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I Have a Cannabis Problem. I Still Think It Should Be Legalized.

One of America's "invisible pot addicts" speaks up.

Customers queue for recreational marijuana outside the MedMen store in West Hollywood, California U.S. January 2, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File PhotoCustomers queue for recreational marijuana outside the MedMen store in West Hollywood, California U.S. January 2, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File PhotoIs America's ever-expanding legal marijuana market a looming public health crisis? In "America's Invisible Pot Addicts," published this week in The Atlantic, Annie Lowrey argues that a growing number of Americans are quietly suffering from "cannabis use disorder." That's a more clinical and considerate way of saying that legal pot has created a lot more heavy marijuana users, some number of whom say they can't stop.

I could easily fit into the dire statistics cited by Lowrey. I was a daily cannabis user for years. And for weeks at a time over the last decade, I have used it not just after work but throughout the day. I have no problem admitting that I do, in fact, have a problem with cannabis.

Lowrey claims that policy makers are ignoring pot users like me. But her story uses us as justification for creating laws and regulations that would limit the agency of all adults who wish to consume marijuana. I appreciate her concern, but she misses the mark.

The problem, Lowrey tells us, is that "state and local governments are setting up legal regimes without sufficient public-health protection." Thanks to a shift in public attitudes, she says, lawmakers have gone from "treating cannabis as if it were as dangerous as heroin to treating it as if it were as benign as kombucha."

As an example of the "invisible pot addict," she provides a very brief profile of a California man named Evan, who has been clean from marijuana for "a hard-fought seven weeks." Evan seems to miss smoking weed, but he felt it was ruining his life by keeping him from accomplishing his professional goals. He now chafes at the billboards popping up in California advertising legal cannabis. "It's not a trigger," he tells Lowrey, "but it is in your face."

After giving us a few paragraphs of Evan, Lowrey uses the rest of her word count to share policy recommendations from half a dozen wonks.

"It wasn't obvious to me 25 years ago, when 9 percent of self-reported cannabis users over the last month reported daily or near-daily use," NYU's Mark Kleiman tells Lowrey. "I always was prepared to say, 'No, it's not a very abusable drug. Nine percent of anybody will do something stupid.' But that number is now [something like] 40 percent."

We learn that there are many ways to constrain the legal market and "protect" users: a prohibition on commercial growing and retailing, a la D.C (which didn't actually choose this route, but was limited to it by a Republican Congress threatening to lock down the city's budget). Another idea floating around is a purchasing limit: Customers would set a monthly spending level for themselves that they cannot exceed, a la self-imposed deposit limits for gamblers. We should all be "listening to and believing the hundreds of thousands of users who argue marijuana is not always benign," Lowrey concludes.

I'm happy to provide the perspective Lowrey says we need. I have both a pot problem and some thoughts on pot policy.

Over the last decade, my frequent use of marijuana precipitated a broken engagement, tarnished major moments in the lives of people I care about, and nearly cost me a job. For long stretches of time, I have been the daily smoker that Kleiman frets about, lighting up the minute I get home from work and staying lit until bed. Sometimes I went to work high. Heavy marijuana use has coincided with several major depressive episodes that lasted for months, and two very memorable bouts of acute, chest-clutching anxiety. At least five times in the last decade, I have gotten so high that I vomited. I know, I know: It sounds almost as bad as drinking!

There have also been countless occasions when getting and being stoned was really fun and really relaxing. Concerts, movie screenings, parties, group dinners.

Over the last year, I've been trying to figure out how to strike a balance between those two experiences. I don't have a good solution. I also don't have any cannabis products at home right now, and probably won't for the foreseeable future. I've had some success with this approach when it comes to food: Along with some other strategies, keeping high-calorie foodstuffs out of my kitchen helped me change the way I eat and get my weight under control. Taking the same approach to cannabis is working right now. It even worked towards the end of my time in D.C., where a loophole allows for legal pot delivery.

This might seem like a giant overshare, but I think Lowrey is right that drug policy debates seldom include the voices of people who aren't models of responsible consumption.

Yet Lowrey's piece is no exception. Her story isn't really about people like Evan or like me. It is about people like Kleiman, and what people like him want to do about people like us. Evan is a plot device, a cautionary tale. He's grounds for grabbing the levers of public policy and yanking away.

How is Evan maintaining sobriety? What does he want done about those billboards? Lowrey doesn't tell us, and it doesn't seem like what Evan wants actually matters.

I don't think Lowrey's story is bad journalism. I think she views drug users—people like me—the way most educated progressives do: We are problems, and we cannot solve ourselves. While it's an improvement to think of drug use as an issue of impulse control rather than deviancy, shifting the discussion from how to put people in shackles to how to get them into diapers doesn't represent the full range of options.

Whether drug users want the government to intervene in their lives, and if so, how, are questions policy makers rarely ask. When we're surveyed at all, we're asked about our behaviors, not our preferences. This is also true of indigent people and people diagnosed with mental illnesses. If you reside in the place where all three of those circles overlap, it is very likely that no health professional or lawmaker has ever asked what you want, only what you did, or are doing, and what you would be willing to sacrifice in order to keep or regain your freedom.

That's better than being treated as a villain, but not by much.

Lowrey thinks more policy makers should hear from people like me. So what do I think they should do, regarding cannabis, for people like me? To me? About me? Please, for the love of God, do nothing.

Perhaps my answer would be different if marijuana were the only thing that I tended to use in excess. But it's not, nor is it for the other people I know who have a problem with pot. To a one, all of us struggle with either anxiety or depression and with other addictions. I used to binge eat and to drink way too much. Other pot smokers I know have struggled with both of those problems. States and the federal government should not make policy around my pot use, any more than they should make policy around my ice cream consumption. It should not be overly difficult for tens of millions of adults to buy marijuana legally because hundreds of thousands of us can't handle our shit.

The technocrats will bristle at this. Once concerned with communicable diseases, public health policy is now a tool for fixing the behaviors that plague the left side of America's bell curve. But there is something unreasonably elitist about this project.

"At some level, we know that spending more than half of your waking hours intoxicated for years and years on end is not increasing the likelihood that you'll win a Pulitzer Prize or discover the cure for cancer," drug policy researcher Jon Caulkins once told Vox's German Lopez. While history shows it's possible to do great things under the influence, Caulkins is right at the macro level. So was Tyler Cowen when he recently wrote, "I see intelligence as one of the ultimate scarcities when it comes to making the world a better place, and smoking marijuana does not make people smarter."

But I do not owe the world my brain, and marijuana is not what's stopping me from curing cancer.

The optimal cannabis policy is the one that allows people to choose who they will be and what they will do. We may be worse off if we choose cannabis, but I doubt we will be worse off than the millions of people who have been variously arrested, charged, and incarcerated in the name of keeping the rest of us safe from ourselves.

Maybe I'm an outlier. Maybe the majority of people with "cannabis use disorder" want the state to make it harder for them to get high. I'm honestly curious to know, and while I take Lowrey at her word that she is too, I find it telling that she spent far more time surveying people who want to control how marijuana is sold and used than she did the users themselves.

Photo Credit: Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • colorblindkid||

    I don't think weed is some magic super drug. I think it has negative side effects and is addictive. I have seen it negatively effect my friends' lives. I hate how a lot of my pro-weed friends spout profoundly anti-science bullshit about it curing cancer and shit, which is just as wrong as prohibitionists' bullshit about the severity of the risks.

    None of this is relevant to it being legal, though! The government simply has no right to regulate what we choose to put in our bodies. That is the argument to be made. There are hundreds of other legal things with the same risks and negative side effects as weed.

    There is no need to pretend that it is a magic drug that cures all ailments and has no negative side effects. That argument is wrong, and a distraction from the proper arguments for legalization.

  • Libertymike||

    Perhaps your doper friends know more about the beneficial properties of dope than the allopathic ass-wipes who would characterize what your doper friends spout as anti-science.

  • Juice||

    allopathic

    Using this term unironically is a mistake.

  • perlchpr||

    Weed seems unlikely to ever cure cancer.

    It does do some pretty serious good for both my arthritis and my anxiety disorder.

  • albo||

    I'm amazed that pot seems to be the cure for everything these days. Where was this "science" 50 years ago?

    I find that alcohol helps my anxiety disorder and knee pain. So I take it orally every day. I'm kinda a chocoholic, but for alcohol.

  • perlchpr||

    Where was this "science" 50 years ago?

    Forbidden to be researched?

    I find that alcohol helps my anxiety disorder and knee pain. So I take it orally every day. I'm kinda a chocoholic, but for alcohol.

    I get that you're trying to mock me, but I don't actually care. My actual symptom relief is vastly more important to me than your disdain.

  • Thomas O.||

    50 years ago, the science would've flown in the face of single-digit support for legalization, for one. Not to mention President Nixon was on the horizon. Even if marijuana was proven to cure cancer, he still probably would've stuck it in Schedule 1 "just to own the libs/blacks", to paraphrase Ehrlichman.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Where was this "science" 50 years ago?


    Inventing oral contraceptives and LSD, and pushing laudnum on housewives.

    There's been a *lot* of pharmaceutical research over the last century. We still haven't finished studying everything, so why should you be surprised that one specific politically-charged thing wasn't fully researched yet? Hell, we have a ton of research *now* and still have people standing up and insisting there's no medical use at all.

  • Juice||

    Cannabinoids tend to be anti-inflammatory, which helps with all sorts of conditions.

  • D-Pizzle||

    From Ron White on medical marijuana (paraphrasing):

    Physician: Do you have any conditions that Marijuana alleviates?

    Ron: Well, I get pretty bummed out when I run out of weed. Weed cures that!

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    ^ This

  • WillPaine||

    "There are hundreds of other legal things with the same risks and side effects." No, no, cbkid, there are not, and if laughing and increased appetite is a negative side effect; try therapy or a diet, don't blame on cannabis..."weed." Aside from smoking (I don't; I do ingest) and the obvious, and some people find paranoia sometimes (rare, and temporary), the only "risks" are due to the draconian laws of old deamons, soon to be gone, to look at it as the Buddhists do. "Weed" is not addictive; some people have an addictive personality; the only withdrawal syndrome caused by cannabis is purely psychological, and not a danger to one's body...I just report this news...peace

  • SIV||

    Doper

  • Libertymike||

    Interloper

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Moron

  • SQRLSY One||

    Excellent article!

    There's one other problem here that's not getting mentioned, and that is, as "society" (read: the Government Almighty and licensed doctors-therapists-etc., axis) adds more and more and then ever yet MORE "addictions" to our lists... Just about EVERYTHING can be over-done, we can get addicted to just about anything...

    WE'RE GONNA RUN OUT OF PHD-DEGREED FU-FU-THE-SNU THERAPISTS!!!!

    I DO actually have a solution here, I am NOT just whining...

    Everyone's head voices should have conferred upon them, the needed degrees, licenses, and credentials to become therapists!!! Now, each and every one of us can receive "therapy" for our addictions, from our head voices!!!

    (Be sure not to pay your head voices, or you will be taxed to death! Take therapy from your head voices, given "pro bono").

  • sarcasmic||

    When anyone can be diagnosed with multiple "disorders" the people who treat them will always have work, especially when many of those "disorders" are crimes with mandatory treatment as part of the sentence.

  • Libertymike||

    THERE IS NO COLLSUSION

    REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO INCREASE THEIR MAJORITY IN THE HOUSE

    REPUBLICANS ARE GOINT TO INCREASE THEIR MAJORITY IN THE SENATE

    TRUMP WILL WIN IN AN ELECTORAL LANDSLIDE IN 2020

    MAGA

    #GeorgiaDawgslovetheconstitution

  • sarcasmic||

    If you're going to parody lc you gotta use a bunch of words incorrectly and then call me an anarchist. Jesus, don't you know anything?

  • perlchpr||

    No, no. It's "mini anarchist". I guess... maybe he thinks you're smaller than average height?

  • sarcasmic||

    No, no. It's "mini anarchist". I guess... maybe he thinks you're smaller than average height?

    Any word that contains "archy" means anarchy.

    So monarchy means one-handed anarchy.

    Patriarchy means fathers who support anarchy.

    Similarly matriarchy means mothers who support anarchy.

    Oligarchy means anarchy for organizations.

    And so on and so forth.

  • sarcasmic||

    And people named Archy? Well they're all anarchist by default.

  • Libertymike||

    Points taken. In other words, needs improvement.

    My intent was to capture the theme of his posts in yesterday's Cohen and Manafort threads.

  • sarcasmic||

    In that case you forgot "TRUMP'S GONNA PARDON EVERYONE NEENER NEENER NANNY BOO BOO!"

  • Cynical Asshole||

    My intent was to capture the theme of his posts in yesterday's Cohen and Manafort threads.

    Sounds... "awesome." For once I'm actually kind of glad I had too much shit to get done at work yesterday to catch those particular dumpster fires.

  • perlchpr||

    For once I'm actually kind of glad I had too much shit to get done at work yesterday to catch those particular dumpster fires.

    It was pretty grim. LC was doing the Michael Hihn impression he's been working on of late.

    Which is kind of impressive actually, given that LC is an actual human being, and he was managing to churn out as crap as a robot programmed for the task.

  • perlchpr||

    "as much crap as", sorry.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    He's really seemed to be degrading lately. The last couple of months. Like more repetitive, more responses that don't seem to be a response to what is being said. That mind of thing.

    I hope he's doing okay, but when I asked he just deflected. Which is expected, as I assume everyone just thinks I'm being condescending when I do that.

  • perlchpr||

    Which is expected, as I assume everyone just thinks I'm being condescending when I do that.

    Well, sarcasm can be somewhat difficult to detect on the internet, and we do tend to be, uh, kind of a bunch of assholes to one another most of the time, so I can see why. But you do generally seem to be a genuinely nice guy most of the time. :)

  • Cynical Asshole||

    LC is an actual human being

    I'm not so sure. I still think it's possible that he's actually a bot, or an account shared by multiple people, kind of like the pro-Trump version of "Tony." That would explain the recent degradation that BUCS points out. There's a new person operating that account who isn't as good as some of the previous operators were.

  • WillPaine||

    If you love the Constitution and Bill of Rights, be sure to read them slowly and carefully any time you have a legal question, and at least 4 times a year these days. To stay clear. They are clear, though the people who would obfuscate them are usually called lawyers. Don't be told, read 'em yourself; as the secular side of America, they are the most important documents on the planet, for sure in America, yes? Read, you'll like it.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Just about EVERYTHING can be over-done, we can get addicted to just about anything.

    I'm not a licensed therapist or anything, but yeah, there's some truth to that. My admittedly limited understanding of the science behind addiction is that most people who have "addictive personalities" often have trouble with dopamine regulation such that any pleasurable activity (eating, drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.) can cause a release of dopamine, causing them to become "addicted" to pretty much whatever makes them feel good.

    South Park actually did a decent job of explaining this.

  • EscherEnigma||

    "addictive personality disorder" is already in the DSM.

  • Horny Lizard||

    The Germans almost conquered the world on meth but it ended the way you think trying to conquer the world on meth would end.

  • WillPaine||

    "Blitzed"..when the Germans ran their Blitzkrieg meth was monstrous (all German soldiers took "Pervidin", meth); when they hit the stand and stall of Stalingrad the Blitzkrieg crashed to a stop. "Blitzed", by Ohler

  • Jerryskids||

    But I do not owe the world my brain, and marijuana is not what's stopping me from curing cancer.

    I've said it before, anybody who starts talking about how much this individual problem or that "costs" society should be beaten with a stick and kicked out of the country because they sure as hell aren't an American. My withholding my talents and abilities from society by "failing to live up to my potential" is none of society's goddamn business and you're a collectivist if you think my primary duty as a human being is to serve the best interests of society. If I have the talents and the ability to be a brain surgeon but decide I'd rather be a lumberjack, am I not "costing" society one brain surgeon's worth of output by pursuing my interests in wood-chipper operations rather than brain operations? That way lies the idea of experts assigning people jobs and threatening to shoot them if they decide that's not the job they're interested in doing.

  • sarcasmic||

    That way lies the idea of experts assigning people jobs and threatening to shoot them if they decide that's not the job they're interested in doing.

    Many socialist countries have experts assigning people jobs, and if the people can go to college for free if they want to study what their betters tell them to study. If they want to do their own thing then they have to pay for it themselves.

  • Rich||

    "At some level, we know that spending more than half of your waking hours intoxicated for years and years on end is not increasing the likelihood that you'll win a Pulitzer Prize or discover the cure for cancer," drug policy researcher Jon Caulkins once told Vox's German Lopez.

    "At some level, we know that spending more than half of your waking hours as a drug policy researcher for years and years on end is not increasing the likelihood that you'll win a Pulitzer Prize or discover the cure for cancer."

  • Cynical Asshole||

    That way lies the idea of experts assigning people jobs and threatening to shoot them if they decide that's not the job they're interested in doing.

    I've mentioned on here before that I'm an Aerospace Engineer, but fun fact: my SAT verbal score was 100 points higher than my SAT math score. If TOP MEN had been the ones deciding what I should do with my life, I probably would have been forced to become, I don't know, a writer/ journalist or some shit. Although on the plus side, I suspect being a journalist in a socialist country is pretty easy: just write whatever the nice commissar with a gun to your head tells you to write. Easy peasy.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Haha, same. I'm CS but my verbal was really high compared to math. Which is funny because I have the writing ability of a ... Something with bad writing.

    I wonder what verbal really is measuring.

  • LarryA||

    A programmer I know explained it: "My high verbal score means I can write. In fact I write brilliantly in several programming languages. What I can't do is write in a language as illogical as English."

  • Harvard||

    Weed and ass sex baby, the party plank. Oh, and more messicans.

  • perlchpr||

    The problem, Lowrey tells us, is that "state and local governments are setting up legal regimes without sufficient public-health protection."

    Yesterday, someone linked to the Project Gutenberg text of "Lone Star Planet" by H. Beam Piper. (Thank you, whoever that was! :D) I've been reading Piper stories off and on since then. I just came across this quote, and felt it was applicable here.

    And remember, this story was published in October of 1950. So apparently our elders had this wisdom as well.

    There were five men at a table near them; they had come in before the stars had grown dim, and the waiters were just bringing their first dishes. Two were Assassins, and the other three were of a breed Verkan Vall had learned to recognize on any time-line—the arrogant, cocksure, ambitious, leftist politician, who knows what is best for everybody better than anybody else does, and who is convinced that he is inescapably right and that whoever differs with him is not only an ignoramus but a venal scoundrel as well.

  • perlchpr||

    That's from The Last Enemy, BTW.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    the other three were of a breed Verkan Vall had learned to recognize on any time-line—the arrogant, cocksure, ambitious, leftist politician, who knows what is best for everybody better than anybody else does, and who is convinced that he is inescapably right and that whoever differs with him is not only an ignoramus but a venal scoundrel as well.

    I guess it's comforting to know that some things never change.

  • perlchpr||

    I mean, the whole "you are an evil moron for disagreeing with me" thing is just so 2018.

  • Conchfritters||

    The best thing about weed now is the vape pens. I've eaten pot brownies for years now, but I don't like not knowing how much I'm taking, waiting for the effects to kick in, and some of them still just taste like ganga- not good. But I have flown with the vape pen, used it at work, on the street, out shopping, in my mother in law's living room when she was in the next room - it really is a new era, and I for one salute our new pot overlords.

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    ^^THIS

  • Rich||

    Whether drug users people in general want the government to intervene in their lives, and if so, how, are questions policy makers rarely ask.

    FTFY

  • Inigo Montoya||

    I'd bet dollars to donuts (for the drug cops) that you could go back to the repeal of Prohibition and find any number of published stories warning about the dangers of increased addiction once the laws against alcohol were struck down. Those concerns probably had a bit more merit than the current ones.

    So what? In the words of the pro-choice crowd: it's my body, my choice! I don't give a damn if weed cures cancer or has the same effect as ingesting drain cleaner. People have a right to be left alone to make their own decisions about what they put in their mouth or inhale in their lungs.

    If governments and also private citizen nannies-next-door start deciding to make "healthy" choices for people other than themselves, where does it end? Will everyone be forced to exercise 30 minutes per day and drink a kale smoothie instead of one daily meal? Will PETA get mandatory veganism passed? Will you be required to practice yoga or face a fine and jail time?

  • SQRLSY One||

    "Will PETA get mandatory veganism passed?"

    Yes!!! And then there will be underground, makeshift, amateurish animal-killing-and-butchering shops, where the animals will be treated far less humanely than they are today! (Thank You Do-Gooders!!!)

    You will not be able to let your cat or dog wander through the bushes in your own back yard, for fear of meat-hungry lawbreaking pet-snatchers!

    (But, Meat-Hungry Lawbreaking Pet-Snatchers would make an MOST EXCELLENT name for a garage band!)

  • WillPaine||

    I'm not a PETA'r but, and animals could hardly be treated worse than they are, as a point of fact. Just reporting this news. (yeah, I grew up eating corpses)...peace

  • WillPaine||

    IM; you would love "Chasing the Scream", by Johann Hari; a lot of answers about prohibition and the start of the drug war, to now. The drug war had and has nothing to do with drugs at the heart of it...peace

  • John I||

    "Customers would set a monthly spending level for themselves that they cannot exceed, a la self-imposed deposit limits for gamblers"

    This already exists to some extent, but it isn't customers choosing it. I bought pot in Colorado and they strictly limit the amount you are allowed to purchase at any one time. The idea that pot laws are now too permissive strikes me as bizarre given that when I've purchased it legally they a) imposed strict limits on the amount I could get (whereas I could go into a liquor store and buy enough booze to kill a family of Russians) and b) made me wait in a room for several minutes and take a number, apparently because there're limits to how many people are allowed to be in the room with the actual pot at any one time.

  • perlchpr||

    (whereas I could go into a liquor store and buy enough booze to kill a family of Russians)

    Let's be clear here: If you have the cash, there is no upper limit on how much booze you buy. You could go to the liquor store and buy the entire stock.

    So yeah, this sort of thing is BS.

  • D-Pizzle||

    "So yeah, this sort of thing is BS."

    Yes, but baby steps are better than no steps at all.

  • Flinch||

    The fingerprint of having crossed from recreation to addiction is quiet and seamless: a person finds they don't function well without, but also finds they don't function well with their drug either. It's almost invisible moving forward, but can be seen in the rear view mirror with clarity after some time. And... this is true whether something is legal or not, ergo Nixon was an imbecile. Legalism contains the human condition, but does not correct it. Imagine if the fire department employed this approach: your house is on fire, so they hose down your neighbors [until yours is a pile of ashes].

  • NoVaNick||

    I always used to get a laugh from those who said weed wasn't addictive. If it weren't, would the words stoner and pothead exist? Anything can be addictive for some people, its part of the human condition. Yet, there have always been the puritans among us who tend to find there way to positions of control and power, possibly because they themselves have superior impulse control, and want to impose it on everyone, but my guess is that most of them don't-they have their own vices and project this onto habits that they don't like.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    my guess is that most of them don't-they have their own vices and project this onto habits that they don't like.

    And often times those habits they don't like are the very vices that they themselves have. Self loathing sucks, but projecting that self loathing onto others makes one an asshole.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Legalization or Eliminating Criminal Penalties are not enough; the civil litigation system must be changed.

    If it isn't then you're going to have enterprising trial lawyers with sob-story clients suing the manufacturers of "edibles" and the like for "manipulating" the levels of THC in their products (see what happened to the tobacco companies). The end result will either be a cartel like system that exists now for cigarette makers whose high prices will encourage a black market, or companies will drop out of the legal market altogether.

  • NoVaNick||

    If it isn't then you're going to have enterprising trial lawyers with sob-story clients suing the manufacturers of "edibles" and the like for "manipulating" the levels of THC in their products

    I have no doubt that this is already happening as I type this post. Probably some soccer mom type in California who blames legal pot for giving her the munchies, which made her gain weight, which caused her husband to leave her, which made her lose her home and kids...

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Lowrey claims that policy makers are ignoring pot users like me. But her story uses us as justification for creating laws and regulations that would limit the agency of all adults who wish to consume marijuana.

    ...it doesn't seem like what Evan wants actually matters.

    To statists like Lowery, people don't have agency of their own (except for themselves, of course). They're all just interchangeable cogs to be moved around by TOP MEN who "know better." That's why they don't care what people like Evan, or anyone else for that matter, want.

  • NoVaNick||

    That's why they don't care what people like Evan, or anyone else for that matter, want.

    Public health academics and prog politicians see everyone but themselves as "victims", "patients", or "vulnerable", There is no individual agency, in fact, they see anyone who disagrees with them as having a defective brain or neurochemical disorder. Their world view is essentially unchanged since the eugenics era, only now it is cloaked in more PC language.

  • Harry A. Ness||

    Kleinman and Humphries. These guys are professional concern trolls. Lowrey's article was just another advertisement for their consulting services.

  • Duelles||

    Mike! As long you don't cost me anything go for it. Finish high school, stay off drugs, get married before having children. Some of you may beat the odds. Good luck.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>quietly suffering from "cannabis use disorder."

    weak individuals. should shut up.

  • Nominalis||

    Many people suffer from Propaganda Use Disorder. They believe and repeat anything that supports their bias. They claim that internet opinion pieces are "science" and that massaged statistics are "evidence". They inflate any numerical values and rely on stigmatizing imagery to bolster their mythology. They call anyone who challenges their wild claims, "addicts, dopers and stoners" to try and discredit them. They take a smug, self-satisfied, sanctimonious tone and argue that their lack of experience gives them a superior insight. These so-called experts have never even tried cannabis and if they did they used their compendiums of lies as a guide ensuring that they had a bad experience. Propaganda Use Disorder is a serious condition that cripples adult minds and we need to start teaching our youngest children how to identify and avoid this life destroying mental illness.

  • Dillinger||

    funny.

  • perlchpr||

    *applause*

  • WillPaine||

    Heard ya'; you gotta find some new people, Nom..:-)

  • Rockabilly||

    According to the DEA, the most trusted name in marijuana research in the government, the marijuana that is around today is much more powerful than the 'Woodstock' marijuana, and is a gateway drug to LSD, the most addictive drug ever.

    When Obama was president, he was against legalization. Why? Because as a former marijuana user, he knew it messes up the mind.

    And Hillary Clinton was against marijuana legalization because people make too much money from it.

    So we have two high democrat officials and the DEA, the most trusted name in marijuana research in the government, against legalization for good reasons:

    It's more powerful than ever and a gateway drug to LSD, the most addictive drug ever.

    It messed up Obama's mind, and people make too much money from it.

    Beware of the marijuana, especially when coupled and tripled with sex and Rock and Roll.

  • WillPaine||

    Not this "we"...:-)

  • Olga||

    I am liberal and I have no interest in using marijuana or any other illegal drug. I believe marijuana should be treated like alcohol. There should be a minimum age to purchase and it should be taxed. Some of the tax money can be used for those that develop a problem. As some people become alcoholics, some people will become addicted to pot and might need treatment. However, treatment for a few is cheaper than prison for many.

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    Why is it the responsibility of non-addicted people to pay for addicted people to get treatment?

  • Nominalis||

    Ahh, the "angry taxpayer" red-herring. Criminal prohibition of cannabis is infinitely more expensive than treating the very few who will ever develop health consequences from cannabis consumption. I'll assume that you're fine with funding the totally failed, counter-productive and ridiculously expensive policy of prohibition but spending a penny to help your fellow citizens stay healthy causes you to experience tax rage.

  • LarryA||

    Or maybe, like me, he doesn't want either prohibition or tax-funded "treatment."

    With tax-funded treatment:
    The government selects which treatments are legitimate, even though government sucks at deciding such.
    If the government provides treatment, there's always the urge for it to require the treatment.
    Taxes collected to help the poor addicted victims rarely end up any where but in general spending. (How many smoking cessation programs are funded by millions in tobacco sin taxes.)

    In my long experience, waiting until people want treatment enough to pay for it themselves is a strong incentive toward the treatment's success.

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    Bingo.

    Apparently Noms lives in a black and white world where not wanting to pay for someone else's treatment = wanting those people to be jailed.

    I want to neither pay for their treatment, nor for their incarceration.

    The answer is "leave people the fuck alone."

  • Nominalis||

    Nobody needs "treatment" or "rehabilitation" for cannabis because it doesn't come close to meeting the standards of an "addiction" and all the so-called "rehabs" are bogus, snake-oil scams. These so called "treatment" schemes use propaganda as their clinical model. Treating cannabis consumers is a pointless and futile exercise propped-up by Drug War mythology.

  • WillPaine||

    Nominalis; well said; does apply to any kind of addiction though, and lots less money than the war on minorities, and what was "the counter culture"..(see Hari). The drug war. And prison costs a lot folks, as does prosecution, and all of the drug squads playing lions and tigers and bears. How do we end the flood of heroin coming into this country (and Europe, and Russia, etc.)? The clear answer is obvious. Control it. Legally, with regulation, taxation distribution, etc. See where it has been done, and is being done; crime way down, prostitution way down, overdose way down, and no rise in addiction when the dust settles. See Portugal, yes?...peace

  • WillPaine||

    Nominalis; well said; does apply to any kind of addiction though, and lots less money than the war on minorities, and what was "the counter culture"..(see Hari). The drug war. And prison costs a lot folks, as does prosecution, and all of the drug squads playing lions and tigers and bears. How do we end the flood of heroin coming into this country (and Europe, and Russia, etc.)? The clear answer is obvious. Control it. Legally, with regulation, taxation distribution, etc. See where it has been done, and is being done; crime way down, prostitution way down, overdose way down, and no rise in addiction when the dust settles. See Portugal, yes?...peace

  • dchang0||

    Ah, the "treatment is cheaper than imprisonment" false dilemma.

    As others have noted, "leave people the fuck alone" is a viable (and moral!) option, and it is cheaper than both treatment and imprisonment, at least from the taxpayer's perspective.

    Of course, from an addict's family's perspective, it will be more expensive to pay for the treatment of their addict, but it is morally and ethically wrong and ultimately country-destroying to socialize the costs of individual health-care.

    We haven't seen it yet in the US, but socialized medicine WILL bankrupt the nations that have it because the incentives and moral hazards are set up towards the system's failure. The UK's NHS will probably fail first, or they will ration the health care down to the point where it is not really socialized medicine any more (people will end up buying their own health care because the NHS will suck so badly).

    So, to the fiscally-pragmatic, leaving people the fuck alone is the most prudent choice, unless national bankruptcy is considered fiscally sound practice.

  • dchang0||

    You might object, "I wasn't talking about socialized medicine," but the drug treatment policies we have now or are considering are all A FORM OF socialized medicine. I was using the NHS as a larger example of how moral hazards in healthcare result in financial ruin for the system. The same moral hazards exist for the subset of health problems that are related to drug addiction.

  • EscherEnigma||

    As others have noted, "leave people the fuck alone" is a viable (and moral!) option […]


    If these others think it's a viable option, they're deluding themselves.

    You can keep it illegal to use, grow, etc. and so-on, or you can legalize it but have it regulated and taxed. Legalizing it and leaving it as unregulated as sunflowers and daisies ain't gonna happen.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    Liberty ... evolves ... which is how it's worked for about 500 years.
    Libertarianism (the movement) died when it abandoned what works, for theories and slogans

  • WillPaine||

    Well said Olga; addiction to marijuana is rare, is psychological, and is not life threatening. Opioid addiction is life threatening, and is caused by its being illegal; if users of opioids had access to them, most of the problems go away, and all of the problems are reduced. At the turn of the century, you could buy an ounce of acetylated morphine over the counter at department stores for a dollar..(heroin). Must be too good, for sure. Opioids are a very serious medicine, to be used sparingly and under a doctor's care; not the government; or, as Buddhists say, deamons. Anslinger, mentor to Joe Arpaio, was in charge of alcohol (a serious drug also) prohibition. When prohibition ended, he found a way to express his sadistic and racist black heart. It's a fascinating story. See: "Chasing the Scream" by Hari...lots of answers, and an important work to find sanity. "...treatment for a few is cheaper than prison for many." I love it; I hope you don't mind I am going to repeat that. So true...peace

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    I'm not a pot addict, but I understand. You see, I have an invisible addiction too. I have been drinking water every day for years on end. In fact, I feel like if I don't drink anything for more than 3 days or so, that I'll die.

    Won't somebody help me?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Swap to Budweiser. I hear it's close enough that it'll help you wean off the stuff.

  • WillPaine||

    Involved in cannabis for 50 years now, I have watched with interest and curiosity; who is it that needs marijuana so badly, they would drive to Kansas for a nickel bag? Invariably, the few people I have met with "use disorder as 'addiction' " began smoking pot at a very young age; usually pre-puberty. And those who don't enjoy the experience, don't smoke. I don't see hundreds of thousands of either "addiction" or use disorder. Fun article to fantasize with a mea culpa fantasy, no?

  • WillPaine||

    Involved in cannabis for 50 years now, I have watched with interest and curiosity; who is it that needs marijuana so badly, they would drive to Kansas for a nickel bag? Invariably, the few people I have met with "use disorder as 'addiction' " began smoking pot at a very young age; usually pre-puberty. And those who don't enjoy the experience, don't smoke. I don't see hundreds of thousands of either "addiction" or use disorder. Fun article to fantasize with a mea culpa fantasy, no?

  • TJJ2000||

    I figure if alcohol can be legal - so can marijuana.

    Many such products are in use today and many when used appropriately does do some good.

    BUT; careless use of any substance that significantly may cause harm or annoyances to by-standards should have some control. Insecticide can be used on private property but not willy-Nealy in a public park. Alcohol can be consumed but driving or working while intoxicated should have limits.

    IL-Legalizing products is rather a "ban guns" to prevent homicide approach. It's not the "gun" its how people use it that is of concern.

  • dchang0||

    Re: "may cause harm or annoyances to by-standards [by-standers]"

    I would say the situation in San Francisco is definitely harming by-standers. From people getting stuck by used needles on the BART to homeless addicts shitting in the streets to the high drug-gang crime in Oakland victimizing residents, there are a lot of by-standers being hurt by both permissive and restrictive drug policies.

    I am not sure how anyone can achieve a "no hurt by-standers" victory with any policy on the spectrum from complete legalization to complete abolition.

  • dchang0||

    Re: "may cause harm or annoyances to by-standards [by-standers]"

    I would say the situation in San Francisco is definitely harming by-standers. From people getting stuck by used needles on the BART to homeless addicts shitting in the streets to the high drug-gang crime in Oakland victimizing residents, there are a lot of by-standers being hurt by both permissive and restrictive drug policies.

    I am not sure how anyone can achieve a "no hurt by-standers" victory with any policy on the spectrum from complete legalization to complete abolition.

  • Otto Didact||

    Would somebody please tell me where in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution Congress is given authority to legislate what substances a consenting adult may or may not introduce into their tender body by whatever means they see fit? If the principle of "my body; my choice" is operational for slaughtering unborn human beings, then shouldn't it equally apply to what substance(s) I may use however I see fit? So long as I do not involve minors in my substance use/abuse what business is it of anybody else's if I "use drugs"?

    If I recall my early 20th Century history correctly, attempting to outlaw use of the single "drug", alcohol was such a crashing failure that they abandoned it rather quickly. One could argue that the alleged "War on Drugs" has been an even WORSE failure. Why do we continue to prosecute it? Would not the best "drug policy" be essentially none?

    Note: back in '05 I asked former "Drug Czar" Bennett the above question about Congress' empowerment to legislate in this area. His response was to use the 7 second delay to delete my question and disconnect me. I wonder what the result might be if someone tried to appeal the existing drug laws on the basis of them being unconstitutional. Yeah, I know. The laws would probably be upheld - if only by means of refusing to grant cert on the appeal. But it would be interesting to read the arguments and various opinions.

  • dchang0||

    Re: ""War on Drugs" has been an even WORSE failure. Why do we continue to prosecute it?"

    I think you/we all know the answer to that question:

    Something's gotta justify the massive police state and civil asset forfeiture.

    This is just a jobs program for an entire industry (law enforcement) in return for police union votes. Ironically, it is the Democrats who are supposed to be pro-drug-legalization, but because they are captive to the police/firefighter/prison guard unions, they will never actually vote for full-out drug legalization. Not that the Republicans aren't also beholden to the police unions, being the supposedly "law and order" party.

  • D-Pizzle||

    "Would somebody please tell me where in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution Congress is given authority to legislate what substances a consenting adult may or may not introduce into their tender body by whatever means they see fit?"

    The goddamn Commerce Clause, apparently.

    "If I recall my early 20th Century history correctly, attempting to outlaw use of the single "drug", alcohol was such a crashing failure that they abandoned it rather quickly."

    Back then, it required a constitutional amendment in order to do so.

  • Alex the wolf||

    Nothing is safe unless big pharma can make money out of it. The FDA says so so it must be true.

  • dchang0||

    In response to:

    "The problem, Lowrey tells us, is that "state and local governments are setting up legal regimes without sufficient public-health protection."
    and
    "I think she views drug users—people like me—the way most educated progressives do: We are problems, and we cannot solve ourselves."

    Lowrey needs to learn that the gov't isn't really interested in public health OR solving problems. Politicians sell public health as a cover for graft and cronyism. For instance, if the gov't really wanted to solve the obesity epidemic, they would cut off corn (syrup) and wheat (flour) and sugar subsidies. But no, the gov't prefers to help its cronies in both the industrialized farming and health care industries. They created the problem AND offer a fake solution (any real solution would result in increasing numbers of healthy Americans).

    This is all about milking the American public literally to death for taxes.

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  • laportama||

    This is what I said before legalization took hold.

    But author is right; people have a right to mess themselves up, don't they?

    Benefits, risks, alternatives, and imponderables; the unknown and unexpected unknowns to any intervention or decision.

    But the author isn't talking about marijuana use; he's proclaiming his own addiction proudly . Funny, that's a characteristic of addicts; some kind of pseudo-rationalization.

    People can get addicted to Jujubees.

    Well, good luck with that and keep us posted.

  • laportama||

    This is what I said before the legalization wave took hold.

    But the author is right: people have a right to mess themselves up, don't they?

    NOTE: who is evaluating the Benefits, risks, alternatives, and imponderables; the unknown and unexpected unknowns to any intervention or decision?

    But the author isn't talking about marijuana use; he's proclaiming his own addiction proudly . Funny, that's a characteristic of addicts; some kind of pseudo-rationalization.

    Considering what any drug, any addiction, can do the mind -- i.e., thinking -- it's hard for the user to see past his own desires. Even if they can type.

    People can get addicted to Jujubes.

    Well, good luck with that and keep us posted.

    Dr. Iz
    Cognitive Behavioral Teamwork
    OCCUPY SELFCARE

  • Bob Armstrong||

    I can't stop seeking daily hits of caffeine and nicotine either .

  • Rick Stewart||

    Did Lowrey ever define 'cannabis use disorder'?

    Because this article doesn't.

  • Rock Lobster||

    "I think she views drug users—people like me—the way most educated progressives do: We are problems, and we cannot solve ourselves." (italics mine)

    When "educated progressives" (Democrats) reach across the aisle to authoritarian Republicans to solve "problems" and save us from ourselves, this is called Bipartisanship. Then the purveyors of the resulting cluster-fuck are uniformly praised by the media for Putting Aside Our Differences To Get Something Done.

    And all it costs is a little loss of freedom that you won't even notice.

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