Posted by: Mike | April 20, 2008

Should Marijuana Be Legal?

Marijuana has been around longer than history itself. For countless centuries, humans have enjoyed its enticing narcotic qualities. In more recent times, marijuana has been banned in many countries, sparking a debate as to whether or not this ancient drug has a place in modern society. Should marijuana be allowed in the US? Does it make sense to legalize marijuana for general consumption? What about for patients suffering from terrible diseases? The answer is no, and I’ll tell you why in the rest of this post.

It’s true that marijuana is less addictive than cigarettes. Marijuana does not have nicotine, or any other addictive substance to hook its users on. An addiction to marijuana is purely psychological- much like an addiction to alcohol or fatty foods. But marijuana is more potent than its addictive qualities suggest. In law enforcement circles, marijuana has become known as the “gateway drug”. This is because people who regularly use marijuana tend to become bored with the drug after awhile and move on to other heavier drugs. This trend, needless to say, has not been observed in cigarette addicts.

It may also be true that marijuana has therapeutic qualities that could help those with chronic diseases. But it is also true that the medical system that distributes medical marijuana can be easily abused. Take California, for instance. Medical marijuana is legal in California. But doctors in the state have observed that those apparently free of chronic malady have been able to obtain prescriptions for medical marijuana. In fact, distributors of the drug have sometimes seen young rich kids with prescriptions for medical marijuana. Cannabis “clubs” have formed in the state to sell medical marijuana illegally on the black market. And California is not alone; similar abuses have occurred in European countries. The Dutch government is even considering repealing its laws that make marijuana legal.

Some readers may be indignantly thinking to themselves, “It’s my body; I should be able to put whatever I want into my body.” But that’s not quite true. If you could do whatever you wanted with yourself, then the government would have no grounds to restrict you from taking heroin, crack, or any other hard-core drugs. Such an argument disregards the harm done to society by poor personal decisions. I am no moralist; I support the legalization of prostitution because I believe that it serves the common good. But legalizing marijuana would only harm society. It is a basic tenant of government that the people must give up certain rights in order to prevent chaos. This tenant applies to the marijuana controversy perfectly.

Some have also argued that legalizing marijuana, and perhaps other hard-core drugs, would benefit society for economic and criminal reasons. They contend that if the government sold the drugs that are currently illegal at discount prices, it would effectively end the violence associated with the drug trade. This may be true, but consider what the government would have to do to implement that plan. They would have to sell drugs at prices cheaper than that of the drug dealers. This would ensure a safe, reliable, and affordable stream of drugs to every junkie in the nation. No longer would drug addicts have to worry about police stings. No longer would they have to fret about whether or not their dealer will exploit them by raising the price of their favorite drug once they’ve been hooked. The result of such a policy would be disastrous.

The issue of marijuana’s legal status is not the most pressing of our time. The sky will certainly not fall in if marijuana is legalized. But there would be negative social consequences, and the stage would be set for thousands of people to try marijuana, only to get hooked later on in life on harder drugs.

 MR

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Responses

  1. you’re wrong on this too. how old are you? you’re repeating things you’ve heard and have nothing in this post built on experience or actual investigation.

    “Your denial is beneath you, and thanks to the use of hallucinogenic drugs, I see through you.”
    ~Bill Hicks

    “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?”

    ~Friedrich Nietzsche

  2. 1 Attack character
    2 Dismiss validity of post
    3 End dramatically with quotes

    … How mature are you?

    And Mike, you’re sounding much more conservative than I thought you were. Prevent chaos? Liberty traded for security? That’s interesting.

  3. I would prefer that you address the arguments in my post rather than attack me personally. As for where I got my information from… the part about marijuana being a gateway drug was obtained from a lecture given by a law enforcement officer. My information on medical marijuana and the status of marijuana came largely from the Internet. I must confess that I have an infatuation for wikipedia… but I do my best to verify information by using more than one source. The final two paragraphs in my post regard theoretical arguments, and come almost entirely from my brain.

    And Brad…. in some cases, the good of society must be put above individual rights. In most cases, conservatives (particularly social conservatives) grossly overestimate the damage done to society because of certain practises. But not with drugs- drugs are too addictive.

  4. like i said before, free markets drive down the price.

  5. watch this its really entertaining.


    part 1


    part 2


    part 3

  6. Perhaps marijuana users tend to go on to harder drugs, but is that even a proper argument against marijuana? I suppose it would be for the better social good; there will consequently be less people grabbing for harder drugs. Yet this is also an argument against alcohol or tobacco. (These are inherently worse than marijuana.) In fact, if anything that tends to indirectly lead to harm was outlawed, there would be quite a lot of things less to do.

    And, the government could ban crack, heroin, etc. because they are more directly damaging and make people violent, disturbing, or otherwise dangerous to others. It isn’t just about protecting the user.

    Citizenbrain, I think you’re acting too fanatical. You can’t just tell us to go watch these movies and documentaries and read these books and see all of these Youtube videos. That’s a waste of our time to go through based off of recommendation or suggestion. (Or simple advertisement.) Why can’t you just bring the relevant arguments and points here to discuss?

  7. I think the videos above were largely for entertainment… and they were entertaining. Brad- I have not seen any evidence that those who smoke cigarettes will eventually tire of nicotine and move on to higher drugs. If I were Morton Downey on those videos, I would have brought in medical doctors and law enforcement officers to explain the devastating effects of hard drugs on the human body. But I suppose shrieking fanatics make for better television.

  8. i appologize, but i have little time in my daily routine for debate. i’ve done every single drug with the exception of crystal meth and pcp and i can tell you that i’ve seen people destroy their lives from heroin, and crack. great friends of mine have been imprisoned, and turned into piles of worthless flesh. i however was lucky enough to have the strong will that i enjoy. drug use is a health issue, our prison system is over populated with people who committed victimless crimes. even if you try to say drug sales sponsor terrorism and crime, well thats only because they’re illegal and there is a black market for them because its profitable. ask yourself why when we invaded afghanistan opium production skyrocketed despite the fact that the taliban burned all the opium fields prior to the invasion (in islam drug use is forbidden, including alcohol etc) marijuana is not a gateway drug, i dont understand where people get that from because marijuana never made me want to get higher or anything. it makes you hungry, tired, and enjoy laughter and life. its by far less destructive than alcohol both on your body and your mind. there is no evidence thc does damage to your system. it can be consumed in various ways, and does not necessarily have to be smoked. you also are able to function better in society than with alcohol. it is also not addictive. not to mention the growing of an acre of hemp can produce more ethanol than an acre of corn and with less energy. drugs are a gateway to different parts of your conciousness. when used with reason and responsibly in controlled settings and not abused they are amazing teaching tools. check out timothy leary, and stop living in fear. stop feeling like you must protect your fellow man from themselves. isn’t making nature against the law a bit paranoid? there are many who believe drugs are a conduit to conversing with a living god. sounds crazy, unless you’ve been there.

    video of timothy leary who supposedly has done over 500 doses of lsd.

    Timothy Francis Leary, (October 22, 1920 — May 31, 1996) was an American writer, Harvard psychologist, modern pioneer and advocate of psychedelic drug research and use, and one of the first people whose remains have been sent into space. As a 1960s counterculture icon, he is most famous as a proponent of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of LSD. He coined and popularized the catch phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

  9. here’s a shorter video if you dont want to watch the huge other one. i’m sorry i post videos but its hard when it’s been said so much better by others.

  10. i think if you guys listened to bill hicks you might get a decent perspective i dont think you would have heard before.

    bill is my hero, the root of all of my creative energys spawn from the teachings of hicks.

  11. Marijuana often affects different people in different ways. I find your statement that it is not addictive to be questionable. Marijuana can present a psychological addiction. As for drugs being a connection to God… I guess I won’t know for sure until I try them. But if they are connections to God, they are extremely damaging ones.

  12. pot is not addictive. not all drugs are evil, not when used with responsibility. all things in moderation as the saying goes. heroin and crack are terrible habits, but heroin for example and opiates are used in medical care and morphine is actually a purer form of heroin. people who think drugs should be outlawed, or regulated don’t understand freedom.

    “There are no lines, i say erase all the lines.”
    ~Bill Hicks

    How many people are MURDERED in drug deals gone bad? these things wouldn’t happen if it was legal. If it were legalized i don’t believe it would rush and destroy society as you seem to think, we didn’t have drug laws until 1914.

    our prison system gets more state funding than our education system and statistics show that 70% of those incarcerated commit victimless crimes. not to mention the minority communities that are devastated by drug use where drugs seem to be plentiful. it’s a black market the prices are far higher than they would be if it was legalized so people spend large parts of their income on drugs, prostitution often is a direct result of drug use. if it were less expensive perhaps people could function or seek help financially. so much poverty comes as a result of drug use, and other crimes spawn from the crackhead who’s broke and needs a hit. purse snatchings turned shootings in a rage of addiction. i don’t know if you’ve ever felt addiction and i hope you never have but its terrible you lose your mind, you’re not yourself. yet these people are treated like criminals instead of sick people.

    if you legalized it you would also bring everyone out into the open so you could see who’s abusing drugs and maybe get them help. now we have people all over the place who are junkies hiding in fear because of their addiction. the damages done to your body as a result of drug abuse is minor compared to the destruction inflicted upon our society as a result of fighting drugs. it’s like fighting gambling and making a massive police force to regulate it. it’s absurd for a plethora of reasons.

  13. sorry about the ranting, it was Terence McKenna i think who was the guy who really focused on how drugs were a way to talk to god.

    “Animals are something invented by plants to move seeds around. An extremely yang solution to a peculiar problem which they faced.”

    “We are so much the victims of abstraction that with the Earth in flames we can barely rouse ourselves to wander across the room and look at the thermostat.”

    Terence McKenna

  14. I definitely agree with you that filling our prisons with drug addicts simply compounds the problem. We are sending drug addicts to a place where they will only become worse people; our prison system is clearly broken. I think our efforts would be better spent attacking drug dealers. I’ve toyed around with the idea of corporal punishment (like they have in Singapore, where it has been very effective) for dealers. My motives for wanting marijuana to remain illegal have little to do with interfering in the lives of individuals. Rather, I am simply trying to do what’s best for society as a whole.

  15. yeah i think your not wrong in wanting to help, but when you dictate to others how they should live which is what we’ve been doing for the past hundred years you really take a step away from freedom of choice in how we live our lives. While your intentions are good, they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. i think it should be treated like an illness, and instead of spending money to incarcerate help people by clincally treating them. a lot of drug use is simply for temporarily improving life. If we could assault poverty by opening up the markets there would probably be less drug use than ever before. When amsterdam legalized drugs there was a decrease in drug use, because its not so much of a taboo which is why a lot of people do try drugs. there is also some new plant discovered from africa which supposedly can make heroin addicts kick heroin over night, it blocks off receptors that would otherwise be lusting after more heroin. i forget what its called if i find info on it i’ll be sure to tell you. my argument is just that marijuana grows naturally on this planet, all over the planet and to make nature against the law is absurd. we already attack drug dealers, and look how that works. think about all the civil liberties that get violated in the war on drugs, and war on terror, ask yourself is it really worth it?

  16. its just like bill hicks said, and is the premise of my entire blog:

    “It’s just a ride and we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money, a choice, right now, between fear and love.” ~Bill Hicks

  17. The government has to interfere to some degree in people’s lives. Its part of the social contract theory; people give up some of their rights in order to be governed. I agree that we should treat drug addicts as ill patients; but doesn’ t it make sense to illegalize the substances that make them ill in the first place? Dealers are merchants of death, spreading a plague across our country.

  18. Mike, for your original posts no studies are cited, you have no personal experience with the drug, this all leads to a lack of ethos. You should delineate between legalization and decriminalization in regards to Marijuana and hard drugs. ” No longer would drug addicts have to worry about police stings. No longer would they have to fret about whether or not their dealer will exploit them by raising the price of their favorite drug once they’ve been hooked. The result of such a policy would be disastrous.” The end statement is not logical, why would it be disastrous if these “junkies” were no longer as paranoid about law enforcement? Maybe they would be more likely to get help? You are in favor of legalization of prostitution and abortion both using the argument that it will always be done and making it legal reduces the amount of innocent victims. The same argument applies to Marijuana, it should be treated like alcohol legal to smoke it, but if you commit a crime while under the influence than you are tried for that crime + negligence. The “gateway” theory is ridiculous because the people who do hard drugs started on alcohol not marijuana. Millions of marijuana users, the large majorities do not participate in hard drugs (will get stat later), and the Netherlands have seen a decrease in both hard drug users and marijuana users (again I will get quote later) Most importantly over 2 million Americans are in jail for marijuana, this is ridiculous and outrageous, these people did not hurt anyone, pot smokers are not a “harm to society” more stoners will not lead to “chaos”.

    [Sean, I’ll edit your full name out because I know you and I don’t think it’s good to have your full name here. -Brad]

  19. “Dealers are merchants of death, spreading a plague across our country.”
    Just noticed this quote from you. I hope you are joking using this type of demagogue language. More pot is not a “plague” and a lot of the violence associated with the drug trade would be gotten rid with decriminilization. Look to the Netherlands!

  20. 1) One does not have to take marijuana to comment on it. Do I have to hire a hooker before entering a debate about prostitution? Of course not.

    2)If you read the comments I have made in this post, you would know that I oppose putting drug users in jail. It is the dealers who deserve harsh punishment. I am toying with the idea of making drug users who are caught comply with a mandatory program that forces them to get clean. I also think it would be completely reasonable for the state to offer free programs for junkies who want to get clean.

    3) You’re right; people who do hard drugs don’t do marijuana. This is often because they have progressed on from marijuana to harder drugs. They no longer get the same high from marijuana after using it for awhile, so they move on to harder drugs.

    4) Your statement that marijuana is not a gateway drug is very questionable. You’re right- I should have cited my sources. So here one is:
    http://www.marijuanaaddiction.info/news-left.htm?aid=49

    5) Drug dealers are despicable merchants of death. The harm they do to their communities is often unspeakable. That’s not demagoguery- that’s fact.

  21. Mike, you said “I am no moralist; I support the legalization of prostitution because I believe that it serves the common good. But legalizing marijuana would only harm society. It is a basic tenant of government that the people must give up certain rights in order to prevent chaos.”

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I read your post and about choked when I came to this line. You were forging ahead with a convincing argument about why pot should not be legalized, then this comment just threw everything you previously said, as well as going forward said, right out the window.

    Legalizing prostitution serves the common good?!?!?!? How so, may I ask? What “good” can come out of legalizing prostution, unless you consider an increase of cases to the already out of control STD epedemic is “good”. J

    Also, just like we can have addictions to substances, such as pot and alcohol, you can also be addicted to sex. How many people are in “Rehab” for addiction to sex every year? I don’t have the exact stactistic (sorry Mike), but I do know that it is on the rise each year!

    I just find it so typical (and is also just makes me plain sick) that someone of the male gender thinks it would be so wrong to legalize pot, but of course thinks it would serve the “common good” of mankind to legalize prostution?

    So it would be good on our economy for men to spend their families house payment (or even worse their childrens college tuition money!) on a hooker, then end up forclosing on their house eventually? Or the cost to our economy of an even higher increase in the divorce rate? Or the money spent on all of the many years of therapy for families that have been torn apart because of someones “addiction” to getting hookers?

    Just like the problems illegal drugs already cause, illegal prostitution is already causing these types of problems in our society. Leagalizing it would only make things worse, just like you plead in your case for not legalizing pot.

    Just the STD factor alone is enough to make me shudder of the throught of legalilzing prostitution. But what really pissed me off is the fact that once again men are thinking with their “little heads” instead of their real brain! Mike, you seriously need to get a fucking clue, buddy.

  22. You make some good points, so I will try my best to address them.

    1) I would not believe that the damage done to society by marijuana use justifies banning it, except for the fact that it is a gateway drug. The difference between prostitution and marijuana is that, for marijuana, addicts often move “up the food chain”, so to speak, to higher drugs. A sex addict will only have more sex; a marijuana addict will progress to far worse things.

    2) To answer your question about what good can come of legalizing prostitution, I believe that it would allow the government to better control the prostitution industry. Furthermore, prostitutes themselves would gain some measure of protection- if they were abused by a client or a pimp, they would not have to fear going to the police. Mandatory testing for prostitutes might also help check the spread of STDs (contrary to your argument that legalized prostitution would increase the STD rate). Therefore, I do believe that the common good would be served by legalizing prostitution.

    3) I could tell when I read your comment that you have this image of me as a stereotypical guy with all the biases one would expect to find in a male. This isn’t quite true- my perspective as a gay person ensures (to a certain degree) that I am not blinded by typical heterosexual male ideas. I have no infatuation with prostitution, and would never participate in that industry. I simply seek to promote what is best for society.

    * I am opening up somewhat to the idea of legalizing marijuana, although I remain skeptical*


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