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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Reefer Madness?

I read an article today that I found interesting and almost amusing, about some legislators who are trying to change marijuana laws. You can read it here. Basically they're saying it's too big a burden on the justice system and it's wasting time and money to penalize the casual user and/or people with medical conditions.

Historically, marijuana was once very legal in the states. It was imported from Turkey, if I remember correctly - but other countries were already starting to make it illegal and by 1936 the movie "Reefer Madness" was released to scare American young people straight. Now I'm not here to advocate smoking pot by any means. But let's think about the legal alternative, for just a moment... alcohol. We all know about prohibition and it was considered this horrible thing that ruined lives and corrupted the young. Now we're bombarded with its marketing, we tax the crap out of it and we have a gazillion rehabilitation programs for alcoholics (some of which our tax dollars are paying for). It goes without saying that alcohol has killed innocent people, ruined families and cost a lot of money in medical treatment and rehabilitation. However, those who drink socially and responsibly? Not a problem.

So what's the answer? Do we make marijuana legal - regulate and tax the crap out of it too? Are we willing to take on the repercussions with rehab programs? Oh wait, we already have those, although I'm sure rehabilitation programs would grow if it were legal.

There are arguments that state that marijuana is not addictive, and some that state marijuana just leads to other more dangerous drugs. Personally I don't believe marijuana is any more dangerous than alcohol. They are both potentially dangerous and possibly detrimental to those who use. I don't have all the answers worked out as far as legalizing it, but honestly I see potential for the benefits. On that note, I agree with those politicians cited in the above article - it's wasting jail space, tax dollars, and law enforcement is burdened with dealing with it instead of focusing on much larger crime issues.

Tell me internet, what do you think?

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Ken said...

I don't disagree with the premise that marijuana is not any more harmful than alcohol or tobacco. I guess my question is, where is the line? I personally think that marijuana should be legal and that it should be taxed to death. Make it another vice that can then go and help pay for the social programs that are already in place.

Anonymous said...

Marijuana should be legalized several reasons. 1. If marijuana were made legal, then that lifts the restrictions on hemp, of which the benefits are enormous. Alternate fuel, cloth, manufacturing, the list goes on and on. 2. Marijuana is not a "gateway" drug; if anything, alcohol contributes to more people moving on to harder drugs than anything. Using marijuana as the scapegoat for the progression to other drugs is downright ludicrous. 3. I have yet to see aggression linked to marijuana in any way, shape or form. Want a bar fight? Add alcohol. Want to see everyone relaxed? Add marijuana. 4. Artists, philosophers and the like have used marijuana for centuries to aid in introspection and critical thinking. Yeah, I went there. Why would anyone want to stop you from examining yourself and your own reality? Either those who can't, those who are unwilling or those who want control.
I could go on and on regarding the benefits. With all that said, I do agree that operating machinery of any kind should not be tolerated as accidents can occur due to slower reaction times, less focus and inattention directly attributed to marijuana when under its influence. A "breathalyzer" or instant test would be imperative in order to determine if a user were under the influence simply due to marijuana's different morphology. I'm all for it.

Angi said...

I say legalize it so we can pay down the national debt, lower gas prices and aid the cost of war. Heck it might even help the recession.
As for me smoking it, well Ruben just wouldn't allow that. No smoking, no drugs - hell he even hates taking medicine.

New White Keds said...

Hmmm, so topical... I'd have to say that I think the legalization of the drug has far more benefits than drawbacks, so I am on the legalization bandwagon. But there are certain facts that remain about MJ - doesn't it still kill like tons of braincells and lead to some serious inertia? And while, yes, cigarettes are legal, they stink to high heaven and, well, pot smells way worse. I grew up with a mom who smoked the stuff adn I hated the stench in teh house when she would do it.

That being said, I watched the stuff do its wonders on my Mom and know first hand the medicinal and calming effects fo the stuff. I say make it legal and then tax away.

JoeinVegas said...

I think people should be free to do what they want, as long as it doesn't harm others. Our government passes too many laws restricting us, trying to make everybody fit 'their' mold of what we should and should not do.
Some statistics say that over half of the prison population are there on marijuana charges, probably like it was with booze back in prohibition days. Yes, time to eliminate those laws.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

I say legalize it before my son gets arrested for smoking it.

Seriously I agree with you 100% Lora. My sister who hold a highly respected corporate job takes a few tokes almost every night after dinner to relax for the evening...and its ILLEGAL. Why can someone drink a bottle of wine legally and not take a few tokes of pot? If it led to worse drugs my sister (who is 43) would have been addicted to every drug on earth by now...she's been smoking it for 30 years!!!

Personally I don't enjoy it but yeah - legalize it, tax it and tax alcohol even higher. How often does someone have an accident related to being high on pot vs drunk? Not very.

Nik said...

The benefits of legalizing far outweigh the risks if ya ask me. Pothead typically annoy me, but I don't think them rockin the ganj should be considered illegal. I agree it's no worse then alcohol. For those who argue that legalization would just create more users. Come on! You really think there are people out there right now who are like "Ya know I'd really like to burn one, but I'm not gonna cuz it's illegal"? Those who smoke it are already doing it, so why not use our tax money for more pressing things than potheads. My only complaint if it were legalized is that I'd be smelling more of that god awful smell.

Wonder Boy said...

Agree completely. Our current policy on marijuana is ridiculous and hideously expensive. C'mon let's create a new industry, helped in great part by Mother Nature and give up the last vestiges of the "Reefer Madness" b.s. I haven't smoked pot in years only because it's illegal and I was trying to keep my kids from using it at a formative age and avoid having thme get arrested. Only partially successful on the latter. The kids are grown and booze can eat your liver...I'm ready to get a nice no liver eating buzz.

Sheena said...

I agree with everyone. I never knew how many people (who don't smoke) are for legalizing it. I don't smoke it, I have before, but not in years. However, I do know people that do, and they are just your average otherwise law abiding citizens. I agree about testing on the job though, especially with machinery. I worked at a grocery store while in highschool, and one of my friends was always so high he couldn't even bag groceries. hah. A huge benefit for me would be unrestriction of hemp which is actually an awesome source of protein. And on marajuana being worse than alcohol... please, I grew up with an alcoholic stepdad (he was a mean drunk)... I would rather have seen him high instead. I'm all for legalizing it.