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Conservative Case for Drug Legalization: Marijuana

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When Bill Buckley came out for drug legalization and declared the “drug war” a failure, the issue of drug legalization ceased to be a left-right issue. Mr. Buckley wrote, “So what has the drug war done? It has made a mockery of an anti-drug law that is simply ignored by millions; it has induced violent felonies in pursuit of drug profits; and it is self-evidently powerless to do anything about the recent increase in marijuana use by reckless adolescents.”

Mr. Buckley makes the conservative case against the drug war by evaluating “The practicality of a legal constriction, as for instance, what those states ought to do whose statute books continue to outlaw sodomy, which interdiction is unenforceable, making the law nothing more than print on paper.” He added, “I came to the conclusion that the drug war was not working, and that it would not work absent a change in the structure of the civil rights to which we cling as a valuable part of our patrimony.” We need to calculate the cost to society by outlawing drugs and weigh it against its legalization.

The active ingredient in marijuana is legal and marketed as Marinol, an effective anti-emetic agent and weight gain enhancer. When many individuals pushed for the use of marijuana for medical use, it was based on the sound science done with Marinol and as well as personal experiences. Most people who have smoked marijuana do report an increase in appetite and many cancer patients have found the illegal substance useful in reducing the nausea and vomiting that accompanies chemotherapy.

Nearly 70 million people over 12 years old have experimented with marijuana or hashish at least once in their lives and 5% are “current users.” That represents nearly 15 million Americans and most users range between 18 and 25. (Usage plummets after the age of 34; when children, mortgages, and jobs blunt the appeal of bonging.) As National Review editor Richard Lowery comments, “it makes little sense to send people to jail for using a drug that, in terms of its harmfulness, should be categorized somewhere between alcohol and tobacco on one hand and caffeine on the other hand.” Nearly 700,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana offenses and close to 80% of these arrests are for possession. Like alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s, marijuana prohibition is becoming unenforceable and reducing respect for the law.

Many members of the Baby Boomer era and their children have used marijuana and here is an irony. During the Prohibition period of the 20’s, when alcohol was illegal, marijuana was legal. Alcohol prohibition was a progressive cause due to the significant abuse seen with alcohol at the turn of the century. The biggest supporters of Prohibition were women, who did not like to see the family income going to alcohol. Alcohol was blamed for poverty, crime, insanity and degeneracy. Prohibit alcohol and you will empty the jails and poorhouses. No sooner than Prohibition was passed, Americans regretted the noble experiment.

The biggest winner in Prohibition was organized crime, as the mob controlled all aspects of the alcohol business. The funds from alcohol allowed the Mafia to grow from their individual city enclaves to a national organization with its tentacles in every corner of American society from loan sharking to robbing union pension funds. Another side effect was the change in drinking habits. Historian Samuel Morrison noted, “Since beer and wine did not pay bootleggers like strong liquor, the country’s drinking habits were changed from one to the other.” College age adults, instead of drinking beer, enjoyed bathtub gin and other hard liquor. Drug prohibition has produced similar results in strengthening criminal elements while seeing a shift to the use of harder drugs.

The one positive aspect of Prohibition was that Americans drank less compared to the period before Prohibition. The risk of legalization is an increased use of drugs if legally available. Like tobacco and alcohol, marijuana and other drug use could increase to a certain level before leveling off. Today, there are more ex-smokers than smokers and overall, the percentage of Americans who smoke has declined over the past decade. When the side effects of alcohol and tobacco became evident, Society as a whole found answers to restrict the use of these agents. Making a product legal does not mean society sanctions it. Many communities have passed “no smoking” laws in various public buildings and increasing policing on drunk driving has encouraged many individuals to reduce their drinking and health risk have induced many to quit smoking. Education of the dangers of the abuse of agents has been significant in the reduction of drinking and smoking cigarettes.

While I believe that legalization will increase drug usage, others disagree. Jini Wallace of Christians for Cannabis told me in an interview, “In countries and states that have made moves toward decriminalization, there has been little to no increase in use.” Ms. Wallace concludes that those individuals who use “other drugs, such as crack, cocaine, etc…will switch back to Cannabis.” She added that the lower price for legal marijuana will allow consumers to use more cannabis and less of the more expensive harder substance. Former Governor Gary Johnson (R-New Mexico) also dissents from the view that legalization means increased drug use. He observed, “For starters, we shouldn’t be looking at use as the benchmark. Look at Holland, where effectively drugs have been decriminalized; Holland has 60 percent of the drug use the United States has. I’m talking about marijuana and hard drugs, kids and adults. So if you look at that, it would not suggest that use would increase”

Drug use should not be taken lightly and we know the abuse of alcohol and nicotine has caused significant social problems. Legalization will not eliminate the social consequences of individual action. Most people do not experience problems when smoking marijuana on a recreational basis and its prohibition remains a cultural event. But some individuals do suffer from problems associated with marijuana. We are already using the basic chemical as a schedule III drug and the evidence on the basic chemical that it does have medicinal uses makes marijuana more appealing. (Maybe even better, since if you smoke marijuana, you will get a larger portion in the bloodstream quicker and bypass absorption in the gut. The latter is important since many cancer and AIDS patients have significant GI problems with the drugs that they take. Having a delivery system that is not oral gives physicians more options.)

The drug war has strengthened organized crime and allowed international crime families as well as terrorist organizations to use the drug trade as a means to raise money. Billions of dollars reach the coffers of many criminal organizations and this money produces seed money to corrupt public officials and undermine law enforcement. This also happened during alcohol prohibition when gangsters received funding to expand their empires. Legalization of drugs would reduce cash to terrorist and criminal organizations and make it easier to police these illegal corporations.

The conservative case for drug legalization, in particular marijuana, is based on one premise. The cost of waging the drug war is becoming higher than actually making it legal. It does not mean that society sanctions widespread drug use anymore than it endorses alcohol abuse. When laws breed disrespect from the normally law abiding, then society begins to crumble around the edges.

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About Tom Donelson

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Very good post, Tom. As a conservative who hates the War on Drugs myself, there’s nothing here I could find to argue with.

  • http://www.bigtimepatriot.com Big Time Patriot

    The war on drugs is only possible through Big Government and Government Interference With Personal Sovereginty. I could never figure out why conservatives would be for an intrusive and costly war on drugs. If we can’t protect the environment through methods such as Kyoto because it would “wreck the economy” then why are we wasting money trying to protect people from drugs by building more and more prisons? That is not helping the economy much either.

    Of course, ending the war on drugs could prove devestating to Afghanistans economy.

  • Michael Frager

    Great article!!

    Give marijuana basically the same legal status as alcohol and that will solve all the problems!

  • http://CCCCP.org CCCCP.org

    Good luck getting prohibitionists to concede any of these points. Copy and paste the links below into your browser’s address field to check references.

    Our government admits that after marijuana users were targeted for prosecution in the mid 1980s, heroin use rates increased drastically among eighth graders. Today, youth prescription, hard drug and solvent huffing abuses have soared to frighteningly high levels.

    All this occurs despite, or perhaps thanks to false advertising from Office of National Drug Control Policy suggesting that heroin, crack and tobacco cigarettes are as safe or somehow safer than a joint.

    (www.ktvu.com/station/4449235/detail.html , http://www.mediacampaign.org/mg/print/ad_ashtray.html )

    Meanwhile, the very officials sworn to protect and defend us all will look you in the eye from their perch at C-Span and swear that approved drugs are safer than pot. Of course, drug manufacturers support such false claims, even as they make billions covering up harm from dangerous and defective products that kill over a hundred thousand citizens every year.

    (www.taf.org/top20.htm , library.findlaw.com/2000/Nov/1/130252.html , http://www.drugfree.org/Portal/About/Partners/list.aspx )

    On June 16th, newspapers across the country published a George Will column in which ONDCP director John Walters admits marijuana is non-toxic and compares the fight against terrorists to finding a needle in a haystack, yet insists federal resources should still be targeted against American cannabis consumers.

    (www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n969/a04.html , http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n967/a02.html )

    The truth is that a war on otherwise law abiding citizens over pot is akin to burning that haystack, while ignoring the needle.

    Backed by the full force and weight of the federal government (www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/policy/budgetsum04/ ), Mr. Walters apparently feels confident in his deceptive mantras and straw man arguments.

    Even as we pay for a war that benefits oil interests and foreign opium traffickers, we are told by our own President that “the freedom we defend is meant for all men and women, and for all time.” Apparently, those charged with securing the homeland have missed the message:

    (www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n929/a06.html?397 )

    It is up to us to expose such waste and fraud as immoral, and unlawful:

    U.S. Constitution Article III, Section. 3. Clause 1:

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    – – –

    Today, after nearly four years since 9/11, the American people still do not know that thousands of lives can be jeopardized under the unspoken policy of ‘protecting certain foreign business relations.’ The victims family members still do not realize that information and answers they have sought relentlessly for almost 4 years has been blocked due to the unspoken decisions made and disguised under ‘safeguarding certain diplomatic relations .’

    – Whistle Blower Sibel Edmonds, June 20, 2005

    http://www.justacitizen.com/articles_documents/FBI%20&%20911.htm

  • Kirk Muse

    These people who call themselves “drug warriors” are low-life opportunists who know that prohibition doesn’t work.

    They know that prohibition makes our nations drug problem worse–much
    worse. Our drug war cheerleaders know that marijuana prohibition doesn’t protect out children but rather puts our children in much greater danger by exposing them to drug dealers who often
    sell other much more dangerous drugs like heroin and methamphetamine–and offer free samples to their marijuana customers.

    These so-called “drug warriors” don’t want to win the war on drugs–they want the drug war to continue and to expand. And it has.

    I’d like to add that I have personally never seen heroin, cocaine or meth except on TV. However, I was frequently
    offered free samples of these dangerous drugs when I was a user of marijuana which is more than 15 years ago.

    Fortunenatly, I turned down all offers of free samples of other drugs.
    Unfortunenatly, many other do not–thus the “gateway effect.”

  • http://lagunasite.blogspot.com alpha

    William F. Buckley is why I consider myself a conservative and the anti-drug crusaders and prolife zealots the radicals.
    The drug war has done nothing good to slow the use of dangerous drugs.
    It has made a lot of rich people richer.
    It has made some poor people richer.
    It helped a lot of people become poorer.
    It has, through US influence, destabilized a number of countries which then saw horrible and disgusting effects as the forces of anti drug legality fought the indigenous peoples with their disappearing and death squads.
    It has helped bring the US economy down by spending billions on a useless fight that has merely made the minions of the law part of the drug trade or merely more violent and without the moraliy they were charged with protecting.
    As William F. Buckley would say, it is time for the country to come to its senses before it loses itself in an unwinnable so-called war against itself.

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    Alcohol was blamed for poverty, crime, insanity and degeneracy. [in reference to the 1920s]

    It still is a large factor.

    Question for all: There’s a big difference between legalization and decriminalization. Which one are you preferential towards?

  • http://www.weebee.tv Curtis Canfield

    This is the best written article I have read on the subject to date. I believe Americans need the truth. The solution for our country lies in removing old stigma surrounding this herb. Then provide the public accurate information about cannabis and it’s uses. In 5 years the whole thing will seem as ridicules as bottled water. Avian=Naive (backwards)

  • http://CCCCP.org CCCCP.org

    Without question, alcohol is a poison that has been abused by many in society.

    However, when alcohol was prohibited, per capita homicides and youth abuses rose drastically along with the availability of illicit and often deadly substitutes.

    http://www.eh.net/encyclopedia/?article=miron.prohibition.alcohol

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-157.html

    There can be no question but that today’s war on drugs has had a similar, if not identical effect.

    In fact, under U.S. pressure, world ‘leaders’ have chosen to suppress evidence of the harm from such fraudulent policies:

    2005: anti-drugs report showing drug war benefits criminals suppressed:

    http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n1073/a02.html

    http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n1073/a05.html

    read the report here:

    image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2005/07/05/Report.pdf

    1998: WHO covers up cannabis report:

    http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99/n180/a05.html

    http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99/n308/a04.html

    2005: Prohibitionist NIDA researcher admits marijuana associated with REDUCTION in lung cancer:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/gardner07022005.html

    Those tempted to dismiss such evidence of drug war harm consistently and disingenuously omit factual evidence that contradicts their position.

    Drug war IS crime. Fight it, or have another drink.

  • Andy Moon

    Personally, I prefer regulation to decriminalization. Decrim keeps all of the harm in having sales and distribution illegal while not taking advantage of the benefits that trackable sales and taxation would give. I don’t like the term “legalization” per se as it evokes visions of drugs in vending machines. What I want is hard core regulation of some of the more dangerous chemicals we know of.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com andy marsh

    I say legalize it, tax it like alcohol and there’ll never be a deficit again!

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    And nuclear power will be too cheap to meter!

  • Eric Olsen

    super Tom! tax and regulate I say

  • WTF

    Lyndon LaRouche wrote a book years ago, while in under the employ of the Nixon administration. The book Dope Inc… exposed the fortunes and who those fortunes belonged to in the early 1970’s. LaRouche was blacklisted by the Nixon camp, the IRS was sent to destroy him, and the book claimed a fraud. But what an eyeopener. A simple search on Google will bring the necessary information up, for the curious.

    Pro or Con? Neither, give people a chance to fuck up their health and they’ll do it, or not, despite laws.

    So why punish for youthful indescretions?

    I predict that MADD will have a field day.

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    We don’t need to “legalize” illegal drugs, we need to regulate unregulated drugs.

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Matthew T. Sussman: “Question for all: There’s a big difference between legalization and decriminalization. Which one are you preferential towards?”

    Decriminalization. The model in the Netherlands, which I have experienced and studied in person, is perhaps the best approach to marijuana.

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    Another open question: If marijuana becomes a regulated drug, is it more or less dangerous than alcohol?

  • Iana

    It is a federalist issue. Notice that conservative legislators vote for the drug war because they make it an emotional, law and order issue. Democrats can be counted on to ‘talk’ about ending it.
    While on the Supreme Court, conservatives can’t rationally justify the drug war i.e.: Raich vs Ashcroft/Gonzales, and liberal justices find mendacious ‘New Deal’ rulings to perpetuate the war on drugs.
    It is a federalist issue because republicans and democrats don’t even have the will to be consistent on it!

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    Marijuana is far less toxic and intoxicating than alcohol. About 1500 people die of alcohol poisoning (overdose) every year. In over 5000 years of recorded history, not one single person has ever died from a marijuana overdose.

    Think about it. Have you ever overindulged in alcohol? How did that feel? Now, Have you ever overindulged in marijuana? No? Was that due to a lack of effort?

    Alcohol is a hard drug, marijuana is not.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com/ andy marsh

    Overindulged in Marijuana? Is there such a thing?

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    “Overindulged in Marijuana? Is there such a thing?”

    Such a thing has been attempted numerous times without success.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com/ andy marsh

    That’s pretty much what I’ve “read”…you can really only get so stoned!

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    It’s true. I’ve “read” that its called “peaking” and that once that point is reached, smoking more is just a waste of stash.

    And while we’re at this, I have to disagree with one of the numbers in the article.

    Sales of paraphernalia are over $1 billion per year (the only related industry that can be somewhat tracked because it is in a legal gray area), if there are only 15 million cannabis consumers in the US, then each of them must have 1000s of bongs. A more realistic estimate is 30-40 million.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com/ andy marsh

    Is it peaking or forgetting where you put your stash?

  • The Duke

    Why does the PR machine always use the term “the war on” this or that?

    The war on drugs.
    The war on poverty.
    The war on health care.
    The war on terrorism.

    Do we have all these war’s going on.

    Pols also feel the need to fight, fight and fight some more. The verbs are starting to boreass me to death.

    But the dude up there on 14 make a valid point. Illegal or Legal, any substance that is hard on your system is hard on your system.

    What makes MJ get you high? Science points out that MJ has a natural protective agent, which has developed overtime (adaptation of the species) to protect it against extinction.

    The same agent (THC) makes you high… but animals interpret the “high” as a bad thing, and will not eat the plant again, because the animal interprets correctly. In fact, THC poisons; not enhances perception.

    The animals get sick, the plant thrives. So do thorn bushes etc…

    Any drug actually poisons your system… however we find that uses for opiates, stimulants etc… have uses, but are not recommended for overage of use, because of negative side effects.

    There is also a liver synthesis problem with more robust narcotics. After a while livers are overextended and start to fail. Liver failure leads to eventual death, or extention of life through transplant.

    So there is a health issue attached to cannibus sativa. Did you know that hops (used in beer production) is related to MJ? In fact you can smoke the hops bud and receive a mild “high” — You can also smoke forcisthia buds and get a mild “high.”

    I guess the correct terminoloy is intoxication. The key to that word is TOXIC, which is from the Latin Toxicum, which translates to the term poisoning.

    Could it be safe to assume, that legalizing drugs, would also place a burden on health care, future health care, and systems of health care such as nursing homes, hospitals etc….

    Ever been to Crete? The hashish smokers there, have been around for millenia, and they are mindless, bumbling street people, who have reduced their mental capacity to something akin to alzheimer’s victims. All self induced through the use of Hashish, with the compound THC.

    Lung problems associated with cannibus use (smoking) is also on the rise. Tobacco isn’t the only smokable substance which effects one’s ability to promote air exchange.

    Go visit a cancer ward, or someplace where smokers wait to die from various ailments related to inhaling superheated gasses over a long period of time. It’s not pretty.

    Legalize MJ? Sure why not. Decriminalize whatever, but the a general decline in health, and quality of life for those who indulge will surely follow.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com/ andy marsh

    I saw a movie a while back…narrated by Woody Harrelson, called “Grass” that discussed the war on marijuana in this country…it went all the way back to the days of that dumbass movie “Reefer Madness” and discussed one particular individual as the one responsible for the govt’s idiotic position on pot…Unfortunately, I have a little short term memory loss and I can’t remember the guys name!

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    Harry J. Anslinger, who was very disappointed by the ratification of the 21st Amendment, but got a new lease on life when the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com/ andy marsh

    That’s the guy! Thanks Margaret!

  • Admatha Israel

    Marijuana will never be “willingly” decriminalized, for the simple fact that our national security depends on it.

    Sure the drug war is causing a wave of methamphetamine addicts, it doesn’ matter. If we legitimize marijuana, then all the 130 other countries that follow America’s lead will do the same.

    Canada, Ireland and the UK have just relaxed their policies on marijuana and look at the result: they are sending us back our prescription drugs.

    Tobacco, alcohol and pharma- the guys who sponsor our drug free america- would lose customers every day marijuana is legal. If the big 3 falls, our economy goes, and we can’t have that.

    One of the biggest differences between alcohol and marijuana prohibition (besides the fact that alcohol prohibition came and went constitutionally) is that alcohol prohibition was short lived compared to the decades old marijuana hinged drug war.

    for almost 70 years, we’ve built a society (with ssi, medicare, etc) around drug prohibition. Legalizing marijuana now would be like trying to fix the foundation of a 70 story building.

    Should I go on?

    AI

  • dee

    Mj should be legalized. I have been saying that for years. I do not use it but I can fully understand the man or woman with glaucoma doing whatever it takes to get this drug. Alcohol is legal and mj isn’t and that does not make sense to me.

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    Bill Hicks mused along the lines of;

    “Not only should marijuana be legal, it should be fucking mandatory”

  • Bennett

    Thanks The Duke! I hadn’t heard that one, and it was good for a decent snorting type chuckle.

    A profound sound.

  • Dan

    I prefer decriminalization over legalization regarding marijuana. If the societal position is that marijuana is mostly harmful, then it seems wrong to introduce it commercialy, and a little hypocritical to tax it.

    A better solution would be to admit that the cost to society for continuing the insanity of marijuana prohibition out-weighs the harm caused by using it. I’d like to see the distribution remain illegal. Far better to encourage budding horticulturists to grow their own. It’s easy to do, and develops a skill that is personally satisfying.

    As MRT pointed out in comment#19, It’s hard to kill yourself from smoking pot. That’s why regulation is unnecessary. Alchohol is even easier to make, but the likelihood of being poisoned is greater. Same with other recreational drugs. That’s why it is reasonable to regulate them. Not so with pot.

  • Bennett

    “Alchohol is even easier to make, but the likelihood of being poisoned is greater.”

    What are you talking about??? I ran a home brewing supply store for five years and no one EVER poisened themselves! It’s really not possible to poisen yourself making beer or wine. Pathogens do not live in a malt or grape based fermentable mixture.

    Very few people try to distill alcohol as the product is so cheap in the stores.

    Poisening from bootleg alcohol came from using automobile radiators to cool the distilate, leaching the lead out of the cooling coils.

    So what do you actually base your statement on?

    Bennett

  • Bennett

    Just read up-thread for a bit, and realied that I may have created confusion…

    The Duke – You are full of shit. On all accounts.

    Aaron Duke De La Monde – You da man, I love you, love child etc…

    Dan – See coment #34

  • Dan

    Bennett, I’m a home brewer myself. I’m not saying it’s likely to be poisoned. Just more likely than being poisoned from pot smoking. Some of those jail-house concoctions sound dangerous.

    You make the point though when you talk about distilled alchohol being cheaper as a regulated drug in the stores. The market forces make it easier to buy a regulated known product than to take the chance that someone will do something stupid like using automobile radiators to cool the distilate.

    It just comes down to there being more variation in alchohol products, and certainly more in other recreational drugs than there is in marijuana.

    You are right though. Responsile home brewing and consumption is safe and enjoyable.

  • http://www.lovenotfear.blogspot.com Marc

    Well articulated post, Tom. Thanks for provoking some intelegent discussion. I say legalize/tax it.

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Great post. My “real conservative” friends say much the same thing, goddess bless ‘em. I am with Buckley and Peter Tosh on this issue. As Roseanne cracked on Leno tonight (and this is a paraphrase), the war on drugs is a war waged against poor people who use street drugs by rich people who use prescription drugs.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com/ andy marsh

    Dan – have you ever even smoked pot? And if you have, did you inhale? to say that there aren’t many variations in pot is most definately wrong. Just like there are different proofs of alcohol, there are different potencies in pot.

    Smoke something that’s gronw in that pretty red dirt in Hawaii, then smoke something that’s gronw in the deserts of mexico…you’ll see the difference…literally!

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    Dan wrote: “I prefer decriminalization over legalization regarding marijuana. If the societal position is that marijuana is mostly harmful, then it seems wrong to introduce it commercially, and a little hypocritical to tax it.”

    Is it hypocritical to tax tobacco and allow it to be sold commercially? After all, the societal position is regarding tobacco is that it is totally harmful (and the stats agree, showing that over a half a million people die from tobacco-related illnesses every year).

    Decriminalization is the worst idea of all because it is a half-measure that will do nothing to reduce the black market that is the cause of most “drug-related” crimes.

    And that is the futility of prohibition, not that people still use banned drugs in spite of it, but that it does nothing to inhibit the violent and corrupt system of distribution.

    Social engineering via legislation never works as it is intended. Decriminalization might encourage a few people to grow their own, thus preventing some money from passing through the underground economy.

    But the vast majority of people, especially city-dwellers, prefers the convenience of a retail purchase, even if it involves doing business with the black market, which it would be more willing to do if there were no penalties for possession.

    And then, of course, such a policy would create an incentive for some of the new home growers to take advantage of the legality of their gardens to enter into business for themselves, seeing as how prohibitionist policies would still be in place to provide the artificial inflation that turns raw plant matter into gold.

    The black market is a by-product of prohibition, the only way to get rid of that violent and corrupt entity is to get rid of prohibition. Completely.

  • Dan

    Andy, yes there are variations in pot. But no matter what the potency, it seems like your body will only absorb so much THC. When you hit the ceiling, thats it. Smoke more, and you won’t die.

    “Is it hypocritical to tax tobacco and allow it to be sold commercially?”

    Yes, I think so. If the politicians actually used the money for the benefit of the addicted instead of their pet project powerbases I might not feel that way.

    I obviously don’t feel that marijuana is very harmful, particularly if you smoke the potent stuff and don’t subject your lungs to excessive smoke. The societal position is that it is harmful. So why introduce it commercially? Tobbacco has a history where society didn’t consider it as harmful as it is. An industry built up around it. Jobs, tax revenue, some good things. It would be, and is, hard to pull the rug out from under that now. But two wrongs don’t make a right. I think it would be wrong to use the tobbaco model for marijuana.

    ” Decriminalization is the worst idea of all because it is a half-measure that will do nothing to reduce the black market that is the cause of most “drug-related” crimes.”

    I believe it would be a full-measure for the consumer. That’s the only one I care about. Decriminalization would most certainly kill the black market. Why would anyone pay any appreciable amount of money for something they could so easily provide for themselves? For a couple hundred bucks, city dwellers could buy a hydroponic growing device that would easily keep them supplied in premium bud for the rest of their lives. Actually, I would imagine that upon decriminalization there would be so much available pot that an extremely lazy person could count on friends to give them pot. (still legal under my decriminalization model)

    I guess it’s hard for folks who maybe don’t grow things, and consider government intervention a neccessary condition in all aspects of life, to visualize how simplistic decriminalization could actually be.

  • electricmike

    our electred leaders- the trained professionals- the ones in charge- the ones who are supposed (perceived)to be smarter than than the average citizen- are failures! does anybody else see this? the war on drugs(citizens)-failure! Trillions
    spent on defense since WW2 and some guy who lives in a cave successfully arranged
    to have a plane(missle?)fly right into thier house? Smells like failure to me! Luckily he has been swiftly brought to justice…. Oooh,I’m sorry, failure again. Since he cant be found, I’ll skip the critique on the judicial system of
    of modern america.I will say in their defense, the prison industrial complex is doing great!Imprisoning the highest percentage of it’s total population, of any country in the world ain’t small potatoes, and they get better at it every day. Kudos to them! Who else have I missed? Oh yeah,illegal immigrants flow thru the borders, the education system that can’t be at fault for the excessive dropout rates! Health care or welfare? Taxpayer money spent on meddling in other soveriegn states affairs. Using money to buy the cooperation of tyrants questionable ethics at least.The IRS? Lets not go there! Transportation planners? No.Utility regulators? No Dept of energy? Hint: we are fighting a war for oil,lots of people dying,gas prices at all time highs and the top of the chain of command,when they are not being pres and vp, are in the oil business!FBI? CIA? NASA? Failures, every one of them!
    Police are doing good. SWAT has state of art weapons and those really cool black masks that cover their faces while they protect and serve. Police brass naturally want to downplay the whole asset fortiture thing(strong arm robbery?)Our fearless leaders do have a healthy respect for the “will of the voters” I am saying failures and incompetent and out of touch with basic human nature because it sounds so much better than deceitful or egomaniacal or just plain self absorbed. Smart bombs or school breakfasts. Empty a clip into someone on tv, but don’t show a titty. Jesus never led an army to victory. Abortion no, death penalty yes! Only some lives are precious. I’m sorry to be saying this, but We the people are SO screwed
    are screwed

  • debbie

    one person commented that more prisons are bad for the economy… say, what?? i have read is that prisons and corrections are now the SECOND LARGEST INDUSTRY IN THE U.S.!!! boogers on DAT!!!

  • samantha penninton

    this is so kool it really has a meaning

  • J Mac

    Well the article was very good raised some very solid points BUT! the government will not legalize marijuana because there are to many damn drug dealers:) why do you think they legalized alchohol after they banned… becauase they got rid of all the rum runners. there are way to many drug dealersi n the world and plus who would want to buy weed from the government they will prolyl add some more damn chemicals in it liek they did to tobacco. so unless all the drug dealers get booked i doubht we will see weedf having a legel status, but if for sum reason it does get legalized then have fun payin up your ass for a gram, and also kiss all ur second income goodbye because there is no way the governemnt will let u make more money than them that is the whole reason why this shit is illegal because WE ARE MAKING MORE MONEY THAN THE GOVERNMENT.

  • J Mac

    Tha is pure crap ” u can only get so high” that is pure crap the more u smoke the more u got high cuz how high is high u can keep on goin forever so keep on tokin

  • I’m On Welfare

    In highschool I found it much easier to buy weed than alchohol. I think it’s funny that the same people that are pro gun are against legalization. We can be trusted with a fire arm but not a joint? I know a lot of people that smoke weed, I don’t consider any of them criminals.

  • I’m On Welfare

    J Mac… Puff Puff Give

  • Anthony Grande

    It is a Libertarian case, not a Conservative one.

    We have not lost the drug war. I don’t understand how an educated person can say this. Can you imagine how wispread drug abuse would be if Reagan never declared war on drugs?

  • I’m On Welfare

    The exact same. I do think crystal meth should be illegal. This is about weed which should not ever be put in the same category as crack, smack, and crank. Grande I think we agree on everything.

  • http://www.christiansforcannabis.com jini

    The War on Drugs was first declared by President Nixon in 1971, Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding, US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse is a report of the Shaeffer Commission which was appointed by Nixon in 1972.

  • Jet in Columbus

    On the lighter side, I was hoping someone would bring up the topic so I’d have an excuse to reprint this…

    JESUS, MARIJUANA, AND THE DINOSAURS…

    One day St. Peter discovered he could time travel, so he went far into the past, looked around and then zoomed far into the future.

    Upon return, he sat down across the table from Jesus and frowned, “Something just occurred to me; why won’t the dinosaurs be mentioned in the Bible after they eventually write it?”

    Jesus frowned and admitted, “I don’t know, I’ll have to go ask my Father.”

    In a little while he returned and sat back down across from St. Peter and groaned, “Well I hope that story never gets out!”

    St. Peter’s eyebrows rose “Huh?”

    “Well the way it was told to me, God created the heavens and Earth in 6 days and on the 7th he rested.”

    Peter nodded, “Yeah, so?”

    “Well apparently on the 8th day he smoked all the marijuana he’d just created, you know just to test the first batch. Then on the 9th day he smoked all the Opium he’d created too, you know just to test out the first batch.”

    “And?”

    “On the 309th day when he woke back up, he created all the monsters he’d seen on the 8th and 9th day!”

    Peter’s eyes widened, “I hope that story never gets out!”

    Jesus shrugged, “Oh don’t worry, I don’t think anyone will mention it, or even consider it until some guy posts it on a blog over two thousand years from now…….

  • Jet in Columbus

    I believe it was Chris Rock that said the reason it’s illegal here is because it’s not grown here, so it can’t be taxed here.

    Put frankly, they make it better over there, but we’re catching up

    …but that’s only my opinion

  • ace

    dude . . yes this is the fucken shit dude . im fucked up jacken off and your page was sent to me and dude holy shit i havent read that much since seventh grade

  • Sonic

    marijuana is good for you and it helps people through their problems

  • Wolf

    What always smacks me inthe face about this is if we want it leagal we make it leagal. Currently they are fighting a war against us unopposed. I say we bring the war to them. Now dont freak out I’m not talking guns and bombs just good old fashioned peaceful uprising.they work for us not the other way around. they serve in positions of wealth and power at our pleasure.we can stand against their wave of “power” and not flinch as it breaks upon our backs.let them call in the national guard to stand against us, thatl look great on youtube,cnn,msnbc….oh, Wait, thats right we live in the 2000’s not the 1970’s. We are all to concerned with our quality of life to risk jail on high ideals. But just imagin if people remembered what that whole “land of the free, home of the brave” part of the song was about.insteasd this country will sit complacently whie its sons and daughters get persecuted for demanding the right to make their own choice about what to do with their own bodies. Not me I will not go silently into that sweet good night i will rage , rage against the dying of the light.

  • John Adams

    At 55 years of age, this is the one and only issue that absolutely makes my blood boil. Responsible use of cannabis by adults should not be a punishable offence. What really irks me is that, I have no doubt that government knows full well the safe, non-toxic nature of marijuana, yet, they continue to pamper the large pharmaceutical companies while condemning cannabis. Their motives are clear. An honest government we have not.

  • http://www.pacificway.org Alan

    Are we to believe we live in a democracy where majority rules? Or are we in a state which dictates to us? When the numbers of Canadian people who have used marijuana at some time in their life are considered (well in excess of 50%) it would be impossible for any government to consider that the use of it remain illegal, either that or the people who run or control the government are hypocrites. How can any government consider making illegal or keeping illegal an activity or product that so many people use? That would mean more than 50% of Canadians would be criminals. Who thinks their use of something so relatively innocuous is really a crime? Not 90+% of those who have used it. Would the public accept that their government (that they in theory get to say does what they want) has done something they don’t agree with? So what should be done?

    It is only a matter of time before the righteous fascists have to account to the public for their ‘protective’ stance that tramples on the rights of the majority. Democracy has an enemy. It is fascism. Italy and Germany were democratic states before fascism vaulted in and took over. The USA has creeping fascism, and most American’s don’t even know it. Canada isn’t far behind the US because our politicians and the bureaucrats behind them do things they think we want, without checking with the voters. Every protection takes away from our freedom… and enslaves us by degrees to people (and bureaucratic systems) who are not the cream of the crop in terms of their sensitivities or ability to think.

    We only need to see the power we have accorded to policing and courts to know that each of them have gone beyond what they were permitted by law, to creating penalties and laws that the public have not had any say in, or in the case of the USA have violated its constitution, by implementing the Patriot Act and other violations of the constitution.

  • REMF

    I agree with Rush Lardbaugh that black-market Oxycontin and “doctor shopping” should be legalized.

  • Clavos

    “I agree with Rush Lardbaugh that black-market Oxycontin and “doctor shopping” should be legalized.”

    Me too. The prescription system does not protect the public, it protects the revenue streams of doctors and pharmas.

    Pharmaceuticals should be available over the counter to everyone old enough to drink legally.

  • John Q.

    I read people stating that drug use will rise and that drugs kill if done to excess. I think their missing the point. Drug use is going to be there weather it is legal or not. I grew up in a city where the drug problem is considered to be at it’s worse but I married a girl from the Hamptons and she told me that kids sold drugs out of their back packs in school while she was growing up so drugs are going to be used no matter the law or the location you live in. No one is immune!

    Drugs are damaging to people that choose to use them but the war on drugs damages everyone. Someone typed that an increase in health care is going to be a problem but drug addicts are going to have health related problems weather or not we legalize it. I worked in a rehab for years and most people would be surprised at who really uses drugs. We treated Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers etc.. but most people do not know this because drug use is counter intuitive to admit for fear of legal repercussions. Users would have less health problems if they knew what exactly was in the drugs they were buying and were not regulated by a drug dealer with profits in mind. AIDS would decrease because addicts could get there hands on legal needles and not be forced to share dirty ones. It has been proven in many communities that have instituted clean needle programs. People think that the users are the only ones to suffer from the effects of drugs but many people are infected with Hep C, AIDS and other sex related illnesses because it is not in the addicts best interest to share that he or she is just that an addict. Communities are hurting from the increases in crime, corrupt politicians, and soaring jail and hospital bills from the direct effects of the War on Drugs. Child molesters are being released early because prisons are way over crowded from non-violent drug users. The laws were put in place to protect the population from the horrors of drugs but what we have done is cause even worse problems. No one is exempt from the ill effects of drug use, no one.

    It’s time we as a nations get the real facts of drug use and not the scare tactics that the government has been force feeding our nation and the world as a whole for decades.
    Drugs have been with us from the beginning of time and we as a people have never had as many problems as we do today with them. Alexander the Great used to feed Opium to his troops while consuming it himself to enhance his troops ability to march longer distances and reduce fear and pain associated to war. We still remember him as Alexander the Great and not just some dope fiend. It is America’s perception to drugs that has changed and I must say for the worst. In the 1800 there were no laws prohibiting drug use and our country did just fine. Kids were not killing each other in the streets for the right to deal on a particular corner. I just hope it is time we the people educate our selves on the good and bad of the drug culture and stop think the Government can save someone from themselves.

  • marij

    The ones who use the herb will have it regardless of it being illegal. When they do this they are supporting the terrorist we fight against. Alcohol causes many health problems and much devestation to society but it is legal. The legal drugs many use have more side effects than marijuana has. Those that will smoke it will go to any extremes to get it. There could be profit made here in the U.S. and put the illegal border crossers out of bussiness. It’s a lost cause to try to stop people from buying it and using it.

  • Marie Matt

    I don’t use marijuana but I have seen first hand the wonderful results of it as medicine. My Wife was bedridden with migraines 90 percent of the time until he started using it. she used to get rages and life was hell. The cannabis has taken his rages as well. From 1990 until 2011 that woman lived with pain and rages resulting from a head injury at work.

    Vote Stephen Colbert for President of the United States of Medical Marijuana!!