Saturday, January 08, 2005

Reefer Madness

Today I was perusing the NY Times online edition (because I am one of "them thar librals" who prefer the NY Times over Fox news).

I was shown an anti-marijuana ad when I clicked on one story, and I clicked on the website. It is at http://www.theantidrug.com/drug_info/drug_info_truth_healthhazards.asp

Lies. Lies. And more lies.

Why are so many people so determined to keep Pot illegal, but care nothing about the terrible effects of alcohol on our youth - indeed, on our entire society?

Well, I don't know, but that isn't what this topic is about. It is about the "dangers" of marijuana use.

In the interests of candor, I will admit (as I did on every security clearance I ever filled out) that I have used it. Not while on active-duty, but that is because I took an oath to obey the UCMJ and the UCMJ forbids it. I always felt it stupid to outlaw it though, as I watched my peers drink themselves into a stupor every weekend, as I watched Regimental Calls and Prop Blasts and Rotor Washes and Hail and Farewells (all kinds of military parties) constantly degenerate into drunkfests, often with the blessing of commanders and senior NCOs. Sure, guzzle Tequila every night, you are ok as long as you don't report to duty intoxicated. Smoke a joint during your leave back home and you become a "bad" soldier and your career ends. I never thought that made much sense.

But maybe I was just lucky that Marijuana didn't destroy my brain. Those who feel any "libral" has a destroyed brain can rest assured that intelligence tests place me in the top 2% nationwide, technically a "genius." My opinion is that I am very good at taking tests written by people who think like me, and people who don't score as high on standardized tests can and often are twice as smart as me. Intelligence tests are crap, but I can point to them to show that smoking pot did not destroy my brain. But as I said, maybe I was lucky. So lets get the "facts" from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.

"Effects of Marijuana on the Brain. Researchers have found that THC changes the way in which sensory information gets into and is acted on by the hippocampus. This is a component of the brain's limbic system that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivations. Investigations have shown that THC suppresses neurons in the information-processing system of the hippocampus. In addition, researchers have discovered that learned behaviors, which depend on the hippocampus, also deteriorate."

Ok, that sounds bad. But look at it closely: "THC changes the way sensory information" is "acted on by the hippocampus." Wow. But if it didn't you wouldn't get high. You know what else changes the way your body processes sensory information? Cocaine. Heroin. LSD. Of course it should be illegal. Oh, and beer. Scotch Whiskey. Wine. Tylenol 3. Over the counter pain-killers to a small extent, prescription pain-killers to a large extent. The change to the way the body processes sensory information is just a fancy, scary way of saying "getting high." Changing the way you feel is not harmful in and of itself, and in the case of pain relief, it is a positive good. If you expect somebody who is intoxicated - whether with legal or illegal substances - to NOT have trouble with learning, memory, or the "integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivations" then you are intoxicated yourself. As for "emotions" and how they are affected by pot, I would much rather hang out with a stoned "I love you man" dude than either a crying drunk or a drunk who thinks he can kick the entire world's ass. Give a bunch of rednecks some dope and they get high and act stupid - by themselves, and usually the biggest problem is they are laughing too loud. Give them whiskey and get ready for a brawl. So the key to all this is how long does the effect last? Is it permanent? Does it do lasting damage? This scary paragraph presents absolutely no facts that indicate marijuana is harmful, only that it makes you high.

"Effects on the Lungs. Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. Continuing to smoke marijuana can lead to abnormal functioning of lung tissue injured or destroyed by marijuana smoke. Regardless of the THC content, the amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers. This may be due to marijuana users inhaling more deeply and holding the smoke in the lungs."

Ok, this is bad. It appears smoking harms your lungs. Surprise. Yet tobacco is legal. Well, dope smokers absorb three to five times more tar and carbon monoxide, which "may be due to" holding the smoke in the lungs and inhaling deeply. Still, we don't see anything here that suggests it should be illegal. And the "may be due to" is crap. The government says that so that it can't be proven a liar. Legal tobacco is consistent, manufactured to an industry standard, with few impurities and with quality control in place. Marijuana is illegal, thus it varies widely in its quality and its delivery mechanism. If dope were legal then it would be legal to study ways to lessen the effects of smoking on the lungs. For instance, a higher THC content coupled with higher-quality leaf could result in faster, more efficient delivery of THC to the smoker, coupled with much, much less a percentage of impurities. With more powerful joints that contain fewer impurities it is totally concievable that smoking dope can be made much less harmful than smoking cigarettes. But we will never know, will we?

In addition, marijuana can be ingested in many other ways than smoking. It can be reduced into pill form, with absolutely NO effects on the lungs. It can be baked into brownies - no effect on the lungs. Thus this paragraph is no reason to keep dope illegal, but MAY be a reason to include that "Surgeon General's Warning" on packs of joints sold legally. Maybe.

"Effects of Heavy Marijuana Use on Learning and Social Behavior. A study of college students has shown that critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning are impaired among people who use marijuana heavily, even after discontinuing its use for at least 24 hours. Researchers compared 65 "heavy users," who had smoked marijuana a median of 29 of the past 30 days, and 64 "light users," who had smoked a median of 1 of the past 30 days. After a closely monitored 19- to 24-hour period of abstinence from marijuana and other illicit drugs and alcohol, the undergraduates were given several standard tests measuring aspects of attention, memory, and learning. Compared to the light users, heavy marijuana users made more errors and had more difficulty sustaining attention, shifting attention to meet the demands of changes in the environment, and in registering, processing, and using information. The findings suggest that the greater impairment among heavy users is likely due to an alteration of brain activity produced by marijuana."

Wow. So dope makes you stupid. Doesn't it?

Read it again. "A" survey? After years of research by a government eager to prove dope is harmful we have "a" survey? One? Which compared 65 "heavy" users to 64 "light" users? That is it? No wider study? Hmmm.

Then there is the nature of the study itself. It compared "stoners" to the occasional "toker." Have we any data comparing heavy drinkers to social drinkers? Why was there no control group which didn't use marijuana at ALL? My guess is that "drunks" also suffer impairment to their learning and social behavior. Don't you think so? This "scary" paragraph shows that people who get stoned every day have greater difficulty processing information than those who don't. Duh. We needed a study? The same holds true for alcohol, or narcotics, or any mind-altering substance. This "study" simply shows that people who overuse dope have "issues." People who have too much water DROWN. That doesn't mean you should blame the water, because the cause is TOO MUCH WATER, not WATER. Same for dope.

Then, as I said, why didn't they compare the light users to non-users? I'll bet they did, but the government simply didn't report what the study surely found - there was no difference.

And there is the "chicken or the egg" question. Did heavy users have trouble processing information because they smoke dope, or do they smoke so much dope because they have trouble processing information? At my high school the champion stoners were almost always those who were laggards academically and/or socially from elementary school onward. They had "issues" well before they ever smoked a joint. The few exceptions (me being one) who smoked a lot of dope but were "good" students and fit in socially seemed to suffer no ill effects. I myself was a national merit scholar, graduated a top-20 law school, and smoked dope. Isn't it possible, even likely, that those who decide to smoke dope heavily may have had their problems BEFORE they smoked dope, and this study's findings actually can be interpreted in reverse? By this I mean "a study of marijuana use has shown that those who have problems with learning and social behavior are more likely to be heavy users of marijuana." There are several ways to determine this, but it has not been done? Well, at least it wasn't reported on the antidrug.com's website.

So this paragraph doesn't give any reasons why the drug should be illegal, or that it is harmful to society. It says that those who smoke too much have problems. So do those who drink too much. Or eat too much.

"Longitudinal research on marijuana use among young people below college age indicates those who used have lower achievement than the non-users, more acceptance of deviant behavior, more delinquent behavior and aggression, greater rebelliousness, poorer relationships with parents, and more associations with delinquent and drug-using friends."

"Longitudinal" research? WTF does THAT mean? Maybe I'm just too much of a "stoner" to understand such fancy language. Oh, wait, I'm a damn lawyer, I LIVE for fancy language. So what is "longitudinal research" mean? It simply means the study followed the young people over a period of years. I wonder why a website designed to communicate with the public used such a fancy word. My guess is to make it sound more clinical and "truthful" and convincing. So anyway, this "longitudinal study" found that non-users had higher achievement than users. Again we have the chicken and the egg problem, but remember, this study deals with people below the drinking age. Those that engage in any form of law-breaking are more likely to be non-achievers, aren't they? The same results could be found in studies of alcohol use - and have been found. The same results could be found when comparing those who abide by a curfew when compared to kids who don't, or when comparing strict parents with those who aren't. The study does NOT show that dope causes less achievement. Less achievement may result from factors that also make it more likely to smoke dope, though. Or drink. Or have sex. Or get arrested. Getting arrested doesn't cause lower achievement any more than smoking dope. All of the factors listed (more delinquent behavior and aggression, greater rebelliousness, poorer relationships with parents, and more associations with delinquent and drug-using friends) are not CAUSED by smoking dope, but a result of other issues that LED to smoking dope before the kid was old enough to legally drink.

Then there is the shocking relevation that non-users were less accepting of "deviant behavior" than users. Well, doesn't that make sense? If the non-users were more accepting of "deviant behavior" wouldn't they be more likely to engage in it, and the fact that they don't engage in deviant behavior, such as smoking dope, is because they don't accept deviant behavior? Duh? Classic chicken or egg problem.

That is it on the anti-drug.com's "health hazards and effects" page. that's all. In short, the government's website designed to communicate the health hazards of dope was a mish-mash of mis-information and misdirection. No wonder kids that have tried dope are more rebellious. They know the adults lecturing them on the "dangers" of pot are full of crap.

Oh, but it is the "gateway" drug, right? If you smoke dope on Monday, by Friday you are smoking crack, right? Well, maybe not on Friday, but you are LOTS more likely to use hard drugs, right? right?

Well, that little-respected think-tank always involved in loony research, High Times has - ooops, I mean THE RAND CORPORATION, has done a study that shows this simply isn't true. Here is a link: http://www.rand.org/news/press.02/gateway.html

The study says that "associations between marijuana and hard drug use could be expected even if marijuana use has no gateway effect. Instead, the associations can result from known differences in the ages at which youths have opportunities to use marijuana and hard drugs, and known variations in individuals' willingness to try any drugs, researchers found." It goes on to say that when "enforcement resources that could have been used against heroin and cocaine are instead used against marijuana, this could have the unintended effect of worsening heroin and cocaine use."

Hmm. So efforts to prevent marijuana use are a misuse of resources. Those Rand guys are all stoner freaks anyway, right? No, I don't think so - and if they are stoners, it should pretty well dismiss all the claims that smoking dope makes you stupid.

Antidrug.com also says "Kids who use marijuana weekly are four times more likely to engage in violent behavior than those who don't." Well, does marijuana cause the violence? This is simple to determine. The effects of THC on the brain are well-known, and a tendency toward violence is NOT an effect of THC. In fact, THC seems to have the opposite effect. Smoking dope does NOT make you more likely to engage in violent behavior. Hard alcohol, on the other hand... Plus, I wonder what the rate of violent behavior is among kids who drink alcohol weekly. See how they twist the truth? "Kids who use marijuana weekly" - how does that relate to "adults" or less than "weekly" or the use of other illegal substances (and both alcohol and tobacco are illegal substances for kids, remember). As an adult I don't even drink weekly. Any kid who smokes dope weekly is engaging in illegal behavior on a weekly basis. Surprise - they are also more likely to engage in violent behavior. Did marijuana cause this? No. No way. As anybody who has been around somebody stoned (or have been stoned themselves) knows, you are more likely to end up with somebody who thinks the Cartoon Network is the funniest thing ever (try Aqua-Teen Hunger Force if you want to see them die from laughter while stoned. It's pretty funny when you are sober too.) More violent? No way, dude. Again, simply more disinformation and scare tactics by our government.

What other scientific studies does the Antidrug.com have to buttress their case of the dangers of dope? See http://www.theantidrug.com/drug_info/drug_info_research_truth.asp. Count how many of these studies either include alcohol (legal) or other actually-dangerous drugs in the study, meaning dope is guilty by association rather than anything directly related to marijuana's "harmful effects."

The government even goes so far as to say "Research shows that marijuana use can lead to addiction." What research is that? This "research" shows that dope "can" lead to addiction. Well, tobacco DOES, and it is legal, and alcohol is much more likely, and there are LOTS of studies showing that dope is NOT addictive. Google this if you want "research" to prove me right, or want to attempt to prove me wrong. You might even find the "research" that shows dope can lead to addiction, because I couldn't.

I'm not suggesting kids should be allowed to smoke dope legally any more than I would suggest they should be allowed to drink or smoke tobacco or drive without a license or any other potentially risky activity. But I am not a kid, and I don't like my government telling me I can't grow or smoke dope because kids might come to harm - especially when their data is scant, misleading, or simply wrong.

In a supposedly free society, shouldn't it be the government's job to prove my use of dope harms others, instead of my job to prove it doesn't? Well, even if there are no studies to support it, if the people have passed laws then that is the way it is - which is why I never smoked dope on active duty. I promised the nation I wouldn't.

That isn't the point, though. It seems very dangerous to me that our government would seek to justify keeping dope illegal through misinformation, deception, lies, and misdirection. Giving an honest assessment of the harms of marijuana, or lack thereof, is not harmful to democracy. The truth never is. Having a government that doesn't mind misleading us, or lying to us, seems much more of a "harmful effect" than anything that can come from your lighting up a joint on your porch and watching the sun set while BB King plays on the stereo and Pasadena traffic passes by below. But then, I'm a hippie radical don't you know.

14 comments:

vrangel said...

Since my stupid nephew started smoking pot he badly broke his arm and then wrecked his car. Too bad he cannot collect anything from pot dealers.

Aside from that he was going to enlist in the Army. His recruiter told him to stop smoking pot for two weeks so he can pass urine test. But he is unable to stay away from it that long. Addiction, you know.

Anyway, legal pot won't work . Lawyers will drive any legit pot business out of existance.

Snave said...

Ahhhh, pot. Been there done that years ago. Didn't do much good for me, I'm sure, but I sure liked it at the time.

Being the liberal paranoid conspiracy theorist that I am, I think a lot of reasons today's people are so afraid of marijuana started about the time William Randolph Hearst realized there was an invention called the decorticator that would turn America's hemp crop into it's largest money-making crop overnight. Hemp makes excellent quality paper that has far less acid in it than that made from evergreens, and Hearst had large timber interests. Thus, the decorticator never got marketed and hemp was demonized by a smear campaign which equated it with people going killing people, going insane, getting loaded, getting girls pregnant, etc.

I think it would be great if the government grew it's own marijuana and sold it alongside alcohol in liquor stores. Not only could this provide some money for the agricultural sector as well as for the feds, it could also help neuter some of the druglords' wallets a bit and take their middlemen out of the game. If the government sold it for about as much as street dealers, and if the government grew good quality pot, it might work. Kids would still be able to get pot on the streets for a while, but I think the illegal growers/dealers would end up losing money and giving it up. I would guess most kids would get pot from their parents' liquor cabinets, like the same way many of them would get booze.

Does this make me, like, a libertarian or something? 8-)> I guess I have always thought that what we do with our bodies is our own damned business. The government can only protect us from ourselves so much.

free0352 said...

Libertarian in my is coming out.

First, smoking weed is clearly stupid. I mean just plain dumb. Of course it damages your brain along with the rest of your body, inhaling smoke which is of course toxic will do that to a person. A little common sense here?

That said, who in the hell is any government to tell me what I can and can't put in my own damn body. I don't want to smoke weed, I'm not going too...ever. That said, if I should get the urge at some point, its my fucking life. Further, and this is my radical side, the same goes for crack, asprin, antibiodics, LSD, meth, you name it. Legalize it all says I, and let darwin get rid of the drug addicts who deserve what hapens to them. Just don't drive on the stuff, and the laws are in place if one is caught being so brazenly moronic behind the wheel.

punish people for commiting crimes...severly.
Now when they hurt themselves, I say good. Weeds out the defects in the gene pool.

this we'll defend said...

well, Libertarian thought tends to be simplistic at times - not that ALL philosophies aren't, since Democratic and Republican thought also suffers the same problems. No one school of thought has all the answers, or even all the right questions.

Here the libertarian notion of "my body, my business, addicts choose their fate and should be allowed to do so" misses a key point. Individualism is fine, and should be encouraged to the maximum extent possible as long as it doesn't hurt society as a whole. Libertarians often forget that we live in a society and depend on each other for our very survival. Thus my freedom ends where your nose begins. If I feel I have a "right" to play music at ear-splitting levels at odd hours of the night you can see how my "right" to do what I want should be tempered by laws allowing others their "right" to attempt a good night's sleep. My freedom to pound drums is sacrificed for the greater good. The same holds true with traffic lights, speeding tickets, and yes, drug laws.

I do NOT support legalization of all currently-illegal drugs because there are good reasons to ban many of them. Meth, for example, has been shown to be extremely destructive to entire communities as well as the individual users. It leads to addiction, higher crime rates, more violent crime, deformed babies, neglected children, low or NO economic productivity by the addicts themselves, and a whole host of health issues that are dealth with at the public's expense. Your right to smoke crystal is trumped by society's right not to have to suffer the effects caused by your smoking it.

Saying social Darwinism should triumph and the weak "weeded" out (no pun intended) suggests a harsh jungle where only the strong survive. You may prefer living in a deadly jungle, but I prefer a civilized society, not a darwinian struggle to the death.

That said, before we make the decision that an individual's freedom should be curtailed for the greater good we should ensure we have a good reason for doing so, and that the prohibition is worth the loss of freedom.

In the case of Meth, Cocaine, LSD, Heroin, and most other illegal drugs, the facts support their prohibition. The individual's right to destroy their lives or kill themselves is not worth the cost society has to bear while they do it.

The ban on Marijunana, on the other hand, appears to combine a loss of individual freedom with harm to society. Society is not benefitted by the ban, and the use of resources to enforce that ban harms society.

The costs to society include not just law enforcement efforts, but
1) the costs to the judicial system in prosecution,
2) the costs to the taxpayer of incarceration,
3) the loss of economic productivity that occurs when an able-bodied individual is incarcerated,
4) the cost of campaigns to dissuade people from starting (both in $$ and in increased cynicism among youth who often know they are being lied to by the ignorant or the deliberately dishonest), and finally,
5) the loss of a potential source of tax revenue such as gained from cigarette and alcohol taxes.

These costs, combined with the loss of individual freedom, suggest that the ban on dope is completely unjustified. The health effects of smoking (both tobacco and dope) don't justify a ban either, and our society has not chosen to ban tobacco. So why marijuana? Yet any attempt to debate the issue and a politician is labeled "weak on crime" and "pro-drug" and people who know nothing about dope are angered and vote them out of office. Suggest legalization and you suddenly are a stoned hippie burning the flag while you attack Jesus.

It isn't just wrong, it is counter-productive. Those who support the ban on marijuana either don't know or don't care about the consequences, one of which is that resources are pulled away from efforts against more dangerous substances.

free0352 said...

well, Libertarian thought tends to be simplistic at times - not that ALL philosophies aren't, since Democratic and Republican thought also suffers the same problems. No one school of thought has all the answers, or even all the right questions.

Here the libertarian notion of "my body, my business, addicts choose their fate and should be allowed to do so" misses a key point. Individualism is fine, and should be encouraged to the maximum extent possible as long as it doesn't hurt society as a whole. Libertarians often forget that we live in a society and depend on each other for our very survival. Thus my freedom ends where your nose begins. If I feel I have a "right" to play music at ear-splitting levels at odd hours of the night you can see how my "right" to do what I want should be tempered by laws allowing others their "right" to attempt a good night's sleep. My freedom to pound drums is sacrificed for the greater good. The same holds true with traffic lights, speeding tickets, and yes, drug laws.

I do NOT support legalization of all currently-illegal drugs because there are good reasons to ban many of them. Meth, for example, has been shown to be extremely destructive to entire communities as well as the individual users. It leads to addiction, higher crime rates, more violent crime, deformed babies, neglected children, low or NO economic productivity by the addicts themselves, and a whole host of health issues that are dealth with at the public's expense. Your right to smoke crystal is trumped by society's right not to have to suffer the effects caused by your smoking it.

Saying social Darwinism should triumph and the weak "weeded" out (no pun intended) suggests a harsh jungle where only the strong survive. You may prefer living in a deadly jungle, but I prefer a civilized society, not a darwinian struggle to the death.

That said, before we make the decision that an individual's freedom should be curtailed for the greater good we should ensure we have a good reason for doing so, and that the prohibition is worth the loss of freedom.

In the case of Meth, Cocaine, LSD, Heroin, and most other illegal drugs, the facts support their prohibition. The individual's right to destroy their lives or kill themselves is not worth the cost society has to bear while they do it.

The ban on Marijunana, on the other hand, appears to combine a loss of individual freedom with harm to society. Society is not benefitted by the ban, and the use of resources to enforce that ban harms society.

The costs to society include not just law enforcement efforts, but
1) the costs to the judicial system in prosecution,
2) the costs to the taxpayer of incarceration,
3) the loss of economic productivity that occurs when an able-bodied individual is incarcerated,
4) the cost of campaigns to dissuade people from starting (both in $$ and in increased cynicism among youth who often know they are being lied to by the ignorant or the deliberately dishonest), and finally,
5) the loss of a potential source of tax revenue such as gained from cigarette and alcohol taxes.

These costs, combined with the loss of individual freedom, suggest that the ban on dope is completely unjustified. The health effects of smoking (both tobacco and dope) don't justify a ban either, and our society has not chosen to ban tobacco. So why marijuana? Yet any attempt to debate the issue and a politician is labeled "weak on crime" and "pro-drug" and people who know nothing about dope are angered and vote them out of office. Suggest legalization and you suddenly are a stoned hippie burning the flag while you attack Jesus.

It isn't just wrong, it is counter-productive. Those who support the ban on marijuana either don't know or don't care about the consequences, one of which is that resources are pulled away from efforts against more dangerous substances.

vrangel said...

Well, my nephew doesn't have any problem buying pot.
You might just as well make it legal.
(Did I mention my nephew is stupid? )

Someone above suggested that Government should be in pot business if it's made legal. Why should Government be doing any part of it other than regulation. And what's next, Government made aspirin ? I find it odd.

JoeTex said...

First let me say how much I enjoyed your conversations on CBFTW’s site over the previous months until he stopped entering blogs. You and Free were really interesting. Now I hope to see some good discussions here.

So, let me see, you want to legalize pot? Your many points are entirely valid. True, tobacco and alcohol are as bad and are legal. But isn’t that kind of like hitting your right thumb because you accidentally smashed the left one? That way it is less noticeable. ??

Now let me clarify, so you know where I come from: I can’t stand tobacco smoke, in fact I have a bad allergy to it, and it causes me respiratory problems. I had pot-laced brownies once, and did not realize why I had such a great time until later when I was told. (And I would probably do it again if it were legal.) Alcohol, however I consume fairly regularly; a beer with spicy foods (pizza, barbeque, Mexican foods) wine with beef or Italian food, etc., and a margarita or two on week-ends. I would hate to have to give that up, but I would live.

The thing is, tobacco and alcohol are bad, and can kill. Pot can too. (lung cancer, traffic accidents, etc.) But all three are in the same category; not something we consume because we need it, but because we enjoy it. (Consider inhaling consuming.) This differentiates these three from medications (OTC or prescription) which are taken to achieve something other than getting high or good feeling when all else is fine. (Don’t go off on medical benefits of pot, we are talking recreational use here. If it has a real medicinal use, they will synthesize it and prescribe it. We are talking about doing it because it feels good.)

So, are you saying we should legalize something that is harmful because there are other harmful things that are legal? Should I speed down the highway because there are a few other idiots going even faster?

Oh forget it! It will never happen. Why? You know. Money. Tobacco and alcohol are big business; sales, marketing, lawyers, lobbyists, on and on. Not just in the USA, around the world. Where is the money (other than illegal small change) in pot? We are in the process of killing off tobacco now. I don’t give it another 30 years. We recognize it has no real benefit, just a ton of drawbacks. Tobacco is relatively new; generally known to the world only since Columbus discovered the Indians using it. Alcohol, however, I think will always be with us. It has been here since the dawn of man, and is only shunned by some religious groups. Pot just wasn’t well known or popular enough to get it entrenched in the populous for general use before the governments began controlling things like that. If it was legal, you can be sure the ongoing argument now would be to make it illegal.

Keep up the good work, and thanks for your service to your (and my) country.

vrangel said...

Who needs pot.CBFTW updated and promises more.
Woohoo !

ALa said...

TWD! It's just like the old days! We agree on something. I don't smoke pot & have never liked it, BUT it's stupid (and hypocritical) that it's illegal. Think of all the jobs we could create, all the tax revenue, all the space in the prisons and all the petty crimes eliminated... There must be some incentive to the government (all Administrations) to keep it illegal...

David said...

The government is in the pot business! At least the enforcement of the laws. That's why change will not occur. The status quo of the whole DEA, FBI, DOC and whatever else is threatened by legalization. Huge amounts of money are involved including grants to state and local enforcement agencies. Besides the government loves law enforcement as a way to enhance their powers over people. Reason and commonsense have nothing to do with it.

this we'll defend said...

David makes an excellent point, that the DEA, etc. are in the "business" of enforcement. The "war" on drugs has been a funding bonanza for law enforcement, the prison 'industry', and it is easy for politicians to appear "tough on crime" by funding yet more fruitless efforts, funding yet more prisons, and imposing senseless and counter-productive mandatory sentences. Anything otherwise and the extremist right will call them "soft on crime" and paint them as hippie dopers (much like actual war hero Kerry was successfully painted as a hippie draft dodger by an actual draft dodger portrayed as a hero).

But David, you say the "government" is doing this, but in reality, WE allow the government to do it. WE are the government. The People are the ultimate sovereign, thus commonsense and reason have everything to do with it. The only reason the goverment can do counter-productive things with our tax dollars is because most uninformed voters believe that it is the reasonable and sensible thing to do. Convince a majority otherwise and see how quickly politicians change their tune.

It happened with Prohibition. The extremist radical Christian right led the nation to amend the Constitution, and the government enforced the ban for years - at least until a majority of good Christian American voters could see that it was stupid, benefited criminals, led to productive citizens being imprisoned, and siphoned resources away from more dangerous criminal threats. Then the government was ordered by the people to end Prohibition, the Constitution itself was amended again, and we can now drink.

So we can't smoke - right now. Get the word out and things can and do change.

Howard Davis said...

I agree with David. It is our law enforcement agencies that have the most to lose if the "war on drugs" is minimized in any way. Some have been busy creating ways to tie drugs to terrorism, because they know they'll have no budget cuts for that...

For the record, I do smoke pot. I don't think I'm stupid, but I'm high alot, so who knows.

this we'll defend said...

I agree with David that law enforcement agencies have enjoyed a funding bonanza due to the misnamed "war on drugs" (as a separate issue, notice how the radical right always has to have an "enemy" and a "war" to focus on).

But street cops know better than anyone how much harm is done by crack, crank (dating myself, it is called "crystal meth" today), heroin, etc., and how LITTLE harm dope causes. And many are not quiet about their opinions on legalization of marijuana. Many are for it, and see the resources devoted to fighting marijuana as a diversion from more important tasks. Ask any cop you might know if dope is as harmful as alcohol, either to society or to individuals. And then ask them if they would be against legalizing marijuana (as opposed to other, more dangerous - I should simply say, "dangerous" - drugs). You might be surprised at their reply.

But yes, you are right, "agencies" are different from individuals. Those fighting for funding are much more likely to see marijuana and all drugs as dangerous, and tell you how necessary the "war" on drugs is to our nation. Those actually dealing with the crime on the streets will tell you something completely different, and much more informed and accurate.

And even if you are high right now, you don't seem stupid to me. :)

91ghost said...

This independent conservative agrees. I'll say it until I am blue in the face: the illegality of marijuana is downright immature, oppressive, and plain stupid. Regulate it, tax it, define some parameters for it--but don't make the Sunday toker on his bakc porch into a criminal.