So answer your own question, already!


You asked a great question at the end of this response, but I don’t see an answer anywyhere. Why is marijuana illegal while alcohol and tobacco are legal?

Because, in our culture, alcohol and tobacco have been used for longer and are much better anchored in our society, with a greater social history. If alcohol or tobacco were invented today, there’s no way they’d be legal. Next question.

Well, even if that was true, it would be like summing up the Civil War as “a bunch of people did a lot of fighting.” Not quite an adequate explanation – even if it was entirely true.

So how did these things become illegal, anyway? When were they first outlawed? Why were they outlawed? Why was alcohol outlawed and then legalized again?

Do you have any idea at all?

It is true. Can you think of another reason to keep alcohol legal and marijuana illegal?

Yes, but that wasn’t what you asked. If you want to know about those things, I suggest starting a thread about it in General Questions. We have plenty of people knowledgeable in those fields.

Yeah, lots of them. But I would like to see Cecil’s answer.

Thanks for the suggestion, but it was a direct question about one of Cecil’s Columns. Indeed, it was a question he posed himself. Therefore, this seemed like the proper forum. Do those knowledgeable people not visit this forum, or something?

Really? I’d like to hear them.

It was, yeah. It was answered (not by Cecil though, he rarely posts here). Then it became a question about when marijuana became illegal, why Prohibition was enacted and then repealed and so forth. General Questions is your best bet there.

No, he posed the original question (rhetorically), which I answered.

I’m sure some of them do, but I can guarantee you’ll get answers in General Questions.

Do what you wish with this advice. See you around.

There is a theory going around that marijuana is illegal because it does not grow in the U.S. and U.S. companies don’t see any gain in making it legal, which is why it remains illegal. In other words, it has a lack of support from big business.

This doesn’t explain why the situation is virtually the same in most developed countries (there are some exceptions) - alcohol and tobacco legal, marijuana illegal. Also, marijuana could easily be made to grow in the US. There’s money there.

Part of the historic explanation, I’m afraid, is that marijuana was perceived in the 1920’s or so as a “darkie” drug.

Well, actually, all those questions are by way of explanation of the question of why one is illegal and the others not.

No, you really didn’t answer it. That is, unless you are willing to accept “a lot of guys fighting” as the complete description of the Civil War. And, BTW, if I didn’t mention it before, your answer was wrong. I guess you didn’t know that early colonists were required to grow cannabis by law, so our history with that drug goes back at least as far as our history with alcohol and tobacco. If you want to get into research into cave men, there is a case to be made that our history with marijuana predates our history with alcohol.

So, no, you didn’t really answer the question, unless one is willing to accept answers so short that they would be non-answers even if what you said was correct (and it really wasn’t).

Marijuana does grow in the US, and in copious quantities. It has for centuries now.

But I am glad to see that his short answer (longer than yours, BTW), left a lot to be desired. Would you care to explain why the situation is virtually the same in most developed countries?

You know, considering the fact that your original explanation that there is a longer history of alcohol and tobacco use is fundamentally incorrect. I will give you a hint. The reason the laws are the virtually the same in most developed countries has a lot to do with the reasons for it being illegal in the US.

I think it is time to kick this back to Cecil because most of the answers there are either completely or partially wrong, yours included.

Bolding mine.

Your total confidence that everyone’s answers are wrong combined with your little “I will give you a hint.” strongly implies that you “know” the answer. If so, spit it out. This forum isn’t intended for people to play “I’ve got a secret” in.

Indeed, and the “Do those knowledgeable people not visit this forum, or something?” wasn’t exactly friendly, either. Even if there are people wandering about who have detailed knowledge of 20th-century American drug policy, I don’t see wolfman offering a whole lot of incentive for them to discuss the matter, since he apparently “knows” already.

Besides, Cecil updated the column in 1997 and he works for the Chicago Reader, not this board. He’s under no obligation to expand on an eight+ year-old column just because someone here requests it.

Better to close this thread and reopen the topic in GQ (for factual analysis) or GD (for moral examination), where at the very least it’ll be seen by many more people.

As originally stated, my original purpose was to encourage Cecil to give an answer. Like I said in the other thread that PriceGuy suggested I start in GQ (then moved to Debates because another mod apparently didn’t agree with PriceGuy’s choice), it was his question, he is the authority, and I think it will be most interesting if he answers it.

Well, that was an honest question, based on the mod’s directions. Sorry if you took offense but, if you did, you were reading something of your own. I just found PriceGuy’s directions odd – as I do yours below.

Did I look like I was holding a gun to his head? Or was it just that I was suggesting that he posed a good question himself, and it would be interesting to see his answer? Something wrong with simple suggestions like that?

Why don’t you go to GD and catch the thread I originally started in GQ that was then moved by the mods to GD. As I said in that thread, been there, done that – and why don’t you guys get it together on where things ought to be discussed, anyway. I tell you what. All you guys that have made suggestions have a little conference – decide on the proper forum – and then we will go from there. OK?

Well, if Cecil doesn’t revist the issue anytime soon, I just hope you won’t be disappointed.

Just a note. Looking over past threads, it appears that the best way to get Cecil’s attention withiin a thread, anywhere, is to point out how much people apprciate his work. Thus, how about you start a thread thanking him, then ::BAM!::, the second he stops to answer, broadside him with a question. :slight_smile:

Try it like this:

O Lord
Ooh, You are so big
So absolutely huge.
Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and barefaced flattery.
But You are so strong and, well, just so super.


No more disappointed than seeing some of the responses here.

Kudos to ScottPlaid for a sense of humor.

Cecil didn’t answer the question because it would have taken another entire column. It would have also generated a long thread here and many letters from people who read the column in one of the papers that run The Straight Dope, no matter what Cecil had answered. Cecil, like most people, picks his battles carefully. When someone asks a rhetorical question in their writing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are begging to answer that question. It could mean simply that they are saying that they have reached a deeper question that they don’t know the answer to or that they don’t want to discuss. At the very least, what you’re asking Cecil to do is to write a separate column about why marijuana is illegal, since it can’t be answered in a few sentences. Perhaps someday Cecil will write that column, but there are lots of other columns that Cecil wants to write eventually, and he doesn’t have the time for research or enough columns to fill before he retires to answer every possible question.