Later On

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

Mark Kleiman on California Prop. 19 (Legalizing cannabis)

with 5 comments

Mark Kleiman has written extensively on drug policy. In his blog this morning:

As I’ve pointed out, Prop. 19, the California marijuana-legalization initiative, is nonsense: it can’t do what it purports to do, because a state can’t tax and regulate a federal felony. But I’ll probably vote for it anyway, as long as I’m sure it won’t pass. Voting “No” means providing material assistance to the drug warriors – people like Louis R. (Skip) Miller, the chairman of DARE America – and their relentless disinformation campaign.

The latest example is Miller’s op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News. It’s not really worth a detailed Fisking, so I’ll offer a sample and leave the rest as an exercise for the reader:

As the chairman of DARE America, the nation’s top drug abuse prevention/education program…

Accurate, if by “top” y0u mean “most successfully promoted.” But in addition to its ethical flexibility in the use of facts, DARE has an unbroken record of negative evaluations:  no one has ever produced anything like scientifically respectable evidence that DARE succeeds in reducing drug use among its subjects, as opposed to inculcating drug-war attitudes.

Marijuana is associated with physical and mental illness, poor motor performance and cognitive impairment.

1.  Association is not causation.

2. Light use does not have the same effects as heavy use.

3. There’s no demonstration that the poor motor performance and cognitive impairment outlast the intoxication. NIDA has been searching for forty years for evidence of persistent cognitive deficits, so far without success.

One of the most pernicious effects of marijuana is that it lowers inhibitions, making users engage in risky behavior — including excessive alcohol consumption and use of harder drugs.

Fascinating assertion, backed by precisely zero evidence.

Reading this sort of argumentation – characteristic of the pro-drug-war side of the drug policy debate – gives me a strong urge to Just Say No to the people who make it.

Like it or not, in November California voters are either going to vindicate the dishonest strategy of Prop. 19′s backers – falsely promising to help resolve California’s fiscal crisis as bait for legalization – or ratify the nonsense still being preached on the other side. Since we’re currently spending loads of public money to peddle Skip Miller’s nonsense to tens of millions of schoolchildren with tax dollars, and since prohibition is currently the law of the land, I think I will give rebuking the drug warriors priority over rebuking the legalizers: assuming the polls still show the proposition losing. Having the damned thing actually pass is not a risk worth running.

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2010 at 10:54 am

Posted in Daily life, Drug laws

5 Responses

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  1. What exactly is the danger of it being passed? That it’ll be declared invalid because it “can’t do what it purports to do”? So what?



    24 July 2010 at 11:29 am

  2. I don’t quite understand Mark’s position on this. He’s against the war on drugs, but he doesn’t want cannabis to be legal for fear that (e.g.) R.J. Reynolds will get into the game and spend millions in advertising to get people to use more and more. And, of course, Big Business will not be satisfied with natural cannabis but will want to add substances and flavorings so that they have a product (added “value”) rather than simply packaging a product of nature. His problem is not so much with cannabis as with free-market capitalism’s weaknesses.



    24 July 2010 at 1:06 pm

  3. He’s got goofy priorities.



    24 July 2010 at 1:16 pm

  4. According to one report, it would take 800 joints to kill a person—but the cause of death would be carbon monoxide poisoning.



    26 July 2010 at 8:47 am

  5. Of course, someone could probably be killed with 10-15 joints rolled into a bundle and pushed down his throat, though cause of death would be asphyxiation. 🙂



    26 July 2010 at 9:33 am

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