Video: Time to legalize marijuana?

posted at 10:15 am on April 19, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Nick Gillespie at Reason TV gives three reasons for the US to legalize and regulate marijuana on the same basis as alcohol. Think of this as a kitchen-sink presentation, as Nick gives a smorgasbord of motivations. Think the government needs more revenue? Taxes could net as much as $6 billion a year, and ending prohibition will save another $8 billion. He also uses a traditional libertarian argument, as well as the pessimistic fatalist argument:

1. The tax revenue and law enforcement savings. A 2005 cost-benefit analysis done by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron found that legalizing marijuana and taxing it similar to alcohol would generate over $6 billion in new revenue and save nearly $8 billion in direct law enforcement costs. Pot is already the biggest cash crop in many states; bringing it into the open market would pump all sorts of energy into the economy.

2. It’s going to happen anyway, so why delay the inevitable? Increasing numbers of Americans realize that pot prohibition is an ineffective and costly policy. A 2009 poll by Zogby found that 52 percent of Americans agreed that marijuana should be taxed and regulated like booze. A Field Poll last year of California residents, who will vote on a legalization ballot initiative in the fall, found that 56 percent wanted legalization. Other polls show historically high percentages favoring legalization. In a world of busted budgets, it’s crystal clear that spending time and energy policing marijuana is not worth it.

3. Keep Your Laws Off Our Bodies. Never mind that by virtually every measure, pot is safer and less than disruptive than booze. Pot prohibition in the 1930s was the result of hysteria, not serious threats to society. We own our bodies and should be free to eat, drink, and smoke what we want. And to take responsibility for our actions, whether we’re straight or we’re stoned.

In my mind, the only fully legitimate argument among the three is the last. I don’t think the federal government needs more revenue, and I’m a little surprised to hear a libertarian offer that as a feature rather than a bug.  The reduction in law-enforcement cost is a good argument, but that’s more of a side effect from the third argument rather than the first.  After all, additional taxes and regulation will bring its own government costs.  Inevitability in this case is rather weak; when it’s legalized, it will be legalized, but that doesn’t necessarily make it inevitable.  If it happens, we can then set those effective and efficient controls.

I agree, though, that marijuana intake is a personal decision in the same sense as alcohol.  The two don’t differ much in terms of danger to the user or those around the user, and alcohol is more toxic.  While we’re marching in the streets to demand an end to nanny-state policies, we should at least reconsider this 72-year-old nanny-state anachronism.


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Sorry I’m no prude, but marijuana is not the same as alcohol.While some people do use alcohol to get “high” it is not necessarily the outcome. Marijuana has but one purpose and that is to get high.I don’t equate it with having a beer or a glass of wine.

sandee on April 19, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Makes sense to me.

Inkblots on April 19, 2010 at 10:20 AM

While we’re marching in the streets to demand an end to nanny-state policies, we should at least reconsider this 72-year-old nanny-state anachronism.

But this would be the intellectually honest thing to do…

ernesto on April 19, 2010 at 10:21 AM

Anything that gives the Left a new favorite hobby would be a great thing.

RBMN on April 19, 2010 at 10:21 AM

When was the last HotAir poll on this subject?

Abby Adams on April 19, 2010 at 10:21 AM

This whole idea of taxing it is crazy. It’s a plant, it grows anywhere (granted it does require some cultivating skills to get the best results) and pretty much everywhere, especially in the south. If it’s legalized, how do you intend to control people growing pot in their backyard. What, I can grow carrots and tomatoes, but not weed? If it’s made legal, I’ll grow my own. Simple.

RonD504 on April 19, 2010 at 10:22 AM

the irony here is that its only going to accomplish giving the State more revenue to finance more Big Govt.

although they are likely to tax it too much and outlaw the more potent forms of it and thus continue a black market for it.

Plus, they’d have to empty the prisons across the country which would save money. Except for the fact many of these prisoners are known to be guilty of other crimes, harder to prove. Thus crime rate liable to jump in short term..

jp on April 19, 2010 at 10:23 AM

I’m all for it. Think of the withering away of Cartels when they don’t have pot to fund their crime sprees. It would no doubt save thousands of lives over a period of time not to mention freeing up jail space for real criminals. Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol. I never understood why anyone would think that it would work for pot too.

Guardian on April 19, 2010 at 10:23 AM

While we’re marching in the streets to demand an end to nanny-state policies, we should at least reconsider this 72-year-old nanny-state anachronism.

Then the hippies have already won….

Shock the Monkey on April 19, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Yes. Then take the cash saved and earned, and use it for NASA, or bring back the F22, or something more useful to this nation’s progress.

Plus, how many new jobs are going to be created by companies who process the weed, package it, sell it, as well as the farmers who will be needed all of a sudden?

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 10:25 AM

The tax revenue will not be nearly as much as most think. The stuff is too easy to grow all by your self. Or so I’ve heard.

kahall on April 19, 2010 at 10:25 AM

The tax revenue will not be nearly as much as most think. The stuff is too easy to grow all by your self. Or so I’ve heard.

kahall on April 19, 2010 at 10:25 AM

If that were true, there’d be no vegetable, fruit, or herb companies.

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 10:26 AM

“Legalize Pot so that Teachers and other Public Unions can continue to live the high life in retirement”

/unspoken reality

jp on April 19, 2010 at 10:27 AM

kahall on April 19, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Legalizing it does not necessarily mean that anyone is allowed to grow it. They still have some moonshining laws on the books.

Abby Adams on April 19, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Yes. Then take the cash saved and earned, and use it for NASA, or bring back the F22, or something more useful to this nation’s progress.

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Like universal health care, raises for elected officials, more scientific research into the mating life of mole rats, etc.?

Abby Adams on April 19, 2010 at 10:30 AM

The tax revenue will not be nearly as much as most think. The stuff is too easy to grow all by your self. Or so I’ve heard.

kahall on April 19, 2010 at 10:25 AM

If that were true, there’d be no vegetable, fruit, or herb companies.

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 10:26 AM

True, but I’m sure the tax on the reefer would be way more since it is not exactly good for you. Like my smokes which is still a sore point with me. But one can’t really grow their own tobacco. It is too complicated. I checked.

kahall on April 19, 2010 at 10:31 AM

The tax revenue will not be nearly as much as most think. The stuff is too easy to grow all by your self. Or so I’ve heard.

kahall on April 19, 2010 at 10:25 AM

It’s not easy to grow, unless you’re dedicated. It’s not like planting seeds and waiting for them to grow.

Regardless though, all this authoritarian crap will stop eventually, both the right and the left are guilty.

uknowmorethanme on April 19, 2010 at 10:31 AM

I’m calling my broker and loading up on Cheetos and Twinkies stocks.

Jerome Horwitz on April 19, 2010 at 10:32 AM

They still have some moonshining laws on the books.

Abby Adams on April 19, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Ahh yes. Carolina moonshine. The stuff that birthed NASCAR.

Guardian on April 19, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Yes. Then take the cash saved and earned, and use it for NASA, or bring back the F22, or something more useful to this nation’s progress.

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Howsabout using it to start closing our $1,171,000,000,000 Federal budget deficit, eh? As opposed to reversing what measly few spending cuts we’ve seen from this disaster of an administration.

Inkblots on April 19, 2010 at 10:32 AM

I used to be against legalizing it but now…really who cares.
I think we have a lot of larger problems to solve although I agree that the penalty for pot shouldn’t be jail time. At least not on amounts for personal use.

ArmyAunt on April 19, 2010 at 10:33 AM

Legalizing it does not necessarily mean that anyone is allowed to grow it. They still have some moonshining laws on the books.

Abby Adams on April 19, 2010 at 10:27 AM

If that’s the route they take then I’m against it. ;-)

kahall on April 19, 2010 at 10:33 AM

LMAO @ Jerome!

ArmyAunt on April 19, 2010 at 10:33 AM

Then the hippies have already won….

Shock the Monkey on April 19, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Ah yes, the hypocricy begins. You can’t pick and chose freedom based on your ideology.

Freedom is Freedom, and nobody has explained in any common sense language why marijuana should remain illegal.

uknowmorethanme on April 19, 2010 at 10:34 AM

The thing about it is the common misconception that marijuana is a gateway drug. When truth be told, alcohol is the true gateway drug. Ads for alcohol target a younger audience.

Education is important.

In my opinion, ban alcohol advertising (similar to the ban on tobacco advertising) and legalize marijuana (also with a ban on advertising).

ButterflyDragon on April 19, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Legalizing it does not necessarily mean that anyone is allowed to grow it. They still have some moonshining laws on the books.

Abby Adams on April 19, 2010 at 10:27 AM

If that’s the case, then perhaps we really are a corporatist nation…

MeatHeadinCA on April 19, 2010 at 10:34 AM

more scientific research into the mating life of mole rats

Hey now. What Barney Frank does in his own home is his business.

Aviator on April 19, 2010 at 10:34 AM

I’m all for legalization. The police have far better things to do and it can help out the dwindling tobacco industry from farms to factories. There are many drawbacks, but overall, for me anyway, the benefits are greater. One thing sticks in my craw, however. People using medical marijuana will insist it’s part of their right to healthcare, and anyone who has spent time among stoners can tell you that there’s a significant percentage that will simply spend all day smoking government provided weed. Legalization should result in freedom of action, not a right to a product or a lifestyle.

trubble on April 19, 2010 at 10:35 AM

The irony would be if pot were legalized (pushed by the small gov’t libertarians) and then the left established a massive agency to regulate the selling of pot…

MeatHeadinCA on April 19, 2010 at 10:35 AM

I’m calling my broker and loading up on Cheetos and Twinkies stocks.

Jerome Horwitz on April 19, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Your future will be brighter if you focus on Mountain Dew and Doritos instead.

uknowmorethanme on April 19, 2010 at 10:36 AM

*and growing

MeatHeadinCA on April 19, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Legalizing it does not necessarily mean that anyone is allowed to grow it. They still have some moonshining laws on the books.

Abby Adams on April 19, 2010 at 10:27 AM

it would be highly regulated form of it, most likely.

alot of the profits from it would be directed into Govt., instead of the Private Sector as the system currently is setup. That would be bad for the economy probably.

jp on April 19, 2010 at 10:36 AM

I’m surprised that you’re surprised they use the “more revenue for the government” argument. It is indeed contrary to general libertarian thinking, but they’ve been using it for years to justify the legalization of marijuana.

I guess the transfer of more wealth from the private sector to the public sector is a good thing in the minds of libertarians if it means they can get stoned without having to worry about the cops.

calabrese on April 19, 2010 at 10:37 AM

I think there are many unforeseen consequences to legalizing pot. Right now mfg & sale of alcohol is a mature market with sophisticated marketing and distribution. What will pot use (or other drug use) be like when it is a mature market? What will the social pressures be like at that time?

I’m a bit agnostic on the subject, but leaning towards keeping the status quo. I do agree that point #3 is the only reason to legalize. But is that a slippery slop to legalize all other drugs?

mdenis39 on April 19, 2010 at 10:38 AM

It’s not easy to grow, unless you’re dedicated. It’s not like planting seeds and waiting for them to grow.

Regardless though, all this authoritarian crap will stop eventually, both the right and the left are guilty.

uknowmorethanme on April 19, 2010 at 10:31 AM

That is also true. But a few summers ago someone threw a bunch of seeds in an empty lot near me. This section of the lot is never mowed. Smelled pretty good to me.

kahall on April 19, 2010 at 10:38 AM

I have a friend who is an auto mechanic. A co-worker stoned off his booty could drop an engine block on someone’s head and kill my friend. It behooves my friend’s workplace to be sure the mechanics come to work unimpaired by drugs or alcohol.

Right now, the drug tests that can be run test for the mere presence or recent (as in within the week) use of marijuana. If detected, they send the guy home. If it is no longer illegal to have used marijuana some time within the week, the standard changes from “mere presence of marijuana” to “currently intoxicated from use of marijuana.” There should be a reliable test for actual intoxication, and legal butt-coverage for the businesses and law enforcement personnel who want to insist such a test be taken.

Sekhmet on April 19, 2010 at 10:39 AM

i don’t see how it can raise so much in taxes when you can grow it yourself unless they regulate that the average person can’t grow pot.

deidre on April 19, 2010 at 10:39 AM

This is what we are talking about? My biggest concern is government spending. I don’t care anything either way about Marijuana. How does this relate to stopping a government being reckless with the checkbook?

Don’t give the government more money for their reckless habit. Make them attend a trillion-step spending addiction program and then we can talk about the leaf.

matthew26 on April 19, 2010 at 10:40 AM

I think it is a good idea. It will be abused for the first generation, but just like the Netherlands, once kids have grown up with it, it will be looked upon as no big deal. One thing is for sure…if this ever happens, I am sinking all my money into pizza delivery stocks.

search4truth on April 19, 2010 at 10:41 AM

Like universal health care, raises for elected officials, more scientific research into the mating life of mole rats, etc.?

Abby Adams on April 19, 2010 at 10:30 AM

I personally vote for more research into owl vomit.

Yes, I would like to see debt reduced, but this kind of move is barely going to scratch the surface. Revoking ObamaCare is going to be the first real step towards cleaning up the mess.

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 10:41 AM

i don’t see how it can raise so much in taxes when you can grow it yourself unless they regulate that the average person can’t grow pot.

deidre on April 19, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Perhaps 1/2 of the pot smokers I’ve met are the type to grow it themselves (especially if it were legal to grow).

MeatHeadinCA on April 19, 2010 at 10:41 AM

Heh

Guardian on April 19, 2010 at 10:42 AM

Legalizing it does not necessarily mean that anyone is allowed to grow it. They still have some moonshining laws on the books.

Abby Adams on April 19, 2010 at 10:27 AM

And those moonshining laws have to do with safety. Brewing homemade wine or beer cannot kill you. If you don’t know what you’re doing moonshining, it can kill you or your customers. In more ways than one. Stills blowing up and poisoned moonshine (lead poisning, etc.)

The taxes on distilled spirits is rather hefty, but the primary concern is safety.

I don’t think growing marijuana is going to create a safety issue for anyone other than the occasional pothead who might get lost in their backyard and have to sleep outside for a night.

ButterflyDragon on April 19, 2010 at 10:42 AM

Don’t give the government more money for their reckless habit. Make them attend a trillion-step spending addiction program and then we can talk about the leaf.

matthew26 on April 19, 2010 at 10:40 AM

10-F’n-4.

kahall on April 19, 2010 at 10:42 AM

I’m a little surprised to hear a libertarian offer that as a feature rather than a bug.

Mentioning the tax revenue/regulation like alcohol is probably just a pragmatic move that adds another positive check-mark to legalization. I’m sure after such a passage eventually (if not almost immediately) there’d be movements to abolish said taxes and regulations.

My take on it at least.

modnar on April 19, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Pot is easy to grow, horticulturally. It is not easy to grow legally. The difficulties in growing pot involve growing it where the neighbors and cops don’t know you’re growing it. This is why all the hydroponic stuff is used to grow pot.

NOTE: I don’t and never have grown pot, but note the hemp plant’s origin in warm temperate climes, which most of the United States happens to be in.

Sekhmet on April 19, 2010 at 10:43 AM

My age old question, how can marijuana even be declared illegal by the federal goverment? If the federal government required an amendment to prohibit alcohol, why is an amendment not needed to prohibit marijuana?

WashJeff on April 19, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Pot barely registers with me as an issue to think about.

I guess I’m at least in favor of keeping penalties low. We don’t need every dude that gets caught with a couple ounces getting charged with “intent to distribute” felonies. There’s some serious costs involved there that far outweigh the negative impact of pot smoking (law enforcement, courts, loss of opportunities and future production on the part of the suspect etc).

forest on April 19, 2010 at 10:45 AM

I don’t think growing marijuana is going to create a safety issue for anyone other than the occasional pothead who might get lost in their backyard and have to sleep outside for a night.

ButterflyDragon on April 19, 2010 at 10:42 AM

But those california brush fires will be awesooomme dude!

WashJeff on April 19, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Totally agree… I won’t smoke it but it needs to be legal.

therambler on April 19, 2010 at 10:48 AM

The taxes on distilled spirits is rather hefty, but the primary concern is safety.

I don’t think growing marijuana is going to create a safety issue for anyone other than the occasional pothead who might get lost in their backyard and have to sleep outside for a night.

ButterflyDragon on April 19, 2010 at 10:42 AM

There may be some safety aspect, but taxes on spirits have a long history of being levied to fund the government. See The Whiskey Rebellion, The Whiskey act of 1791 and Alexander Hamilton.

Aviator on April 19, 2010 at 10:49 AM

NO.

Starve the Beast and continue to piss off the Hippies.

SurferDoc on April 19, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Sorry I’m no prude, but marijuana is not the same as alcohol.While some people do use alcohol to get “high” it is not necessarily the outcome. Marijuana has but one purpose and that is to get high.I don’t equate it with having a beer or a glass of wine.

sandee on April 19, 2010 at 10:19 AM

WTF?

yubley on April 19, 2010 at 10:52 AM

I don’t think growing marijuana is going to create a safety issue for anyone other than the occasional pothead who might get lost in their backyard and have to sleep outside for a night.

ButterflyDragon on April 19, 2010 at 10:42 AM

Growing for own use, just like brewing beer for your own use, government goes “meh.” But if they start selling what they grow, government gets interested.

Sekhmet on April 19, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Here is basically how the system currently works:

A huge industry is setup, that has basically the entire nation covered logistically, you can get it anywhere today. Part of this network consist of Businesses that do this on the side(Junk yards, Restaurants, car lots, mostly located off our major Highways, small town airports and probably trains…..and other similar type businesses where the goods can be stored easily), these guys are primary dealers who then distribute to lower level dealers and finally to the street level thug. The Cops basically know how this works and look the other way and/or on the take?

Then you have corrupt Police departments like LAPD which are probably dealing to some degree themselves.

Those mainly targeted for arrest, are the street level thugs many of whom are guilty of other crimes the cops can’t prove but can easily win a case on dealing to lock them up and get a record on the. All of these guys would have to be immidetialy pardoned upon legalization most likely.

As to the profits, traditionally the above network has taken these profits and re-invested them into our economy. Built good businesses, savings, etc….Legalizing and Taxing the heck out of it would result in these monies being re-directed from the Private Sector into the Govt. to fund Govt. Programs in all likelihood.

/too much tv, though I have seen some of what I write above occur

jp on April 19, 2010 at 10:53 AM

And here are some reason’s why pot will never be leagal nor should it.

Naturally growing substances have different levels of active ingredients even with in the same plant. If Pot were legal how would quality control be enforced? Beer is limited in the percent of alcohol per ounce. One bottle of Stoli has just as much alcohol as any other, it is easy to check and the ATF does. One of the reason moonshine is illegal is people have no idea what else is in the liquid or even if it is poisonous. The same with a bag of weed. And how about that pesky THC level, how would that be measured, and labeled. Which agency would be in charge of quality control? Who is going to monitor unage smokers, and how well does that work for cigarettes? And collection of the taxes and licensing and testing and on and on.
Make pot legal with out oversight and you will have people being poisoned, not getting high and complaining that Ernesto Special weed is crap and demanding the “Gobment do soming”. Treat it like Tobacco and you have just expanded the BATF, made it impractical for the average person to farm it, and will have created a whole new class of criminals like moonshiners.
Any new revenue will be eaten up by the expansion of government to make sure that pot is “safe legal and available only to those who are allowed to have it”.

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 10:54 AM

I’m sure after such a passage eventually (if not almost immediately) there’d be movements to abolish said taxes and regulations.

My take on it at least.

modnar on April 19, 2010 at 10:43 AM

and those efforts would be as successful as their other efforts in this area.

jp on April 19, 2010 at 10:55 AM

The two don’t differ much in terms of danger to the user or those around the user, and alcohol is more toxic.

ummm can you be any more wrong? please explain to me how weed is even in the same category as booze… Alcohol is more akin to heroin… more than 10,000 people died of drunk driving alone last year… weed? the big Goose Egg 0… outlawing weed is like outlawing carbon… it’s purely natural and the government does not have the authority nor the resources to outlaw nature…

Kaptain Amerika on April 19, 2010 at 10:55 AM

Freedom is Freedom, and nobody has explained in any common sense language why marijuana should remain illegal.

uknowmorethanme on April 19, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Maybe that is the problem…you don’t understand common sense.
Since the number one killer of teenagers is traffic deaths (and being high is the number one reason for that), let’s allow a drug to become legal that will greatly increase that number…yeah, that makes perfect sense.
That is just one of a myriad of reason not to allow legalization.
Making a few bucks in taxes, rather then controlling spending is one of the weakest reasons.
Notice none of the proponents of creating more taxes, ever state anything about controlling government spending and lowering taxes…

right2bright on April 19, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Growing for own use, just like brewing beer for your own use, government goes “meh.” But if they start selling what they grow, government gets interested.
Sekhmet on April 19, 2010 at 10:53 AM

You are only allowed to brew so much, and as for distalliation, order some equipment some time, and wait for the knock, they are rather polite, but you will be checked up upon to make sure you are not running a still.

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 10:57 AM

Sorry I’m no prude, but marijuana is not the same as alcohol.While some people do use alcohol to get “high” it is not necessarily the outcome. Marijuana has but one purpose and that is to get high.I don’t equate it with having a beer or a glass of wine.

sandee on April 19, 2010 at 10:19 AM

You’re splitting some mighty fine hairs here, my friend. Let’s hope you’re just drinking Odouls, then, because buzzing occurs for some after one beer (my husband, for one). The effects are comparable with pot. I’ve done research. :)

Diane on April 19, 2010 at 10:57 AM

The tax revenue will not be nearly as much as most think. The stuff is too easy to grow all by your self. Or so I’ve heard.

kahall on April 19, 2010 at 10:25 AM

It would probably be treated like alcohol is. You’d be allowed to grow your own for personal use. But you wouldn’t be able to sell it legally. Only government licensed vendors would be able to sell it.

But yeah…pot should be legal. If alcohol and cigarettes are legal, there’s no reason whatsoever that pot shouldn’t be as well. And it’s the least harmful of the three.

JetBoy on April 19, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Maybe I’m unusual, but while I enjoy drinking alcohol, my goal is not to get drunk. In fact, I hate getting drunk. That’s different from smoking a joint, where the only reason to do it is to get high. I can have a couple of beers and still drive a car safely – is it possible to smoke a joint and still drive safely? It’s been a while, but my experience says no.

I don’t have a big problem with marijuana, I’m just not sure the comparisons with alcohol are accurate.

GCM on April 19, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Sorry I’m no prude, but marijuana is not the same as alcohol.While some people do use alcohol to get “high” it is not necessarily the outcome. Marijuana has but one purpose and that is to get high.I don’t equate it with having a beer or a glass of wine.

sandee on April 19, 2010 at 10:19 AM

I dunno…I smoke it to chill out and relax. I do the same with a beer or glass of wine…or scotch. No difference.

JetBoy on April 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM

It’s not easy to grow, unless you’re dedicated. It’s not like planting seeds and waiting for them to grow.

.

uknowmorethanme on April 19, 2010 at 10:31 AM

It’s exactly that. Why do you think they call it “weed”.

katy the mean old lady on April 19, 2010 at 11:01 AM

It’s a Brave New World Soma.

For our upcoming socialist adventure what better way to keep our dependent class dependent?

“We’re the government. In addition to free housing, free health care, free transportation, free cable and free food (stamps) we’ll provide free pot … as long as you keep voting for us.”

BowHuntingTexas on April 19, 2010 at 11:01 AM

it’s purely natural and the government does not have the authority nor the resources to outlaw nature…

Kaptain Amerika on April 19, 2010 at 10:55 AM

Alcohol is purely natural, it appears in nature all the time as fermented fruit.

more than 10,000 people died of drunk driving alone last year… weed? the big Goose Egg 0

Is that an actual stat or did you just kind of, you know, like ummmm, you know, have that kind of like, you know, just appear as a cool thought that you know sounded like really can you know make an argument for like that weed is kind of really like harmless or something?

A study of patients in a shock-trauma unit who had been in traffic accidents revealed that 15 percent of those who had been driving a car or motorcycle had been smoking marijuana, and another 17 percent had both THC and alcohol in their blood…Soderstrom, C. A.; Dischinger, P. C.; Kerns, T. I.; and Trifillis, A. L. Marijuana and other drug use among automobile and motorcycle drivers treated at a trauma center. Accid. Anal. Prey. 25: 131-5, 1995.

right2bright on April 19, 2010 at 11:02 AM

is it possible to smoke a joint and still drive safely? It’s been a while, but my experience says no.

You are correct. You’ll be mistaken for a Florida Senior as you race along at 25mph with the left turn signal on.

katy the mean old lady on April 19, 2010 at 11:03 AM

According to government surveys which ask young people about their drug use patterns, about 600,000 high school seniors drive after smoking marijuana. 38,000 seniors told surveyors that they had been involved in accidents while driving under the influence of marijuana.

right2bright on April 19, 2010 at 11:03 AM

If cigarette smoking is bad for your health so, is pot smoking, duh!

Chairman Zero got elected because the young people voted for him because Soros put the BS out there that he would legalize pot. Now because the oppressives are losing the young people they need to float the legalize pot BS again. It worked once. We are on to you this time.

Jayrae on April 19, 2010 at 11:03 AM

ummm can you be any more wrong? please explain to me how weed is even in the same category as booze… Alcohol is more akin to heroin… more than 10,000 people died of drunk driving alone last year… weed? the big Goose Egg 0… outlawing weed is like outlawing carbon… it’s purely natural and the government does not have the authority nor the resources to outlaw nature…

Kaptain Amerika on April 19, 2010 at 10:55 AM

So very wrong. Cuyahoga county Ohio, 40% of drunk driver were also under the influence of pot, The New York Subway crash a few years back mitigating factor…yep Pot.

British Medical Journal found that seven percent of drivers involved in a fatal highway crash used marijuana.

There is more…much more, pot is not harmless, it does kill and as for being as bad as alcohol, that is a meaningless comparison. Digitalis is less deadly than cyanide (both natural products) but that does not mean it is good for you.

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 11:05 AM

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 11:05 AM

And those are stats from an illegal substance…

right2bright on April 19, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Legalization of drugs is the libertarian birtherism. Just when you start to take them serious they trot this old warhorse out. Do their arguments have merit, yes, but lets get some real work done first, and then get to this issue. Business up front party in the back dudes.

DFCtomm on April 19, 2010 at 11:10 AM

I am not for legalizing pot or any drug simply because it makes the job of parenting harder but regulating and taxing is not a benefit in my mind. All we do is move the enforcement goal post. Since pot can be grown anywhere we trade DEA for IRS officers busting in peoples doors for untaxed pot.

sjramos on April 19, 2010 at 11:11 AM

I dunno…I smoke it to chill out and relax. I do the same with a beer or glass of wine…or scotch. No difference.

I chill out and relax with no chemical assistance whatsoever.

calabrese on April 19, 2010 at 11:11 AM

It would probably be treated like alcohol is. You’d be allowed to grow your own for personal use. But you wouldn’t be able to sell it legally. Only government licensed vendors would be able to sell it.
But yeah…pot should be legal. If alcohol and cigarettes are legal, there’s no reason whatsoever that pot shouldn’t be as well.
JetBoy on April 19, 2010 at 10:58 AM

So are you advocating the expansion of the BATF, the FDA, the Farm Bureau of the Labor Department, the IRS, and local and State regulatory bodies so you can smoke a fatty?

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Depends on who’s president and what kind of congress we have at the time but, I predict it will be legal for everyone is some shape or form in 10 years. Not that I want it to be, I don’t smoke but it seems like it’s moving in that direction.

rollthedice on April 19, 2010 at 11:14 AM

How do you tax something that anyone can grow in their backyard?

BDavis on April 19, 2010 at 11:14 AM

About reason #1

So a drug dealer who up until the legalization was having to deal with
- Mexican Mafia
- Addicted/paranoid customers
- Other drug dealers wanting to take over territory
- D.E.A.
- local police

is now going to be intimidated by THE CALIFORNIA FRANCHISE TAX BOARD? Yea. Right. “You want ME? to turn over some of my profits? uh. no.”

About Reason #2
While driving I have to watch out for drunks, cellphone gabbers, non-licensed/insured illegal aliens. BoyHoBOY I can hardly wait till I can add legal pot tokers to the list.

About Reason #3
As a cigar smoker, you cannot believe the hassle I have to go through to smoke a nice aromatic Cohiba. If you want to do this, I want pot to be subjected to the same criminal contemt and scourn that cigarettes and cigars users have to go through. I want people yelling “Get your second hand smoke oout of my childs lungs!” when they light up 3 blocks away.

kurtzz3 on April 19, 2010 at 11:14 AM

So are you advocating the expansion of the BATF, the FDA, the Farm Bureau of the Labor Department, the IRS, and local and State regulatory bodies so you can smoke a fatty?

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 11:12 AM

I say decriminalize it, not regulate it.

Diane on April 19, 2010 at 11:14 AM

I say decriminalize it, not regulate it.

Diane on April 19, 2010 at 11:14 AM

That is probably the worst of possible outcomes. You get very few of the promised financial benefits, but almost all of the administrative problems.

DFCtomm on April 19, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Most of my friends and some of my professional co-workers smoke pot. It’s really no big deal. My only concern about it being legalized is that it’ll be everywhere in public places. I have no desire what-so-ever to smell outside some coffee shop as I go to lunch from work.

While most of the people I know enjoy being stoned once in a while (e.g. during poker on the weekend), I absolutely hate the feeling.

If it were legalized I’d get second hand smoke in my face pretty often, and that is unacceptable. If there is a way to prevent people from smoking weed in public places then I’m all for legalization.

AlexB on April 19, 2010 at 11:18 AM

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 10:54 AM

The Ernesto Special is primo sh*t man, don’t hate. :D

ernesto on April 19, 2010 at 11:19 AM

So are you advocating the expansion of the BATF, the FDA, the Farm Bureau of the Labor Department, the IRS, and local and State regulatory bodies so you can smoke a fatty?

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 11:12 AM

I’m gonna toke a fatty regardless. No, obviously I’m for reducing the size of govt. rather than expanding it, but all that need be done is to incorporate pot into existing federal agencies, such as those you mentioned.

JetBoy on April 19, 2010 at 11:21 AM

I can’t wait to get behind the stoner that’s driving 15 mph on the highway!

search4truth on April 19, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Maybe that is the problem…you don’t understand common sense.
Since the number one killer of teenagers is traffic deaths (and being high is the number one reason for that), let’s allow a drug to become legal that will greatly increase that number…yeah, that makes perfect sense.
That is just one of a myriad of reason not to allow legalization.
Making a few bucks in taxes, rather then controlling spending is one of the weakest reasons.
Notice none of the proponents of creating more taxes, ever state anything about controlling government spending and lowering taxes…

right2bright on April 19, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Where’s the logic in outlawing and imprisoning a person for a substance that is relatively benign compared to alcohol (or aspirin for that matter)? It was made illegal under erroneous pretenses and has been kept illegal under erroneous pretenses. Are you aware that the Fed supplies several patients marijuana (pre-rolled joints mind you) monthly and still claims that it has no medical value… all this aside from the liberty argument and just common sense liberty. 0, I repeat 0 people have overdosed on this plant…….. As far as the “kid” argument goes….. pot is already so available due to the ever-present black market that cannot be crushed.. We’ve tried for the past 72 years. Instead what happens is criminal and murderous organizations like the Zetas derive 60% of their funding from pot. btw How many gang fights/shootings have you read about over alcohol?

whiskeytango on April 19, 2010 at 11:22 AM

here in the AZ, lol, we keep trying to legalize it for med use and our legislature keeps gutting the thing

we passed it by voter prop in 96, but Fed regs and state leg gutted it

now the local legalisation group has submitted what appears to be more than enough signatures to get legal med use oin the ballot this November, this time in a way that the state leg cant gut it

the state Senate passed a law to tax it, but the state house didnt act on that, but clearly they are thinking about it once Cali goes legal

I hope it passes

ginaswo on April 19, 2010 at 11:23 AM

And everyone worrying about the logistics of quality control, etc has obviously never lived/visited the Netherlands. While it is technically decriminalized as opposed to legal, I think they have a pretty good system.

search4truth on April 19, 2010 at 11:24 AM

If libertarians want to waste their time on this nonsense, fine, but conservatives should concentrate on important issues.

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Why couldn’t it be regulated and produced similar to tobacco? Farmers bring it to market and its bought buy companies who make the final product. Same as they have done with tobacco for generations. It gets taxed/regulated through a system already largely in place.
Just my two cents.

Trooper on April 19, 2010 at 11:25 AM

I can’t wait to get behind the stoner that’s driving 15 mph on the highway while he looks for a Seven eleven to pickup a giant sized bag of doritos and a big gulp.!

search4truth on April 19, 2010 at 11:21 AM

DFCtomm on April 19, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Do they support smoking that junk in public places too, like parks and such?

Dongemaharu on April 19, 2010 at 11:25 AM

We won’t save on law enforcement because it still will presumably be illegal for minors to smoke pot. That will also continue the black market in trafficking it to them.

Years ago, a chemistry instructor explained that all narcotics have the same molecular structure and it differed from that of alcohol by adding an extra atom. This extra atom caused a change in the way the user perceived the world. Therefore, he said, while a drunk my crash his car due to slow reflexes, a high person may become convinced that he could walk faster than the car is going and step out to prove it.

While I’m all on board with the “hands off our bodies” argument, until someone proves to me that this professor was full of crap, I intend to go on opposing the legalization of narcotics.

Kafir on April 19, 2010 at 11:26 AM

And really, stop with the freedom and liberty crap, pro-legalization people are advocating more government and more taxes, there’s nothing even remotely related to freedom and liberty about it.

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 11:27 AM

While most of the people I know enjoy being stoned once in a while (e.g. during poker on the weekend),
AlexB on April 19, 2010 at 11:18 AM

You play poker with stoners? Cool! Must be like a second paycheck.

katy the mean old lady on April 19, 2010 at 11:27 AM

This whole idea of taxing it is crazy. It’s a plant, it grows anywhere (granted it does require some cultivating skills to get the best results) and pretty much everywhere, especially in the south. If it’s legalized, how do you intend to control people growing pot in their backyard. What, I can grow carrots and tomatoes, but not weed? If it’s made legal, I’ll grow my own. Simple.

RonD504 on April 19, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Does that mean you grow your own tobacco or ferment your own beer and wine? DO you also distill in your backyard? Do you see how your argument fails?

nazo311 on April 19, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Marijuana is NOT the same as alcohol. I’ve been torn about this issue for awhile, but I still in the end do not support legalization. The gov’t will just p!ss away whatever new revenues are realized, and I’m just not comfortable with people using drugs legally. There have been studies linking prolonged use to mental health problems, and there’s enough to worry about on the road with drunk drivers.

I just can’t bring myself to support legalization.

changer1701 on April 19, 2010 at 11:31 AM

If libertarians want to waste their time on this nonsense, fine, but conservatives should concentrate on important issues.

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Have you seen what’s gone on South of the border recently? And the violence that has been spreading to border states? I would say it is a rather important issue.

nazo311 on April 19, 2010 at 11:32 AM

a high person may become convinced that he could walk faster than the car is going and step out to prove it.

High on PCP maybe but definately not pot… get real, this is typical marijuana madness talk.

whiskeytango on April 19, 2010 at 11:32 AM

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Accurate in the sense it is easier to stop at a store and buy those goods than making the effort to grow them. Still like gardeners there will be people who grow their own.

What I find humorous is that the N. California pot growers are opposed to the California legalization effort. Why? It will depress their earnings.

chemman on April 19, 2010 at 11:32 AM

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