Obama Worries About the Gateway Effect of Marijuana Legalization

In his comments about marijuana legalization to The New Yorker's David Remnick, President Obama draws a line between pot and "harder drugs":

When it comes to harder drugs, the harm done to the user is profound and the social costs are profound. And you do start getting into some difficult line-drawing issues. If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn't going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we OK with that?

It depends what you mean by "we." I am OK with that, and so is anyone else who believes people have a fundamental right to control their own bodies, but polling data suggest most Americans are not—possibly because they, like Obama, accept many scary myths about "harder drugs," such as the idea that methamphetamine makes your teeth rot. What would a "finely calibrated dose of meth" look like? Possibly like this. Obama seems unaware that stimulants considered so dangerous that legalizing them is unthinkable are widely prescribed to schoolchildren.

Remnick calls the possibility of broader drug legalizatiion, resulting from consistent application of libertarian principle, a "slippery-slope argument" against repealing pot prohibition. Libertarians, who often warn that the precedent of one government intervention will lead to additional, more ambitious interventions down the road, are used to a different sort of slippery slope, one that leads to tyranny. In Remnick's nightmares (and possibly Obama's as well), it is freedom that lies at the bottom of the slippery slope.

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  • SIV||

    I refreshed the page, saw Nick's post about Obama and "a finely calibrated dose of meth" ans went to link to permission slip-"legal" Desoxyn but you beat me to it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Marijuana is a gateway to other drugs because it is a gateway to the black market. If it was legal then it would cease to be a gateway to the black market, and thus cease to be a gateway to other drugs.

  • AlmightyJB||

    This

  • Brandon||

    I wouldn't even give this theory much credence.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Then you don't know what you're talking about.

  • sarcasmic||

    When was the last time you went to a liquor store and had the person behind the counter offer to sell you hard drugs, or refer you to someone who would?

    I'm thinking never.

    Yet if you want to find hard drugs, wouldn't a dealer of illegal pot be a logical place to start looking?

    Why do you think that is?

    Could it be because illegal weed is the gateway to the black market?

    Doesn't it stand to reason that legalizing weed would cause that gateway to slam shut?

  • AlmightyJB||

    My friends and I did ridiculas amount of drugs when we were yoounger. We were always looking for weed. If in the process of getting some we came across something else we might get it. I remember when my weed guy kept asking me if I wanted some crystal meth. We're talking way before anyone was doing it (very early 80's). I kept telling him I wasn't interested. At some point I went over to pick up some weed and he asked me if I wanted to hang out with he and his friends and party. After a few beers and bongs he breaks out the lines of meth. I intially turned it down but did end up doing some after being assured I would love it. Ended up buying some before the night was through and a few times after. That is not a scenerio that ever played out buying liquor at a state store.

  • AlmightyJB||

    BTW...I did like the meth. I found it very similar to coke but with less edge to it. It was also cheaper. It was nothing like how I've seen it depicted in the media. Good buzz but fairly tame compared to other things I've done.

  • sarcasmic||

    I tried meth and didn't like it at all. I did like coke, but haven't touched the stuff in years. I like my sleep.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, I don't have the lifestyle that allows me to stay up all night partying anymore:)

  • sarcasmic||

    The irony is that legalizing weed would make it much more difficult for users of hard drugs to try them in the first place, let alone score on a regular basis.

    You want less use of hard drugs, let people legally buy weed at the liquor store.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I think overall drug use would actually go down.

  • SIV||

    Obama seems unaware that stimulants considered so dangerous that legalizing them is unthinkable are widely prescribed to schoolchildren.

    Obama and 90%+ of his fellow Americans.

  • Rich||

    "If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of stimulants, it isn't going to kill your child, are we OK with that?"

  • R C Dean||

    When it comes to harder drugs, the harm done to the user is profound and the social costs are profound.

    "User"? or "Abuser"?

    And, history says maybe not so much. Meth was a legal OTC(?) drug until the early '70s.

    Same with most other illegal drugs. Cocaine, heroin, etc. weren't born illegal, and there were (and are) perfectly functional users of them in history and today.

  • sarcasmic||

    "User"? or "Abuser"?

    User equals abuser, and if you use it once you're an addict. Didn't get the PSA?

  • juris imprudent||

    And if you doubt that, you can trust Bill Bennett!

  • DWC||

    The war on drugs is a rot deliberately perpetrated on society. Nothing less and nothing more. burn this fucking thing to the ground.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that?

    But that will never be true, because the harm to law enforcement agencies and their budgets will always outweigh any other effect. Just think of the poor DEA agents suddenly thrown into moral confusion by the repudiation of everything they stand for. It's a world too horrible to contemplate.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that?

    You mean new, improved, statist Obama. Because Obama formerly of the Choom Gang loved the idea of cocaine use.

  • waffles||

    People can and will abuse any substance. We have had some kind of drug prohibition for so long that most people now believe that it is right to make some kinds of abuse criminal and to label any use as abuse.

    Either people own themselves or they do not. This middle, soft versus hard, and equivocating substances or addictions is a bunch of bullshit. It's not like people can't destroy their own lives without drugs if they are so inclined.

  • Rich||

    It's not like people can't destroy their own lives without drugs if they are so inclined.

    Exactly! That's why those things must be illegal as well!

  • LynchPin1477||

    Fast food, sodas, happy meals, private apartment rentals...

  • wareagle||

    so no gateway when cigarettes are involved or alcohol or anything else. Just pot. Smoke it once and you'll be a coke fiend, crack head, or heroin user by sundown. Jesus H fucking Christ. It's like some people suspend all rational thought when the talk turns to that demon weed.

  • Zeb||

    Based on my observations of the sort of people who do a lot of coke, I'd say alcohol is much more of a gateway to coke than pot is.

  • RBS||

    This. There is a saying about alcohol and cocaine being made for each other.

  • ||

    "And you do start getting into some difficult line-drawing issues. If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn't going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we OK with that?"

    You jug eared fuckwit, making a completely unjustified claim of ownership over my person is what I am not ok with.
    This is the heart of the matter and one which nanny state drug warriors like Shitweasel and Sean Hannity avoid at all costs. God forbid anyone should force them to admit publicly that you don't own yourself.

  • ||

    By admit it I don't mean the weaseley horse shit approach they usually take, but to say out loud unequivocally " you don't own you, I do. I know better than you do what is good for you and I will tell you what you will and won't do.".

  • sarcasmic||

    I had that conversation with my twelve stepper mother and she says "What are you talking about? Of course you don't own your body! God does!"

  • wareagle||

    and yet, god affords you free will and conscience so that not only can you make your own decisions, you also have a pretty good idea whether those decisions are likely to end well or not.

  • RBS||

    12 steppers are usually the worst. Most of the time they replace alcohol with God/The Program.

  • Zeb||

    And they all seem to assume that since it worked for them it will work for everyone. And that it is the only thing that will work.

  • Whahappan?||

    "Oh, so you think you're God?"

  • wareagle||

    excuse me, but that's jug-eared Constitutional law professor fuckwit to you. Parts of that may be redundant.

  • CatoTheElder||

    It depends what you mean by "we."

    When Obama -- and just about any other politician -- says "we", he means "I". IOW, it's the royal 1st person singular. Except when it isn't.

    It's kind of like when he says he wants a "discussion" or a "conversation". That's when he talks, and the audience confirms their assent by chanting "Yes We Can".

  • LynchPin1477||

    It's freedom all the way down

    *Sigh*, a man can dream.

  • LynchPin1477||

    So when he is talking about a slippery slope, what he really means is that once people realize the criminalization of pot was BS all along, they may start to wonder how many other drug laws are BS. People thinking for themselves, the horror!

  • Zeb||

    Yeah. Pretty much.

    Slippery slopes aren't always a bad thing. I hope that we do start sliding down that particular one.

  • sarcasmic||

    The sad thing about drug laws is that once people learn that they are bs, they start to question other laws. This can be downright dangerous if the person does not start with a sense of morality, because they may disregard all laws. Even the ones that are worth following.

    As Bastiat put it:

    No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. 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.
  • GILMORE||

    "President Obama draws a line between pot and "harder drugs""

    "...like... POWER... POWER....once they taste the sweet juice... you start hearing voices... then you cant remember the last time you didn't kill someone on a list....people stop loving you.... they don't BELIEVE you anymore....you need more and more and MORE AND IT NEVER STOPS!! Quick, get me Biden.... Dance Monkey! (shoots floor) Dance!..."

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Me wonders why FOX does not have the entire DC Reason staff in the studios for their coverage of this statement. Not a single Reasoner on The Five right now!

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