10
Jul
08

Would legalising cannabis benefit your community?

Today we’re talking about Cannabis on the programme, it comes from a debate you started here on the blog on the talking points page. Two states in America, California and Oregon, are considering whether cannabis should be legalised and sold alongside alcohol in stores. The argument goes that it would boost the local economy by employing more people, farmers would be able to grow it, it would raise more taxes and free up police to focus on catching the “real” criminals.

But is as simple as that? Would it put communities on a slippery slope to users moving onto harder drugs? Do we really know the long term health effects? And what message does it send out to effectively condone drug use? This is the legal status  of marijuana in the US.

People argue for the health benefits, saying it reduces the muscle spasms for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers, and also helps cancer and AIDS patients, who often suffer from clinical depression, and from nausea and resulting weight loss due to chemotherapy and other aggressive treatments. So is there a distinction between recreational use and medicinal use?

Around the world – just a snapshot:
Holland is the only European country where cannabis is widely tolerated by the authorities

Canada is testing it’s possession laws.

In India, a very small quantity of cannabis is allowed to be cultivated for medicinal use ….
And this is the situation in Israel.

What is it like where you live and would legalising cannabis make your community better or worse?


234 Responses to “Would legalising cannabis benefit your community?”


  1. 1 Josh
    July 10, 2008 at 14:50

    I am Oregonian. I am not xenophobic; but I don not want more people coming here. The inevitable side effect of legalizing marijuana would be the immigration of pot heads.

  2. 2 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 14:54

    It doesn’t matter if OR and CA legalize pot, the federal government would still have it banned, and federal law preempts state law, so they will just have federal law enforcement of it, though since there aren’t many federal law enforcement officers, the DEA will be out busting pot growers, and federal prison isn’t very fun.

  3. 3 Erin
    July 10, 2008 at 14:56

    This is a tough issue for me. There is a part of me that wants to say all drugs should be legal, because at least then it could be somewhat controlled and an economic boost to the community – what do I care if people decide to destroy their bodies? However, would legalizing drugs decrease crime or increase it? Can we deny health coverage to those wishing to take these harmful drugs?

    Even with cannabis, which I, like most other college kids, dabbled in, there are harmful side effects. It isn’t a gateway drug or anything else Nancy Reagan, but some studies have come out recently reporting that it is not has “safe and harmless” as everyone thought it was. Prolonged use can lead to lung illnesses and even some brain diseases. However, our legal drugs in the US aren’t necessarily safe either, so where we draw the line becomes the question.

    I think this is more a question of whether we are willing to take on the other costs of drug legalization – can these people still get health insurance (even though they are doing things that we know can cause harm), do we want the government (FDA) to spend the money to regulate these drugs, etc. All of those issues taken care of, I say legalize it, and let us reap the economic rewards.

  4. 4 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 15:00

    I’m curious why the far left wants pot to be legal but cigarettes to be illegal? I find it very funny that the smoking ban in the netherlands specifically only covers tobacco smoke, and not marijuana smoke. Pot is a “vice” just like alcohol and cigarettes, you shouldn’t pick and choose which one you want to ban becuase you don’t like how it smells. I have no problem with pot being legal, but when you ban smoking in public, but make exceptions for smoking pot in public, you show what a hypocrite you are. While pot is pretty much harmless, the pot smokers I know in most cases are lazy bums, though some of them are rather brilliant, and none of them can go a day without smoking it.

  5. 5 parth guragain
    July 10, 2008 at 15:13

    if we consider removing ban from cannabis in the days to come there will be debate about removing ban from other narcotics.these ban shouldn’t be removed.

  6. 6 1430a
    July 10, 2008 at 15:16

    obviously any type of drugs(non-medicinal)are harmful for the health and cannabis is no exception.but i do agree to the point that in many countries people use it without the fear of authorities.the government should try and make people use it very less and slowly stop by the use of different propagandas.the same has actually decreased some percentage of cigarette smokers.

  7. 7 Robert
    July 10, 2008 at 15:24

    This is complicated mostly because the data on long term effects of marijuana are so untrustworthy. Due to the illegal nature of it getting accurate information on users is difficult and makes the results of studies questionable. There appears to be some medicinal benifits but also some psychological problems (paranoia and memory loss).

    Until the more accurate information is available then it is impossible to make an informed decisions.

    Supporters of pot shouldn’t use the line that smoking is allowed and thats more dangerous than pot. Just because one thing is bad doesn’t justify allowing other things that may be (until they can prove that there isn’t a problem).

    Opposers of pot likewise should acknowledge however that if studies prove the medcinal benefits of the drug then the drug should be allowed to be prescibed by doctors who can judge the risk/benifits for each patient. If the studies prove that there is no damage then they should except that it should be allowed.

    But finally, there is one potential downside of legalisation. TAX, my guess is the prices would raise once legalised to line the government coffers.

  8. 8 Bob in Queensland
    July 10, 2008 at 15:26

    I daresay it’s an argument that’s going to be made by many tonight but there is strong evidence that legal marijuana would do far less harm to society than tobacco or alcohol.

    Beyond that though, by making marijuana illegal, it drives otherwise-law-abiding users into a criminal underworld.

    I would go still farther and say that virtually all the problems associated even with harder drugs are caused by their criminalisation, not the drugs themselves. If even hard drugs were available legally through authorised sources, it would at a stroke eliminate a huge amount of genuinely criminal activity including theft, gang wars and murder.

    This is not to underplay the danger of “harder” drugs and I certainly don’t want them put in the same legal category as marijuana. However, the present attempts at prohibition are a failure, as have every attempt at prohibition of anything in the past. It is the criminalisation of drugs that causes most of the drug-related problems, not the drugs themselves.

  9. July 10, 2008 at 15:29

    Cannabis has a very strong addiction attached to it and legalising it would just expose the number of people ready to try this substance which was once illegal. By the way, who are the ‘real criminals’ being referred to here? Do we mean those who will traffick drugs across frontiers without paying taxes to authorities (since the drug is now legal)? Or those who indulge in harder drugs?

  10. 10 Drake Weideman
    July 10, 2008 at 15:40

    I believe that it is time that the US stops warring on its own citizens, spending billions or trillions on stopping a relatively harmelss substance and imprisoning tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of non-violent folks who’s only crime has been to possess or try to sell this stuff.
    Despite decades of testing mostly aimed at finding the negatives of cannabis no study has found much of anything that proves cannabis to be harmful…it is far less harmful than alcohol or tobacco.
    The US Surgeon General (during the Clinton years) publicly declared that cannabis was not found to be a gateway drug, so the fears that legalizing it would lead to that ‘slipperly slope’ are pretty much baseless.
    Cannabis was legal everywhere in the world prior to the late 1930’s, yet there doesn’t seem to be anecdotal evidence of physical/medical issues, nor social/culturalones.
    Jamaica has many, many long-term heavy users, yet there doesn’t appear to be any medical ramifications that we can point to in that populace.
    Prohibiting a substance was found, through bitter experience during the US Prohibition, to NOT solve the perceived problem, but merely led to a thriving black market, an increase in overall crime & was a prime factor in the development of ‘organized’ crime.
    One of the worst side effects of the US war on cannabis (beyond the disallowal of its medical uses) is that farmers cannot grow an exceedingly useful plant that CANNOT be used to smoke and get high. Our law enforcement has pushed (and succeeded) in outlawing the growing of hemp, merely because it looks like cannabis so it makes it harder to detect by law enforcement, yet I pity the fool that tries to smoke hemp. The list of uses for hemp is incredible, but we are not allowed to grow it.
    I also see the effects that our anti-cannabis effort has had on US international relations, as we make all kinds of deals to force other countries to follow our lead in the drug wars…the only benefit being to increase the wealth of the criminals.
    Let us stop making criminals wealthy, let us stop warring on non-violent people in our society who merely prefer pot to alcohol, let us stop filling our prisons with harmless people…it’s about time for a little sanity

  11. 11 Katharina in Ghent
    July 10, 2008 at 15:48

    I’m not sure I would want to see drugs in general, including cannabis, approved. People with medical conditions should have easier access to it when it is advised, but in general we should encourage our teens to stay lucid and face the world as it really is. All these narcotics, starting at alcohol and cigarettes, are just a way to escape reality one way or another.

  12. 12 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 10, 2008 at 15:51

    I don’t think legalizing cannabis would affect my community. There are many professional people that use the drug and if they get caught, they can get out of trouble. I am not sure more people woudl even want to do it if it is legal, part of the attraction is that it is illegal.

    The addition attached to pot is no stronger than the addiction to alcohol or nicotine. Since I don’t do the drug it is not a big deal but I would not care one way or another. I dont’ want to smell it, just like I don’t want to smell smoke from cigarettes.

    I have not known people dying for or from cannabis and the effect is not as bad as the effect from alcohol. I don’t judge people that do it, I just make sure they don’t do it around me.

  13. 13 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 10, 2008 at 15:54

    DUUUDE! Whoa. What part of “San Francisco” do you not understand?

    Uh, what was the question again?

  14. 14 Asad Babyl
    July 10, 2008 at 16:06

    Legalizing cannabis would be a great mistake. Our society already suffers from many addiction, making another addictive substance easier to obtain would worsen the situation.

    If anything, with a very wide usage of the subtance on US college campuses, penalties for possession and distribution should be made more severe.

  15. 15 Marija Liudvika Rutkauskaite
    July 10, 2008 at 16:11

    It seems to me that too much licencing has gone on in the world for the modern man to degrade moderatiom, propriety and democracy itself. I have been familiar with British publications quoting sources whihch are plain on the point of how the beast in man can be managed. The best, whether in learning, entertainment or government, have always known and applied restrictions. The liberal trends in the second half of the twentieth century have went on unconctrolled to merit the following assessment: the lowest classes have ruled the world long enough and miserably enough to earn expulsion. The same decision might well apply to cannabis.

  16. July 10, 2008 at 16:16

    I don’t know if “it would help”. However, the grey area is would it hurt. This is a free country, and as long as your activities do not infringe upon the rights of citizens, it should be legal. There is of course a more complex determination of what constitutes “rights infringements” that could be a whole other show. Smoking marijuana is not going to infringe on the rights of any other citizen. It is also not going to improve the general health and economy of the community either. There are plenty of people who otherwise would not have any problems with the law enforcement and correctional elements of the community if it wasn’t for their use of this drug.

    The economics of weed shapes up something like this. Is marijuana going instantly make the community more profitable and successful? No, it won’t. To be honest a community makes more from fining people then they do charging taxes. Very few people in the process actually go to prison for using Cannabis. It is called “weed” for a reason. It grows like one. It is hard to tax people on something they can grow in their back yard. The process to make liquor, the cost of and time to grow the ingredients of beer, and the specific climate to grow tobacco makes these drugs great production items. Therefore taxes would not be as easily controlled.

    To understand how Marijuana became illegal search for a cult classic movie called “Reefer Madness”. This movie was produced with funding from the alcohol and tobacco companies. It bolstered the falsities, prejudices, and fears about the drugs use. It showed people shooting up cannabis, robbing stores and people for money to buy it, and acting more like monkeys on crack when using it. People saw the movie and took it as truth. (The current administration has perfected this technique.) It was a perfect partnership between government and business.

    @ the left and cigarettes

    In Ohio, it was the bible thumping conservative groups that lobbied to get cigarettes banned from those health clubs we call “bars”.

    @ stereotyping “pot heads”.

    I know people who smoke form all walks of life. NASA engineers, pilots, lawyers, and even a surgeon at the more respectable roles. I get propositioned regularly at concerts and other situations where people may be more interested in use of marijuana. I don’t partake. Luckily my favorite escapes are the legal ones. Personally I can’t stand it for the exact same reason many of the more intelligent users give for liking it. It slows your thought process down. I feel like I am running in chest high water when on it. For many people sleep and dimmer wit is considered a pleasure.

  17. 17 Justin from Iowa
    July 10, 2008 at 16:20

    I honestly don’t care if they legalize pot. People that want to smoke it will still smoke it. People who don’t want to smoke it still won’t. I mean, lets be honest, its not as if its hard to acquire if you want it. Hell, legalize pot and you might cut into the opium trade, which reduces warlord incomes in Afganistan…

    Be a patriot, sell pot!

  18. July 10, 2008 at 16:37

    Morocco is one of the biggest producers of cannabis. The production area is in the north of the country which is the closest to Europe. Its production has made many drug dealers some of the richest in the country through money laundering in Morocco and Spain, the country where it is sold and which also serves as a transit to other European countries. Now there is the start of a crackdown on the lands where it is produced and on the drug barons. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6426799.stm

    But Morocco has been under pressure from the EU to control cannabis production and sale by gangs, which has led to the arrest of drug dealers and many security personnel for facilitating drug trafficking. The most famous of them is Abdelaziz Izzou, who was serving as head of security at Morocco’s royal palaces when he was arrested. http://africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnBAN047583.html

    Legalizing cannabis will have a disastrous effect on Morocco where the majority of its citizens are still young. It will lead just to its over-consumption with its dire consequences on their physical and mental health. There are other ways for people to feel euphoric by engaging in physical, mental and spiritual exercises without having to try a herb, addiction to which will tempt the young to use hard drugs. It’s like getting addicted to alcohol. For alcoholic, they need strong liquor around the hour, which of course has an effect on their health.

    Instead of envisaging legalizing cannabis, efforts should be made to dissuade people from using it and to open rehabilitation centres. Alcohol at least doesn’t kill through “second-hand drinking”. Cannabis as a smoke can affect non-smokers who inhale it from its direct users.

    Instead of allocating ( more) land for growing more cannabis as an economic activity, more of it should be allocated to grow more food in view of its current high prices and shortage. Food processing can also create more jobs without raising any ethical or social controversy. It can be easier to ask people to eat moderately (as food isn’t and addiction) than to ask people to abstain from cannabis or use it “healthily when it is available at the market like any other normal commodity.

    • 19 Chuck
      June 8, 2009 at 04:12

      Abdelilah, why don’t you try to get you facts right before make ignorant comparisons of marijuana and alcohol. Weed is not at all as dangerous to others or yourself as alcohol and is very considerably less addictive. Also smoke from cannabis is far less harmful and doesn’t contain the many different cancer-causing carcinogens that can seriously affect your health

  19. 20 Gaurav Basnyat
    July 10, 2008 at 16:38

    I come from Nepal where cannabis grows naturally without any cultivation. If we could sell it legally then our economy would have a huge boost.And i think it should be legalized because i don’t see big difference in selling tobacco and cannabis… Smoking tobacco seems more harmful and we should let the people decide

  20. 21 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    July 10, 2008 at 16:39

    I don’t believe any discussion of cannabis is complete without mentioning the history of it’s prohibition. The book THE EMPEROR WEARS NO CLOTHES is the most well known account of that history. There was no drug problem at that time, unless you fell for the propaganda piece REEFER MADNESS. Cannabis was more commonly known as hemp. And hemp was a far more environmentally friendly fiber used primarily in paper and clothes.

    Taking hemp out of the competition was a profit windfall for the makers of synthetic fibers, soil depleting cotton growers and the companies which supplied that chemical intensive crop, owners of timber land and the suppliers of chemicals used to soften wood pulp.

    Not a conspiracy theory, really. Just business as usual: defeat the competition by any means necessary. If Alaska is smart, it will see a cash crop, and associated finished products industries just waiting to be developed.

  21. 22 Luz Ma
    July 10, 2008 at 16:39

    I think legalising cannabis would be a blow against the drug trafficking industry in my country (Mexico). I completely support this kind of initiatives in my country and in any other country (especially the U.S.).

  22. 23 Will Rhodes
    July 10, 2008 at 16:40

    I saw a film recently called “Super High Me” it was a bout a comedian who smokes pot on a regular basis. He admits that the film is a rip off of Supersize Me.

    It was interesting that while the local enforcement officers in Cali left the pot-shops alone, the DEA would come in a close the shops down. In Cali, from what I saw – the shops are regulated and you should have a medical condition to purchase.

    Where this effects me personally is that my wife has been diagnosed with MS – she can get medical marijuana prescribed, but it costs a fortune – so a Dr, I won’t say which, advised her to buy it from a ‘Dealer’.

    In Canada the law is, to say the least obscure. Possession in comparison with dealing and all that.

    My personal view is legalise everything! That way you will have control over the drug situation and, I hate to be saying this, the government can tax it and be done with it. It would let up on so much police time it insane – this especially for ‘Softer’ drugs.

  23. 24 steve/oregon
    July 10, 2008 at 16:51

    Living in Oregon I have no problem with pot being legal. I was stationed in germany while in the service and made many trips to Holland were everything is legal and the funny thing is most people didn’t abuse it. I have met a ton of danish people since they are the leaders in wind power and there has been a recent boom of these in my area. They told me that some people go home to have a beer (after work) in there country others would smoke some weed etc etc and without any real side effects or abuse problems.

    A story i will use is one from my past if something is “taboo” then kids will do it. When your mother would tell you don’t change the channel on the T.V. as you walked by not even thinking of changing the channel. I know that I personally as a child would go and do it immeadiately.

    As a teen i was allowed to drink in my house, I could have friends over to drink, my parents would take our keys and tell us if you drink you won’t drive. After the first party my friends and i would maybe have a beer but never go over board because my parents removed the “taboo” of alchohol.

    Alot of the people in collage that drop out or get strung out on drugs are the ones that come from families that shelter there children no drugs no alch no bad T.V. etc etc i would say 80% of the people i met in collage that were always doing drugs were this way while the others seemed to have matured past it when people didn’t make a big deal of it

  24. July 10, 2008 at 16:53

    Legalize it, tax it, and put ads on TV, that riducule and make fun of drug users.

    These ads should always leave the message, that losers use drugs, and open up opportunities for those who actually want to live in the real world, compete and climb the ladder of a meaningful life.

    All taxes go into a state health care plan to give all who want a health insurance program, that help most people who have no health care insurance.

    troop

  25. 26 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    July 10, 2008 at 16:54

    Aside from the question of hemp, medical marijuana is the question of the day. And it merits discussion.

    Cannabis is a plant with legitimate pharmacological benefits, and the US government used to acknowledgw this by growing it and distributing it by prescription to patients in need. This was reported in a story by 60 MINUTES decades ago. And the condition it was reported to treat was glaucoma, something not yet mentioned here.

    Cannabis was not made illegal until decades later when some politicians decided that the public would vote for a candidate who was “tough on drugs.” This was a medical decision made by people who know nothing about medicine and have no business in it. Talk about the ignorant leading the powerless into blindness. Glaucoma, remember?

    Any more said about the question by anyone without a degree in medicine is just so much hot air.

  26. 27 Ashi in New Jersey
    July 10, 2008 at 16:55

    I definitely think Marijuana should be legalized or at least decriminalized. There is a ridiculous amount of money spend on the “war on drugs” in the United States which includes but is not limited to Police, Prisons and other Correctional Methods, and Awareness Funding. Instead just legalize it and tax it as they tax alcohol, and cigarettes and use that money to properly educate people which our nation so desperately needs. No studies have shown long term harmful effects of marijuana and therefore its safer than both cigarettes and alcohol.

  27. 28 CarlosK
    July 10, 2008 at 16:58

    Hi WHYSayers

    The legalization of cannabis will help only the growers, sellers, tax collectors and private healthcare facilities. It will not benefit society, the users (a more appropriate word is ABUSERS) and their families.

    Ganja smoking is harmful to ones health- mentally, physically, socially and most of all spiritually.

    Here in Jamaica where cannabis (ganja, marijuana) has been abused for many decades we have all the ill-effects- insanity, poverty, illiteracy, laziness just to name a few.

    Cannabis should not be legalized it will further destroy the community.

    Carlos, Kingston-Jamaica.

  28. 29 Mark Sandell
    July 10, 2008 at 16:59

    Jonathan, thanks for making me laugh.

  29. 30 Count Iblis
    July 10, 2008 at 17:00

    I don’t agree with the statement that “cannabis is a strongly addictive drug”. Cannabis is less addictive than nicotine or alcohol. You don’t get strong withdrawal symptoms if you use cannabis regularly and then decide not to use it at all.

    If you are addicted to alcohol and suddenly stop drinking then the withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that it can lead to death.

  30. 31 John in Salem
    July 10, 2008 at 17:10

    Here in Oregon pot has, for the most part, been given a low priority on the enforcement side and that is as it should be – we don’t have the money to waste prosecuting and jailing pot smokers. If you’re caught driving with pot you can still be arrested for being under the influence and if you’re caught growing without a medical authorization card you can still be arrested for manufacturing but if you’re smoking it in your home no one is going to kick the door in and drag you away.
    I like it and if I had it around all the time I would smoke it more often but I simply can’t afford it. The stuff grown in Oregon nowadays runs about $45 for an eighth of an ounce and I prefer eating to getting high.
    I personally think the benefits of legalization would outweigh the negatives. Laws governing proper social use could be more defined and manufacturing and distribution could be controlled. It would remain illegal to minors and the taxes generated by sales through our state liquor stores would help fund law enforcement against the really nasty stuff like meth and crack.
    Bottom line is that people who use it or are likely to use it are still going to regardless of the law. While pot isn’t the healthiest thing around it’s a lot less toxic than alcohol – you don’t read much about people who smoke a little pot after a long day’s work and then beat up their spouses.

  31. 32 gary
    July 10, 2008 at 17:11

    The “Far Left?” What a curious epithet it is. Most folks (Right and Left) need to learn a bit of the natural products chemistry of Cannabis sativa L: Various cultivars of this plant (hemp) can economically produce high strength fiber, remarkably nutritious seed oils, and a myriad of specialty products, while simultaneously presenting about as much risk of illicit use as do poppy seeds. Substantial support and well-organized political opposition to their cultivation exist, mostly all based on ignorance maintained by disinformation spread by both sides. However, some bottom lines may be noted:
    * Hemp is a useful plant, maybe as much so as are cotton and flax. It will not stop deforestation or global warming; but it could give tobacco farmers a profitable alternative. Because its cultivation is illegal in the US, its husbandry for production of industrially useful products has not enjoyed the benefits of modern genomic manipulation. The exception to this is of course production of ever more potent pot (Competition does indeed drive product improvement.).
    * Smoking anything is stupid, as is self-administration of any drug. The drive to legalize medical marijuana is as much a symptom of the grossly dysfunctional Healthcare system in the US as it is of any machinations by the far left.
    * If pot smokers are mostly lazy bums (and by recent assertion also members of the “far left”), why not legalize it and let them toke themselves to death? What Right-winger could object to this?
    g

  32. 33 1430a
    July 10, 2008 at 17:16

    @Gaurav
    well what do u mean by:
    ” i don’t see big difference in selling tobacco and cannabis…..”
    you mean there is no harm in using it!right???
    i come from Nepal too and i dont see any boost to the economy that the sale of cannabis can bring about?
    And you know what,u can actually check the harms brought about by cannabis in the following link:
    http://web4health.info/en/answers/add-cannabis-long-term.htm

    Can you give me a link that gives us the economic advantage???
    And how much money will it bring in???
    Abhinav
    🙂

  33. 34 Melanie Chassen
    July 10, 2008 at 17:20

    While I am not in a position to say whether I think legalizing marijuana would benefit my community, I do have a few personal thoughts about a comment I read further up the page – the difference between banning smoking from cigarettes in public vs. smoking pot in public.

    Perhaps this makes me a hypocrite, but I would never be able to date someone who smoked cigarettes. I could however, date someone who smoked pot. My main reason for this is the extensive research that has be done on the harm caused by second hand tobacco smoke. It could just be my own ignorance, but I have no knowledge of pot smoke causing cancers and dangerous diseases several years down the road. And to this day I can honestly say that I have not known any friends or family members to become sick or die due to pot smoking related issues. Unfortunately I cannot make the same claim with regards to smoking cigarettes. Smoking cigarettes is someone’s own personal decision, which I completely respect. I just would prefer to not be subjected to it.

    As for legalizing marijuana, I cannot offer an opinion one way or another. There are arguments for both cases. There are some that say it’s a gateway drug, others that say it is not. It would not really be any different than more socially acceptable drugs like alcohol or caffeine. Some say that it would become much more prevalent. But I’d say most people, if they wanted to get it, know somebody who knows somebody.

    So yes, I have no decision about legalizing. But I’ve brought up some other personal views that I think could be of interest.

  34. 35 Gretchen Eldrich
    July 10, 2008 at 17:24

    I won’t say gang violence isn’t involved in cannabis trade…but legalize it, and there would be nothing in it to attract gang violence. Big companies would put shady jungle operations out of business.

    It would also free up law enforcement and incarceration space for crimes much more serious than getting a little silly in your living room on the weekend.

    I was working in a restaurant at one point, and after the place closed and everyone was hanging around cleaning and counting tips and stuff, pot came up in conversation. I was amazed to find that I was about the only person in a fairly crowded room who didn’t smoke pot. (I don’t smoke anything, so I have no stake in it really aside from the redirect of law enforcement to more important matters.) I mean, teenagers, aging divorcees, bitter old women….everyone across a diverse restaurant crew, everyone was a pot smoker. I never knew it was so widespread.

    If that sample is representative, then we are a nation that largely gets high every once in a while yet society still functions and busses aren’t wildly careening into buildings and there is seemingly no harm going on that I can discern on the societal level. All the discernable harm is in the number of people in jail because of the laws, and the number of people in pot-related criminal activity because of the laws, and anxiety of people who just want to smoke a bit on their time off worried they will be minimum mandated sentenced like some heroin pusher because they had a joint in their pocket.

    Personally I don’t favor anything, I’d be happy to see smoking and its health effects go away, but if it seems we are stuck with it at some level, at least don’t criminalize it. That didn’t work with alcohol and it isn’t working with weed.

  35. 36 Andrew
    July 10, 2008 at 17:24

    Let’s ignore the issue of graduation to harder drugs for a moment and consider just one point. More and more legitimate research and actual findings by those in psychology and medical areas are confirming the long held concerns that cannabis use increases or creates psychological problems (a topical one being clinical depression) in the individual. I have seen it in my practice, time after time again those with serious problems were all confirmed cannabis users – and the problems occurred after not before using dope. Add to that the basic health problems associated with smoking any substance at all on the body. But more than this is that it puts many others in danger in our society as one group, road users, who are intent on consuming cannabis and then drive put many at serious risk of injury or death. I have also been involved in road safety for many years and witnessed this tragedy first hand. Legalising cannabis might make liberals feel better about the world, but it will create more problems and destroy more lives for merely the pursuit by some of recreational drug use.

    And yes alcohol does cause problems, it is a serious health issue for many, but it is regulated whereas cannabis use would not be as anyone would be able to cultivate it. But to simply point the finger at alcohol does nothing to minimise the seriousness of cannabis use or excuse it.

  36. 37 Luz Ma
    July 10, 2008 at 17:33

    LOL Jonathan!!!

  37. 38 Count Iblis
    July 10, 2008 at 17:38

    Andrew:

    And yes alcohol does cause problems, it is a serious health issue for many, but it is regulated whereas cannabis use would not be as anyone would be able to cultivate it.

    I don’t agree. If you legalize it then you can produce it in certain certified places and control production that way. If it is produced on an industrial scale, the price will be lower, so customers will buy the legally produced stuff.

    In countries were alcohol is banned, the production of alcohol is not regulated at all. People produce it in their own homes. The alcohol they produce often contains methanol leading to people getting poisoned.

  38. 39 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 17:42

    @CarllosK,

    You say, “Ganja smoking is harmful to ones health- mentally, physically, socially and most of all spiritually.”

    Do we really need our government to arrest us if we are “harming ourselves.”

  39. 40 Katharina in Ghent
    July 10, 2008 at 17:46

    I have another question, which may show how ignorant I am towards drugs in general: When you get caught driving under the influence of alcohol, it’s quite easy to assess how much alcohol you had, but how easy is it to do the same with someone more or less stoned? And where do you draw the line?

  40. 41 Mohammed Ali
    July 10, 2008 at 17:47

    Personally I have no problem with people smoking marijuana as compare to cigarette. That said, here in Liberia marijuana is an embodiment of most of the atrocities that were committed during our 14 year civil war. During those years when rebel fighters got ready to commit atrocity, they first got high with cannabis, something they said made them brave and loss feelings for humans. Cannabis in Liberia is often smoke by gangs and bad people. Legalising it in Liberia, a country recovering from a civil war, will be much worse taking into consideration the number of ex-combatants we have.

  41. 42 Luz Ma
    July 10, 2008 at 17:49

    @Will

    Sorry about your wife. I have a friend with MS and another with rheumatoid arthritis; both of them get marihuana from dealers. I think many people would benefit from legalizing cannabis, especially those who require them to easy ill-related pain.

    Also I am with you about legalizing everything. My husband lost a dear friend from drug related violence. He was in a law-enforcement agency dealing with drug trafficking. We have lost many lives here. And we don’t have high rates of drug addiction (in comparison with other countries). We are mainly the “bridge” and the “suppliers” to the U.S. I would like that to change.

    I think legalizing will solve the entire problem. If drugs were legalized in Mexico, the government would take over the industry and bankrupted it! That is for sure. It is what they have been doing with all our national resources´ industries. But that is other story…

  42. 43 Ashi in New Jersey
    July 10, 2008 at 17:49

    Forget about Liberals v. Conservatives, if we dont legalize it, we should atleast decriminalize marijuana. This would save us millions of dollars in the court system, correctional system, and law enforcement system. Not to mention all the kids who get people who get in trouble for marijuana and are no longer eligible for Federal Aid in Education, Federal Benefits, and even the right to vote.
    We spend over 300 billion dollars a year to lock people up in state and federal prisons. And according to the UCR Drug crimes make up almost over 50% of the prison population in the United States. This is money which can be better spent providing people with healthcare, education and better energy sources.
    People talk about our victory in Iraq being a Phyrric victory, but that has only been a few years. The so called “War on Drugs” has been a losing war for decades and yet we still keep fueling money into prevention. The best way to prevent drug crimes, is educating people on drugs, and providing them with education and vocation which will help them focus their time and money on more productive things than drugs.

    Ashi

  43. 44 Alison
    July 10, 2008 at 17:50

    I won’t re-state all the arguements that have been made and just say I’m in favor of legalization.

    And to those who are worried about adding another addictive substance to our society, there have been studies that show cannabis is less addictive than coffee. Withdrawal simptoms are less noticeable than a coffee drinker who is suddenly switched to tea. Should we put all coffee drinkers in jail?

    When I was a high school student, pot was easier for us to get than alcohol, so I don’t agree with the arguement that legalization would make it easier for young kids to get.

    The only concern I would have would be letting tobacco companies take over the sale and adding substances that did make it more addictive. I would only support the legalization if it allowed people to grow their own.

    It’s no wonder big drug companies are against it… a pain killer you can grow yourself would mean disaster for some drug companies.

  44. 45 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    July 10, 2008 at 17:52

    To the WHYS community in general:

    I’d like to apologize for the last sentence of my post @16:54. I did not intend to discourage thoughtful discussion. This particularly hit home after reading the comments of Will Rhodes @16:40, who did not mention anything about medical qualifications.

    To Drake @15:40:
    Sorry I skipped over your mention of hemp the first time round.

    To Abdelilah Boukili@16:37:
    You raise a legitimate concern, but does it apply to the question at hand? Would legalization of growing cannabis in the US increase the presence of canabis growing in Morrocco, or decrease it?

    To Luz Ma @16:39:
    Same question, but in your case I regret to predict that legalization of cannabis will do little to stem the problems associated with drug traficking. It’s my understanding that because of its bulk, almost all cannabis consumed in the US is domestically produced. Drugs from Latin America are primarily the higher value cocaine and heroin, which are not likely to be legalized here any time soon, if ever. How about promoting the paper / textile angle down there?

    To anyone mentioning the dangers of cannabis use:
    Since when does the FDA restrict drugs on the grounds of known (or unproven) mild (or serious) side effects?

    To Jonathan (in sSFO) @15:54:
    Laugh Out Loud!

    “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”
    – Emma Goldman

  45. 46 Will Rhodes
    July 10, 2008 at 17:59

    Thanks, Luz – but my wife is a fighter so her view is that she is a person with the disease and not a person who allows the disease to control her life.

    @ All – what I have to bring this over to is this; in Afghanistan some of the worlds opium crop is grown, as we all know, the Taleban takes a ‘tax’ on this crop – so the hard drug use is funding them. If Marijuana was grown locally it would bring about a good crop that farmers could use, you can use just about all the plant. And, again, it can be a revenue for local government.

    I don’t see what the objection really is other than people have the munchies later on in the day.

  46. 47 Janet T
    July 10, 2008 at 18:00

    Portlandmike says:
    Do we really need our government to arrest us if we are “harming ourselves.”

    hello?? seatbelt laws, motorocycle helmet laws, bicycle helmet laws???? and numerous other laws the government has put into play to protect us from ourselves.

  47. 48 Shaun in Halifax
    July 10, 2008 at 18:02

    @ Katharina in Ghent

    The California State Troopers (or some other law enforcement agency in CA) have developed a sort of roadside sobriety test for stoned people. I don’t know what it is, but it apparently works. Probably something like having them recite the alphabet backwards while waving a bag of potato chips and a drink in their faces.

  48. 49 Luz Ma
    July 10, 2008 at 18:04

    @John D Augustine

    I know it would not be a big blow, but it would be of help. I looked for stats about cannabis traficking to the U.S. from Mexico, I couldn´t find anything. I´ll keep looking.

    I think, however, there is demand of Mexican marihuana in the U.S. (especially the border) because it is more stronger than the U.S. marihuana. I am not sure of this last statement because I have never consumed marihuana, however, other people who are regular users have said this to me.

    But, as I said before, I am for the legalization of everything. If people want to waste their lifes doing drugs, that is their problem. But having a profitable industry run by criminals (because the substances are prohibited) it is quite bad for everyone.

  49. 50 Will Rhodes
    July 10, 2008 at 18:04

    @ John D

    This particularly hit home after reading the comments of Will Rhodes @16:40, who did not mention anything about medical qualifications.

    My medical qualifications? If so, I have none – but the Dr concerned has what he/she needs to practice medicine.

    If you meant something other than that I would ask you to explain. Thanks.

  50. 51 Luz Ma
    July 10, 2008 at 18:05

    @Will

    That is the spirit. My best wishes for your wife 🙂

  51. July 10, 2008 at 18:10

    The plant should be legalized. Tobacco and Alcohol should be banned because they cause more harm and damage then Cannabis. If you want to classify Cannabis as a drug, then alcohol and tobacco need to be in the same parameter. That argument of letting people use “drugs” is a joke. Wake up people! Alcohol and tobacco kill more people.

  52. 53 Luz Ma
    July 10, 2008 at 18:11

    @John D Augustine

    “How about promoting the paper / textile angle down there?”

    Sorry, I am not sure of the meaning of this. Could you elaborate on this?

  53. 54 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    July 10, 2008 at 18:12

    Yes! Lets take more land for durg production that can be used for food.

    Lets keep cannabis for medical use only is OK but that is all.

  54. 55 Adam in Portland
    July 10, 2008 at 18:12

    I see little reason why alcohol should be legal and cannabis should not.

    Isn’t it simplistic to say that we can just continue banning marijuana and that it will just go away?

  55. 56 Adam in New York
    July 10, 2008 at 18:12

    “And what message does it send out to effectively condone drug use?”

    We already effectively condone drug use. Cannabis is safer than alcohol – zero deaths from pharmacological effects in thousands of years of consumption, versus daily deaths (painful ones at that – cirrhosis, hepatitis, car crashes) from alcohol.

    This boils down to a demand on the part of the prohibitionists for control of our minds. There is no pharmacological or “health” basis for prohibition.

    The Netherlands should be a guiding light.

  56. 57 krisjanis
    July 10, 2008 at 18:12

    greetings!

    making cannabis illegal will never stop the using!

    legalizing it would at least give huge tax money to governments..

    I would draw a red line between synthetic drugs and plants that have been used by humans for thousands of years!

    sincerely, krisjanis

  57. July 10, 2008 at 18:13

    Cannabis has been used in Morocco for a long time. For its consumption, a tool called sebsi ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kief ) is used. The processed cannabis is called kief ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kief ). This cannabis should be considered as a soft drug, but it is still considered as illegal to purchase it although people in the past used to smoke it in public without being arrested. Now with the crackdown on using and dealing in drugs of all sorts, people use it on the sly.

    As one variation of drug, leads to another, those using soft drugs will be tempted to use hard drugs. If cannabis is legalized, maybe in the future there will be calls to legalize other forms of drugs. Contrary to the view that legalizing cannabis can solve economic and security problems, it may lead to more problems, as there will be efforts to deal with the use of hard drugs resulting from using soft drugs.

  58. 59 Venessa
    July 10, 2008 at 18:16

    Drug testing in schools? Is this guy serious?

    Marijuana use has gone down 50% in the US since the war on drugs? Can he site where this fact comes from?

  59. 60 Alison
    July 10, 2008 at 18:17

    I bet this doctor doesn’t have a problem prescribing morphine or some other addictive pain drug. Can you say… ‘spokesman for big drug company’?

  60. 61 Anthony
    July 10, 2008 at 18:17

    If Marijuana is addictive, then so is fast food and pornography. I haven’t heard any proof that Marijuana is “bad” today on the program.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  61. 62 Howie Markes
    July 10, 2008 at 18:17

    Hey WHYS

    If the debate is about the medicinal use of Cannabis then lets remember that most patients who would turn to cannabis will already be being prescribed highly addictive, legal medication such as Morphine, Codeine, Tramadol, Valium, etc……
    If you have ever been prescribed these drugs and run the real risk of serious addiction issues then Cannabis can look an attractive alternative.
    Cannabis is natural, has few relative side effects and, in certain patients, can be THE best form of pain relief available. It can be consumed in non harmful ways using vaporisers or adding to food and is often more effective that way.
    The overall legalisation issue is a wider one but medicinal cannabis and its use is being held back by the bigger “social picture”. A few lucky patients can get access to “Sativex” a medicinal cannabis spray but this is a very small population! GP’s will dish out seriously heavy duty medications at high doses but won’t consider a herbal alternative that is often more effective…there’s something wrong

  62. 63 Matt in Portland, OR
    July 10, 2008 at 18:18

    Before I was 21 it was much easier to get marijuana then it was to get alcohol and tobacco. The reason being that you had to go to a store a provide some form of ID to obtain them. I think that if you were to go to high schools and colleges around the country this would prove to be the rule rather than the exception.

  63. 64 Shaun in Halifax
    July 10, 2008 at 18:18

    I’ve been listening to the ‘expert’ panelists, and while they have quoted many things as “known facts” I haven’t heard them back up their talk with sources. I challenge the panel to start citing their sources instead of making broad examples and adding addendums like “it’s a known fact.”

  64. 65 ingo
    July 10, 2008 at 18:19

    The knwoledge about cannabis and what it does and does not do is now so widespread the the lies that have perpetuated prohibition and harm cannot go unchallenged anymore.

    A plant that we can derive some 55.000 different products from, from oils to paints to medicine and new superstrenght moulds and panels, biofuel nutritiopus seeds and more medicine, is too valuable to keep under prohibition.
    Most of these products can be made in environmentally friendly processes, so to deny humanity this plant is the greatest illegality that has occured.
    The Hemp genuis will revolutionise agriculture again and provide us with some effective CO 2 reductions in many new products.
    legalise and utilise I say, damned be the federal scoundrels who are in support of the greatest drug pushers on earth, the CIA, may their hulks rott and their breath stink.

  65. 66 Elias Lostrom
    July 10, 2008 at 18:19

    Aaagh, who is this person talking about the addictiveness of pot. Queen Victoria smoked pot to relieve period pains. Those less able to control themselves will fall through the cracks regardless of the legal status of any substance.

    They used to say, you lied to us about marijuana so you are probably lying about heroin and cocaine.

    call me on 302106211776

  66. 67 Venessa
    July 10, 2008 at 18:20

    The viscosity of the fluids in your joints increases when you smoke it for arthritic purposes. This guy is denying facts because he’s totally against it.

  67. 68 Ashi in New Jersey
    July 10, 2008 at 18:21

    Chloe – Can the Doctor who is pro-prohibition tell us what the harmful long term effects of cannibus are and whether or not they are more dangerous than alcohol and cogarettes?

  68. 69 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 18:21

    The problem with prohibition is that the laws make 15% of the population criminals.

  69. 70 Adam in New York
    July 10, 2008 at 18:21

    Why not have a discussion, doctor vs. doctor, instead of layman vs. doctor?

    Dr. Lester Grinspoon, professor emeritus of Harvard Medical School, or contact Americans for Safe Access or the Marijuana Policy Project for dozens more.

  70. July 10, 2008 at 18:22

    the real argument here is whether or not it is OK to use drugs.

    alcohol is a drug.

    if it is ok to use alcohol then it is ok to use drugs.

    i think it is ok to use drugs; people like them.

    stop fighting the tide of what people want.

    people who use drugs are not automatically criminals.

    the moral argument is moot because alcohol is legal.

  71. 72 Ugochi
    July 10, 2008 at 18:22

    What I am wondering when hearing this argument is this: both alcohol and tobacco cause large amounts of harm to people and become highly addictive. And while I realize that these have been ingrained in the culture for a while, it is accepted that these are harmful to people. Yet, not major legislation has been done to prevent people from using these drugs since the attempt the prohibition amendment. So, why is it ok to have these drugs, which are harmful and don’t have medicinal value to them, readily available to the market and the people and not marjuana.

  72. July 10, 2008 at 18:23

    This doctor is most condescending, smug and arrogant guest you have ever had on this show.

  73. 74 menca
    July 10, 2008 at 18:23

    some time ago there was an interview on a BBC with a drug dealer who was long in the trade, and served his time in jail. his father used to run an alcohol brewery, so he could compare the things. and i could not but agree with his retrospective view that basically it was all the same. legal or not, that’s merely a technical details.

    common, people! isn’t all this drug talk just a one big lump of hypocrisy? some part of the “business” like tobacco and alcohol are perfectly legal, others are run deeply underground forming an even more bigger black market than legal ons. obvious solution would be legalize every and all of this. but i suppose that would never happen, mainly because all the current power clans are perfectly happy with the situation. both governments and criminals alike. no one forces anyone to take in those poisons., and likewise no one would (and should) _really_ care about Your health but yourself.

  74. 75 Joseph, Berkeley, California, USA
    July 10, 2008 at 18:24

    THE IDEA THAT ANYONE WHO USES CANNABIS/MARIJUANA WILLINEVITABLY MOVE ON TO HARDCORE DRUGS, IS LIKE SAYING THAT ANYONE WHO SMOKES CIGARETTES (NICOTINE), OR ALCOHOL, OR DRINKS COFFEE (CAFFEINE) WILL MOVE ON TO HEROIN — BECAUSE I BET THAT ANYONE WHO HAS USED HEROIN HAS SMOKED AND CERTAINLY DRANK ALCOHOL OR COFFEE.

    I think it’s stupid for goverments to treat Cannabis/marijuana — NOT A NARCOTIC — like narcotic drugs. ( It’s a drug that is demonstrably much less harmful and costly to society than cigarettes and alcohol (drugs which hundreds of thousands of people have been made ill and/or died from) or abusively inhaling glue and other household chemicals. Marijuana is a mild natural substance that no one has ever directly, documentably, died from, unlike nicotine-boosted cigarettes (much more highly addictive), cigars, tobacco pipe smoking, and alcohol.

    If anything, it’s the criminalization of marijuana, and thus the greater criminal and adulteration activity (like “criminals” putting lead and other toxic substances in marijuana) surrounding that criminalization, that makes it more dangerous for everyone, users and even non-users. In the U.S. (and maybe in Germany and other Western countries?) the government originally targeted marijuana as an alternate way to target the younger sociopolitical rebels, 1960’s anti-war activsts, dissidents and leftists of society — and, of course, ethnic minorities of color. (Of course, children of the rich and sociopolitically well-connected rarely, if ever, were targeted or went to prison.)

    I have many very intelligent friends, almost everyone I know, who have sometimes tried or *responsibly* used marijuana for many years (and, for most, moreso in their college days than they ever do now, now that they are professionally working and, in some cases, raising families) — and they can get it, grow it, or buy it whenever they want to do so. NONE of them have gone on to become intravenous or, otherwise, hardcore drug users: that’s like fallaciously saying that all heroin or cocaine addiction begins with cigarettes or alcohol, therefore cigarettes or alcohol lead to heroin or cocaine addiction.

    And that raises another point: instead of the ridiculous idea of stamping out a relatively harmless substance (under normal conditions) like marijuana, *responsible* use should be encouraged, just as with the responsible use of alcohol. It’s the criminalization of marijuana that causes greater personal dislocation and social disruption than the use itself. And when teenagers hear the government lies and exagerations about marijuana, they tend to doubt the government about the harmful and highly addictive effects other illegal drugs.

    In the U.S., a highy disproportionate portion, if not pehaps the majority, of the prison population is filled with nonviolent drug abusers/criminal, and the majority of that is for marijuana: law enforcement, the criminal-justice system, the prison-industrial industry, special forces marijuana home and forest platation eradication units, spend and waste hundreds of millions of dollars each year on trying to stamp out this relatively harmless drug — making marijuana elimination a huge profits and employment program for those interests.

    In the U.S., the police have actually killed users that marijuana itself does not kill. I think, at least rhetorically speaking, that it’s the self-delustional politicians who keep marijunana illegal who are the ones on drugs.

  75. 76 lil in oregon
    July 10, 2008 at 18:24

    I’m currently 36 years old, and i first smoked pot as a teenager. while i did try a couple of other drugs as well, i never enjoyed anything else, so i don’t believe it leads down a “bad path”. i have an auto-immune disorder, and marijuana give me much relief. that said, i do occasionally use it recreationally, albeit very modestly. if you would equate one glass of wine with one puff of pot, i would say i have one cocktail every few days.

    just like alcoholics receive the brunt of the focus, many people don’t realize how the majority of people are quite responsible when it comes to smoking pot. i don’t feel it’s nearly as devastating as alcohol.

    i say, legalize, but with stringent rules.

  76. 77 zack phillips
    July 10, 2008 at 18:25

    I live in Oregon. I don’t use marijuana, but they should just lealise it already. I know a score of people who have had terrible incidents due to alcohol abuse and have known people who got cancer from tobacco. As far as I can tell Marijuana has never hurt anyone I know. ps. Why does WHYS always pick the loudest, most annoying Americans to be on the show? It’s embarrasing. There has to be an anti-marijuana doctor out there who isn’t as much of a dick as this guy on now.

  77. 78 Carolanne
    July 10, 2008 at 18:25

    I honestly don’t see any more damaged in putting marijuana in our systems then the other toxins we put in every day that are “legal” such as disgusting fast food, chemicals, fumes, pollution, etc.

  78. 79 L. Walker
    July 10, 2008 at 18:26

    to the american speaker on the radio:

    please remember that you represent your country on the international radio. please act accordingly. attacking the people who debate with you, interrupting, scoffing, and just generally being rude makes all americans looks very bad and is embarrassing.

    as for ‘bringing medicine to market’ there have been MANY medical disasters that have run proper course, with the medical companies and the FDA deciding what is acceptable risk and side effects only to watch people die from their approved drugs.

  79. July 10, 2008 at 18:26

    @ andrew.

    Do you know what can be depressing. not having a good job or a good choice of occupations. Looking around at all your friends. Many of them are alcoholics, chain smokers, caffeine addicts, and sugar junkies. They can all partake in their drug of choice with out prejudice. They are all equally if not more addicted to their drugs then the pot smoker. As I mention earlier I know marijuana users from all walks of life. Yet the “pothead” is singled out as being a degenerate amongst the crowd. IF you are an alcoholic you only need to not be drunk at the time of your drug test. Pot users have to be clean at least 2 weeks. Chronic users have to be clean up to 45 days before it won’t show up on a test. Saying pot usage leads to depressing is a “chicken or the egg” argument. Does country music or alcohol not lead to depression? Maybe we should ban them. Lung cancer can be a real bummer. How about banning that.

    I don’t smoke it. But because of it’s ability to fight depression in some people, especially one in particular to me, my life would be a lot better if it were legal. I think if the world leaders all got together and grooved to one beat around the hookah, we might actually achieve world peace. Although, somebody better warn Frito-Lay if they are going to try something like that. They will have to step up production.

  80. 81 Shane P
    July 10, 2008 at 18:27

    What’s wrong with legalizing it? Live and let live! It’s a persons own fault if they can’t figure out that too much of something isn’t good for their body or intelligence.

    Hardcore pot users are NOT the doctors, scientists, politicians, and scholars of the future. Most people are already smart enough to know when something is affecting their future possibilities and will have the self control to limit or stop using it.

  81. 82 emily
    July 10, 2008 at 18:27

    you can’t overdose on it, it doesn’t give you a hangover, is not physically addictive… legalizing cannabis could have a major impact on currently lucrative pharmaceuticals, extremely expensive anti-nausea medication for aids and cancer patients, dangerous psychoactive drugs that have high rates of increasing suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and expensive and traumatic hospitalizations for eating disorders.

    obviously legalizing all drugs would make them safer, easier to regulate, make addictions more treatable, reduce drug related violence (including the horrible state of so much of central and south america)

    excellent point about alcohol. check out the facts. sooooo much worse for you.

  82. 83 Jesse
    July 10, 2008 at 18:27

    I think that the “War on Drugs” has sadly misled the population on the true properties of Marajuana. It was labled as a gateway drug. If you use it you will eventually graduate on to other, harder drugs. That is simply not true. A person who is inclined to use the harder drug will use it regaurdless, Marajuana is just easier to aquire when you are younger. I have used canabis for 14 years and have never graduated to harder drugs, the same as many of my friends. My husband uses it medically for dealing with head trauma and he is a proffessional and quite successfull. We need to deal with the issues that lead children and adults to use and seek happiness through drug abuse.

  83. July 10, 2008 at 18:27

    @ John D. Augustine
    ___________________________________________________________
    Would legalization of growing cannabis in the US increase the presence of cannabis growing in Morocco, or decrease it?
    __________________________________________________________

    I think if cannabis is legalized in the USA, Morocco will have little benefit as there are other countries in Latin America which will compete against it. But I think there will be temptations by farmers in Morocco to increase production if they have a market in the USA to which they can export cannabis legally.

  84. 85 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 18:28

    I’m curious, and I don’t use drugs, but how much of the anti Marijuana movement is based upon religious reasons? Such as Marijuana make the baby Jesus cry, but alcohol doesn’t. how is there any rational basis to distinguish between marijuana and cigarettes, when marijuana isn’t harmful, and alcohol and tobacco are harmful? I’m curious, has there ever been a case of someone dying from marijuana other than some falling on him? lots of people die from alcohol and cigarettes. Is this all about what makes the baby jesus cry?

  85. 86 Dan
    July 10, 2008 at 18:28

    The American doctor who supports prohibition seems to have a very flawed argument. For example the rates of decline in marijuana use that he cites from the 1970’s onward is based on self-report statistical information. This kind of information is greatly skewed by variables such as fear of persecution.

    Second, he supports the gateway theory of drug use and addiction which has been proven wrong in many journals.

    Also, he seems to ignore medical evidence that has proven marijuana to be effective in treatment of ailments such as rhumatoid arthritis.

    Could you ask him what empirical evidence he has to support his ideas?

  86. 87 Adam in Portland
    July 10, 2008 at 18:29

    The doctor on here is rude, arrogant, and relies on using pat assumptions to try to shoot down other people’s arguments. He doesn’t allow other people to finish a thought yet he expects to have an uninterrupted platform to pontificate.

    Ugggh.

  87. July 10, 2008 at 18:29

    I cannot believe that we (United States), spend billions of $ fighting some phantom war on drugs. Let’s use this money to feed our people, build housing, improve our schools etc. Why do we continue to waste money, time and valuable resources on something that is not causing the majority of population destruction? At the end of the day the choice is up to the person.

  88. 89 Andrew - Australia
    July 10, 2008 at 18:29

    Let’s ignore the issue of graduation to harder drugs for a moment and consider just one point. More and more legitimate research and actual findings by those in psychology and medical areas are confirming the long held concerns that cannabis use increases or creates psychological problems (a topical one being clinical depression) in the individual. I have seen it in my practice, time after time again those with serious problems were all confirmed cannabis users – and the problems occurred after not before using dope. Add to that the basic health problems associated with smoking any substance at all on the body. But more than this is that it puts many others in danger in our society as one group, road users, who are intent on consuming cannabis and then drive put many at serious risk of injury or death. I have also been involved in road safety for many years and witnessed this tragedy first hand. Legalising cannabis might make liberals feel better about the world, but it will create more problems and destroy more lives for merely the pursuit by some of recreational drug use.

    And yes alcohol does cause problems, it is a serious health issue for many, but it is regulated whereas cannabis use would not be as anyone would be able to cultivate it. But to simply point the finger at alcohol does nothing to minimise the seriousness of cannabis use or excuse it.

  89. 90 Josh B
    July 10, 2008 at 18:30

    How many people each year are killed by the legal drugs alcohol and tobacco? They are drugs even if people don’t believe it. Prohibition didn’t work before and it isn’t working now.

  90. 91 Shaun in Halifax
    July 10, 2008 at 18:30

    I’d like to address this to the forum but especially Dr. Both (Boothe?).

    According to the Surgeon General’s Report, there are zero deaths annually directly linked to marijuana use. Yet there are a few thousand directly related to smoking and alcohol death. Can he care to comment on why the United States Government spends so much money trying to stop people from smoking it?

    When you overdose on alcohol, you die. When you overdose on cocaine, you die. When you overdose on heroin, you die. When you overdose on caffeine, you die. When you overdose on cannabis… you fall asleep.

  91. 92 bradpdx
    July 10, 2008 at 18:30

    Dr. Voss (sp?) is doing himself no favors with his rather arrogant tone. In many ways, his simplistic straw-man arguments reflect the problems that the prohibitionists face all along; they must convince skeptics in the face of the tremendous hypocrisy of current policy.

    Sorry doctor, but your arguments carry little intellectual weight and your delivery is wretched. An accusatory attitude makes you look the fool.

    The medical arguments are spurious in the face of recreational drug policy and I give them no weight. The broader point that has crippled reasonable drug policy is the uneven application of restrictions. This is easily seen in the legal status of alcohol and tobacco, both tremendous industries with strong lobbying arms in the U.S., as well as the reckless aggregation of different drugs into the “illegal” category. Lumping together disparate items such as heroin, LSD, marijuana and cocaine provides only evidence of ignorance and suspicious financial and political motivations; surely, a highly addictive drug such as crack cocaine deserves a different set of cautions than pot, but the “one size fits all” approach only serves to de-legitimize any efforts to confront the problem more reasonably.

    I strongly support the legalization of recreational drugs that pass a test of reasonable use, knowing full well that some abuse is inevitable. Following that litmus test, there is no reasonable argument I have seen that makes marijuana more deserving of sanction that alcohol. The same cannot be said of crack cocaine, and that is precisely the point.

  92. 93 Deelo
    July 10, 2008 at 18:30

    who are these doctors who persistently claim that marijuana has any actual negitive effects? every doctor I have spoken to has told me there are virtually NO harmful side effects. And dont tell me that is additcting, it isn’t. At ALL. Anyone who believes so has never used it and is more then likely been scared to death by thier society (in tandem with police). This Dr Vooth fellow has a quite a silver toungue but he has quite obviously never smoked it nor known anyone who has. I am disgusted with his additude towards people who smoke pot, like myself. PS plz stop calling it a drug, it’s a HERB.

  93. 94 Jennifer
    July 10, 2008 at 18:30

    I think you’re jumping the gun when you say Oregon is considering legalization of marijuana. The group that is pushing this idea must first gather about 80,000 signatures to get it on the ballet. And then, if it does get on the ballet, I truly believe that legalization would fail. Oregonians are not ready for this type of change regardless of any positive reasons for it.

  94. 95 sunvolt
    July 10, 2008 at 18:30

    How many people have died from the use of marijuana? None!!! How many people die everyday from the use of alcohol? Countless!!!!

  95. 96 Michael - New York City
    July 10, 2008 at 18:31

    You are aware that the federal government in US will never allow California and Oregon to follow-through, right? There are already federal laws against it. We’re held captive here by red-state legislators.

    And a question for the doctor, what lies are you planning on telling kids about marijuana in your prevention efforts? Sure, it’s not a ‘productive’ activity to smoke pot – you can certainly tell them that
    – but are you really going to lie and tell them it will completely ruin their lives? As a doctor, how many patients have you seen whose lives have been ruined by it? What afflicts them?

  96. 97 curtis
    July 10, 2008 at 18:31

    I agree with Adam. The good doctor is very arrogant. I also disagree with him that most drug addicts started with marijuana. I would imagine that they started with beer.

  97. 98 Jermaine
    July 10, 2008 at 18:32

    The comment that was just said that there are more kids using tobacco and alcohol is completely unfounded. I know 3 times as many kids (ages 14-18) that use cannabis more than smoking or drinking. And another point is that cannabis use has went up in the past 2 generations.

  98. 99 krisjanis
    July 10, 2008 at 18:32

    haven’t people noticed what happened in USA and later in USSR when governments tried to ban alcohol? did it solve ANYTHING?

    youngsters with a tendency to criminal activities are not representing the whole society! then let us ban sex as well!

  99. 100 Anthony
    July 10, 2008 at 18:32

    I wonder if the Dr. is against cigarettes and booze? What are the advantages of those two over weed?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  100. 101 Mary
    July 10, 2008 at 18:33

    It is totally ridiculous to say that drug dealers will just create a black market for Cannabis if legalized. Is there a black market for alcohol? Are there still bootleggers? I think not.
    As an Oregonian I would much rather see our tax dollars sent on fighting real crime, not Cannabis. Which, by the way, is not a gateway drug any more than alcohol or cigarettes. If you want people to stop doing Cocaine, Heroine, Meth and other hard drugs, fight those. It makes no sense to fight hard drug use by criminalizing Cannabis.

  101. 102 Andre
    July 10, 2008 at 18:33

    I absolutely oppose such a policy. The legalization of marijuana would be the first slip on a slippery slope towards societal acceptance of harder drugs. If marijuana is legalized, wait 30 years and see how people will make the same arguments for cocaine, opium or even heroin. Legalization is a short term gain for a long term pain.

  102. 103 Jermaine
    July 10, 2008 at 18:33

    The comment that was just said that there are more kids using tobacco and alcohol is completely unfounded. I know 3 times as many kids (ages 14-18) that use cannabis more than smoking or drinking. And another point is that cannabis use has went up in the past 2 generations.

  103. 104 susan
    July 10, 2008 at 18:34

    if a wealthy Caucasian is caught with marijuana in america they can usually get off with a slap on the write. If a poor African American or Latino person is caught they are more likely to prosecuted. The war on drugs is a war on poor people. I’d like to hear from the guest about where drug policy and race/class interest.

  104. 105 Jonathan
    July 10, 2008 at 18:34

    Let’s face it, there are much more addictive, and damaging, drugs than marijuana that can be acquired through prescription. The demonization of marijuana is a result of drug companies wanting to keep control over pain killers. Marijuana is a potent pain killer, and moreover it does not build tolerance in the user, unlike opiate-based pain killers, which because the opiate-user builds a tolerance they then have to buy ever increasing amounts from drug manufacturers. Furthermore, marijuana can be grown in one’s own backyard, which further frustrates drug manufacturers. There is no logical reason to keep marijuana illegal, except for paranoia by conservatives, and a lack of control by drug manufacturers over its growth. And people will always abuse drugs, whether legal, or illegal.

  105. 106 Eric in Albuquerque, NM
    July 10, 2008 at 18:34

    Personally, I do not use any of these substances, as I feel that alcohol, nicatine, THC, and many other chemical compounds are detrimental to one’s health, something that we should all strive to maintain. However, although I personally find alcohol and cigarettes despicable, I am not campaigning for their prohibition. Furthermore, I support the legalization of marijuana, if for no other reason than because it seems less harmful to society and the abuser than alcohol.

    In other words, although I think I would be equally as conformable with all of these substances being controlled, I would rather policies be consistent and not filled with hypocrisy. If alcohol is legal (granted, with some restrictions) than weed should be legal. However, if weed is illegal, how can we justify alcohol as legal?

  106. 107 J
    July 10, 2008 at 18:34

    the real argument here is whether or not it is OK to use drugs.

    alcohol is a drug.

    if it is ok to use alcohol then it is ok to use drugs.

    i think it is ok to use drugs; people like them.

    stop fighting the tide of what people want.

    people who use drugs are not automatically criminals.

    the moral argument is moot because alcohol is legal.

  107. 108 Colleen
    July 10, 2008 at 18:34

    I have to say that the officious, obnoxious, pretentious doctor who is speaking over the top of everyone, and certainly not listening to other’s opinions is reason enough to begin smoking pot, even if one has not partaken in the past.

  108. 109 Alison
    July 10, 2008 at 18:34

    I don’t understand why the doctor is so unwilling to listen to patients’ experiences. If a patient says this is what is working for me, and I would prefer it over another drug, who is he to tell that patient he or she can’t use it?

  109. 110 Mason - Park City, Utah
    July 10, 2008 at 18:34

    The anti-legalization guest is not only condescending and narrow minded but also simply ridiculous.  Not everyone who smokes pot is going to start using harder drugs, some will, but those people will start using harder drugs when they 21 and start drinking (if they actually wait till they are 21)  and his numbers of the use on drug use dropping is way off, I know people from all aspects of life, Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, Businessmen who use pot.  Stop forcing your moral beliefs on me.  Ask him about alcohol and cigarettes why is that ok?  
     

  110. 111 Bruno
    July 10, 2008 at 18:34

    Dr Both in the US seems to call SPURIOUS any point of view which doesn’t square with his own.
    But given the apparent failure of anti-drugs policy in his own country (where the only winners seem to have been the drug cartels), if he’s really looking for spurious arguments he’d better look on his side of the fence …

    Bruno, Belgium

  111. 112 Shaun in Halifax
    July 10, 2008 at 18:35

    I have a question for one of the panel members: he made mention that Holland has a bunch of problems related to marijuana use. Can he please elaborate on them? And is he SURE, as in 100% sure that those problems have been caused by the legalization of marijuana, or is it the illicit use of other substances like coke/herion/meth?

  112. 113 Dave
    July 10, 2008 at 18:35

    I find it worrisome that your guest has yet to provide any hard facts supporting his assertions that cannabis causes negative health effects or leads to the use of other drugs, or for that matter anything else he has claimed. I would encourage him to use this time on the air to give specific numerical data as to exactly what effects marijuana causes, the rate at which users move to other drugs, and so on. Tell us why marijuana is worse than other legal drugs. I want to hear which studies he is quoting, who conducted them, who financed them, and so forth. Stop spouting generalities and prove your points like a scientist intead of a politician.

  113. 114 tom in new york
    July 10, 2008 at 18:35

    I had to take prescription strength Marinol, which is essentially synthetic pot, for appetite problems that I had while taking my HIV drugs. It was a wretched experience that made created a sense of paranoia and made me famished instead of merely hungry. Pot, on the other hand, was a relatively mild. It is not surprising that the big insurance companies, as well as the New York State sponsored insurance and Medicaid, are willing to pay for medications go to a drug company (Solvay Pharmaceuticals) rather than to family farms. As these are state agencies I think we should have a say as to where our money goes.

  114. 115 Fernanda Muzquiz
    July 10, 2008 at 18:35

    A whole generation will be lost, because of children having the curiosity of trying drugs, and addicts having an incredible amount of availability of these on the market. But the next generation will look at drugs diferently, kind of like we look at cigarettes and alcohol. The goverment will have the power of distribution and will set a standard price for them, that way crimes that involve addicts trying to steal money to buy drugs will decrease. So, will we have the courage to sacrifice one generation for all the rest to come???

    Fernanda Muzquiz, MEXICO

  115. 116 Rick
    July 10, 2008 at 18:35

    i am not a user, but I do not agree with you caller. By making the canibis plant legal you are not opening a gateway to other drugs. The true gateway to drugs is alchol

  116. 117 Eliel from Brooklyn
    July 10, 2008 at 18:36

    I wonder how much money him or his company gets from the Big Tobacco? The Alcohol industry? and the pharmaceutical industry ?

    People everywhere (myself included) smoke pot, and don’t touch other drugs. The far right, with all their dirty little secrets, always want to wave a finger at smokers. The truth is that these other industries and their lobbyists, have a lot of money to lose on their venture.

    It is easy to say that usage has dropped just because arrest rates have dropped. Please add another number to your tally because I have never been arrested, and I am a proud smoker.

  117. 118 Ian in Portland, OR
    July 10, 2008 at 18:36

    According to a legitimate scientific study from The Lancet, cannabis is less harmful than tobacco and alcohol.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6474053.stm

    One can only wonder, then, why those who argue against legalization aren’t similarly vehement about prohibition of tobacco and alcohol.

    It’s absurd to argue so violently against legalization of marijuana when tobacco and alcohol are doing much more harm both individually and combined.

  118. 119 Anna, Texas
    July 10, 2008 at 18:36

    I would like to point out to your guest that Marijuana has not proven to be physically addictive.

  119. 120 Wiliam
    July 10, 2008 at 18:37

    Is the Dr speaking opposed to marijuana a doctor of ideology? I am a Physician and although I have seen numerous people die of Alcohol and Tobacco abuse, but during my entire career I have never seen one person hospitalized for or die of cannabis use.

  120. 121 Abel
    July 10, 2008 at 18:37

    Hello this is Abel from Portland, OR.

    Be careful about convoluting the issues of legality with ‘healthy’. Just because a drug or substance is legal does not make it healthy. Smoking cigarettes for example is legal for those of age, but is by no means ‘healthy’. If marijuanna is legalized, it will just funnel $$ to Phillip Morris and other huge tobacco companies. I think that decriminalization is different than legalizing. I think many countries in Europe handle their drug problems and addicts in a more effective manner than here in the US.

  121. 122 Lee - Auckland NZ
    July 10, 2008 at 18:37

    And what is wrong with people being convicted of drug charges and having this on their record.

    I run a motor racing outfit and to be honest, in this line of work I certainly do not want anyone who is a drug user working around me or my cars.

    And another things, hemp is not the same as marijuana used for drugs, different species of it and growing this for industrial use cannot justify it for consumption as a drug.

  122. 123 krisjanis
    July 10, 2008 at 18:37

    does anyone still believe what the USA government is telling?

  123. 124 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 18:37

    Wasn’t marijuana made illegal in 1937 for non health reasons?I took a psychology course back in the 1990s at Michigan, and apparently Harry Anslinger was a racist, and blacks and Mexicans used pot, and they thought white women would be at risk, so they banned marijuana for racial reasons, and in the legistlation, there was nothing about health or safety involved in the reason for banning it. Now the reason it’s still banned is because apparently it makes the baby jesus cry, a very important reason to keep something illegal. Very rational.

  124. 125 Judy
    July 10, 2008 at 18:38

    The UK ran a study in the 80s where a whole area (a heavily invaded drug area) was given access to CHEAP drugs legally.

    People in that area (I cannot recall which county it
    was) could go to their local clinic, register as addicted to a particular drug and receive that drug for about
    3 pounds a day.

    Does anyone recall the outcomes?
    CBS 60 minutes did an article on that study.

    I remember that the outcomes were pretty positive in about every area: crime, health of the addicts, and basic economy of the area.

    Judy

  125. July 10, 2008 at 18:38

    Legalizing marijuana in my city would change very little, it’s fairly accepted that it’s being smoked. My problem is that places in the southern US where agriculture was the top commodity (cotton,tobacco,soy) it is now an unemployment wasteland in those areas. The ‘new Detroit, one magazine called a North Carolina town. They need there own cash crop again and hemp could help bring hundreds of millions of dollars in oil, paper, ink and fabric products alone. Forget the smokers of the plant, give these people back an honest livelihood.
    Export products – not labor!

  126. 127 kamal - Amsterdam,
    July 10, 2008 at 18:38

    Hallo,

    From my own experience I can say that everybody can use marawana without any harm to hemself or others with one condition that good informations are given. I don’t use any more because of very strange experience. Legalisations leads to responsibility. Also legalisations minimizes drugsgangs.

  127. 128 LuAnn
    July 10, 2008 at 18:38

    I am a medicinal marijuana user in Oregon and use it for my arthritis. It does help me get thru the day. I farm 30 acres, my arthritis and building fences do not go together and with the cold, wet weather we have in Oregon it causes many days of uncomfortable pain. The pot helps me keep moving and building those fences. Traditional medicines make me tired and upsets my stomach and there is the cost which I can not really afford. There is many factors that must be addressed before marijuana is legalized. But I do believe that Oregon is on the right track. We have some really sharp individuals working to make it legal and I hope that we Oregon can prove that it can be done. It is going to take time and open minds to move to the next phase of getting drug addiction under control. But in the USA we want what we want when we want. We are not into controlling ourselves. That is something that will be very hard to change. Thank You

  128. 129 Denise - San Francisco
    July 10, 2008 at 18:39

    Has any considered the tremendous cost over time for enforcement, deaths all over the world due to the illegal sales of drugs, filling up jails with small time drug users, including diverting police work for safety of citizens to chase drug users.

  129. 130 paul
    July 10, 2008 at 18:39

    @steve “and federal law preempts state law”.

    oregon also has the “death with dignity” law, which the bush administration tried to take to the supreme court. they lost the case. and we still have the “death with dignity” law in tact. federal laws don’t always preempt states law and they shouldn’t.

    clackamas, oregon

  130. 131 Robert K. Vukovic
    July 10, 2008 at 18:41

    I live in Oregon and I’m all but certain that legalizing marijuana would benefit our community. Our criminal justice system is overloaded with people who should not be in the system for using recreational drugs. We need to devote our law enforcement resources to attacking the Meth plague and child abusers. Contrary to stated opinions on your show today, there is absolutely no empirical evidence that the “war on drugs” has been at all a success. The decline in the use of pot is no different than the decline in use of tobacco, they’re both a result of a paradigm shift in social attitudes, not prohibition. My opinion is based on the fact that anyone who wants marijuana can get it. There is no shortage in supply. Prohibition only make drugs more expensive which pulls money out of the so called legitimate economy. If the war on drugs were actually effective, we’d being seeing addicts going through withdrawal on the street corners.

  131. 132 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 18:41

    Im sorry this “doctor” is in the conversation. He is too politicized. Too arrogant about his ideas.

  132. 133 Dipo
    July 10, 2008 at 18:41

    People don’t take drugs because they are illegal. They take them because they have personal issues or are experimenting. Legalization would have its benefits, however, the pros and cons for each specific society should be carefully considered and researched. There is no “one size fits all” solution to this problem.

  133. 134 Andrea Fulton
    July 10, 2008 at 18:42

    Unless and until Parents teach children the consequences of Abuse and the differences between Use & Abuse, then nothing will change. Food, Sex, Power, Money, Drugs, many things can be abused.
    Marijuana is very difficult to abuse and does not directly lead to death from overuse. Heroin/Cocaine/Meth/Alcohol/Prescription medications can all lead to death if abused.
    There are also 2 very different cultures in which marijuana is a part of. One culture is creative, productive, law abiding and only uses Marijuana. The other culture is the detrimental one, in which hard drugs, alcohol abuse, violence and criminal activity is front & center. Please do not confuse the tw.

  134. 135 Matthew Godwin
    July 10, 2008 at 18:42

    In Canada marijuana is practically legal in many places and a majority of Canadians support its decriminalization.

    In a recent BBC doc on the drug trade, more than one marijuana traffiker in British Columbia (one of the world’s largest growers) stated that it would devastate criminal networks – shouldn’t this be the major goal?

    Matt
    Halifax
    Canada

  135. July 10, 2008 at 18:44

    I’ve never been keen to it, but if someone wants to do it and they arent harming me or anyone else, go for it. Smoke like a chimney for all I care.

    Although the Dave Chapelle skit that mocks the illegal-cannabis TV ads is some of the funniest anti-anti-drug campaigning I have ever seen lol.

  136. July 10, 2008 at 18:45

    Shouldn’t we be interested in what is just, not what is healthy? The illegalization of marijuana has ruined the lives of thousands of people who simply used the drug. Of course, we should prosecute those who hurt others in accidents when they are impaired by marijuana, just as we prosecute those who drive drunk. Our justice systems should not harm those who have done no harm to others.

    Furthermore, the illegalization of marijuana and other drugs creates a black market. The high price of the drugs in the black market encourages other crimes that DO harm people.

  137. 138 groundhog
    July 10, 2008 at 18:45

    Marijuana is a strong hallucinogenic and one of the effects is to make the user see reality a bit clearer. In other words, when you are under it’s influence and look at our so called world leaders, politicians etc you tend to see them for what they really are which might be why they are not keen on having it legalised.
    On the other hand alchohol tends to make people “stupid” with the result that they are easier to control.

  138. July 10, 2008 at 18:45

    I haven’t regularly smoked pot since high school and if I do now, the frequency is pretty irregular. I’m pretty sure that I’m not an addict just because I smoked it a few times in high school.

    I volunteer at a soup kitchen and get to see just where people who use some of the “harder drugs” end up when they’re 30 -60, looking like they’re 50-70. Dealers frequent the premises, selling god knows what to the people there and nothing is done to stop it. The police don’t really seem to care if these people are sold heroin or meth in front of a church whee they’re supposed to be getting help. Pot is the least of the people’s problem. If you want to target a drug go for meth and junk, that crap ruins lives faster than anything I’ve seen and it’s everywhere in urban areas.

    Pot, in my opinion, is vilified for a reason. I think this is because some of the proponents for legalization, place too much importance on it’s use as medicinal while a majority of people just use it to relax. Everyone I know just jumps on the band wagon for legalization because they enjoy using it, rather than needing it. This makes the whole medicinal aspect look ridiculous because people just can’t be honest. The hypocrisy of most people who smoke and support the medicinal movement just gives people like the doc ammo to shoot any initiative down.

    Some people really could benefit, such as the aforementioned example of people with arthritis. Arthritis never goes away and nothing can really be done short of surgery which could be worse than smoking some pot and relaxing. It’s just a shame that a few hypocrites reduce any kind of forward momentum, in the field of legalization, to nothing because their testimony is too dubious to be taken seriously by anyone who’s uniformed or naive to the real world impacts of pot.

  139. 140 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 18:46

    @ I believe it was Susan

    I know white people that have been arrested for and convicted of pot possession in wealthy areas. In washington, DC I see black guys walking down thes street smoking blunts (you can smell the pot) and nothing happens to them, becuase honestly the cops have more important things to deal with in DC. If the story were crack, then I think you’d have a point, but not with pot. Such as why crack has a 10x higher jail sentence generally than powdered cocaine, even though the only difference between the two really is the race of the user of the drug.

  140. 141 Maria
    July 10, 2008 at 18:48

    Why is this guy acting so shocked that 14 year olds in Holland are smoking pot? Here in the U.S., Indiana to be exact, most people I know started smoking as young as 12 or 13 year olds, smoking pot far more than drinking alcohol. The reason; dealers don’t care how old the kids are as long as they have some cash. Alcohol, being legal and therefore subject to age constraints, is much harder for young people to get ahold of.

  141. 142 Taro
    July 10, 2008 at 18:48

    If legalized. A lot of my friends who sell weed would go out of business. In BC Canada, all the former loggers who now grow weed because of US tariffs on Canadian lumber would also go out of business. If legalized big multinational companies would take over from local people in my community. I know drug dealers don’t want weed legalized.

  142. 143 Dan
    July 10, 2008 at 18:48

    D. Franklin (1990) reports that marijuana is significantly less addictive than nicotine, methamphetamine, crack, valium, quaalude, seconal, alcohol, heroin, crank, cocaine, CAFFIENE, and PCP. The only drugs that score lower than marijuana on the scale are hallucinogens such as MDMA, Psilocybin, LSD, and Mescaline.

  143. 144 Count Iblis
    July 10, 2008 at 18:48

    Surely junk food is a far greater threat to our society than cannabis. But no one will ever argue that junk food should be made illegal.

  144. July 10, 2008 at 18:48

    @ what stops kids from going to the drug dealer and getting pot?

    How about you! parents need to stop counting on governmetal interference to raise their kids. know where they are, who their friends are, what they are doing and how they are doing in school.

  145. 146 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 10, 2008 at 18:49

    Prohibition has a lot of benefits–all for the crinimals who enjoy a monopoly trade with hugely inflated prices. Legalization is the nightmare of drug producers and dealers; it would put them out of business overnight.

  146. July 10, 2008 at 18:49

    My wife is one of many thousand Multiple Sclerosis sufferers who benefits from cannabis. The typical hysterical American attitude to this overwhelming evidence is to say ‘It’s anecdotal’.
    A British pharmaceutical firm has recenty run proper controlled tests which have been rubbished by the anti-drug brigade, so it’s almost impossible in the UK to obtain their reasonably-priced oral spray.
    Cannabis is known to be less habit-forming than tobacco and alcohol, both of which are more harmful to society but enjoy the protection of big business.

  147. 148 Daisy
    July 10, 2008 at 18:49

    aren’t there enough problems in the world today. why wasting your time creating more?
    absolutely no. more regulations should be put on, like the way people treating cigarettes.
    it will become a dying habit!

  148. 149 Jill
    July 10, 2008 at 18:49

    As much as I support legalizing pot, I myself have used it but very seldom, I have also see it’s devastating effects. I have a now ex friend with mental health problems who uses pot to self medicates for grief and ADD and get herself through her work as a magazine publisher. She’s very successful (or at least appears to others that way) and is very wealthy, but she’s the hardest person I have ever tried to be friends with, and part of the problem is her pot addiction. I actually was one of her only friends because of her inability to connect with people, which I contribute to the pot. She smokes three to four joints a day of what wastes me with one hit. In my opinion, getting busted is the only way she’ll ever get help. I stood by her for 25 years, until a therapist pointed out to be how I was aiding and abetting her drug addiction. Yes, pot is addicting

  149. 150 Janet T
    July 10, 2008 at 18:49

    If we cannot completely legalize it, then it must be decriminalized. I have a glass of wine every day (sometimes two) to unwind when I get home. I know people who go home and smoke pot to unwind-
    And pot smokers tend to be non-violent, not so with people who abuse alcohol

    And all uses of Hemp- marijuana’s cousin should be legal…
    Both have been made illegal to placate big business interests

  150. 151 stephen
    July 10, 2008 at 18:50

    If the doctor is concerned about people’s health, particularly the health of the millions of alcohol addicts en the many addicts to hard drugs such as methamfetamine, crack cocaine and many others, he should see the logic of the point of releasing the crackdown on cannabis somewhat to benefit the battle against these other, MUCH more harmful substances. He took the oath of medicine and should look at his conscience.

    As so often it is a question of follow the money: Criminalizing cannabis in the US is a political issue funded by the biggest alcohol corporations. This is widely documented. Doctor (…) is lobbying the issue strongly on behalf of those institiutions. He does a good job by the way.

  151. 152 paul
    July 10, 2008 at 18:50

    the use of marijuana for medical reasons is a crock! to the people who want to legalize it based on a medical value, if it has value then why don’t you start a company to extract the “good stuff” and put it in a pill and sell it though the normal pharmaceuticals channels? if you think it’s the smoking that is the “good part”, smoking cancer. no one can argue that.

    that being said, i don’t care if they legalize it. i don’t use it now, i won’t use it if they do. i will tell my kids same thing i tell them now, don’t use drugs! don’t even use aspirin unless you really, really need it.

    clackamas, oregon

  152. 153 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 18:50

    I’m curious, what percentage of the public smokes pot? It seems everyone but me does it. I know people young/old, conservative/liberal, white/black, smoking pot. it’s not just hippies on the far left, but I know some hardcore conservatives that smoke pot too. I’d probably smoke it if it didn’t cause me to have panic attacks and if I didn’t want a job that would involve a security clearance… Fortunately I still have harmless tobacco to smoke!

  153. 154 Heidi
    July 10, 2008 at 18:51

    Unfortunately, the misinformation about the use and abuse of marijuana is overwhelming to most lay people. I am an RN who ABSOLUTELY believes that this drug is useful to my patients. The medical and pharmacutical communities have a vested interest in disallowing medications that are not controlled and patented by themselves. Additionally, it is NOT classified a narcotic chemically (only by the mislabeling of the government) and not addictive as other illegal drugs. My co-workers and several of my neighbors use it las if a beer or a glass of wine. Real research is lacking because of government restrictions and funding limitations. Additionally, hemp fiber could be of tremendous value to curb our deforestation issues and hemp oil is also an underutilized source of omega-3s, and even energy.
    We need to approach this rationally and scientifically–only then can we fully come to terms with the special interests that allow all kinds of very toxic and addictive psychiatric and pain medications to be commonplace and disallow patients what works for them.

  154. 155 Dell Be
    July 10, 2008 at 18:51

    Is marijuana the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” or the “Tree of Life” that it should be guarded with a fiery sword – according to Moses. I think we should guard against what the pharmacist does with the plant and not the plant itself (like coca, and poppy). furthermore, if anyone can point out a prisoner who only smokes marijuana that is in jail for a non-marijuana related incident, then i WILL support the ban. It is probably easier to find a vegan on a murder charge.

  155. 156 kaleen
    July 10, 2008 at 18:52

    One of the speakers made a comment saying that cannabis has no medicinal purposes, and that simply isn’t true. My mother is a medical marijuana user and that it does relieve her pain. She has severe scoliosis and has undergone several major surgeries.

    For her the only option is marijuana or lots and lots of prescription drugs. Many of the drugs are much more addictive than marijuana and have terrible side affects. Which would you choose.

    Aside from medical benefits cannabis can also be used in a wide variety of applications such as the manufacturing of cloth and paper- using this plant rather than wood fiber and cotton is much easier on the environment and in many cases the products are much more durable.

  156. 157 Venessa
    July 10, 2008 at 18:52

    Psychosis in the UK for pot use? Can he site where he got this propoganda?

  157. 158 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 10, 2008 at 18:52

    Steve, not picking a fight this time, honest… I think the 10x sentencing diff. between crack and powder coke was recently overturned. I don’t know the details but the court said, essentially, what you said: the only difference was the race of the users.

  158. 159 margot in oregon
    July 10, 2008 at 18:52

    Personally I don’t like marijuana – it gives me headaches – but I think it should be treated the same as alcohol. Both can be detrimental to a person’s health and well-being, but they also can be used moderately with few ill effects. We need to not waste time/money/jail space on people who are growing/using only moderate amounts of marijuana.

    The same kind of restrictions that apply to alcohol should be applied to marijuana.

  159. 160 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    July 10, 2008 at 18:53

    the DR. on air is correct. The Cannabis that was on the streets a few years ago is not what is on the streets today. The cannabis has other things added to it causing higher peopel and more brain damage.

  160. 161 Charlotte
    July 10, 2008 at 18:54

    I have to disagree with the gentleman who just called in from the Netherlands. The well-respected Trimbos Institute in Utrecht has been conducting massive surveys every two years among dutch school children for many years now. Their most recent report was released about a month ago, and it shows that cannebis use in the 10-18 age group has been dropping since 1996.

  161. 162 Shaun in Halifax
    July 10, 2008 at 18:54

    Just a point to clarify the good doc’s point that smoking pot at 15 increases your chances of becoming a drug addict by 60%.

    It doesn’t mean that you have a 60% chance of becoming addicted to drugs. What that means is you have a 60% greater chance. So if your chance is say… 5%, by smoking pot at 15 you increase your chance of becomming a drug addict to 8%.

  162. 163 Abel
    July 10, 2008 at 18:55

    Again, there is a difference between legalizing and decriminalizing. Are youths who smoke cigarettes more likely to use other drugs? Take this quote from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
    “The news today is there is a fundamental shift in drug use among young people in America,” said Assistant Surgeon General Eric B. Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H., SAMHSA Acting Deputy Administrator. “We first saw this shift towards healthier decisions when rates of tobacco use among young people began to go down. Now, we see a sustained drop in rates of drug use. We will see if the decline in drinking among 12 to 17 years olds becomes a continued pattern as well.”
    This quote highlights the connection between LEGAL drugs and illegal drug use later in life.

  163. 164 Devin
    July 10, 2008 at 18:58

    The doctor on this show is a great example of those who take a profit from the legal drug companies in our country who are much more out of control than every single pot smoker I know. You simply cant give validity to someone because they have a PHD. especially when they are partaking in an industry scam to keep people sick, unhappy and returning for more failed medications that don’t work. It is obvious that people will use and abuse any drug they can get their hands on. I don’t know a pot smoker that has ridden the slippery slope to the use of meth. It is clear now and before that there are those people who will use and abuse what drugs they choose both legal and not, there are many more people who drink, smoke and use cannabis responsibly. This would allow those people to use and not worry about being arrested or looked at differently because they do. Personally I think making cannabis legal would drive a wonderful surplus of money to our government, would give our hard working officers a break from petty work and focus on the real dangers… meth, cocaine, and other drugs that are severe and do effect our society in a strong and horrible way. When was the last time you have seen a person arrested for stealing or robbing for a pot addiction? Different drugs = different users that simple. Finally… thank god I and so many others realize it is not up to the government to raise your children, its not up to public schools to educate your children, it is not up to your religion to build the moral foundation for your children, it’s your job regardless what in society surrounds you. There are so many greater things to worry about in this world today then a bunch of people who want to smoke pot many great reasons.

  164. 165 April Green
    July 10, 2008 at 18:58

    The “war on drugs” in the United States has been a failure. Tax money is being WASTED supporting abusive regimes in foreign countries because they help limit drug supply. It’s also wasted in the US to keep otherwise contributing members of society in jail just because they smoke pot. What a joke, that I am paying for. NOT FUNNY. The drug that is devastating my community is Methamphetamine, not marijuana. Instead of wasting so much time and energy trying to prevent SUPPLY, we need to spend that money on reducing DEMAND. All drugs should be legalized and taxed. We should use the tax money to help people who have addictive tendencies. Use the revenue from taxes to help rehab drug abusers and prevent new addictions.

    Hemp should be legal to grow and marijuana should be a recognized medicine.

  165. 166 Shaun in Halifax
    July 10, 2008 at 18:59

    “There’s far beter medicines on the market.”

    Yes, Doc. Get us hooked on your drugs. Because theyr’e SO much better than ours.

  166. 167 Andy Cornwell
    July 10, 2008 at 18:59

    Prohibition has proved to be the biggest mistake in legal history. The goal of achieving drug-free communities is simply naive and untenable- hence the US War on Drugs policies merely create more harm, rather than facing reality and regulating the vast global markets.

    Cannabis and hemp are unique and valuable plants when grown and used in an informed way. Regulation and honest education are the way forward. The real question is who really benefits from keeping cannabis illegal?

    Andy Cornwell
    London UK

  167. 168 Ned Dregsto
    July 10, 2008 at 19:01

    I live in Portland. I’ve smoked pot. Yes, it’s addicting as alcohol. but I’d argue it’s not harmless. I lost a niece to a cop coming home from work smoking a doobie and slammed into her as she was crossing a street. Yeah, could have been alcohol or sleeping pills, but it was pot. The bigger question is why we all need to get high (off natural or synthetics) in the first place? It begs the question what we are avoiding in our lives. And why do so many people feel so compelled to defend a substance that isn’t at all unlike tobacco in terms of its effects on your lungs.

  168. 169 selena
    July 10, 2008 at 19:05

    I don’t take drugs, legal or illegal. But I have seen far more harmful reactions from legal drugs that I have ever seen from illegal drugs.

    No one wants to confront the issue of legal drugs but there is a much bigger issue there than the issue of smoking pot.

  169. 170 Eduard de Jong
    July 10, 2008 at 19:05

    Legalizing Cannabis, even in the very restricted way it has been done, has been a real benefit to the Dutch society:
    Kids grow up in a more free environment, and police is focussing on more useful things. As a result the level of repression that was so much present in my high-school days (i’m 56) is completely gone.
    And, there is no higher level of cannabis use in Holland, rather it is lower than in most western countries.

    ~Now to the arguments:
    -1- Cannabis and most drugs have been legal till the middle of the last century.
    -2-Since 1961, instigated by the USA, with the single convention of New York cannabis has been illegal.
    -3- The policy of prohibition of cannabis has not significantly reduced the level of use.
    -4- Like the alcohol prohibition in the USA, a major effect of cannabis prohibition has been to enrich traders, and perversely, increase police budgets. And create a world-wide black market that corrupts governments in developing societies
    -5- Taking any drug as a recreation is basically a form of individual risky behavior and there is a need to argue if governments have a role to regulate that and to what extend that role can impact the individual.
    (as an aside, it is remarkable that the USA, where big government is considered as evil, it may impact the individual as to particular risky behavior)
    -6- If governments can regulate this behavior, which i think they can, the choice must be for the most effective policies.
    -7-Prohibition doesn’t work, legalization, together with regulation like for alcohol . about how and to whom it is available, e.g. with minimum age etc., seems the only logical alternative.
    -8- moneys spend on drug enforcement can be refocussed to treatment and to enforcing the access restriction to youngsters.
    -9-black markets that could fund terrorist networks are basically wiped out.

  170. 171 Alison
    July 10, 2008 at 19:07

    I don’t know too many people who have not tried smoking pot at one time or another. So it’s easy for the experts to say that 90% of people they find addicted to coke and meth tried pot first. Of course they did! We all did. You could take a sample of a group of successful laywers and doctors and ask them the same question and come up with similar numbers. So maybe we could argue that smoking pot leads to a successful medical career. It’s just as ridiculous a conclusion as saying it leads to being a junkie with a meth problem.

  171. 172 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 10, 2008 at 19:09

    During child hood one of my neighbour’s son got mentelly upset, just to help out poor mother me & his mother usually took him for treatment to Mental Hospital for Electronic shocks & prescription medicine, the reason of his sickness was HASH smoking & according to doctor his brain wrap started drying up.
    During my first & last visit to Amsterdam in 1982 I notice Hash business on the back of SONISTA Hotel’s alley kind of dark street, two youngster’s were walking both side of the street with a loud saying of HASH, those who need call them & delivery staff deliver them as the delivery staff was at least ten yards away from the sale & money collector’s, may be because of legal requirements.
    In Paris France during my stay in Hotel Sofital at Charles Degal Airport area, I met with an American prostute & first thing she ask me Drugs Purchase from an French Moroccon person, because of my refusal she feel scared from me with this expectation that I may bring them in police contact.
    IN USA beside growing some people ask me do you know how can I quet with this bad habbit of drugs which is holding me back as they are doing drugs from the age of twelve & starting point was Canabs, Morvans & ended up on cocune, Crack & worst Heroine.
    Very intresting part is this ,these edictated people are knowingly unknown about drug use & dont want to end up on Heroin either. Infact easy access & effordable price will destroy US society, culture & legal structure with big time price like old time CHINA, as this nation is paying the price up till now by way of brutal legal structure under constant mental torcher style visulance of Communist Govt with out concept of freedom.
    All this happen because this nation never been stopped at the initial stage, CA & Oregan please learn some thing from Histry Of China. My personal feelings about this consideration is very loud & clear” I NEVER COME TO USA TO DESTROY MY FUTURE GENERATIONS” by way of adopting Dob Feen life style.
    May God bless America, along with constructive leadership & better vision of life.

  172. 173 Shaun in Halifax
    July 10, 2008 at 19:10

    For what it’s worth, there was a link on the ‘talking points’ last night that I’ll re-post here. It is a long-term study to determine the effects of cannabis use on your chances of getting cancer.

    http://www.news-medical.net/?id=18122

    This could be actual evidence and a source to counter the argument that marijuana smoking is worse for you than tobbacco smoking….

  173. July 10, 2008 at 19:14

    Listening to the radio was the first time I heard about this have your say, and I must say, the people speaking were so inarticulate and confused I nearly turned off. The guy speaking from Oregon was the only one making sense and he was arguing for legalisation. The rest babbled incoherently, illogically, and lost their thread, started again, made ludicrous, unsubstantiated claims, and recycled bits of old arguments that have been laid to rest years ago. Speaks for itself really.

    Here there is just as much incoherence and false claims, even some of those in favour of the herb [from personal experience unlike those who speak from utter ignorance] have swallowed some of the disinformation that is peddled by the anti-cannabis lobby constantly.

    Just for the record:

    1. NO LINK has ever been scientifically established between cannabis and schizophrenia. The coincidence of a very tiny number of young men who develop the disease having smoked cannabis is not proof, they have also doubtless drunk alcohol and put into their body all manner of substances, but cannabis is singled out to blame, despite many schizophrenics never having used it. It is actually likely that those with incipient mental problems experiment more or attempt to use it to treat their own symptoms before seeking medical treatment.

    2. NO LINK with lung disease, this was another misinformation campaign. Scientific studies recently released have however suggested that cannabis actually protects against cancer on a cellular level.

    3. NO LINK to addictive drugs, the desire for mind altering substances is present in humans and has been for all our evolution [as it is with other mammals] and the fact that very few cannabis users ever go on to take addictive [class A] drugs rather indicates this lack of a link.

    The world would not fall apart if cannabis were to be legalised globally. The bottom would fall out of many a dealers profit cow, and governments would doubtless benefit by taxing as they do with tobacco and alcohol, all, as others have pointed out, much more harmful and addictive than cannabis.

    Some, lacking any hard, scientific fact, rely on the no smoke without fire scenario to condemn cannabis, and are susceptible to false claims as a result. The disinformation washes around like flotsam on the sea, those of us who have spent a lifetime witnessing it are understandably bored and impatient with the level of argument, the spurious ‘official’ and ‘medical’ claims and all thes rest of the nonsense that never goes away.

    As a grandparent, having used cannabis all my adult life, run my own business, and raised children who are all employed in secure careers, and having lived with the legal situation, I can sincerely say I wish you would all get off my case. It is up to ME what I put in my body. I don’t expect you to like it, approve of it or condone it, in fact I deny your right to have an opinion about it, it’s my business. This constant banging on about teenagers ignores the fact that the vast majority of cannabis users are adults.

    If the government were serious about tackling the crime associated with cannabis – largely smuggling and dealing in an illegal substance – they could do it instantly by legalising. They could also tackle the currency outflow by allowing people to grow their own, thus removing themselves from the market. At present, if you grow a few plants you are charged with cultivation as well as possession. Yet millions of people across the UK grow opium poppies without fear. And yes, they are exactly the same as the ones they army are burning in Afghanistan. So confused are they that injured Afghanis suffer in agony because there is no morphine available, while the plant the morphine is made from is being burned in the hills. The world is suffering a shortage of morphine and codeine, yet, they would rather burn it than buy it from the farmers and process it to supply the world. And they say people on drugs are deranged!

    And I haven’t yet mentioned the variety of other benefits from legalising cannabis; I’ll leave those for another post.

    OM

  174. 175 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 19:17

    @ Peter

    I’m sure if you eat pot, or drink it as tea, it won’t cause cancer, but if you smoke ANYTHING, it produces tar, and tar is what causes cancer. Smoking tea will cause cancer because burning tea creates tar which stays on your lungs. Don’t try to claim that smoking pot won’t cause cancer. People just don’t smoke enough of it. If people smoked 20 joints a day for years (I realize you couldn’t possibly smoke 20 joints in a day and be able to function), then people would be getting cancer from pot. But for you to say that breathing in any smoke isn’t bad for you, is dishonest.

  175. 176 Johnno
    July 10, 2008 at 19:18

    A few points:

    1. The relatively recent medical find that a specific chemical found only in red wine has dramatic effects on the aging process in animals, could only have EVER been discovered through the legality of Alcohol in France, it was the fact the the southern French suffered statistically less heart problems then the northern french, that got scientists and the pharmaceutical industries attention.

    Legalizing marijuana, can and will most definitely have a profound impact on the medical side. Take the point about increase psychosis in the UK.. As a scientist/doctor does this not intrigue you to go out and discover why exactly this is? or why some and not others ? or where these psychosis are permanent or temporary etc etc etc .. Ohhh wait I forgot .. point 2…

    2. By blanketing the whole marijuana industry as illegal, the most obvious effect is the SEVERE RETARDATION of the discovery of the BENEFICIAL properties the WHOLE plant has to offer society. ( Take the USA stance on embryonic stem cell research as a classic example of what happens when something is banned )

    3. Fear is defined as that which we do NOT know, not that which we do. WHY the fear of marijuana? I find it insulting that speakers from Africa have no knowledge of their kin, Marijuana has existed in the cultures of many African tribes from before the USA was discovered, YET we have Africans speaking on behalf of Africa with the voice of the USA, simply because the USA went from prohibition to marijuana to keep a few government officials in jobs (look at the historical time line from the end of the prohibition to the start of the DEA) , Africans are more than willing to forget and abandon their heritage and culture..

    thats all, just my 5 cents..

  176. 177 Adam in Portland
    July 10, 2008 at 19:20

    In response to the common argument that a lot of hard drug users (meth, heroin, cocaine) have used pot at some point, I would guess that an overwhelming percentage of people who have smoked pot have also not been attacked by bears. In that case, marijuana is protecting people from getting attacked by bears, so while there is a remote risk of getting into harder drugs, should we hold that up as an excuse to NOT protect people from bears?!?!!

  177. 178 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 10, 2008 at 19:21

    Prohibition must be repealed because it restricts free people from entertaining themselves as they see fit. It violates the rights of individuals, and that’s sufficient reason to change it.

    But since we’re considering communities, we might compare the behavior of a marijuana user to that of a drunk. Alcohol users are famously prone to start fights, using fists, knives, and/or guns as available, to assault their spouses, abuse their children, and commit various crimes of destruction and violence. Cannabis users usually become relaxed, placid, and friendly.

    Any community is a better place when more of its people are cheerful and giggling rather than brooding and fighting.

  178. July 10, 2008 at 19:27

    Oh boy
    I made the mistake of reading some more posts!

    [quote]
    Thea Winter – Indianapolis IN, USA July 10, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    the DR. on air is correct. The Cannabis that was on the streets a few years ago is not what is on the streets today. The cannabis has other things added to it causing higher peopel and more brain damage. [/quote]

    Talking of brain damage… this is an example of the ludicrous claims some swallow without looking. I’ll ignore the grammatical problems with this post, some just have difficulty with language, even their own. This person clearly knows absolutely nothing about the subject, but feels free to make claims like this. It begs the question; who is doing this adding the evil Emperor Ming? The CIA? David Icke and the Green Lizards? Or is this just an inchoate idea of what skunk is?

    That old argument is, anyway, very easy to rubbish:
    I’ve heard about this superstrength alcohol which cause brain damage, every time you drink a pint of it, you become insensible. That’s Whiskey. Same for skunk, it costs more than double, how does anyone think most people on fixed or limited income could afford to either use it in the same quantities as if it was pollen hash or carry on with their normal lives completely out of it. The odd teenager might overdo it, or maybe all of them might, they tend to overdo everything including sleeping, but they don’t get vicious and stick a broken glass in someone’s face, they would most likely find somewhere quiet to settle down comfortably and have a dream.

    This is the level of the argument that we are supposed to take seriously.

  179. July 10, 2008 at 19:32

    @steve
    Try reading the scientific finding. Tar causes cancer is way too simplistic. Do firefighters get cancer more than other members of society?
    Research has identified the way nicotine causes cancer, but to conflate that to any smoke isn’t scientific. Our lungs are efficient organs at cleaning themselves.

    You’re right though, 20 a day would be so ridiculously too much, it would have to be taken lying down. Lifelong smokers probably have half a dozen pipes a day if they’re affluent. Joint smokers are killing themselves with the tobacco anyway, although some may be protected by the cannabis they add. There are always the Bob Marleys, but I know lifelong smokers in their eighties, fit as a fiddle and not even a cough…

  180. July 10, 2008 at 19:56

    Jill

    ‘… I have a now ex friend with mental health problems who uses pot to self medicates for grief and ADD and get herself through her work as a magazine publisher.’

    Yep, lots of people do self medicate, just like they have done for millenia. Publishing is stressful, I know.

    ‘… She’s very successful (or at least appears to others that way) and is very wealthy, ‘

    Doesn’t seem to affect her brain functioning efficiently then.

    ‘… but she’s the hardest person I have ever tried to be friends with, and part of the problem is her pot addiction. I actually was one of her only friends because of her inability to connect with people, which I contribute to the pot.’

    You mean attribute I assume, and you’re wrong. Cannabis doesn’t make it hard to connect with people, quite the opposite for shy, insecure people. You seem to know a lot about her personal deficiencies which you blame on ‘pot’ with no evidence.

    ‘… She smokes three to four joints a day of what wastes me with one hit. ‘

    Another mistake; have you heard of tolerance? With anything pscychoactive, it means that constant use raises the threshold. Not forever or long term users would be on 500 a day and counting! But it wastes you because you’re unused to it. Three to four joints a day isn’t a great deal for a regular user – I knew someone who smoked more than that while doing a philosophy degree, the only thing it interfered with was formal logic, and as 99% of the population couldn’t hack that straight, that’s hardly a mark against it.

    ‘… In my opinion, getting busted is the only way she’ll ever get help.’

    Dangerous talk. Being busted never helped anyone. It causes grief and can harm a persons life. And who are you to decide that? What kind of friend were you that you could even consider informing on her?

    ‘… I stood by her for 25 years, until a therapist pointed out to be how I was aiding and abetting her drug addiction. Yes, pot is addicting’

    Why, because a ‘therapist’ said so? You’re easily convinced. Lots of people can and have stopped at any time. If someone finds it hard it’s usually because they just like it and don’t really want to stop, or it helps them stay cheerful when otherwise they’d be depressed and tearful all the time. And why should they? Just to shut up a critical friend?

  181. 182 SAM
    July 10, 2008 at 19:57

    ive been smoking pot every day since 1972 and never had the slightest erge to try anything harder, that argument is bs. my iq is the same as when i was twelve and i have two college degrees. before 1983 the word dope ment “pot”. now it means white dope. why, because the government has cracked down on pot and white dope has moved in to take its place. the mafia builds the prisons and services, and runs the white dope. they make sure the cops crack down on pot so white dope is readily avilable and pot is hard to get. every mailman and meter reader is on the lookout for grow houses. the cops love to seize property and are first in line at the auction. they leave ritch people alone because they can pay off their fine.(if your car is less than 4 years old, they leave you alone) poor people get charged twenty percent interest on their fines. so they target the poor. who cant afford to pay off their fines. just for your information just about everyone that does a hard days work for a living does drugs. the restrauants you eat in, the building you work in, the road you drive on, the plane you fly in, these workers who build these things, and provide your services, all use drugs.
    pot should be leagle so we can tax it and have professionally grown quality pot.

  182. 183 Lovemore
    July 10, 2008 at 20:01

    I’ve been to boarding school with guys who smoked marijuana. It made them lose their minds and the effects lasted longer than the intoxication that results from alcohol intake. That stuff leads to psycosis. I have seen people get ruined!

    We already have problems with alcohol should we add another dangerous drug?.

  183. July 10, 2008 at 20:03

    Paul
    It’s all ‘good stuff’, there is a complex mix of psychoactive chemicals, the cannabinoids, which complement each other. To reduce the herb to a few chemicals that do a specific thing may be a way of treating MS for instance, but there would be a lot lost, and MS sufferers find smoking the drug is fine, it works, it helps with the pain and muscle spasms. This society just loves pills, and often poisons people with ill thought out concoctions. Cannabis has been used since the first hominids ventured from the forest. Hemp seeds found in neolithic fire sites. You’d think by now something serious would have been found if it was present.

    One could argue that cannabis played a part in our evolution, awakening the artistic, spiritual, contemplative side of the naked ape, opening his eyes to possibilities, to dreams, to the beauty of the world. Our brains do have receptors, exactly shaped to accept the cannabinoid molecules, now why would that be exactly????

  184. 185 CJ McAuley
    July 10, 2008 at 20:09

    Is not alcohol a drug? Was not the sale of alcohol prohibited in the USA during the late 20’s-30’s? Did that “prohibition” not lead to gang warfare, and death by the use of illegal “stills”? We like to think that we all live in an “enlightened” age, here in the “West”. Apparently we are not so enlightened as to learn from our history! I used marijuana for over 20 years, and besides the occasional dabble in cocaine (which I almost instantly realized would rule my life), I have not “go on” to harder drugs. It did not make any sense to me 30 years ago to ban pot and despite the current “reefer madness” over the “new and potent weed”, my opinion has not changed! Just imagine the tax revenues, not to mention safety of the drug, that would be achieved by legalizing it, taxing it and selling it in stores that are government-sanctioned! I have heard many former law enforcement officer say the same thing. This entire “pot thing” is nothing less than another canard put forth by “those who wish to control”; ie. Governments.
    Living in this world, people will ALWAYS want to alter their perceptions of their lives, at least for awhile. Be it a religious or drug induced high, this will never end until we make ourselves extinct {which we are well on the way to doing)!

  185. 186 Craig
    July 10, 2008 at 20:15

    I am a lifetime Oregonian, now 28 years old, and I believe that leglization is the best and most logical option for Oregon for several reasons. Here are some specific points that I hope will add value to the conversation:

    (1) Regarding young peoples’ access to marijuana: I can say definitively that EVERY SINGLE CHILD in this state NOW has easy access to marijuana if they want it. Therefore, legalizing Marijuana would change very little, if anything, about young people’s access to the drug. I am comfortable sharing with everyone that I myself first tried Marijuana at age 14 and had absolutely NO trouble obtaining it despite its current legal status. Today, the fact is that if ANY youth in Oregon wants to try Marijuana, they can obtain it very quickly and with very little effort and this is something I am absolutely positive about. Anyone who is not aware of this fact has most likely never looked into it for themselves. Thus, the argument that legalization will increase young peoples’ access to Marijuana is null and void. They already have all the access they could hope for and since the current sources are not regulated, the sellers have no incentive to prevent sales to minors. This brings me to the next point…

    (2) Regarding the quantity of Marijuana users: It has been claimed that legalization of Marijuana would inevitably lead to an increase in Marijuana usage. This assumption can be proven false simply by comparing usage rates in the U.S.A. to those in the Netherlands where Marijuana is legalized and regulated. In the U.S., where it is illegal, 36.9% of adults have used Marijuana at some point in their lives. In the Netherlands where it is legalized, only 17% have tried it. Also in the U.S., about 5.4% of people have used Marijuana in the past month while in the Netherlands, only about 3% have. This demonstrates rather conclusively that in a society where Marijuana is legal, less people try it in the first place and a smaller percentage of people are using it at any given time.

    (3) Regarding the cost to taxpayers: Some have proposed that legalization of Marijuana would result in higher usage which would lead to more health problems (most specifically lung problems) which would, in turn, lead to more taxpayer dollars being spent on medical care for those problems. However, I have already demonstrated that if anything, Marijuana usage should DECREASE with legalization, so the argument about increased medical problems is already void. However, even if it were accurate, the increase in medical costs would pale in comparison to the current tax dollars we spend on enforcement of anti-Marijuana laws, prosecution of Marijuana-based offenses and incarceration of those convicted under anti-Marijuana laws. All of these things require massive amounts of taxpayer money that could be otherwise spent on more beneficial programs and needs. Not only that, but legalization, regulation and taxation would provide an ADDITIONAL source of revenue for our state, which could be spent on things like schools and much-needed highway and road maintenance.

    I could continue but I think that’s a good place to start. The data all seem to say that legalization, regulation and taxation IS the best option and for every possible reason.

  186. July 10, 2008 at 20:19

    Luz Ma July 10, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    @John D Augustine

    “How about promoting the paper / textile angle down there?”
    Sorry, I am not sure of the meaning of this. Could you elaborate on this?

    That was to be my next point.

    The cannabis or hemp plant doesn’t just produce a drug in the flowering tops, it also produces the strongest natural fibre known in its stem. This has been used for making textiles and paper for decades; the toughest long-lasting paper [the US constitution was written on it] and textiles from fine clothing to canvas [the word canvas comes from cannabis]. In medieval England it was the law that every landowner had to grow hemp for the English fleet’s sails and ropes.
    I have a hemp shirt and a t-shirt which will outlast me. It is also made into bedding, clothing of all kinds, furniture and eco-friendly paints and varnishes.

    Then there’s the oil made from the seeds which makes some of the very finest lubricating oil, as well as being usable as fuel, although to burn it would be like using caviar as compost. But to address the point made by someone else about using land instead of growing food, cannabis is a tough plant that grows best on marginal land, where most food plants won’t grow. It needs little water and removes a huge amount of carbon from the atmosphere and stores it as – wait for it – long lasting textiles and recyclable paper. The leaves, the only bit we haven’t mentioned yet, provide animal feed or can be composted.

    Does the phrase win-win come to mind?

  187. July 10, 2008 at 20:23

    [quote]Personally I have no problem with people smoking marijuana as compare to cigarette. That said, here in Liberia marijuana is an embodiment of most of the atrocities that were committed during our 14 year civil war. During those years when rebel fighters got ready to commit atrocity, they first got high with cannabis, something they said made them brave and loss feelings for humans. Cannabis in Liberia is often smoke by gangs and bad people. Legalising it in Liberia, a country recovering from a civil war, will be much worse taking into consideration the number of ex-combatants we have.[/quote]

    They were bad people. Cannabis didn’t make them do it, or other countries would be running alive with murderous gangs hacking people to death. Don’t blame cannabis. Or are you claiming that if cannabis hadn’t been available [despite it being illegal?] they would have all been at home with a pint putting their feet up and joking with the mother in law? I think not. It’s this kind of deranged logic that makes me wish everyone would at least try it.

  188. July 10, 2008 at 20:35

    Andrew:

    [quote]But more than this is that it puts many others in danger in our society as one group, road users, who are intent on consuming cannabis and then drive put many at serious risk of injury or death. I have also been involved in road safety for many years and witnessed this tragedy first hand. Legalising cannabis might make liberals feel better about the world, but it will create more problems and destroy more lives for merely the pursuit by some of recreational drug use.[/quote]

    No it doesn’t. Tests, the only ones I know about and I’m sure I’d have heard about others, done in the US some years ago actually showed than regular cannabis users drove more carefully, slightly more slowly, read the road and other drivers actions better and generally performed better all round. So, no, you can’t just swap the drink driving issue over to cannabis without a by your leave, you’re [supposedly] a scientific man, give us some scientific facts or else go home… you know something’s happening here, but you don’t know what it is…

    It’s easy to make statements like ‘witnessed the tragedy first hand’ which is, if you’ll forgive me, abuse of argument. Whether you have witnessed tragedy is of no relevance to this discussion. What you fail to address and in fact ignore in your statement ‘it will create more problems and destroy more lives for merely the pursuit by some of recreational drug use’ , is that cannabis is readily available across every country, the criminal world sees to that. It’s out of the control of anyone who would like to control it, and all they can do is just say no and lock people up. IT HASN’T CHANGED IN FORTY YEARS of drug war. How long does it take before you start thinking logically about this issue?

    There are plenty of doctors who approve of cannabis, so don’t think you represent anyone but yourself.

  189. July 10, 2008 at 20:38

    Steve: Far left? Are you a neocon who sees anything he is against as a far left conspiracy? No one in the UK ever suggests it a left-right issue, so that phrase labels you American if nothing else does.

    The answer to your question is tobacco is harmful, cannabis isn’t. Duh.

  190. 191 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 20:42

    @ Pete

    You are wrong. tars from smoking anything causes cancer. It doesn’t mean you will get cancer, just like all smokers don’t get cancer, but tar from smoking is a carcinogen. I’m even on your side here, I tihnk pot should be legal, but it is a carcinogen if you burn it, just like every other tar smoke. Jeez, even burning your food makes it carcinogenic. why can’t you admit that marijuana smoke is a carcinogen? Steak is… tea smoke is, why can’t you just admit it?

  191. 192 Thomas Murray
    July 10, 2008 at 20:44

    Josh and Steve both have solid points: But the immigration of pot-heads will taper off; and the Feds will try like the dickens to keep the stuff illegal.

    Like Virginia, Kentucky is (perhaps, used to be) a major tobacco growing state. Because in the eastern half of the state, the soil is only fertile in the narrow hill valleys, a high-profit cash crop is favored by farmers there. That’s why there’s been a minor push to legalize marijana here for the past three decades.

    There’s even been a Lexington attorney, Gatewood Galbraith, who perpetually runs for governor on this issue. But he rarely gets more than 10 percent of the vote.

    A few years ago Louisville started allowing liquor sales on Sundays, and there’s been no noticeable deficit to public order. (Odd Kentucky bans are firework sales and smoking inside buildings other than residences — you’ll have to get your firecrackers in Indiana or Tennessee.)

    Though I stopped smoking cigarettes two years ago, I haven’t yet joined the Temperence League. But we need to eventually replace tobacco as a crop.

    Besides, the state, city governments and public universities are aall enforcing hiring freezes, as the state is suffering from billions of dollars of debt. Since marijuana thrives here, I can’t see much of a downside to it.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the California and Oregon experiment will pan out.

    –Regards. Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  192. 193 matt tingle
    July 10, 2008 at 21:40

    people should be well educated on this subject just as they are with smoking cigarettes and drinking beer but also left to make the choice on their own. also should be free from arrest.

    everyone who drinks alcohol would have tried it well before trying cannabis but that is not a gateway drug just because it is legal.

    is that right ???

  193. 194 Pangolin Hussein- California
    July 10, 2008 at 21:56

    Prohibition of drugs has been an utter failure. As somebody who lost a brother to cocaine addiction I can say that despite prohibition he never had a problem getting the drug. Instead the same drug prohibition prevented the exploration of potential treatment options because these also involved prohibited drugs.

    Ayahuasca from the Amazon and Ibogaine from Africa are two herbal drug preparations that are reported to cure heroin, alcohol and cocaine addiction in a single dose session.

    Despite the fact that the sessions are very unpleasant and normally involve repeated vomiting the US has led a drive to outlaw the availability or research on these herbal drug preparations. They have no potential as recreational drugs.

    The fact is that too many people make too much money on drug prohibitions and the prison system that illegal drugs feed. Complete legalization of recreational drugs would save the state of California billions of dollars simply because the most common cause of incarceration is failure to test clean while on parole or probation for some other drug crime.

    Any kid in any California high school, even the ‘Christian’ ones can get all the pot he can afford with just a few phone calls. If we legalized and regulated pot at least we would know that actual pot would be too cheap to adulterate. It would however, destroy the economies of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties.

  194. 195 John in Salem
    July 10, 2008 at 22:16

    So apparently the solution to our failed 30 year War on Drugs is to escalate.
    Or maybe it’s time to call for a surge – victory is surely around the next corner, right?.

    It’s almost enough to make me want to throw away my pot and start drinking.

  195. July 10, 2008 at 22:42

    Hi WHYers!

    For what it is worth, this sounds like a really “controversial” topic. I certainly don’t want to sound like I am being judgemental but is not cannabis a form of drug? And, have we not been told all this time that drugs are bad for you? What has changed? Or, were we being stiffed?

    That said, there is a way in which the Rastafarians in Jamaica have always campaigned for the removal of sanctions in terms of the usage of cannabis, claiming that the plant is part of its religious rituals.

    In any event, my question is: are we in receipt of new information about this plant/ drug? And, if so, how widespread is this information?

    Just curious.

  196. 197 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 23:00

    @Pangolin Hussein- California,

    “Prohibition of drugs has been an utter failure.”

    I can understand why you would say that, but I believe that the drug producers, and dealers think it has been good, because it has kept the prices for drugs sky high. But “illegal” drugs are everywhere. Pot coke and heroin are as available as cokes or pepsi everywhere in the US.

    I think the enforcement people have had a huge benefit from the losing war on drugs. They have expanded prison and jail cells by 500%. There are many many more jobs in these prisons and jails. All the helping professions. Rehab places. Plus, they get to confiscate king pins stuff. All the lawyers and judges? If pot was taken off the list of drugs to prosecute those folks would all lose their jobs.

    Drug enforcement is like southern border control. There is a whole lot of money that depends on the badges (‘heros’ everyone of them!) doing a lousy job.

  197. 198 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    July 10, 2008 at 23:02

    To Luz Ma @18:11

    Sorry for the delay, Difficult to keep up at times.

    I was referring to the idea of legalizing hemp as a cash crop. It grows like a weed, so it’s perfect for growing in poor soil, in fact its dense root structure is said to be good for the soil. It produces its own insecticide (the THC which makes it such a popular recreatiomal drug) so it is a perfect crop for poor farmers who can’t afford the chemicals needed to grow many other cash crops.

    And it could lead to the development of industries producing finished products like paper made from hemp. which is of superior quality to paper made from wood fiber, and textiles which are far more durable than those made from cotton.

    I would think the Mexican government would be all for this idea. But then politicians everywhere fear making powerfull enemies. And undermining US agriculture and industry in such a manner would be a very unpopular move, at least with those who stood to profit under business as usual. And these people have not hesitated in the past to use lies and unearned power to protect their interests. It would not be smooth sailing.

  198. 199 tom
    July 10, 2008 at 23:08

    name: tom
    location: UK
    legalising cannabis would truly help our community. cannabis is said to be a gateway drug, this however is a rediuculous argument. the concept of a gateway drug is a cop-out, used to demonise a substance. if substances could be “gateway” drugs, the true gateway drugs are nicotine, alcohol, perhaps even caffine.
    secondly, the issue with youths smoking cannabis being a problem would be dealt with through legalisation. once legalised, the black market for such a drug would die out; similarly the substance could then be controlled, just as nicotine and alcohol. if you speak to teenagers, the vast majority can tell you, cannabis is easier to aqquir than alcohol. this is because the dealers dont care what age, making it highly accesible.
    furthermore, in the credit crunch we face today, the economy would truly benefit. through legalizing cannabis, the government could aqquire a nice revenue from tax.
    cannabis is known to be far safer than alcohol and nicotine, when people begin to understand this, they WILL try it. once they do, there brought to shady places, meeting the dealers, thus forcing them into truly dangerous situations. not only are they brought into dangerous situations, but they are then offered far harder drugs. through legalisation, these harder drugs will never be offered to the vast majority of people. as seen in amsterdam, after the legalisation of cannabis, use of harder drugs dropped substancialy.
    people can overdose on alcohol, they can NOT overdose on cannabis. the damage done by cannabis is far less than nicotine. now why is this blatently safer substance illegal, when other substances are not?
    it is said that cannabis is addicitive. it has been PROVEN, that cannabis is not physicaly addicitive, even ask frank admit to this, a government site. sure it may be pyscologicaly addicitive (habbit forming), but to use that as a reason for criminalization is rediculous. anything can be habbit forming, eating sweets, drinking coffee, the list is endless.

    legalisation is not only logical, it is necessary. it would be a huge blow to the cartels, greatly reducing the criminals income and health. it would give a boost to the economy. it “chills” people out, in a society of growing knife crime, is this such a bad thing? it could be controlled, reducing child intake and “cleaning” it, no longer wud the product be in the hands of gangsters who dont care of purity.
    think about it people.

  199. 200 Dennis
    July 10, 2008 at 23:27

    As i am currently living in a place where cannabis would bring more trouble than it is worth…

    Dennis
    OCC
    Syracuse, NY
    USA

  200. 201 Pangolin Hussein- California
    July 10, 2008 at 23:50

    @ The ‘Drug Rehab Scam’- One of the nastier features of the drug war is that many people are ordered into drug rehab programs instead of going to jail. These programs are frequently ‘faith based’ which simply means that the con-artist running the rehab center praises Jesus constantly while he uses the guys in rehab as slave labor for construction clean-up jobs and other dirty unpaid work.

    They call this ‘job training’ and an inmate who refuses to participate is failed out of the program and sent back to jail to serve an extended sentence. Anybody who doesn’t agree with the religious indoctrination is failed out of the program and sent back. Any disagreement with the con-artist running the program gets you sent back to jail or prison and sometimes the con-artists demand bribes on top if they think you have cash available or somethign they can force you to sell.

    These con artists used to call me when I was working property management and offer me crews at $5/hour per man to do painting or cleanup. This was money the workers didn’t see a dime of. They lived six to a room and their food was donated by grocery stores tossing out dated and wilted food and produce.

    Drug warriors are slavers plain and simple.

  201. 202 archibald in oregon
    July 11, 2008 at 00:06

    It is a plant, growing like any other. Who are we to prohibit it, sell it, claim ownership to it, like most gov’ts do……….Humans are so arrogant. We own nothing here…….Realizing that and maybe we could let it go………LEGALIZE ALL DRUGS, and educate the public properly. It would be an instant economy adjuster. Those without drugs could get what they needed at a reasonable price and the pharmaceutical industry would have to reduce prices to compete. Doctors could spend more time healing and less time peddling drugs to patients. The insurance industry would lose enough income (no more drug plans), to finally make the idea of a socialized, national health plan , financially viable. The black market would evaporate. The petty drug crime industry (ie drug possession, distribution, production, excluding violence related offences), which the private prison system relies on for income, would be non-existent. Sure its naive, but, the fact that this concept (legalizing drugs) angers people on many fronts makes it a viable topic because there are no truly coherent arguments for its continued criminalization, just a lot of fear and anger about losing control. Baby jesus is crying all the time……….

  202. July 11, 2008 at 00:20

    steve
    if it’ll make you happy, I agree it might be as dangerous as burning your dinner, ok? But do we really want a 100% safe life, wrapped in cotton wool so we don’t break any bones? Better make rock climbing illegal steaight away, more people die annually climbing mountains than from all illegal drugs. Fact is, this obsession over cancer is another weapon in the health nazis’ arsenal to control all of us; I don’t smoke tobacco, and don’t find the smell pleasant, but I don’t need any fascist nannies to protect me from those who want to use tobacco, it’s their funeral, what I do is take avoiding action to miss the smoke if outdoors, and I never liked pubs anyway. Not smoking where people are eating I always considered a revolting habit even when I smoked cigarettes,but it’s only a matter of manners, not something the police should be involved in any more than they should be busting into people’s houses looking for dope. And don’t they love that perk of the job!

    There HAS been recent research showing cannabis linked to some protection from cancer, but I have no details. I shall have to look for it.

    But humans have been smoking one thing or another since someone threw a strange plant on the fire and they all got to giggling and then finished off all the food. This obsessive anti-smoking mania really is like a born again movement, except it’s less happy clappy and more sour faced, pinched mouthed disapprovers, all ultimately joyless creatures who don’t want anyone to enjoy this one life we all have.

  203. 204 Tom Ireland
    July 11, 2008 at 00:26

    @ Drake Weideman, realize, the government are the criminals because they fail to represent the individual in this case, preferring the corporate side to gain.
    It’s called vested interest.

    Very soon the common man will have to stand up for his most basic rights, never mind standing up for smoking / growing marijuana.

    ti

  204. 205 Luz Ma
    July 11, 2008 at 01:22

    @Pete and John

    Thanks for the info. I didn´t know that!!

    Well, many things are not done in this country that would be good for it 😦

  205. July 11, 2008 at 02:01

    “If you don’t believe drugs have done good things for us, then go home and burn all your records, all your tapes, and all your CDs because every one of those artists who have made brilliant music and enhanced your lives? RrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrEAL high on drugs. The Beatles were so high they let Ringo sing a few songs.” -Bill Hicks

  206. 207 Tino
    July 11, 2008 at 02:49

    Sad I missed out on this debate, busy day. Of course it should be legal:

    “It is a plant, growing like any other.”

    Exactly.

  207. 208 Mark from kansas
    July 11, 2008 at 07:19

    Canibus is a mind altering substance. It is Harmless in the short term if you do not use it for the wrong reasons. I have seen many “pot heads” who can not follow a conversation more than 5 minutes. I have seen many drunks who tell the same two minute story ten or twelve times like it is the first. Weed, like boose, prevents the mind from comprehending complex situation, wheather it be a family or personal relationship, it is an escape. Used in moderation, like boose, it is harmless. Unlike boose it dose not tend to create hostile and violent situations. If cannibus is used responsably it is harmless, and promotes a passive attitude, on the other hand it can be an escape from important personal issues, witch is very unhealthy for the phscy. Addictive personalities should not smoke the refer, or drink boose for that matter. This is the fine line we all must walk, weather it is one more beer or one more joint, you must be aware of why you are trying to shut your brain down, and decide if you like our mind o’natural, or if you want to avoid the issues that plague everyone, all of us, every day. If you chose to use be aware of what you do to the people around you, and laws be damned people will do it anyway,

  208. 209 Mark from kansas
    July 11, 2008 at 07:29

    The adictive nature of other drugs is over whelming to even the strongest minds. Cocaine, Popi(all opiates), boose, and designer drugs (meth and X), are very intense. A very strong minded person can do these in moderation and walk away. But real people with human bodies feel the “jones”. In an instant gratification society, or even in the empoverashed ones, this will steal your sole. The fact that pot is illegal means that the person with the weed has access to these other things that create more profit, which means they will try to sell it. As long as it is illegal these other drugs will be on the same market. Pot should be controlled and moderated to exclude the other mind altering substances, just as liquer is.

  209. July 11, 2008 at 09:14

    ‘Canibus is a mind altering substance. It is Harmless in the short term if you do not use it for the wrong reasons. I have seen many “pot heads” who can not follow a conversation more than 5 minutes. I have seen many drunks who tell the same two minute story ten or twelve times like it is the first. Weed, like boose, prevents the mind from comprehending complex situation, wheather it be a family or personal relationship, it is an escape. Used in moderation, like boose, it is harmless. Unlike boose it dose not tend to create hostile and violent situations. If cannibus is used responsably it is harmless, and promotes a passive attitude, on the other hand it can be an escape from important personal issues, witch is very unhealthy for the phscy. Addictive personalities should not smoke the refer, or drink boose for that matter. This is the fine line we all must walk, weather it is one more beer or one more joint, you must be aware of why you are trying to shut your brain down, and decide if you like our mind o’natural, or if you want to avoid the issues that plague everyone, all of us, every day. If you chose to use be aware of what you do to the people around you, and laws be damned people will do it anyway,’

    If your so-called ‘pot heads’ couldn’t follow a conversation for more than five minutes, perhaps they just can’t follow a conversation period? Others can operate complex software, run businesses, study for degrees, argue effectively, write books, record music, paint… need I go on? Don’t blame the drug, it’s the people stupid.

    You might also have noticed that the spelling is cannabis, as most posters on this board know, if you can read you could have copied them, rather than use your new spelling. Also, ‘…weather it is one more beer’ that should be whether, weather is the climate. Cannabis doesn’t shut ‘shut your brain down’ quite the reverse, it opens it up to infinite possibilities. It’s not about avoiding issues it’s about personal pleasure and enjoyment, relaxation and mental exploration, why do those who won’t try it think people use it to escape or blank unpleasant things out? If anything, it intensifies emotions as much as the senses, but also assists people to get things in perspective. The whole subject of drugs is so confused, that people without knowledge conflate cannabis with any other drug, assume addiction and dependence, assume escapism and refusal to participate in society, in short, the archetypal junky, one size fits all mentality. A little less arrogance from the ignorant and a little more humility would go a long way.

  210. July 11, 2008 at 09:23

    Right on Dwight, a point I was going to make. Then there are the painters, poets, architects, designers, writers, actors et al. Anyone notice the explosion of creativity in the sixties which advertisers are still milking? Any ideas why it happened if not for the fact that a generation discovered the benefits of cannabis? First the beats and their jazz musician friends, then the hippies and on into the pop music scene, transforming pretty ordinary pop bands into creative giants of rock n roll.

  211. July 11, 2008 at 12:17

    between alcohol and cigars,one of them should be demoted and marijuana promoted in its place…jas like derby county fc.this is because its said that two wrongs cant make a right.anyway,its only the law of man that is legalising things and illegalising others.the law of GOD just clarfifies that whatever you can use that doesnt affect you and other believers,then go ahead and use it.

    vihiga/kenya

  212. July 11, 2008 at 14:11

    As illegal as it is, we still see the effects. What makes people think that once legal the consequences will be less severe? Do we want every body to be brain dead or worse still, have a violent habit they can’t support.Kids try to smoke early on, imagine it is cannabis instead of cigarettes?

  213. 214 steve
    July 11, 2008 at 14:15

    @ mark

    I don’t see how pot being legal could cause those problems. I’m still not going to smoke it even if it’s legal. Anyone who wants to smoke it can right now if they want to. Violent habit? If it were legal, you could just get some seeds and grow it. It would basically be free. Anyways, it seems to have a “chilling out” effect on most people, and for others it makes them paranoid/anxious, but not violent. I doubt here have been many husbands coming home high, and beating their wives, like what happens with them coming home drunk. But then again, alcohol is legal, so it’s okay then.

  214. 215 Carolien from the Netherlands
    July 11, 2008 at 14:52

    As a Dutch person I have to say my government tolerating posession and use of cannabis has, in my eyes, been a good thing. There are fewer people addicted to harddrugs, (young) people are given the chance to try something legally they would probably be getting illegally otherwise, and it’s great to live in an environment where you can speak about it so openly. I tried cannabis when I was in highschool, many (nearly all) of my friends did too, and none of us have ended in the gutter or similarly scary scenarios. Some smoked more ‘regularly’ than others, but we’ve all grown out of it. Once your curiousity is satisfied, the “urge” goes away, and it’s been years since I’ve seen the inside of a coffeeshop. The quality of cannabis in coffeeshops is also usually quite reliable, which makes it safer for people to use. And it was great for me to be able to tell my parents I tried it without them judging me. People are just mostly very normal about it. And needless to say, it’s become so much a part of Dutch culture that not a single government has ever tried to reverse or rescind our famous “policy of tolerance”.

    In fact, the police still do many drugbusts in places where cannabis is grown illegally, and having more than 40 grams on you is also still a crime.

    The only issue we are facing is mainly in the border regions near Germany and Belgium, where many habitual users/ drug tourists cause trouble. Or perhaps tourists in Amsterdam wondering in front of trams/ streetcars, drowning in canals etc. So I see how “drug tourism” could also be a problem in California/ Oregon, but I don’t think that is a good enough reason to not legalize.

  215. 216 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 11, 2008 at 17:17

    Carolin from Netherland,
    I dont know how much you are aware from this fact that Canabes is popular with name of Ghanja in Sub Contenant region i.e. Pakistan & India, according to the public observation & ground realities regular user’s turn Lazy in normal life.
    The regular user’s grind these leaves in a real tradional way with addition of water & suger drink it like a soda pop, then feel like thay are travelling in a differant world instead of going to work.
    In Pakistan commonly people use in Sindh proviance among Growers community & there ineffency is very clear by way of verifying there per acor production of Wheat, Rice, Cotton & suger cans compairing to other parts of the country like Punjab & NWFP Provience as all land have a fantistic canal water facility.
    Infact these drug users community turn lazy in daily life, before we propse any one in USA we suppose to investigate the matters along with disadvantages.
    A less populated country like NETHERLAND may not be considered as illustration or good example to follow up.
    The final reasult & damage to the Physical appearance, culture & society will take cetain amount of time like China, within ten or twenty years of histry follow up call dosent sound appropriate & authority.

  216. 217 SAM
    July 11, 2008 at 23:10

    a lazy bum is going to be a lazy bum wheather he smokes pot or not. blaming pot is ridiculus. [] lazy is as lazy does. pot has nothing to do with it. i get my pot from a guy at my gym who is a weightlifter and pothead. he is definatly not lazy. half the people at my gym get stoned and exorsize. the british medical journal lancet says its safe for pregnat women to use and ive known several women that smoked pot while they were pregnant and their kids have grown up fine. if you were to get as high as you could on the best pot and then drink a couple of beers, you couldnt even tell you were high anymore. and pot is illeagal and beer is. the high from pot is exactly the same as runners high. not in any way do you lose your mental facalties. nor are you impaired in any way. you cant even come close to compairing it to being anything as impairing as alcohol.
    its like that episode of star trek where kirk fights the gorn on cestus three. hes given everything he needs to build a weapon. he just has to figure out how to use it. god has given us everything we need and all we have to do figure out how to use it. “hemp is a wonderful plant. it should be sowen everywhere”
    george washington

  217. July 12, 2008 at 01:30

    The Question of whether or not legalizing Cannabis would benefit my community.

    I am a medical user of Cannabis and all my medical professionals know of my use of Cannabis as a medicine. I suffer from Chronic Pain due to a condition called Ankylosing Spondulitis. The medicines that I am prescribed all have various side effects and do little alone to combat the chronic, debilitating pain that I suffer. Cannabis allows me the luxury of not having to think about the pain I am constantly in and to suffer little to none of the serious side effects of the medicines I take.

    Legalizing Cannabis in my community would take it out of the hands of criminal organizations who profit from prohibition. Likewise legal and regulated Cannabis would be removed from the hands of children, and available with a doctors approval in an age-restricted environment, such as a liquor store or a pharmacy.
    Regulated Cannabis would reap enormous benefits to governments in the form of tax revenues. This money can be then pumped back into fact based educational measures to tell children the truth about drugs. Also revenues could be directed into real law enforcement to deal with the real problems of crime in our neighbourhoods.

    Lastly legalizing and regulating Cannabis would free patients such as myself from the social stigma of using a medicine that benefits my condition.

  218. 219 Alison Myrden from Canada
    July 12, 2008 at 04:49

    I, too, am from Canada and am one of the very first ever medical cannabis patients in our Country. I have been using cannabis through my Doctor’s for almost thirteen years while cannabis had been completely and totally illegal until the early millenium and now look how far our Country has come!

    Speaking as a retired Law Enforcement Officer and a patient having used cannabis on prescription in Canada since 1995 for the indication of chronic progressive multiple sclerosis and an excruciating pain in my face twenty four hours a day associated with MS called tic douloureux, I am referred to as an expert in the field of Drug Law Reform for my work as a Global Activist and carry this title with pride.

    To answer the question “Would legalising cannabis benefit your community?”

    I say yes – completely!

    To begin with, the legalization of cannabis and all drugs would bring tremendous revenue to our struggling communities and bring monies for programs and extra curricular activities for our children and those in a more marginalized positions.

    Doing so would allow access to greater continuing Health Care procedures and treatments for the elderly, our children and those with critical and chronic illnesses in need and would allow us to allot monies for the newest and most thoroughly investigated medical procedures known to science.

    Legalizing cannabis would also take the commission away from the street market and the bad people who with our children are in charge at present.

    From the 1980 study U.S. Facts about Drug Abuse – “Psychoactive substances have been available throughout recorded History and will remain so. To try to eliminate them completely, is unrealistic”. Let’s get real here – Interdiction is NOT the answer.

    If we just legalize one drug like cannabis we will glorify the rest for our young people. The only solution is to legalize and regulate ALL drugs, all at the same time, get them off the street and away from our children and those with criminal intent and put them into the hands of those who are responsible enough to know better.

    THIS is our ONLY workable solution.

    Sincerely,

    Alison Myrden
    Leading Female Speaker for LEAP
    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
    http://www.leap.cc
    Ontario, Canada

  219. 220 Emile Barre
    July 12, 2008 at 12:16

    As long as alcohol is recognised as legal there is no intellectual justification for a drug of “equal status” being illegal. The context of drug use/abuse is another matter.

  220. 221 Ogola Benard
    July 12, 2008 at 12:47

    Cannabis cetra otherwiseknown as dog food, grass, weed, pangi, marijuana and so on is some deadly drug,legalised in some countries and very illegal in others.
    If for personal use some countires won’t have a case against you while others countries may jail for seven years!
    Cannabis has made waste children to many parrents, especially out of peer group influence which is acompanied with smoking, a unique drug often openly used!
    A drug is a drug so why legalise it?

  221. 222 enyia nelson
    July 12, 2008 at 13:06

    The legalization of cannabis will enhance & encourage the use of hard drugs in America. Hence, it should not be legalized because it will serve as a catalyst to drug abuse, which in the long run will lead to an increase in crime. from Enyia Nelson in Aba- Nigeria

  222. 223 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 13, 2008 at 21:59

    Being a medical usere proposing to entire society doset sound appropiate for majority of non sick society.
    No doubt opiom is a raw material for medicine’s & Birtish Govt issue vending licence for medical users.
    Any way overall impact of drug users on society is unhealthy because of voilent behaviour, disability to organise, learning disability, may be understand a journey towards dump, dull & criminal life. Just read the histry of China & cost to fix the Dobe feen society.

  223. July 14, 2008 at 05:14

    Having worked with folk who have suffered with substance abuse for over 40 years, I believe it would be a mistake to legalize cannabis because the damage to the body outweighs (if any) good that it might give to a person.One needs to work in a “Rehab” to understand what the affects it has on those who are addicted. The change it brings to ones facial appearance and then the damage to the lungs and brain. Lets live drug free lives.

  224. 225 Pangolin Hussein- California
    July 14, 2008 at 09:09

    @ Ray- There is absolutely no proof in any legitimate medical journal that cannabis causes damage to the body that exceeds the smoke exposure suffered by say, a fireman. Actually the average fireman will die far younger than the average cannabis user.

    The people you work with in your rehab scam (because there is no proof of cannabis addiciton) are people assigned by law enforcement and probalby have other issues with cocaine, alcohol, methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse. In addition they are likely to be suffering from PTSD and mental illness as a result of their oppresion by law enforcement.

    Drug “rehabilitation” of cannabis users is nothing more than fraud imposed by the US courts systems.

    The US has spent many tens of millions attempting to prove the damage of cannibis use and they can’t. In fact they have had to suppress the conclusions of many studies when it was found that cannibis use inhibits cancer growth.

  225. 226 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 14, 2008 at 18:36

    Who spent the money on medical reserch & development in USA, no one, though these pharimictical companies claim lot of money from Tax dollors at the name of reserch & development along with a reason to charge most price of there products.
    The physical harm of drugs may be verified from mental hospital’s, criminal records & causes of death.

  226. July 15, 2008 at 20:38

    I see there are a lot of comments about the supposed harms of cannabis.

    Let’s start with this one fact…

    Study after study has show Cannabis to be less harmful than alcohol and nicotine. This is not an opinion. It is fact.

    How hypocritical of a society to stigmatize and criminalize a segment of its population for choosing to use a substance significantly less harmful than substances that are legally made available!


    Chart:

    How does cannabis compare to:
    Nicotine? Heroin? Cocaine? Alcohol? Caffeine?

    Find out now…
    http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/#three

    -FrankD

    Get the facts at CannabisFacts.ca!
    Essential information for an informed debate about cannabis policy.

  227. 228 Mark from kansas
    July 18, 2008 at 04:00

    @pete

    Spellign aside I have tried it, in fact for many years. I used to (note that DHS used to) cultivate sell and use weed on a regular basis for many years. Most of the time I used it for the right reasons, to relax, socialy, or even to calm a potentialy violent situation down. I also used it for the wrong reasons, towards the end of my use. I shut down my short term so I would not have to deal with my family or the emotions of a divorce. I beleive it should be legal, it is far better than boose on you body and you mind. It does shut down the short term memory and higher brain functions, maybe my stash was little more potent than yours. (I grew cannibus cup winners baby yeah) This shut down gives it strong potential for abuse and addiction. My point was that it is available legal or no, and that people have to be carefull how they use any mind altering substance, and not use them if they are prone to addiction.

  228. July 20, 2008 at 01:14

    If there is medicinal benefit for it then YES!

    But i cannot agree with irresponsible users living in a community where in the main the community are not, and have no desire to be, cannabis users.

    As an example, i live near a cannabis user who resides in rental accomodation, who once was a friend.
    Two years ago he was caught by the local Police for cultivating 77 plants mostly grown hydroponically. Later he was
    given a suspended sentence and, to cut a long story short, blames myself for
    blowing the whistle (which i did not).

    Today he still lives near me and i live with the fear of retribution and also a neighbourhood that also believes
    I was involved “dobbing a neighbour”. What’s more, he has slowly returned to his ‘activities”.

    I wonder whether setting up zones might be a desirable option for these type of persons, while those of us who are not cannabis users, but are affected by the foul scent and also other problems associated with living near cannabis enthusiasts
    can be relocated to a cannabis free area.

  229. 230 Dave Hand
    July 24, 2008 at 16:12

    There are two options :-

    1. stop criminalising the trade – allowing people to do to their own bodies what they wish without fear of persecution – with the added bonus of reducing other crimes (with victims), making extra tax, reducing corruption, reducing health risks to users, saving *billions* of dollars fighting the ‘drug war’, stopping *billions* of black-market dollars (most of which probaly end up outside the country)………….
    This list could go on if I were bothered.

    2. Continue to support the illegal trade and accept all the negative ramifications that go with a *massively profitable*, criminally driven, unstoppable demand.

    THESE ARE THE ONLY CHOICES THAT ARE AVAILABLE.

  230. 231 peter mose
    July 28, 2008 at 18:31

    JOINT VENTURE
    ALLO
    would i want it ,no i dont think so, i am aware of a lot of reasons as to why we should
    leaglise ,but at the end of the day selling is about terrritory ,[ you want to sell on my patch meet mr smith and mr wesson ]

    and then you end up with the turf wars,if it is leagle to sell it there always is trouble,
    because it leagle ,it does not mean its going to be cheap,and it dont mean you can only buy it from a licenced cafe/ coffie shop,
    private enterprise will always win though .

    i know this ,in another life i was a self employed noctural sale man drove a v8 daimler jag had nice clothes,

    as i was then i would not want me in the neibourhood

    peter mose
    fully trackable

  231. 232 Dave Hand
    August 1, 2008 at 13:51

    ^ Very ill-thought-out response. Protecting the territory you talk about is much more problematic with regard to illegal trade rather than legal trade (with the protection from the police and other authorities)

    Do you think ice-cream should be banned due to some of the infamous turf wars over that?

    In fact, many of these responses are quite shockingly illogical, showing a complete lack of understanding of the big picture.

  232. September 26, 2008 at 00:19

    well first of all being caught with possession, if your in college, you will be expelled and no credits earned from the university will be granted…..does it get much worse than that? NO!

  233. 234 Chris Yribarren
    June 30, 2009 at 14:24

    It’s pointless to debate if it’s harmful or not as this opens a huge can of worms: from alcohol to sugars & transfats. For me its a civil liberties issue, and it tend to sway towards the libertarian camp, I digress. I was in Amsterdam recently & understand why cannabis is legal/decriminalized there: it is the driving force behind the tourism there. I can’t help notice all of the british & american tourists there (2 countries w/ archaic laws w/ regard to drugs, prostitution, gambling,…) I live in San Francisco and could not help to imagine what legalization/decriminalization would do to the local economy: restaurants, hotels, car rentals, cabs, retailers,…it would be a real gold rush, and we can use the boost. The Dutch just hope we don’t reform our drug laws, but in the end, we are the losers. It’s really time we let go of our old victorian & puritanical ethics. One last interesting point, for those who advocate the “gateway drug” argument: a recent poll in the Netherlands suggests that there is far less use of cannabis amongst Dutch citizens than their European neighbors…


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