What makes marijuana illegal?

I am just curious as to what marijuana does to the body that makes it worse than other things like tobacco and alcohol? What does it do that makes it illegal while the others are not?

The only really factual answer to “what makes marijuana illegal?” is “legislatures.” Laws may have many rationales put forth by those who propose them, support them, or put them into action, but the law itself says little more than that lawmakers have deemed possession of a certain substance criminal, or as having no legitimate medical use. Whether or not marijuana is less dangerous than substances one may legally possess and consume is subject to debate, but the law itself doesn’t tell us much more than possession of marijuana is punishable as a criminal offense.

I just read this…


Is this true? Was it really made illegal because of violence “caused” by marijuana?

And that’s why Reefer Madness is a documentary.

There isn’t a factual question to this answer besides what **pravink **said. You would have better luck with topic in GD, although you should be aware that it has been debated here many, many times in the past. If you pay your dues, you can search the old threads.

The same thing that makes rape illegal in the US, or that makes supporting human rights in North Korea illegal, or that makes armed robbery illegal in Italy, or that made not giving the ‘heil’ sign to a nazi in germany illegal. Legislators and the laws they pass, as pravnik said.

There is a (no offense) somewhat naive assumption that in the west if something is illegal it has to be bad or wrong or immoral. You even see this when people get arrested and they say ‘I didn’t do anything wrong’, they don’t say 'I didn’t do anything illegal, which isn’t the same thing. You also see alot of people refer to the police as ‘the good guys’ and the criminals as ‘the bad guys’ when in reality its ‘the people who uphold the law’ and ‘those who break the law’. To a large degree laws in the west respresent public morality, but only to a large degree. There is alot of room for interpretation.

Frankly to me its just another version of ‘the divine right of kings’ where people assum(ed) that the government and its representatives were infallible. Maybe its in our genetic and social nature to assume our leaders are infallible (people assume their religious leaders like Jesus, the pope, buddha & mohammed are infallible, historically people assumed their monarches were infallible, and even today in many cult of personality dictatorships assume their leaders are infallible).

Then again who says that morality must be caused by sociology and not politics? Why is something automatically immoral because its socially unacceptable (child molestation was common and perfectly acceptable in ancient greece, and marrying 12-13 year olds with adults has been common in most of the world), but not immoral because it is illegal. I guess this is more of a debate on the core nature of morality and how much control the individual should have over morality than a question.

It’s difficult to give a factual answer to this question, as most drug laws are wrapped up in hysteria, not based on solid scientific facts. But the nearest I can come to a factual answer is to explain the paranoia of the ignorant public coming face-to-face with something new and strange. The “bohemian” lifestyle (that is, different), “foreign” attraction (like oriental societies) to the unknown, and therefore dangerous, drugs, was enough at one time to support passage of laws in the U.S. that had little to no scientific basis.

Alcohol and tobacco has been an established part of open society in the U.S. for a long time. At one time, MJ was not, but part of a fringe element with little political power.

Strangely, the failure of prohibition hasn’t sent a message to the right people. Alas, legacy politics lives on and laws, hard to change, are often forever. It’s easier to make them than repeal them.

To sum up, factually, nothing about marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco (they all have some good and some bad characteristics). But this is not the perception of some people, and those people had a hand in writing laws.

for a fairly thorough explanation on the history of marijuana legislation look for the movie “grass!”

Yep. It’s that simple. Why is dextromethorphan, one of the most powerful psychedelic drugs known to man, legal in most parts of the world? Laws, and political influence. (And for those who doubt that dextromethorphan (DXM) is one of the most powerful psychedelic drugs known to man, try using a search engine. If you can’t find my website that explains this in detail, you are truly pathetic.) Drug laws make little logic. Not only have I had parents contact me thanking me for my website after their kid died from DXM, one parent at the moment put up a memorial site about their dead son linking to my site so visitors can learn about the drug that killed their child. And the Consumer Healthcare Products Association in the US indirectly condemns my site for telling the truth about what they sell!

I’ve given up all hope of sensible drug laws. I just tell the truth to the world about drugs, and let the chips fall where they may. Fortunately in the US, the courts still uphold freedom of the press. The bureaucrats can condemn me, but not stop me. I’ve already handed of all the control passwords to my sites to people I trust outside of the US. Regardless of what may happen polictically in the US, or if I should drop dead while making this post, my sites will go on. Unless the US blocks all Internet access from outside the borders. If that ever happens, unless there is a revolution in the US, the US doesn’t deserve to exist.

Thats your website? Shite, I sent in a trip report about 4 years ago. Small world.

As my site didn’t exist 4 years ago, if you sent a trip report it was to me personally, and not the site:


The genesis of the site is what is on the top of the page here:


That being the news report I did about the death of “ed” (not his real name). I did have my DXM Beginners Guide up on the Internet on some personal web space at that time. I gave his sister my word of honor if she provided proof of her brother’s death from DXM, I would report this to the world as a warning. She provided such proof, and I confirmed direct with the coroner the cause of death was “accidental ingestion of a lethal amount of dextromethorphan.” That’s coronerspeak for a recreational drug overdose. Per my word of honor, that news report by me is still on the Internet. And, lots of people find my site. Last month according to my logs, an average of 800 people a day visited the site above, and my sister site at http://www.coricidin.org has about 300 unique visitors a day.

And, in retrospect that Neil Young quote in the preface to my news report is embarassing. I had exchanged a number of emails with “ed” while he was alive,
and was less than an objective reporter. However, as I don’t like rewriting history this is how it will remain.

Getting back to the OP, the Supreme Court of Canada gave a decision a year and a half ago that raised this issue. Some individuals charged with possession of marijuana challenged the offence under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, arguing that the lack of harm in marijuana infringed the Charter. They advanced a constitutional doctrine that boiled down to “no harm, no foul” being part of the principles of fundamental justice, protected by s. 7 of the Charter.

The Court dismissed the challenge. They found that there are sufficient concerns about marijuana that it’s not possible to say that it’s a purely harmless substance. It therefore becomes a matter for the elected representatives in Parliament to determine how to deal with the issue.

The Court’s reasons are found at: R. v. Malmo-Levine; R. v. Caine. The head-note summarised the Court’s take on the harm issue as follows:

So in essence, it’s a political decision of the legislators, as pravnik said.

My mistake. I thought you ran the third plateau.

I think the first USA drug laws were passed due to the opium dens in San Francisco. After the railroads were built, many Chinese workers moved back to San Francisco and made themselves at home. I guess the opium smoking was the norm for them. I believe the people in power in San Francisco were a bit unloving toward the Chinese and made opium illegal to try to stop that part of the Chinese lifestyle.

The feds moved in and took over the illegal drug enforcement thing and started adding more drugs to the list. MJ used to be legal but you had to get a tax stamp from the feds but they wouldn’t give them out. Later the feds made MJ illegal.

Now the feds have illegal drugs listed on specific schedules. The schedules go from drugs that are dangerous and have no possible medical use thru prescription drugs.

This is a very good explanation. Mostly, it has to do with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

Short answer: weed is illegal for mostly political reasons and they’re all about money.

This is another good explanation. It has nothing to do with the effects, especially in comparison to other drugs.

My understanding was that it wasn’t a matter of “Why is marijuana illegal?” but rather, “Why are alcohol and tobacco legal when marijuana is not?”
That is, they would all be illegal except that people are more attached to alcohol and tobacco and simply we couldn’t pull those two off. (Which has been further aided by sin taxes.)

Alcohol and tobacco where big tax revenues back in 1937. So the legislatures said "Hey let’s come down on somebody so that we look like we are doing something about the drug problem (ie herion and cocaine). Weed got rolled in with the “hard” drugs because it was being used underground, not being sold retail. Once a law gets passed and the propaganda machine gets rolling it’s hard to go back.

No one wants to be the one that admits that they made an error in judgement and over reacted. Too much work. And what the hell, the people that use drugs don’t normally vote and the people that originally made the laws are dead now. Maintain the status quo and get re-elected.

While you disagree with existing U.S. drug laws–and this clearly isn’t GD–the term “hysteria” unfairly and inaccurately characterizes the mindset of most people opposed to marijuana and other illicit drugs. And while you and other posters might see illogic in existing laws, your opponents see similar incoherence in your position, suggesting no one has a monopoly on the truth–whatever the heck that is.

Off to Great Debates in 3…2…1…

Wow I don’t think I’ve ever heard it phrased better.

This is the crux.
Add in some bit about 900,000 jobs (totally made up figure) being lost if we cancel the War On Citizens.