These Buds Are for You

Legal marijuana would be a boon for California consumers.

A group called Public Safety First warns that "the pre-tax price of marijuana could substantially decline" and "consumption of marijuana would increase" if Californians vote to legalize the drug in November. Well, yes, that's sort of the idea.

Proposition 19, a California ballot initiative that would legalize cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use while authorizing local governments to allow commercial production and sale, would move marijuana into a legal, regulated market, transforming criminals into consumers. Lower prices and increased use mean greater consumer satisfaction, something that should be welcomed rather than feared.

But Public Safety First, which is running the campaign against Prop. 19, is all about fear. Its website features photos of a doctor, a teacher, a judge, and a cop with joints dangling ridiculously from their mouths, suggesting prohibition is the only thing that prevents people from getting stoned at work. It says "bus drivers, forklift operators, hospital technicians, crossing guards who might be stoned could be coming to your community."

Yes, these people might be stoned, but that is true whether or not Prop. 19 passes. And even if marijuana disappeared tomorrow, all of these people could  come to work drunk. Yet Public Safety First is not campaigning for a return to alcohol prohibition, because it understands that workplace intoxication can be addressed through less sweeping measures that do not penalize responsible consumers for the sins of a reckless minority.

If we remove the terror-tinted lenses of Prop. 19's opponents, we start to see the benefits of treating marijuana more like alcohol. A recent RAND Corporation study estimates that the retail price of legal marijuana would be less than one-fifth the black-market price. Based on numbers in the RAND report, that translates into annual savings of $5 billion or so for current consumers—money that would be available for other uses.

Some of those savings would be sucked up by sales and excise taxes on newly legal marijuana. The California Legislative Analyst's Office recently projected that "state and local governments could eventually collect hundreds of millions of dollars annually in additional revenues" as a result of Prop. 19.

Lower prices, greater convenience, and the elimination of legal risk can be expected to boost marijuana consumption. RAND considers it plausible that the number of current users would double, to about 4 million, or 14 percent of California's adult population. These new users also would receive a big consumer benefit, enjoying a wide variety of cannabis products that are worth as much to them as they are willing to pay—on the order of $1 billion a year.

Continuing to look at this from a consumer's perspective, we need to consider not just the law enforcement money saved by the state of California (around $300 million a year, according to RAND) but the arrest-related costs that pot smokers no longer have to bear. About 75,000 people are arrested on marijuana charges in California each year, the vast majority for simple possession. While they typically do not spend much time behind bars, they face legal expenses and the lifelong handicap of a criminal record, costs that may dwarf the money spent on enforcement.

Those costs fall disproportionately on black people. A recent study by Queens College sociologist Harry Levine found that blacks in California's 25 largest counties are two to four times as likely as whites to be busted for marijuana possession, even though survey data indicate they are no more likely to smoke pot. The California NAACP cited these racially skewed numbers when it endorsed Prop. 19.

Public Safety First, of course, does not care what happens to pot smokers, whom it depicts as public menaces. But since research indicates that marijuana does not impair driving ability nearly as much as alcohol does, more pot smoking, if accompanied by less drinking, could actually improve public safety. The legal availability of a less dangerous intoxicant would benefit the general public as well as consumers.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist.

© Copyright 2010 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  • Suki||

    Pot should be legal. Poker Face

    Good morning reason!

  • rctl||

    Time for some smokin' head!

  • Martin Rheaume||

    It's so sad that this debate even needs to be had in a "free" country.

  • Suki||

    When G. Gordon Liddy was a kid, this was a free country.

  • Rolf||

    Of course the smokers will be bearing the cost of their resultant lung cancer. Is that correct? Will marijuana be labeled as a cancer-causing material IAW CA law too?

  • Bill||

    it has not been studied enough to know for sure, particularly with occasional use. We may have a few years before it is labeled as cancer causing.

  • Suki||

    If hippies use it, it has to be good, pure and natural.

  • Rolf||

    So every pot-smoker will be an occasional user? Define occasional. Once again I ask, will these smokers bear their own costs? Who will pay for the health studies? The even greater number of chemicals naturally present in pot smoke, compared to tobacco, would have no deleterious effect whatsoever? Should we legalize it and wait to see the effects? Who will pay when the inevitable lawsuits come? What level of THC would be legal for driving? ...

  • Suki||

    The only way you get cancer from weed is when the government puts stuff in it. That only happens when Republicans are around.

  • Rolf||

    Yeah, same thing with tobacco too, is that right? And of course it has no effect on your mental health either correct? Would you board a flight piloted by a stoned pilot? Would you place your child on a bus driven by a stoned person? Do you see the sheer mass of regulation and increased government coming yet?

  • Suki||

    Either my 'sarcastically talk like a hippie' tag is broken or it is your detector.

  • Thomas O.||

    And you don't think new policies and testing procedures will be put in place by these companies and agencies to prevent people from working while high?

    Non-issue. Next.

  • Rolf||

    Therefore, you and others who choose to partake will be happy to bear the testing costs in the form of a tax on pot, am I correct?

  • Suki||

    Rolf, if a company wants to test their employees they should have the right to, on their own dime. Same as people should be free to smoke all the pot they like, with their own money.

  • ||

    Rolf, you took notes! Now, put your martini down and take a now.

  • ||

    Wouldn't this fall into the same category as being drunk at work. Stop with the fear mongering. This is no different than using prescription narcotics or alchohol at the work place.

  • Mike.S||

    Right, @Rolf, 'cause none of these people ever show up drunk now, or coked-up, or Valium-downed, or Oxy-Contin'ed. Only the Law in all its wisdom and majesty is stopping some fly-boy Snoop Dogg from firing up his fat-ass J on the milk run to Bakersfield.

    You fear mongers are so out of ideas, it would be laughable except for the harm your feckless War On Drugs continues to cause.

  • ||

    As a society we choose to treat adults as, well, adults where alcohol is concerned, trusting that the vast majority of those who choose to drink will not confuse their workplace with a keg party. By and large that trust is rewarded. Why would you believe that people would suddenly start confusing their job with their leisure pursuits when pot is involved? And why would transportation workers who currently follow the fairly strict rules their jobs require them to follow regarding alcohol fail to do so with pot?

  • Death Panelist||

    The powers that be have done an amazing job brainwashing the masses to demonize marijuana without question. Critical thinking on the subject is difficult for most products of this awareness education.

  • The Nanny's Nanny||

    Just came out of a major brokerage house.

    Inside the washroom they had a giant, 8 panel poster with pictures, complete with commentary on how to wash your hands. With a paragraph under each picture discussing the proper technique.

  • Zeb||

    Rolf, you ignorant slut. I would have no problem getting on a plane with a stoned pilot provided that he is a seasoned smoker who knows what he is doing and can handle his shit. There are big differences in how drugs affect different people. Most people who I know who are daily smokers I would have no problem with flying a plane (if they knew how to) or driving my kids to school.

  • Lets be honest||

    Please, I am all for legalization of marijuana.

    But as a past daily smoker, it does reduce performance.

    I hear the same argument from alcoholics, that they can drink and drive fine, and should be held to different standards.

    I drink as well, however, the truth is that both inhibit reaction time.

    Let people ingest what they wish, but lets not hide the fact that these drugs intoxicate.

  • ||

    That's a fair enough point -- and nobody is seeking to legalize stoned driving -- but the effect is much subtler than with alcohol. Studies of actual driving behavior indicate that stoned drivers tend to drive more slowly, and follow the car in front of them at a further distance. These aren't exactly unsafe driving habits. Plus it's been widely observed that cannabis users are much more self-aware of their level of intoxication than alcohol users.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Zeb you ignorant slut...nothing just wanted to call you an ignorant slut.

  • ||

    Okay, Rolf. You convinced us. Now we're all against Prop. 19.

  • ||

    "Would you board a flight piloted by a stoned pilot? Would you place your child on a bus driven by a stoned person?"

    How do you know you're not already?

    Let go of your fear. Fear leads to the Dark Side. . .

  • ||

    What the christ dude -- it's not as if only prohibitionists are "bearing the cost" for their fucking lunacy. If you're going to pretend to be Mr. high-minded skeptic, you should at least make an effort to compare the "costs of legalization" to the costs of continued prohibition. The status quo is not free.

  • kilroy||

    You are absolutely right! We should abandon the entire welfare state so no one will have to subsidize another's choices. You can have 15 kids and I won't have to educate or feed them.

    This is genius! Why haven't we already done this???

  • ||

    Because most people feel bad when they see people having hard times, and then think that giving them legal entitlements to sustenance is the way to help those poor people out.

  • Austen Hoogen||

    The limited studies that have been conducted about pot smoking suggest the health risks to marijuana are so few to be negligible. Cigarette smoking is much more of a risk due to the shear amount smoked. Even with tolerance buildup to marijuana it isn't likely that a smoker would develop a half or full pack a day habit, and those who do, so what? They can pay for their healthcare. Is the $60 BILLION dollars we spend each year enforcing drug policy really worth it?

    Personal responsibility and all. Seriously, has prohibition EVER worked for any substance?

    And look at Portugal, they legalized EVERYTHING and drug use actually went down amongst teenagers and had no significant increase in use for the rest of the population.

    http://www.time.com/time/healt.....46,00.html

  • fortyouncer||

    Rolf has a good point. Society will be turned upside down if we allow pot use. We better keep it like it is now, where everyone obeys the law and no one smokes the evil stuff.

    On the other hand.. I am getting anxious to rape and pillage... just give me the go ahead prop 19... just do it.

  • EMp||

    Ha-haaa!! Well, I say something needs to be done keep up the spirits of that soon-to-be (if not already..) plutocracy called Alta-california...

  • ||

    Rolf here's the thing. If you live in California, (I do) and you want to get stoned, you buy some weed and you get high. Pretty much end of story. You don't say to yourself "I can't wait till pot's legal so I can get high", because everyone here knows that smoking has been quasi legal for years. There are only two things that prevent people in California from smoking pot 1) they simply don't want to, and 2) they're subject to drug screening for whatever reason. The legality of the matter is deterring a segment of the population that is so small it's not worth mentioning. If anything legalization might effect cost structures such that existing pot smokers will smoke more because of affordability, but the idea that there will be this big increase in the number of pot smokers due to legalization is bs.

    All of the issues you're talking about, (THC levels for driving, health studies etc.) are valid but they have nothing to do with the issue of legalization. Those issues have existed and will continue to exist whether this measure passes in November or not.

  • ||

    If your worried about lung cancer, why not prohibit tobacco too?

    Given today's potency, and the amount of smoke inhaled to get high, it may well be less harmful than cigarettes.

    And then there's vaporizers.

  • Rolf||

    My point exactly.

  • ||

    There are other ways of using Pot. It can be baked in food, and steeped in tea. It doesn't have to be smoked therefore negating the lung cancer problem.

  • ||

    vaporizers work great.

    got rid of the permanent ol bong hack cough.

  • ||

    Of course the smokers will be bearing the cost of their resultant lung cancer.

    Sure, we'll foot the $0 bill. Weed doesn't cause cancer brah.

  • Tim||

    Medical Pot rose to notoriety in large part because it does so much to alleviate suffering in cancer patients. Irony? You're soaking in it.

  • ||

    Damn you Tim, I can't get a read on you. I'm not sure what to make of the term "notoriety" (as in "notorious") and the whole "soaking in irony" bit. Are you agreeing with me? Being critical? Just trolling for oversensitive douchebags like myself? You're an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a vest.

    I'll take the bait anyway: there is much more evidence pointing to anti-cancer properties of cannabis than to carcinogenic properties.

  • ||

    and don't forget those cannabinoid receptors humming away la la laaa in our brains.

  • skr||

    if it were cheap and plentiful, I would just eat it.

  • Zeb||

    None of the good studies done of pot smokers have shown any link between cannabis and cancer. Some might even show a protective effect. If that is the case, should everyone be forced to smoke pot to save Rolf money?

  • poopy||

    While I don't have anything to back it up, my understanding is that there aren't any documented cases of a marijuana smoker with lung cancer who was not also a tobacco smoker.

  • ||

    Yeah, this is true. Tashkin's UCLA study is a good place to start -- it totally demolishes the "weed causes cancer" bullshit.

  • ||

    http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/c.....9.full.pdf

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....01729.html

  • ||

    +1, thanks.

  • GRRRR||

    You don't have to smoke it...

    Who wants a brownie?

  • ||

    Brownies have let me down every time. I spend all night trying to figure out whether I'm feeling something, then end up wishing I'd just smoked the stuff instead.

    Now vaporizers though, that's a different story.

  • Andy||

    Clearly you've never had a good brownie. CA medical dispensary brownies are so strong that I can't eat one square (I'm a fairly seasoned user). A quarter square gets me mellow and high for 6 hours. A half square makes my face melt. A whole brownie made me sick (first time I didn't expect the potency) and caused me to throw up. Yeah, that's about the worst you can do with a pot "overdose". Throw up and fall asleep.

  • ||

    A study of 65,000 Kaiser-Permanente members by Dr. Donald Tashkin has conclusively proved that smoking marijuana does not contribute to the development of lung cancer. In fact, cigarette smokers who also smoke marijuana have fewer incidences of lung cancer than those who smoke only tobacco.

    http://ccrmg.org/journal/05aut/nocancer.html

  • Joe M||

    I just want us to reach a point where the suggestion that more people will do it is meaningless. Who cares? Proponents should make the point that there's nothing wrong with marijuana in the first place, so more usage is a non sequitur.

  • Rolf||

    My problem here is that it is likely that the negative consequences of the individual choices concerned here will be shifted onto those of us who choose not to partake. Choices here also come with a responsibility that increasing numbers of individuals are not willing to bear.

  • Chan||

    Choices here also come with a responsibility that increasing numbers of individuals are not willing to bear.

    That's why I wash my rice thoroughly three times before cooking it. Do you?

  • Amakudari||

    They already are via the War on Drugs. And to the extent that taxpayers already subsidize the health care of people who engage in risks, legalization wouldn't change much.

    The difference is the massive outlays on enforcement, incarceration and foreign policy quid pro quo with drug states, as well as the cost of drug crimes that exist merely because there is no legal mechanism to prevent fraud, theft and so forth.

  • Hank||

    What about the negative consequences of people choosing to have children with little or no means to support? Us non-breeding folk have to bear the burden of the choices to have these little carbon emitting bastards.

    The broader point in this debate is that "drugs" are already readily available. In fact, if it's legalized, how are teh children going to get their weed?

  • ||

    You're wrong on that, Rolf. It comes with a responsibility that increasing numbers of individuals ARE willing to bear. That's what's got your panties in a knot.

  • Chad||

    EXXXXXXXXXTERRRRRRRRRNAAAAAALLLLLLLIIIITTTEEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZZ!!!!11!!1

  • Ron L||

    Rolf|7.28.10 @ 8:12AM|#
    "My problem here is that it is likely that the negative consequences of the individual choices concerned here will be shifted onto those of us who choose not to partake."

    You can make exactly the same point about those who ride bikes, those who climb mountains, those who hike the wilderness, those who eat big, juicy steaks, those who sit on their butts typing on their keyboards, etc.
    Outlawing the activity rather than 'un-socializing' the shared liability pretty much means we're not going to be allowed to do much.

  • ||

    People are afraid to say that there's nothing wrong with smoking pot because there is still a puritanical distrust of pleasure for its own sake deeply ingrained in Americans. We are bombarded with the message that seeking to alter ones consciousness is a symptom of some underlying weakness or pathology rather than a pretty basic human trait, an apparently natural drive that exists in nearly all cultures at all points in recorded history. The widespread use of mind altering substances observed by anthropologists studying preliterate traditional societies, something noted in virtually every study I've read, seems to point pretty strongly to this being an integral aspect of the human experience. I'd go so far as to say that this is one of our defining characteristics as a species, since we almost certainly figured out how to get high before we managed to develop agriculture or written language.

    Or maybe people get high because they just don't know any better; take your pick.

  • Your Dad||

    That doesn't mean it's okay for you to be taking all that pot!

  • EMp||

    You kids don't need to be shootin' up that marijuana, I tell ya!! ;-)

  • ||

    cannabis is a blessed and righteous herb, mon.

    Jah rastafari

  • bob42||

    Whatever (if any) money society society might have to spend because of legalization is dwarfed by the amount we already spend on the expensive, ineffective War on a Plant.

    I have yet to see a logical argument for continuing cannabis prohibition. Nor have any drug warriors explained how their "logic" should not also apply to alcohol, a demonstrably more dangerous substance.

  • ||

    Thank you. I'm so sick of hearing about the "costs" of legalizing weed. First of all, news flash: people smoke weed right now. A lot of people.

    More importantly, maintaining prohibition is not a free ride. Theses "costs of legalization" do not occur in a vacuum, no matter how much the prohibitionists would like to assume they do. I'd like to see one honest cost-benefit analysis that suggests that maintaining prohibition would come at an overall lower cost to the public than legalizing a trade that is already culturally ubiquitous.

  • ||

    the m-i-c doesn't like marijuana because people are less war like, aggressive and tend to laugh in the faces of the elites.

    logically the system requires that we have an us vs them culture war on pot.

    after cali legalization, the country is going to begin a serious consciousness shift for the better.

    unless the mayans are right for the wrong reasons.

  • Tim||

    I'm warning you, legalizing it and cutting the Gubmint in on the action will ruin it.
    There'll be taxes, and more taxes, warning labels and rules for content. Big corporations will take over and mix it with carpet cleaning chemicals to keep you hooked.
    Just like Gay marriage will take the gay out of gay...

  • ||

    Yeah because taxes and warning labels are way more onerous than criminal records.

    (If you're being sarcastic, carry on and ignore my obtuse reply.)

  • Tim||

    Yes, and yes!

  • ▲ ▲||

    The same thing happened with beer.

    Oh, wait.

    Seriously, if you're afraid of that shit, grow your own. It's actually feasible to grow a year round supply in a closet, unlike tobacco.

  • Suki||

    It is time for pot to come out of the closet.

  • Tim||

    What will you do with your grow light? Plant closet tomatoes?

  • Suki||

    Use it to dry clothes after rain and snow storms?

  • ||

    Use it to dry Rolf's pants when he pees them.

  • rhofulster||

    FTW!

  • Fiscal Meth||

    LOL

  • ||

    Maybe it just feels so comfortable, here in the closet?

  • poopy||

    It's actually feasible to grow a year round supply in a closet, unlike tobacco.

    I am convinced that that is the main reason why it is illegal: it is impossible to tax weed grown and smoked for personal use.

    However it is possible to confiscate the property of the poor schmuck who got caught growing and smoking untaxable weed, even when it is legal for large commercial (and taxable) crops of the very same plant to be grown.

  • Big Z||

    You can legally make your own alcohol too, home-brewers and home wine makers are pretty common and no one seems to have a problem with that. I myself enjoy the hobby of homebrewing.

  • ||

    Yeah people often act like the ability to home-grow cannabis somehow makes it unique. Just do a google search for "home brew kit".

  • poopy||

    That reminds me - I've got two batches of pale that need to be racked and a couple kicked kegs to clean.

  • Hank||

    Yeah..yeah...crystal meth is fun to grow too. You know, until you catch on fire and haven't paid your health insurance tax. Then you feel all awkward getting your grafts and shit.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Try enjoying the hobby of whiskey distillation. No one will have a problem with it until anyone finds out.

  • ||

    quality cannabis is fairly easy to grow in the backyard and abundant enough to keep your friends happy year around.

    eventually/soon an oz of grade A should be around fifty dollars. govt will quickly stop drooling.

    and we will finally move on

  • mr simple||

    If this passes and pot is made legal, what will happen to the people in state and local jails who were put there for a non violent pot related crime? Is there anything in the bill to pardon them?

  • Joe M||

    Excellent question. I would guess that there isn't any such provision, but I would think, once proposition passes, which it will, there will be a huge outcry to release those in jail for things like simple possession.

  • ||

    Yeah Proposition 19 doesn't address this specifically -- but this can't all happen at once. I'd consider a stop to the criminal factory a good first step, and emptying out the warehouses a logical progression from there.

    Important issue to be sure, but not a reason to vote "no" on prop 19.

  • Zeb||

    I don't think people go to jail in CA for simple possession.

  • ||

    If they're on parole or probation they do.

  • Ron L||

    White people don't. Others, well...
    Depends on whether the cop can come up with anything better.

  • ||

    For what it's worth, that RAND study was totally noncommital.

    Media reports: "Study says weed will cost a nickel per pound!"

    The study itself: "we may possibly conjecture that perhaps, given pre-conditions a through z, there is a slight possibility that the price could maybe be in this range".

    Here's a pretty good dissection:

    http://www.drugwarrant.com/2010/07/about-that-rand-study/

  • Joe M||

    There's a cartoon I've seen that describes this scenario, in which a scientific study comes out saying, A, under conditions B and mitigating factor C, has a tiny correlation with effect D. There's a bunch of steps with lots of misinterpretation that ends up with someone's grandma wearing a tinfoil hat and saying A causes D. Wish I could find it.

  • Tim||

    That's the essence of populist politics.

  • James||

  • ||

    One thing is pretty certain, no matter how much the price comes down we'll never again see the $20 ounce of my teen years. Sigh.

  • ||

    We'll also never see the type of 0.3% THC ditchweed that would cost $20 per ounce. I'll take that tradeoff.

  • ||

    True enough, plus my nostalgia for the days when ok Mexican weed was $20 and even primo bud from Hawaii topped out at $35 is something I hold onto mostly for its conversational value on those occasions when my younger co-workers or my grown kids are being particularly insufferable.

  • ||

    Hah yeah. You're lucky to get an eighth of good stuff for 35 bucks these days, let alone a full zip.

  • ||

    sure you will--you might even get better.

    once it's legal, you'll see all kinds in nurseries--know those home grown tomatoes that taste so much better than store bought ones? Extrapolate.

    One day, you'll be buying starter plants from walmart that are better than anything we've seen before for $3.99 a pop

  • ||

    for the most part rand izza buncha govt purchased jackoffs

  • Austen Hoogen||

    Not only should we legalize marijuana we should legalize ALL drugs. END the war on drugs and save this nation $60 billion dollars a year. http://seattletimes.nwsource.c.....per04.html

  • ||

    and fill up all those vacant jails with bankstas.

  • Kevin||

    Who doesn't know these arguments already? I knew them 20 years ago.

  • ||

    Yeah Sullum -- don't bring that stale shit to the table. There must be reasons to oppose prohibition that haven't been observed thousands of times throughout history, right? Oh, wait....

  • ||

    prohibition is always great for thugs with badges everywhere.

  • Chase||

    One of the major constituencies in the war in drugs is cops. They hate weed so much because they know how that provides them their jobs.

    Whenever the government spends money, it creates massive pressures to continue the spending. That is why I am so pessimistic about the chance of full legalization any time soon.

  • ||

    The prison-industrial complex is just LEO job security.

  • poopy||

    One of the major constituencies in the war in drugs is cops.

    Except for LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition).

    But yeah, I agree. Without victimless crimes created by unjust laws, I don't think a single police department in the country could justify even a quarter of their budget.

  • bob42||

    The legitimate money trail behind cannabis prohibition is complex. Private prisons benefit because it helps fill beds. "Re-hab" outfits that "offenders" are forced to pay to avoid being caged love it.

    The list of beneficiaries of the War on a Plant is long and not exactly easy to trace (Google Bush Sembler "Tough love" for an example of a murderous and politically connected beneficiary of this stupid war.

    Those are the kind of a-holes that are behind the fear mongering lying opposition to Prop. 19.

    And they have the GALL to think themselves moral when their greed and thirst for power is directly responsible for the deaths of 10,000+ Mexican citizens in the last few years alone.

    I'd like to throw a shoe at them.

  • ||

    +1. The list of prohibition profiteers goes on forever: Law Enforcement, the private prison owners, the "treatment" industry, Big Alcohol/Tobacco/Pharma, the testing industry, the beat-the-testing industry, etc etc etc. Oh and murderous state-threatening drug cartels.

  • poopy||

    Drugs are bad because they're bad. Why? Because the law says so.

    Bastiat said "When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law."

    THAT is the purpose of prohibition. To force that choice.
    To divide the citizenry into those who follow the law because it is the law, and those who kept their moral sense.

  • ||

    That's pretty damn cynical and dystopian. I like it.

  • poopy||

    If you have the power to get people to give up the principles they consider to be right and wrong, and replace it with a system of law that you know to be unjust, then you've got some power.

    That is why there must be unjust laws. They are required if you are going to have a citizenry without principles.

    Rule of law requires that the law be based on a set of principles.

    They don't want rule of law, they want rule of Man.

  • ||

    why not just legalize the active ingredient (THC)? I don't buy the "smoke" is not harmful. That said, so is alcohol.

    We need to legalize it.

    I'm sure the prison unions are vehemently against....

  • ||

    The smoke, consumed in quantities typical for cannabis consumers, really isn't harmful. There aren't many pack-a-day weed smokers. And besides there are vaporizers, you can cook it into food, make tinctures, etc.

    The problem with just legalizing THC is that marijuana contains many, many cannabinoids besides THC (like CBD, which plays a huge part in medical relief). Besides, that would be a bit like prohibiting beer while making grain alcohol legal.

  • ||

    fair points. plus it puts this into the pharmaceutical realm....don't like that approach..

    I found plenty of scientific info to refute (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_bad_is_marijuana_for_you) and more reputable as well.

    and there are those who say it's not (any reputable scientific organizations??)...everyone has an angle...I get that...like you said, vaporizers reduce the risk but unfiltered smoke cannot be "good" for you, I'll side with science.

  • ||

    It's not "good" for you, no. It's not broccoli. But it's not particularly dangerous either -- sort of like a Big Mac. Certainly not harmful enough to criminalize in order to protect people from voluntarily doing it to themselves.

  • ||

    Agreed. We really don't fully understand the relationship between THC and other cannabinoids - and given the silly stigma assigned cannabis, it's likely that life-saving research into these compounds will be delayed for several decades.

  • ||

    vaporizers work great.

  • ||

    Synthetic THC is actually available via prescription under the brand name Marinol. (I did a presentation on it in pharmacy school). The only problem is that physicians are reluctant to prescribe it due to the stigma of it being THC.

    Plus, I don't think it's as much fun as the real stuff. I don't consume it, so I really couldn't tell you.

  • ||

    excellent article...fact driven by an ER doc

    http://www.taxcannabis.org/ind.....an-alcohol

  • poopy||

    For years I have been asking people for a reason to keep drugs illegal that could not also be used as a reason to make alcohol illegal.

    I have yet to get any response worth remembering.

  • ||

    alcohol doesn't give you furry palms like pot.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Proposition 19 [...] would [ ...] transform[]criminals into consumers.

    Except the one it would transform into small businessmen.

    ::thinks about the dealer I've known::

    Strike that: into consumers and small businessmen.

  • ||

    Haha, yeah do you know any pot dealer ever who has stuck to the "don't get high on your own supply" credo? More like "constantly be high on your never-ending supply".

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Never known one who didn't smoke the stuff, but I have also never known one who was stoned all the time. (modest sample size, to be sure)

    The two who made a steady living off it made it a hard and fast rule to never deal when they were high: once they lit up the dealing day was over.

  • ||

    Huh -- pretty much everyone I've ever bought weed from is an indiscriminate stoner who could never think of a good reason not to toke. Which always makes it easy for me to get along with them.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    I've mostly known dealers in a college campus setting. I think they were all still planning on having "straight" lives someday.

  • ||

    the best herb always comes from the people who are both connoisseurs and total stoners.

  • poopy||

    Only those who have paid off the local government with six figure bribes in the form of licenses will be allowed to become businessmen.

    The street level dealer will still be a criminal.

  • ||

    Anybody else getting the "straight marijuana facts" drugfreeworld.org banner ad on this page? It's like the "train to be a police officer" ads that show up on Radley's posts without fail.

  • ||

    "But since research indicates that marijuana does not impair driving ability nearly as much as alcohol does, more pot smoking, if accompanied by less drinking, could actually improve public safety. The legal availability of a less dangerous intoxicant would benefit the general public as well as consumers."

    I'm sorry, but that is bull-shit. This infers someone making the decision "I was going to drunk drive, but now I'll just stone drive, instead!"

    Instead we're going to significantly increase the number of impaired drivers in morning rush hour traffic (wake and bake, anyone?)

    Trying to imply that this could somehow improve driving conditions, because stoned drivers are slightly less dangerous than drunk drivers is disingenuous and nieve.

    Law enforcement will pick-up the slack and start hammering DUI enforcement at all hours of the day, rather than 2 AM.

  • ||

    This infers someone making the decision "I was going to drunk drive, but now I'll just stone drive, instead!"

    There have to be at least a few people out there who use alcohol on their nights out because it's legal, but who would prefer to use cannabis instead. So we could debate the extent to which this would occur, but it seems reasonable to expect at least a marginal "replacement" effect.

    The whole DUI argument in general misses the point anyway. Guess what? People drive stoned right now.

  • ||

    Yes, there are a few people who would replace one behavior for the other, but it would only be marginal at best.

    More likely is that someone who is willing to risk DUI at 2AM is going to risk it at 7AM as well.

    The DUI piece I mentioned above is an aside. Someone kills someone at 7AM because he was driving while high, and roadside inspections will start happening at all hours of the day.

  • ||

    Yeah -- again though, it's just as plausible that "someone kills someone at 7AM because he was driving while high" tomorrow or the next day. We don't need legalization for that to be a possibility.

  • Ron L||

    My only gripe is that it becomes a "right" *granted* by the government.
    Check that; two gripes, the second being that it becomes a revenue source, and history pretty much says that any new source of government revenue means more government debt.
    Don't "legalize" it, simply remove that law that makes it illegal.

  • ||

    Ron L, thanks for being the only commenter on this post to get it.

  • ||

    This is a world of marginal changes. Stopping the criminal justice butcher shop is important enough to make taxation and regulation worth it. In this case, the ends would justify the means, even if the means sorta suck and the ends aren't perfect.

  • ||

    Exactly. I'm not comfortable with extending the government 's regulatory reach into yet another area of our private lives, and I dislike any course of action that implies that our rights are granted to us by the government; complete and unregulated decriminalization is a much better choice. But I also can remember debating this with friends in high school; that was 35 years ago. Meanwhile, people continue to be arrested, continue to go to jail, and continue to have their property stolen by the police and the courts. I think we need to put an end to that shit, and it seems like the only argument that a lot of people, including most politicians, find convincing is the tax and regulate one. I don't like it, but I've reluctantly concluded that the status quo is even worse.

  • Ernie the Bear||

    If we make MJ legal, who will shoot our dogs for us?

  • Cartman||

    I will shoot your dog, and all you dope smokers as well. Not kidding, just hate dope smokers

  • ||

    and when dope is legal, i will personally blow smoke in your face and then place you in my toaster oven next to the turkey.

  • Scarpe Nike||

    is good

  • ||

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