Social Question

mrrich724's avatar

What is it with the drug laws in this country?

Asked by mrrich724 (8537points) March 19th, 2010

Many scientific studies out there that alcohol and tobacco rank well above other drugs like ecstasy and marijuana in both detrimental physical effects as well as societal effects.

However they are both legal, while others are not. Why do you think this is so?

It isn’t money, b/c I know damn well that if ecstasy or weed were legalized they would both be multi-billion dollar taxable industries!

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76 Answers

thriftymaid's avatar

What’s your source?

ragingloli's avatar

An established multi-billion industry with powerful lobbyists in the government.
They fear for their existence in the case alcohol and tobacco were made illegal, and they fear lost profits/their existence in the case weed and other less damaging drugs were legalised and became powerful competitors.

Vunessuh's avatar

I take it you’ve never done ecstasy.
In no way, shape or form is it less detrimental than smoking a cigarette or drinking.
I’d like a source about this scientific study. I smell bullshit.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

In every society, there is one or two intoxicants that’s ok and the rest are taboo. It isn’t rational.
Usually, it’s politics. Based on what was once thought about a certain substance, it became a scapegoat, and society has yet to repeal that decision.

kevbo's avatar

Institutionalized racism + private prison industry + drug laws = guaranteed customer base.

lilikoi's avatar

We need to have a war on something to fill greedy power pockets.

lilikoi's avatar

@Vunessuh Yeah, maybe, but I can easily see how weed is much less dangerous than smoking cigarettes and alcohol. By far. And banning plants is pretty darn lame-o.

mrrich724's avatar

@vunessuh I’ve done ecstasy enough to know that I haven’t any side effects. . . have you? I know people who have done it for a long time. none have cancer, or smell bad, or have yellow teeth, or behave like alcoholics do when they’re under the influence.

check out the graph here: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/12/13/you_cant_handle_the_truth/

check out the graph on the bottom of this page!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6474053.stm

Also, I know I can find more sources, but I think the BBC and the Boston Globe are trustworthy enough for this conversation.

@ragingloli thank you for your smart response. I forgot that I already knew this answer. I was speaking to a social worker who enlightened me (but I forgot b/c I was drinking that night. Funny, I never forget anything the next day on ecstasy)

But you are right, it’s b/c tobacco and alcohol companies own the lobbyists and have prevented it.

lilikoi's avatar

@mrrich724 Thanks for the interesting links!

mrrich724's avatar

you are welcome. i’ve read a bunch about it. (hey, even when i want to be irresponisble and do something bad for my body, i research it first and decide if it’s worth it to me) ironic i know, being responsible about being irresponsible, lol.

so i got to wondering, and i found a bunch of good articles. just google “drug rankings” and you can find even more.

i just don’t like it when someone says something negative about something they probably haven’t tried, yet have such strong feelings about it as if they have first hand experience. that’s what got me into researching it. it all started when friends (who both smoke alot, and have no problems drinking) had such a big problem with ecstasy (yet never tried it) the response is ingrained by our society . . .

so i started reading a little about it, and it didn’t take alot to find this info

Vunessuh's avatar

Have you ever thought about the fact that perhaps the reasoning behind why cigarettes and alcohol kill more people is because they are legal, therefore, millions of more people are using them over ecstasy?
No, ecstasy doesn’t make you smell bad or give you yellow teeth, but it does have the ability to kill you. Quite easily in fact.
And yes, I have done ecstasy and it does have the ability to impair your judgment.

mrrich724's avatar

eh, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. There is no “safe” way to smoke a cigarette, but if you don’t abuse ecstasy, and you take care of yourself when you are on it, chances are slim to none that anything will happen.

if you think otherwise, please clue me in, i’m curious. besides stroke (which is caused by overheating and irresponsible usage) what are the risks?

I’m an adult who doesn’t frequent raves on e. I’d just socialize at a scene, relax and always have a glass of cold water with me. So what else should I worry about?

meagan's avatar

Why worry so much about drugs? Couldn’t everyone be so concerned about things that actually… who knows… matter?
People are starving to death, and everyone is so upset about RECREATIONAL drugs ;P

Could you imagine if today’s youth spent all of this time online researching how they could help starving children – rather than how to legalize drugs they’ll use for fun?

mrrich724's avatar

@meagan that is a great and noble point, but i wasn’t really asking this question to see what i can do that people considered a “better use of time” than discussing drugs.

i asked it to see how others felt about this particular topic.

meagan's avatar

@mrrich724 Well thats how I feel ! Who cares about an altered state of mind? The world is a beautiful place the way it is. It could be better. But its pretty pimp haha

mrrich724's avatar

LOL, yes, i’d have to agree, it is quite pimp. i’m not trying to justify drug use. i’m more interested in the way people think that allows them to view one thing as acceptable but deny another which seemingly is no worse.

phillis's avatar

I didn’t realize that weed resin was healthier than tobacco resin. Do users have filters on thier bongs and blunts now?

Okay, so…let’s say for the sake of argument that the drugs/alcohol don’t hurt you when used in moderation, or rarely. They still impair your judgement, and I have yet to meet a toker who handed over the keys to their car because they refused to drive while stoned. So the questions are:

1— In what ways do these substances kill, and

2— How responsible are the users while high?

Why these drugs have not been legalized, while the rest has, is simply that our founding fathers really loved thier tobacco and alcohol. You never hear the villiage elders banning coca leaf chewing in the villiages of central America because they enjoy it, too.

If you look at Obama for instance, he’s a social drinker, but he does not smoke. Between tobacco and alcohol, which one had thier taxes ridiculously raised a year ago? This has been going on for hundreds of years. The ones with power get to make the rules.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Vunessuh go to any club in any city you will find ecstacy. Legality has nothing to do with it, if your going to do a drug, your going to do. Look at weed…. If heroin were made legal tomorrow would you do it? Probably not. Its the same thing.

mrrich724's avatar

good point @uberbatman witnessing it first hand, i don’t think there is such a huge disparity of ecstasy as related to tobacco/alcohol

imagine, when ever there is an ecstasy bust, thousands and thousands of pills are confiscated. . . how many more are out there that aren’t.

and still, it’s not in the news.

here is another thing i ponder: if it isn’t legal b/c lobbyists are protecting tobacco and alcohol, why don’t tobacco and alcohol industries get it legalized, and then use their piles of cash to be the dominant players in the new games?

mrrich724's avatar

and @Vunessuh why did you ask for sources if when I showed you (what I think are good sources, and there are many more) you were going to continue to argue against the scientific evidence?

what sways you so much to the one side?

tinyfaery's avatar

California may get to vote on legalizing marijuana for recreational use this year.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@phillis a bong is a giant filter…...

These substances never kill if used responsibly. As far as how responsible while high, i cant answer that cause i cant speak for others, ive been doing drugs for quite some time, but i have never once gotten into any kind of trouble or negatively effected anyone. unno.

@mrrich724 i think another big issue is the government would have to say “we were wrong” and end the propaganda think about DARE ecstacy takes ice cream scoops out of your brain GTFO. Its not gonna happen.

Vunessuh's avatar

@mrrich724 The same goes for alcohol. If you don’t abuse alcohol, chances are that you’ll be fine and nothing will happen.
Ecstasy use can cause death from severe dehydration and heat exhaustion, abnormal heart rate and liver failure. It can also severely impair your brain function and memory. Even someone trying it for the first time and taking only one pill can die. Plenty of people have died from allergic reactions to it.

@uberbatman Legality has plenty to do with it. Cigarettes and alcohol are convenient and found in plenty more places than ecstasy. They are also cheaper than ecstasy. Plenty of people wouldn’t even know where to begin to find someone with ecstasy if they wanted to try it. Because it’s illegal and because people are afraid of being caught (”what if this drug dealer turns out to be a cop”) they avoid it and go for things easier to find, like weed, cigarettes, alcohol.
Some people are afraid to try it because the stamp ”illegal” is written all over it.
I’m not saying this is everyone. I live in a city where plenty of people do both ecstasy and cocaine. But it is one reason why it doesn’t kill as many people. The amount of people who smoke cigarettes and drink as opposed to the amount that do ecstasy is much greater. Period.

mrrich724's avatar

and @Vunessuh, i am not trying to argue with you. i really am trying to understand why people have such a hard time believing that these illegal substances may not be as bad as what we partake in every day.

i know that i personally know more people who have suffered and died from cigarette smoke, and families that have been torn apart from alcoholism, yet in my life i’ve never seen one instance of an adverse effect of ecstasy or weed. (i know it’s out there, but even if i searched i think it would be hard to find)

i know that ecstasy can kill, any drug can. but actual cases of it happening are scarce.

fine it’s bad, but it’s no worse than what we have already accepted into our society… so what gives? what’s the huge difference?

phillis's avatar

There’s still plenty of resin left for the lungs after the water has done it’s filtering job. The same goes for filters on cigarettes.

Vunessuh's avatar

Well, I think it’s rather silly to have the attitude that you have.
All of these bad things are legal, so why not make the rest of the bad things legal too! Then we all have more options to kill ourselves with. Yay!

mrrich724's avatar

@phillis

i think all your points are good. but i think this is part of the problem. we get so caught up in small details. but like the links i shared show . . . there are many details that outright say “tobacco and alcohol have worse effects than drugs like marijuana and ecstacy”

@Vunessuh I don’t think the attitude necessarily has to be “lets have more options to kill ourselves.” it could equally be “lets make alcohol and tobacco illegal since they have just as adverse effects as anything else we’ve banned”

but we don’t . . . why not?

Vunessuh's avatar

@mrrich724 You’re right. It could equally be that. I would personally love to see cigarettes become illegal simply because there isn’t a good thing about them. I thought you were one of those whiners about weed not being legal yet, so I answered you off of that feeling.
I mean….are you? I can’t stand those people. :P

mrrich724's avatar

I personally don’t like smoking weed, it makes me lazy and hungry, and it doesn’t give me a great feeling at all.

I really am more curious about why some and not the others. . .

If weed never became legal, my life would be no better or worse than it is now :)

Vunessuh's avatar

Weed being illegal or legal doesn’t have much of an affect on my life either.
But the one’s who bitch about it being illegal are annoying.

You’ve been smoking weed illegally for years. What exactly is going to change if the law doesn’t pass? You’ll just keep doin’ watchu been doin’. So shut the fuck up. Thanks.

tinyfaery's avatar

Do you know how many of your tax dollars are used to fight the “war on drugs”?

phillis's avatar

@mrrich724 I am a smoker, and I admit that NONE of it is healthy (I do agree with the health benefits of a daily glass of a red wine, however). I’m as guilty as every other user. In that way, I am not lost in the least over the tiny details. It’s just how my mind rolls over a problem as I observe it. Nice call, though. If I miss something I like knowing about it.

ragingloli's avatar

Decriminalising/legalising it will actually lower its usage.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Vunessuh how about not having to feel like a criminal for doing something you know isnt morally wrong? Or the risk of being arrested for a victim-less crime? Oh yea no big deal.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Drugs are a billion dollar industry. If it’s legalized, that billion dollar industry becomes part of our economy.

Vunessuh's avatar

@uberbatman I won’t disagree with that, but you do understand that’s an opinion, right? Not a fact.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Vunessuh which part is an opinion, the victimless part? please… who am i harming?

Vunessuh's avatar

@uberbatman That’s not my point. If it being morally okay and unharmful was fact, then it wouldn’t be illegal. Unfortunately, we can’t make it a fact because there are millions of differing opinions on the issue which is WHY it has been entangled into the law.
I personally don’t think weed is very harmful, but I remember watching something on tv about people coming forth and revealing that weed almost ruined their lives. Therefore, it’s a component as to why they made it illegal.
What you have is an opinion. There are tons of people who would disagree with you, so you can’t make it fact. Ya dig?

phillis's avatar

Big Pharmacy spends millions annually, lobbying to keep street drugs illegal. They know damn well that the overwhelming majority of patients are strapped for cash, hence the $4 prescriptions program that rolled out 2 years ago. It was a smart, if not predictable, way to come out looking like the ultimate damn philanthropists, while recuping some of the money that patients spend would have spent on street drugs while attempting to self-medicate.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Vunessuh sure it will ruin peoples lives. Irresponsible peoples lives. The same way that any other facet of life could just as easily ruin their lives.
“Therefore, it’s a component as to why they made it illegal. ” Actually, that has absolutely nothing to do with why its illegal. Look up William Randolph Hearst and Harry J. Anslinger.

phillis's avatar

Vanessa is away from her desk at the moment. I’m wondering about the statistics of drunk drivers, and other users of illegal drugs, who have killed very responsible people in car crashes, or on job sites. There’s a reason they drug screen applicants, I’m sure.

mrrich724's avatar

@phillis

somewhere I read a stat that texting while driving is more dangerous than drinking and driving. Just a factoid I thought I’d share.

They had groups of ppl drink alcohol and drive, and text while driving. There was a mechanism in the car that flashed a light. When the light blinked, the person had to tap the breaks, the mechanism measured the time between the flashing light and the break being depressed.

Those drinking consistently scored better than those texting.

phillis's avatar

Bitch slapping your kids sitting in the back seat can cause accidents, too, but we aren’t talking about that. This is about drugs/alcohol. I haven’t been vocal on this debate because both sides have great points. I’m wondering why this is so easy for me to see, but seems to totally escape you guys. Why aren’t you guys patting each other on the back for representing both sides of this issue so well? You each covered everything quite thoroughly.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@phillis i hate alcohol and completely agree its a horrible drug that kills a lot of innocent people. The big difference with weed imo is most (i say most cause i dare not speak in generalities :P) people who smoke will not get behind the wheel of a car if they are too high, alcohol on the other hand makes you feel invincible. Even when driving high though, one will over compensate for the intoxication and drive slower and more carefully.

“Driving quality, as rated by the subjects, contrasted with observer ratings. Alcohol impaired driving performance according to the driving instructor, but subjects did not perceive it; marijuana did not impair driving performance, but the subjects themselves perceived their driving performance as such. Yet only subjects in the marijuana group reported significantly higher levels of invested effort following the active drug. Thus there is evidence that subjects in the marijuana group were not only aware of their intoxicated condition, but were also attempting to compensate for it.”

“Another way THC seems to differ qualitatively from many other drugs is that the former’s users seem better able to compensate for its adverse effects while driving under the influence.”

http://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis_driving3.shtml#pilotstudy_results

Do I think its safe to go drive high? No. But its not as big a deal as you make it out to be. As @mrrich724 said, texting is a much bigger problem.

As for drug testing to get a job, absolute bullshit. What i do in my time out of work should have no baring on my job what so ever.. As long as I am on time every day and do a good job while I am there and dont come in intoxicated/high how is it any of their concern. I mean consider for a second if ever job required you not to drink in order to get hired….

lilikoi's avatar

Woah this thread got long while I was gone!

@phillis When you’re stoned, you tend to drive really really REALLY slow, versus when you’re drunk, you’re just driving all over the fucking place, really really fast.

phillis's avatar

I didn’t extole the hazards of any particular drug, except to say that even cigarettes are unhealthy. Since we aren’t talking about texting, activities while driving, other than being under the influence of drugs/alcohol, are outside the realm of this discussion.

lilikoi's avatar

Everything is unhealthy in excess – sun, water, chocolate, wine, you name it. In moderation, your body has the capacity to deal with it.

Vunessuh's avatar

What part of the word component don’t you fathom, silly goose? I understand it’s not the sole reason. I was separating opinion from fact. That’s all. It’s your opinion that there is nothing harmful or morally wrong with smoking weed – why would you think that is valid enough to just all of a sudden make it legal? The issue is more complex than that.
If they made it legal, people would still be bitching because everyone is still going to have their opinion on why it’s wrong and why it’s right. No one will ever be happy.
You cannot prove that weed is 100% harmless. I’m sorry, but you can’t. You just agreed that it can ruin lives. Regardless of whether or not these people are responsible weed smokers, is irrelevant. The word can and the word ruin and the word lives are what some people are fighting for in order to keep it illegal.

Honestly, I don’t care whether it’s made legal or not. I don’t smoke it, it won’t affect my life one bit because I can choose to remove myself from an environment I don’t want to be in.
I started off talking about ecstasy, not weed.
I will never agree to making something like ecstasy legal.
Weed, I’m indifferent. It doesn’t matter to me.

I only said that I can’t stand the weed whiners.
And I’ve now realized I’ve become one of them. :P

El_Cadejo's avatar

“You cannot prove that weed is 100% harmless.” nothing in life is 100% harmless. Not even water.

lilikoi's avatar

You cannot prove that GMOs are 100% harmless, yet we have no problem legalizing that. And that is but one example out of thousands. PVC is prevalent even though we KNOW it leaches dioxin (a KNOWN carcinogen) when burned. I’d trade weed for PVC in a heartbeat.

Vunessuh's avatar

I KNOW! You guys are talking to me like I think it should stay illegal. I don’t care. I’m just pointing out WHY people are fighting hard to keep it illegal and why your “Well, I never hurt anyone while smoking weed” arguments are irrelevant.

Vunessuh's avatar

Not to mention we aren’t talking about water and GMOs and PVC. The issue is weed. Stick to the topic. Saying that nothing is 100% harmful is an easy way out and beside the point.

lilikoi's avatar

I’ve honestly never known anyone who has hurt anyone else while high or stoned. And there are a LOT of people smokin weed where I live!! Alcohol – well there’s a story in the news every other day about how some drunk idiot crashed and killed himself. I think the “Well, I never hurt anyone while smoking weed” argument has been well justified.

lilikoi's avatar

No, it was right on point. You made the argument that “You cannot prove that weed is 100% harmless”, and that was my rebuttal. My point, via those examples, is that your point was stupid weak (sorry couldn’t think of a better word).

phillis's avatar

@lilikoi Are you aware of any weed-related acident studies? Oddly, I’m not. I would love to see some stats on this. I’ve no doubt that alcohol-related crashes outweigh weed-related ones, but I would love to compare weed against an unimpaired drivers as the control group.

El_Cadejo's avatar

People are fighting it hard to keep it illegal because they are ignorant and believe all the bullshit propaganda our government feeds them.

How can one not draw comparison to GMOs and PVC? You just said people are against it because it is harmful. everything is harmful, your point is now moot.

lilikoi's avatar

@phillis That’s pretty irrelevant. The point is, we all know from personal experience with stoners that alcohol related crashes outweigh weed related ones. We have no problem legalizing alcohol, therefore, we have no business criminalizing weed.

El_Cadejo's avatar

There is no compelling evidence that marijuana contributes substantially to traffic accidents and fatalities. At some doses, marijuana affects perception and psychomotor performances- changes which could impair driving ability. However, in driving studies, marijuana produces little or no car-handling impairment- consistently less than produced by low moderate doses of alcohol and many legal medications. In contrast to alcohol, which tends to increase risky driving practices, marijuana tends to make subjects more cautious. Surveys of fatally injured drivers show that when THC is detected in the blood, alcohol is almost always detected as well. For some individuals, marijuana may play a role in bad driving. The overall rate of highway accidents appears not to be significantly affected by marijuana’s widespread use in society.

*
Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. “Legalization: Panacea or Pandora’s Box”. New York. (1995):36.

*
Swan, Neil. “A Look at Marijuana’s Harmful Effects.” NIDA Notes. 9.2 (1994): 14.

*
Moskowitz, Herbert and Robert Petersen. Marijuana and Driving: A Review. Rockville: American Council for Drug Education, 1982. 7.

*
Mann, Peggy. Marijuana Alert. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985. 265.

Vunessuh's avatar

I’m not disagreeing with you, but I am sticking to the topic.
You’re point is a cop out because you don’t have anything better.
You two seem to have a hard time separating someone’s opinion with someone trying to explain to you why people are fighting to keep it illegal.
None of what I’m saying reflects on how I think. You can’t seem to grasp that concept.

Now go smoke some more weed and relax.

ragingloli's avatar

Why should it be legal?
– It is arguably less harmful than already legal drugs such as alcohol and nicotine. This is a massive case of legal hypocrisy.
– Prohibition does not work. It did not work for alcohol and it does not work for drugs either. The “War on Drugs” is a huge strain on national finances, while completely being ineffective, thus a complete waste of money. Prohibition makes it actually worse.
– Decriminalisation attempts such as in Portugal in 2001 have shown that decriminalising drug use actually decreases its use among the population and the negative effects associated with them.

lilikoi's avatar

@Vunessuh I hear you. Our point is that “they” are illogical and baseless in their arguments and thinking. By going “off topic” we are simply demonstrating the logical fallacy in “their” claims.

El_Cadejo's avatar

yeaaaaaaaa what @lilikoi said ^_ ^

i tooked your advices vunessuh :P

Vunessuh's avatar

@lilikoiBy going “off topic” we are simply demonstrating the logical fallacy in “their” claims.
I see! Now that makes sense. Thank you.

@uberbatman ====0~ (that’s suppose to be a joint, not a penis ejaculating)

ragingloli's avatar

@Vunessuh
No but this is: 8====0~~~~~~~~(§x_x)

Vunessuh's avatar

Bahaha, indeed. XD

El_Cadejo's avatar

thank you both for the lol4rl :P

phillis's avatar

@lilikoi It might be irrelevant to YOU, but as a person who scrapes up brains and body parts off of intertstates by drivers high on weed, I can assure you, it is not irrlevant to the victims of those drivers OR their families. I can see my error in initiating an exchange of ideas, and conversation with you. I won’t bother you again. Good night.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@phillis did you not read what I cited above?

phillis's avatar

@uberbatman I’m sorry, I did not see that, no. I have now, however. Thank you for redirecting me to what you posted. I will research this a little further, just to satisfy my own curiosity. As a paramedic for 12 years, I was trained to identify controlled substances in order to treat, but was not privvy to what blood tests days later revealed of a particular patient after custody has been released from us, to the hospital. There have been accidents I attended that showed no outward sign of any illegal substance other than marijuana, but as I said, blood tests show difinitively what we can only treat according to presentation.

Kraigmo's avatar

Certainly one MDMA pill is safer than a 15 year+ smoking habit.
The “dangers” of MDMA were falsified by Dr. Joseph Ricarte, a grant-making researcher who often schmoozes with the DEA and NIDA.

Dr. Ricarte substituted crystal methamphetamine, and used the results from that, to publish his famous ecstasy study. He found significant brain damage…. but that was in users of crystal meth, and not MDMA, a completely different chemical despite the similar name.

I was in Dr. Ricarte’s study and he kicked me out when he found out I “only” took Ecstasy 5 times a year. He was doing everything he could, as a government researcher, to make MDMA look demonic.

It can be therapeutically used, unlike cigarettes. It can completely restore a person’s life to them, in the proper setting. Cigarettes could never do that.

And as for the drug laws of this country, they are based in religious authoritarianism combined with the greed of men who profit from drug laws, and the fear of people who are afraid of chaos and blindly chase “order” (the same people who are also hellbent on starting wars).

phillis's avatar

Seriously….is there ANYTHING the government touches that they deal with honestly? Anything? Anything at all? Every day I become more and more disillusioned and disgusted.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

Our current drug laws have been designed to make law enforcement profitable, causing an increase in the of frequency confiscations and seizures. It has become quite a lucrative business and they don’t want to give up their obvious cash cow.

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