Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Benefits of re-legalization of cannabis

with 5 comments

Convincing:

Are people really afraid of legalizing marijuana? I cannot understand why it is such a crazy idea to let people consume cannabis.  People can get drunk all they want, and humanity keeps moving right along.  Of course, there was a time when the country outlawed alcohol consumption, and that failed miserably.  Sure Al Capone enjoyed the lucrative aspect of alcohol prohibition, but that prohibition failed and cannabis prohibition has failed for the same reasons.

Abuse of cannabis is detrimental, but there is a difference between use and abuse.

Most people who use cannabis are responsible and have a job, just like those who use alcohol.  If cannabis were regulated like alcohol, there would still be cannabis abuse like there is alcohol abuse, but how bad could cannabis abuse really be for society?

I doubt that fast-food chains and pantry stores would be getting held up for munchies or that youngsters would pawn their iPods for water bongs, but are those images what is so frightening about legalizing it?

The biggest concern about a taxed and regulated market for cannabis is how to enforce driving sobriety issues.  People should not drive impaired by any substance.  If they do they are endangering others, thereby breaking the law, and should be punished accordingly.

For most teenagers it is easier to get cannabis than alcohol because dealers don’t card, so making the cannabis market a taxable legal market would actually prevent access to cannabis by children.  Plus, why is the government concerned about “sending the right message to children”? Shouldn’t that be the parents’ duty and responsibility? Adult cannabis use should not be illegal in an effort to “send the right message,” and a legal cannabis market would have age restrictions and penalties for those who supply children with cannabis.

Maintaining cannabis prohibition because of its addictive qualities is a flawed argument as well.  Cannabis has been shown to be less addictive than alcohol and nicotine in a study done for the NIDA in 1994 by Jack E.  Henningfield.

The study noted the dependence, tolerance and withdrawal levels of cannabis were lower than those of alcohol and nicotine.

Prohibitionists face the problem that cannabis use is not as bad as they have been portraying, and more and more studies are being released documenting the medical benefits of cannabis.  Any concerns about “smoking” medicine can quickly be dismissed by the use of vaporizers and ingesting cannabis.  Plus, if smoking cannabis is so harmful, then why aren’t there widespread cases of lung cancer among cannabis users?

Cannabis has not one documented fatal overdose, which cannot be said about many over-the-counter drugs found in most homes.

Cannabis use is still common despite being against the law, and more than 97 million Americans admit to having tried it, according to the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  This is proof that cannabis prohibition is not working, and regulating and taxing cannabis is a better option.  Cannabis users are probably the only segment of the population that actually wants higher taxes!

These cannabis consumers would rather pay a tax on their habit and purchase it legally than risk arrest, and with government budgets stretched thin, how can we afford to keep losing this potential source of tax revenue? A recent study by Jon Gettman, Ph.D., “Lost Taxes and Other Costs of Marijuana Laws,” estimates that marijuana in the U.S.  is a $113 billion industry annually and that American taxpayers are losing a total of $41 billion toward enforcement of marijuana laws and lost potential tax revenue.

Alcohol prohibition did not work, and cannabis prohibition is not working either.

Are we really afraid of the hippies, stoners and potheads of the world? If not, then we should stop locking them up and wasting tax dollars and police officers’ time.  After all, it’s supposed to be a free country, right?

Written by Leisureguy

17 January 2008 at 5:56 pm

Posted in Drug laws

5 Responses

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  1. Don’t tell the cops, but I have been known to use it–very responsibly, and very recreationally.

    Shh!

    Like

    scott

    17 January 2008 at 7:53 pm

  2. Scott, i am happy that you have been using cannabis responsibly. It is important because not all people are able to use it responsibly. Unfortunatly, we live in a world where some feel like they have to “hide” cannabis from cops. I think that a lot of cops now are starting to have a better understanding of how cannabis can benefit certain individuals. it can help a person relieve pain or help eliminate problematic symptoms of a pre-existing mental illness that an individual has no control over. I hope that one day people who benefit from cannabis won’t have to feel like they are hiding anything from police. cops, i believe, for the most part, are good people just trying to keep the masses safe. i do have a lot of respect for police who investigate violent crime. i also support people being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, because that is dangerous. sadly, cannabis is still looked down upon by persons who cannot possibly benefit from it based on their own mental / anatomical limitations. this mindset is a mental illness in itself in my opinion. in my opinion, it is alcohol and harder drugs that create the crime. however, i do believe that some individuals could commit crime as a result of using cannabis if that person does not have proper health care. This effect has been well documented by proponents of the war on drugs and people who believe that cannabis automatically makes persons fiend for harder drugs.

    I want to respond a paragraph in the post by LeisureGuy;

    the paragraph reads:

    “The biggest concern about a taxed and regulated market for cannabis is how to enforce driving sobriety issues. People should not drive impaired by any substance. If they do they are endangering others, thereby breaking the law, and should be punished accordingly.”

    In response, let me start by stating that I agree that, in a perfect world, people should not drive impaired by any substance. I think this is a good way for people to think in general and will likely result in more safety on the roads and less accidents. Unfortunately, our world is not perfect in many ways. Let me also say that I am NOT suggesting that individuals who are not accustomed to the effects and consequences of any drug, legal or illegal, drive an automobile while under the influence (this includes prescription drugs that could disorient a person far worse than cannabis). But, for the sake of honesty through my personal experience, I must say that driving while under the influence of cannabis CAN be safe. I say this because I simply feel that I am a safer driver while using a small amount of cannabis, especially on long drives. It’s no more a distraction while driving than smoking a cigarette, which is legal. (not even going to get into the harm that tobacco can cause) And depending on what health issues an individual might have, cannabis can actually help a driver stay alert on the road when that driver could be detracted by an untreatable pain or discomfort that one feels. Depending on what strain of cannabis is being used, cannabis can allow the driver to focus on the road and not be bothered by any chronic pain that may exist. In my experience, decision-making can also be greatly enhanced once the user is comfortable with the medicine. I actually find myself driving slower and more carefully while stoned. again, this effect depends a great deal upon the individual. and also, once an individual has used cannabis for some time, the effect of smoking a bowl is not disorienting and confusion. it becomes focus and enhanced dexterity with the more it is used. i also am lucky enough to drive a safe, well-aligned car, with a GPS system that helps me navigate to a specific location. the hardest part of driving at times is finding the destination. decision-making is key to being a good driver. for example, deciding when to turn and when to accelerate, etc. With a car with good stability and a GPS system helping the driver navigate, the driver does not have to make as many DECISIONS while driving than someone who might have a lower quality car with no GPS navigation. let me put it this way, i am very comfortable in my car and it helps me be the safe driver that i am.

    Persons who have never smoked cannabis or persons who are unable to use cannabis and still remain fully functional and logical will probably believe what i am saying is criminal. They will probably blame my past use of cannabis for every accident that has ever occurred on a road! Persons who smoked cannabis once, got “high” and couldn’t find there own keys probably decide right then and there that it is a devilish drug, and therefore could not possibly benefit anyone and only creates crime and accidents. I think this is a narrow-minded viewpoint. sadly, the reality is that that person does not realize that they might be unable to use the drug and remain functional based on their pre-existing anatomy that they were born with. You have to have the anatomy and mental capacity to be able to handle a drug like cannabis and still remain a productive member of society. No individual is anatomically the same. i would like to add that i do not promote drug use of any kind for individuals who are healthy, but there is a time and a place for everything in this world. there are a lot of ways for a person to get injured, depressed, etc throughout life, and for some of those people, cannabis can go a long way. I write this not to encourage healthy people to start smoking cannabis and thinking of driving while under the influence. Cannabis can truly can be dangerous to the people on the road if the driver using cannabis does not have the mental capacity to handle the drug and still remain a safe driver. But, for the sake of the future of mankind, I believe it is important to be honest with ourselves and use our own personal experiences to benefit future generations. Smoking cannabis for experienced users who are genetically able to process cannabis without any decrease in motor skills have the ability to operate an automobile safely during brief responsible periods of use. If you asked me if i’d rather someone be driving under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of cannabis, I would absolutely rather that person chose cannabis for the safety of us all. (hopefully the person is sober, but the point is i’d rather that person use cannabis as opposed to alcohol)

    Frankly, as a society, we have to realize that every individual has a unique anatomy and mental capacity (not to mention family drug histories that could allow that person to use a drug like cannabis without a decrease in motor skills or orientation that others might experience). We have to realize that cannabis might affect one person very differently than another person, based on anatomical differences that the individual has no control over and are simply born with. It is not fair for someone who drinks alcohol and doesn’t smoke cannabis to criticize someone else for smoking cannabis. It is not that someone who doesn’t benefit from cannabis is any more or less of a human being than a person that does benefit from cannabis. We are all human beings who were born into this world with pre-existing conditions that are not always able to be comprehended because they are not able to be perceived by another human being. These are subtle differences in one’s DNA that only the designer of our world knows. We are all individuals, and in a free country should all have the opportunity to pursue happiness. if a person has a horrible illness or disease that simply isn’t able to be treated to a point where the patient is comfortable in his or her own skin (at least at one particular moment), cannabis has to be there to allow that person to continue living in the hope that one day the pain will go away. cannabis could be the “gateway” to happiness for that person. we have to let those individuals that benefit from cannabis have access to safe, clean medication so that the individual can use clean medication to limit the abuse and negative side effects and maximize the pain relieving and mental clarity aspects of cannabis so that there are less negative side effects for that person’s own offspring if that persons decides to have children of their own. furthermore, that person should not have to feel like a second-class citizen while doing so. for a person to feel this way is unfortunate. unlike alcohol, which effects everyone about the same in my experience, cannabis effects lots of people very differently than others. (not to mention the variety between different strains of cannabis that could affect even the same person very differential if the person is not using the correct strain for their specific condition) cannabis should also NOT be used with alcohol medicinally. that combination can be lethal, in my opinion, especially when a young person is using cannabis for the first time with alcohol. my choice of choosing to stop drinking alcohol has allowed me to benefit maximally from cannabis without any significant decrease in motor skills. not drinking alcohol has allowed me to benefit as much as possible from cannabis. cannabis can benefit certain individuals that were genetically programmed from birth to be able to use cannabis while staying a fully functional and logical human being, either in terms of mental capacity or in terms of family drug histories (individual’s parents smoked cannabis prior to conception) clearly, some individuals just cannot handle the drug. some clearly can. i have seen it first hand believe me. it depends upon how that person’s nervous system processes the toxins of cannabis through one’s body. if a child has both a high mental capacity and a family history of smoking cannabis, in my opinion, it is a crime to NOT allow that person access to cannabis once that person has developed fully. (reaches adult age) I know this is true because i did not use cannabis as a minor citizen. only as a 20-something adult have i needed to use cannabis due to some injuries i have had, and in many ways, I have never felt better and feel that this could have still benefited me even if it wasn’t sick. (a slippery slope i know…) You have to ask yourself does the potential harm of cannabis outweigh the potentially benefit? i aim to share my experiences to simply help mankind progress through this time of change in our country. The great thing about our country is we have freedom of speech. we can talk about this. if you disagree with me, you can explain yourself and give your opinion. you can agree with me and give your opinion. but, whether you agree or disagree with me, no one can impose their opinion on me in the form of a law. i will do what i believe is just, and doing so successfully and safely will only give me more confidence.

    I cannot stress enough how important it is to understand that not all individuals have the genetic makeup to be able function logically while using cannabis, better yet operate an automobile and still remain a safe driver while under the influence of cannabis. But, I’d be lying if i didn’t say that some individuals can do it. i say this not to encourage people to do try this for themselves, because it can be dangerous for the masses. i say this so people can become more educated and try to understand why things the way they are. i am a logical human being who has concluded that it can be done in a safe way. but i don’t believe everyone can do it like i can. i only know how it affects me. although i have done it in the past and i have concluded that i am as safe, if not a safer driver while doing so (depending on what symptoms i am experiencing in terms of pain and discomfort), i don’t do it now mainly because i do not want to get pulled over and wrongly arrested, because that is our society, and it is possible. i also respect the law and realize that drug laws were created for a reason, even if I don’t choose to fully comprehend that reason. i also realize that our country was founded on slavery and there was a lot of racism in this country and that racism has a lot to do with why a lot of our drug laws were created. i also don’t do it because now i am fortunately able to live relatively sober now and without any significant chronic pain or discomfort. but unfortunately, that wasn’t always the way it was. there was a time where i was receiving chronic pain on a daily basis and simply wanted it to go away, but it didn’t. I still wanted to be able to live a normal life and, all the while still be able to drive wherever i wanted SAFELY. i don’t feel like i am criminal for doing it. i wish i didn’t have the pain, but it was there. and once it was there and i was not receiving the treatment i needed, i chose cannabis to help me get me to a point where i am not receiving the same chronic pain. i also like the person that i have become. cannabis didn’t make me the person i am, but it help me sustain my individuality in a difficult time. now a lot of that pain is gone due to cannabis and i am grateful to the drug. now i have an opportunity to get real treatment and i have the mindset to do it. hopefully one day when i am older i will not need to use the drug at all. but that day is not today. i say this so that police do not falsely arrest medical cannabis patients by incorrectly perceiving their use of the drug as criminal. this is obviously a slippery slope for police, and i do not blame police for being suspicious of someone suspected of being “high” while driving. (if someone is say, pulled over and the car smells funny) certain individuals who cannot handle cannabis might actually be a danger to society in this position and could potentially cause an accident. if that is the case, i understand why an officer might decide that a person should be arrested. but, it needs to be said that certain individuals should not be arrested in the exact same scenario and are actually NOT a danger to society based on mental capacity and family drug history. i know this because i am one of them. i know how i feel. i have a very safe car, prefer driving alone, and have a GPS system that allows me to keep focused on the road and be directed to where i need to go, whether i smoked cannabis that day or not. based solely on my personal experiences, i aim to help build a bridge between law enforcement and individuals so that certain individuals who genetically benefit from cannabis and are possibly receiving chronic pain and / or discomfort in any way are not treated like a criminal. We all deserve to live. If stuff happens in one’s life that sucks like an injury that causes chronic pain, that person still deserves to live and pursue happiness. The pursuit of happiness is written in our constitution for a reason. If a person is at-risk for cancer, maybe cannabis can be used as treatment before chemotherapy is needed. If cannabis helps that person get there, in my opinion, it is their RIGHT to use it if they have the means necessary to afford it.

    At the same time, it is important also for healthy persons who do not benefit from cannabis to stay away from the drug if they are progressing through life successfully. cannabis can easily change the course of a person’s life if they are not in a position to use it medicinally. it is also important for persons who do benefit from cannabis but are also healthy, to use the drug with care if they decide to use it medicinally for mental clarity purposes. Also, it is smart to use cannabis when a person is in a good position in their life to do so, when a person is at a point in one’s life where using cannabis is appropriate and will not harm others. (after receiving a degree, for example, or once that person has moved out of their parents house an into their own apartment) some people do not have the means or are not in the position to use cannabis effectively, like if one is absorbing lots of important information that needs to be recalled from memory. (not that someone can’t succeed while using cannabis, but it can impair one’s thinking slightly)

    I hope that people do not criticize me for writing what i believe is my own truth based on my experiences. Again, let me say that I do not want people to think that I am encouraging the use of cannabis, or driving while smoking cannabis. I am simply responding to your column in regards to how to enforce driving sobriety issues. I have no problem with someone who is pulled over to be given a sobriety test if the officer believes that person is a threat to other drivers. The officer is simply trying to prevent an accident and obviously had a reason to pull the person over. It is a well intentioned thing to do. Yes, some cops are assholes and will go out of their way to find something wrong with you, but I do believe most cops are simply trying to keep us safe. People who decide to use cannabis should understand this and be respectful to law enforcement. But, at the same time, law enforcement also need to understand that certain individuals (specifically individuals between the ages of 20-30 who are able to process cannabis while retaining all motor functions) can use the drug responsibly and still be able to control their motor skills while driving. By this I mean, if the car simply has a feint odor of cannabis, I do not believe this is probable cause in it of itself.

    the great thing is about our country is that we can talk about this. if we lived in Iran or some other country where government limits their citizen’s speech, the written word could be subject to arrest. for those people who believe that if all the drugs deemed illegal by the U.S. government instantly ceased to exist immediately, the world would automatically become a perfect place with no crime are simply living in a dreamworld. Case and point, alcohol prohibition in the 1930’s. I hope our country can learn from their mistakes and allow people the right to live their own lives in whichever way they deem fit. people like to be healthy. when they are not healthy, they want their pain to be relieved. they also want to be happy. is it so hard to understand why people use cannabis? lets not declare war on a plant as effective as cannabis. lets learn to embrace it and understand both the positive and the negative effects of it so that in time, through research, the negative effects can be diminished and the positive effects of it enhanced so that people can remain logical and healthy for as long as possible…

    Like

    Dave

    18 January 2008 at 4:16 am

  3. The purpose of government shall be to preserve liberty. As long as an individual is not committing violent crime; as long as that individual is not infringing upon the rights, safety, or personal property of others, that individual shall not be subject to arrest. That person shall be given the opportunity to be a productive member of society. That person has nothing to hide. As great as America is, America has problems. America tries to group you into categories, and throws statistics and other people’s mutually-agreed upon opinions down your throat to a point where you have been fed with so much garbage that you can begin to spew out what you’ve been fed if you are not careful. This has resulted in many wars waged against other countries, plants, drugs, and even it’s own citizens of particular skin pigmentation or particular beliefs at one point in time in the form of slavery. Now all these unique individuals who were wrongly and tragically enslaved by this very government have a voice and dreams and aspirations of their own. Under the Bush Administration, even one’s own privacy and access to information has been subject to internet control. Sadly, even the very pursuit of happiness is now engaged in a war with “terror”. How can we continue to ignore the fact that we are creating, some, if not all of the terror we fear through government policy and conduct over time? Didn’t someone important say “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”? It does take courage to stand up for what you believe in, but does that mean you shouldn’t stand up when you have a chance? Not a large percentage of individuals are accurately, well informed from unbiased opinion throughout this country. When a person is not fully informed, the decisions that that person makes over time could be very harmful to a significant percentages of individuals. If that person has power, it will resonate and have a ripple effect.

    Throughout all of the hypocrisy and corruption out there, at least there is one man that has stood up for individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He has had the courage to march on, through all of the foul play and the criticism. That man is Ron Paul. I, as he does, do detest the way alcohol and particular illegal and prescription drugs are abused by some in society. It is unfortunate. But, only through education and one’s own choices will that person be able to overcome any of the hurdles that are out there. No government should take away potential choices that an adult individual potentially could have generated in one’s own mind and executed through one’s body because someone else might not be able to handle that same decision in their own lives and their own bodies. (based almost entirely among factors that either person cannot control; we are simply born with whichever type of capacity is granted by the designer / creator)

    Cannabis decriminalization is the only logical answer, in my opinion. I have determined this based primarily upon experiences in the world through my own eyes. This should not be a federal issue. The federal government should be forced to retract some of the decisions that they are currently making. Some issues, like this one, shall become a no-decision and shall be pushed down to the states, where it should be. Each individual state shall be able to pass, and implement, their own laws by using the constitution as their guide. Under a Ron Paul administration, the federal government DEA raids of medicinal cannabis dispensaries all over the country will cease to a halt. The state border will protect its citizens from any opinions and laws that could exist in other states. The state courts shall ensure that laws from other states should not automatically become law in their state. The state highway patrol and local state law enforcement shall protect all citizens of that state at all times. Law enforcement and the court system will continue to punish violent offenders with incarceration. Any member of law enforcement in that particular state who decides to seize a patient’s medicine, that member of law enforcement will be charged with a crime of unlawful seizure of personal property. That member of law enforcement shall have to stand trial. The statute shall treat all non-violent members of society with dignity, respect, and most importantly, privacy. No nonviolent member of society shall be under unconstitutional investigation by their government at any time. That person will have the opportunity to achieve the success that that person is capable of, and will have full peace of mind while doing so. The government is not a doctor and should not tell patients which physicians they can or cannot see. All citizens of their state will be protected within that state’s borders. No one whose conduct is nonviolent shall be treated as a criminal. No one shall feel wrongly stigmatized.

    In two weeks, the Ron Paul administration will face its judgment day. Super Tuesday. The Ron Paul campaign will march on, this time, to the State of California. Ron Paul will, for once, be on a level playing field with the John McCains, the Rudolph Giulianis, the Mitt Romneys, and the Mike Huckabees of the world. Ron’s voice shall not be silenced in the State of California. Now that Fred Thompson has thrown in the towel, where will Thompson’s votes go? We will all soon find out…

    With one more week to register for absentee ballots in California, (Jan 29th deadline) is there anyone that dares to declare as a republican by then? Do you dare to take a peak into the future? (you have to register to jan 29th for absentee ballots, to have your vote count) Do you dare to challenge the ones who have been stuck in their ways most of their lives for reasons that are not relevant or important to the enlightened ones in any way shape or form. One more week for you to (potentially) break the draw if the GOP Primary is “too close to call”…I encourage all citizens to do so, and to choose whomever candidate suits the particular opinions and values of each citizen most closely. Please vote for who you truly believe will bring the country to where it needs to be. Do vote for the candidate of your choice; that is only possible if you remember to register by Jan 29th to ensure that you will exercise your right as a U.S. citizen to vote in the primaries. An individual’s own, unique set of criteria shall determine which party and candidate is chosen by that individual.

    All those electoral votes and delegates up for grabs February 5th…

    It will only happen if you believe it can…

    Like

    Dave

    22 January 2008 at 7:40 pm

  4. Hi, I;m working on this new site atm, they’re looking for contributors with good writing skills and having read your blog I think your contribution would be welcome.

    Talking Drugs is an online space reflecting the global challenge posed by illicit drugs.
    It provides an opportunity to share stories and insights that will help us find better ways to control illicit drugs and prevent them causing excessive harm. Everybody is welcome to contribute and get involved. We want people to tell their stories – you can document the impact of drugs in your own community and support others telling their stories through the making of videos, taking photographs and translating content to ensure that the message gets out to as many people as possible.

    Talking Drugs is managed by Release (www.release.org.uk) the UK’s centre of expertise on drugs, the law and human rights.

    Please check it out at: http://www.talkingdrugs.org/

    Best Wishes, Adam

    Like

    talkingdrugs

    27 February 2009 at 6:01 am

  5. I think almost any substance can be abused and that it’s ridiculous that marijuana is illegal when it is much less dangerous when it is abused than when alcohol is. http://stonerdiary.wordpress.com

    Like

    writerpro25

    11 August 2010 at 7:08 pm


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