (which is completely unregulated). Opiates and methamfetamine are extremely dangerous, on the other hand (though, interestingly, one of the most dangerous and addictive opium-derived drugs - morphine - is so essential to emergency pain relief that it's not outlawed like it's cousins).

    Where do we draw the lines on 'hard' vs 'soft' drugs? What is the appropriate method of control? Outright banning, in most cases, seems ludicrous to me: we sell incredibly dangerous substances like antifreeze & hydrocarbons with virtually zero government oversight, and as far as cost vs benefits are concerned, we already have some of the nastiest narcotics being used in hospitals right now because they will kill far fewer people than would die of shock if we didn't use them.
    Let's start with this... weed is bad. I know everyone likes to pretend it's no big deal, but it causes major problems in a ton of people's lives. That being said, it needs to be legalized so hard.

    Cannabis is not 'bad'. If we compare it to other substances with harsh long-term consequences. It's probably less dangerous than the various sugars we add to every single damn food item ever. If we compare it to substances that cause impairment, it's an absolute joke compared to alcohol. If we compare it in terms of addictiveness, it has nothing on either caffeine or nicotine.

    It has serious medical applications as well. It is second to no other substance we know of in terms of treating glaucoma, it is an excellent pain reliever in general (much safer to use than morphine, with far fewer side effects, albeit a little less effective in extreme causes of trauma) and there is some promising research suggesting it may slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
    The consequences of legalization became evident when the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in 1975 that the state could not interfere with an adult’s possession of marijuana for personal consumption in the home. The court’s ruling became a green light for marijuana use. Although the ruling was limited to persons 19 and over, teens were among those increasingly using marijuana. According to a 1988 University of Alaska study, the state’s 12 to 17-year-olds used marijuana at more than twice the national average for their age group. Alaska’s residents voted in 1990 to recriminalize possession of marijuana, demonstrating their belief that increased use was too high a price to pay.

    By 1979, after 11 states decriminalized marijuana and the Carter administration had considered federal decriminalization, marijuana use shot up among teenagers. That year, almost 51 percent of 12th graders reported they used marijuana in the last 12 months. By 1992, with tougher laws and increased attention to the risks of drug abuse, that figure had been reduced to 22 percent, a 57 percent decline.

    Other countries have also had this experience. The Netherlands has had its own troubles with increased use of cannabis products. From 1984 to 1996, the Dutch liberalized the use of cannabis. Surveys reveal that lifetime prevalence of cannabis in Holland increased consistently and sharply. For the age group 18-20, the increase is from 15 percent in 1984 to 44 percent in 1996.

    The Netherlands is not alone. Switzerland, with some of the most liberal drug policies in Europe, experimented with what became known as Needle Park. Needle Park became the Mecca for drug addicts throughout Europe, an area where addicts could come to openly purchase drugs and inject heroin without police intervention or control. The rapid decline in the neighborhood surrounding Needle Park, with increased crime and violence, led authorities to finally close Needle Park in 1992.

    The British have also had their own failed experiments with liberalizing drug laws. England’s experience shows that use and addiction increase with “harm reduction” policy. Great Britain allowed doctors to prescribe heroin to addicts, resulting in an explosion of heroin use, and by the mid-1980s, known addiction rates were increasing by about 30 percent a year.

    http://www.justice.gov/dea/demand/speakout/06so.htm

    First thing's first: The DEA will provide objective, reliable data on narcotics use in the same way Bob Marley would.

    The data we have regarding use vs abstinence is, at best, inconclusive: it's user reported data. Were more people actually smoking cannabis, or were more people willing to admit that they smoked cannabis before the laws & ostracising?

    It's possible that the real usage really was much higher (I'd think of it as plausible based on anecdotal evidence that my friends all said they'd prefer to buy packs of cannabis cigarettes to tobacco cigarettes if cannabis cigs were available at the convenience store), but pretending that the data is solid is ridiculous.

    You'll also note that the sharp incline in cannabis use in Holland has not caused a sharp decline in Holland's standard of living, and the DEA is being dishonest about the UK's 'failure' in policy in the 80s: Heroine - a somewhat milder opiate - spiked in use because doctors began to use it in favour of morphine, for a variety of reasons. Funny how they don't mention that part.
    In my opinion, the harms of making pot illegal are outweighed to a ridiculous extent by even one death that results from legalization.

    Death can & will result from either decision. What about the person who's feeling suicidally depressed (which is a serious health issue), but would've self-medicated with cannabis if it were available?

    The question is which result, as an aggregate, has the best results. By miles and miles, it's legalization.

    With Love and Courage
  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    Considering just how much of a racket it is for police to keep arresting kids for pot possession, it's not going to happen anytime soon. As someone who has been arrested for possession in a vehicle (i was not under the influence), It's a slap on the wrist and... over a grand in fines. So my $40 bag of weed cost me a month's rent. When I was 19.
    It makes more sense for America to keep it illegal because so many people stand to make money off it. The government, the police, pharmaceutical companies, hell even beer and liquor companies all have make more money because pot is outlawed. Every hippie will tell you the taxes on pot would solve a lot of problems in our country, but the people in charge have no reason to do that when they make more money in-pocket from companies whose interests they protect.
    I dunno, all the laws have never prevented me from enjoying marijuana in my private life, and having bad experiences early on helped me smarten up on knowing the laws and my rights (because the cops fucked me hard and if I simply called a lawyer I probably could have had the case thrown out... but I was dumb).

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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    Let's start with this... weed is bad. I know everyone likes to pretend it's no big deal, but it causes major problems in a ton of people's lives.
    In what way is this not true for, say, alcohol, or gambling?
    That being said, it needs to be legalized so hard.
    That's an interesting combination.

    A person can recognize that something they consider bad is still better off for society being legal than not.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    That is not inherently bad. And three, the argument the DEA is making turns in to a scare crow when, making a case against marijuana, they point to heroin use.

    I know this thread is for cannabis specifically, but I dislike the special stigma attached to heroin. It's pretty mild as far as opium-derived drugs go, and while it doesn't have quite the medicinal punch of morphine, this family of drugs has radically transformed our ability to treat victims of massive trauma. If you know someone who was violently disfigured in some way, it's very likely that they're only still alive because of the almost magical ability of opiates to shut-off shock.

    With Love and Courage
  • JarsJars Registered User regular
    the drug war is terrible. all it seems to do is disenfranchise minorities even more and create additional violence because it is inherent in black market economies.

  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Spacekungfuman has his report from the DEA about drugs, which is about as trustworthy as the Tobacco Industry's report on the health effects of smoking. On the other hand...

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=portugal-drug-decriminalization
    the News wrote:
    In the face of a growing number of deaths and cases of HIV linked to drug abuse, the Portuguese government in 2001 tried a new tack to get a handle on the problem—it decriminalized the use and possession of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD and other illicit street drugs. The theory: focusing on treatment and prevention instead of jailing users would decrease the number of deaths and infections.

    Five years later, the number of deaths from street drug overdoses dropped from around 400 to 290 annually, and the number of new HIV cases caused by using dirty needles to inject heroin, cocaine and other illegal substances plummeted from nearly 1,400 in 2000 to about 400 in 2006

    Rchanen wrote:
    As AMfE pointed out, few people (at least in this thread) have been so foolish as to state that legalization would not increase use.

    I'll state it. Numerous studies have shown that decriminalization shows a temporary surge, followed by a return to baseline numbers. Incidence of reported marijuana use shows a small net increases, but actual usage as determined by testing in car accidents etc shows no net increase.

    Though, I do admit this source is biased, it's got a lot more cites and data points than the DEA.
    http://norml.org/marijuana/personal/item/marijuana-decriminalization-its-impact-on-use-2#us_studies

    zerg rush on
  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    Quid wrote:
    Let's start with this... weed is bad. I know everyone likes to pretend it's no big deal, but it causes major problems in a ton of people's lives.
    In what way is this not true for, say, alcohol, or gambling?
    That being said, it needs to be legalized so hard.
    That's an interesting combination.

    A person can recognize that something they consider bad is still better off for society being legal than not.

    I know. That's why I said interesting, and not contradictory or nonsensical.

  • EvigilantEvigilant VARegistered User regular
    edited February 2012
    I don't smoke pot, but I'd rather have the state in control of the distribution and the selling of marijuana than the gangs\dealers\individuals that do now. At least at the state level, there's some level of oversight and if we can't stop individuals, gangs, dealers or cartels from growing and distributing it illegally, we might as regulate it, control it's access, and tax it.

    Treat it like you would alcohol\tobacco: can't buy it for persons under 21, if caught driving while smoking or under the influence it's a DUI, can't smoke in public places, only sold at a certified by state seller (like an ABC store), can't be stoned in public, and let jobs punish people if they come into work stoned AND do a horrible job, just like you would a drunk.

    Edit:
    If you are a repeat offender, make it mandatory to attend something like an AA meeting for pot addiction. Also huge bonus, we stop sending people to jail for the possession and/or the distribution of pot, reducing crowding and costs.

    Evigilant on
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  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    I feel like it's only a matter of time before some president eventually says like "hey... is there anyone left who still thinks marijuana should be illegal? Anyone at all? Ok then."

    I'd like to legalize (but regulate) all drugs but I don't know if that will ever happen. Marijuana is losing its social stigma though.

  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I find it hard to imagine that increased usage would not lead to increased incidents of driving while high. The argument that most people who would be that reckless are already doing it seems unrealistic to me, since people rarely seem to set out to drive drunk. In most cases, I would think someone winds up drinking more than they realize or intended to, and then, in their impaired state, they make the foolish decision to drive. We also seem to glamorize driving while smoking pot on tv and in movies. No matter how you slice it, to me legalization (and pot smoking in general) is about a selfish act which serves no purpose, and if that act can have negative consequences on other people, then we should at the very least not encourage it. Maybe we don't need jail time in all cases, but fines seem appropriate for use, with jail time for DUI (I think we are too easy on DUIs in general).

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  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    I find it hard to imagine that increased usage would not lead to increased incidents of driving while high. The argument that most people who would be that reckless are already doing it seems unrealistic to me, since people rarely seem to set out to drive drunk. In most cases, I would think someone winds up drinking more than they realize or intended to, and then, in their impaired state, they make the foolish decision to drive. We also seem to glamorize driving while smoking pot on tv and in movies. No matter how you slice it, to me legalization (and pot smoking in general) is about a selfish act which serves no purpose, and if that act can have negative consequences on other people, then we should at the very least not encourage it. Maybe we don't need jail time in all cases, but fines seem appropriate for use, with jail time for DUI (I think we are too easy on DUIs in general).
    So should we prohibit alcohol again? Ban any use of cellphones while driving, or hey, they've linked music to increased auto accidents so lets ban that while driving too. Driving while tired is dangerous as well, lets make that against the law.

  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    I find it hard to imagine that increased usage would not lead to increased incidents of driving while high. The argument that most people who would be that reckless are already doing it seems unrealistic to me, since people rarely seem to set out to drive drunk.
    Think about it- where else are you going to smoke pot right now? You can't do it anywhere in public. You can do it at home, but only if everyone else at your house is cool with it (a big problem for teenagers or anyone with roommates). A lot of people smoke pot in their car just because that's the only place they can get enough privacy.

    You could also combine legalization with more driver's education on the subject of course. Or better yet build public transit.

  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    Elki wrote:
    Short answer is legalize it.

    I agree. I avoid it only because its illegal. when synthetic equivalents were legal, I had experience with those until they were illegal. I think you would see an increase in use, and the equivalent same % of users who drive and use, that would also drive and use alcohol. I could also see a spike at the beginning before education could be spread for absolute idiots that no, it is not okay to impair yourself and drive a vehicle.

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  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    I find it hard to imagine that increased usage would not lead to increased incidents of driving while high. The argument that most people who would be that reckless are already doing it seems unrealistic to me, since people rarely seem to set out to drive drunk. In most cases, I would think someone winds up drinking more than they realize or intended to, and then, in their impaired state, they make the foolish decision to drive. We also seem to glamorize driving while smoking pot on tv and in movies. No matter how you slice it, to me legalization (and pot smoking in general) is about a selfish act which serves no purpose, and if that act can have negative consequences on other people, then we should at the very least not encourage it. Maybe we don't need jail time in all cases, but fines seem appropriate for use, with jail time for DUI (I think we are too easy on DUIs in general).
    I have never seen anyone drive while high in any medium, and the rest of your post applies equally to alcohol.

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    No matter how you slice it, to me legalization (and pot smoking in general) is about a selfish act which serves no purpose, and if that act can have negative consequences on other people, then we should at the very least not encourage it.

    The same goes for all recreational drug use. Alcohol and cigarettes are no different, and arguably worse. Hell, there are plenty of recreational activities that provide no benefit and can be dangerous, yet I doubt you'd argue for banning jet skis.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    I find it hard to imagine that increased usage would not lead to increased incidents of driving while high. The argument that most people who would be that reckless are already doing it seems unrealistic to me, since people rarely seem to set out to drive drunk. In most cases, I would think someone winds up drinking more than they realize or intended to, and then, in their impaired state, they make the foolish decision to drive. We also seem to glamorize driving while smoking pot on tv and in movies. No matter how you slice it, to me legalization (and pot smoking in general) is about a selfish act which serves no purpose, and if that act can have negative consequences on other people, then we should at the very least not encourage it. Maybe we don't need jail time in all cases, but fines seem appropriate for use, with jail time for DUI (I think we are too easy on DUIs in general).

    Why should policy be based on what you imagine? Shouldn't policy be based instead on what actually is happening?

    'I think that [x problem will happen]. I have no data to support this, it's just a gut feeling' does not meet the standards we should have for imposing legislation.


    Smoking cannabis has real medical applications, and even used recreationally it's stupid to say that it serves no purpose. A lot of people use it while socially bonding with each other, or to enhance certain experiences, or to experience old things in new ways. Maybe you consider that superficial or unworthy of your interest, but it's certainly purposeful.

    With Love and Courage
  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Why argue when the DEA has already done it for me:
    The consequences of legalization became evident when the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in 1975 that the state could not interfere with an adult’s possession of marijuana for personal consumption in the home. The court’s ruling became a green light for marijuana use. Although the ruling was limited to persons 19 and over, teens were among those increasingly using marijuana. According to a 1988 University of Alaska study, the state’s 12 to 17-year-olds used marijuana at more than twice the national average for their age group. Alaska’s residents voted in 1990 to recriminalize possession of marijuana, demonstrating their belief that increased use was too high a price to pay.

    So, I knew the Alaskan thing looked fishy to me.
    http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/FinalBatesreport.pdf

    Basically, there were a confluence of issues. The chief of which is that Alaska was left out of the national health survey, so a separate study was made that used different questions. The alaska one was an anonymous survey of "have you used marijuana within the last 12 months." The NHS one was an interview in their own house, and the questions were "have you used in the last month" and "do you have a chronic dependency on marijuana." Holy leading questions, batman! You think teenagers are more likely to say they've ever used more Marijuana via anonymous survey than say they're afflicted with reefer madness in an interview with their parents nearby? Naaaaw. There never was a baseline study on drug use in Alaska to compare. They should have done a before and after study. Instead they said "x study says alaska does % drugs" and "y study says the rest of the country does half% drugs", therefore decriminalization caused drug use!

    And then the DEA said that this was proof that decriminalization leads to more usage, even though the 1988 University of Alaska itself says that 'naw, kids just lied more on the NHS survey.' Not that the DEA lets the facts get in the way.

    Other issues are that Alaska has a history of substance abuse not comparable to the national average. They've got way more alcohol abuse (and rapes, incidentally) than the national average. Also, the time period between 1975 decriminalization and the study also coincides with the construction of the oil pipeline, causing a huge increase in discretionary income among the alaskan populace. Economic boons of this sort are historically correlated with increased drug use as well, which again reduces the argument for decriminalization causing a jump.


    I'm not going to look up all of spacekungfuman's sources, but assuming their coming from the DEA, it's a good bet they're all just as spurious.

    zerg rush on
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Oh the DEA statistics are cooked? From the same organization that asphyxiated monkeys with pot smoke and claimed pot causes brain damage?

    I am shocked

    In my last writing class we were actually told the DEA, DOJ, ATF, etc could not be used as scholarly sources on anything related to illegal drug use. This wasn't because our teacher was a hippy liberal douche.

    override367 on
  • EupfhoriaEupfhoria Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote:

    Why should policy be based on what you imagine? Shouldn't policy be based instead on what actually is happening?

    'I think that [x problem will happen]. I have no data to support this, it's just a gut feeling' does not meet the standards we should have for imposing legislation.

    I'd really like to agree, but if you ask me, that is the standard we use for imposing (some) legislation. (like the legislation making marijuana illegal in the first place, for instance)

    steam_sig.png
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    I'd really like to agree, but if you ask me, that is the standard we use for imposing (some) legislation. (like the legislation making marijuana illegal in the first place, for instance)

    That's why I used the qualifier 'should'.

    With Love and Courage
  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote:
    Smoking cannabis has real medical applications, and even used recreationally it's stupid to say that it serves no purpose. A lot of people use it while socially bonding with each other, or to enhance certain experiences, or to experience old things in new ways. Maybe you consider that superficial or unworthy of your interest, but it's certainly purposeful.

    -Smoking pot is not recommended or approved by any legitimate medical association, regardless of whether or not they favor decriminalization (essentially none favor straight up legalization). Smoking anything is really bad for you. Smoking anything is also a really bad medical delivery system because it doesn't last in your system very long or evenly.
    -There is no medical consensus that marijuana has real medical applications - less than cocaine or heroin certainly. Those limited applications where its considered likely there are applications - partially stymied by the laws against their use but not nearly as much as people make it out to be - are generally either better treated by marinol - a drug containing many of the same chemicals that does not provide a recreational high - or is essentially intended for hospice or extreme palliative care.
    -In order for any drug to be legalized (sold legally) it must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The three relevant factors are whether there's strong scientific evidence that it cures or ameliorates a medical condition or symptom, whether its safe and what its potential for abuse is. Even if one did find medical use for marijuana, it would still be prohibited because there is strong medical evidence for both abuse and harm from marijuana. Even if its "not as bad as alcohol or tobacco", it would still be illegal for almost all use under the standards that we set for all drugs. It'd be like Oxy, steroids or Meth legally.
    -Almost no one is in jail for possession of marijuana, except as part of a plea bargain from large scale distribution (.7% of state inmates, <100 prisoners in the federal system). The median amount of marijuana at the federal level for someone in jail for simple possession is 115 lbs of marijuana, not some college kid who got caught with a joint.

    Now, is law enforcement better served in almost all circumstances doing something other than enforcing pot laws? Yeah most of the time. But in the end the absolute best thing one is fighting for here is to add a new exception to pharmaceutical regulation because a particular vice has built a reputation as harmless and experimentation is not uncommon. I don't think the world or country is better by having Marlboro Cannabis Smooth (with Filter) behind the counter at the convenience store, which is what legalization would actually mean. I don't think the country is better off with increased recreational marijuana use. I don't think the country is better off by letting states nullify federal law. So I don't think it should be legalized and I don't really like that states are flouting federal law with medical marijuana laws which allow doctors to dispense federally prohibited drugs, generally with only the flimsiest excuse.

    But at the same time, 95% of the country doesn't give a fuck. There a thousands of more important issues the government needs to look in to but every time there's a petition to the White House for questions to the President (or the like) its flooded by this asinine shit. Not torture. Not income disparity. Not nuclear arms proliferation. Not genocide or civil liberties or religion vs science. You get "LEGALIZE IT." The #1 priority that gets by far the most signatures? Being free to smoke pot without the slightest risk of facing the consequence of breaking the law. And they pursue it like a right winger arguing about 'baby killers'

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  • EupfhoriaEupfhoria Registered User regular

    teacher
    hippy liberal douche.

    uh huh. suuuure it wasn't
    (sorry, I'm just being a sarcastic fucking cunt right now) :lol: been reading too many things lately that, shall we say, don't exactly align with my world-view

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  • SpursSpurs Registered User
    Weed should be legalized nationwide and taxed. Get rid of a lot of drug dealers in the process, saving hundreds of thousands of tax payer money nationwide.

  • MillMill Registered User regular
    I have to wonder what the net monetary gain would be for the government if we were to legalize marijuana and tax it. The trick would be to guess about how much of it would be purchased from legal venders to determine how much money that would be based on whatever rate is picked. Then determine how much money is spend dealing with pot related offenses which would include paperwork, jail time, any patrolling with the primary goal of finding marijuana and disposal of the substance. Finally, as Local H Jay pointed out, we'd also need to determine how much income is generate from pot related fines which would be subtracted from the the amount that we arrive at with tax income and savings.

    My hunch is that we would generate more net income from legalizing marijuana than would could possible lose from the fines. If it isn't worse than alcohol I see little reason not to go with that route. I'd also like to point out I'm not including any possible saving from this approach fucking over some elements in organize crime pretty hard. I'd rather not try to base too much perspective cost savings or gains on the impact since it would be pretty hard to calculate and we're also getting into the human cost element.

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  • nescientistnescientist Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    DUIs? Seriously? That's the danger of marijuana?

    That's right up there with reefer madness, as far as I'm concerned. Not that it isn't fucking retarded to toke and drive, but it is drastically less so than drinking and driving. And as others have noted given the relative privacy of a car on the interstate prohibition actually creates an incentive for people to do such an idiotic thing.

    Marijuana just isn't terribly dangerous on an individual level. The argument against it comes at the societal level, but even then prohibition seems to be magnifying rather than alleviating the damage. Pot does seem to be a powerful analgesic for the stresses of poverty, so it could be argued that the substance reduces the drive to compete and lowers the need to thrive in the marketplace. High people are satisfied with very little; a television and some doritos generally suffice. The widespread belief is that either pot makes people lazy or is used primarily by lazy people. And, hey, poor people are poor because they're lazy, right?

    The problem with this argument is that pot still exists after decades of efforts by law enforcement. Marijuana's disproportionate prevalence among low-income or impoverished Americans results in their disproportionate suffering due to prohibition. Beyond the incarceration rate ("53% of those in prison earned less than $10,000 per year before incarceration"), there are social consequences that entrench poverty among users and non-users alike. When your neighbors are dealers, but they seem like decent folks otherwise, and SWAT shoots their dog, it might shake your faith in the value of the rule of law. Your kids might extrapolate this to the schoolyard motto "snitches get stitches."

    The real danger of marijuana is that it's a gateway drug, but not in the way that DARE would describe it. Once you discover that you've been thoroughly misinformed by bullshit scare-tactics about one drug, it's a lot harder to maintain a healthy fear of the other ones. But the really frightening problem isn't that people start needing a better high, it's that they start wanting a better profit margin. Kids, particularly poor kids, who are exposed to the black-market marijuana trade are frequently tempted to participate in it. It's perceived (largely accurately) as a victimless crime that really does pay.

    Thrill-seeking behavior is a thoroughly documented addictive phenomenon. Criminals and gamblers have more than organized crime in common; they also have similar neurochemistry. So when a pot dealer, with a skillset that translates easily to another substance with larger risk and larger reward, goes looking for a bigger thrill...

    Well, that's when pot leads a kid to needing a bigger high.

    nescientist on
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  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Why argue when the DEA has already done it for me:
    The consequences of legalization became evident when the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in 1975 that the state could not interfere with an adult’s possession of marijuana for personal consumption in the home. The court’s ruling became a green light for marijuana use. Although the ruling was limited to persons 19 and over, teens were among those increasingly using marijuana. According to a 1988 University of Alaska study, the state’s 12 to 17-year-olds used marijuana at more than twice the national average for their age group. Alaska’s residents voted in 1990 to recriminalize possession of marijuana, demonstrating their belief that increased use was too high a price to pay.

    By 1979, after 11 states decriminalized marijuana and the Carter administration had considered federal decriminalization, marijuana use shot up among teenagers. That year, almost 51 percent of 12th graders reported they used marijuana in the last 12 months. By 1992, with tougher laws and increased attention to the risks of drug abuse, that figure had been reduced to 22 percent, a 57 percent decline.

    Other countries have also had this experience. The Netherlands has had its own troubles with increased use of cannabis products. From 1984 to 1996, the Dutch liberalized the use of cannabis. Surveys reveal that lifetime prevalence of cannabis in Holland increased consistently and sharply. For the age group 18-20, the increase is from 15 percent in 1984 to 44 percent in 1996.

    The Netherlands is not alone. Switzerland, with some of the most liberal drug policies in Europe, experimented with what became known as Needle Park. Needle Park became the Mecca for drug addicts throughout Europe, an area where addicts could come to openly purchase drugs and inject heroin without police intervention or control. The rapid decline in the neighborhood surrounding Needle Park, with increased crime and violence, led authorities to finally close Needle Park in 1992.

    The British have also had their own failed experiments with liberalizing drug laws. England’s experience shows that use and addiction increase with “harm reduction” policy. Great Britain allowed doctors to prescribe heroin to addicts, resulting in an explosion of heroin use, and by the mid-1980s, known addiction rates were increasing by about 30 percent a year.

    http://www.justice.gov/dea/demand/speakout/06so.htm

    If you're going to quote statistics from Britain, why not quote the ones that show what happened when Heroin was originally criminalised?

    Why not quote the stats from Portugal, where real decriminalisation actually took place, instead of countries which just shunted all the effects of drug use into a small area.

    What, exactly, is the intended result of prohibition in your opinion?

    Is it to reduce the use of drugs? OK well I think we can pretty confidently say that prohibition has comprehensively failed there, because drugs are fucking everywhere. I can safely say that wherever you live, you could go score some illegal drugs within 30 minutes from a standing start. People in prison can get hold of drugs. We would literally have to live in a society more tightly controlled than prison for prohibition to actually prevent drug use.

    Is it to reduce the medical damage that drugs do to the people who take them? Since prohibited drugs are utterly unregulated, with no control on purity, doseage, product information, etc, we can safely say that prohibition is strongly counterproductive in this respect.

    Is it to reduce the harm that drug users cause to their lives? It's difficult to imagine a policy which would cause more damage to the lives of drug users than the current one, short of simply shooting them out of hand. The current prohibition policy actively seeks to wreck the lives and future of drug users.

    Is it to reduce the harm that drug users cause to the lives of others? I have seen claims that up to 90% of property crime is drug related - caused by drug users trying to feed their addictions because they can't get the money any other way - because prohibition policy has made them unemployable and won't deal with their addiction as a medical issue, only a criminal one. In addition, prohibition is a massively successful price support mechanism, artificially raising the price of drugs to far above the cost of production. This also allows criminal syndicates to make unbelievable profits in drug trafficking, causing escalating gang violence, corruption, cultural disruption and so forth.

    Is it to protect minors? Well if you think that criminals will be more responsible and careful about giving drugs to minors than authorised and liscenced pharmacies, then I guess prohibition is a success, because those decisions are currently made by drug dealers.

  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Incidentally, on the subject of medical damage, did you know that the widespread use of crystal meth was pretty much caused by the temporary success the DEA had in reducing cocaine supply back in the 90s?

    When cocaine users found that they couldn't get coke, they started substituting amphetamine instead. Of course, meth is horribly more addictive than cocaine, so even when coke supplies were restored, they kept right on using meth as well. And as we all know, meth is worse than cocaine in just about every conceivable way.

    Well done, prohibition, have a fucking cookie.


    At some point, we're going to have to come to terms with the fact that people like getting high and get over this weird, irrational puritan urge to stop them, and work out how we're going to let them get high without causing undue damage to themselves and others.

    Is getting high intrinsically bad? If not, what is the rational justification for stopping a free, competent adult from deciding to do so. 99% of the other arguments against drug use are against effects that are either caused by or exacerbated by prohibition ("Drug use is bad because you'll go to jail!")

  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Traditionally we really go after drugs as they become popular with minorities.

    Or if we're British, we fight wars to force countries to let their citizens kill themselves with drugs.

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  • TheOrangeTheOrange Registered User regular
    legalize it already

  • EnigEnig a.k.a. Ansatz Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    People want to use a substance for recreation that has a fairly minor impact on their health. I haven't heard any rational reason for preventing this (at least, not ones backed by actual facts).

    Of course laws would be in place to ensure that people use it responsibly. That goes for any number of potentially hazardous things which are not themselves illegal, and works pretty well. You have to allow people their personal freedom though, and then expect them to act appropriately. Don't just ban things outright because they might be a problem.

    On top of that are the huge economic benefits in ending a section of the bizarre "war on drugs" and adding a new source of tax revenue, and the benefits of instantly undermining almost all of the criminal activity involved in trading the substance.

    Enig on
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  • TaramoorTaramoor Registered User regular
    I'm generally pro-legalization or, at the very least, pro-confiscate-and-fine-but-don't-incarcerate, but there are problems with it that always come up and always WILL come up.

    1. How high is too high to drive? Driving under the influence, of anything, is generally bad. Marijuana isn't exactly a performance-enhancing drug and its ability to impair you while you drive is not to be underestimated. This isn't so bad now since any possession of it or even the slightest hint of it means you get booked, but if the drug itself is legal (like alcohol) then you need to set a limit at which it is unsafe to operate a motor vehicle. With alcohol there are several tests to determine if you've passed that limit, but there is no reliable or even viable roadside test for marijuana. Even a blood test once you get to the station may not be terribly reliable since it remains in your body a lot longer after use than alcohol does. If we want to legalize marijuana we'll need a quick test for cops to prove DUI. My recommendation: Hold up a picture of a cat and say "Woof!". If they laugh uncontrollably, they're probably high.

    2. It can be grown basically anywhere, by anybody. One of the major barriers to the legalization or standardization of any product is that it needs to be somehow commercially profitable or not cut directly into someone else's revenue. The film industry fought tooth and nail against VHS players calling it a haven for piracy, the radio industry railed against audio cassettes calling them a haven for piracy, every business out there hates the internet to some degree because they think it's a haven for piracy, etc. Marijuana could and probably would take a leg off the tobacco industry with alarming speed the moment people realize they can grow a pot plant in a shoe they keep in a closet. Billions of dollars will constantly pour into anti-Legalization funds unless a licensing and dispensation system is in place long before its legalization, and that means that any legalization process MUST take the form of gradual and platformed decriminalization.

    3. The tax income thing. Yes, it's true that marijuana sales, if regulated/taxed to the same degree cigarettes and alcohol are, would bring in money, but it's also important to remember that the price would plummet once the risk factor was taken out of the equation. You can't spout off that it would bring in Infinity Billion dollars by basing that on its current price when the ease of production on the thing is so ridiculous. The price would fall to probably less than 1/100th of what it currently is and any tax revenue would reflect that.

    4. It's not just the morality police who will do everything in their power to prevent legalization. The existing prison and police systems profit off of the incarceration of minor offenders. They're easy to find, easy to take down, and provide a tremendous profit for minimal work. The cartels in Mexico make probably over 60% of their profit off of marijuana importations and sales, they will go to war to keep pot illegal in the United States. Tobacco companies will carpet bomb the airwaves with attack ads every time it comes up for a vote. Not to mention that the existing political system will fight to keep it illegal not just because they're being giving billions in lobbying dollars to do so, but also because it is simply unwise for any politician to ever admit fault, and unless you're the fresh-faced new kid attempting to change the existing system means you have to say that at some point the leadership was wrong. That's unthinkable.

  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Taramoor wrote:
    The cartels in Mexico make probably over 60% of their profit off of marijuana importations and sales, they will go to war to keep pot illegal in the United States.

    It's hard to think of a better one-line point to make in favour of ending prohibition than this.

  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck the search for the means to put an end to things an end to speech is what enables the discourse to continue ~ * ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) excelsior * ~Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    lets start with something simple

    Alcohol.gif

    and people driving high is absolutely irrelevant if we accept that we are currently handling people driving drunk in an appropriate way, given that

    a) high drivers are less dangerous than drunk drivers
    b) we assume people are able to control themselves sufficiently to not do it

    of course b) is retarded given how many people die on the roads, but lets at least pretend to seek a little consistency

    what you will notice is that the DEA does not actually report the DAMAGE DONE by drugs

    why?

    because registered heroin addicts were harming themselves at a vanishingly low rate in comparison to heroin addicts in an illegalised framework

    what are the main harms from heroin?

    a) impure heroin
    b) dirty needles

    these are both tragically easy to ameliorate with even the most basic level of harm reduction. policies that decide that reducing the user base by a small amount while simultaneously fucking the remaining userbase via those 2 mechanisms are simply immoral and stupid.

    also pantsB the data on marinol is not good. conventional marijuana taken in, for example, hash brownies is more effective at treating insomnia for example.

    surrealitycheck on
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  • MillMill Registered User regular
    V1m wrote:
    Taramoor wrote:
    The cartels in Mexico make probably over 60% of their profit off of marijuana importations and sales, they will go to war to keep pot illegal in the United States.

    It's hard to think of a better one-line point to make in favour of ending prohibition than this.
    Somehow I doubt the cartels are going to be able to do shit about this. If they start trying to raid the state's from across the border because we legalized cannabis that's just going to get them killed because we like to blow people who piss us off more than Romney likes to fire people. There is also the matter that the Mexican government will deploy more of their troops along their border states (that is what they call them right or do they go with provinces?) to prevent that shit because they really don't want to suffer the insult that Pakistan does by having US routinely cross the border to whack cartel thugs that were dumb enough to cause shit over legalization of marijuana.

    I'm pretty sure at must the cartels will say "Fuck!" and then leave it at that because they are smart enough to know they don't want lots of attention and they sure as hell don't want to draw the attention of the US military or CIA drone strikes.

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  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Mill wrote:
    V1m wrote:
    Taramoor wrote:
    The cartels in Mexico make probably over 60% of their profit off of marijuana importations and sales, they will go to war to keep pot illegal in the United States.

    It's hard to think of a better one-line point to make in favour of ending prohibition than this.
    Somehow I doubt the cartels are going to be able to do shit about this. If they start trying to raid the state's from across the border because we legalized cannabis that's just going to get them killed because we like to blow people who piss us off more than Romney likes to fire people. There is also the matter that the Mexican government will deploy more of their troops along their border states (that is what they call them right or do they go with provinces?) to prevent that shit because they really don't want to suffer the insult that Pakistan does by having US routinely cross the border to whack cartel thugs that were dumb enough to cause shit over legalization of marijuana.

    I'm pretty sure at must the cartels will say "Fuck!" and then leave it at that because they are smart enough to know they don't want lots of attention and they sure as hell don't want to draw the attention of the US military or CIA drone strikes.

    How about if they just use their enormous mountain of money and just buy whoever they need to, and maybe also brutally murder a family or two to illustrate the consequences of non-compliance? You know, like the RIAA do very successfully without even murdering people.

    And it's not like those cartels operate nice visible armoured divisions in open terrain like the Iraqis were considerate enough to do. They operate right slap bang in the middle of densely inhabited cities. Drone strikes you say? I call bullshit. The US can barely contain the far less numerous, far less funded, less well organised, less brutal Taliban in Afghanistan, and that's with near complete control of the media and the tacit acceptance by the US public of poor brown foreign casualties far away. I'll believe that the US military will start putting Hellfires onto targets in US urban areas when I personally see it with my unaided vision.

  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck the search for the means to put an end to things an end to speech is what enables the discourse to continue ~ * ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) excelsior * ~Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    another nice chart

    380px-Rational_scale_to_assess_the_harm_of_drugs_%2528mean_physical_harm_and_mean_dependence%2529_svg.png

    David Nutt, ex-head of the British Governments drug policy unit before getting fired for saying their policy was le dumb

    surrealitycheck on
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  • MillMill Registered User regular
    I'm pretty sure a fair chunk of the leadership for the cartels is still in Mexico but that might have changed recently. The point is the US government hasn't been really motivated enough to start devoting a substantial amount of resources to rooting out the Mexican cartels. If you seriously don't think that kidnapping people and then murdering because the US government legalized pot won't bring all sorts of shit down on the cartels, then I don't know what world you are living in. Trust me doing that shit is going to raise all sorts of hell that the cartels aren't going to be able to survive through and those fuckers know it.

    Will they be pissed to lose the revenue, sure but they'll also be smart enough to realize they had better cut their loses and move on to trying to recoup the missing revenue via other means.

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  • SanderJKSanderJK Crocodylus Pontifex Sinterklasicus Madrid, 3000 ADRegistered User regular
    That DEA information on the Netherlands is pretty much wrong, or at least willfully leaving out facts. Such as the fact that Dutch people smoke less weed than Americans (by about a factor of 2 if you trust the UN data). Not that the Dutch system of 'gedoogbeleid' is an ideal system. (decriminalize possession under ~5g, and allow limited shopholders to sell providing they don't stock above 500g, and never ask where they got it.)

    This means we're still left with drug gangs trying to grow the weed, sell it, rip each other off. It's become violent and highly organised, and estimates is that the NL grows about 5x the amount of weed it sells via the legal route, the rest of it is for export (mostly France). They have this whole system of turning empty/abandoned houses into green houses and leaving it to grow pretty much unattended.

    I would like to see a government regulated sales route, where the government hands out limited licenses to grow and to sell. There can't be too many restrictions on such licenses though, because it has to remain cheaper than the illegal market.

    Also, if any of you want to come the Netherlands and smoke weed, best do it this year. Starting in 2013 it will be illegal to sell to foreigners.

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  • TheOrangeTheOrange Registered User regular
    SanderJK wrote:
    Starting in 2013 it will be illegal to sell to foreigners.

    Oh my god, why??

  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck the search for the means to put an end to things an end to speech is what enables the discourse to continue ~ * ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) excelsior * ~Registered User regular
    because the netherlands has become somewhat of a drugs island in the middle of prohibitionist countries

    so theyre trying to stop people from shitty countries coming there to smoke mad weedage

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