What marijuana prohibition costs

On Friday, I briefly criticized Obama’s glib response to the question of legalizing marijuana. I said, “our marijuana laws, in particular, are much more destructive than the effects of the drug itself. They tear apart families through prison terms and divert/waste government money on an incredible scale.”

In the comments section, Ian thought I went too far by saying that marijuana prohibition tears families apart. However, I think there is plenty of evidence that shows the needlessly destructive nature of our ‘War on Drugs’ aside from the heavy handed prison sentences handed out to non-violent offenders.

Exhibit A is the Mexican civil war with the drug cartels. Already over 8,000 people have been killed as a result of the war. This is a war fueled by what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls our “insatiable demand for illegal drugs.” And what drug in particular generates the most money for the armed cartels? You guessed it:

One of Mr. Calderón’s predecessors, Mr. Zedillo, recently joined two other former heads of state from Latin America in pushing for a complete rethinking of the drug war, including the legalization of marijuana, which is considered the top revenue generator for Mexican drug cartels.

Exhibit B is the armed drug raids that kill and grievously injure non-violent drug offenders for possessing as little as $10 worth of marijuana. These things happen all the time.

There doesn’t actually seem to be any proof that marijuana kills anyone (its negative effect on the respiratory system notwithstanding), so why are we banning it at the cost of the 8,000 plus people that have died in the Mexican drug war, and those killed in drug raids over less than a handful of marijuana? Besides that, how much money are we wasting each year on enforcing this garbage? How many people are denied medical marijuana that could improve their quality of life? How many schools could have been built with the tax revenue we could generate from the lawful sale of marijuana?

This is exactly the sort of thing our country already went through when we banned alcohol in the early 20th century. The blackmarket for beer and liquor thrived, and dealers dealt with competition violently instead of through better marketing or the court system. The ‘cure’ for drinking was certainly worse than the disease. The same thing is true for marijuana, which is certainly less destructive than alcohol.

43 Comments

  1. Ian

    I said I agreed with you in principle that punishment for marijuana possession and sale are too harsh, but that I didn’t feel sorry for those being punished. Look, marijuana is not a necessity. Its not as integrated into our culture as alcohol was and is either. The laws against marijuana are clear and the types of punishment you receive for being involved with it are clear. Add all this up, and I say the morons in jail in this country for marijuana involvement… well, they made their own beds and I don’t feel sorry for them. I thought you were one who believed in personal responsibility? People have the right to deal with the consequences of being prostitutes, but if they smoke pot its different?

    Now, the prime reason you can’t win against marijuana is that its just a plant and you can basically grow it anywhere. It requires no processing like the poppy plant does. You just use it as is. Its would be like trying to prevent people from growing sunflowers or something. Its just dumb. The health issues, I don’t know, there’s actually a lot of evidence that its bad for you. It does affect you psychologically as well. Potheads, like frequent users, usually stand out as such. As I said before, its completely unnecessary to smoke pot for recreational purposes. Its completely unnecessary to fight pot too, but potheads can get over it and work to get it legalized legitimately.

  2. lauren

    fight terrorism! smoke local!

  3. Chris

    Look, marijuana is not a necessity. Its not as integrated into our culture as alcohol was and is either.

    Sometimes marijuana is a medical necessity, and it certainly is integrated into our counter culture. If it wasn’t popular, it wouldn’t be #1 source of revenue for the S. American drug cartels. It’s not part of mainstream culture because of its legal status.

    I can’t tell you who to feel sorry for, but I think it’s foolish to turn innocent recreation into crimes thus turning otherwise decent people into criminals. The result is wasted money and wasted lives and a society that is less free.

  4. Ian

    “Sometimes marijuana is a medical necessity, and it certainly is integrated into our counter culture.”

    And the perception of marijuana for medical use is coming around. Some states have legalized it. And a big “whoopy” to the counter culture argument.

    “If it wasn’t popular, it wouldn’t be #1 source of revenue for the S. American drug cartels.”

    If it were supplied locally or home grown it would be cheap.

    “I can’t tell you who to feel sorry for, but I think it’s foolish to turn innocent recreation into crimes thus turning otherwise decent people into criminals. The result is wasted money and wasted lives and a society that is less free.”

    I agree with you. I’m just saying don’t act like people who smoke/sell pot and get busted are victims.

  5. Chris

    I’m just saying don’t act like people who smoke/sell pot and get busted are victims.

    But they are. They’re victims of a stupid law that draws an arbitrary line between tobacco+alcohol versus marijuana.

  6. Daimao

    Just because a law is stupid or unjust doesn’t mean you can break it and expect to avoid the consequences. If someone wants to smoke weed all day, that’s fine, but they are ultimately the ones responsible for their own actions. Recreational users are just as much responsible for their victim-hood as the government is.

    “I can’t tell you who to feel sorry for, but I think it’s foolish to turn innocent recreation into crimes thus turning otherwise decent people into criminals.”

    Criminals can be decent people.

  7. Ian

    The only “victims” are the taxpayers.

  8. Chris

    Just because a law is stupid or unjust doesn’t mean you can break it and expect to avoid the consequences. If someone wants to smoke weed all day, that’s fine, but they are ultimately the ones responsible for their own actions. Recreational users are just as much responsible for their victim-hood as the government is.

    I agree that you shouldn’t smoke marijuana as long as it’s illegal given the grave penalties. That’s certainly the reason I don’t smoke. I still don’t think that places the blame any less on the government for imposing ridiculous laws and carrying out ridiculous punishments.

  9. Andrew

    How far are you willing to take this, Ian? Does your lack of sympathy extend to people who got locked for miscegenation, sodomy, etc? Or is it pretty much just limited to people you think are hippies?

  10. Ian

    I think if you’re dumb enough to be having sodomy in public where a cop can see you, then, yes, you should be in jail. That goes for standard penis-in-vagina sex as well though. Didn’t the Supreme Court rule that you couldn’t be jailed for sodomy within your own home? I seem to recall that case happening in Texas or something.

    And miscegenation isn’t illegal.

  11. Andrew

    Neither of them is illegal *now* – in part because average folks did their civic duty and ignored dumb laws – but back in the proverbial day people were in fact thrown in jail for both of those things. My point is that “whelp, you knew it was illegal before you started messing with the white womenz, so really you brought this on yourself” would not have been a helpful response.

  12. Ian

    I’m not arguing about the stupidity of the law against marijuana. I actually think it should be open for debate in our government and not just dismissed. I fully agree that the stiffness of the punishment for marijuana is unjust.

    I’m arguing about law in general. You can’t really apply “ignoring dumb laws” wherever you see fit. What is dumb to you isn’t necessarily dumb to everyone. I mean, I think the gay marriage ban in this country is terrible. Do I think the proper response to this ban is to have gays get married anyways? You could do that, but it won’t really make a difference anyways since those marriages would be symbolic only and not legally binding. The real “civic duty” is to state your case clearly and convince others, to petition your government representatives or even run for office yourself, to vote, to fight cases in court if the law is unjust. Smoking pot doesn’t make you a civil disobedient in the protester sense. It just makes you someone who smokes pot cause they want to get high. I mean, ok, you could be crazy and get arrested for having a massive amount of pot and try to show through court appeals that the law is unjust. You’d probably be safer just getting the law changed.

    Also, one major point to make here, banning sodomy and interracial marriage is in no way on the same level as banning pot. You can make the argument that two people being together physically, emotionally, and spiritually is an essential part of being human. That these things are inalienable rights. Smoking pot is just recreation.

  13. Andrew

    Ian, I agree with a lot of what you just said. I’m specifically taking issue with your stance that we are dealing with “morons” who “made their own beds” and don’t deserve our sympathy. The bottom line is that smoking marijuana – much like having unmarried, interracial, gay butt sex after pushing the hotel room beds together in contravention of state law – is a perfectly wholesome activity for grownups to engage in whether or not it’s a necessity and whether or not it’s purely recreational, and that the laws against it aren’t fair. And when someone gets thrown in freaking prison for doing something that shouldn’t be illegal in the first place, yes I do think it’s right to feel a bit bad for them.

  14. Ian

    Perhaps its just arguing semantics, but I didn’t say you couldn’t feel sympathy for these people or feel bad. I said I didn’t feel sorry for them, and I don’t. I mean, I’m smart enough to know not to speed when I see a cop on the highway, but if a cop catches me speeding, what can I do other than throw my hands up and say “You got me” because I knew it was against the law and I did it anyways. What I did say was don’t act like these people are victims because they are in a situation of their own making.

  15. Andrew

    While we’re on the subject, Obama was dead right to shit all over the idea that MJ legalization would stimulate the economy. I think as a policy choice it’s basically a no-brainer, but we shouldn’t oversell the effects, either.

  16. Chris

    Agreed. We all know that you’re itching to grow your own anyways. Who’s going to tax that?

  17. Ian

    You could charge sales tax on the seeds in the store.

  18. Clint

    Ian,

    Your arguments make no sense.

    There is no reasonable justification for marijuana being illegal, and, if the law is unjust, then anyone punished for violating it is being punished unjustly.

    More people in this country have used marijuana than in any other country. For some, it’s an aspect of religious practice. I’m not really sure how you can claim it’s not tied to the culture.

    Medically, marijuana has been shown to have benefits, not detriments. The “gateway theory” has been refuted. Cancer links have been shown to be nonexistent. You won’t find credible studies (that is, studies not commissioned by the government or studies with adequate sample sizes) that conclusively show any effects that even come close to the deleterious effects of alcohol, cigarettes and prescription drugs. Also, the negative studies that you do find will be testing for marijuana that’s smoked — a factor that can be eliminated through other methods.

    Why is it illegal then? It would require more than a few lines to cover, but one of the basic ideas is that marijuana has historically been tied to undesirable groups. It was made illegal in the 30s when it was tied to Mexican immigrants, and it was regulated again in 1970 when it was tied to the counterculture. Don’t take my word for it, read about it.

    Historically, penalties for drugs are skewed against minorities/lower classes. For instance, again generalizing for space purposes, the average sentence for crack crimes (associated with African-Americans) are reportedly 100 times greater than sentencing for powder cocaine crimes (associated with upper class whites).

    “You can’t really apply “ignoring dumb laws” wherever you see fit.”

    The law isn’t dumb, it’s unjust. And the degree to which it’s essential to a person seems to be entirely based on the individual. Some people would say that the unhindered ability to consume the things you want to consume, so long as they don’t harm others, is essential to being a free human being. Some people who use marijuana for religious ceremony, would certainly say it’s essential. Others wouldn’t. Either way, I don’t think you can make that judgment for others.

  19. Ian

    Oh sorry. Silly me, I never should’ve made an unjust law 😉 Why am I being put in a position of defending the law? I don’t think its fair to frame your discussion that way.

    I said I agreed that the punishment for marijuana was too harsh. The point, or at least my point, is not about whether marijuana should be illegal. I simply said that you can’t erase personal accountability here. The law is in place, and has been for a long long time. Everyone knows pot is illegal. If you choose to possess it or sell it in this country illegally (not counting medical reasons, etc), you take an informed risk. Thus if you just want to smoke pot recreationally, you aren’t a victim if you get caught. You make an informed decision, you deal with the consequences. This isn’t about how the system should work, its how it does. Its like if your mom told you not to touch the hot stove, but you did anyways and got burned. Its cause and effect. You’re the dumb one for putting your hand on the burner so don’t be made that the burner exists. The law is a passive thing. Its you who breaks it. The law doesn’t hunt you down, so how can you be a victim of it? And before you go on about things like gay marriage or the like, see what I talked about with Andrew. Pot for recreation is not essential to being human. It just isn’t.

    I don’t really care to argue whether marijuana should be legalized or anything like that. I will add a slight counterpoint to this comment though: “There is no reasonable justification for marijuana being illegal.” Pot does have an effect on a person. Those who are major pot smokers do stand out as such. It changes their personalities and seems to have some adverse effects on their metabolisms. The simplest argument you are ignoring too would be that some one who is really high shouldn’t be driving a car. Yeah I know alcohol is legal and blah blah. Like I said, I’m not trying to argue that pot should be illegal or not. Just trying to point out it isn’t completely innocuous.

  20. Ian

    Oh and the “dumb laws” thing was what Andrew said. Not my words.

  21. Andrew

    “And before you go on about things like gay marriage or the like, see what I talked about with Andrew. Pot for recreation is not essential to being human. It just isn’t.”

    I decided not to bring this up at time, but since we’re back on this again: yes, it’s true that for most people sex is much more important than pot, but I see no particular reason to think it’s true for everybody, and at any rate this sort of value judgment about what kinds of things are an “essential part of being human” and what are “just recreational” is certainly best decided by the individuals in question, not by Ian and certainly not by our legal code. You see, some of us believe in this crazy idea that “people are different,” and that the individual is in the best position to decide what kinds of things he finds fulfilling given his values, by virtue of their being, like, his values.

  22. Ian

    Chris, I’d appreciate you removing my last name, mispelled as it is, from that post.

    Andrew, if marijuana use were protected by the Constitution, you might have a leg to stand on here. Unfortunately its not, and thus the law isn’t unjust by definition in this country. Stupid perhaps, financially misguided, certainly. Our lawmakers, elected by us, haven’t legalized it yet. So either get the law changed, or get over it.

  23. Ian

    Well, thinking about it, the extreme penalities could be considered cruel and unusual punishment, I guess. The simple fact its illegal isn’t unconstitutional though.

    Also… chill out and don’t make it personal.

  24. Andrew

    Sorry, and sorry for using your full name there. Hopefully Chris will take care of that.

    But this: “if marijuana use were protected by the Constitution, you might have a leg to stand on here. Unfortunately its not, and thus the law isn’t unjust by definition in this country.”

    A law can’t be unjust unless it is unconstitutional? I did not know that.

  25. Ian

    Isn’t that how our legal system works? Any law passed by our state and federal representatives can stand as long as it doesn’t violate the state and federal constitutions? I’m not talking my definition of unjust, I’m talking our legal system’s.

  26. Andrew

    It seems to me that our elected representatives pass unjust laws all the time, without actually rising to the standard of violating the constitution. The War of Drugs is a prime example.

  27. Ian

    Well then we are in agreement, but that is using a subjective definition of the word “unjust”. I realize the Constitution isn’t purely objective either, but its the standard of our legal system. When I talk about things essential to the human experience, I am more referring to the Bill of Rights, and I don’t think pot use really is included there, so it is difficult to make an argument about the law being in the same league as gay marriage bans. The Bill of Rights isn’t my frame of reference in day to day life. I suppose I should specify, but I didn’t feel it mattered here.

    “yes, it’s true that for most people sex is much more important than pot, but I see no particular reason to think it’s true for everybody”

    For the record, the gay marriage issue isn’t about sex at all, since gay people can already have sex legally. I guess if they were saving themselves for marriage that would be another issue. For some, the sex subtext might be there. Like they don’t like the idea of gay sex so that gets channeled into not wanting gays to have equal rights as well. I don’t know. I am pretty unfamiliar with the nuance behind the anti-gay marriage crowd as generally all I hear from it is the “Adam and Steve” type nonsense.

    My only argument the whole time was that the laws may unjust, but they are the laws. We can’t just pick and choose which laws we want to follow. In the case of marijuana, its generally pretty easy to avoid running afoul of laws dealing with it. Thus I don’t feel like these people are victims if they cross it and get caught. Its pretty well known that pot is illegal, so smoke it or sell it at your own risk. If you really want to smoke it without consequences, get the law changed.

  28. Andrew

    The reason I brought up miscegenation and sodomy laws was to show why I think this “you knew the rules, buddy” thing is callous. Imagine it was back in the fifties when those laws were on the books. Two men rent a hotel room outside of town and use it do their thing. Maybe they’re in love and using sex to express their deep, heartfelt longing for one another. Or maybe they just horny and randomly hooked up. Who knows? Either way, the owner gets suspicious and calls the police. They end up getting jail time. Would it also have been cool to say “well, you knew it was illegal, guys, so either change the law or stop complaining?”

    Your response was that sex is a more fundamental human desire than the desire to get blazed is. It is my opinion that this is not a good response. It’s probably true for most people, but how on earth can you know for sure that this applies to everyone? Sex comes in a lot of different varieties after all, and sometimes it is purely recreational. Some people use marijuana for religious reasons, and indeed drug use has been a part the religious experience of people in many different cultures. It’s not clear that this experience is any less essentially human than sex is. And yes, some people just really like to smoke. But the point is that our reaction here shouldn’t hinge on how important *we* deem the activity in question, because that isn’t for us to decide. We are not good judges of other people’s subjective experiences. If it’s callous to take the gay dudes’ arrest as an opportunity to deliver a lecture on personal responsibility, then it’s callous to do the same with marijuana smokers, just because both of those laws are unfair. Whether or not you consider the two activities equally central to your life shouldn’t enter into it. That’s what I’m trying to say here. Admittedly I phrased this in a dickish way earlier, but such is my nature.

  29. Ian

    I am being callous, I admit. I don’t smoke and I don’t really ever intend to. It’s not about the legal or moral stuff, its more about I just don’t really care to smoke. So, OK, maybe its hard for me to feel sympathetic. Still, my housemates in college smoked a lot and grew their own. They didn’t get caught, and the cops in that town were notorious for busting people for underage drinking and generally harassing the students. I feel like its not that hard to not get caught.

    I still say that legalizing gay sex and interacial marriage is a completely different thing than marijuana. This all requires framing a point of reference, and as a country it has to be one we all agree on. We could argue in a similar way that child molesters deserve protection as well, because an 8 year old could be giving consent. The 8 year old is cool with it, and his uncle just really really likes little boys. I’m not likining smoking pot to child molestation. I’m illustrating that we are setting a frame of reference that for gay and interracial marriage says that its ok because these people are consenting adults. So then we have to arbitrarily define what “adult” is (18 revolutions around our sun).

    The constitution protects gay sex, so at least the gay dudes could fight that law. Society isn’t just, and the laws they make aren’t just either. Gay people for a long time have had sex in this country without getting caught when it was illegal. When they got caught, some fought it and got it overturned. Likewise, people have been smoking pot in this country for a long time without getting caught as well. Its not that hard to not get caught. I’m not claiming the law is right in any way. I’m just saying its a calculated risk to smoke in current times, and theres not much you can do if you get caught. The option always exists to get the law changed.

  30. Clint

    Ian,

    I think there are good reasons to be concerned with the arrests/punishments for marijuana. I think this law is especially vicious and unjust, more so than jaywalking or something like that.

    Again, remember that marijuana’s illegality is historically tied to use by undesirable groups (Mexican immigrants, counterculture). In 2007, there were almost 900,000 marijuana arrests (almost half of all drug arrests), and African-Americans and Latinos were overrepresented — predictably.

    I’m sure it’s fairly easy for most college students, coming from families in the middle or higher classes, to get away with using marijuana. But that’s simply not the case in poorer areas, where we know that black people are stopped more frequently and generally treated harsher.

    Again, you could say that they could simply not smoke — they don’t need to. But I would argue, as Andrew did, that such a judgment can’t be made by your or me. If you are given a raw deal in life (growing up in the projects in Queens, perhaps), maybe smoking weed is an important part of how you cope with life.

    I’m not trying to guilt you or anything, but I think that perspective isn’t far from the truth for many people, and it’s worth considering.

  31. Ian

    First this:

    “I’m sure it’s fairly easy for most college students, coming from families in the middle or higher classes, to get away with using marijuana. But that’s simply not the case in poorer areas, where we know that black people are stopped more frequently and generally treated harsher.”

    I wouldn’t really go that direction. You are implying a lot of things that just aren’t necessarily right. There are a lot of college students who come from poor families. The socioeconomic make up of a college student body is another discussion for a different topic. Also, black people being stopped more frequently and being treated more harshly is not a result of marijuana laws. Racial profiling is an issue unto itself. Police aren’t supposed to do it. Some do, I am aware.

    Clint, like I said, I’m not arguing marijuana should be illegal. I am in agreement with you and Chris and Andrew about how fighting marijuana is stupid and its generally harmless, or at least as harmless as alcohol and tobacco. My whole issue with what Chris said anyways was when he called these people victims. I disagree with that sentiment because being a victim implies innocence and it implies something aggressive happening to someone being passive. Smoking/possessing/selling marijuana is not a passive act, thus I do not see how the “victim” tag applies. People who smoke pot and get caught are not in the same boat as people who get robbed, mugged, raped, or murdered. The only other way I could see the victim tag being applied is if the law was not made clear to the public and the government just started rounding people up. That isn’t the case as marijuana has been illegal and widely is known as being such.

    The central question here is, “Is smoking/possessing/selling marijuana a crime?” The answer is yes, since there are laws saying that. I don’t make the laws. If you break the law, regardless of how unjust that law might be, it is still considered a crime in our legal system.

    “But I would argue, as Andrew did, that such a judgment can’t be made by your or me.”

    Then who? How do you draw the line on not just marijuana but every other legal issue dealing with things that may be very important to other people? That is my point about the Constitution. We as a society have to agree on some sort of basis on which to make laws and determine if they are just or unjust. Its not a perfect document and it was written by imperfect people. There are a lot of bad laws and policies out there. That’s just how it works in this country.

  32. Clint

    Ian,

    Also, I’d like to respond to this:

    “Pot does have an effect on a person. Those who are major pot smokers do stand out as such. It changes their personalities and seems to have some adverse effects on their metabolisms. The simplest argument you are ignoring too would be that some one who is really high shouldn’t be driving a car.”

    Marijuana definitely has effects, but I don’t think you can prove they’re adverse.

    Any argument about changes in mental processes will be inherently slippery. You can’t show that marijuana has any clearly detrimental effects in that department; that is, it doesn’t produce disorders (schizophrenia, psychosis). Beyond that, any judgment about mental changes threatens to claim which types of personalities are acceptable and which types are unacceptable.

    I strongly disagree with the driving argument. Again, marijuana is shown to *change* the way people drive (usually more cautiously), but you won’t find scientific proof that shows those changes are actually adverse in any significant way.

    As far as metabolism, I don’t know. I’d be interested to read about that.

  33. Ian

    “I strongly disagree with the driving argument. Again, marijuana is shown to *change* the way people drive (usually more cautiously), but you won’t find scientific proof that shows those changes are actually adverse in any significant way.”

    OK, are you seriously arguing that smoking pot makes you a safer driver? That’s kind of an absurd statement. From wikipedia on THC: Other effects include relaxation; euphoria; altered space-time perception; alteration of visual, auditory, and olfactory senses; anxiety; disorientation; fatigue; and appetite stimulation (colloquially known as “the munchies”).

    So smoke a lot and you might get fat. I think that’s adverse from a health standpoint. Me personally, I don’t want someone experiencing “altered space-time perception” or “altered visual and auditory senses” behind the wheel when I am on the road. Call me crazy. I don’t think that is a lot to ask.

    It has some effect on people, otherwise why would they smoke it to begin with? I never said it was that bad. I just said don’t act like its purely benign. Is it so hard to believe that marijuana might have a negative side effect like EVERY OTHER DRUG EVER?

    Like here, from wikipedia: “A 2008 National Institutes of Health study of 18 chronic heavy marijuana users with cardiac and cerebral abnormalities (averaging 78 to 350 marijuana cigarettes per week, or 2 to 9 ounces) and 24 controls found elevated levels of apolipoprotein C-III (apoC-III) in the chronic smokers.[41][42][43] An increase in apoC-III levels induces the development of hypertriglyceridemia.” Hypertriglyceridemia is high triglycerides, which is associated with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

    It also seems to mess up your memory some, as evidenced by studies showing a reduction in size in the hippocampus with long term use. Research isn’t really comprehensive enough because its difficult to perform with it being an illegal drug in this country.

    “Beyond that, any judgment about mental changes threatens to claim which types of personalities are acceptable and which types are unacceptable.”

    I don’t what to say here. I just think that’s a really funny argument to pose when talking about pot.

  34. Clint

    Sorry if I seem combative, don’t mean to be. That being said …

    “OK, are you seriously arguing that smoking pot makes you a safer driver?”

    No. I didn’t say that. My whole point is that it’s *undetermined* by the research whether the change is good or bad. It is a testable tendency that drivers are more cautious due to the paranoia-effect from weed. I don’t mean “cautious” to be synonymous with “safer”, as being over-cautious can be dangerous, too.

    “So smoke a lot and you might get fat.”

    You can’t make that claim based on one line from Wikipedia. “The munchies” might be offset by another effect. If you can show me studies that link obesity and marijuana, then I’d begin to believe that; until then, I’m relying on the fact that I don’t know a whole lot of overweight potheads.

    “I don’t want someone experiencing “altered space-time perception” or “altered visual and auditory senses” behind the wheel when I am on the road.”

    OK, then you need to eliminate anyone who drives after drinking coffee or Coca-Cola, since caffeine is also a psychoactive substance (actually with much worse effects on the body). The phrase “altered space-time perception” isn’t a moral one; it doesn’t mean “more dangerous space-time perception”.

    “Is it so hard to believe that marijuana might have a negative side effect like EVERY OTHER DRUG EVER?”

    I’m not saying it’s purely positive. It’s just the problems I’ve heard mentioned so far haven’t been proven to be true. There are a lot of misconceptions, and it’s important to see through them if we want to come to a reasonable conclusion about what weed does and how we should interact with it.

    That NIH study is ridiculous. Aside from problems with NIH as an organization, that study has subjects who consume an ungodly amount of weed. At that point, you’d probably get some shitty effects from the smoked paper alone.

    “It also seems to mess up your memory some, as evidenced by studies showing a reduction in size in the hippocampus with long term use.”

    Again those studies are from the NIH and they only test seriously heavy smokers.

    There are some good articles on this subject from some honest, independent writers/researchers. The effect on memory is usually a loss of immediate, short-term memory. But again, that doesn’t translate to “bad.” Many people (and religions) talk about the virtue of “living in the present.” So it’s a change, yes, but not necessarily good or bad.

  35. Ian

    Eh whatever. I don’t really care about the health stuff to argue about it. I said I agreed it wasn’t that bad. I think I’m done here.

  36. Chris

    You seem to accept every part of the argument for marijuana legalization I’ve put forth except the idea that those punished under the current laws (which you think are counter-productive and unjust) aren’t victims.

    It seems to me that if there were no victims of the current law, there would be no logical reason to oppose it. Am I missing something?

  37. Ian

    That doesn’t make sense. That isn’t logical, that is your spin on it. I don’t see the logical connection there. Common sense dictates the law should be opposed.

  38. Daimao

    Chris,

    I think that may have something to do with the literal definition of the word “victim” versus the implied helplessness found in the more common usage. People who smoke weed may literally be victims, either by their own making or because they naturally would become victims if punished, but I don’t know if anyone could ordinarily call them victims, due to their lack of innocence. Especially compared to a rape or mugging like Ian suggested.

  39. Chris

    Daimao,
    Right. So I guess the question comes down to how Ian defines ‘victims’.

  40. Ian

    I defined it up there. Victim is a word with an emotional meaning attached to it, and I don’t agree with the application of that meaning in this situation.

    From dictionary.com
    victim:
    1. One who is harmed or killed by another: a victim of a mugging.
    2. A living creature slain and offered as a sacrifice during a religious rite.
    3. One who is harmed by or made to suffer from an act, circumstance, agency, or condition: victims of war.
    4. A person who suffers injury, loss, or death as a result of a voluntary undertaking: You are a victim of your own scheming.
    5. A person who is tricked, swindled, or taken advantage of: the victim of a cruel hoax.

    I am more going by definition 1.

  41. Sellers

    I kinda agree with everyone. Marijuana should be legalized. End of story. For all the reasons mentioned earlier. The fact that people go to jail for pot is absurd. However, and I’ll use myself, if I get caught with pot on me by a cop what can I say? I knew it was illegal at the time I had it. That’s me saying “it’s worth the risk.” However, I do feel somewhat sorry or bad for a person who gets caught, but they are partly to blame. So perhaps a better way of putting it is I can sympathize with someone in their position.

  42. Chris

    Ian, of course, does not share your sympathy… he only has rage in his heart!

  43. Ian

    Raaaaagggggeeee!