Are there perils in legalizing pot?

posted at 12:51 pm on December 17, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

With all of the recent activity and debate on legalizing marijuana, we sometimes neglect the arguments in opposition to it.  David Frum offers a rebuttal to the legalization argument at Newsweek/Daily Beast today, which asks whether we want to add another detrimental influence on upward mobility and prosperity at this particular moment in time:

When we discuss marijuana, we usually bog ourselves down in a too-familiar debate about legalization. Prior to that question, however, let’s consider another: what should we think about marijuana and the way Americans use it? For if there’s one thing on which we can all agree, it is that legalization will mean even more use by even more people.

Habitual marijuana users experience more difficulty with learning and schooling. They do worse at work, miss more workdays, and suffer more accidents. They have fewer friends and occupy lower rungs on the socioeconomic ladder.

Does marijuana cause these problems? That’s hard to say. The National Institute for Drug Abuse offers a cautious read of the brain science: “Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks … As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a suboptimal intellectual level all of the time. Research into the effects of long-term cannabis use on the structure of the brain has yielded inconsistent results. It may be that the effects are too subtle for reliable detection by current techniques.”

Frum acknowledges that this might be a chicken-egg issue. Do people who habitually smoke marijuana become less productive, or do less productive people use marijuana? In other words, what is the cause and effect dynamic in play — and is there one at all? Frum doesn’t answer that but instead says that marijuana is “a warning to heed, a behavior to regret and deplore.” That’s certainly true, but that’s also true of many behaviors that don’t lead into a government prohibition, either, such as excessive drinking and gambling, the latter of which is not just tolerated but in some cases are provided by the states in the form of lotteries.

Frum then offers the core of his argument:

It’s baffling to me that people who profess anxiety about the trend to social inequality will so often endorse drug legalization. A world of legal drugs will be a world in which the fates of the top one third of Americans and the lower two thirds will diverge even more than they already do. A world of weaker families, absent parents, and shriveling job opportunities is a world in which more Americans will seek a cheap and easy escape from their depressing reality. Legalized marijuana, like legal tobacco, will become a diversion for those who feel they have the least to lose.

We don’t ban tobacco use, either, and the state makes a fortune off of taxing it. That puts the government at all levels in the rather hypocritical position of becoming scolds over its use while funding itself from the sales of the product it deplores. Some legalization advocates wonder why we can’t extend the same kind of treatment to marijuana, which isn’t exactly a barn-burner of an argument for legalization, either.

I get where Frum is going with this piece. Legalization will increase use and make marijuana more socially acceptable, and we certainly can be concerned about the deleterious effect that will have on a culture that already seems like it’s going off the rails. However, the federal prohibition isn’t exactly a benevolent reality, either. The better choice would be to allow voters in each state to decide what kind of laws they want about marijuana use and have the federal government get out of the way. We can look at the results of these choices in a closer light and compare and contrast legalization with prohibition more rationally.

There are always perils in freedom. But freedom has benefits that usually outstrip the perils.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Now, Libertine and Libertarian both seem to mean the same thing to the majority of posters self-identifying as members of the latter group on Internet chat boards.

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Good point. There are certain principles behind the idea of Libertarianism. That has devolved into the idea that the federal government has no right to get between (or judge) a man and his goat.

It’s not as neat a fit but I would argue that both the main political parties have also abandoned their principles to political expediency, incumbency of its members, and pandering for votes. The Obama administration has merely accelerated a downward trend that has been going on for decades with the attack on religious institutions the most blatant and overt lack of principle to date (to which the GOP did nothing in response).

Happy Nomad on December 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Caligula’s Horse approves.

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Libertines have ruined what should be a noble brand. As I get older and presumably wiser, I realize that my earlier optimism in the moral strength and fiber of individuals was naive.

John the Libertarian on December 17, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Yeah, putting people high on coke or LSD behind the wheel on the same roads my kids drive makes perfect sense. And don’t give me some crap about personal responsibility until you tell me just how high a body count you are willing to accept before you admit that your position is really really stupid.

I suggest you give a look at the statistics for alcohol-related fatalities (vehicular and otherwise).

How high of a body count are willing to accept to keep it legal?

Good Lt on December 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Happy Nomad on December 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Yep. Even as we post, Boehner has just gotten out of visiting with Scooter at the White House.

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Pot rewires one’s brain so by all means lets legalize it for use by teens whose brains are still forming.

The Colorado and Washington laws only allow adults to use it. Oh and incase you’re a complete moron, teens are doing it anyway.

MoreLiberty on December 17, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Some legalization advocates wonder why we can’t extend the same kind of treatment to marijuana, which isn’t exactly a barn-burner of an argument for legalization, either.

Highly unlikely. Pot is far too easy to grow and use to easily force the price on it too high – unlike with tobacco, which is a real pain to grow, cure, and turn into cigarettes. Pot grows “like a weed” (!) and can just be harvested with a scissors and thrown into some brownies or left to dry and then smoked in a joint or bong. The state would have a hard time pulling their extortion racket with pot as they do with cigarettes.

But, let’s hear why cigarette smoke is banned in many places (on private property, in direct opposition to our Constitution and the foundation of our culture) but pot smoke is all too cool …

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 17, 2012 at 2:46 PM

I am saying that the “war on drugs” is more harmful to our society than is the “enemy” it is ostensibly trying to defeat. Of course we need to impose harsh penalties on those who drive under the influence, be it alcohol, pot or LSD.

MJBrutus on December 17, 2012 at 2:26 PM

And I’m saying that you are naive if you think there would be a fundamental change if all drugs were legalized. Think it through:

All drugs become legal, feds and states swoop in to regulate and tax the products. Greater bureaucracy for monitoring safety standards, product content, etc.

Cost of recreational drugs increase which means higher crime rates as junkies steal for money to go to Pot-R-Us. Abuse and addiction also increases as those who wouldn’t use before engage in drug use now that it is legal.

In the end, you’ve still got people buying and selling drugs illegally (under the table), with higher social costs in other areas, and increased government regulation and bureaucracy.

In short, I don’t think you’ve considered all the ramifications. It isn’t as if the feds are simply going to legalize drugs and take a hands-off approach. Yet much of your argument is based on them doing precisely that.

Happy Nomad on December 17, 2012 at 2:46 PM

There are certain dilemmas that seem minor but are actually very serious, like the fact that they don’t have a way of testing under the influence for pot. They would have to test anyone in a car accident or pulled over if it’s legal and hold the person responsible if thc is even in the bloodstream. Blacks use the drug more frequently than whites and they will be held responsible for any accidents they are involved in because the assumption has to be they were high at the time. They use this same assumption for commercial drivers. They can’t do that today because you get the benefit of a doubt that you weren’t breaking the law, if you aren’t cdl. Conservative states could purge their pot users pretty easily once it’s legalized by using thc in the bloodstream to revoke driving privs and hold them responsible for any accidents.

The libs will demand a lot of tolerance towards those who test positive for thc. It will be a big legal brouhaha. You’ll have to demand language in the legalization laws that stipulates postive test equal incident intoxication. They really should have done that in WA and CO. You could put that question on the ballot for the next election. If the idiots vote against it, then it tells everyone that they want to drive under the influence without fear of penalty.

Buddahpundit on December 17, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Yep. I’ve never tried the wacky weed, but why the heck should Texas care what Oregon does.

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on December 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Maybe not TX/OR, but Kansas sure cares about what Colorado does, for example, since cross-border purchases will greatly increase weed use in Kansas. We don’t want that, please.

KS Rex on December 17, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Yeah, I don’t blame you:

Meth use seems to be increasing the most in the West and Midwest. Among the 42 states with sufficient data to compare to the national average for positive tests for meth in 2010, those with rates notably above average were:

1. Hawaii – 410% higher than national average
2. Arkansas – 280%
3. Oklahoma – 240%
4. Nevada – 180%
5. California – 140%
6. Wyoming – 130%
7. Utah – 120%
8. Arizona – 100%, and
9. Kansas – 80%.

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on December 17, 2012 at 2:50 PM

I have smoked plenty of weed in my youth. It makes you stupid and lazy. If there are two things we don’t need more of in this country is stupid and lazy.

trs on December 17, 2012 at 2:50 PM

I suggest you give a look at the statistics for alcohol-related fatalities (vehicular and otherwise).

How high of a body count are willing to accept to keep it legal?

Good Lt on December 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM

A non-sequitor at best. Alcohol is different from a couple of different standpoints. Culturally alcohol and LSD are not the same. One doesn’t get together at the holidays and go on a family acid trip but one does get together and give a Christmas toast.
Physically, alcohol does not rewire your brain like pot does. Finally, we tried banning alcohol in the name of morality and public safety. It didn’t work.

Happy Nomad on December 17, 2012 at 2:51 PM

There are perils in legalizing pot. All the illegal avenues of money will dry up and the government will be able to tax and control. Wait maybe thats the good side, unless your a Congressman on the kick back to run interference.

People will find away to relieve their daily turmoil.
1. Family
2. Religion
3. Comfort Foods
4. Alcohol
5. Legal drugs
6. Illegal drugs

Of the illegal drugs, the problems with pot put it some where below religion and above Comfort foods in the problems that it produces.

Since the 1915 move Black Fear and the infamous 1938 Reefer Madness the government has fought a losing and costly drug war to little effect.

Personally I believe that 3-6 are all pretty dumb and people should try for 1-2 first. This is the real world so at least approach the subject in a realistic manner and not in the same useless way that we have for nearly 100 years. Who are the real stoners, ”We The People” or “Choom Gang Leader” that come up with these self serving, costly plans.

jpcpt03 on December 17, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Happy Nomad on December 17, 2012 at 2:46 PM

I am speaking on balance. Yes, there would be ills associated with legalization. I don’t deny that. However, I think that the ills engendered by prohibition to far outweigh them.

MJBrutus on December 17, 2012 at 2:55 PM

A cautionary note:

Dr. Jones commented, “Marijuana abuse is common among sufferers of schizophrenia and recent studies have shown that the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana can induce some symptoms of schizophrenia in healthy volunteers. These findings are therefore important for our understanding of psychiatric diseases, which may arise as a consequence of ‘disorchestrated brains’ and could be treated by re-tuning brain activity.”..

and

Its authors, led by Professor Daniela Parolaro of the University of Insubria, Italy, add that animal models suggest that adolescence is “a highly vulnerable age for the consequences of cannabis exposure on different domains (such as cognition and social behavior) that are altered in psychotic disorders.”

Buy Danish on December 17, 2012 at 3:08 PM

In a situation where individual response to something can be variable there are only tradeoffs. Marijuana is almost certainly not absolutely benign — it will adversely affect some people. It is almost certainly not absolutely malignant — it will not horribly affect everyone or perhaps the vast majority.

It falls somewhere in between and the problem would be do we want to live with the side effects (the prohibition or legalization or something in between).

Given my imperfect knowledge, I would probably fall on the side of legalization or, at least, de-criminalization, though I do understand that the outcome over the entire population of users might not be quite so benign.

Russ808 on December 17, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Bush was an alcoholic and a coke user.

Point?

Good Lt on December 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Not in office,

Unlike lil barry.

Solaratov on December 17, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Who cares if people smoke pot. Collect taxes off it. Save money on putting people in prison and policing it. Duh.

rubberneck on December 17, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Exactly how is marijuana any worse than alcohol?

Legalize it, tax it. Penalties for DWI and the rest are already in place.

Deny the Mexican Cartels a source of income.

mojo on December 17, 2012 at 3:21 PM

There are perils in most freedoms.

Methinks someone misunderstands the important difference between freedom (to do what’s right) and license to do whatever you chose.
Casual labeling of an activity–as the diabolical left knows and abuses quite well–can give good qualities to an evil and evil qualities to a good.

Don L on December 17, 2012 at 3:22 PM

One doesn’t get together at the holidays and go on a family acid trip but one does get together and give a Christmas toast.

Happy Nomad on December 17, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Speak for your own family, and their own ritual use of psychoactive drugs.

And yes… alcohol is a psychoactive drug. You can talk all about flavor, and tradition, and on and on, but the fact is that when you drink alcohol, you are drinking “high”. It may just be a small bit of “high”, but it is “high” all the same.

JohnGalt23 on December 17, 2012 at 3:25 PM

…Gary Johnson, a man who has puffed up with professionals?

JohnGalt23 on December 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM

There are professional dope-smokers? How did they get that job? And who hires a “professional puffer” to smoke their dope for them, anyway.

And who the hell is gary johnson; and why should I care who he smokes pot with? Is a flagrant law-breaker (ie: criminal) someone I should admire, for some idiotic reason?

Solaratov on December 17, 2012 at 3:32 PM

There is a whole lot of bitchin’ about the new marijuana laws goin’ on here, that’s for sure.

I like to look on the bright side of things. As someone who lives in a now “legal marijuana” state I intend taking full advantage of my new found freedom.

I’m going to order up some extremely potent marijuana seeds from Europe or Canada, strongest possible stuff I can find, and start growing it. Then I’m gonna sell it to as many liberal Democrats as I can. That way I have more money and Democrats have less plus I get to help rot their brains more than they already are. Seems like a win/win situation to me.

trapeze on December 17, 2012 at 3:37 PM

states issue.
like so many other things.
you don’t want it in your state, get a bunch of people in your state to vote like you.
personally I cannot stand the crap, but its not a federal issue.
and it never should have been one.

dmacleo on December 17, 2012 at 3:45 PM

I believe a criminal conviction is more detrimental than responsibly smoking marijuana.

gbear on December 17, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Deny the Mexican Cartels a source of income.
mojo on December 17, 2012 at 3:21 PM

I agree with you; but then where would the banks get their liquidity from?

dom89031 on December 17, 2012 at 4:02 PM

I have smoked plenty of weed in my youth. It makes you stupid and lazy. If there are two things we don’t need more of in this country is stupid and lazy.

trs on December 17, 2012 at 2:50 PM

agree

There was an excellent demo on tv last year. Young volunteers who handle pot well used a driving simulator which had the car approach a stop. A second car appears on the monitor and crosses in the path of the driver.

Before pot, the test subjects correctly stopped their vehicle. They then smoked their usual recreational amount of pot, and took exactly the same test. They even knew the car was going to cross their path, but every smoker ended up in a simulated crash. The reason: pot is proven to distort distance perception and time perception.

A pot smoker can look in control, but be missing that ability while high. Currently there is no good test to measure, and correlate THC level in blood, with the loss in distance and time perception.

This is a major problem, because to sell pot as a safe drug, it is being promoted as not causing a high. People don’t want the data, they want pot.

My problem, I don’t want them driving near me, and I don’t want them driving a bus or taxi I use (done that!), I do not want to share a workload with pot smoking coworkers, because I am old enough to remember the pot soaked old days, the the enui, and laziness that accompanies a high in most smokers and the stupid fantastical thoughts that clogged their hazy brains

And yes, I think the Statists would prefer Americans smoked pot and got stupid, than smoked tobacco and retained their wits and drive

entagor on December 17, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Who cares if people smoke pot. Collect taxes off it. Save money on putting people in prison and policing it. Duh.

rubberneck on December 17, 2012 at 3:21 PM

+1!
for this drug, its a no brainer solution.

nathor on December 17, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Habitual ALCOHOL users experience more difficulty with learning and schooling. They do worse at work, miss more workdays, and suffer more accidents. They have fewer friends and occupy lower rungs on the socioeconomic ladder.

We need to ban booze again.

toliver on December 17, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Frum doesn’t answer that but instead says that marijuana is “a warning to heed, a behavior to regret and deplore.” That’s certainly true

No, it’s not.

Lehosh on December 17, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Every complaint about marijuana here could be made for alcohol. Makes you stupid? Check. Makes you dangerous on the road? Check. Bad for developing teens? Check. Especially bad if you have a pre-existing mental illness? Check.

We know Prohibition didn’t work. It didn’t stop alcohol use. It poured millions of dollars into the pockets of organized crime.

Why, why, why are we doing the same thing with marijuana? Why are people here defending making the same mistake all over again?

Why can’t we learn from history?

Bartrams Garden on December 17, 2012 at 4:41 PM

America seems to be devolving into a collection of Libertines. Notice, I did not say “Libertarians”, although, both descriptive words come from the same root word. A Libertine is, per Merriam-Webster.com, a person who is unrestrained by convention or morality: one leading a dissolute (lacking moral restraint) life

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 2:30 PM

“Liberty” also comes from the same root word; I presume that’s something else you disdain.

BTW, per dictionary.com, “libertine” is also defined as:

2. a freethinker in religious matters.
3. a person freed from slavery in ancient Rome.

From the same source, “libertarian”:

1. a person who advocates liberty, especially with regard to thought or conduct.
2. a person who maintains the doctrine of free will (distinguished from necessitarian).

adjective

3. advocating liberty or conforming to principles of liberty.
4. maintaining the doctrine of free will.

It’s sad that some folks who pretend to be “conservatives” demonstrably loathe individual freedom, not to mention the Constitution, every bit as much as the “liberals” and “progressives” they love making fun of.

Fatwa Arbuckle on December 17, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Fatwa Arbuckle on December 17, 2012 at 4:43 PM

With Freedom comes responsibility. Or, don’t you believe in that?

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 4:48 PM

With Freedom comes responsibility. Or, don’t you believe in that?

Of course I do. I was raised with the understanding that actions have consequences.

Fatwa Arbuckle on December 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM

This is where federalism is supposed to shine: in those areas where there are ambiguities and disagreements amongst the people in the States. Thus get the federal government out of it and let States and lower governments figure out what they want to do with the topic. There are dry counties in the US which ought to point out that a OSFA type rule does not fit all well or even at all.

There are plenty of ways to deal with the effects of marijuana, such as intoxication and driving under the influence, or while utilizing intoxicants that impair one’s reflexes which puts the public at peril from that use. Employers can have ‘clean and sober’ clauses added to contracts along with random testing, which includes State and local governments as well. In fact for publicly run utilities, bus lines, rail lines, etc. there could be zero tolerance clauses added in along with loss of job and compensation. The ways to deal with this are at the low level, not on high.

Another plus to legalization is, indeed, the food and drug purity acts which require exacting ingredient listings. This will allow users to actually identify what gets the desired effect, and decide on what they want to procure rather than have to go with whatever Vinnie on the corner has decided to add to his stash to extend it this week.

That does not lead to a perfect world, nothing does. But it might just clean out a few prison cells and put the onus of what the effects of enjoyment are beyond just the courts and into the direct economic venue of jobs and employment. Plus insurance carriers will most likely adjust all sorts of insurance, like for the workplace, based on utilization of such intoxicants. Life insurance and other forms of insurance, like car insurance, will also have rate adjustments based on usage. That then shifts the economic cost of toking up from the public venue of prisons, to the private venue of pocketbook.

And, really, the US is known for its agricultural output and weed is, when all and said and done, a hearty plant that grows readily on the least arable land. Even with overhead, regulation, and the rest of it, the cost to actually produce, market and ship the stuff via mass agricultural means will drop its price below that of what any corner dealer can offer you. Suddenly having name brand, reputable suppliers of a legal substance strips away the gauzy, anti-establishment attraction of marijuana…

Does it have physiological and psychological effects? Yes and strong ones. Is having it decriminalized and sent back to the States a good idea or bad one? Neither as it is the way that we agree to work in this Nation and the federal control over this area is tenuous and based on some of the harshest laws put in by Progressives in the early 20th century to greatly expand government power to enforce their own morality on the minority in the republic. If the Progressives love to point to child labor laws, then it can be pointed out that their drug laws were putting doctors behind bars for prescribing substances to addicts to try and control the addiction. Strangely the substances did not disappear, the addicts did not disappear, and the doctors were taken out of public health and put into prisons. Was that really how the entire thing needed to be approached? Was having a stamp act in which you had to have the material to gain the stamp, but it was illegal to have the material without it such a great way to expand government power?

If you detest the legacy of Progressivism, then that legacy goes beyond taxes and social programs but towards crafting public morality… has the federal government done such a bang-up job on that since that era? Or would local governments, with local laws and regulations have served us better? Federalism does have its problems but if one claims principles that they adhere to are in that concept, then the problems of the republic devolve very quickly down to the local and personal level. It isn’t just about exterior government, but how we govern ourselves which means that the more we do that at the lowest of possible levels, the less we need the federal government to do for us. Yes decriminalization would mean changes and a lot of work for each of us and for more local government. Sucks, that, asking for more responsibility at a lower level and then having to handle it so that power is broken out of the hands of the few to the many. Yet it would be an about-face from the last horrific century of expanding government power on all fronts in this instance… you never know what will happen when people start asking if there are more areas like that…

ajacksonian on December 17, 2012 at 4:55 PM

1. Whining about drug users driving under the influence is the reddest of red herrings when discussing legalization. If I want to buy pot, smoke it, and then drive, no legislation imaginable is going to stop me.

2. On a seperate, but related note, DUI laws should be eradicated entirely. Liability already punishes a drunk driver if they are at fault in an accident. Don’t be fooled: MADD and the police unions are lobbying for prohibition, not safety.

3. Another red herring: the notion that crime will increase from legalizing marijuana. Not only an incredibly dubious claim, but totally irrelevant. Moreover, if I steal from someone and get caught, I will be punished by laws already on the books. It doesn’t matter whether I stole because I wanted pot, needed to pay for my dying wife’s surgery, or to feed my children– in the eyes of the law it’s the theft, not the motive that matters.

If you have an argument against legalization, deliver one.

bocat on December 17, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Well, firstly from what I read Prohibition did have many positive effects. More money going into the family home, less alcohol related crime.

Secondly, decriminalising Weed will enlarge its use and its deleterious effects. That seems to me to be obvious. It will also place extra peer pressure on our kids who we are trying to steer the right way. We aren’t going too well on the front already.

I have heard some cogent arguments by high ranking ex-Police for decriminalisation and they are not without merit. Then I remember my son and others like him and I completely reject anything that makes access easier. We would be better off handing our 13 year olds loading pistols or giving our 16 year old learner driver Ferarris.

Liam1304 on December 17, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Prohibition led to one greatest crime waves in American history. The drunks still got their alcohol, but now they were getting it from organized criminals. This in turn produced huge amounts of money for organized crime to be used to increase their criminal activities, and bribes to politicians, policeman and judges. Chicago has never recovered.

It also created a general disrespect for the law by the general population at large because many people who were not hardened criminals starting hanging out in places that sold alcohol that were underground and run by the mob thus introducing them to that lifestyle.

By decriminalization of weed we can take a large bite out of the money going to organized crime and gangs. That in term will weaken their power to run other criminal activities.

William Eaton on December 17, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Of course I do. I was raised with the understanding that actions have consequences.

Fatwa Arbuckle on December 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Good. Because, at 54, I watched friends become ruined by THP. What’s worse, they have ruined the lives of those who loved them, and affected the lives of those who worked with them and employed them.

It’s not harmless. It takes away ambition, and makes people stupid and lazy.

If you believe that it’s harmless, your naivete is breathtaking.

Oh, and by the way, voting for Dr. Paul, if you did, and buying into his isolationist drivel, is not Conservative…and not very responsibile, either.

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 4:59 PM

ajacksonian on December 17, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Nicely written, as always.

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Good. Because, at 54, I watched friends become ruined by THP.

I don’t know what “THP” is in re the context of this exchange. But I’m sorry that it caused the problems you allege.

It’s not harmless. It takes away ambition, and makes people stupid and lazy.

That’s as general – and unsupported – a statement as when liberals claim that conservatives are all stupid and racist.

If you believe that it’s harmless, your naivete is breathtaking.

Never said that, nor do I believe it. Nearly every aspect of life has some level of potential harm attached to it.

And for the record, I’m not a Ronulan. Nor do I believe in isolationism in a world as dangerous as the one in which we reside.

Fatwa Arbuckle on December 17, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Are there perils in legalizing pot? You mean aside from the fact that the state/local gubmints and local law enforcement hadn’t actually worked out the details of how they were going to handle the legalization or that they had no information to inform citizens of the laws with respect to or the impact of the legalization?

stukinIL4now on December 17, 2012 at 5:11 PM

If you believe it’s not harmless, why do you want to legalize it, and why did you attack me? Just to show what a brilliant “Fiscal Conservative” (i.e., Moderate, Liberal, “Libertarian”, Libertine, take your pick) you are?

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 5:13 PM

That’s as general – and unsupported – a statement as when liberals claim that conservatives are all stupid and racist.

From the National Insitute on Drug Abuse:

Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction; that is, compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite the known harmful effects upon functioning in the context of family, school, work, and recreational activities. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent) and among daily users (25-50 percent).

Long-term marijuana abusers trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including: irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which can make it difficult to remain abstinent. These symptoms begin within about 1 day following abstinence, peak at 2-3 days, and subside within 1 or 2 weeks following drug cessation.

Marijuana and Mental Health

A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be an important risk factor, where early use is a marker of increased vulnerability to later problems. However, at this time, it is not clear whether marijuana use causes mental problems, exacerbates them, or reflects an attempt to self-medicate symptoms already in existence.

Chronic marijuana use, especially in a very young person, may also be a marker of risk for mental illnesses – including addiction – stemming from genetic or environmental vulnerabilities, such as early exposure to stress or violence. Currently, the strongest evidence links marijuana use and schizophrenia and/or related disorders. High doses of marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction; in addition, use of the drug may trigger the onset or relapse of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals.

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Interesting in an issue like this that cuts across values/opinions on Hot Air…not just everybody agreeing with each other, and the 5% who give a different opinion receive extremely nasty replies.

Personally, I’m with the group who thinks that marijuana should be legalized. I smoked it too, and it has about the same negatives that alcohol has, which is of course legal.

Legalize harder drugs? Absolutely not.

asc85 on December 17, 2012 at 5:18 PM

First, recognize and accept that Marijuana itself kills no one. Illegal drug trade involvement? Sure. But the substance itself, especially if made legal and safely accessible, absolutely does not.

Second: Apply your arguments to the use, purchase, and access of firearms.

Rinse, repeat, and feel good about your philosophical consistency.

Genuine on December 17, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Genuine on December 17, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Take your pompousness and blow it out your socks.

Inhale and repeat.

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Who cares if people smoke pot. Collect taxes off it. Save money on putting people in prison and policing it. Duh.

rubberneck on December 17, 2012 at 3:21 PM

+1!
for this drug, its a no brainer solution.

nathor on December 17, 2012 at 4:26 PM

This is either a great pun or painful irony.

NapaConservative on December 17, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Ah the good old ‘legalize it’ debate .

My neighbors son smokes it likes its going out of fashion and the effects are so startling that it put a nail in the proverbial coffin of smoking ‘the green stuff’ .

Just picture the scene…. a habitual user of marijuana screaming at his father “SMOKING MARIJUANA DOES NOT MAKE YOU PRONE TO AGGRESSIVE MOOD SWINGS YOU F*CK*NG TW*T ”

He eventually calmed down, then announced he was going outside to smoke a spliff with Jesus .

He’s also on benefits.

EnglishRogue on December 17, 2012 at 5:36 PM

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Getting in your car is potentially dangerous. Ditto walking down a flight of stairs. Or going for a swim. Do you believe those activities should be made illegal because something unfortunate might occur as a result?

There’s some level of risk to nearly everything one does.

As far as legalization goes, I strongly believe that a) the feds had no Constitutional authority to ban cannabis in the first place (they at least had the “decency” to amend the Constitution for alcohol prohibition), and b) the pernicious effects of the ever-escalating “war on drugs”, i.e., civil asset forfeiture, nosing around bank accounts, no-knock raids on the homes of citizens with zero history of violence or even an arrest record (not to mention that they sometimes have the wrong home, too) and the militarization of police are far worse than the effects of simply legalizing pot.

Not to mention the deaths of literally hundreds of innocents at the hands of the police. And dead dogs, too.

Lastly, how did I “attack” you?

Addendum (since I refreshed just prior to posting this):

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a government agency; they have a vested interest in promulgating and expanding their domain. As do agencies like BATFE; do you believe everything that agency says?

And I’m not terribly trusting of the government; one of my personal quirks.

“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.” — Thomas Jefferson

Fatwa Arbuckle on December 17, 2012 at 5:41 PM

I think its funny how on one hand we have this great gun debate going on and a popular phrase I hear is if “You outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns and law abiding citziens wont be able to defend themselves” I totatlly get that. But then those same people will argue against legalizing weed. Now thats where I get confused. Weed is legalized now, those who want to get it can and will very easily. I would go as far as to say that a middle schooler can get weed easier then they can get alcohol. Now Im not of the mind that if its legalized then people who never wanted to smoke it before will suddenly become weed addicts. I dont personally smoke weed and have no plans too either way but I just dont get the American electorate. It seems most people play both sides of the fence depending on the issue.

Politricks on December 17, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Fatwa Arbuckle on December 17, 2012 at 5:41 PM

Your tin foil hat is askew.

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 6:11 PM

NapaConservative on December 17, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Probably both.

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 6:13 PM

EnglishRogue on December 17, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Didn’t you hear? It’s harmless./

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Your tin foil hat is askew.

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 6:11 PM

That’s all you’ve got?

Fatwa Arbuckle on December 17, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Fatwa Arbuckle on December 17, 2012 at 6:24 PM

More than was needed.

Your anti-establishmentarianism outed you.

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 6:31 PM

More than was needed.

Your anti-establishmentarianism outed you.

Ooooh…you found me out! I disagree with the established order! (One of the many reasons I love freedom.)

And with that, good day, sir or madam. I said good day!

Fatwa Arbuckle on December 17, 2012 at 6:42 PM

32 oz sodas are the real problem for the poor…/BB/MO
-
And the legalize pot move is about 50 years late.
-
If it had been done in the 60s – 70s most of the coke/heroin/meth users of the last few decades would never have developed their connections to dealers of ‘all the above’. Just my opinion…

RalphyBoy on December 17, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Are there perils in legalizing pot?

Pot Head: “Nope. Can’t think of any. So there must not be any.”

SparkPlug on December 17, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Are there perils in legalizing pot?
Pot Head: “Nope. Can’t think of any. So there must not be any.”
SparkPlug on December 17, 2012 at 6:59 PM

“Like, dude, I’m sooo baked, y’know. Uhhhhh….what’s a ‘peril’?”

whatcat on December 17, 2012 at 7:05 PM

I know someone who uses medical mj. Has been doing so everyday for about 8 years. It really helps his condition. But the side effects are unmistakable.

I used to be able to have a conversation with him. Used to. He has gotten nuttier over time. His old friends now pretty much ignore him. He is now a detached spaced out child in a mans body who has lost all motivation and accomplished very little.

Maybe other people would be less effected.

SparkPlug on December 17, 2012 at 7:10 PM

I know someone who uses medical mj. Has been doing so everyday for about 8 years. It really helps his condition. But the side effects are unmistakable.

SparkPlug on December 17, 2012 at 7:10 PM

Not to mention that there are other more efficient delivery systems to get the same “relief.”

IMO, the idea of medical mj is simply self-medication in the same way others turn to booze.

Happy Nomad on December 17, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Are there perils in legalizing pot?

No. Next question.

Dante on December 17, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Are there perils in legalizing pot?

.
No. Next question.

Dante on December 17, 2012 at 8:03 PM

.
I would be willing to go along with that, IF . . . . . employers are allowed to discriminate against users.

listens2glenn on December 17, 2012 at 8:23 PM

I would be willing to go along with that, IF . . . . . employers are allowed to discriminate against users.

listens2glenn on December 17, 2012 at 8:23 PM

As buffoonish as it is to value an employee by how he spends his recreational time, rather than his body of work, they are.

bocat on December 17, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Simply given the fact that we have had more success limiting the consumption of tobacco than limiting the consumption of marijuana should be all the proof needed to legalize marijuana.

Given that the statistical evidence is that prohibition has not reduced marijuana consumption I find it hard to believe that Kansas or other states bordering Colorado & Oregon will have a noticeable upswing in marijuana use.

Slowburn on December 17, 2012 at 8:37 PM

If you believe it’s not harmless, why do you want to legalize it

Who are you, and what are you doing on a conservative/libertarian webboard?

Bartrams Garden on December 17, 2012 at 9:05 PM

I’m a Reagan Conservative who has been here since 2008. The base of this website remains Conservative, not puff puff “Libertarian.
Who are you, Skippy?

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 9:17 PM

The better choice would be to allow voters in each state to decide what kind of laws they want about marijuana use and have the federal government get out of the way. We can look at the results of these choices in a closer light and compare and contrast legalization with prohibition more rationally.

Well said Ed. It’s the basis of our 10th amendment. The states are the laboratories of democracy.

Eprider on December 17, 2012 at 9:52 PM

listens2glenn on December 17, 2012 at 8:23 PM

.
As buffoonish as it is to value an employee by how he spends his recreational time, rather than his body of work, they are.

bocat on December 17, 2012 at 8:33 PM

.
IF . . . . . employers were not allowed to discriminate against users, what’s to keep a user from using ‘on the job?’

listens2glenn on December 17, 2012 at 9:55 PM

If you believe it’s not harmless, why do you want to legalize it,

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Good God, sometimes you are breathtakingly stupid.

Alcohol is not harmless. You would have been arguing against repal of the 18th Amendment.

Which, as has been proven quite sufficiently, would have put you on the stupid side of history…

JohnGalt23 on December 17, 2012 at 10:15 PM

JohnGalt23 on December 17, 2012 at 10:15 PM

I take it you don’t believe the report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, either.

Then, who’s monumentally stoopid, Sparky?

And, don’t bogart the cheetohs, duuude.

kingsjester on December 17, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Have any of you flag-waving Bubbas given so much as a passing thought to what legalizing dope (and other drugs soon after) will do to our ability to resist further incursion by the Feds?

The wannabe tyrants on the left must be laughing themselves sick.

MelonCollie on December 17, 2012 at 11:00 PM

…yep!…I want stoner’s driving!

KOOLAID2 on December 17, 2012 at 11:15 PM

MelonCollie on December 17, 2012 at 11:00 PM

The stoners are already on the other side.

KOOLAID2 on December 17, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Given the evidence that drug prohibition has not stopped a statistically significant number of people from using. The stoners are already driving.

Slowburn on December 17, 2012 at 11:34 PM

For if there’s one thing on which we can all agree, it is that legalization will mean even more use by even more people

If he’s just going to start making crap up and mandating that I agree with it, I’m not going to bother reading the rest.

Mark Jaquith on December 18, 2012 at 1:06 AM

Given the evidence that drug prohibition has not stopped a statistically significant number of people from using. The stoners are already driving.

Slowburn on December 17, 2012 at 11:34 PM

.
Or operating railroad locomotives, before the accident at Chase, Md, January 1987.

listens2glenn on December 18, 2012 at 1:27 AM

listens2glenn on December 18, 2012 at 1:27 AM

Marijuana being legalized no more makes it less of a crime to drive while stoned than alcohol being legal makes it legal to drive drunk.

Slowburn on December 18, 2012 at 2:14 AM

whether we want to add another detrimental influence on upward mobility and prosperity at this particular moment in time

WTF is wrong with you?

Please show me ANY study that proves this absolutely INANE theory.

Have smoked pot on and off since I was in my teens.

Graduated college with 3 years on the Deens list and my senior year I made the President’s Honor Role.

Had a successful career and retired at age 50.

Your stupidity is absolutely breathtaking….have another drinkie skippy.

Tim_CA on December 18, 2012 at 1:14 PM

listens2glenn on December 18, 2012 at 1:27 AM

.
Marijuana being legalized no more makes it less of a crime to drive while stoned than alcohol being legal makes it legal to drive drunk.

Slowburn on December 18, 2012 at 2:14 AM

.
But that doesn’t that mean “no problem”, or “problem solved.”

Being illegal didn’t stop Ricky Gates. Because of that incident, the Federal Government is now in the business of licensing all railroad engineers. The railroad industry didn’t need that, and the survivors of those killed at Chase, Md didn’t need to deal with pre-mature funerals.

Public “stigma”, is the best way to deal with this.
That will require a revival of Christianity.

listens2glenn on December 18, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Legal pot activists are much like gay marriage activists using the same type of argument basis..”it’s unfair’ to ‘discriminate’ against one drug activity. My ‘right’ to get stoned is just like you having a drink”, blah blah blah.
It’s not “equality” or “fairness” that activists on both issues really want, nor is it a “right”. It’s a demand for acceptance by society of the lifestyle and activity.

Mimzey on December 18, 2012 at 3:32 PM

“For if there’s one thing on which we can all agree, it is that legalization will mean even more use by even more people.”

I didn’t see anyone address this assertion. I disagree. From around 1975, Alaska had legalized personal use of marijuana. Studies in the later decades showed teenage use of pot in Alaska to be lower than other States. Teenagers saw marijuana users as aging hippies and they didn’t want to be like them.

Today, with marijuana illegal, marijuana is so widely available, that anyone who wants to obtain marijuana can. How many of them are attracted to marijuana due as a “forbidden fruit”? Will the number of users of marijuana increase or decrease? No one knows, which is a far cry from everyone can agree.

JabbaTheTutt on December 18, 2012 at 6:17 PM

WTF is wrong with you?

Please show me ANY study that proves this absolutely INANE theory.

Have smoked pot on and off since I was in my teens.

Graduated college with 3 years on the Deens list and my senior year I made the President’s Honor Role.

Had a successful career and retired at age 50.

Your stupidity is absolutely breathtaking….have another drinkie skippy.

Tim_CA on December 18, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Please show me ANY study that proves that everyone reacts to pot smoking the same way as you do.

NapaConservative on December 18, 2012 at 8:27 PM

It’s not “equality” or “fairness” that activists on both issues really want, nor is it a “right”. It’s a demand for acceptance by society of the lifestyle and activity.

Mimzey on December 18, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Good Lord your an idiot.

Tim_CA on December 18, 2012 at 9:51 PM

Please show me ANY study that proves that everyone reacts to pot smoking the same way as you do.

NapaConservative on December 18, 2012 at 8:27 PM

WTF does that even mean, moron?

Who said they do?

Tim_CA on December 18, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Good Lord your an idiot.

Tim_CA on December 18, 2012 at 9:51 PM

Learn to spell and argue Timmy-boy.

Mimzey is exactly right. The real motives are for destructive lifestyles to be seen as perfectly normal. Except potheads won’t sue churches, hopefully.

MelonCollie on December 19, 2012 at 12:35 AM

For if there’s one thing on which we can all agree, it is that legalization more guns will mean even more use by even more people crime.

soundingboard on December 19, 2012 at 12:44 AM

Mimzey is exactly right. The real motives are for destructive lifestyles to be seen as perfectly normal. Except potheads won’t sue churches, hopefully.

MelonCollie on December 19, 2012 at 12:35 AM

So help me oh wise one….how is smoking pot a “lifestyle”?

Is having a drink a “Lifestyle”?

How about a cup of coffee?

A ciggie or cigar perhaps?

What about anti-siezure meds prescribed by your M.D.?

Grow the frig up.

Legal issues by your state aside, smoking a joint is smoking a joint….just like taking a drink is taking a drink. Nothing more, nothing less

If it was even 1/10 as bad for you as you geniuses want to pretend it is….everyone who went to college in the 70′s and 80′s would be friggin’ dead.

By all means oh wise one….let the government make your choices for you….it worked so friggin’ well during prohibition.

Friggin’ “Lifestyle”….FFS.

Tim_CA on December 19, 2012 at 12:50 AM

Learn to spell and argue Timmy-boy.

MelonCollie on December 19, 2012 at 12:35 AM

Tim_CA on December 19, 2012 at 12:50 AM

Huh. Ran Away.

And you’re such a good speller too.

Tim_CA on December 19, 2012 at 1:33 AM

Huh. Ran Away.

And you’re such a good speller too.

Tim_CA on December 19, 2012 at 1:33 AM

Better than you’ll ever be. And going to bed at past midnight is not ‘running’, Bubba McMoron, and you know it. You couldn’t make a little girl run away.

MelonCollie on December 19, 2012 at 9:31 AM

You couldn’t make a little girl run away.

MelonCollie on December 19, 2012 at 9:31 AM

awwwww precious….I sense butt-hurt….and a massively out-of-control ego given your obvious lack of substance.

How about we get back to you explaining the whole “Lifestyle BS” oh wise one?

Tim_CA on December 19, 2012 at 10:42 AM

You couldn’t make a little girl run away.

MelonCollie on December 19, 2012 at 9:31 AM

awwwww precious….I sense butt-hurt….and a massively out-of-control ego given your obvious lack of substance.

How about we get back to you explaining the whole “Lifestyle BS” oh wise one?

Tim_CA on December 19, 2012 at 10:42 AM

um…..waiting…..?

So….you’re obviously not a little girl (per you…I can’t make them run away)…so you must be “in bed” again.

Where’s that super smart good speller who knows how to “argue”?

(lol)

Tim_CA on December 19, 2012 at 12:41 PM

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