Skip to comments.Marijuana's harm illusory
Posted on 01/13/2003 7:31:37 AM PST by MrLeRoy
Twenty-five years ago, Lester Grinspoon noted in his classic study, Marihuana Reconsidered, that "the single greatest risk encountered by the user of marihuana is that of being apprehended as a common criminal, incarcerated and subjected to untold damage to his social life and career." What was true then is even more true today: around 700,000 Americans are arrested annually for simply possessing marijuana, and more than 10,000 Americans are currently in jails and prisons because they have been convicted of marijuana possession, and no other crime.
The government's propagandists are taking full advantage of these statistics: A new anti-drug commercial depicts the potentially devastating arrest of a teenage marijuana smoker (drug convictions bar students from receiving federal educational loans), and concludes: "Marijuana can get you busted. Harmless?" The commercial's unintentionally surreal message - that marijuana is illegal because it's harmful, and it's harmful because it's illegal - is one that seems likely to fill any young person capable of independent thought with contempt for both our marijuana laws and the dangerously authoritarian logic that supports and enforces them.
Imagine if one were to extend this logic to, say, freedom of the press: The government could produce commercials depicting the arrest of young people caught reading "subversive" literature, in order to drive home the point that, if you happen to live under a sufficiently repressive regime, merely reading the wrong sort of book can be hazardous to your health.
Anti-drug zealots will reply that books, unlike marijuana, are harmless. This is of course preposterous: few things are more dangerous than books. How many millions of deaths can be traced to the publication of The Communist Manifesto or Mein Kampf or, for that matter, the Bible and the Quran? Yet this is hardly an argument for the repeal of the First Amendment.
The idea that something ought to be criminalized because it isn't "harmless" is a key feature of the authoritarian mindset. It's an idea that allows for the criminalization of just about any imaginable activity, since almost nothing in this world is harmless. Marijuana isn't harmless, but it isn't nearly as harmful as, for example, alcohol - a substance that causes thousands of fatal overdoses every year (no one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana).
So why don't we make America an alcohol-free nation by criminalizing alcohol? The superficial answer is that we tried that once and it was total failure. (Attempting to eliminate marijuana use has also been a total failure: almost half the current adult population - nearly 100 million Americans - has used marijuana, and several million Americans continue to use it regularly). The more nuanced answer is that making America an alcohol-free nation would actually be a bad thing, even if it were possible.
This isn't merely because the costs of prohibition are so high. Most people who drink alcohol have benefited from the experience more than they've been harmed by it. What anti-drug zealots are incapable of acknowledging is that the same holds true for marijuana users. Indeed the evidence is overwhelming that, for the vast majority of marijuana users, their use has had no significant harmful effects, and many good ones.
Yet as Grinspoon pointed out a quarter-century ago, "reason has had little influence in this matter." The criminal prohibition of marijuana, he said, was due to "cultural factors that have nothing to do with the effect of the drug itself." In the years since, little has changed, as we waste billions of dollars, and give free rein to an increasingly dangerous authoritarianism, in the futile attempt to stamp out this largely benign practice.
This is sort of the same logic applied to illegal aliens. "illegal aliens are illegal because they are criminals, and they are criminals because because they are illegal aliens"
If drug users cost you nothing, would you care one way or another about drug users?
I guess now no one will have any way to counter what I say.
Gosh, such breathtaking logic, such well thought out verse. Who can agrue with that.
Please take the time to learn what you are talking about, you won't look so foolish. Libertarians want goverment out of our personal lives as much as possible. We do not want a nanny state. We believe in personal responsiblity. If you are stupid enough to want to addict yourself, Libertarians feel no need to have goverment save you from yourself. Dropping the war on drugs will eliminate the need for drug users to rob, steal and attack innocents in order to procure the poison they want. Then they can OD or seek drug treatment. Either way we win. They die, problem solved. They wise up, then we only pay once (or twice) for drug treatment. At present, we pay for drug treatment for people who do not want to be off drugs. We then release them back into society, where they resume the habit they never wanted to drop. The WOD has not worked. Again, because some people are slow. In the history of mankind, 'Prohibition' has never worked.
Just the other day, freedom to smoke pot was compared to the 2nd Amendment. In my post, I joked about why they didn't also compare it to the 1st. Well, not missing a beat, here it is!
Legalizing pot will not end the WOD. Billions will not be saved.
Yes to all but adoption rights for babies; they are persons not property.
The WOD specifically and prohabition generally DO NOT WORK!!!
Who in this thread said it would?
Billions will not be saved.
Of course they will; marijuana is far and away the most popular of the drugs against which the multibillion dollar War On Some Drugs is waged.
In part; the Constitution grants the federal government no authority to regulate the intrastate making, distributing, selling, buying, or using of any drug.
Here is an article you may find of interest:
Cannabis Linked to Depression, Schizophrenia
LONDON (Reuters) - Smoking cannabis increases the odds of suffering from depression and schizophrenia, doctors said on Friday.
The occasional joint may not be harmful, but people who start using cannabis in their teens have a higher risk of later being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and the severity of the illness is linked to the length of exposure to the drug.
"Very young adolescents who use cannabis have an increased risk for developing schizoprehenia as adults and the most at risk are the youngest users," Dr Louise Arseneault, of Kings College in London, told Reuters.
Doctors do not understand how cannabis increases the risk of schizophrenia and depression but they suspect it affects the dopamine system in the brain which is associated with pleasure.
It is thought the drug can trigger the onset or relapse of schizophrenia in people predisposed to the illness and may also exacerbate the symptoms.
In a study of 1,037 people born in New Zealand between 1972-73, Arseneault found that those who began using cannabis as teens were four times more likely to suffer from psychiatric problems as adults than adolescents who did not use the drug.
"The earlier you start, the more vulnerable you are," she said.
Her findings, which are reported in The British Medical Journal, are supported by two other studies in the magazine which found similar results.
Researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Victoria, Australia found that teenage girls who frequently used the drug were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than other adolescents.
Another study of more than 50,000 Swedish enlisted men showed the use of cannabis increased the risk of schizophrenia by 30 percent.
OMG. Really???? Then....then... how can they do this? Can't they be stopped? How can this be happening? Where are the courts????
Or maybe, MrLeRoy, in your opinion, the Constitution grants no authority. It has been proven to you, time after time, with cites, where the govenment gets it's authority. It has been proven to you, time after time, where the courts have ruled, unanimously, that the laws are constitutional.
Yet you choose to ignore these facts and make claims you know to be false. Why do we waste our time with you?
Cowed ever since FDR's court-packing threat. Prior to that, they interpreted the Commerce Clause as it was written.
Or maybe, MrLeRoy, in your opinion, the Constitution grants no authority. It has been proven to you, time after time, with cites, where the govenment gets it's authority.
Beer - Helping white guys dance since 1934
Including the deadly addictive drug alcohol?
By their own figures, in 2001, Missouri law enforcement found and destroyed over 70 million pot plants. Of that total, less than 12 thousand were described as "cultivated marijuana". That means the remaining 69.988 million were worthless feral ditchweed hemp. How much do you figure it costs to do that? That's one state. For one year.
The real problem is that like alcohol, the persons most subject to abuse and with the least capacity for self-limitation and self-discipline are also the most vulnerable to the effects of habituation. I'm speaking of students, primarily, and I speak from personal experience. Loss of short-term memory during study time means no studying. And, like alcohol, for most normal people age brings a certain ability to moderate one's intake - and for some people it does not.
While I am adamantly opposed to the WOD I don't think candy-coating the effects of its cessation is likely to be beneficial.
Which can equally well be explained by the theory that the later psychiatric problems are already manifesting themselves in these teens and increasing their propensity to seek out marijuana.
Who said that?
"I write separately only to express my view that the very notion of a substantial effects test under the Commerce Clause is inconsistent with the original understanding of Congress powers and with this Courts early Commerce Clause cases. By continuing to apply this rootless and malleable standard, however circumscribed, the Court has encouraged the Federal Government to persist in its view that the Commerce Clause has virtually no limits. Until this Court replaces its existing Commerce Clause jurisprudence with a standard more consistent with the original understanding, we will continue to see Congress appropriating state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce." - Justice Clarence Thomas
Tell it to the judge.
Ok, As one who has been known to party and tip a few occasionally, I would like to here from you pot heads what the good effects are from inhaling the magic dragon?
That's the problem - they don't have any...
HR may also be concerned about the following effects of the War On Pot, none of which are addressed by your proposal:
THEY'RE obsessing? Look in a mirror...that's obsession.
I suspect the author has in mind benefits like relaxation and enhanced conviviality.
In my opinion, recreational marijuana use by adults in the workforce is in many ways a harmless and victimless activity. It does not cause hangovers and missed work, it is not addictive, and it does not inflate health insurance premiums for replacment organs, such as healthy livers.