Q-poll shows majority favor marijuana legalization

posted at 1:01 pm on December 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Did you know that today is the 79th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition?  On this date in 1933, the 21st Amendment passed into law, becoming the only amendment to repeal another in the US Constitution and end the “noble experiment” in enforced teetotaling.  Prohibition was a disaster, but its end didn’t stop the federal government from banning other substances — some inherently and obviously dangerous, others less so, including marijuana, whose relative dangers are still under debate decades after it became a prohibited substance.

A new poll from Quinnipiac today corroborates other polling in the last couple of weeks that Americans may have tired of this prohibition, too.  A majority of respondents want marijuana legalization for the first time in the Q-poll series — but it also shows a huge generation gap on the question:

American voters favor the legalization of marijuana, 51 – 44 percent, with a substantial gender and age gap, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. …

With the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes legal in about 20 states, and Washington and Colorado voting this November to legalize the drug for recreational use, American voters seem to have a more favorable opinion about this once-dreaded drug,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “There are large differences on this question among the American people.

“Men support legalization 59 – 36 percent, but women are opposed 52 – 44 percent. The racial split evident throughout American politics on many matters is barely noticeable on this question with 50 percent of white voters and 57 percent of black voters backing legalization.”

“Not surprisingly, voters 18 to 29 years old support legalization 67 – 29 percent while voters over age 65 are opposed 56 – 35 percent,” Brown added. “Voters 30 to 44 years old like the idea 58 – 39 percent, while voters 45 to 64 years old are divided 48 – 47 percent.”

“This is the first time Quinnipiac University asked this question in its national poll so there is no comparison from earlier years. It seems likely, however, that given the better than 2-1 majority among younger voters, legalization is just a matter of time.”

I’m not surprised to see a generation gap on this question, but I am a little surprised to see where it occurs.  Marijuana use exploded in the 1960s (and perhaps ramped up in the late 1950s), so it might make sense to see seniors stand in opposition to it — perhaps the older end of that demo more than the younger end.  But the 45-64YO demo came of age in the era of expanded and normalized (if still illegal) use of marijuana.  I would have expected to see more support for legalization in that age group, frankly.

As for me, I lean more toward ending the federal prohibition on marijuana, less because I think that legalizing pot would make for a better society than I think that the federal prohibition creates larger problems than it solves.  Unlike most illegal drugs, pot can be raised domestically in a safe manner. It has significant health issues, but so do tobacco and alcohol.  The question of legalization should be left to the states, as should the questions of how to deal with the ramifications in employment, health, and traffic safety.  Marijuana legalization isn’t the nirvana that some of its supporters claim, but the erosion of personal liberty inherent in the federal effort to stop marijuana cultivation, use, and sales outstrips the dangers of this substance.

Reason TV has an interesting feature today for Repeal Day.  Congress had its own bootlegger during Prohibition, and the exploits of George Cassiday — The Man in the Green Hat — have become the subject of historians lately:

From 1920 through 1930 – the thick of the Prohibition era – Cassiday supplied illegal liquor throughout the halls of Congress. Known as “The Man in the Green Hat,” Cassiday was the Capitol’s highest-profile bootlegger, with a client list that included senior members of the Republican and Democratic Parties. How instrumental was he to the D.C. power elite? He even had his own office in the House and Senate office buildings.

Cassiday gave up the liquor trade after his arrest in 1930, but gained notoriety by penning a series of front-page articles for The Washington Post about his days as Congress’ top bottle man.

Though he never named names, Cassiday’s stories detailed every aspect of his former business – and the depths of hypocrisy in Washington. By his own estimation, “four out of five senators and congressmen consume liquor either at their offices or their homes.” Appearing days before the 1930 mid-term elections, Cassiday’s revelations caused a national stir and helped sweep pro-Prohibitionist – and ostensibly tee-totaling – congressmen and senators out of power.

It’s something to keep in mind while debating other prohibitions.

Update: Er, today is the 79th anniversary, not the 78th anniversary.  So much for math.

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SWalker on December 5, 2012 at 2:07 PM

You can come to your own conclusions as to whether or not they actually smoked it…but there is not disputing the fact that they grew it.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 2:18 PM

simple test:

- the Green Bay Packers (players and coaches) all enjoy a doobie one hour before kickoff, enjoying the moment over a 15-minute period.

- the New York Giants all enjoy a drink of their choice

and you’re betting on ???

williampeck1958 on December 5, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Odd… I was always told that it was God who demanded that his Son be sacrificed, to save the souls of all mankind.

Yeah, that was “God’s plan” all along…

mazer9 on December 5, 2012 at 2:19 PM

One swig of alcohol will not make me drunk. One toke will make me stoned.

That’s the difference. I can consume alcohol to a certain extent without effect. (Granted, the amount is different for different people.) ANY consumption of marijuana (or cocaine or heroin or…) results in some effect on me.

CurtZHP on December 5, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Really? You consume 1 milligram of low grade cannabis, and you get stoned? How about 1 microgram?

This has to be one of the finalists for most disingenuous arguments out there. The “I can drink alcohol for the experience, you only take cannabis for the high” argument. Newsflash: People drink alcohol, because it gets them high. One drink, gets you high. It might not get you terribly high, but you’re intoxicated, none the less.

Just like one toke gets you high. One toke probably won’t get you very high (unless you smoke the dankest of dank). But you will be intoxicated (unless the cannabis in question has no THC, a condition which does actually exist).

Alcohol is a drug, and it gets you high. That’s why it’s popular. So popular, that prohibition of it was a really bad idea.

Just like cannabis…

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Correlation =/= causation.
By this flawed logic, you could just as easily say that the majority of religious folks in America are Christians, and the majority of Americans voted to re-elect Obama. Therefore, Christianity is the reason people voted for Obama.
QED
Good Lt on December 5, 2012 at 1:50 PM

.
Actually my point was just because a majority want something does not make it inherently good.
.
Not sure how anyone sober would make that mistake.

LincolntheHun on December 5, 2012 at 2:24 PM

MJ is far more damaging to the body – especially the brain – than booze.

Rebar on December 5, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Well of course – because unlike pot, alcohol makes you feel smarter. That’s because alcohol acts on brain cells like predators on a herd of antelope – which gets stronger over time because the weak get weeded out (pun partly intended). Alcohol goes after the weak and sick brain cells first, which leaves the healthier stronger brain cells – so you feel smarter….

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 2:25 PM

What happens when Mr/MS Dopehead are in a small room smoking their MJ and the baby is sitting in the same room?
Mr. Arrogant on December 5, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Baby gets the munchies….?

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Sorry, this is simply not true. The separation of male and female plants has a great deal to do with fiber, pulp and oil production rates. There is absolutely no evidence, either direct or ancillary that George Washington or Thomas Jefferson ever smoked marijuana. While their is a wealth of empirical data that the sole purpose of their production of Hemp was for the commercial production of paper and rope.

SWalker on December 5, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Interesting you should mention that. The US at that time, and well on into the early 20th century, was the largest grower and exporter of hemp products in the world. It was a massive business in the US. However, it’s gone now because the idiots who didnt know any better when they were banning marijuana also banned hemp (not realizing that they can’t be grown together). Regardless of why Washington would have wanted to separate his plants, his journals do show that there is one major difference between growing hemp and growing marijuana… that the female plants need to be separated from the male plants. When growing hemp for industrial uses, it grows in extremely tightly packed fields, however when separating the females (whether for smoking or other uses) they can’t grow in the tightly packed fields and actually need room. The idiot politicians, in their oh-so-infinite wisdom, banned both products because they thought farmers would just mix pot plants in with hemp plants and the feds wouldn’t be able to detect them… so we lost out entire hemp industry.

Hardly anyone ever mentions the loss of an entire industry of completely legal farming having nothing to do with drug use when calculating the unintended consequences of the “war on drugs”.

gravityman on December 5, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Remind me again why alcohol is any different?

gravityman on December 5, 2012 at 1:09 PM

No second-hand highs for one thing.

Steve Eggleston on December 5, 2012 at 2:17 PM

And that is fair, to a greater or lesser extent. But I would argue that with the onset of legalization, you will start to see producers develop methods of intake that reduce or eliminate such externalities, as you have already seen with the development of vaporizers and with the development of Sativex.

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 2:31 PM

SWalker on December 5, 2012 at 2:07 PM

You can come to your own conclusions as to whether or not they actually smoked it…but there is not disputing the fact that they grew it.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 2:18 PM

I never denied that they grew Hemp, I pointed out that their is absolutely no evidence what so ever they they smoked it. Considering that in George Washington and Thomas Jefferson’s time their was absolutely no prohibition against nor any social stigma regarding the consumption of marijuana is profoundly indicative that they did not.

SWalker on December 5, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Should marijuana be a Schedule I drug along with cocaine and heroin?

It is not addictive, except in the way video games are addictive.

You can make certain qualities of booze per year for private consumption, the same should be true for marijuana.

Akzed on December 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM

- the Green Bay Packers (players and coaches) all enjoy a doobie one hour before kickoff, enjoying the moment over a 15-minute period.
- the New York Giants all enjoy a drink of their choice
and you’re betting on ???

williampeck1958 on December 5, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Depends. What kind of drink exactly are the Giants having? Different types of alcohol have different effects on different people. Depending on the type of drink, some people get happy, sad, angry, sleepy, horny, etc. If the Giants are drinking something that makes them angry – I’d bet on them.
Also, are the Packers EACH have a joint or sharing one joint across the whole team?
Details make a difference.

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Actually my point was just because a majority want something does not make it inherently good. . Not sure how anyone sober would make that mistake.

LincolntheHun on December 5, 2012 at 2:24 PM

How do you feel about the majority desiring to stop funding failure? Seriously, I don’t like funding programs tbat I see as subsidizing poverty, and I don’t like funding a drug war that has not reduced availability or use in the least but have increased poverty, disease, and death around the globe.

M240H on December 5, 2012 at 2:33 PM

The legal limit for influence for operation of a motor vehicle is .08, unless you posses a commercial drivers license and then the legal limit is .03. Moreover, get a DUI under a non-commercial license and your license gets suspended, you attend DUI school and get your license back. If you get a DUI under a commercial drivers license, you loose your commercial drivers license forever.

SWalker on December 5, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I’m not sure why you missed the point. Marijuana usage would have to remain illegal for commercial drivers. There is no way around it because you can’t test dui for marijuana, just recent usage. It is always stipulated that the driver was under the influence if the test comes back positive, which the court can do because the substance is illegal. It is considered under the influence even if you smoked it weeks ago. The test would be useless if the substance is legal.

Buddahpundit on December 5, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Hardly anyone ever mentions the loss of an entire industry of completely legal farming having nothing to do with drug use when calculating the unintended consequences of the “war on drugs”. gravityman on December 5, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Nylon invented 1935.

“Hemp” made illegal in 1937.

Hmmm…

Akzed on December 5, 2012 at 2:35 PM

gravityman on December 5, 2012 at 1:24 PM

F-; Alcohol is not stored in tissues the same way the active ingredient of mj is. That would be adipose tissues like the brain.

And as I said a couple of days ago on the last marijuana post the above is for educational purposes and shouldn’t be a reason to ban it

chemman on December 5, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Hardly anyone ever mentions the loss of an entire industry of completely legal farming having nothing to do with drug use when calculating the unintended consequences of the “war on drugs”.

gravityman on December 5, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Which is rather sad. The products made from commercial hemp run in the thousands and it across the board prohibition as a brutal blow to the American agriculture industry.

SWalker on December 5, 2012 at 2:41 PM

some people get happy, sad, angry, sleepy, horny, etc.

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Some people ride their kid’s ATV off the dock and into the lake.

Not that I KNOW anyone like that. Nope.

Bishop on December 5, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Alcohol is not stored in tissues the same way the active ingredient of mj is. That would be adipose tissues like the brain.

And as I said a couple of days ago on the last marijuana post the above is for educational purposes and shouldn’t be a reason to ban it

chemman on December 5, 2012 at 2:37 PM

True. But the active components of cannabis by themselves (as opposed to combined with the oxidants that result from smoking it) do not raise the type of hell with cells that overuse of alcohol does.

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 2:42 PM

SWalker on December 5, 2012 at 2:10 PM

That’s an incredibly easy to argument to make.

How can anyone be guilty of being under-the-influence if the test doesn’t differentiate between being under-the-influence and use that occurred several days prior?

blink on December 5, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Sorry, but again you are mistaken. Active THC betas 9 has a well documented decay rate into THC. The percentage of Active beta THC 9 tells how long ago the THC was consumed.

SWalker on December 5, 2012 at 2:44 PM

One swig of alcohol will not make me drunk. One toke will make me stoned.

That’s the difference. I can consume alcohol to a certain extent without effect. (Granted, the amount is different for different people.) ANY consumption of marijuana (or cocaine or heroin or…) results in some effect on me.

CurtZHP on December 5, 2012 at 1:16 PM

If the alcohol has no effect on me, why would I drink it? The soothing effect of a glass of wine (me and my wife’s leading choice) is a big part of the benefit after a tough day at work.

I wouldn’t know about the effect of pot or any other drug, as I’ve never tried any of them – just my personal choice – and the fact that I’ve been in the military or a DoD contractor since high school so any drug use costs me my clearance and career. But it doesn’t really bother me if a joint is your choice for relaxation.

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 2:45 PM

How can anyone be guilty of being under-the-influence if the test doesn’t differentiate between being under-the-influence and use that occurred several days prior?

blink on December 5, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Which is the major problem Arizona is having with implementing its Medical Marijuana law passed in 2010. How do you deal with positive tests for those issued Medical Marijuana cards.

chemman on December 5, 2012 at 2:47 PM

The products made from commercial hemp run in the thousands and its across the board prohibition was a boon brutal blow for DuPontthe American agriculture industry. SWalker on December 5, 2012 at 2:41 PM

I’m not saying anything, I’m just saying.

The banks of the Potomac were, in the 1930′s, overgrown with marijuana. It was planted by the feds c. 1900 as part of a research project.

Akzed on December 5, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Some people ride their kid’s ATV off the dock and into the lake.
Not that I KNOW anyone like that. Nope.

Bishop on December 5, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Ya – like I’ve always told my kids – some people learn by reading about others, some learn by watching what others do, and some people just have to pee on that electric fence themselves to see what happens…..

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Nylon invented 1935.

“Hemp” made illegal in 1937.

Hmmm…

Akzed on December 5, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Nylon paper? Who knew…

gravityman on December 5, 2012 at 2:48 PM

How can anyone be guilty of being under-the-influence if the test doesn’t differentiate between being under-the-influence and use that occurred several days prior?

blink on December 5, 2012 at 2:39 PM

My understanding is that state laws are based on quantity within blood levels. I believe in Nevada, it is 5 nanograms THC/ml blood.

Of course, unlike alcohol, that can only be determined by a blood test.

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 2:49 PM

What happens when Mr/MS Dopehead are in a small room smoking their MJ and the baby is sitting in the same room?
Mr. Arrogant on December 5, 2012 at 1:06 PM

How do the existing drug laws prevent this today? Right, they don’t.

The Dopeheads are toking away regardless. That’s why you called them the Dopeheads.

Besides, there are myriad child abuse, endangerment and neglect laws already on the books. (And yet, no surprise, there are constantly cases of people abusing and neglecting children – despite the laws against it)

Again, this is not an issue of law or no law, healthy or harmful. The issue is that this does not fall under the perview of the federal government. IT IS A MATTER FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL STATE to decide.

Minarchy on December 5, 2012 at 2:50 PM


Natebo on December 5, 2012 at 2:01 PM
You speak as if one toke and a person becomes a vegetable-like ward of the state for life. The quantities and use pattern required to generate the effects you describe are massive. If I consume equivalent quantities of alcohol, I would be just as impaired in my daily life.

I’ll freely admit I smoked a pretty fair amount of marijuana in high school, college, and well through my twenties and into my thirties… and yet I somehow completed high school with a 3.4 GPA, scored 1480 on my SATs, got a college degree, became very successful in my field of work, own my own home, never took a dime of federal handout money, and managed to have quite a successful life… how in the world can that have happened being that I am apparently a “non functioning and unemployable dependants of the state”?

Everyone’s mileage may vary. Again, isn’t alcohol basically the same? Most of us have a drink with our friends/family now and again and our lives don’t suffer in the least, but there are those that are unable to handle “recreational” levels of use and become disfunctional alcoholics causing misery to those around them.

gravityman on December 5, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Not at all. The studies I have read about refer to chronic users which are defined as 3-5 times a week (smoking Marijuana). Not massive by any description and more than likely the current usage of most users. I am happy that your situation turned out well perhaps your idea of a fair amount was sometimes you would party but not fit the description of a chronic user or you may be the exception but don’t forget about the increase in THC of todays Marijuana on which these studies were conducted.

I personally know of a young man (29) who is a chronic user (3-5) times a week according to him)that was recently fired because he was a store manager and he kept leaving the keys in the door of the store after locking up due to his greatly diminished short term memory. The owner of the store is like an Uncle to him but fired him because he can not trust him.

Natebo on December 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Nylon paper? Who knew… gravityman on December 5, 2012 at 2:48 PM

I was thinking more along the lines of rope.

Akzed on December 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 2:42 PM

I haven’t seen any research pro or con on what you are saying. Can you recommend any sites I can go to and check it out. My take though is as follows based on information from a graduate Environmental Toxicology class I took in the early 00′s. Things may and probably have changed since then.

Anytime chemicals not normal to cellular metabolism get concentrated in cells they can become toxic to the cell. One of the ways the body deals with toxins is to concentrate them in fat cells.

O/T: My opinion is that a lot of the obesity issues we are seeing is related to toxin issues in the body.

chemman on December 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Natebo on December 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Guess what? I know people who have been fired from their jobs who don’t use pot.

Akzed on December 5, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Which is the major problem Arizona is having with implementing its Medical Marijuana law passed in 2010. How do you deal with positive tests for those issued Medical Marijuana cards.

chemman on December 5, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Also an issue in Colorado, as we’ve had legal medicinal MJ for awhile, and just legalized pot more directly.
However, I doubt very much that tests do not exist already, or are in development to determine some kind of influence level.

The reality is, different people respond to different levels of alcohol differently as well. The standard DUI ratings are somewhat arbitrary as it is – and different in different states. We only use a straight BAC with no real analysis of how a specific person acts with a specific BAC. I’ve seen people who appear to be functioning fairly normal with a BAC that probably knock me out cold – or kill me. In fact, if you take someone from sea level up to Colorado, it takes far less alcohol to get that person drunk than it would at sea level – because of red blood cell concentration.

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

The same way Washington State would determine if somebody was a DUI..measure the THC blood content of nanograms per milliliter. Washington State determined that it would be illegal to have a THC blood content of 5 nanograms per milliliter and drive.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM

That’s an incredibly high level of concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol.

blink on December 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Oddly enough, it also just happens to be right around the amount residual level after 8 hours of Active beta 9 THC decay. A single toke produces a 29 nanogram per milliliter of Active beta 9 THC, which decays down after 8 hours to between 3 and 4 nanograms per milliliter.

SWalker on December 5, 2012 at 3:01 PM

blink on December 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM

http://www.washingtondui.com/blog/I502-washington-marijuana-dui-law-changes

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM

… I personally know of a young man (29) who is a chronic user (3-5) times a week according to him)that was recently fired because he was a store manager and he kept leaving the keys in the door of the store after locking up due to his greatly diminished short term memory. Theq owner of the store is like an Uncle to him but fired him because he can not trust him.

Natebo on December 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

So, the questions are: Do you think that young man should go to jail? Do you think locking up his supplier would actually reduce his ability to get marijuana? Do you think loss of employment is legally condoned loss of employment is enough of a deterrent for society?

M240H on December 5, 2012 at 3:04 PM


Natebo on December 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM
Guess what? I know people who have been fired from their jobs who don’t use pot.

Akzed on December 5, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Well you got me there
SARC

Natebo on December 5, 2012 at 3:04 PM

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Agree. My dad was a high functioning alcoholic when he finally gave it up.

The real issue is one of liberty. I support liberty even though I don’t use alcohol and wouldn’t use recreational drugs for any reason.

“All things are lawful but not all things are expedient” H/T The apostle Paul.

chemman on December 5, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Again, I’m just trying to warn you about throwing your flying, driving, working under-the-influence argument. Enforcement by traffic police and employers will be difficult.

blink on December 5, 2012 at 3:01 PM

That’s not a new issue or one that’s difficult to deal with.
Even though pot is now legal in Colorado, it is still NOT legal for anyone working in or for the military. So despite Colorado saying pot is legal, I still can’t touch it. “Under the influence” or ANY residual amount is cause for being fired. As far as employers go – safety critical jobs (airline pilot, truck driver, cop, soldier, DoD contractor) can easily stay that way – regardless of the local legality of the substance. My wife is a librarian, and according to their rules, she can be fired for coming to work with alcohol on her breath – regardless of amount.

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 3:08 PM

The same way Washington State would determine if somebody was a DUI..measure the THC blood content of nanograms per milliliter. Washington State determined that it would be illegal to have a THC blood content of 5 nanograms per milliliter and drive.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM

How is that done on the side of the road or stumbling down the sidewalk?

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

blink on December 5, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Do you know what the statistics are for marijuana only DUI arrests? I can’t find them anywhere but I’m willing to bet it’s very low, something that is not even an issue. I know several police officers and have a couple in my family. None of them can ever recall arresting somebody for a marijuana “ONLY” DUI. I bet if you go to your local police department and ask them how many marijuana only DUI arrest they have in a one year period it will be no more than two or three…probably zero.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Is it illegal to stumble down the sidewalk?

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

I think if you’re stumbling you’re probably drunk.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Lots of cities and towns have public intoxication laws. So unless it was a single stumble from the buckling sidewalk then it could be illegal

chemman on December 5, 2012 at 3:14 PM

There’s a simple answer for most of the problems of the drug war. First, legalize the cultivation of all plants. Most hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy come from much less harmful plant precursors. If you allow adults to grow small numbers of any plant they like for personal and private use, while keeping the processed forms illegal, you’ll greatly diminish the demand for street drugs. This is not perfect, and there will of course still be pushers and junkies out there for the hard stuff, but there will be fewer of both, and it will be far cheaper to police it. Further, we should not send anyone to jail just for drug offenses, including major trafficking. The risk of major jail time pushes up the profit margin for drugs more than anything else. If getting caught with a kilo of cocaine suddenly means nothing more than wearing an ankle band for a couple of years, and no permanent record, then that kilo will no longer be worth $20-40K, and gangs and cartels will no longer get rich off it.

This is the best compromise between the current disaster and complete legalization. This way people more or less have the freedom to use drugs, but there is no legal market, while the black market is mostly pushed off the streets.

EricW on December 5, 2012 at 3:14 PM

I don’t like funding a drug war that has not reduced availability or use in the least but have increased poverty, disease, and death around the globe.

M240H on December 5, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Having all drugs available in a store will decrease poverty disease and death..how?

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Agree. My dad was a high functioning alcoholic when he finally gave it up.
The real issue is one of liberty. I support liberty even though I don’t use alcohol and wouldn’t use recreational drugs for any reason.
chemman on December 5, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Ya – so was my Dad. Heavy smoker and drinker his whole life – just died in October only 6 days short of 85 – and had NO lung damage from his smoking either (but he did have other problems). As I’ve said in other threads, there were nights he drove me home from work, and he was so drunk I was looking at the yellow lines on my side of the car. I feel lucky to have survived high school (or at least to when I got my own driver’s license) – and we were all amazed he never had a car wreck while driving home drunk – which was at least 4 times a week.

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

When is the last time somebody was put on an intoxilyzer after walking down a sidewalk drunk? Can that even be done? I’ve never heard of this.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM

I think if you’re stumbling you’re probably drunk.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Potheads don’t stumble? I’ve seen some pretty clumsy pot smokers.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Is it illegal to stumble down the sidewalk?

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

If you are acting intoxicated or seem intoxicated, it may be in violation of some areas with public intoxication laws.
I’m referring to those areas.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:19 PM

chemman on December 5, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Not where I live. You have to be doing more than just being drunk…You have to be a hazard to yourself or somebody else or committing another offense; such as being disorderly.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Is it illegal to stumble down the sidewalk?

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Depends on where you are. Me and 2 other college guys ALMOST got “run in for public intox” in a little town on I-80 in Iowa where we were stuck – car broke down on a Saturday night. We were just trying to get from the bar to our hotel, in a rainstorm, and the local marshall stopped us. He let us go when we explained the situation – but it was close – especially when one of my buddies started mouthing off a bit. We shut him up and the cop let us go.

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 3:22 PM

chemman on December 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

If you are studying grad level toxicology, then you’re reading lit way beyond my level, and likely far more recent.

However, there are a couple of pieces that have made the circuit that you might be able to make sense of (they are beyond my competence).

Protective effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol against N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced AF5 cell death

Inhibition of Cancer Cell Invasion by Cannabinoids via Increased Expression of Tissue Inhibitor of Matrix Metalloproteinases-1

As I say, these are way beyond me. But those in the movement who know about such things have been sort of excited about these.

Enjoy!

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:23 PM

When is the last time somebody was put on an intoxilyzer after walking down a sidewalk drunk? Can that even be done? I’ve never heard of this.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Public intoxication laws are enforced to various degrees in most all areas.
Do you think this is not true?

I’ve never heard of anyone not knowing this.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

So what was the point of your question? If you’re intoxicated on the side of the road and it’s illegal in that town, then it’s illegal whether your drunk or stoned.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Potheads don’t stumble? I’ve seen some pretty clumsy pot smokers.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

I’ve also seen some clumsy vanilla ice cream eaters. Doesn’t mean they’d fare any better with Rocky Road.

Alcohol has a severe effect on balance, that THC simply does not.

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:23 PM

You can prove intoxication without putting somebody on an intoxylizer or taking blood samples to determine THC content. That’s whay I’m trying to explain to you.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Did you even look at the paper?

blink on December 5, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Pot people will never admit to the severe health issues, and the difficulty of determinging if someone is high or no.

I admit amusement at these “liberty lovers” who freak out over being forced to blow into a breathalyze, while being completely comfortable having their blood drawn for a THC check.

Rebar on December 5, 2012 at 3:29 PM

I know several police officers and have a couple in my family. None of them can ever recall arresting somebody for a marijuana “ONLY” DUI. I bet if you go to your local police department and ask them how many marijuana only DUI arrest they have in a one year period it will be no more than two or three…probably zero.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Ask them if there being no test for pot only has something to do with that.
The same would be true if things were turned around..if a pot intoxication test was easily done, but there was none for alcohol.
Some people would be making the case for alcohol being less impairing than pot based on arrest stats.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:29 PM

But they wouldn’t be legally allowed to fire her if alcohol had the ability to stay on her breath for several days.
Again, marijuana and alcohol behave differently in the body.

blink on December 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Well – ya they could. We could play “what if” games all day long and get nowhere with respect to the real world.
It depends on the employment policies of the company or organization. If I came to work drunk, I’d be fired. If they picked me for random drug testing and ANY level of an illegal drug showed up – I’d be fired. It’s that simple.

DUI levels – maybe not quite so simple – but not impossible – as others are pointing out here. I think the BAC legal levels are fairly arbitrary as it is and don’t really account for how intoxicated or functional a person really is. Because of how the body processes alcohol over time, you could blow a high BAC on a breathalyzer, but show a much lower BAC on a blood test.

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 3:30 PM

blink on December 5, 2012 at 3:26 PM

You have no idea what you are talking about.

It’s not hard to do. All you have to do is prove they committed a driving offense…giving reason for the stop. Prove through observation that they appeared impared and conduct balance tests. An officer also enjoy’s the benefit of recording visualy and by audio the event which help’s prove his case. That is more than enough for a DUI conviction.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:32 PM

You can prove intoxication without putting somebody on an intoxylizer or taking blood samples to determine THC content. That’s whay I’m trying to explain to you.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:25 PM

I would guess that would apply in extreme cases with an individual showing signs of extreme intoxication.

The point I’ve made before is that gives a special right to pot smokers. Spot testing with a scientific basis in chemical analysis puts the drinker at a disadvantage and law enforcement at risk of a bogus law suit.

Do you know of any way of testing for THC at the spot where law enforcement meets the individual?

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Ask them if there being no test for pot only has something to do with that.
The same would be true if things were turned around..if a pot intoxication test was easily done, but there was none for alcohol.
Some people would be making the case for alcohol being less impairing than pot based on arrest stats.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Marijuana’s Effects on Actual Driving Performance

More specifically, alcohol impaired both vehicle handling and traffic maneuvers. Marijuana, administered in a dose of 100 µg/kg THC, on the other hand, did not significantly change mean driving performance as measured by this approach.

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:37 PM

They favor it because they want to SMOKE IT. Not taking into account ANY of the myriad of social, economic and crime related nightmares that will result if we become Amsterdam.

TX-96 on December 5, 2012 at 3:37 PM

I admit amusement at these “liberty lovers” who freak out over being forced to blow into a breathalyze, while being completely comfortable having their blood drawn for a THC check.

Rebar on December 5, 2012 at 3:29 PM

I haven’t seen a single comment on this thread where anyone indicated that they were either against breathalyzers or comfortable with blood tests, or hypocritically both at the same time.

Personally, I’ve been breathalyzed before (and passed since I had not been drinking) and had no problem with it.

gravityman on December 5, 2012 at 3:40 PM

More specifically, alcohol impaired both vehicle handling and traffic maneuvers. Marijuana, administered in a dose of 100 µg/kg THC, on the other hand, did not significantly change mean driving performance as measured by this approach.
JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:37 PM

But the pot smokers drove through the test at only 5 mph….//
;)
Couldn’t resist…..

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Do you know of any way of testing for THC at the spot where law enforcement meets the individual?

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:35 PM

No.

Of course, in the wake of the repeal of Volstead, there were plenty of people driving around drinking, and we didn’t have those roadside tests for alcohol either.

Somehow the Republic survived, until we did develop those roadside tests.

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:35 PM

It’s called Observation…Police are specialized in this. Besides there is no specific limit to determine if somebody is committing an ordinance violation by walking down the street drunk. Not in my town anyway. Police don’t scoop drunks off the street and bring them back to the station to give them a breath test to see if they are committing an ordinance violation. As for spot tests (I assume you are talking about a portable breath test), many states do not even allow these; specifically my state.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 3:41 PM

They favor it because they want to SMOKE IT. Not taking into account ANY of the myriad of social, economic and crime related nightmares that will result if we become Amsterdam.
TX-96 on December 5, 2012 at 3:37 PM

I favor the studies that report health benefits of red wine also – because I want an excuse to keep drinking it…..

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 3:42 PM

But the pot smokers drove through the test at only 5 mph….//
;)
Couldn’t resist…..

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Actually, from what I’ve heard of other tests (Sadly, I can’t find the results online), that was exactly the reason… that people using cannabis actually slowed the car’s speed to compensate for their diminished reaction times.

As opposed to people using alcohol, who would drive faster than normal…

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:43 PM

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew marijuana for hemp production. George Washington wrote in one of his maticulously kept agricultural journals that he regreted being late to separate his male hemp plants from his females. For a master farmer like George, there would be little reason to do this except to make the females ripe for smoking. The medicinal uses of cannabis were known to the ancient Chinese. Thousands of years later, it’s inconceivable American growers would not indulge in its recreational powers.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 1:57 PM

No, they didn’t grow marijuana. They grew industrial hemp. There is a vast difference between the two. You’d have to smoke a whole silo full of industrial hemp to get high, and I’ve seen that claim before about Washington in his supposed journal. Do you have any proof of it, because I’ve also seen historians dismiss this whole idea that Washington some kind of pothead as absolutely ridiculous. I’d also like to see your evidence about the “ancient Chinese,” because I think that’s simply made up horse manure.

JannyMae on December 5, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Actually, from what I’ve heard of other tests (Sadly, I can’t find the results online), that was exactly the reason… that people using cannabis actually slowed the car’s speed to compensate for their diminished reaction times.

As opposed to people using alcohol, who would drive faster than normal…

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:43 PM

I was just thinking of certain movie scenes I remember where pot smokers think they’re cruising down the highway – until a cop WALKS up to the window… (Up In Smoke? or something else?)

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 3:46 PM

How do you feel about the majority desiring to stop funding failure? Seriously, I don’t like funding programs tbat I see as subsidizing poverty, and I don’t like funding a drug war that has not reduced availability or use in the least but have increased poverty, disease, and death around the globe.

M240H on December 5, 2012 at 2:33 PM

.
One your last point (drug war), there’s a pretty good book by Mark Twain, “The Gilded Age” that gives an idea of what life is like with ready access to drugs. For more about the glory days when the Government didn’t care about drugs, there is also Riis’ “How The Other Half Lives,” but even Riis could bring himself to talk about male child prostitution. Or even better go visit Somalia, Djibouti, or Yemen and see what happens when a large chunk of the population is addicted to a drug.

LincolntheHun on December 5, 2012 at 3:46 PM

They favor it because they want to SMOKE IT. Not taking into account ANY of the myriad of social, economic and crime related nightmares that will result if we become Amsterdam.
TX-96 on December 5, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Amsterdam ain’t that bad a city, when you compare it to DC, LA, or Chicago…

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:46 PM

I was just thinking of certain movie scenes I remember where pot smokers think they’re cruising down the highway – until a cop WALKS up to the window… (Up In Smoke? or something else?)

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 3:46 PM

I think we’re parked, man…

/chong

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Well, after reading through the comments, I can just about pick the posters who use pot…and it’s not because they are defending it, pretty obvious by how incoherent many of the responses are…of course they think they are brilliant, and I must be speaking of someone else.

right2bright on December 5, 2012 at 3:49 PM

I’ve also seen some clumsy vanilla ice cream eaters. Doesn’t mean they’d fare any better with Rocky Road.

Alcohol has a severe effect on balance, that THC simply does not.

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Alcoholand pot and other drugs affect different people differently.

Say we forget stumbling which would initiate a test. Lets say disorientation. Pot causes disorientation in many people..alcohol does not.
A person..not stumbling..but severely disoriented is about to get in a car to drive. There is no smell of alcohol, but a strong smell of pot.
How do you test?

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Not taking into account ANY of the myriad of social, economic and crime related nightmares that will result if we become Amsterdam.

TX-96 on December 5, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Actually, Amsterdam has a fairly low to average marijuana use rate as compared to other European countries where marijuana is still illegal.

Here is the synopsis of the report the Canadian Parliament commissioned on the subject (using the Canadian Parliament report, so as not to seem like I’m hitting up highly pro-marijuana groups for slanted info):

Conflicting predictions have been made to the influence of decriminalisation on cannabis use. Prohibitionists forecast that decriminalisation will lead to an increase in consumption of cannabis, while their opponents hypothesise that cannabis use will decline after decriminalisation.
Most probably cannabis use among youth in the Netherlands so far evolved in two waves, with a first peak around 1970, a low during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and a second peak in the mid 1990s.
It is striking that the trend in cannabis use among youth in the Netherlands rather parallels the four stages in the availability of cannabis identified above. The number of adolescent cannabis users peaked when the cannabis was distributed through an underground market (late 1960s and early 1970s). Then the number decreased as house dealers were superseding the underground market (1970s), and went up again after coffee shops took over the sale of cannabis (1980s), and stabilised or slightly decreased by the end of the 1990s when the number of coffee shops was reduced.
However, cannabis use also developed in waves in other European countries. Apparently, general national trends in cannabis use are relatively independent of cannabis policy. To date, cannabis use in the Netherlands takes a middle position within the European Union. Apparently most cannabis use is experimental and recreational. The vast majority quits using cannabis after some time. Only a very small proportion of current cannabis users is in treatment. From international comparison, it is concluded that trends in cannabis use in the Netherlands are rather similar to those in other European countries, and Dutch figures on cannabis use are not out of line with those from countries that did not decriminalise cannabis. Consequently, it appears unlikely that decriminalisation of cannabis will cause an increase in cannabis use.
The vast majority of cannabis users has never tried hard drugs. Moreover, with regard to the problematic use of opiates and drug related health problems, the Netherlands ranks relatively low within the European Union.

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/371/ille/presentation/korf-e.htm

gravityman on December 5, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Amsterdam ain’t that bad a city, when you compare it to DC, LA, or Chicago…

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:46 PM

You’ve got a point there. I’ve been to Amsterdam once, and although I was a bit nervous about the huge international crowd walking the sidewalks in the red light district (only to see the sights of course), I actually felt less less in danger than I have in some major US cities. There were a lot of cops walking the streets – and a lot of people legally selling various drugs on the street corners, and legal pot bars. Other than some concern about pickpockets, I did not feel threaetened in any way. Everyone was there to have a good time one way or another – all legally.

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 3:54 PM

I think we’re parked, man…

/chong

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:48 PM
Yup – that’s it.

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Of course, in the wake of the repeal of Volstead, there were plenty of people driving around drinking, and we didn’t have those roadside tests for alcohol either.

Somehow the Republic survived, until we did develop those roadside tests.

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:41 PM

You’re changing the subject.
There is either a test for THC that is as reliable and as easy to administer as there is for alcohol or there isn’t.
If not, this gives pot smokers..even if obviously intoxicated..a special right that drinkers don’t have.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Alcoholand pot and other drugs affect different people differently.

True. But there are general physiological effects associated with specific drugs. And the ones associated with alcohol are far more pronounced and common than with THC.

A person..not stumbling..but severely disoriented is about to get in a car to drive. There is no smell of alcohol, but a strong smell of pot.
How do you test?

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:49 PM

First, I question the validity of transient odors as probable cause sufficient to effect a search. Some courts disagree, I realize.

But beyond that, you have field sobriety tests, and officers trained to administer them. Just like you did for decades after repeal of Prohibition, but before some smart scientist invented the little balloon.

And if there is any question, you haul the driver in to take a blood test, or he forfeits his license. And, as has been discussed here, states already have laws enabling them to do this, with levels reasonable enough to ensure that residual amounts in the bloodstream low enough to not be intoxicating are accounted for.

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:59 PM

You’re changing the subject.
There is either a test for THC that is as reliable and as easy to administer as there is for alcohol or there isn’t.
If not, this gives pot smokers..even if obviously intoxicated..a special right that drinkers don’t have.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 3:57 PM

There isn’t. Yet.

But you are (deliberately) missing the point. In 1933, there was no roadside test to see if someone was under the influence. That didn’t make Prohibition any better of a policy. To use that argument then in support of Prohibition would have been just as disingenuous then as it is today.

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 4:01 PM

and a lot of people legally selling various drugs on the street corners, and legal pot bars. Other than some concern about pickpockets, I did not feel threaetened in any way. Everyone was there to have a good time one way or another – all legally.

dentarthurdent on December 5, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Drugs were never legal in Amsterdam. Selling pot was only legal in the cafe’s and under license.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 4:02 PM

JannyMae on December 5, 2012 at 3:44 PM

I am only stating what I have read. I never said it was a fact that they smoked it. You can come to your own conclusions as to whether they smoked it. As for it’s ancient Chinese medicinal use:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_cannabis#Ancient_China_and_Taiwan (specifically section 8.1)

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 4:02 PM

But you are (deliberately) missing the point. In 1933, there was no roadside test to see if someone was under the influence. That didn’t make Prohibition any better of a policy. To use that argument then in support of Prohibition would have been just as disingenuous then as it is today.

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Not really.
The point is equal protection and application of laws.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 4:03 PM

First, I question the validity of transient odors as probable cause sufficient to effect a search. Some courts disagree, I realize.

But beyond that, you have field sobriety tests, and officers trained to administer them. Just like you did for decades after repeal of Prohibition, but before some smart scientist invented the little balloon.

And if there is any question, you haul the driver in to take a blood test, or he forfeits his license. And, as has been discussed here, states already have laws enabling them to do this, with levels reasonable enough to ensure that residual amounts in the bloodstream low enough to not be intoxicating are accounted for.

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 3:59 PM

The smell of either alcohol or pot is secondary to any signs of impairment.
One substance can be checked at that point…and one cannot.
This creates an unequal advantage for the pot user.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 4:09 PM

JannyMae on December 5, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Also, marijuana and industrial hemp are botonically the same plant; they both contain THC…and both are illegal to grow today.

dom89031 on December 5, 2012 at 4:10 PM

We can either continue with the abject failure of the war on drugs, or we can treat addiction for what it is, a health problem.

That and what the War on Drugs has done to the 4th amendment.

the fact that the TSA already has mission creep re: drugs is enough for me to legalize them all.

NoVAHockey on December 5, 2012 at 4:13 PM

. And the ones associated with alcohol are far more pronounced and common than with THC.

This may be a statistical anomaly based on the number of people using. The same may be true of the observation of negative effects.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Not really.
The point is equal protection and application of laws.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 4:03 PM

No. The point is you desperately trying to erect straw men in an argument you are losing.

Your argument is that since we can’t make legalization perfect yet, we have to ignore the vast societal cost it imposes on us, just because we wouldn’t be able to put away stoners as easy as drunks. Stoners, who BTW, pose nowhere near the threat on the roads that said drunks do.

Is that about it?

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Your argument is that since we can’t make legalization perfect yet, we have to ignore the vast societal cost it imposes on us, just because we wouldn’t be able to put away stoners as easy as drunks. Stoners, who BTW, pose nowhere near the threat on the roads that said drunks do.

Is that about it?

JohnGalt23 on December 5, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Actually, no. I’m not losing at all. If I was, you wouldn’t have to attempt to change the subject some much.

Mimzey on December 5, 2012 at 4:19 PM

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