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It’s time to end the war on marijuana

In yesterday’s election, voters in Colorado and Washington state approved referendums legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, and Massachusetts became the 18th state to allow the use of reefer for medical purposes.

This trend toward liberalization of laws regarding weed, as it’s called, should be a signal to the federal government and all the other states that it’s time to give up on the foolish war on marijuana. This war has cost us many billions of dollars, ruined countless lives, fostered more crime than it’s curbed, strained the criminal-justice system to the breaking point,  corrupted law enforcement and promoted a disrespect for law in general.

Marijuana is a relatively innocuous drug, especially as compared to cocaine and heroin. Tens of millions of Americans have used pot without any lasting negative effects. We probably haven’t had an American president in the past 20 years who didn’t use marijuana when he was young.

It does our society far more harm than good to persist in the prohibition of this drug. Let’s legalize it, tax it and devote our criminal justice system to more sensible pursuits. In so doing, we’ll strike a blow to the drug cartels and save ourselves tons of money, not to mention innumerable lives.

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21 Comments

  1. “Marijuana is a relatively innocuous drug, especially as compared to cocaine and heroin.”

    Plus you can tax it.

    I am all for legalization, what the hell, it makes it easier to stay in or get into the 1% if everyone else is stoned. Just watch out for the second hand smoke.

  2. Yeah! Woot! Pat Cunningham switches to vote for Gary Johnson or Ron Paul!

    Also, can you elaborate on why yes to marijuana and [seemingly] no to cocaine and heroin?

  3. doc: Steve Jobs smoked tons of weed — and he made it into the top one percent. So have a lot of other so-called stoners. Some do, some don’t — just like juicers.

  4. Sure, some do.

    I have a friend who is an actual rocket scientist (solid fuel rocket booster research or some such thing) who is an absolute pot head. But I know and see many others who are an absolute waste of time.

    But as long as we can tax them, what the heck, go ahead and spark away.

  5. But, doc. the same argument applies to drinkers. Absent any scientific research on whether marijuana use is an indicator of lack of success in life, you’re just blowing smoke (so to speak). Moreover, any such research should carry no political weight unless it also showed that pot-smoking is more of an obstacle to success than drinking alcohol. You see, it makes no sense to prohibit pot, but not alcohol. Indeed, prohibition of either of them has been a disastrous experiment.

    Why don’t you just admit that you have a political/cultural bias against smoking pot? You probably associate it with the overall libertinism of hippie types.

  6. Luke Fredrickson

    doc, you think legalization will result in everyone getting stoned?

    That’s about as inane as thinking that legalizing gay marriage will make people gay, or that criminalizing abortions will make them never happen.

    Pot is ubiquitous in our society and anyone who wants it can find it already. Let’s stop wasting money policing the harmless users.

  7. I agree with you Luke. I have said it on this very blog over a year ago.

    Legalize it, tax it and let the chips fall where they may.

    Keep in mind though that legalizing it might not mean you can grow it in your back yard and smoke it.

    More likely it will become a big corporate interest so that production and quality can be controlled, regulated and all tax revenue collected.

  8. Luke Fredrickson

    doc, if it meant that users could get the buzz without the harm of smoking leaves, I would be glad that pot production is corporatized and regulated. As a disease fighter I am sure you agree.

  9. Perhaps we should develop an industrial hemp industry as well.

  10. THC already exists in pill form. True pot heads don’t think the effect is as strong.

    Think more like big tobacco.

    Just imagine all of the cool marketing campaigns.

  11. Craig Knauss

    I live in WA and work at a DOE facility. An interesting scenario has been created. The state says pot is legal, but DEA says it isn’t. Also, because we work at a nuclear site we have “Fitness For Duty” testing. Pot, alcohol, etc. in the bloodstream can be grounds for dismissal. Pot is bad because it can be detected in the blood three days later. So, can we be fired for tiny traces of a legal drug in our blood? It will be interesting to find out. Regardless, because of the type of work I do, I don’t touch the stuff and haven’t since the 70s. (I never really liked it.)

  12. Hi, world, I normally keep my business to myself,so this is new to me.I live in pa and I’ve been smoking since I was 14. I am now 34,in perfect health by gods grace and I love myself and all that life brings. I never overdosed or wrecked my car off pot or made any bad decisions during my use ,maybe just smoking and drivng. I don’t know anyone who has died from usage but I know tons of people who have past away due to use of alcohol and other hard drugs. I am currently in trail for an illegal search in which I possessed a significant amount of pot, which seems so unreal since I smoke like a chimney. The system seems to hurt more then help in this situation as I have no criminal record but was offered 2 to 4 years up state. I am a father of 5 children and have a great life regardless of my recent troubles. I still smoke though I cut back drastically. I will continue to smoke wether I’m sentenced though I believethat I am innocent . I don’t see how personal use is anyone elses problem . I stay away frm bars since drunks are trouble making targets for.the law. I never witnessed anyone start a fight or mischief from pot. If there were smoke bars around here id honestly be there since weed has been a true friend in this life.I’ve met many walks of life also through pot. I never tried any other drug during this journey and I am a peaceful person that respects the welfare of others. I’m for people but stay to myself a majority of the time since this world has become so judgemental. I’m for legalization all the way. I don’t. Promote peer pressure but I think a lot of people would benefit from this also the world!

  13. “I am currently in trail for an illegal search in which I possessed a significant amount of pot, which seems so unreal since I smoke like a chimney. The system seems to hurt more then help in this situation as I have no criminal record but was offered 2 to 4 years up state.”

    If that’s true, and you continue to smoke pot, then you are an addict or an idiot.

  14. taxpayer1124

    Except that some forget that other people around the smoker can and do get a “contact” high from the 2nd hand smoke. We have laws prohibiting smoke tobacco in public buildings. Nothing to prevent someone from smoking in their own home though. (Nor should there be unless we are going to make all tobacco products illegal also) How do we handle that though when there are children living in that home? How about when a ten year old child shows up to school wasted because mom or dad had their morning hit before sending the kids off to school? At least with alcohol, if I get drunk, the person next to me doesn’t get drunk too, unless they CHOOSE to drink also.

  15. I too think MJ should be legalized but still only to 18 years of age and above of course. It should be allowed medically and recreationaly like cigarettes. But unlike cigarettes, no chemicals need to be added such as tar and nicotine.

    I’m 35 and have had Rheumatoid Arthritis since the age of 2. My body has become immune more or less to pain pills so a few months back thanx to a friend of mine I said I’m tired of hurting, and dealing with the stress. Told him I wanted to give it a try. Being that I have turned down every chance since my college years in fear of trying it cause of the bad news it was given and fear of getting busted for using it back then I decided I don’t care anymore I wanted the help. Going into trying it a with a clear conscience I tried my first joint. From what my friend told me it was called Shwag. A low grade weed. The effects I got from it was a little light headiness, my stress seemed to go away and I was able to relaxed as well as my Arthritis pain didn’t seem to bother me as much and I have been fighting insanely painful ulcers on my legs cause by Pyoderma Gangrenosum which those with RA can get. It’s an ulcer that resemble diabetic ulcers only the nerves increase in sensitivity cause pretty much what I would described as someone putting salt in a on wound and repeating it several times a day just for the sake of torture. Surprisingly all those open wounds on my legs and feet went completely numb. I wouldn’t call it a miracle cause I really don’t believe in them, but I do believe that it helps. And unlike they show in movies and on tv, I didn’t go around saying and doing stupid things.

    Unlike recent news about the man who killed someone of $20 in weed.. Sorry, but there has to be more to the story. Even hard core stoners I know of wouldn’t even fathom the idea of killing another person over weed. The weed that guy was using was either laced with something hard core like LSD, or he was a alcoholic that lost his temper. I’ve never heard of ANYONE killing over weed. Especially a user. Just sound like it’s an attempt to give it a bad name to prevent legalization.

    In my honest opinion. for some dumb reason alcohol and marijuana get compared a lot and I don’t get why considering if anything it should be alcohol that should be illegal. Weed doesn’t cause car accidents from use, alcohol does. Alcohol destroys families, I haven’t seen weed do that. Alcohol can make you become either an angry hateful person or a complete clumbsy idiot. Weed may make some people a bit slow in the head, but hateful? Not that I know of.

    Plus like I said earlier about my wounds. Marijuana can help A LOT of people. Think of cancer patients… They pain the suffer, the stress, the sadness…. MJ can help. People who see shrinks over stupid every day life. Why drench these people with pills that eventually have to take another pill to counteract this pills affects and so on. Pill companies may not like it but screw them. either make a pill that helps or don’t bother at all I say. Smoke some weed and finally you have a clear head to think with for a change and if you are in need of something stronger, there is a stronger weed. No need for pills, no need to get countless prescriptions of other designer drugs to prevent this, helps this, and pills to avoid something else. No fear or over dosing, no need to sue anyone over liver failure, kidney failure, and thank god no chance of anal leakage. (Sorry I had to added it, those stupid drug commercial warning.)

    There are way too many positives about the use of Marijuana to not allow it to be legalized. The only ones that are truly against it are those that don’t understand it, and those that make too much money from drug companies who know for a fact we would all as a people become less dependent on them and more dependent on ourselves if we became more aware of the benefits of Marijuana use.

    To think legalizing it would not only stop useless law enforcement over it but would in turn possibly help our economy. Think abut it. For example an 8th of Marijuana here costs $30.00 which comes out to about 7 semi decent joints. To me that’s insane. It’s way too expensive considering my income. But then if it became legalized and I could go to the local gas station show my drivers I.D. and say by a pack of 20 non filtered for $10.00… And it doesn’t even come close to that in cost for producing. It would be a win win for both us and our National Debt in time as long as the government doesn’t need to keep dipping in for useless spending…

    Sorry but if something man made and as harmful as alcohol can be is legal, I don’t see why something that naturally grows from the earth can’t be as well….

  16. Ok this solves that over the $20 killing. It wasn’t over the drugs, it was over money from a drug deal. Another reason to legalize. No more drug dealers…

    And no, it was the fight over the money that got the man killed, the Marijuana itself did not kill anyone… I mean come on… It actually was referred to as passing the peace pipe by Indians for heck sake!

    After reading the ignorant comment from “expdoc” I felt I needed to clarify to prevent being called an idiot. Plus I am also from PA.

    Marijuana doesn’t kill people. People kill people…

    PS.. I’ve never heard of Marijuana addiction. Unless it is laced with some nasty stuff.

  17. If they were to legalize if for medical use in Mn I could use it at 8:00am and be relatively pain free 1/2 the day. now to set back and watch the stoners move to Colorado and Washington.

  18. What exactly about my comments are ignorant? Kind of a surprising comment since I agree with legalizing pot as well. But be prepared for it to be controlled by big business and taxed, probably heavily. Look at the cigarette tax if you think I am wrong.

    You said- “Alcohol destroys families, I haven’t seen weed do that. ”

    It does. But so do cigarettes and they are legal.

  19. It is about time they make it legal. I been a smoker for 20 plus years and I’m in pretty good health. Compared to my peers maybe great health. (vegan power baby) I even made an offer to doc to check out my lungs if he wanted a while back. My father is a smoker as well and outside his body being wore out from over working he is in great health. I know this is a limited sample size but I also see all his old time friends. I don’t see them dragging around air tanks. No ne of his buddies have mouth cancer or lung cancer. These are guys that have been smoking 40 plus years. Why haven’t they got sick?

    I also had the not so great pleasure of being arrested for marijuana a few years back. Had about 5 bucks worth of marijuana on me. I had to pay a 800 dollar fine and lost my DL for 6 months. IMO this was beyond unfair. For one I wasn’t even driving, or in a car. The state of wisconsin told me all charges would be dropped if I went through their drug and alcohol programs. I don’t even drink so why would i need classes on the effects of drinking? And what was the point in taking my DL for 6 months? I still don’t understand that. The treatment I understand. That was all about the money and so they can inflate the treatment numbers. I told them I’ll just pay the fine. Now the problem is if I’m ever caught with marijuana in wisconsin again it is an automatic felony. So now I try to avoid wisconsin at all cost. If I have to travel into wisconsin I don’t carry.

    Doc the problem with eating marijuana versus smoking it is how it makes you feel. Taking a pill or eating a cookie is a lot stronger then taking a puff. I deal with a lot of pain. Just like my dad I wore myself out at a young age. I can take a puff or two and still move. I don’t need a handful of advils to deal with the pain. I also have sleeping issues. As a doc you know how people with shoulder issues have problems sleeping. I can smoke or I can take a sleeping pill to get sleep. I hate taking pills. Plus they are habit forming. marijuana is much safer.

    The other thing people talk about is marijuana make you lazy. You can’t blame a plant for people being losers. I know plenty of losers. Some smoke, some don’t. I don’t think marijuana is the deciding factor on if you are a loser or not. Some people are born losers, some are born winners. Blaming marijuana is an excuse.

    As far as being habit forming or addicting I don’t see that either. I had to pass a drug test a while back. I was able to stop smoking no problem. Wasn’t able to sleep but I wasn’t smoking. Took close to 3 months for the thc to clear out my body. Wasn’t a big deal.

  20. Joe,

    I said above, I know many people who are major pot smokers who are fully functional. I also know people, families and patients who either are smokers themselves or who have smokers in their family that have ruined their lives because of it.

    Some of it is lack of motivation. Some of it is unfair application of the law. Some of these people are clearly addicts because they cannot function without pot and continue to smoke it despite negative consequences.

    All that being said, the same is true of alcohol. Many people can drink responsibly and it has no/beneficial effects on their lives. Some smaller percentage have minor or major problems.

    Eating pot (such as a brownie) is very effective, as you note, particularly useful for stimulating appetite in very sick patients (such as cancer patients undergoing treatment or with extensive disease).

  21. I chose this article only because its a subject about illegal drugs. Right now there’s a lot of coverage about Philip Seymour Hoffman and his recent death due to a heroin overdose.

    Do any of you put 2 and 2 together and realize that the reason there’s such an epidemic of heroin abuse in this country also coincides with our country being at war with a country that mfrs most of the world’s heroin, Afghanistan?

    Do you all think its just a coincidence that the drug lords over there in Afghanistan get to market their illegal drugs in our country? They provide assistance to the CIA and military in return for being allowed to market their opium based products to the world. From what I’ve read, the USA gave money to these very thugs so they could build air strips to get their drugs onto our nations land and other nations around the world. Who do you think helped them do this? The CIA has a long history of supporting illegal drug activities if it means they can profit from it or gain strategic alliances or advantages.

    The CIA also used to create penny stocks to launder their ill gotten gains. None of this is a secret. It’s out there if you want to know about it. Only thing is the American public would rather accept the MSM ruse about the war on drugs really being a war on drugs. It’s just part of the for profit prison system and a very peculiar business model that feeds it.

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