The case for the legalization of marijuana

God, I know I’m gonna be flamed for this. Not because anyone might disagree with the subject matter, but, taking a trip down to the netherworld of the Pit, the Mods aren’t too happy about it right now.

Nevertheless, I want to debate it. And I won’t just yell: discuss! Here are my reasons why marijuana should be legalized.

  1. Medicinal purposes. Let’s face it, marijuana helps quite a number of patients. Glaucoma - AIDS - Cancer, marijuana has been prescribed and it helps them in their suffering. I think that it’s damn near criminal to NOT allow doctors to help their patients in the best, most efficient way possible. We trust them with morphine don’t we? What about codeine? These are highly addictive drugs that doctors prescribe every single day. Why don’t we make a fuss about it? Because we trust the doctor to “first do no harm.” It’s simply mind boggling to think that, given the chance to prescribe marijuana, doctors would automatically abandon the Hippocratic oath and set up shop to hippies looking for a quick score. It simply won’t happen. And as far as what, exactly, marijuana can accomplish medicinally, we still haven’t found everything. Precisely because it IS illegal, there’s very very little funding going into studying the drug in the first place.

  2. Marijuana is less harmful than cigarettes. How many deaths happen every single year because of marijuana? Can’t think of any? Surely there’s gotta be one or two, right? Maybe? Perhaps? OK, what about cigarettes? Well over 1,000 deaths every single day are related to tobacco products. What long term effects are caused by marijuana? Addiction, certainly. But addiction to what? You can’t OD on it. You try coming off it and the withdrawal symptoms aren’t even close to what happens just trying to quit smoking. I am not going to stand here and tell you that smoking marijuana is beneficial in everyday life. Maybe it helps people cope, but it’s still a drug and people still depend on it. The point I’m making is that, across the board, tobacco is much much much more detrimental in pretty much every fasion. As long is it’s legal, marijuana should be too.

  3. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. Again, you can OD on alcohol, you can’t on marijuana. The potential to harm to yourself and others is greater with alcohol than with marijuana. But it’s a hallucinatory drug, you say. Very mind one, actually, and if you legalize marijuana, I would be all for a bill that says driving under its influence is illegal. If you take too much cough syrup, I don’t want you getting behind the wheel! But overall, the potential for risk is higher with alcohol than with marijuana. As long as one is legal, the other should be too.

  4. Kids will NOT automatically use it merely because it becomes legal. I’ve got news for you. I’ve never ever smoked a cigarette. Anytime I want to I can go to the store and buy it. It’s legal, the government says to go right ahead if I want to, but I choose not to. Most of my friends feel the same. Legalizing marijuana will not stop parents from teaching kids to say no. It will not stop anti-marijuana campaigns from advertising to the public. It will not stop kids from making their own minds up. On the flip side, keeping marijuana illegal will not stop kids that want it from getting it. There is a difference between right, wrong, legal, and illegal. I think most people understand this.

For those skimming (damn you all!) I’ll paraphrase. Without a doubt, marijuana should be used for medicinal purposes. We need more testing and we need to have faith in the medical profession. On the other points, my contention is that marijuana, while harmful to some degree, is not nearly as harmful as the two main drugs out on the market today. If they’re legal, marijuana should be as well.

I’m not some stoner looking to beat The Man. I’m a person who hasn’t smoked any marijuana in almost two years and I stand by the convictions in this post now as much as I did then. I see no rational justification for the illegality of marijuana other than “it’s immoral.” Can anyone argue against me here?

I’d decriminalize all drugs.
The drug war is always put forward to supress the sellers, but ends up punishing the users.

(Note. I do not use drugs, except alcohol, and won’t take anything not prescribed by a doctor except aspirin.
But we’re not talking about my habits.)

I don’t have a problem with the general idea here. I think decriminalizing marijuana may be advantageous.

However, I’ve got a problem with arguements 2 & 3. And the problem is volume. If marijuana use was as prevelant in society as smoking and drinking, I’m not so sure those arguements would hold true. You are still inhaling toxins into the body. Legalizing it would only make it cheaper, and thereby increasing use. Is “safer” a safe arguement?

As for point 4, I know if it was legal I’d try it. But it’s not. And I don’t think it ever will be. Why? Do you honestly think that the tobacco & alcohol industry would allow it and hurt their profit margins, as undoubtedly it would.

If current tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption was in the same state as marijuana smoking, they’d be illegal too. The problem is that they are too ingrained into our culture to really legislate against effectively (but they have tried with alcohol before, and they are currently trying to phase out tobacco smoking).

So your arguments comparing marijuana to them do not hold water with me.

Not that my opinion matters much.

But I hate drugs.

You are on shaky ground here. Cecil says this on the issue.
Also, lots of people will hide the fact that they smoke dope from their doctors, because it’s illegal. But they wouldn’t hide their cigarette smoking.
But, I would favor legalization.

I am against the drug war because the drug warriors are willing to sacrifice every single civil right they can find in order to further their ends. They will turn this country into a (drug-free) police state if they get their way.

Actually, I don’t think the alcohol and tobacco companies are as aligned against marijuana legalization as some suggest. Legalizing dope-smoking won’t make a huge dent in beer sales. Stoned people drink plenty of beer. I know I do.

As for those tobacco companies, come on. If and when marijuana is decriminalized, who do you think will be pumping out those filtered ganja cigarettes by the carton? Philip Morris and co. have hundreds of factories already running; I’m sure they could convert one of them to hemp in two weeks or so, much faster than say, the folks at NORML could build a factory from scratch. And given the ease with which hemp grows, I bet the profit on a $3.99 pack of Mary Janes would be even higher than that on a pack of Marlboros. The day they legalize it I’m buying Philip Morris stock.

The forces aligned against hemp legalization are 1) politicians, who are afraid to take a stand, 2) textile companies like Dupont that might lose some (but by no means all) nylon revenues if hemp fiber became cheap, and 3) social conservatives who resist change.

But the change is happening, slowly. Legalization is a ways off, but at least now you have politicians who can admit they tried it and still get elected, state courts upholding referendums to decriminalize its medical use, and TV and movies showing people getting stoned without having to offset it with “bad consequences.”

I predict–optimistically-- that marjuana will be moved from DEA Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 within five years.


The forces aligned against hemp legalization are 1) politicians, who are afraid to take a stand, 2) textile
companies like Dupont that might lose some (but by no means all) nylon revenues if hemp fiber became
cheap, and 3) social conservatives who resist change. (end quote) in fact it goes FAR deeper and is FAR
more sinister than

regarding this :PLEASE,please read this article:
and find out how “Marijuana Prohibition was
created in 1937, not to protect society from the
“evils of the drug Marijuana,” as the Federal
government claimed, but as an act of deliberate economic and industrial sabotage against the
re-emerging Industrial Hemp Industry.”
this document is the most frightening thing I have found in 6 yrs. of searching for such documents, it is
extensively footnoted
and , if even 1/3 of what it alleges is true, profoundly disturbing.

"I predict–optimistically-- that marjuana will be moved from DEA Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 within five
years. "-from your lips to Gods ears,Karellen.

"I predict–optimistically-- that marjuana will be moved from DEA Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 within five
years. "-from your lips to Gods ears,Karellen.

Cecil addressed the anti-hemp conspiracy theory here

Me, I think the stuff ought to be decriminalized. For practical reasons. It is a huge waste of tax money to try to wipe out pot.

The drug war clearly has not been successful. In addition to a tremendous monetary expenditure, it has resulted in an erosion of civil rights I disfavor. Other direct results have been the overstressing of our judicial system, and the rise of a public/private prison-industry which is now a major opponent to any decriminalization.

Moreover, the present illegal status of drugs provides significant funding and incentive for much criminal and violent activity.

Legalize all drugs, tax them, and put the funds towards education and rehab.

Problems, being anti-drug plays well politically for a number of reasons. OTOH, hard to consider legalization as being to politicians’ advantage. Go for the stoner vote? Doesn’t fit well in a sound bite.

Sure, some more folk might try drugs if legal, but I seriously question whether majority would become even casual users - certainly not abusers. One unavoidable consequence of legalization, I believe, is that we would lose some people who would indulge more than they do now due to legal status. So if you believe in the incalculable value of every individual life, I believe legalization (of all drugs) is not an option. Given criminal activity related to MJ, it is possible legalization of weed might save lives.

To answer a few points raised earlier,

I think that if everyone in America were to be allowed access to marijuana legally, it wouldn’t cause as much harm in 50 years as either of them cause in 1. I’m not going to be naive and claim there’s no long term adverse health effects in smoking marijuana, but it is far far worse to smoke tobacco products. My contention is that since it is less harmful, there’s no reason not to keep it legal as long as tobacco is. If and when you outlaw cigarettes, then you can consider the legality of marijuana, not before.

This is the same reason I will NOT support the legalization of cocaine, crack, heroin. You * can* OD on them. You * can* die from them. You * can* have serious health risks by taking them and I will not advocate that it be legalized. However, if we were to legalize it, prices on them would considerably drop. Robberies and murders to score drug money would drop as well. The drug cartel’s stranglehold on users would drop when reputable businesses are allowed to produce it for the public.

Along those lines, prices for marijuana will drop considerably too. My guess is that it will still be more expensive than cigarettes (if nothing else than through the tax that the government will undoubtably put on it), but it will be much more affordable than it is now. This will be extremely benificial when we consider the medical fields’ usage. It may, slightly, hurt tobacco sales. But if the tobacco companies want to compete, they’ll start selling it themselves.

spooje I’m not sure if I’m following you. Cecil said himself that marijuana wasn’t as harmful as cigarrettes and that cancer by marijuana alone probably wouldn’t result in cancer. Furthermore, making marijuana legal, by your own argument, would allow better discussion between doctors and patients.

** Mayor Quimby** Is safer a safe argument? I think that we must certainly evaluate how laws compare to one another. To do otherwise would be hypocritical. If you don’t want to legalize marijuana, then criminalize tobacco.

Enderw23 wrote:

I’d heard that the evidence for marijuana being addictive at all was questionable. It is certainly less addictive than alcohol, and much much much less addictive than tobacco cigarettes. (Practically anything is less addictive than tobacco cigarettes.)

here’s my 2 cents on half the issue:

i’ve read articles and seen ‘news’ stories on the subject ‘should marijuana be legalized for medical purposes’.

my opinion - everything should be legal for medical purposes. doctors can legally cut into your chest, spread your ribs apart, pump your blood through a machine plugged into the wall, cut up your arteries and re-route your circulation. they can legally cut the top of your head off and drain all the blood from your body to repair an aneurism (i saw this on the surgery channel). they can take out your colon and have you shit through your side into a bag. they can administer chemicals so toxic that your hair falls out and your blood cells die and you can’t even get out of bed from the resulting sickness. and they’re even considering (or have approved) bringing back thalydomide for cancer treatment! and the fda is worried about the possible side effects of smoking a joint? please.

The FDA ain’t worried about medical patients smoking a joint. The DEA is. Or rather, the DEA is worried about *non-*medical patients having easier access to the “evil weed” if it’s available by prescription.

The DEA ain’t too worried about people getting addicted to open-heart surgery or sneaking colostomy bags across the Mexican border.

you really think the DEA gives a rats ass who’s addicted to what? they are a law enforcement agency. they are responsible for enforcing drug laws - not making them or judging them. the FDA is responsible for deciding what’s allowed for medical use and they have approved plenty drugs that have been proven to be physically addictive - much more so than weed. if the FDA approved pot, it would be business as usual for the DEA - enforce the drug laws, whatever they are. They would still be able to confiscate pot being smuggled across the border, just like they could confiscate morphine being smuggled across the border.

Slightly hijacking my own thread, there * are * people that have colostomy bag fetishes and there * are * people that are so addicted to pain they will fake illnesses to get doctors to cut them up. Few and far between, but they’re out there.

Ending the hijack.

Doctors prescribe legal drugs every single day that many people across America are hooked on. Doctors administer medicine every day that can only be taken within a hospital. Doctors also count up medicine cabinets up to several times a day to assure that drugs aren’t being smuggled out. Doctors repeatedly turn away addicts looking for a quick fix. Pharmacies do the same. This happens for drugs with severe negative effects if too much is taken and with a moderate to high likelihood of being addictive even if taken properly. Yet it’s done every single day because these drugs save lives.

How would marijuana possibly pose a problem?

Comparing laws and comparing health risks are two completely different things. I believe my first statement was in support of legalizing marijuana. I don’t think the government should have a say in what we do in our private lives as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. Personally, it wouldn’t bother me criminalizing tobacco. I can say that because I’m not addicted to it though. But try taking my beer away and then we have a problem :mad:.

As for my point about tobacco and alcohol companies not wanting marijuana legal. I can see the point about tobacco jumping on the bandwagon. With all the problems the tobacco industry has had over the last few years, I don’t know how the government would react to them getting into this field though.

Personally, I just don’t see the government legalizing it. I think that would be admitting defeat in the war on drugs, and we all know how the goverment feels about losing a war.

zwaldd - yeah, I do think the DEA gives a rodent’s patootie about addiction and the state of the laws they enforce. Face it, two basic interests of all bureaucracies are survival and growth. If all drugs are legalized, what is the DEA’s function? Further, you can’t separate the bureaucracy from all of its supporters, both political and private. How about all of the LEOs and attorneys, both private and public, whose jobs depend upon the current system of drug laws? A lot of people make a good living through the current system of laws. And I’m not talking about drug dealers. Do you think a bureaucracy will willingly roll over and expire without a fight?

One time I discussed drug laws with an AUSA. She agreed that legalization certainly had its merits sociologically, but politically she questioned whether the parties that presently profit from the current system would tolerate significant change.

Hope this isn’t too cynical for ya.

Dinsdale: I’m wondering how much revenue could be made by the Federal government through legalization AND regulation (taxation on sales, paraphernalia, production, transport, etc). I have a feeling that the bureaucracy created to support it would rival the current bureaucracy to wage war against it.

Your points are valid, but I think that the DEA could simply shift gears and go into the business of REGULATING rather than enforcing. If they changed their name to the Drug Employment Agency, they could even keep the same neat jackets with the initials on the backs. Or do you think the Depts. Of Agriculture and Commerce would absorb the newly-created bureaucracy?
Oh, and cynicism is a wonderful thing, my friend. :slight_smile:

Thank you, and Goodnight

It’s bad enough that I have to dodge drunks on the way home every night. I don’t want to have to dodge dopers too. :slight_smile: