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KatawaGrey's avatar

Why is it so important to get pot legalized? (Please read details).

Asked by KatawaGrey (21360 points ) January 11th, 2012

One of the most common things I hear about the legalization of pot is that “it’s just stupid that it’s illegal.” I do agree with this but, this can be said about many laws. Why is it so much more important that pot be legalized than, say, it be legal for a 16-year-old and 15-year-old to have sex? At least, in the state of CT. It is illegal in the US to drink if you are under the age of 21. Many people find that stupid but still, people are much less vocal about this than legalizing pot. It is illegal in the state of CT and a few other states, though I cannot remember which ones to carry a civilian grade stun-gun. This seems like a pretty stupid law to me, and if it were legal to do so, it could actually save lives.

My point is not to start another pot legalization debate, nor is it to have my examples of laws picked apart I realize two of my three examples are specifically state laws. My point is to understand why people are so much more interested in legalizing pot than legalizing other things that also hurt no one and that could benefit the country the US from their legalization.

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34 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Why do you assume that there is such a large legalization of pot movement? I am not sure that is so.

zenvelo's avatar

Because we spend a huge amount of money every year on enforcing marijuana laws and incarcerating people for marijuana. It’s a waste of time and money and police efforts to to control something that is pretty harmless compared to alcohol.

SavoirFaire's avatar

While I support full legalization, I’m not sure I would say it’s one of my top issues. As such, I wouldn’t characterize it as “so important.” That said, there are some differences between marijuana legalization and other stupid laws. First, the number of people imprisoned for marijuana is much higher than the number of people imprisoned for underage sex. Imprisonment is a significant impingement on personal freedom. It therefore requires strong justification. A stupid law does not provide adequate justification, thus the law is particularly worrying given its effect on personal freedom.

There are also the economic costs that @zenvelo mentions. What could be an economic boost is instead an economic drain. This is particularly important in times of economic hardship (e.g., the present).

deni's avatar

I think its simply because sooooo many people smoke marijuana, the people who are opposed to it (and are winning the fight) are essentially misinformed and refuse to become informed, and there is so much money spent on it and so many issues with drug gangs and whatnot that eliminating the source of those issues by legalizing it just makes sense. Our country could use the economic boost and though I’ve never read any studies or whatever on how much the US could make if it were legal, I’m sure it’s a fuck ton.

In 2003 the US spent 19.2 billion dollars on the war on drugs. And that is why people care. That figure and many other interesting facts are all contained in an extremely riveting report I wrote on the matter for a college class a few years ago. I will send it to anyone who cares to read it.

Coloma's avatar

It’s no secret that I have enjoyed some baked goods the last few years after decades of not imbibing. ( My jokes about Happy Brownies.)
I am all for legalization for medicinal purposes and modest personal use, however, I do not advocate chronic, daily, “recreational” use any more than I condone daily drinking.
I believe that smoking opposed to edibles is unhealthy for ones lungs, and feel that being under the influence while working, driving, or other situations that call for the absolute sobriety of good decision making should be punished.

Otherwise, there is no solid reason to continue to keep marijuana illegal after 45+ years of it being a mainstream substance that many people enjoy on occasion and the proven, myriad health benefits for many medical conditions.
I do feel though that many people make up reasons to obtain medical prescriptions for minor conditions simply because they want to capitalize on feeding their addictive use.
My use is primarily for creative and relaxation purposes and I would never go to a medical marijuana dispensary and claim an illness to exploit the system.

I have a nice little arrangement with my “gardener” for the occasional brownie mix fixin’s. lol

nikipedia's avatar

Police prosecuted 858,408 persons for marijuana violations in 2009.

Nearly one in eight drug prisoners in America are behind bars for marijuana-related offenses, according to data released this week by the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Cost to taxpayers: $1,000,000,000.

Some people believe that marijuana laws represent a form of institutionalized racism. Black people are much more likely to be prosecuted and receive stricter sentences for drug crimes, including those related to marijuana, than white people.

Marijuana is a huge source of profit for extremely violent, extremely dangerous drug cartels. I think most recreational users do not realize that their casual pot smoking is directly related to kidnapping, political corruption, and brutal murders.

Thammuz's avatar

Speaking from the assumption that dealing illicit substances is, like it is here in Italy, largely something that benefits organized crime, i’d say it really should be a priority.

I for one used to go to school with a guy that sold hash and marijuana (and used them as well, obviously), and for what you’d use for 10 joints he payed something around 30 euros to a bigger dealer (though he bought in bulk, about 300–600 euros at a time) which he then sold for 500–1000. This for very little material, considering that a cube of about .5 cm^3 of hashish is enough for a single joint.

(if you’re wondering how i know all this stuff, he sat next to me for 2 years)

He was one of about 20 dealers in my whole high-school, and he used to sell all his stuff in about a week’s time. That’s a fucking revenue stream if i’ve ever seen one.

Now compound this with the fact that a) more dangerous (alcohol) or just as dangerous (tobacco) shit is already completely legal, b) some even worse shit (ritalin, ambien, amphetamine derivatives) is just an unscrupolous doctor away, and c) the government could tax it and make a boatload of money while simultaneously ensure quality, and you see why it really should be legalized.

This, mind you, comes from a guy that never had a joint in his whole life. It’s just that it’s an unreasonable double standard that makes no sense.

It can be a standard that many people enforce out of habit or even convinction, but it’s not something that makes sense.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Basically, what @nikipedia said. And, it’s part of a larger “end the War on Drugs” thing, because it is costing us huuuuge amounts and incarcerating the “undesirables” of society, often for longer periods than violent offenders. But, it’s much, much easier to make the case that pot should be legal (or at least, decriminalized) than cocaine or meth or heroine. So it’s sort of a “gateway drug”, once again, but this time, get pot legalized/decriminalized, and then see if (after a bit of time has passed, and the world hasn’t imploded, etc) people are then more amenable to the idea of decriminalizing other drugs, reducing punishments, generally ending the War on Drugs.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Oh, and in terms of politicians campaigning on it, it’s a way to get out the youth vote. If you’re too young to really give a hoot about a candidate’s tax plan or stance on Social Security or foreign affairs policy, or you do care about social issues (gay marriage, abortion usually being the top two) but not enough to vote, you might just go and actually vote if you think you can then smoke a ton of pot legally.

judochop's avatar

-Prohibition has failed to control the use and domestic production of marijuana. The government has tried to use criminal penalties to prevent marijuana use for over 75 years and yet: marijuana is now used by over 25 million people annually, cannabis is currently the largest cash crop in the United States, and marijuana is grown all over the planet. Claims that marijuana prohibition is a successful policy are ludicrous and unsupported by the facts, and the idea that marijuana will soon be eliminated from America and the rest of the world is a ridiculous fantasy.
-Arrests for marijuana possession disproportionately affect blacks and Hispanics and reinforce the perception that law enforcement is biased and prejudiced against minorities. African-Americans account for approximately 13% of the population of the United States and about 13.5% of annual marijuana users, however, blacks also account for 26% of all marijuana arrests. Recent studies have demonstrated that blacks and Hispanics account for the majority of marijuana possession arrests in New York City, primarily for smoking marijuana in public view. Law enforcement has failed to demonstrate that marijuana laws can be enforced fairly without regard to race; far too often minorities are arrested for marijuana use while white/non-Hispanic Americans face a much lower risk of arrest.
– A regulated, legal market in marijuana would reduce marijuana sales and use among teenagers, as well as reduce their exposure to other drugs in the illegal market. The illegality of marijuana makes it more valuable than if it were legal, providing opportunities for teenagers to make easy money selling it to their friends. If the excessive profits for marijuana sales were ended through legalization there would be less incentive for teens to sell it to one another. Teenage use of alcohol and tobacco remain serious public health problems even though those drugs are legal for adults, however, the availability of alcohol and tobacco is not made even more widespread by providing kids with economic incentives to sell either one to their friends and peers.
– Legalized marijuana would reduce the flow of money from the American economy to international criminal gangs. Marijuana’s illegality makes foreign cultivation and smuggling to the United States extremely profitable, sending billions of dollars overseas in an underground economy while diverting funds from productive economic development.
-Marijuana’s legalization would simplify the development of hemp as a valuable and diverse agricultural crop in the United States, including its development as a new bio-fuel to reduce carbon emissions. Canada and European countries have managed to support legal hemp cultivation without legalizing marijuana, but in the United States opposition to legal marijuana remains the biggest obstacle to development of industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity. As US energy policy continues to embrace and promote the development of bio-fuels as an alternative to oil dependency and a way to reduce carbon emissions, it is all the more important to develop industrial hemp as a bio-fuel source – especially since use of hemp stalks as a fuel source will not increase demand and prices for food, such as corn. Legalization of marijuana will greatly simplify the regulatory burden on prospective hemp cultivation in the United States.
-Prohibition is based on lies and disinformation. Justification of marijuana’s illegality increasingly requires distortions and selective uses of the scientific record, causing harm to the credibility of teachers, law enforcement officials, and scientists throughout the country. The dangers of marijuana use have been exaggerated for almost a century and the modern scientific record does not support the reefer madness predictions of the past and present. Many claims of marijuana’s danger are based on old 20th century prejudices that originated in a time when science was uncertain how marijuana produced its characteristic effects. Since the cannabinoid receptor system was discovered in the late 1980s these hysterical concerns about marijuana’s dangerousness have not been confirmed with modern research. Everyone agrees that marijuana, or any other drug use such as alcohol or tobacco use, is not for children. Nonetheless, adults have demonstrated over the last several decades that marijuana can be used moderately without harmful impacts to the individual or society.
-Marijuana is not a lethal drug and is safer than alcohol. It is established scientific fact that marijuana is not toxic to humans; marijuana overdoses are nearly impossible, and marijuana is not nearly as addictive as alcohol or tobacco. It is unfair and unjust to treat marijuana users more harshly under the law than the users of alcohol or tobacco.
-Marijuana is too expensive for our justice system and should instead be taxed to support beneficial government programs. Law enforcement has more important responsibilities than arresting 750,000 individuals a year for marijuana possession, especially given the additional justice costs of disposing of each of these cases. Marijuana arrests make justice more expensive and less efficient in the United States, wasting jail space, clogging up court systems, and diverting time of police, attorneys, judges, and corrections officials away from violent crime, the sexual abuse of children, and terrorism. Furthermore, taxation of marijuana can provide needed and generous funding of many important criminal justice and social programs.
-Marijuana use has positive attributes, such as its medical value and use as a recreational drug with relatively mild side effects. Many people use marijuana because they have made an informed decision that it is good for them, especially Americans suffering from a variety of serious ailments. Marijuana provides relief from pain, nausea, spasticity, and other symptoms for many individuals who have not been treated successfully with conventional medications. Many American adults prefer marijuana to the use of alcohol as a mild and moderate way to relax. Americans use marijuana because they choose to, and one of the reasons for that choice is their personal observation that the drug has a relatively low dependence liability and easy-to-manage side effects. Most marijuana users develop tolerance to many of marijuana’s side effects, and those who do not, choose to stop using the drug. Marijuana use is the result of informed consent in which individuals have decided that the benefits of use outweigh the risks, especially since, for most Americans, the greatest risk of using marijuana is the relatively low risk of arrest.
-Marijuana users are determined to stand up to the injustice of marijuana probation and accomplish legalization, no matter how long or what it takes to succeed. Despite the threat of arrests and a variety of other punishments and sanctions marijuana users have persisted in their support for legalization for over a generation. They refuse to give up their long quest for justice because they believe in the fundamental values of American society. Prohibition has failed to silence marijuana users despite its best attempts over the last generation. The issue of marijuana’s legalization is a persistent issue that, like marijuana, will simply not go away. Marijuana will be legalized because marijuana users will continue to fight for it until they succeed.
source, www.alternet.org
Not to mention that if I get busted with less than a gram in Florida I am going to prison.
If I smoke a gram in public in Oregon, I am getting told my police to be conspicuous.

judochop's avatar

*Less conspicuous. Ugh, must be a pot typo.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think most of you are missing the point of my question. The point is not “Why should pot be legalized?” but rather “Why is it so much more important to so many people that pot be legalized when there are other laws that should be changed as well?” I understand why pot should be legalized, but I want to know why more energy isn’t poured into changing other laws that are also pointless.

@SavoirFaire and @zenvelo: It makes sense that since so many more people are put into jail it is a bigger issue, and @deni, the fact that so many people smoke pot would mean that this would be an important issue. There’s that whole “I’m entitled to do what I want” thing.

But I still don’t understand why it is so much more important for people to try and legalize pot than it is to change other unjust laws.

Remember, this isn’t a question about pot legalization, but rather why it is more important to legalize pot than, say, making sure a 16-year-old boy who has sex with a 15-year-old girl isn’t branded a sex offender for the rest of his life.

College_girl's avatar

Some people think its important to legalize pot because the government can then put a tax on it and in a sense regulate it and make money from the taxes on it. Personally, I don’t really care if pot is legal or not as long as it is used responsibly, and we all know that is something that can’t be regulated

judochop's avatar

@KatawaGrey I pointed out an answer to that in the above lengthy, winded text but to shorten it up it is important to legalize it….
1. Because 25 million people use it and will continue to use and will continue to fight for its legality. People will not back down from something that they know is harmless and illegal for reasons that benefit no one.
2. Legalizing cannabis with only just a 1% tax would pay schooling, state funding could be established and unemployment, health and welfare budgets could be properly funded.
3. It grows much faster than trees and is a wonderful source for rope, paper and wood products, not to mention lasts ten times as long as cotton, does not produce wind born allergens and grows in any claimant.
4. Marijuana’s active ingredient THC is less toxic than nicotine.
5. Marijuana is not addictive.
6. The US government is losing billions in tax revenue.
7. Marijuana does not cause cancer.
8. With the sudden drop in people in jail for non-violent crimes will cause states to have more revenue since they don’t have to pay to keep innocent people in jail.
9. If legalized marijuana will become the drug of choice over Cigarettes and alcohol.
10. Marijuana can create stronger family ties by relieving stress form the work environment.
11. There is no supporting evidence to date that shows drug prevention is working. So far it seems to only increase curiosity.
12. You can not overdose on marijuana.
13. Marijuana does not lower your immune system.
14. Marijuana can cure insomnia.
15. It is a plant. It is no more harmful than dandelions.
16. There are anti marijuana commercials but never commercials for anti drinking nor are their commercials for anti cocaine.
17. Marijuana can help HIV victims eat and sleep.
18. Alcohol and cigarettes kill more people a year than war.
19. Marijuana is an issue of public health, not the police.
20. While billions of dollars are being spent on cheap drugs, even though compared to medical marijuana, cheap pharmaceutical drugs are insanely dangerous, many with side effects that are fatal. It’s nearly incomprehensible that a natural plant that has been used as medicine for centuries is banned while drugs that cost up to or over $100 a pill, and can damage the kidneys, liver, heart, or even cause death, are seen as good things, even though some work a paltry 30% of the time or less.
the list is endless
Anyone who disagrees with the legalization of marijuana, can you please point out that any of what I have written here is a lie? Can you argue against the legalization of marijuana and why it makes sense to keep it illegal?
Yet, cigarettes are still legal….? Oh, and you can get Oxycontins for back pain and really any kind of pain and you are allowed to work on these drugs.
The legislature is scared to stand up to it even knowing that keeping this plant bedded down does more harm than good. They won’t stand up to it because it is not in the best interest of the major drug companies and the major manufactures of the globe.

DominicX's avatar

@KatawaGrey Some of these answers have answered the question, though. There isn’t a billion-dollar “war on teen sex” but there is a billion-dollar “war on marijuana”. Prisons are full of drug offenders (including marijuana), prisons aren’t full of 16-year-olds who have sex with 15-year-olds. Money is wasted, prison space is wasted, etc. on anti-marijuana laws and it isn’t comparable to the effect other unjust laws have. Also, as others have said, marijuana would bring in revenue for the government—the same can’t be said for the 15/16-year-old sex law.

That’s just one idea and my idea, though. But I think it’s valid…

Aethelflaed's avatar

@KatawaGrey Because it isn’t just a pointless law, it’s a hugely damaging law. It creates more crime. It keeps seriously limits class mobility by keeping those on the top rungs on top and those on the bottom rungs unable to get education and work for the rest of their lives (more often than not for something they did while quite young) and can strip them of voting rights, thus unable to change the way the system works – not just on marijuana legislation, but on everything, from social systems like welfare to tax reform to campaign reform. It keeps taking all the taxpayer dollars (and nothing is worse than spending taxpayer dollars, these days…) just to put those same taxpayers in jail – jails that are then busting at the seems from being too full, jails that are then letting violent offenders back onto the streets because the violent offenders are the ones without mandatory minimums, and can be let out of jail early. This issue, to many people, is a prime example of why there even is a “99 %”.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@DominicX Well, @KatawaGrey did acknowledge that some of the answers were responding to her actual question. But it is also the case the several do not. Look at @judochop‘s latest list, for example: everything he discusses is a reason to legalize marijuana, not a reason to put marijuana legalization before age of consent reform or some other issue. That’s the key issue that some have addressed and some have not.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@judochop: My question isn’t actually about pot legalization. It’s about changing other laws that also should be changed. I don’t actually agree with a good portion of your list, but that’s not the issue. The issue is why people aren’t putting more energy into changing other laws that need to be changed. There may not be as many statutory rapists in jail who don’t necessarily deserve to be in jail as there are people in because of pot, but one could argue that being branded a sex offender for the rest of your life in addition to doing jail time is more damaging than just doing the jail time.

@SavoirFaire: Thank you, you put it perfectly. In my defense, I’m sick so my brain is slowly cooking. O.O

judochop's avatar

@KatawaGrey oh, my bad and my apologies. I must’ve misunderstood. I thought I had answered that in a round about way but I get ya.

I think there are not as many folks putting energy in to changing the other laws because they are not breaking them and more often than not, they are harmful so most agree with them as to where marijuana consumption is not harmful so you have 25 million people wondering why it is illegal. I don’t question rape laws or armed robbery sentences or even the doubling of fines on country roads that are having work done. I do question jay walking, pot possession, drinking under the age of 21, owning a home without insurance when you own it out right, the cities right to tow vehicles that do not belong to them, why I can’t take a loan out in my name and buy something for you and let you make payments (this is a federal offense), bankruptcy laws, leash laws in one park but not in another, curfew laws, alcohol sales on Sunday in some counties, there are many laws that I question.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@judochop: Thank you for your response! I like your previous answers that are more specific to pot legalization you’ve obviously done a lot of research whereas I feel many in favor of pot legalization are just feeling entitled to do what they want and don’t bother to do the research but, as you pointed out, there are many other laws which are harmful or simply unjust.

Curfew laws are a great example of this. Why should a minor have to be inside by a certain time each night? This is a law that could be very detrimental on so many levels. One law that I have found myself worrying about a lot is the law that says that if someone underage is drinking and I am present, I get in trouble, even if I have no knowledge of the alcohol consumption. Though, again, this may just be a CT law.

Actually, I think I’ll use my final question of the day to ask about curfew laws, now that you’ve brought it up!

Edit to add: I think the consensus here is that because marijuana laws affect so many more people than other laws, people are going to focus all of their energy there, which begs the question, if pot was to become legal, what would be the next law or set of laws to be protested this much?

Thammuz's avatar

@KatawaGrey It’s more important than most stupid laws and bans because a) legalizing it would cut a huge source of revenue from organized crime, much like the revocation of prohibitionism did way back at the beginning of the last century, b) it’s essentially as harmful as other substances that are completely legal already and c) in the US it would also reduce the number of people convicted for asinine reasons. I’m specifying in the US, because here in Italy we may be dumb, but we’re not dumb enough to convict someone over using or purchasing marijuana and its derivates. Conviction comes into play with dealing, production and/or contraband.

Hell, if every person who smoked marijuana on a semi-regular basis ended up in jail, back in high school my entire year would have boiled down to me, the scientologist guy from the class next to mine and his straight edge best firend.

As for what’s next, personally, I think in Italy it would be legalizing prostitution. We’re a randy bunch. There is, of course, the issue that in italy neither of those will ever be legal, because the four big organized crime cartels (Cosa Nostra, the Sacra Corona Unita, the ‘Ndrangheta and the Camorra). would lose too much money from that, and our government is and has generally always been in their pockets, but nevertheless, the priorities are these.

Joker94's avatar

Well, keeping it illegal is a colossal waste of money. I wouldn’t exactly say that people prioritize it’s legalization over other topics, but weed legalization is a really passionate topic for some. Pro-pot stuff gets swept under the rug a lot, and I imagine that’s why the pro-pot things you do hear about has to make such a buzz to get noticed.

I’m fully in support of decriminalizing it, or legalizing it medicinally, because it’s essentially harmless. Things that have been linked directly to death and disease, like alcohol and cigarettes, are legal and harming more people than weed ever has or ever will.

Thammuz's avatar

Side note @judochop: i disagree with some of the points you brought up in your list, namely:

5. Marijuana is not addictive.
Anything can be addictive. Fuck, food can be addictive. What you’re trying to say is that it doesn’t cause physical addiction, which i honestly don’t know nor care about enough to check, but psycho-active substances are generally likely to cause psychological addiction in addictive personalities, as well as desensibilization to the molecule itself.

With this i’m not saying that it’s guaranteed to cause addiction, but you can’t honestly say that it doesn’t without any qualificative statement.

7. Marijuana does not cause cancer.
Smoking anything raises the odds of lung cancer. Marijuana in itself doesn’t, but its most common use is still smoking it. Again, not wrong per se but needs a qualifying statement.

9. If legalized, marijuana will become the drug of choice over Cigarettes and alcohol.
This you cannot know. It might, concievably, be a projection based on statistics, but you have to remember the effect that legalization had on marijuana in the Netherlands, for instance, where its usage dropped considerably after the element of rebellion got removed from it.

10. Marijuana can create stronger family ties by relieving stress form the work environment.
This just made me go “what the fuck?”. Sure, it can, but methinks this is like saying “bulldozers help opening doors that you designed as too heavy to open yourself!”. The issue is not that you need something else to make work less stressful, you need to make work less stressful. Solve the cause, don’t build up a workaround when it’s not necessary.

12. You can not overdose on marijuana.
You can overdose on anything, technically, it’s just a matter of how. I can kill you with a lethal dose of THC injected in your veins, it’s just that you’d have to eat the equivalent of a plantation to get enough from the plants themselves (obviously i’m exagerating, you get the point).

15. It is a plant. It is no more harmful than dandelions.
Opium poppies are also plants. They are much more harmful. It being a plant doesn’t make it harmless.

19. Marijuana is an issue of public health, not the police.
The legality of something dictates whether it’s an issue of law enforcement, as the name implies. Cocaine addiction, for instance, is a matter of public health, cocaine dealing is a matter of law enforcement and public health (because it directly influences how many cases of use/abuse of cocaine the health system has to deal with). The two are not mutually exclusive.

HungryGuy's avatar

I can’t speak for others, but I support legalization for two reasons:

1.) What someone does in private (or among a group of consenting adults) is nobody else’s business but theirs.

2.) There’s evidence that pot (unlike tobacco) has beneficial medical benefits for people suffering extreme pain. Even if this claim is bullshit, it should be the choice of the person in the pain to choose what to use to ease that pain. It’s for this reason that legalization of pot is more easily argued than the legalization of other vices.

judochop's avatar

@Thammuz I think you are taking some of that text and spinning it. I like your answers, especially the one about the bulldozer opening heavy doors, that made me laugh and I agree with you a little on all of it. Some of what is there is speculation, but like you admitted to not caring enough to research the addiction end of it, I am going to call speculation on your claim. Just for the sake of debate.
There is physical evidence that shows Marijuana is not psychically addictive. Now, I have known folks who seem to be mentally addicted to it and that is sad. At least the withdraw symptoms will not make them sick.
Marijuana becoming the drug of choice over smoking ciggs and drinking spirits….Well it has in Amsterdam. And I can’t very well see people buying a few joints and then also purchasing smokes..but I guess they could. Drinking and smoking pot together just mix poorly and I hope people stay away from doing it.
Stronger family ties….Well it does, I have seen it. It is a positive note and positive reaction to smoking. Not often do people smoke in a line, they smoke in a communal circle, sharing a pipe or joint. Also, people don’t tend to get angry when smoking pot.
Overdosing on marijuana…You can’t, it has been proven. Also, you can kill me by injecting THC in to my veins, yes but not because you are injecting THC in to me but because you are filling my body with fluid faster than it can break down. You’d have to inject a TON of THC in to me before I died and I am willing to bet that it is because of a reaction to the amount of fluid itself not the THC…I can also kill you by injecting donuts in to yours.
It is a plant…Yes a plant that is no more harmful than dandelions and way less harmful than poppies although eating opium poppies and just smoking the plant without extracting the opiate is not as harmful as you may think.
Public health vs. Police matter…Well if legalized it would no longer be the issue of the police and only be an issue of public health. You don’t find it silly that one state the cops just laugh about it and in another you are in prison for 5 years?
Just curious, what is your stance on cigarettes and alcohol? Do you find them to be less harmful than marijuana? What would be so horrible about the legalization of marijuana?

KatawaGrey's avatar

@judochop: I am going to pick apart one part of your argument. I have seen pot do more harm than good in families where not everyone smokes. If everyone does smoke, yeah, sure, I can definitely see where that would bring a family together, but where there is a division, then I have found that the two groups grow resentful of one another.

Other than that, as I have said, I admire that you have done your research and can present your side in an intelligent manner. Kudos to you sir!

judochop's avatar

@KatawaGrey Oh yes, I agree. For the most part I agree with what @Thammuz had to say. I am just keeping the ball rolling for the sake of debate. Who knows, we might get to the end of this and I won’t even like marijuana anymore. :) Cheers!

Linda_Owl's avatar

The short answer is marijuana should be legalized in order to keep the people who use it from ending up in jail. Stoners do a lot less harm than drunks do, but alcohol is legal & pot isn’t – it does not make any sense. It should be legal & the taxes on it would go a long way towards helping cash-strapped cities (besides that, hemp makes great paper products & using hemp would save a whole lot of trees).

zenvelo's avatar

I go away for a few hours and 21 new responses to get caught up on.

@KatawaGrey I don’t know that the laws you complain about are bad. A 16 yr old having sex with a 15 yr old is not a crime in my state. Curfews should be enforced, not relaxed.

There just aren’t any other laws that have a significant number of opponents and that also put huge numbers of people in prison.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Personally, I feel that pot should be legal because I don’t think it makes sense for pot to be illegal if alcohol isn’t. To me, alcohol is worse….

This does not mean I am not for pot being regulated.

This does not mean I agree with and/or am not willing to challenge every single other law.

Of course it’s ridiculous for, say, an 18-year-old male having consensual sex with a 17-year-old female to be labelled as a “sex offender”.

(Thankfully, that’s not against the law where I live. Neither is the situation you brought up in your description about a 16-year-old having consensual sex with a 15-year-old. Where I live, it’s legal to drink at 19… or go across the provincial border and drink at 18, so your drinking reference doesn’t apply to everyone who wants to live to see pot legalized. Also, just because someone might want pot to be legalized, does not necessarily mean he or she thinks there should not be an age requirement to use it. There are people where I live who are against gun registries who do speak out with their words and/or their votes. It was a very important issue in the last federal election up here).

I may not be American, but I still feel that this answer can still apply because there are several people up here in Canada who do want pot legalized and who do focus on it… and are willing to go protest on Parliament Hill on 4/20 every single year. I am sure there are other protests for legalizing pot as well, but I am more familiar with hearing about this one because of where I live in Canada.

prioritymail's avatar

Because we taxpayers waste a shitload of money chasing pot around, and this is not producing anything useful for society.

Thammuz's avatar

@judochop Read my previous answers to the thread and you’ll have your answers. I personally find alcohol, tobacco and marijuana pretty much on the same level. Harmful, though not as much as usually portrayed, psychologically addictive, like pretty much anything that causes pleasure/good feelings, cancerogenous in the same way as anything that you smoke.

Since i do drink, though i don’t smoke either tobacco or marijuana, i’m in no position to criticise its use, and i find it ridiculous that it is illegal when tobacco and alcohol are not.

I am going to call speculation on your claim. Just for the sake of debate. There is physical evidence that shows Marijuana is not psychically addictive. Now, I have known folks who seem to be mentally addicted to it and that is sad.

My claim is that regardless of physical addiction it still causes psychological addiction, how is this disagreeing with my claim?

Public health vs. Police matter…Well if legalized it would no longer be the issue of the police and only be an issue of public health. You don’t find it silly that one state the cops just laugh about it and in another you are in prison for 5 years?

See my previous answers. Yes, i do find it ridiculous. My qualm was just with the fact that, as it stands, right now it is a matter of law enforcement, much like alcohol and tobacco were during prohibition.

Overdosing on marijuana…You can’t, it has been proven.
Fair enough. I’ll take your word on that. It wasn’t one of my concerns, considering you can overdose on nicotine, yet people usually don’t. The problem is definitively not with risk of ODs.

It is a plant…Yes a plant that is no more harmful than dandelions and way less harmful than poppies although eating opium poppies and just smoking the plant without extracting the opiate is not as harmful as you may think.

My point was that it being a plant is not necessarily a guarantee of its harmlessness. Plants can be harful. Lotus blossoms, peyotl, coca tree leaves, assorted shrooms, they’re all plants, and they all have psychotropic effects.

Just to clarify, are you in favour of legalizing Marijuana but against legalizing Hashish? (which i’m not, by the way, hashish is pretty much just concentrated marijuana, so it makes little sense to legalize one and not the other.) Because saying that poppy is not as dangerous if you don’t extract opium makes me think that you’d consider legalizing the plant but not the extract.

mattbrowne's avatar

It is important to dry up the black market.

The mantra that anything can be abused is intended to make strongly psychoactive substances sound harmless. Drinking too much peppermint tea? Eating too many peas? Smoking too much cannabis? It’s not the same. Alcohol and cannabis are equally dangerous or harmless. Depending on usage. Peppermint tea is different.

Several months ago I read an article in a German print magazine citing studies done with high school and college students. There are negative effects with both alcohol and cannabis usage. I tried to find some information available online and in English.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/24680-effects-marijuana-use-college-students/

“The immediate effects of marijuana use in college students are almost always apparent. Upon inhalation of the THC chemicals in marijuana, students experience increased heart rate, dry mouth and blood shot eyes. They lose coordination and have difficulty speaking and listening, interrupting class work and social relationships. The altered states of being high make it more difficult to acquire and retain new information and comprehend new ideas and information. Marijuana is psychologically addicting, which can lead to the need for treatment and loss of time that could be spent towards a degree.”

http://alcoholism.about.com/od/pot/a/social.htm

“A vast amount of scientific research has shown that heavy marijuana use negatively affects smokers’ learning abilities and social skills, causing problems in their daily lives and compounding their existing problems. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has surveyed and compiled 11 scientific research studies that have demonstrated that heavy marijuana use, defined as smoking marijuana 27 days in the past 30 days, has a significant impact on users’ ability to learn, remember what they learned and function in society.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6606931.stm

“They then carried out brain scans, and a battery of tests, and found that those who took THC showed reduced activity in an area of the brain called the inferior frontal cortex, which keeps inappropriate thoughts and behaviour, such as swearing and paranoia in check.”

“If something has an active effect in inducing the symptoms of psychosis after one dose, then it would not be at all surprising if repeated use induced the chronic condition. Professor Murray also warned that the high potency cannabis now widely available was likely to pose a much bigger risk to health than the significantly weaker formulations of previous years. It is similar to comparing the effect of drinking a glass of wine at the weekend with drinking a bottle of vodka every day. Marjorie Wallace, of the mental health charity Sane, called the research a significant contribution to the understanding of the dangers of cannabis.”

Don’t get me wrong. I think both alcohol and cannabis should be legal. But people need to know what they are doing. Again, cannabis is not peppermint tea. Be careful.

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