Social Question

Pachy's avatar

Might we discuss whether pot in truly "harmless," as many say, in light of this latest hot car death?

Asked by Pachy (13674 points ) August 1st, 2014

Read this story and calmly share your position, both pro and con.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

26 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow. However, I don’t think the marijuana played as much of a role in it than the mindset of the foster father. I mean, who goes to a drug dealer with their baby in the car? I assume he was sober when he did it. If I’m reading the article right, he was also sober when he left her in the car. He brought the pot home to smoke it. He GOT high after he got home.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Asking this in this fashion is akin to asking if job interviews are harmful because of the woman who left her kids in a car during one a few weeks back. There is nothing to suggest he was high at the time. There are reports that marijuana may have some long-term effects, and can certainly impair judgement while high (much like, and possibly less severe, than alcohol). But that is not what this case is about.

elbanditoroso's avatar

If someone wants to dig for a single story, they can find one. That’s all this is.

The underlying fact is that the pot was secondary, if not tertiary, as the cause. The guy could have been buying heroin, or liquor, or any one of a hundred other substances. He could have not slept well the night before. The pot is a coincidence (lucky for the DA, but ultimately irrelevant). The murder charge will never stick and they’ll be lucky if they can prove manslaughter.

The reality is that they guy is an idiot, but the pot plays a very small role. Suppose the guy had gone into the dairy store and bought milk, and forgot his kid in the car. Or the guy went into the feed store and bough oats for his horse. Same thing. The deed is the “forget the kid” and the pot portion is simply an unfortunate circumstance.

In the end, this is a blown up story. They guy will not be convicted.

Blondesjon's avatar

Stupid is stupid regardless of what has been ingested.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I can speak from first hand experience. The bad judgement comes from the person, not the smoke. When I smoked, I didn’t drive. If I had a car with me, I didn’t drink or smoke herb, and I drove other people home. This was before the term “Designated Driver” became popular. I never got involved with ant men as a result of being high. Smoking herb helped me a great deal, as I was plagued with a terrible case of tinnitis, from either very early childhood, or birth. I cannot recall life without it. During my teens, it became so bad, I was sleep deprived, going for a week or more without sleep. I had walking hallucinations as a result. Someone got me started, and it made things tolerable so I could sleep, and function again. I would go without using sometimes to see if I could. After little more than a year, I was able to quit, and so I did.
On the other hand, I knew people who just were stupid. They made all sorts of mistakes. I had someone dear to me who kept slipping away on booze and various drugs until He was never sober anymore. I once had to pull him from a burning car, and he fought me all the while, because he thought he was driving.
I have known plenty of people who are just plain stupid without the use of any substance.
I also know people who smoke herb, and function quite well.
I feel hurt and angry that someone would judge me as being a lesser person because they know I have ever smoked marijuana.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers So you only got involved with ant men when you were sober? Hmmmm!!

elbanditoroso's avatar

@elbanditoroso is befuddled. What is (are) “ant men”?

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

@Dutchess_III, @elbanditoroso, LOL! You are two very funny jellies. I missed that one. I suppose I should have had a few tokes before I started typing, so I wouldn’t blaze through too fast to catch all my typos! tee hee. Wfffffffffffffff! O k a y. * N o w * i t ’ s * a l l * g o o d . ;-D

ANY men, ANY, ANY ANY. sorry for my typo and ant confusion it may have caused.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Any ant man will do? Is that what you’re saying? Ha ha!

bea2345's avatar

Does pot use influence judgement as much as alcohol does? I imagine that what matters to the prosecutor is that the driver caused the death of the child while using an illegal substance. I doubt the hapless foster father was that disabled by pot. He was unlucky and careless.

Here, the charge would be manslaughter and the fact that he was smoking marijuana (an illegal substance) would, in Trinidad, increase the penalty. Currently, a man in his mid-fifties is facing the courts of Trinidad and Tobago for manslaughter. He forgot his baby grandson in the back seat of his car while he went to work and left him there for eight hours. There is no suggestion that he was ordinarily careless or unkind. But if it should appear that he was DUI or smoking pot, he would be looking at a very long prison sentence.

tinyfaery's avatar

If you or anyone has never smoked pot you will never be able to attest to its effects, story or no story.

majorrich's avatar

Marijuana is much stronger today than it was when I was in college. I can’t imagine how stoned he was or how stoned you can get. Even Thai sticks may not compare to some of the buds available today. Despite that, there is no excuse to leave a child in a closed car. Second degree minimum.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But the article sort of indicates he wasn’t high when he left the baby in the car.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Dutchess_III – correct. But as I noted in my original answer, facts are not really important if someone wants to make a splashy point. (This is true in political life just as it is in Fluther).

jerv's avatar

Yet alcohol and stupidity are legal…..

SavoirFaire's avatar

Let’s take the worst case scenario and assume that somehow pot was the direct cause of the child’s death. That would be tragic, of course, but in no way would it be sufficient data on which to justify the continued criminalization of marijuana. The argument in favor of legalization does not require marijuana to be absolutely harmless. Even if some proponents go so far as to claim that it is, then, it’s just an unnecessary premise (which means it can be discarded without any harm to the argument).

The main arguments in favor of marijuana legalization rest on parity. It’s classification as a Schedule I drug makes no sense from a scientific standpoint, and it’s dangers are minimal relative to other drugs that are already legal. Furthermore, the continued “war” against marijuana costs around $50 billion per year—not including the costs of incarcerating people, which the US now does at a higher rate than any other country in the world—all while doing nothing to decrease use of the drug and strengthening drug cartels.

In short, there is no scientific of legal basis for the continued criminalization of marijuana, and failing to legalize it does more harm than good. The death of a child is always sad, but it’s not worth manipulating national drug policy over it. Because even if we assume that marijuana was involved, that only proves that criminalization doesn’t change anything (since the drug is currently illegal).

JLeslie's avatar

I am never happy to hear that people who are drugged are driving. I know a lot of people who say they can smoke pot and drive just fine. Ugh. Truth is of course that people every day take legal drugs and drive when they probably shouldn’t, let alone ilegal ones, but we should all be wary of how important it is to not be impaired when driving.

The people I have known in the past who smoke weed very regularly behave just like addicts, I don’t care what anyone says about MJ not being addictive. Addicts tend to, but not always, have some crap in their lives they aren’t handeling well. Stress leads to exhaustian, forgetfulness, lack of focus, and so for me anyone who uses probably has a high likelihood of one or more of those symptoms. Add in drugs and I think it increases the likelihood of forgetting something I portant like a baby in the car.

We all know stories of babies being left in cars when they parents appears to be a wonderful person and parent and just forgot. They were out of their routine. That can happen I believe, but being high when you are responsible for a child is just unacceptable.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie Being stupid is also unacceptable, yet stupid people seem to get a pass simply because there is nothing in their bloodstream.

As for the addiction, it’s not that marijuana is addictive so much as you know people with addictive personalities. Coffee-drinkers are worse than pot-smokers on that score.

JLeslie's avatar

Doesn’t matter that coffee is more addictive physically technically, if that is the case. I don’t question it. I’m just letting you know that when someone smokes pot regularly it is bviously. Obvious when they smoke and obvious when they don’t. Caffeinated people generally are bright and sunny and normal and productive. When they withdraw they are a mess, grumpy, headache, and want their drug, but as long as they stay drugged they are perfectly fine in society.

No one gets a pass just because they have nothing in their bloodstream. It’s true that a person with a drug level gets less of a pass, but everyone that causes a bad accident or creates serious harm is questioned, criticized, and scrutinized. When the husband of a woman I worked with drove 30 MPH over the speed limit, failed to stop at a red light, and crashed into a car with 6 people in it killing everyone in the car, he went to jail. He was not drunk or hi.

Pachy's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers, you say “bad judgement comes from the person, not the smoke.” But can not judgement be impaired?

Pachy's avatar

@JLeslie, I’m not even thinking about addition. I’m suggesting the possibility of impaired judgment.

Pachy's avatar

Thanks for everyone’s comments. With some I agree, at least partially; with others, not at all, but thank goodness we have a forum in which we can swap opinions without swapping missiles—at least other than occasional verbal ones. ;-)

My own opinion is that pot can impair judgment. Whether that’s a contributing factor in this case or not, I suspect it but don’t know for sure at this point. As to whether pot is safer or less safe than other ingestibles like alcohol or caffeine, I shall also continue to reserve judgment.

Coloma's avatar

As nan occasional ” user” I can say that I too also agree that it is not the weed it is the persons, already, clearly poor mental state and obvious dysfunction.
This can be likened to kids playing video games and deciding to go Columbine.
Underlying mental and emotional disorders are the culprit.

On the occasions I get high it is soley for creative enhancement and I have never shown poor decision making as I am already of solid character without any underlying mental health issues. I do not leave my home, I do not drive anywhere and I never got high around my daughter when she was growing up. I agree, in instances of needing to be clear headed and make responsible choices, such as driving, childcare, work, pot is not part of any of these things nor should it be.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Pachy “As to whether pot is safer or less safe than other ingestibles like alcohol or caffeine, I shall also continue to reserve judgment.”

Leaving aside the apples and oranges there, excessive use of alcohol is responsible for 88,000 deaths (and 2.5 million years of potential life lost) per year in the US. Meanwhile, you have found one death that might be attributable to marijuana. Are there more? Certainly. The charts here are, I think, most illuminating. You’ll notice that they found 279 marijuana-related deaths over an 8½ year period (all of which have marijuana as a secondary cause of death). That’s roughly 33 per year. This is nowhere close to the death toll attributable to alcohol. In fact, it’s comparable to the number of people killed by dogs each year (on average). It is therefore unreasonable to continue reserving judgment at this point. A little skepticism can be healthy, but too much of anything is bad for you.

tinyfaery's avatar

A lot of people who are stoned are much more likeable, capable and aware than A LOT of others who aren’t stoned.

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