Skip to comments.No: California does not need any more stoners
Posted on 03/26/2009 10:13:28 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
The romance with weed is never-ending for California marijuana devotees. Now, they claim their beloved drug can save the state by solving its unrelenting budget nightmare.
State legislation is afoot to legalize and tax marijuana to backfill the state budget. But, like the grandiose daydreams of a stoner, the reality of this plan would be far different from its vision. I won't go all Reefer Madness on you or claim that hemp T-shirts are a slippery slope to damnation. The problem with marijuana legalization is simpler and worse.
California cannot afford more stoned people, especially stoned young people. We need a lot fewer stoned people.
Prevention experts understand the problem with legalization: The greater the access to an intoxicant, the more abuse there will be of that intoxicant. Alcohol isn't the most dangerous drug in the world because it's worse than heroin or cocaine. It's the most dangerous drug because it's so easily accessible. You can get large quantities of it anywhere, and cheaply, too. Underage drinking is a big problem because kids can get alcohol so easily.
Legal marijuana would mean more access to marijuana. The number of marijuana users would spike, including teens.
Problems related to marijuana use would spike. Marijuana lobbyists argue that if a dangerous drug such as alcohol is legal, then marijuana should be, too. I've never understood that. With all the problems we have with alcohol, why would we want to legalize another intoxicant?
Right now, there are 127 million alcohol users and 14 million marijuana users in this country because one is legal and the other isn't. But, most alcohol users don't get intoxicated. About one-fifth of alcohol users binge drink or regularly drink heavily.
The serious problems from alcohol occur when people get intoxicated. With marijuana, you get intoxicated every time you use it. That's the whole point. Marijuana intoxication and alcohol intoxication may be different, but both are bad for society.
Marijuana intoxication means cognitive impairment, grandiosity, short-term memory loss, difficulty in carrying out complex mental processes and impaired judgment. It severely hurts your ability to perform at school and work. It saps initiative and drive. It increases confusion. In other words, it makes you stupid.
An increase in stoners among California's young people and work force would be very bad for the state. Right now, we're in a recession in which people without college degrees are losing jobs twice as fast as people with college degrees. Our future economy will be based on innovation, education and highly skilled labor.
But we're already not producing enough college graduates for our future work-force needs. With many more stoned teens and young people, the problems of an unskilled, uneducated and unmotivated work force will get worse.
Stoned people can't learn or work very well. Marijuana is the loser drug: That's the big problem with it.
What about the idea that California can balance its budget by legalizing marijuana and taxing the heck out of it? You haven't been paying attention to special-interest politics if you believe that.
Moneyed special interests run policy in this state. Look what happened when California criminal justice policies made prison guards one of the most powerful lobbies in the state. The union quickly began dictating policy in its own interest.
The alcohol industry is so powerful in California that beer taxes haven't increased in nearly 20 years; the last time they were raised was by a minuscule amount and the industry almost killed that. A wealthy marijuana industry will soon co-opt policy-makers and dictate how much tax we charge, where we sell the product and who gets to buy it. Why would a marijuana industry be different from any other special interest?
Personally, I don't think the marijuana lobby believes its own arguments. When I talk to legalization proponents, it usually boils down to their angry demand that people should be left alone to get stoned if they want to. That libertarian sentiment shows a complete disregard for the public good. If legalizers can't understand that, elected policy-makers certainly should.
The disingenuousness of the marijuana lobby becomes clear on the subject of medical marijuana. For marijuana lobbyists to push both recreational marijuana and medicinal marijuana at the same time is duplicitous. It's nakedly obvious where their real desires lie.
Recreational drug use and medical drug use have nothing in common. If pharmaceutical lobbyists pushed recreational and medical use of the same drug, they'd get hauled before Congress and slammed by state attorneys. But the marijuana lobby sees nothing wrong with its tactics.
How about a little more candor from marijuana romantics? Like the panhandler standing on a street corner with a sign that says, Why lie? I just want a beer.
Goodness. The San Diego Tribune makes sense from one end of the article to the other.
The SD U-T has one of the few editorial boards in the state that have a clue occasionally.
I really don’t understand how they would enforce tax collection on marijuana if it was legalized. It is so cheap to grow and there is an existing tax-free distribution system. Just how would the state tap into that?
I’d be for legalizing pot if everyone who did something under its influence had the same thing done to them three-times over in return.
If you smoke and drive and run into something, you get three times the damage done to your stuff. If you maim someone, you lose three times the functionality. If you kill someone, well, you die.
How is it that Fornicalia can clamp down on Winstons but not on Mad Dog 20/20?
As we all know - no one who smokes weed can be productive or successful! This must be left up to the state.
Where there's a will, there's a way, be sure of it.
I’ve never used drugs however I’m sure there are many successful people who smoke marijuana. The fact is that most drug users are not high-achievers and quite often they are on some kind of public assistance. Walking around stoned all day simply isn’t going to propel anyone through life unless they are a member of the Grateful Dead or Phish.
Did anybody else read this and immediately think O'bama?
Just like they do with booze now. Make it illegal to sell without gov't stamp. For over 200 years the feds and their state counterparts have done a (mostly) effective job at stopping moonshiners.
Last week in Tennessee a moonshiner killed himself rather than go to prison.
Ah yes, here come the Drug Warriors (Armchair Brigade).
Getting marijuana is now easy enough that almost anybody who sets his will to it can score.
Where this marijuana comes from is a different bothersome question. It used to be clandestine local growers, who varied in their viciousness. Now Mexican thugs have pumped the country full of cheap and strong marijuana, and we see someone kidnapped daily in Phoenix because of it. (That poor person should move to Maine. Bada-bing.)
Like the failed alcohol prohibition, it seems to have become a question of not whether, but how, people will get their pot.
Because the problems from alcohol are worse, the auther admits, so to should we go back to alcohol prohibition?
>Im sure there are many successful people who smoke marijuana.
sure there are.
You sound stoned.
Everybody must get stoned!
The problem is that the law doesn't differentiate between those who use occasionally and those who abuse (and leaves aside the whole question of whether drug abuse by itself is a public health issue or a law enforcement issue).
The laws regarding alcohol do make such a differentiation. If you are drunk in public (or even just possessing alcohol in public), most locales can arrest you. If you drive while impaired, if you furnish it to minors, both things that are arrestable.
But the notion that teh state should be passing legislation, or not, based on making us all the best we can be is creepy at its core, especially considering who's in power currently.
Wow, thats some old dylan, right?
I don’t want to have to deal or try to converse with someone that is somewhere off in space.
Might not be a bad idea.
I am not going to comment on the merits of the argument, but the statement above seems dubious at best.
Just curious, would you be okay with legalizing other drugs?
Give the issue back to the doctors, where it belongs.
Look at all the statists on freerepublic.
The UT is actually a pretty good paper.
Those “youthful” victims don’t look so youthful!
Ah, were this the worst evil on American streets. (Where are the bobbies in this picture dragging the publick sousers to the gaol?)
Sounds like any democrat to me. What's the diff?
They are currently using the drug war to revoke the Second Amendment.
I’m married to one and her opinion along with her colleagues is that given the availability of a plethora of other pharmaceutical drugs; marijuana isn’t necessary.
Uh.. what’s wrong with the laws on the books for DUI? It’s already illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, perscription drugs, etc.
Honestly, I am quite ambivalent about that.
Philosophically, I think, for the Federal Government at least, the prohibition of drugs is an inadvisable expansion of government power. The true efficacy of the WOD and the negative influences it has had on the practice of law enforcement are serious questions that should be addressed.
That being said, it would be disingenuous not to acknowledge that harder drugs do present greater possibility for abuse and that they DO contribute to great human misery through their abuse.
I'm not sure the numbers of people who do cocaine, meth, heroin, etc will change by more than a few percentage points if they were legalized, but I don't know that I would want to make that bet.
What I do believe pretty strongly is that marijuana, while most certainly not harmless, is relatively benign as far as intoxicants go. In an era of shrinking resources, I would be happier if government focused it resources on the drugs that are people are misusing to far more deleterious effect.
I would also like to see most of the silly hyperbole removed from this debate.
Can't have that.
The Liberal-terrorists need to give up on the lie that it will generate billions in taxes. It wont.
Excellent reply and well thought-out.
Not saying that I agree with everything but it is nice to have an intelligent conversation with a fellow Freeper.
BTW - I love the picture of the shooting Jesus! :)
Prohibition was more successful than we like to think. It did cut the level of drunkedness and —mtw—really reduced drug use. THAT didn’t come back until the ‘50s because of the stigma. Paradoxically drinking madea comeback because the gansterism made is respectable again among the middle-classes who had caused prohibition in the firstplace. Let is not forget that prohibition was a PROGRESSIVE reform.
Why wasn’t marijuana even considered banworthy prior to the 20th century. For that matter, prior to the end of alcohol prohibition.
I would rather put up with some stoners on the streets, rather than have our drug demand funding the transformation of Mexico into a narco-state.
As other people have pointed out, even with drugs being legal, you can penalize certain behaviors, such as drugging and driving, with the severity of the penalties increasing with the harder or more exotic drugs (heroin, LSD, etc.).
As for druggies being on public assistance, that’s a good argument for ENDING public assistance. They can keep their minds clear and work like the rest of us, or they can get stoned and sit in the gutter on THEIR dime, not OURS.
Hogarth's prints (actually political cartoons) are relevant to this discussion. Hogarth contrasted the virtues of a traditional "drug" (beer) with a new, dangerous, and foreign one (gin).
The British government proposed to ameliorate the pernicious effects of cheap gin on the lower classes (and incidentally raise some cash) by taxing the stuff.
Hogarth approved of the proposal.
It also gave Bonnie and Clyde another street-battle thing to get involved in (though bank robbing was their main affair). Amazing how little bathtub beer was served in speakeasies and blind tigers. It was whiskey, and the battles over it were bloody.
It’s illegal, but not considered a pre-meditated crime.
Besides, if we are to welcome more self-made brain-dead people on our roads, I want to have a solid torture penalty added, too.
I have no problems with people doing any drug. I have problems when people who do drugs hurt others “while under the influence.” I believe “under the influence” crimes should be considered pre-planned.
BTW: If you don’t live in California you may not realize that marijuana is already “decriminalized” in California. Posession of less than one ounce (28.4 grams) will result in a misdameanor ticket, the outcome of which will generally be a fine. You will not be arrested. Also remember that in California an attorney can handle misdameanor matters, and you need not appear as a defendant.
So basically, the situation, as it exists now, is that many police are not at all intersted in small amounts of marijuana. You will often hear tales of police simply confiscating the drugs, and/or directing the person caught to destroy them in front of the officers, since actually writing the misdameanor ticket will require additional paperwork.
What’s the rectangular confetti like stuff in the picture (for example, falling off the top of one of the background buildings).