October 28, 2007

Is The Fight Against Marijuana Worth It?

The suicide of a woman who fought a painful battle against immune disease has once again brought the war on drugs to center stage. The Missoulian reports that Robin Prosser had attempted suicide three years earlier, and wound up in trouble after police discovered marijuana in her possession at that time (via Memeorandum):

Robin Prosser, a Missoula woman who struggled for a quarter century to live with the pain of an immunosuppressive disorder, tried years ago to kill herself. Last week, she tried again. This time, she succeeded.

After her earlier attempt failed, Prosser wound up in even more trouble after investigating police found marijuana in her home. She used the marijuana to help cope with pain.

That marijuana charge was eventually dropped in an agreement with the city of Missoula, and Prosser had reason to rejoice in 2004 when Montanans passed a law allowing medical use of the drug.

She was a high-profile campaigner for the Montana Medical Marijuana Act, and like others, she was dismayed when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that drug agents could still arrest sick people using marijuana, even in states that legalized its use.

The ruling came to haunt Prosser in late March, when DEA agents seized less than a half ounce of marijuana sent to her by her registered caregiver in Flathead County. At the time, the DEA special agent in charge of the Rocky Mountain Field Division said federal agents were “protecting people from their own state laws” by seizing such shipments.

As James at OTB points out, a lack of marijuana didn't keep her from attempting suicide in 2004. The police confiscated it when they investigated it at the time. However, the illegality of marijuana kept her at risk from having her supplies confiscated and barred her from most employment opportunities, and she had to balance living in debilitating pain or following the law.

Most people conclude that marijuana carries no special analgesic relief that cannot be addressed by other pharmaceuticals. The FDA did studies decades ago that support that conclusion, but some scientists assert that the studies had flaws which rendered them unreliable. The government refuses to do more studies despite the anecdotal evidence of exceptional pain relief in some circumstances -- and despite the billions of dollars spent keeping marijuana illegal.

At some point, we have to do an honest cost-benefit analysis for criminalizing marijuana. We jail tens of thousands of people and create legal burdens for hundreds of thousands more every year for using or selling a weed that grows almost everywhere. It puts an equal burden on law enforcement, courts, and the penal system. In exchange, we get a dubious effect on usage for a drug that has the same addictive and intoxicating effects as alcohol.

Some will argue that marijuana serves as a gateway drug to more destructive substances, and that much is true. Many things act as gateways to harder drug use: abuse, poverty, boredom, and peer pressure, and especially alcohol, which is almost always a gateway to marijuana. Prohibition didn't do much about that gateway drug, and decades of marijuana prohibition isn't doing much for that one either -- and marijuana might at least have a claim to be medicinal.

Andrew Sullivan asks how conservatives can support a federal imposition of a marijuana ban, but that's not the real question. Unless Sullivan wants to argue for a complete surrender on the battle against drugs like heroin, meth, and cocaine and a shutdown of the FDA and DEA, that's just a rhetorical device, and marijuana isn't the point of such an argument. The question for everyone is whether the price we pay to keep marijuana illegal is worth the benefits we receive. Any rational look at the costs and benefits demonstrate that it simply hasn't come close.


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Comments (84)

Posted by Jeff from Mpls | October 28, 2007 9:26 AM

It's romantic silliness, the obsession with marijuana and hemp. The arguments that make the substance out to be uniquely beneficial to society seem forced.

In fact, it's obvious that the campaign to legalize pot is intended for one purpose only: to bring about an empty, symbolic victory for the moral attitudes of subversion and anarchy that pot represents.

Posted by Don L | October 28, 2007 9:34 AM

I do hope that your economic terms (costs and benifits) were merely metophors and not the main defense for making pot illegal.

Posted by Charlie | October 28, 2007 9:35 AM

Abuse of marijuana, like abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other agents, is a self-inflicted handicap that robs society of the best people have to offer. Civil society should resist.

However, as soon as government robs adults of their ability to decide life issues for themselves, you create an even worse social condition--you infantalize the public. The first poster would have us believe agents need to be proved beneficial in order to be legal rather than the other way around.

When Lincoln was lobbied to outlaw opium after Civil War veterans started showing addiction, he adamantly proclaimed that "laws of prohibition" have no place in the American experiment. I'm with Abe.

Posted by jpe | October 28, 2007 9:37 AM

I'm shocked it's still illegal. I can't stand the stuff, so I've got no ulterior motive, but....it's just pot. As Mr. Captain notes, many things are gateways.

Jeff, you've got the presumption reversed: in America, we need a good reason for something to be illegal, not for something to be legal. (when I scanned your comment, I assumed it was a pro-legalization comment, in fact. There is a silly obsession with pot, but it's not on the pro- side.)

Re: Sullivan: he's a federalist, so of course he thinks it should be outside the purview of the federal government (as opposed to a Joe Carter federalist, a kind of pseudo-federalism of convenience that holds that issues belong to the states, unless he disagrees with them morally, in which case the feds should ban them)

Posted by creative dude | October 28, 2007 9:37 AM

I for sure do not want pot to be a legal drug for recreation. That said, I am fully in favor of it being an option for those who need it. Some of the things it does are done better by other drugs. Some of what it offers seem to be better done and less damaging than alternatives.

Frankly pot should be an option for those undergoing treatment for cancer. Legal use should not be an excuse for those not in need. The causual use of pot in not going to be much affected by actual use for medical reasons.

Those who use "medical marijuana" as an attempt to bypass laws restricting its use are harming those who have an actual need.

Posted by deathtosocialism | October 28, 2007 9:39 AM

The marijuana of today is far stronger than the weed of the 70s (the time when most of our pols grew up and possibly inhaled). The growers now use high tech methods to maximize the THC levels in the pot. Bottom line -- it is a much different experience today to smoke marijuana than a few decades ago. If you smoke pot today, one or two hits gets you ripped given the high THC level. To advocate for the legalization of this powerful drug is a mistake. You should talk to a local drug detective. Ask him/her what effects the dope today has on kids, let alone adults.

Posted by reliapundit | October 28, 2007 9:40 AM











Posted by George | October 28, 2007 9:42 AM

From my experience (both first and second hand), the deleterious effects of marijuana are real but not very tangible. That is the only reason why we still get debates such as this.

Marijuana use induces an apathy that can be very destructive to one's life. If you've ever run with a clan of pot smokers, ask yourself how many times you've heard the expression "fuck it." When you think about it, the answer is too many times.

I've seen potheads (my toking buddies and myself) miss college exams or fail to study for classes ("fuck it"). I've seen them call in sick to work when they really should have been there ("fuck it"). I've seen them skip family events ("fuck it").

It's easy to rationalize that the apathy isn't because of the marijuana. Few associate the two. A day after we make a bad choice, a post-analysis usually concludes that "I just didn't feel like it;" not "it was the marijuana."

[I apologize for my use of the 'f' word but it really belongs here.]

Posted by Andrew | October 28, 2007 9:45 AM

"In exchange, we get a dubious effect on usage for a drug that has the same addictive and intoxicating effects as alcohol."

Alcohol is much more destructive and addictive than THC. The mechanisms of each type of intoxication are fundamentally different as well; it is basically impossible to OD on THC, but people die of alcohol poisoning all the time. Plus, alcohol is WAY more physically addictive.

Also, consider marijuana and tobacco: nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs ever, and smoking cigarettes is the best way to eventually kill yourself slowly and painfully while costing you, your family, and the health care system loads of money.

Gateway drug theory is a myth. It's the type of person that is to blame, not the substance. The most you can say with any confidence is that marijuana, and necessarily alcohol and tobacco, are simply reinforcers for people already at risk for drug use.

Posted by qrtstuv | October 28, 2007 9:49 AM

Legalize it.

The war on drugs has gone on for decades and has mainly succeeded in making drug sellers ruthless killers.

I'd rather have those battles fought in boardrooms instead of on the streets.

Posted by Brett | October 28, 2007 9:51 AM

"Is The Fight Against Marijuana Worth It?"

This is easy. No. It never has been. The entire idea that it should be fought is just wrong, if individual liberty means anything.

Posted by jpe | October 28, 2007 9:52 AM

You should talk to a local drug detective. Ask him/her what effects the dope today has on kids, let alone adults.

Then let's talk to MADD about drinking, the American Cancer Society about smoking, the American Heart Association about transfats, and then ban 'em all.

Posted by jpe | October 28, 2007 9:56 AM

I've seen potheads (my toking buddies and myself) miss college exams or fail to study for classes ("fuck it").

cf: The Onion: "Fun Toy Banned Because of Three Stupid Dead Kids."

I note also that you're talking about college kids; saying "fuck it" wasn't invented with you and your friends, and isn't limited to users of pot.

Posted by Brett | October 28, 2007 9:56 AM

"while costing ..the health care system loads of money."

This in argument against socialized medicine, not to mention wrong on the economic argument: the healthy and long-lived cost the system more in the long run.

Posted by Neo | October 28, 2007 10:01 AM

Any medical authority would not put "Drug War Victim" on her death certificate. Rather it would say "suicide" or "complications of immunosuppressive disorder" to be generous.

Posted by The Yell | October 28, 2007 10:04 AM

It's 2017, and you catch your granddaughter toking in your shed. Do you
A) Congratulate her for a robust sense of self-identity in the face of social repression
B) Search out her dealer with a baseball bat

Is that dirty pool? It's always somebody's son or daughter.

Who looks at America and thinks, "We could stand to have a lot more recreational drug use in this country"?

And medical marijuana, it's unique: the only pharmacological substance that can be accessed ONLY by inhaling the smoke. No pills. No injections. No patch. Just the toke, which by coincidence is exactly how you abuse it recreationally...

Posted by Joe | October 28, 2007 10:05 AM

As a chronic pain sufferer for over 13 years now, I have found that Marijuana has no analgesic effects whatsoever. What it does do, however, is make bearing the pain less debilitating. I have gone years at a time without smoking, and years with. The with years have yielded a better quality of life for me.
My QOL has been pretty damn low in general, and with 'modern' medicine's complete failure to identify or treat my debilitating illness, I will take any palliative I can get. Life sucks when you are in constant pain. It sucks a little less when I smoke.

BTW, all that crap about marijuana being "10 times more potent' than it used to be is complete, utter horse puckey.

Posted by Captain Ed | October 28, 2007 10:09 AM


How about this? I chew her out, take her to my son and daughter-in-law, who ground her and chew her out some more. I don't need the government to do that for us; a village is not needed here.

What would you do if you caught your teenage daughter downing a fifth of vodka in your shed? Ask the government to reinstate prohibition?

Posted by gregdn | October 28, 2007 10:16 AM

Amazing that conservatives think people should be trusted to use firearms properly (to which I agree) but suggest that we're all too stupid to use pot in moderation.
Personally I find occasional use helps my arthritis.
If it's a 'gateway drug' it must work pretty slow: I'm going on 60 and haven't used Heroin yet.

Posted by Brett | October 28, 2007 10:18 AM

C. If she's under 18, tell her she's too young for that.

D. If she's over 18, keep my mouth shut

Posted by skeptic | October 28, 2007 10:25 AM

Ending the war on drugs makes sense. Even people that don't agree on much often agree on this issue. Look at all the laws passed to fight this war that end up being used against the rest of us: seizure laws, money laundering laws etc. How did America ever survive when for most of its history many of these drugs could be purchased over the counter?

Do any of the Presidential candidates want to end the war on drugs?

Posted by jpe | October 28, 2007 10:31 AM

Do any of the Presidential candidates want to end the war on drugs?

Nixon in China: it'll have to be a GOP'er, possibly on Joe Carter pseudo-federalist grounds. A dem would take way too much heat to be able to do it successfully. Just imagine the fainting spells the religious right would have.

Posted by grey | October 28, 2007 10:53 AM

I'm sorry, did I miss something? Did the woman kill herself because someone took her stash? Or was her quality of life so poor that with or without pot it wasn't worth it to her?

The information given fails to say why she ended her life.

This article fails completely to make the case for relaxing pot laws.

Posted by Jazz | October 28, 2007 11:02 AM

Unless Sullivan wants to argue for a complete surrender on the battle against drugs like heroin, meth, and cocaine and a shutdown of the FDA and DEA, that's just a rhetorical device, and marijuana isn't the point of such an argument.

At this point, the benefits of legalizing marijuana only (not all drugs) clearly seem to outweigh the possible deliterious effects. It's not like current policies are doing much to curb usage or availability. Every week when we go out to play darts, someebody inevitably asks me if I want to get high outside whichever pub we're playing at. (And I'm fairly old and stodgy looking.)

It's a rediculously cheap and easy crop to raise. Farmers could raise it and we could regulate it the same way we do with alcohol and tobacco production. And as much as I'm opposed to sin taxes, you could tax the hell out of it and still bring it to market cheaper than dealers charge. All incentive for dealers would be gone when the consumer can pick up a pack of joints at the minimart for ten bucks.

Tax revenue could be mandated to go toward education and enforcement of harder drugs. You'd clear out a significan amount of jail space (and public expense, obviously) and free up the DEA and local law enforcement resources to focus on the harder drugs.

People still warning about the dangerous long term effects have probably watched Reefer Madness one too many times. It's definitely not good for you, but neither are alcohol and tobacco. The opposition to this here is particularly confusing to me. Republican absolutely love to rail against the "nanny state" constantly. "We don't want a nanny state. Stop trying to turn the government into a nanny state." Let's stand up for that idea for real rather than lip service and let people be responsible for their own decisions and fate when it comes to recreational usage of low grade items like pot, booze and cigarettes.

Posted by whippoorwill | October 28, 2007 11:05 AM

Capn. Ed

You could knock me over with a feather. This post makes like 3 or 4 or 5 threads in a row, that I fully agree with you on. All these issues are human interest and should be about American common sense. Not about partisanship. The next one hopefully will be S-CHIP passage.

Posted by heldmyw | October 28, 2007 11:05 AM

Often have I heard the "gateway" argument.

One thing that never seems to be considered is the "gateway" to criminal behavior that marijuana has contributed so heavily to.

Arguments over effect, the overindulgent pothead and his lack of direction (and focus, dude), but the same can be said for overindulgence in alcohol, NyQuil, prescription drugs and the like. The fault lies with the boob who overdoes.

The real damage comes from the underground criminal network that supplies the drug. Ordinary people, seeing no harm, supply this network with money, which, in turn becomes a pipeline for other illegal substances, behaviors, and persons.

What is the loss in taxes, police expenditures, the DEA, FBI, Coast Guard...?

It's kids harmlessly hiding a flask of bootleg hootch back during Prohibition unknowingly funding organized crime. Now double, triple or quintuple that as measured on the scale of your Colombian Drug Lord's Pile of Money.

It is not THE reason to rethink marijuana, but it is a significant consideration. Otherwise law-abiding citizens cannot have policemen as friends, must guard themselves lest they lose their jobs, become criminals themselves, and, for what?

The last time I looked, our mental institutions and hospitals weren't full of rehabbing potheads. Lazy dullards will always find some way to amuse themselves as they kill time, waste their lives and wait for death.

This is a bigger flop that Prohibition ever was, with all the attendant evils. Why are we making the same mistake again?

Posted by Duchess Of Austin | October 28, 2007 11:08 AM

Marijuanna is NOT a gateway drug....I agree that's a bunch of horse hockey. If it was, I'd have been a junkie for the last 30 years. What it does, is help me sleep at night, and mellow out my type A personality to the point where I don't fantasize about killing people.

It's also no stronger today than it was in the 70s. What they call "kine bud" today is the sensimilia of the 70s. The pot hasn't changed, only the means of growing it....it's not grown in huge fields anymore, due to the technological advances in law enforcement. It's now grown in hydroponic baths instead of dirt.

Is it just me, or is the rhetoric of our world increasingly violent? It's the war on: drugs, terror, cancer, heart disease...it's a battle for custody...a fight against school bullies. We need to look at the words we use for these things.

Call me a social liberal, but the Republicans need to get OFF the moral bandwagon, and start talking to the people about REAL problems, like illegal immigration and wacko 7th century thinking howling headchopping religious fanatics. THAT'S where our problems lie at the moment. Taking out a bunch of apathetic pot smokers should be the least of our problems. Legalize it, sell it at the liquor store, and tax the crap out of it. They can pay for SChip out of the taxes on pot!

Posted by Jack Okie | October 28, 2007 11:16 AM

Come on - Pot is illegal because

a) The beer / liquor industry stands to lose if pot is legalized, and

b) It's almost impossible to tax something growing in people's back yards.

If pot is a "gateway" drug, it's because folks are buying it from the same dealers who deal crack and heroin, rather than growing their own.

I've known apathic beer drinkers too. Hmmm. I wonder which came first?

The "War on Drugs" is just effective enough to make crack and heroin profitable, no?

I would also say that it's pretty damn arrogant to tell someone who's in severe, chronic pain that you know better than they what best relieves their pain.

Posted by piscivorous | October 28, 2007 11:16 AM

The so called gateway effect is primarily due to having access to the heavier drugs through the dealer that is supplying the marijuana. The willingness to try the other drugs is partially due to have smoked marijuana, and not seen the disastrous effects, they were told would occur, the supposed deleterious effects, that are supposed to be associated with using these harder drugs, are then discounted making it more likely that the harder drugs will be tried. Sort of a "Catch 22" effect.

Posted by Jazz | October 28, 2007 11:18 AM

What it does, is help me sleep at night, and mellow out my type A personality to the point where I don't fantasize about killing people.

Hmmm.. maybe I've been giving this pot thing short shrift.

Posted by Donna | October 28, 2007 11:27 AM

I was 18 when my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. The chemo make her terribly sick for 3 weeks out of every 4. Her doctor told her to have her teenagers score her some pot. That it would give her tremendous relief. She refused because it was illegal.

That was 27 years ago.

It should at least be legalized for true medicinal purposes!

Posted by SGT Ted | October 28, 2007 11:30 AM

One thing people tend to forget is that the initial prohibition on weed was based on alot of racist hooey pushed by the older version of the biased press. Doctors knew it as Cannabis and it was prescribed medicine. The anti-pot crusaders called it "marihuana", which was it's Mexican street name. Hearst publish sensationally fake stories about crimes committed because of the use of pot.

The Congressional records of the anti-pot hearings are full of such impecable science, such as the claim that smoking pot causes Negro's to look white people in the eye and rape white women. Most of the "scientific" studies sponsored by the Feds have been out and out fraud when exposed to peer review.

Anti-pot hysteria is just that: hysteria. There's no scientific or societal justification for the ban; otherwise, alcohol and cigarettes would be illegal too.

So, go right ahead and oppose it's use and legalization. You stand the same ground as a bunch of unscientific racist paranoids of the 1930's.

Posted by eman | October 28, 2007 11:30 AM

The entire drug problem in the USA rests on three foundations.

1. The drugs themselves.

2. Human nature.

3. The Law.

We can't do a damn thing about 1 and 2, but we sure as hell can do something about #3.

Also, I spent almost 20 years working as a forensic chemist and I tested thousands if marijuana samples. Today's weed is more potent on average compared to the weed of decades ago.
So what? The free market will direct the THC concentration down to the most profitable level - a mild form, like we see with coffee.

Posted by G. Moore | October 28, 2007 11:42 AM

eman: "We can't do a damn thing about 1 and 2, but we sure as hell can do something about #3."

Not so sure about that. We could eliminate, or seriously reduce, the supply of drugs if we, as a nation and society, were really serious about it.

And that brings me to my main point. Hand-wringing and focusing on marijuana diverts attention and resources from graver threats, such as methamphetamine production and use. I live in a rural area, and meth is an epidemic. And it leads to more crime, such as gangland shootings and murder. Just the other day, a woman was kidnapped, restrained and set afire by unnamed monsters. My guess: She was an informant in the war on drugs.

We, as a society, really need to commit our resources to the greater threats, and at this point, I don't think marijuana is a greater threat. The government and DEA have their priorities messed up.

Posted by marinetbryant | October 28, 2007 11:51 AM

Personal opinion only, no science, no studies: it would seem we have plenty of stupid people already, why would we want those that are "stoned out of their gourds". Remember, both of the described are most likely voters.

Rumor, because I can't remember link, has it that Soros also wants legalization. He has lots of arable land in South America and transportation routes already in place.


Posted by quickjustice | October 28, 2007 11:54 AM

George Soros is a huge supporter of drug legalization. You might want to check who's backing these efforts financially.

As for the argument specific to marijuana, there's no scientific evidence that it's "better" in any way than existing prescription pain-killers.

The real question is whether you want a society in which 40% of citizens are hooked on "legal" narcotics. The Netherlands is an object lesson in this. Legalization carries its own very high costs to society.

Posted by jackl | October 28, 2007 12:17 PM

All of you people who think that legalizing marijuana means a zombie society of stoners, etc. need to have your stupid heads whacked with the two by four of reality. Or at least go to the Netherlands once (or get out of the hellhole "red" state you're in, maybe even to the state capital) to see that your needle park fantasy is exactly that. Would you PLEASE stop projecting with your dumb incorrect stereotypes. And think of this: if the laws are as ineffective as they are, you are ALREADY in the company of a lot of people who are stoned...they aren't waiting for "legalization". And if it's so easy to tell whose a dreaded "zombie" stoner, why do you think they have to make people pee in a cup to be ferreted out as unsuitable for working at Wal-Marts?

Posted by Just Plain Bill | October 28, 2007 12:18 PM

If pot is such a great medical benefit, why doesn't someone, anyone, start the FDA trials to prove the beneficial and efficacious effects. In other words, go through the system, prove the benefits.

Then you can make it legal, with a Doctors prescription, not recommendation, which is where it should be.

I, personally, have seen the deleterious effects in my family, caused by pot use and would not wish that on anyone else.

Posted by KW64 | October 28, 2007 12:29 PM

I have worked in the Safety/Health/Environment field for over 30 years. Both Alcohol and Drugs are hazards not just for the user but the persons who work with them. We had a situation where we had three casting station explosions on the same shift by the same crew in a rather short time that caused some serious burns in places that should not have been burned had employees been wearing their casting coats and spats.

An undercover detective indicated that marijuana use was likely involved. Based on performance we were able to offer a deal that if the three member crew agree to a three month suspension follwed by random hair drug tests they could keep their jobs; otherwise, they would be fired for poor performance. One flunked his tests the others passed and kept their jobs. The explosions stopped.

Now some may argue that this is a company problem about employees using performance impacting substances on the job. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. Alcohol leaves the system quickly enough that a Saturday night toot is not effecting you by Monday morning. That is not the case with MJ which studies show impact judgment and short term memory up to three days.

Also it is easy and quick to do a breath test to see if an employee is impaired by alcohol, if he gives signs of a problem; but testing for MJ takes much more time so supervision is less likely to make a case over it than if one suspects alcohol.

I feel that we see more safety problems for alcohol because it is easier to detect and it is legal. I am concerned that legalizing MJ would increase its impact on the workplace. Its abuse is harder to detect and its impact on judgment and memory are harder to see than the slurred speech, staggering gait and alcohol smell of a drinker under the influence. The longer residual effect will also make employees less able to manage their use so that it does not impact the work place the way that responsible drinkers do.

Thus I would caution against general legalization. I have no problem with a medical marijuana program that keeps the substance truly available only to real patients; but so far the programs do not seem to be able to do so. Right now the articles I have read about existing state programs' controls suggest that they are failing farces. If States can petition for a demonstration project with Federal monitoring and can demonstrate effective control of the prescriptions and the substance then I would accept it.

Posted by Donald | October 28, 2007 12:29 PM

Hey, I'd like to kick George Soros in the nuts as much as anybody. That doesn't mean that there is no reason written into antyhing in our constitution, or the federalist papers, that should make pot (Or any other fricking thing you want to ingest)illegal. If you do something criminal while you're high, well that is a separate fricking deal. Each and every person that runs around bragging on being "conservative" who doesn't see that needs to check out what "Conservative" means in political terms. Hint: It ain't restricting women's acess to abortion and it ain't about being a holy roller. It ain't about any of that crap (Abortion is a serious matter, it's just not a federal issue). As a matter of fact neanderthal's it is what is costing the republican party elections all over this country.

Posted by inmypajamas | October 28, 2007 12:34 PM

Just to set the record straight - you are not denying unique pain relief to anyone when restricting their use of marijuana. Marijuana is not an analagesic (pain killer). Marijuana is a sedative/hypnotic class drug and slipped into "medical" use as a way to combat nausea in chemo patients. It is only related to pain relief in same way we used Phenergan with Demerol, as an adjunctive measure that makes people relax and helps the pain killer work better.

As a medical person, I have no strong feelings against its use, especially when used appropriately and for the right reasons. Having had plenty of exposure personally to the life-style and (non-)goals of people whose lives involve heavy use of pot, I am not convinced it is any better or "safer" than any of the other recreational drugs. But that may be a chicken-and-egg argument - does the pot sap motivation or do those who do lots of pot lack the motivation to begin with?

Posted by Carol Herman | October 28, 2007 1:00 PM

Oh, we've been down this road before!

While, back in the 1920's ... when Prohibition came roaring down the pike, marijuana was the substance of "jazz musicians." And, liquor was still made in bathtubs.

What do I mean?

I mean apples and oranges aren't the same thing.

Can weed be legalized? I doubt it. It's given jobs to "badge holders" who carry guns. What do you want them to do, instead? Patrol our borders? They've got UNIONS, ya know! They're not about to drop their powers, either.

And, this doubles-up for the local cops. And, true,too, for the Feds.

I'd bet even the cartels will support politicians who run against changing the laws, to make this stuff legal.

What can you do?

People LOVE to do illegal things!

Heck, even sex got out of the marital bedroom; when it became something to flaunt. (Doesn't make for happy families.) It's just a change in the rules, as they were known back in the 1950's.

Oh, I don't want to leave off all the tax money it takes to provide jail cells. Judges. And, lawyers with income. Weed can't shine a candle to the financial ramifications of all of that.

Of course, you're stuck between a rock and a hard place, when you try to define "limited government."

Ah. And, Tobacco. Did you know this crop made America rich, when all we had for delivery, was sail boats. And, sailing ships?

And, yes. We've got two ends. The Atlantic and the Pacific. And, a boating industry that sells billions of dollars worth of stuff ... to "hobby-ists."

It's not as if ... when you want something ... You can't find ways to bring it in.

What do you think made Joseph Kennedy so rich? The answer isn't "banking."

But yeah. The question is a perennial.

Even funnier ... when you see this stuff growing under dorm windows, on college campuses ... where there's good weather ... and country settings.

Just because it's illegal, doesn't mean people aren't gonna go "do it." Remember 55 MPH? The Feds forced that one down every single state's throat. But that one backfired! (In Utah? 77 MPH is now legal. Who knew?) But 55 MPH laws just created a driving country full of law breakers. (Again. The lawyers prospered. And, the insurance companies rip you off.)

Do you smell a pattern, here?

Posted by Ray in Mpls | October 28, 2007 1:01 PM

"And medical marijuana, it's unique: the only pharmacological substance that can be accessed ONLY by inhaling the smoke. No pills. No injections. No patch. Just the toke, which by coincidence is exactly how you abuse it recreationally"

Ever see an asthma patent use an inhaler? "Smoking" pot is just a means of vaporizing the effective ingredients and inhaling them. Inhalation is an effective method of drug delivery as it can be delivered almost directly into the bloodstream via the lungs. Also, marijuana can be injected in foods and liquids (pot brownies and pot tea use to be very popular.

"Personal opinion only, no science, no studies: it would seem we have plenty of stupid people already, why would we want those that are "stoned out of their gourds". Remember, both of the described are most likely voters."

Stupid people exist no matter what laws and restrictions are in place so "stoned out of their gourds" is really no different than "too stupid to know the difference." Since pot induces apathy and acts as a tranquilizer, I would suggest that most pot smokers wouldn't even get and vote. As George would say, got out and vote? Fuck it!

"Is The Fight Against Marijuana Worth It?"

I would have to say no. The "fight" is very expenses to society itself and the benefits of prosecuting recreational pot smokers do not match the costs involved as smoking pot is relativity harmless to everyone, even those that don't smoke it.

There are many reasons pot is still illegal. I think the primary one is the stigma attached to pot and those who smoke it (think of the image of the 60's "hippies" rejecting the social order of the time). As a "recreation" drug, pot is probably the best choice.

As a "recreation" drug, pot is probably the best choice. Marijuana is one of the least destructive and harmful products available. Pot smokers are generally passive and do not commit violent acts like people who drink. How many times have you seen drunk people getting in fights because of a perceived insult, for example, and how many times have you seen pot smokers suddenly take offense at someone and start hitting people? How many times have you hear about someone high on pot who becomes paranoid and delusional and starts attacking people, like you do with cocaine and meth abusers?

Marijuana is also far less addictive then most other "recreational" drugs like alcohol. As both a former pot smoker AND a former beer guzzler (binge drinker), I can tell you first hand that it was a lot easier to quit smoking pot that it was to quite drinking beer.

There are many reasons pot is illegal. I think the primary one is the stigma attached to pot and those who smoke it (think of the image of the 60's "hippies" rejecting the social order of the time). It is the image of the pot smoker most people reject and not the drug itself. I believe that image is false.

Posted by unclesmrgol | October 28, 2007 1:07 PM

inmypajamas said

Having had plenty of exposure personally to the life-style and (non-)goals of people whose lives involve heavy use of pot...

Ditto, and I would not parenthesize the word (non-). MJ is a gateway drug -- the same guys who sell MJ are perfectly willing to get cocaine of all types for you, as well as meth. And the MJ of today is not the MJ of the sixties and seventies, either -- it's at least twice as strong.

The same libertarians who would love to legalize MJ are the same ones who would like to legalize cocaine, heroin, meth, and the other currently illegal narcotics, but don't think the state should pay for the resulting addiction. My family has already had to deal with this addiction, and we (except for the addict) understand very well the corrosize effects.
I lost my 14-year old son to MJ and he has not recovered almost six years later. He is better now, but will never be the kind, intelligent person he was before he started using. This link is instructive.

My wife has the same "immunosuppressive disorder" (lupus) that Prosser had. My wife has lived with this disease for over 30 years, and, yes, it's painful and debilitating, but we are getting by. You slather on the SPF 50, wear the gauze, take all the meds, and just go on. In terms of pain, however, my wife has suffered more from the loss of her son's personality than any of the effects of the disease -- she put her life into raising him to be better than us, and he will need our help for the rest of his life.

Do I want any child to even be able to make the choice my son made? No, I do not. And that's that.

Posted by The Yell | October 28, 2007 1:13 PM

What would you do if you caught your teenage daughter downing a fifth of vodka in your shed? Ask the government to reinstate prohibition?

Yes, I would certainly find out where she got it, and stop her from getting it.
Why isn't your attitude one of celebration of lifestyle rather than censorship?

If I decide a criminal act is licit and wholesome, it is easy to demonstrate that its punishment is a travesty and irrationally expensive. Take "murder", a loaded word straight out of the Dark Ages. Let me ask you, has any murder "victim" been restored when the "killer" is punished? The ban on "murder" leads to ridiculous injustices like the O.J. Simpson farce, where two people were "murdered" by persons legally unknown, and unknowable. And the cost to all of us to punish this "crime"! Certain religious fanatics want to push their morality on the rest of us, and declare a total value on human life that must be avenged. But a rational person knows that even the most dedicated "murderer" rarely kills more than forty people in a career. The notion that we'd be a society of mass killings is simply hysteria. Furthermore, thousands of people die every year because we, as a society, raised the speed limit from 55 mph. Aren't we all, then, guilty of being accessories to "murder" a thousand times over? And how are you going to stop "murder" anyhow? I just ask for common sense.

Posted by rusty wilson | October 28, 2007 1:20 PM

Jeff from Mpls,
What? How do you figure the second largest source of plant protein is a forced benefit? Pathetic you are.
I beg to differ. Abuse of marijuana, like abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other agents, is a self-inflicted handicap that robs society of the best people have to offer? Please elaborate just how marijuana has the same effect on society as alcohol and tobacco. It doesn’t. Furthermore it doesn’t kill folks like your two comparisons. Sound bite science, pathetic.
creative dude,
I for sure do not want pot to be a legal drug for recreation. What? It is safe. Besides who are you to decide what folks do for recreation?
The marijuana of today is far stronger than the weed of the 70s (the time when most of our pols grew up and possibly inhaled).
What? And it also costs $500 an ounce, not $10. Furthermore, you smoke much less of the dreaded super weed. That means less heat in the longs, less tar and less other toxins associated with smoking. Good lord. Are you that nieve to think that smoking less is a bad thing?
* LEGALIZING THESE DRUGS FOR RECREATIONAL USE IS DUMB - THEY ARE NOT LESS HARMFUL THAN ALCOHOL. That is the stupidest unsupportable statement made here today. There are very few things as dangerous as drinking alcohol. Why don’t you hit me withy some evidence?
* THERE IS AMPLE EVIDENCE THAT MARIJUANA INDUCES SCHIZOPHRENIA-LIKE SYMPTONS WITH PROLONGED USE. Very questionable. Of course using 4000% of the daily dose of anything will cause problems. On the flip side it has been used by society for 3000 thousand years with out any sociological problems. Well that is until folks like you started spending trillions of dollars arresting productive people of our society.
I've seen potheads (my toking buddies and myself) excel at college exams or become the best in classes ("kick ass"). I've seen them become work leaders and start there on companies. I have seen them become the leaders of our society ("kick ass"). I've seen them care more for their families than straight lazy relatives ("kick ass"). Now I am sure that was as beneficial as the garbage you wrote. I have a MSin Geophysics, started a company and know tons of brilliant pot smokers. I also know plenty of self centered lazy straight people so what dose all that prove?
You should talk to a local drug detective. Ask him/her what effects the dope today has on kids, let alone adults. Well if it was legal a thirteen year old couldn’t buy it...like alcohol. Instead it is readily available to them. Great job straight folks. Why don’t we jail another 60,000 people this year for possession of marijuana? Oh wait we did! Kids shouldn’t touch any drug untill there brian has developed. Legalize it so that or children will not have it.
The Yell
It's 2017, and you catch your granddaughter toking in your shed. Do you
A) Congratulate her for a robust sense of self-identity in the face of social repression
B) Search out her dealer with a baseball bat or c, explain to her that she should give her brain a chance to grow before she starts drinking or toking.

Posted by NotOnMyWatch | October 28, 2007 1:32 PM

The costs? Let me give you some insight into what has it cost my family. A young man's circle of friends held together only by a shared interest in getting stoned. 7 years of stuggle. Clinical Depression. Counseling. Dropping out of College. Divorce. A 1 yr-old grandchild I've never seen. No steady jobs paying well enough for unassisted living. Only the threat of losing all access to his son keeps him clean.

Doesn't sound like something we should make easier to obtain.

Prevention is always less expensive than correction, and even then, some of the damage it does cannot be fixed. Ever.

Posted by Cindy | October 28, 2007 1:41 PM

Leagalizing for recreational use should not be allowed, but when you consider that Cocaine, Heroin and Opium are all medically available and they are MUCH HARDER drugs than marijuana is I see no problems with medical marijuana. I know that this opinion gets me into a lot of "trouble" with my fellow conservatives, but it is a matter of common sense - something that is quite lacking in the medical marijuana debate...as this thread has shown.


Posted by RD | October 28, 2007 1:48 PM

When my son went to college 20 years ago he chose to live in a "non"-smoking dorm. His roommate who had also chosen to live in a "non"smoking dorm smoked marijuana and there were other "non" smokers who smoked marijuana in this dorm. He could have had marijuana anytime he wanted it (free). The irony is that were I to want to use it medically I would probably have to enroll in college to find some. However, the stealing and criminal acts that have come to our small town seem to be the result of the "meth" epidemic. To my way of thinking the "gateway" drugs are the things kids use for "huffing". I learned this when our young paper boy stopped in our place of business to collect and grabbed a bottle of white-out as he went out the door. When I asked the girl who reported it to me why a kid would steal a bottle of white-out she told me about huffing and then I remembered my mother catching me when I was only 4 or 5 standing over the container of gasoline on our porch sniffing the fumes because I liked the smell. No one taught this to me and I never did it again but kids need to be watched and supervised in this age of volatile and physically damaging chemicals.

Posted by The Fop | October 28, 2007 1:50 PM

I'm not in favor of legalizing hard drugs (or prostitution). But if alcohol is legal, it's totally unfair to make pot smokers criminals. Alcohol and marijuana are both recreational drugs that can be used in a responsible manner without it ruining your life. If anything, alcohol is more dangerous, because it is more physically addicting and impairs the senses more.

I think that there's two reasons why so many people are reluctant to legalize marijauna.

1. You have to build up a resistance to marijauna. People who have only smoked a few times, and never smoke again after that, recall feeling like they were tripping on LSD. Once you've smoked for awhile, the effect is much more mild, but a lot of people never get to that point, and they are prejudiced against pot because of their brief experience with it.

2. People associate marijuana with the 1960s counterculture. I'm a conservative, but I take exception to the idea that legalizing marijuana would be some kind of grand victory for all the aging, America hating hippies, and that we conservatives should oppose it using the same rationale that the NRA uses when it opposes bans on cop killer bullets and machine guns.

Because alcohol is legal, it is socially acceptable. You go to a football game and see people drinking beer and it's no big deal. You go to a wedding and everybody makes a bee line to the bar, including the priest, minister, or rabbi, and it's no big deal. You go out to dinner with your parents and grandparents and you order a bottle of wine for the whole table and it's no big deal. However, when we see someone drinking liquour at 10 AM, or polishing off a whole bottle of whiskey every night, we are able to distinguish these people as alcholics who have a serious problem.

The same would apply to pot smokers if marijuana was legalized. The stigma would be removed for all but a small minority of people who would be walking around with pot on their breath at all times.

Peter Tosh was mean, angry, racist. But he was right when he sang "Legalize It".

Posted by crosspatch | October 28, 2007 1:53 PM

A couple of things:

1. Why would people consider marijuana to be a "gateway" drug but not alcohol? I would theorize because in order to obtain it on a regular basis, one must associate with those also selling the other drugs. If prohibition of booze were returned as the law of the land, booze would probably also become a "gateway" drug to other, more profitable for the seller, drugs.

2. In response to: "Abuse of marijuana, like abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other agents, is a self-inflicted handicap that robs society of the best people have to offer. Civil society should resist."

I say bull hockey. I can make exactly the same statement about alcohol. I am NOT my neighbor's parent. It is not my responsibility to dictate my own life choices and values unto my neighbors. I say we should allow the stuff at the federal level and then let the various states and counties decide just as we currently do for booze. If it is all that important to me that I live in a county that doesn't allow pot or booze or whatever, I am sure I would be able to find one.

In other words, leave the communities free to enact laws that reflect the culture and values of the community. If we would stop trying to dictate culture and morals and values from Washington DC, people would feel a lot better about national politics and we could concentrate more on the common ground we have rather than the issues that divide us.

Posted by Conrad | October 28, 2007 2:24 PM

There is only one constant in life and that is change. Laws defy that constant when they are made with no provision for change.

My father told me that laws were made to be broken. Each law passed creates its' own class of criminals. Laws will always be broken. The better the law benefits society the less it will be broken. This is self evident.

In the case of laws passed against the use of cannabis - what has this law accomplished?
1. It has created a trade of commerce run by cartels and gang members.
2. It has produced a large population of prison inmates with ruined lives.
3. It has contributed to a huge problem of criminal activity.
4. It has contributed to the erosion of our fourth amendment rights.
5. It has wasted billions of dollars of tax payers money in a war that keeps getting bigger.
6. It has eroded the respect for law & order.

The list of negatives goes on and on.

What positive result has come from this law? NOTHING!

When are we going to learn that prohibitions do not work?

In regard to medical cannabis I would like to respond to this comment posted earlier.

"Right now the articles I have read about existing state programs' controls suggest that they are failing farces."

You are obviously biased against the programs of the medical use of cannabis or you would not have made that stupid statement. The articles you read are opinions of others like you.

I live in a state that has a state program for the medical use of cannabis. In my opinion the program is working well and people with serious medical problems are benefiting from the program.

I think the state programs should be expanded and I see a great advantage that could be gained by this.

An example: America has an aging population that is in need of medications for all sorts of ailments that come from the aging process. Acute pain is one of the symtoms. Lack of eating to keep up nutrition of the body is another disorder.

Providing comfort for the aging has been going on for eons. Our ancestors have always relied on particular plants to provide for medications for our illnesses until modern medicine with its' synthetic drugs came into the picture.

As our population continues to age the medical profession is going to be overwhelmed and the call for these synthetic drugs is going to increase.

This is where the use of cannabis will show its' value to help cope with the symtoms of aging and the use of these synthetic drugs.

Dispite the testimony of users of medical cannabis, skeptics keep saying cannabis has no medical value. Why is this? Because skeptics have no experience with the effects of cannabis on themselves ( because they don't use it) all they can offer is their opinion - but they pass off their opinion as fact.

A long time friend of mine recently passed away. I visited him many times before his passing. Toward the end he was constantly on morphine to ease his pain. He did not like being on morphine. What gave him comfort at the end was some cannabis. The skeptics would say BS - but then again the skiptics without the experience of dying are the authority.

There is only one constant in life and that is change. I think we have learned enough about the negative effects of this proibition on our society that we are ready for change.

Posted by Salamantis | October 28, 2007 2:26 PM

There is another terrible cost to marijuana prohibition, and that is the breaking of the bonds of trust - from both sides - that used to exist between our police and the citizenry of our country.

Imagine this conversation between yourself and a tipsy police captain (most of it was lifted from a conversation with one that the author Harlan Ellison actually had):

It used to be that there were 'us', the police and the good, decent, hard-working, family-raising, law-abiding people on one side, and 'them', the criminal types - the murderers, rapists, robbers, thieves - on the other. Then the drug war began, and we were told to concentrate on pot. And we did so. We began busting, fining and jailing many otherwise good, decent, hard-working, family-raising, law-abiding people, simply because they liked to occasionally smoke joints, and got caught. They, and their friends and familys, began distrusting and resenting us as a result. And we responded in kind. So these days, the people in blue are 'us', and you and every other civilian citizen in this country, we look at as 'them.' And most of you view us as 'them', too.

Posted by Carol Herman | October 28, 2007 3:17 PM

You know what I think?

People who want to smoke weed, can do so.

Because? There's no shortage of paper wrapper.

So, if you wanted to cut into sales, wouldn't you start there? Ah. Perhaps, the tobacco giants also want to sell "paper." So you could "roll your own."

Cigarettes, when I was a kid, was a luxury item. And, alas, my dad had "the habit." Tobacco! He was like a chimney. I can remember the small ash burns in the furniture. And, on his clothes.

And, I can remember him taking out this muslin bag; using his lips to open it. As he held the paper in his right hand. (I can place that, too!)

My dad also smoked Pall Malls. I shudder.

My mom? She wouldn't spit on a cigarette.

And, yes. My dad got lung cancer. Those cigarettes came with an expensive price.

And, I just don't understand how people smoke.

But I shrug when I see it.

As to marijuana; gosh. Can you name a school where kids can't buy this stuff? Lots of kids, who have no access to car keys, still have access to drugs. In a peer environment that would be the envy of "word-of-mouthers."

So. The parade doesn't stop.

But. It seems to have rules of its own. Where the behaviors are engaged in. And, legalizing this shit? Wouldn't change a thing.

That's one of the advantages to the government.

They've got an industry that employs cops. Lawyers. And, social workers. Where would they go, if you suddenly stopped? And, legalized smoking weeds?

I think that's the reason things stay the same.

We had no marijuana laws back in the 1920's. Jazz musicans smoked this crap at the back of the bus. As they went from town to town earning their livings.

So? Even in its hayday, marijuana was a bust.

You can't legalize this shit!

Any better than you can "legalize" a man, making a hand signal, to another gent. Where the toilet partition does now go down to the floor.

Ah. Yes. Larry Craig's "left" hand showed up! BECAUSE HE WAS GONNA CRAWL THRU!

Don't expect those laws to change, either. Even though Craig wants to make a Federal Case out of it. And, in my book, David Souter and Anthony Kennedy are as queer as $3-dollar-bills.

Stinking second raters up on our Supreme Court. Not only don't I predict "change." I don't expect to see anything of genius quality, rolling off that bench, either.

By 2010 ... most of us will be able to see the pictures ahead, much clearer. Wishful thinking, ahead of time, just doesn't count.

Posted by unclesmrgol | October 28, 2007 3:27 PM

NotOnMyWatch, There were times I thought my family was the only one enduring this. How I wish that thought were true....

The Yell, if I caught my daughter downing a fifth of vodka, I doubt she'd tell me where she got it. Ditto for my son -- he refused to out his dealer friends. So the rest of your fantasy is moot. Family loyalty ends where peer (and substance) loyalty begins.

Conrad, the positive is that MJ, cocaine, heroin, and meth are not avaiable at your local liquor store. Think carefully -- the argument you offer in support of MJ is equally applicable to every controlled substance.

Rusty, legalizing is an admission that we've given up, or an admission that we are going to allow the government sacrifice the income and lives of the addicts for the general welfare benefits taxing them brings. My son says he smoked cigarettes and drank shortly before moving on to MJ. So I don't think legalization will prevent 14 year olds from getting access -- it sure didn't stop my son from getting cigarettes and booze with nearly the same facility that he got MJ (Santa Monica is a drug haven). Most kids don't realize they are dealing with addictive substances until it's too late. Mine did via family history, but that didn't stop him from experimenting anyway due to adverse peer pressure.

Personally, I'd rather MJ be $100-600 an ounce than $15 an ounce. Keeping it illegal keeps the amounts capable of entering society down and makes the addicts have big footprints. If your kid ever does what NotOnMyWatch's and mine did, you'll understand why I want society's vigilance to be on my side.

And, Salamantis, Harlan Ellison's writings are tripe. Pure and simple. Pap for the counter-culture. The police were never "us" to lawbreakers, and never will be. As for me, I buy a ticket to the Policeman's Ball every year, and they are "us" as far as I'm concerned. If your habit makes a policeman "them", perhaps you need to rethink the habit.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | October 28, 2007 3:35 PM

I've always felt that part of the reason that marijuana has remained illegal is due to pressure from the pharmaceutical companies. They really can't make any money off of pot, as it occurs naturally. I wouldn't be surprised to find out they've been lobbying all along to keep it illicit. In addition, the law enforcement lobby sees the war on marijuana as a cash cow.

As for the war on drugs in general, I agree with some of the posters here who correctly ID meth (or "ice") as a much greater problem than pot. I was visiting Hawaii a few years ago and ice was an absolute epidemic out there. Of course, Hawaii's problem with ice can be laid directly at the feet of the state's ulta-liberal Supreme Court, which has repeatedly refused to let law enforcement use the same methods that dozens of states on the Mainland have successfully used for years.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | October 28, 2007 3:44 PM

Ray in Mpls said:

"Ever see an asthma patent use an inhaler? "Smoking" pot is just a means of vaporizing the effective ingredients and inhaling them. Inhalation is an effective method of drug delivery as it can be delivered almost directly into the bloodstream via the lungs. Also, marijuana can be injected in foods and liquids (pot brownies and pot tea use to be very popular."

In fact, there are marijuana vaporizers now. These have a small metal bowl, over which is put a glass or plastic dome. The metal bowl has a heating element in it, and about 5 minutes after the device is plugged in, the marijuana starts to vaporize and then can be inhaled. Since the pot never actually "burns", there are no bad side effects on the lungs.

Posted by Conrad | October 28, 2007 4:01 PM

unclesmrgol: I am not for the legalization of cannabis - I am for decriminalizing it.

I think the law making it illegal has caused severe problems in our society and as Salamantis points out caused mistrust between law-enforcement and the people they are sworn to protect.

The law has caused murder, violence, rackateering, and all types of criminal activity associated with proabitions.

We are always going to have people in a free society that will abuse themselves by their habits. Your thinking is based in the dark ages. Why don't we just kill everyone that smokes Cannabis and then we will rapidly depleat our population of these evil people? Why don't you just say it and be over it, so everyone left can view life with your rose colored glasses.

Some other countries like singapose handle the problem this way. Why can't we?

Posted by patrick neid | October 28, 2007 4:05 PM

Legal vs illegal? What a laugh!

I've been for legalizing all drugs for 30 years and shutting down the criminal gangs, crime and prison capacity we have to keep building to house all these folks that get busted. 100's of billions thrown down the drain with absolutely no dent in the drug culture. 10's of thousands of police and military wasted on intervention. Even now the war in Afghanistan is turning into an opium war with the Taliban getting all their cash from the drug trade. I won't even mention Castro, Chavez, Hamas, Hezbollah to mention a few others.

For what? So you can morally feel like you are doing something about it?

Here's the reality you need to get your brain around. The people that are getting high, once or a thousand times, are going to get high whether its legal or illegal. The folks who get strung out--perhaps your child--they are going to get strung out no matter what you attempt to do about it. Ultimately all you can do is help them when they hit rock bottom and that's where they are have to go before you can help them.

So, for the sake of this conversation, lets assume that 5% of all of humanity is or going to get strung out once we legalize drugs. I say help them, don't incarcerate them, an estimated 1/3 of the prison population. More often than not that turns them into career criminals who hate your living guts for being such hypocritical aholes as you sip your third martini, nursing a couple of DUI's while they do 3 to 5 for a pound of weed with intent to distribute. They know booze used to be illegal and drugs were legal once. It's only the shifting tides that have changed. Mankind has always gotten high.

Instead of wasting all the money on the drug war and creating criminal monsters and war lords, legalize all drugs and put 10% of the previous money into caring for the addicts. Virtually 95% of all folks who used drugs of all kinds move on with their lives with absolutely no side effects.

Look around you, if you are under 60, a lot of your friends used to get high and many still do. This is not about morality its about reality and how to deal with it. Tell me, did your occasional binge drinking in college run your life? I didn't think so. How's your wine cellar?

Meanwhile keep building your prisons you are going to need them.

Posted by Neo | October 28, 2007 4:15 PM

Let's end the hypocrisy. Ban tobacco too.

Posted by dr kill | October 28, 2007 4:50 PM

Dear Ed Morrissey, Jazz, Rusty Wilson, Cross Patch, Conrad, and Salamantis,

In my opinion this issue and the overall 'war on drugs' is as important to our Country as the war on terror. Thank you for stating your views so well. I fully support your arguments and conclusions. Everything you said about the beneficiaries of America's ill-designed drug policies is true. The damage legislation and law enforcement have done to our citizenry is incalcuable. It is 'us against them'.

These hypocrites have created a multi-billion dollar industry from nothing, and they control it completely. They can't be expected to institute any realistic drug policy. It's not about drugs, it's about money- lots of money. There is too much cash in dealing with contraband, and too much Government funding in enforcement.

In my opinion, the only accomplishment of the forty-year 'war on drugs' has been to make crack cocaine cheaper than dope. Has anyone ever seen a pot-head shoot up a liquor store in a drug-fueled frenzy trying to steal money to support their habit?

Hell no. It's the rock-monsters and ice addicts that get violent. If these people could afford pot, they would be asleep on the couch.

Our Government should be very proud.

I wish we could make the 'war on drugs' go away.

Posted by Conrad | October 28, 2007 4:54 PM

Why is Cannabis illegal? I think of all the reasons that can be cited the most benficial reason is that it is a cash cow for the courts and the prison system.

People that get cited for possession can get fines of $1,500.00 and more. Filling the prisons calls for more income from the taxpayers to fund prisons and law-enforcement.

The proabition will end when enough people get fed-up and call for the law to be repealed.

I do not see cannabis ever being legalized because really - it seems pretty arrogant to legalize a plant that was here for eons.

Investigate the history of it. We are the ones going against the grain by making this plant illegal.

And Carol does not believe things will change? The only constant in life is change. She will see in her lifetime that if the law is not struck down - it will be ignored like the blue laws.

Posted by The Yell | October 28, 2007 5:20 PM

I'm prompted to ask: where are all you libertarians on the Civil Rights Acts? You support that futile, endless, bottomless government intervention against human nature?

It's the usual suspects with the same amnesty argument: You can't pull it off. And even if you could, I wouldn't want to live here if you did.

Posted by davod | October 28, 2007 5:46 PM

Just in from Melanie Philips in good old Blighty:

The government says (Read Melanie's comments at the bottom)
"'Cannabis use among young people has fallen since the Government downgraded it to a Class C drug, according to figures published yesterday. The proportion of people aged between 16 and 24 who said that they had used cannabis in the past year fell from 25 per cent when the law was changed three years ago to 21 per cent in 2006-07, a total of about 1.3 million young people. However, the findings showed a continued rise in the use of cocaine by young people and adults.'

****This is utterly misleading. It only covers young people aged more than 16. But cannabis use is soaring among the under-16s. As the figures suggest, by the time they get to 16 they’ve progressed to cocaine. This is the real disaster of that reclassification. We have defined drug-taking downwards.

How Dopey is This

Posted by Dark Matter | October 28, 2007 5:50 PM

The scariest part about the illegal drug issue appears to be the behavior by the police.

Recently in New Jersey, the police and their dogs swarmed a public school, detained over 1,500 students (probably frightened them) and searched every locker without probable cause.The students were all considered guilty from the outset.

How would you like that done to you?

The police turned up absolutely nothing, except perhaps cultivating a hatred of abusive power, or conditioning our young people to accept unwarranted searches as a normal part of living in an allegedly free country.

What these kids experienced is more common in totalitarian police states than ones that cherish liberty and unalienable rights. Isn't this the fallout from the republican obsession with "law and order" regardless of rights?

The warriors in the War On Drugs are becoming a greater threat than the druggies. The dopers are too subdued to infringe on my constitutional rights. The sober non-drug using police are the ones I fear the most and I do not even use dope.

Posted by The Yell | October 28, 2007 6:01 PM

Of course your privacy rights on somebody else's property are pretty narrow to begin with Dark Matter.

Are you referring to this incident btw?

A high school was evacuated here during the last full day of classes after a total of 16 gunpowder-filled devices with fuses were found in two lockers on Wednesday morning, officials said.

The 1,400 students from the school, Wayne Valley High School, were moved to the football field bleachers and then off school grounds to Calvary Temple, about a block away. Local law enforcement officials searched the students in the church and then released them, officials said.

...James Avigliano, the Passaic County prosecutor, said that there were no suspects but that several people were being interviewed.

He added that he contacted each police chief in the county and organized a check of every high school to “make sure this isn’t repeated.”


Posted by just me | October 28, 2007 6:09 PM

KW64 issue with users creating accidents at work is one reason I am reluctant to some degree to legalize drugs.

I would go for it-provided that all employers-government or private were able to hire/fire people for any positive drug test, even if the drug is legal to use.

The difference between alcohol and MJ (or many other drugs) is that alcohol has enters and leaves the system relatively quickly, and there are easy objective measures that define what impairment is.

There isn't an objective measure that easily measures use.

A part of me sees the failure in the drug war-but I am not convinced legalization of MJ and other drugs will create some happy utopia where drugs are no longer a problem.

Posted by Clyde | October 28, 2007 6:11 PM

It should not be the role of the government to decide what I put in my body or what you put in yours. What the government is telling us is, "We're smarter than you, you are not competent to make your own decisions, and so we will decide for you, and punish you with fines and prison if you dare to disobey us!"

Alcohol, tobacco, sugar, red meat, marijuana... All of them are supposedly bad for you, and people still continue to consume all of them. Why is marijuana illegal? Because back in the 1920s, the government and its allied social do-gooders made alcohol, marijuana and opium (and its derivatives0 all illegal. Alcohol was the white people's drug of choice, and Prohibition didn't work out too well, so they repealed it. Marijuana was the black people's drug of choice at the time, just as opium was the drug of choice of the Chinese immigrants. Blacks and Chinese immigrants had a lot less political clout, and so their drugs remained illegal.

A lot more harm is done to our society by punishing non-violent drug offenders than would happen if they were allowed to take their drugs in peace. We waste huge amounts of money incarcerating people who are no threat to society, and then our prisons are so overcrowded that murderers and rapists are let back on the streets before they serve their full sentences. As long as the druggies aren't robbing people to support their habit, I say that we should leave them alone, and let them go to hell in their own way if they so choose. It's not the government's business and it's not my business what they do. That has always been the essence of the American creed: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Posted by unclesmrgol | October 28, 2007 7:01 PM


Suppose the FDA allowed a certain drug to come to market for pain relief. This drug has the interesting side effect that, for any given user of the drug, there's a .2 increased probability that they will develop schizophrenia, with that probability increasing the younger they are when they ingest the drug. As little as five doses can bring on the symptoms. Once the symptoms occur, they are not reversable. In addition, heavy use of this drug decreases intelligence (by an average of 5 IQ points over a pre-use measurement, according to one study [cant link due to Captain's link count algorithm]). Should such a drug require a prescription, or should it be sold over the counter?

Schizophrenia is a disease which, if left untreated, makes the person a menace to the people around them. Treatment for schizophrenia as an adult is voluntary; nobody can require a schizophreniac to undergo treatment for their illness. It is a life long illness, and there is no known cure -- only palliatives.

What is society's obligation in this case? Read this book.

By the way, suicidal people are generally depressed. MJ, in addition to the nasty effects noted above, is also a depressant. Anyone want to take bets that an autopsy will reveal that Prosser had taken MJ prior to her suicide?

Posted by Conrad | October 28, 2007 7:03 PM

The difference between the proabition of the 1920s & 30s and the probition of today are the courts. Back then there were commonlaw courts.
Today we have administrative courts that deal with commerce not commonlaw.

The courts make a lot of money on illegal drug use. The incentive is to keep the cash flowing in. Why care what lives are being wasted in jails? Do you think drug rehabilitation programs are paid by the courts? No, they are paid for by the offenders. People are being employed by these programs. Plea bargin one day in a program that costs $120.00, pay the fine of $800 + and you get a mark on your record. This is the mentality.

I remember when the police were respected and people felt protected. It is a different world today. I want to trust the police but I don't like their arrogance.

I think the war on cannabis and the administrative courts have changed all this.

I think when people do not respect the law and the police, we are living in sorry times and our political establishment needs to take a deep look at this condition.

Laws are not written in stone and can be changed. Also, old dogs need to learn new tricks or go out to pasture.

Posted by Conrad | October 28, 2007 7:32 PM

unclesmrgol, In response to your 701PM post my intent is not to defend the use of cannabis but to expose your misrepresentation of linking schizophrenia as a cause from the use of cannabis.

I have worked closely with people having schizophrenia and manic-depression and it is not a condition caused by cannabis use. It is a condition already inherant in the person and brought out by the use of many different drugs.

My interest in this came out after my military service.

I missed the big drug craze of the 60s & 70s. I went into the military in 1964 and was discharged in 1971. When I went home I found that some of my frieds had died from drug overdose and some were in mental facilities. LSD was a big factor in people with weak minds. In fact many people were in mental facilites all over my state due to LSD use and to this day many of those same people are still suffering from the effects.

Today many people in our society are depressed for many reasons and these people should not be taking drugs, especially prescription drugs like prozac.

So if you are truly interested in helping people with depression and schizophrenia, do some volunteer work and encourage non use of any drugs.

But don't blame any drug for causing these ailments. You are not doing anyone any favors for volunteering this mis-information.

PS: I looked up the book you are talking about.

Posted by JTH | October 28, 2007 8:18 PM

"Abuse of marijuana, like abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other agents, is a self-inflicted handicap that robs society of the best people have to offer. Civil society should resist."

Bull. I have numerous friends who smoke pot--doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists. They smoke it recreationally and the next day they get up and go to work. I'm an attorney at a "high- powered" law firm and I smoke. If you're motivated to begin with, no amount of pot is going to stop you, and if you're a lazy git it won't matter either way. I don't see that it's any different from liquor except that you're less likely to drive or get into fights. Ever seen a stoned person get violent? I haven't, although I've seen plenty of bar fights.

For those people who have had issues with family members whose lives were ruined by pot, have you considered that they had problems to begin with, and pot was simply one avenue to self-destruction? It could have been liquor or something else too.

Finally, is pot stronger than it was in the 60s and 70s? Sure, why wouldn't it be? When you make it illegal, you give growers an incentive to increase potency because the law doesn't punish you based on THC strength. It's far more profitable to make potent pot, just as during prohibition it was better to make 100 proof moonshine than weak beer--why make an illegal substance whose potency/mass ratio is hugely inefficient? Does the stronger potency matter? No, because you just smoke less--people aren't stupid, they just moderate the dosage, just like they do alcohol. It's like saying that whiskey is more dangerous than beer because it's more potent--in reality, when you have a whiskey in front of you, you tend to drink slower and in smaller quantities.

Posted by L88SS454 | October 28, 2007 10:18 PM

"In exchange, we get a dubious effect on usage for a drug that has the same addictive and intoxicating effects as alcohol."

I disagree. Having used vast quantities of both years ago,I'd much rather meet a pot smoker on the road than a drunk. Why is marijuana still illegal? Simple,there are way too many people making a good living off of keeping it that way. The government makes more money,and employees more people,by keeping it illegal. Alcohol is a far more dangerous drug than pot,but the tax dollar amount brought into the government far outweighs what pot would bring in,therefore alcohol is legal and pot isn't. It's all about the money,and the crooks in government who line their pockets with it.

Posted by Fight4TheRight | October 28, 2007 10:20 PM

I don't need the government to do that for us; a village is not needed here.

Classic Capt. Ed !

I Love it!

Posted by supa-g | October 28, 2007 10:28 PM

Hi all,
For those who may be interested, Raphael Mechoulam has done a LOT of research having to do with THC.
For instance(off the top of my head), he discovered
-upon heating or smoking, thc is converted into it's active form
-the active form's effects are receptor-mediated in the brain.
Here's a sampler:
Dr. Mechoulam has been doing this research for a long time, with some very interesting findings.
Personally, I wouldn't like to see it legalized, though decriminalization might be a good idea. Alaska's current law regarding pot might be a good model: personal use, less than 4 ounces in your home only, illegal for minors.

Posted by Not Tony | October 28, 2007 10:42 PM

There was nothing wrong with this woman.

Her "disease" was not named because there was no disease, other than mental illness.

Her suicide had nothing to do with marijuana.

Posted by KarenT | October 28, 2007 10:47 PM

Conrad, unclesmrgol did not say that cannabis "caused" schizophrenia or manic-depression (two very different, distinct diseases). I don't see that what he said is incompatible with your idea that schizophrenia is "brought out" by the use of many different drugs. No one is suggesting that everyone who smokes marijuana will become a schizophrenic. But it may increase the chance that the disease will develop in people predisposed to schizophrenia, and it is impossible to know who those people are.

I am well-acquainted with only two schizophrenics, and both of them smoked marijuana as teens before developing the disease. One may have also taken other drugs. Both have disastrous lives. One now in on SSI, has a medical prescription for marijuana and prefers to live on the streets in Northern California. He is afraid of most people and will no longer talk to me when he gets in trouble and calls his parents to pick him up. The other is currently in jail. She attacked her sister with a knife while off her medication (she refused to take it), and she is still not getting her medication in jail. She attacked the bailiff at a recent court hearing.

Even though I believe that marijuana use may be one trigger for schizophrenia, I believe that methamphetamine is a much more dangerous drug in terms of a general population of users. Other drugs which I consider to be particularly dangerous are LSD and PCP, but these don't have the addictive potential of methamphetamine. I would not be opposed to the legalization of marijuana for medical use, if this would not mean an increase in use by those under 21 years of age or by people who drive or operate heavy machinery.

People with depression may be helped by volunteer work and psychological therapy, but drugs specific for the treatment of depression have saved many lives, and vastly improved the quality of life for many, many people. All drugs have risks of side effects, and anyone taking antidepressants need to be aware of known side effects. But for many depressed persons, the benefits vastly outweigh the risks.

And it is highly irresponsible to suggest that schizophrenics go without medication which reduces their paranoia and delusions, even if those drugs cannot restore them to their former selves. Depriving schizophrenics of appropriate drug treatment would require the re-opening of many mental institutions just to house them in an environment as stress-free as possible. Many schizophrenics are lucid and functional on medication (even though they typically don't like the side effects of the drugs). They become irrational, paranoid and delusional without medication. No amount of volunteer work will change this.

Posted by Salamantis | October 28, 2007 11:59 PM

Since, due to the increased cancer risks and liver failure caused by alcohol abuse, those who advocate the continuing probibition on marijuana use while permitting continued legal alcohol consumption cannot appeal to marijuana's being more physically deleterious, they change their focus and resort to concentrating on cognitive effects. But here, they fail also.

Chronic heavy alcohol abuse irreversably damages the pyramidal cells in the limbic system underlying the prefrontal cortex, leading to the permanent inability to transfer short-term memories to long-term cognitive storage. The person becomes unable to retain what (s)he learns. This does not happen merely with a miniscule percentage of alcohol abusers, as does schizophrenia with a tiny percentage of the pre-disposed, but with everyone who drinks heavily enough for long enough - unless the physical ramifications kill them first. Chronic alcohol use is the second leading cause of death from an intoxicant in America, behind chronic tobacco use. Marijuana use doesn't even register on that scale.

Neither drug can be effectively controlled. One can be grown in one's home; the other can be fermented there. And alcohol is both more addictive, and more dangerous to oneself and others when intoxicated users drive - which drinkers are more prone to do. It makes no rational sense whatsoever for one to be legal, and the other not, unless it were alcohol that was banned. And we all know how well that worked out; about as well as marijuana prohibition is currently.

Posted by kyle | October 29, 2007 2:24 AM

And this is the same website whose readers panned or ignored the captain's post on the movie "knocked up" for both language and drug use?

Having lived and worked for nearly 2 years in germany (where it is a grey legal matter), i can tell you various benzodiazipans prescribed by "well-meaning" doctors played more havoc on my well-being than a few tokes ever did. But a rollins-esque six pack has turned out to be the best legal treatment in the good ol' us of a for a neurobiological eccentricity. Professional certified doctors attempted to help break a zoloft addiction (created by their signatures) by throwing more pills at it. Insurance covered most of it, but (at leat) two parties were making bank off of the transaction.

There is just so much bad science (aka politics and religion) surrounding cannibis/marihauna/dope (perhaps on all sides) that nobody will change their tune. Darkies, cancer, "schizophrenia," dole. MS, aids/hiv, cancer, anxiety. 420, dude.

But to lighten it up, a few months back a police officer shot another police officer while attempting to shoot a "pit bull" at a raid on the wrong address on a drug bust. I guess thats what happens when we hire out of department and get a texan as a police chief. People being shot is better reading than britney spears's custody battle. More people get off on the bleeding leads than swann's way. So keep them coming!

And knocked up was far far superior to In the Valley of Elah, so go buy the dvd.

Posted by Barry | October 29, 2007 4:27 AM

I think I'm edging toward supporting legalization- treating marijuana like alcohol. Penalties for driving under the influence, bans on underage use, etc.

Pot is a plant- a weed. I learned this in high school horticulture class. It's not like cocaine or heroin or meth, that have to be manufactured deliberately for the purpose of abuse.

And yes, the cost of enforcing marijuana laws nationwide has placed a great strain on the legal system, crowded our jails, and made criminals out of otherwise innocent people who only sought some relaxation and comfort thru use of some potent reefer.

Our government has encroached too much on our lives, and has assumed too many duties not set forth in the Preamble- including telling us we can't roll up a certain common weed in some cigarette paper and smoke it. With all the problems facing our country, we could do ourselves a favor by saying we're not going to concern ourselves with this minor issue of people wanting to smoke pot.

Posted by NavyspyII | October 29, 2007 7:39 AM

I see quite a few arguments against cannibis here, based on not much more than Global Warming science.

It is often quoted that there is no scientific studies showing any good effects of THC. This is due to the fact that no credible scientific study will be funded by any credible organization, and any that do get done outside that framework are ignored.

I also see a lot of bad cause and effect arguments. Unclesmrgl, I truly do feel for your family situation, however you are jumping the causal divide when you attribute your child's behavior solely to THC. I postulate that there were other underlying issues involved. Or do you also believe that Dungeons and Dragons players are all Satanists? The same causal link is there.

Fundamentally, Cannabis was outlawed due to hemp, and the cotton industry. Even the slave plantations could not really compete with the many uses of hemp, and price it would be cultivated at. So mass hysteria was promulgated to convince the bulk of the nation of the evils of that Demon Weed.

Physically, both booze and tobacco are more damaging than cannabis, and far more addictive. THC can now be taken via vaporization, which allows inhalation without the related tar issues. Higher THC content means smaller doses even for those that do still smoke the substance.

But far too much money is made by courts, lawyers, prisons, and such for any fair determination to be made in this society. The game is fixed, just like a WWF event.

Oh, btw, when wsa the last time you heard of anyone smoking a couple of joints, and beating the hell out of his wife/girlfriend? I personally know of two instances of this occurring after a few sixpacks.

Take a step back from the issue, divorce yourselves from your prejudices, and take an impartial look at the issues.

Posted by Jack Okie | October 29, 2007 12:46 PM

Well, if we're not going to de-criminalize pot we'd better arrange to start showing "Reefer Madness" at all the schools.

Posted by unclesmrgol | October 29, 2007 1:03 PM


I have more than just "causal divide" type evidence as to the cause of my son's problems.

I have professional evidence.

If you'll note, I'm not the only one on this forum to have to go this route.

My son did try to beat the hell out of me -- but that was after the MJ-induced mental illness had kicked in. The whole time he was screaming I'm going to kill you...

Do you know what it's like to have a kid who one year before (pre-MJ) adored you screaming (post-MJ) that he hates your guts and wants to terminate you?

Or goes to college and attempts 32 units and completes zero? Who has lowered his expectations to flipping burgers? Who will need my support for the rest of his life?

You say,

Take a step back from the issue, divorce yourselves from your prejudices, and take an impartial look at the issues.

Pardon me, but these are personal experiences, not prejudices. If you ask NotOnMyWatch, he'll tell you the same thing.

And, finally, did you read the links I posted? You might want to consider following your own advice in this matter.


Yes, to cause (to bring about) would be a good word to describe a substance which forces the expression of a mental illness which would not have been expressed otherwise. Note that the reasons for the causation have yet to be determined -- several studies indicate that a specific set of genes cause expression of illness in the presence of THC. Two gene markers have been tentatively identified as indicative.

And I, for one, respect the police, even if you don't.


The cost to me personally has been over $40,000 to date to deal with the side effects of marijuana use by my son. That's the court costs, the medical costs, and the lost semesters of college. And that's just the money. Of course, a true libertarian would say that I ought to just let my son go live under some freeway overpass, because he's made his own decision. Boy am I glad I'm not a libertarian, truther or otherwise.

Posted by Daniel | October 29, 2007 4:43 PM

Back when cocaine, opium and all its derivatives, including heroin, were cheap and legal and readily available at corner drugstores and mailorder from Sears, Roebuck, and when Americans were actually encouraged to take these drugs, our addiction rate was less than 2% - and has remained virtually unchanged after 93 years of prohibition, the last 40 or so being especially intense.

What has changed is the process of acquisiton for those consuming these drugs. We no longer get them legally from pharmacists (or the mailman) but from someone engaged (as a result of prohibition) in a criminal enterprise, placing both participants in jeopardy of the law. And the risk continues for both after the sale: the buyer for possession of a controlled substance and subject to the arbitrary enforcement of drug law, and the seller for his risk associated with replenishing his stock.

The net effect of such a change in the process is that America (and the world) has created a brutally effecient and corrupting black market that has grown to roughly equal 8% of the world's GDP. The world is now up to her eyeballs in the idealogical quicksand of prohibition, with repeal being the only tree branch left to grasp.

There are a number of good reasons for repealing prohibition, but the incredible benefit to society from such an unprecedented and massive reduction - over 50% - in our total crime that will follow seems to be the one with greatest commonality: Everyone is for less crime. Which is why I believe repealing drug prohibition will be the most significant law and order legislation of the 21st century.

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