Social Question

rojo's avatar

If marijuana was legal and alcohol was not, what are some of the arguments that could be made for alcohol legalization?

Asked by rojo (14589 points ) January 13th, 2014

I actually saw this question elsewhere on the web and thought I would get the input of the flutherdom on it.

Thanks.

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39 Answers

tom_g's avatar

1. Adults should have to right to consume whatever they want.
2. See #1.

dabbler's avatar

@tom nails my first response. Other points are all reasons alcohol prohibition was stopped finally, including especially taking the huge cash flow out the hands of the black market and organized crime.

If alcohol were prohibited today, you’d also see a lot of the population in jail because of minor infractions. Taking the prison-industrial complex down a notch is a good thing in my estimation.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The libertarian in me says that neither should be illegal; all substances should be legal, taxed, and open for use by anyone of an age to partake.

Additionally, I would posit that there should be SEVERE consequences for misuse (driving while high, driving while drunk) with the ultimate goal: if you abuse the privilege then you lose the privilege.

But your scenario is imaginary, so it doesn’t really matter.

tups's avatar

Same reasons for legalizing cannabis – and other drugs – more money into the system, less violence, less crime, personal freedom.

ibstubro's avatar

Anyone can make alcohol, easily, in any amount of space and practically any environment. Better to have a standardized product readily available and regulated than to have every Tom, Dick and Harry making bathtub gin and rot-gut wine.

A still is about akin to a meth lab in it’s flammability and potential to wreak havoc on a moment’s notice.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Let’s legalize alcohol. To offset the societal costs, (reduced productivity, alcohol abuse, addictions, failed families, etc…) the state should refuse to pay for any medical expenses that directly result from its over consumption.
People are adults and are free to make their own decisions. Let’s treat them that way and have them accept responsibility for their own actions. They (not the state) must pay for their own alcohol related medical expenses and treatments. Alcohol will be taxed and the funds collected will offset the additional expenses society expects to incur from abusers who are unable to pay for any damage they cause.

If someone commits a crime and injures or kills another person while under the influence there can be no plea bargaining that “they did not know what they were doing” and are therefore not responsible. They did the crime they do the time. Taxes collected by alcohol sales will pay for prisoner and prison upkeep.

Since the debilitating effects of fetal alcohol syndrome are well understood women who drink and have a blood alcohol level of 0.03 % or higher during the first and second trimester shall be charged with the Class E Felony of PWI (pregnant while intoxicated) and offered the choice of state funded abortion or pay a fine of XX,XXX dollars to cover the additional medical and schooling costs incurred by society for the treatment of the brain weakened child.

RocketGuy's avatar

@elbanditoroso – Libertarians are in favor of taxation?

@LuckyGuy – I am all for personal responsibility. If someone messes up while under the influence, they are responsible.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@RocketGuy I’d vote for legalization of alcohol if they had those stipulations. Do you think society will ever agree with those rules or will users expect others to pay for their mistakes, medical bills, and unemployment?

elbanditoroso's avatar

@RocketGuy – I’m not going to make a blanket statement that all taxes are bad, like some do. Call it a user fee if you want.

The underlying point is that if I am NOT a drug user, and YOU are, then YOU should pay a societal costs as the results of the drug use, and I shouldn’t.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@elbanditoroso Were you looking over my shoulder as I was typing? :)

DWW25921's avatar

I don’t drink and would like to smoke without the man breathing down my neck…

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I don’t think the government should get involved in any issue regarding lifestyle or morals. Adults should be allowed to make those choices themselves (and they do, legal or not). Even though I personally think same-sex marriage is wrong, that doesn’t mean that I think the government should be able to tell people that they can’t marry each other if they want to. The same with alcohol, pot, e-cigarettes, gambling, tobacco, spice, and etc., etc. When did the government get into the business of legislating what we eat, drink, smoke, shoot up, huff or sleep with?

Things have gotten so bad, that in my state it was announced that the police department can break down your door and arrest you if you are in there playing poker with your friends. Isn’t this getting a little extreme? Guys have had poker night for centuries.

In fact, things have gotten so bad that, at this point, I am for making everything legal, whether I personally agree with it or not, whether it is my lifestyle or not, and whether I think it is immoral or not. I don’t care anymore – I just want them to leave us alone!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt You wrote: “I don’t think the government should get involved in any issue regarding lifestyle or morals. Adults should be allowed to make those choices themselves (and they do, legal or not).”

Will you also agree that the government (us) should not have to pay the consequences of those choices? Should health care, or insurance expenses resulting from a lifestyle choice be personally charged to the individual or would you want the government to pay for it?

I’d like to see more personal responsibility for our lifestyle choices and actions. If I ride my motorcycle without a helmet, fall and suffer a brain injury, those costs should be mine and mine alone. If I end up speaking like Gary Busey so be it. But the way the rules are now I am covered no matter how stupidly I behave. If I shoot up and have a night or two of wild monkey sex with an HIV-AIDS infested heroin addict from Thailand, society will pay for my medical expenses, AIDS drugs, and even disability when I can no longer work.
I made a choice but someone else still pays. That is where I have a problem with “lifestyle choices”. People are loathe to accept responsibility.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@DWW25921 The chances of a smoker contracting lung cancer are 27 times greater than those for a nonsmoker. (about one in 150 for smokers, vs 1 in 4000 for nonsmokers)
50% of people diagnosed with lung cancer will die within 1 year of diagnosis after incurring over $200,000 in medical expenses.
If you will sign a binding waiver stating you will be responsible for all your medical costs and not accept disability should you get lung cancer, I will support your right to smoke. Heck, I’ll even light one up for you. ;-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

This isn’t answering the question but if one or the other had to be illegal, I’d vote for alcohol to be illegal. I don’t know what argument there could be to make it legal if it was illegal.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

To answer @LuckyGuy , that is what insurance is. Everyone pays a premium, and everyone gets covered. If you think those who smoke, drink, or whatever should sign a waiver that they won’t charge their medical insurance, then what about yourself? You might not do any of those things, but you don’t know (and nobody knows) if you will come down with something that will cost just as much in medical costs. I’ll sign a waiver if you will!

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Actually, that is not a fair challenge – because I don’t smoke, party, or take drugs. But if your objection is that you will have to pay for another person’s bad choices, and the solution to the problem is to make all bad choices illegal, good luck with that. And it still doesn’t solve the problem of ME paying for other people’s inherent bad health – which may have nothing to do with anything but genetics.

Then there are those who go 4-wheeling up slippery rocks, go sky diving, deep sea divng, weight 400 pounds and live on pop and donuts, have stressful jobs (stress is the biggest killer), or those who have 15 kids – talk about me paying for another’s bad choices!

There is really no way to NOT have to pay for others mistakes, unless we do the “every man for himself” system, and that would be okay with me. But then there is the poor guy that gets creamed on the freeway by a semi – hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, through no fault of his own. How is that fair to him?

DWW25921's avatar

@LuckyGuy Where do I sign?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt We seem to want it both ways. We want to be able to make poor, preventable lifestyle choices because we are adults and should be free to choose. But then we ask the country to be our nanny and pay for our bad choices.
the guy that gets creamed on the thruway because of a drunk should be compensated. The person who did everything right, ate right, exercised… but still ended up with cancer deserves to use insurance. Maybe the trick should be to tax preventable behaviors that increase risk.

@DWW25921 At the first sign of problem you would say the signature was not good because you were still a minor or didn’t understand the risks or…. We’d take care of you anyway.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Taxing all preventable risky behaviors is akin to making them illegal. Just think, a tax on skiing, a tax on soda pop, chocolate, sweets, french fries. Let’s also tax unprotected sex, trips to Mexico and the Middle East. Definitely tax driving and flying, and all outdoor sports. Bicycle riding is really dangerous in the city. Camping is dangerous – we loose a couple of boy scouts every summer. Trampolines for sure. The list is never ending.

RocketGuy's avatar

They are talking about activities that have actual monetary consequences to society. If police have to chase down a drunk driver, society needs $$ to pay for that. If smokers incur a cost to other people they have to pay for that (and they currently do: higher health insurance, cigarette taxes, etc).

Gay marriage is actually negative cost because they will spend $$$ for the wedding, and their guests will spend $$$ for gifts. They will also enjoy the marriage tax penalty that straight married couples have been paying for years. Gay couples often adopt children, which reduces society’s cost in taking care of unwanted children (and they spend their own money to do that).

bolwerk's avatar

Alcohol is not without its health benefits. Apparently moderate drinkers outlive the abstinent.

Alcoholism is a public health problem, yes, but why ban something that is on balance probably a good thing?

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Anything you do that puts you at a higher risk for getting hurt or sick does have an actual monetary consequence to society. Dont you see? You might not smoke pot or drink slcohol, but you might like to skii, mountain bike or hang glide. That puts you at (fill in a percentage) higher risk than someone who doesn’t. So should we make outdoor sports illegal, or tax them? Of course not! So why are we doing it to pot and alcohol? That is my point. Along with all the other things I mentioned that could get you hurt or sick.

bolwerk's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt: apparently even heavy drinkers die later than teetotalers. Those who drink deserve a break on their insurance!

ibstubro's avatar

Yeah, and think what a cost savings ”$200,000 in medical expenses” is for smokers, if they cut their lives short by 15 years and avoided all that assisted living and elderly care.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@bolwerk and @ibstubro , Bravo!

Not to mention the druggies that will surely die in the gutter before they can rack up any hospital bills or collect Social Security.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Stoners have no comprehension as to how perfect Thomas Hardy’s Ale Vintage ‘75 tastes.

They should go back to their Mama’s basement sofa and “savor” their dope.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@SecondHandStoke , Well, that’s rude! There are different kinds of pot, too. I don’t know much about it, but I have heard about something called “Alcapulco Gold” that would, I guess, be comparable. And stoners aren’t any more likely to live in their mama’s basements than boozers.

Let me apologize in advance if you were just making a joke, but I really hate it when people refer to pot smokers as worthless hippies. I know a lot of people who have used it for, not just decades, but a century, and still hold down very responsible jobs and raise wonderful families. In fact, most stoners look and act just like everyone else.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What was that pot called? Sensi…sensimillia? Where they’d top it before it reproduced. Supposedly made it super potent. I remember in college some one was advertising that he was selling “Second generation sensimillia!” Kind of stopped all the oohs and ahhs when I said, “How can you have ‘second generation sensimillia’ when you’ve topped the first generation plant so it doesn’t reproduce?”

RocketGuy's avatar

Maui Wowwie is pretty good too.

ibstubro's avatar

Wow, @Skaggfacemutt knows people that have used Mary Jane for a century? And the Centurions are still holding jobs and raising families?

Whoa, dude.

Pass me the weed

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I mean they already raised their families – silly. And held good jobs until they retired. Actually, some are still working.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt

Potheads get those sort of labels from me not because of their productivity or lack thereof.

But rather for dismissing the likes of Colli della Toscana Centrale Flaccianello by Fontodi, vintage 2007

Or.

Japan’s Hitachino Nest Beer XH.

Out of hand

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

The potheads I know would never turn down a drink.

Just kidding, they are not alcoholics, too. But I am sure there are as many pot users that appreciate good booze as not.

Paradox25's avatar

Prohibition does not work, costs taxpayers large sums of money, diverts law enforcement and corrections attentions away from more important issues and unfairly makes criminals out of people simply for being in a certain state of mind.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Not to mention, it makes criminals rich and causes a lot of gang activity. Just take the alcohol prohibition as an example and all the organized crime that was taking place. Acutally, gangs were a thing of the past until they started enforcing tough drug laws. You know, guys in zoot suits, with sub-machine guns, standing on the running boards of cars while spraying bullets everywhere.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^The good old days! Daddy Was a Cop….

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