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Thinking about marijuana

digsbe

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I figured I'd start this thread here. I have been thinking a lot about legalizing marijuana. My current stance is that it should remain illegal, however I am open minded regarding this and I would like to hear more arguments from both sides. I believe this would be a great place for me to post this. Basically, my mind is open to keeping it illegal or legalizing it. I am considering changing my beliefs regarding marijuana. I would like to hear arguments from both sides and hope to expand upon my opinion (or change it).
 

Psychoclown

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There are plenty of arguments for it. I lay out the ones that I believe in.

1. Self ownership. The basic concept that I own my body and no one, particularly the government, has the right to tell me what to do or not do with it. The government has no business telling me to lay off fatty foods, get my exercise, or get eight hours of sleep each night. Nor does it have the right to tell if I can or cannot injest marijuana.

2. Consistency. Alcohol, as we all know, is legal. Yet all of the bad things marijuana is blamed for or associated can be equally applied to alcohol, except in much much larger numbers. A lot of pro pot advocates argue that pot is not nearly as bad for the individual or society as alcohol. I won't even go that far. I'll just state that pot is certainly not worse than alcohol. And if pot is no worse than alcohol, why should one be illegal and the other legal?

3. Black markets are bad. Despite our laws, demand still exist for pot and it always will. Which means our prohibition of marijuana creates an illegal black market. What are the affects of this black market? Marajuana is unregulated. You often here stories of it being laced with other dangerous substances without the buyer's knowledge. That doesn't happen with legal products where consumers have legal recourse against sellers that commit fraud. Also, who profits from the black market? Organized criminal cartels. Alcohol prohibition helped turn the American Mafia into being a bunch of run of the mill ethnic criminal gangs into a multibillion dollar criminal empire. Drug prohibition is doing the same for many other criminal cartels, including the Mafia, urban street gangs, and drug cartels in Mexico and South America. Legalization would mean users no longer need to rely on criminals to get what they want.

4. Money. We waste billions in law enforcement expenditures to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate drug offenders. Imagine if those dollars could be returned to the tax payer. Or at least used to fund other more pressing areas of law enforcement. Plus, by forcing drugs onto the black market, that means the government doesn't collect one red cent from an industry that makes billions of dollars each year.

5. No harm principle. My decision to smoke a joint harms no one other than perhaps myself. Since my decision to use or not use does not infringe on the rights of anyone else, I should be free to make that decision on my own. Some will argue that drug use can lead to acts that are harmful to others, but the fact is drug use in and of itself harms no one. For those harmful acts it can lead to, we have existing laws that can deal with those issues. Driving while intoxicated is often cited as an example, but even if we legalize pot, we still have laws against driving while intoxicated. Legalization wouldn't suddenly make it OK to get high as a kite and then go out for a cruise.
 

Goshin

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There are plenty of arguments for it. I lay out the ones that I believe in.

1. Self ownership. The basic concept that I own my body and no one, particularly the government, has the right to tell me what to do or not do with it. The government has no business telling me to lay off fatty foods, get my exercise, or get eight hours of sleep each night. Nor does it have the right to tell if I can or cannot injest marijuana.

2. Consistency. Alcohol, as we all know, is legal. Yet all of the bad things marijuana is blamed for or associated can be equally applied to alcohol, except in much much larger numbers. A lot of pro pot advocates argue that pot is not nearly as bad for the individual or society as alcohol. I won't even go that far. I'll just state that pot is certainly not worse than alcohol. And if pot is no worse than alcohol, why should one be illegal and the other legal?

3. Black markets are bad. Despite our laws, demand still exist for pot and it always will. Which means our prohibition of marijuana creates an illegal black market. What are the affects of this black market? Marajuana is unregulated. You often here stories of it being laced with other dangerous substances without the buyer's knowledge. That doesn't happen with legal products where consumers have legal recourse against sellers that commit fraud. Also, who profits from the black market? Organized criminal cartels. Alcohol prohibition helped turn the American Mafia into being a bunch of run of the mill ethnic criminal gangs into a multibillion dollar criminal empire. Drug prohibition is doing the same for many other criminal cartels, including the Mafia, urban street gangs, and drug cartels in Mexico and South America. Legalization would mean users no longer need to rely on criminals to get what they want.

4. Money. We waste billions in law enforcement expenditures to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate drug offenders. Imagine if those dollars could be returned to the tax payer. Or at least used to fund other more pressing areas of law enforcement. Plus, by forcing drugs onto the black market, that means the government doesn't collect one red cent from an industry that makes billions of dollars each year.

5. No harm principle. My decision to smoke a joint harms no one other than perhaps myself. Since my decision to use or not use does not infringe on the rights of anyone else, I should be free to make that decision on my own. Some will argue that drug use can lead to acts that are harmful to others, but the fact is drug use in and of itself harms no one. For those harmful acts it can lead to, we have existing laws that can deal with those issues. Driving while intoxicated is often cited as an example, but even if we legalize pot, we still have laws against driving while intoxicated. Legalization wouldn't suddenly make it OK to get high as a kite and then go out for a cruise.

What he said. I'll add a few comments as well.

Being ex-LE, I'd much rather arrest someone who's been smoking weed than someone who is drunk. Drunks often think they are 10' tall and bulletproof; weed smokers are usually pretty lethargic and relatively calm. Well, not always: sometimes they've been doing other drugs as well, or drinking, or circumstances may play into it. In general though, weed smokers are usually easier to deal with than drunks.


Psych's first point, self-ownership, is one I'd like to address more specifically. I agree with it up to a point: the point where an activity or consumption has a substantial negative effect on society. This is why I've come to the conclusion that, while I support the legalization of marijuana (both possession and the growing/sale of... I think that is important to break the black market), I could not support the legalization of crack or meth. Users of those substances tend to go out and cause trouble in my experience, much more so than weed smokers or even drunks. Also they are terribly toxic, and the things they do to the human body make smoking look trivial in comparison.
 

Psychoclown

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I don't want to derail this into a thread about hard drugs also, but let me just quickly comment on what Goshin said.

I agree hard drugs definately cause more damage to both individuals and society. And even I'm not 100% comfortable with the idea of their legalization. It's certainly not a policy you'll see me make a hard core push for, partly because I know America is no where near ready for it. That said, I think an argument can be made the negative costs of prohbition are worse than the negative costs of legalization (or decriminalization). It's a policy discussion I think we should be having. But for marijuana, I think its almost beyond reasonable debate that prohibition is worse for society than legalization.
 

tacomancer

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There is a legitimate interest in regulating things that have a cost to society that is greater than their benefit.

However, I don't see weed as being in that category. Personally, I would never do it, but I don't see where legalizing it would cause harm.
 

samsmart

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I figured I'd start this thread here. I have been thinking a lot about legalizing marijuana. My current stance is that it should remain illegal, however I am open minded regarding this and I would like to hear more arguments from both sides. I believe this would be a great place for me to post this. Basically, my mind is open to keeping it illegal or legalizing it. I am considering changing my beliefs regarding marijuana. I would like to hear arguments from both sides and hope to expand upon my opinion (or change it).
Personally, I'm for the legalization of all drugs.

One reason why is because I think the costs in law enforcement are far more than the costs in allowing it to be legal. There are, by far, much worse things out there that the government should spend the tax revenue the people pay into.

Another reason is because criminalizing drugs means only criminals will sell it. Make it legal to sell and it is then able to be regulated and taxed. In fact, the last people who want to legalize drugs are those who now sell it illegally and can make more money on it because they don't have to pay for any business licenses, income taxes, or payroll taxes, and also don't have to worry about regulators from the FDA looking over their operations to make sure they don't dilute the product in order to stretch it out to make more money. By regulating it, there can be better safeguards on recreational drugs.

A third reason is because it will reduce tax revenue spent in the legal system for drug crimes. It costs money to have judges, prosecutors, public defenders, defense attorneys, bailiffs, police, undercover cops, confidential informants, border security, customs agents, and prison guards to do all that they do. By making recreational drugs legal, that allows those law enforcement and legal professionals to focus on other, more important crimes.
 

spud_meister

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Another reason is because criminalizing drugs means only criminals will sell it. Make it legal to sell and it is then able to be regulated and taxed. In fact, the last people who want to legalize drugs are those who now sell it illegally and can make more money on it because they don't have to pay for any business licenses, income taxes, or payroll taxes, and also don't have to worry about regulators from the FDA looking over their operations to make sure they don't dilute the product in order to stretch it out to make more money. By regulating it, there can be better safeguards on recreational drugs.
This argument doesn't really make sense to me, it seems that if the people who made the drugs had to get a license and pay tax on it, wouldn't that lead to a black market of illicitly made, and therefore cheaper, and possibly inferior quality drugs?
 

Psychoclown

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This argument doesn't really make sense to me, it seems that if the people who made the drugs had to get a license and pay tax on it, wouldn't that lead to a black market of illicitly made, and therefore cheaper, and possibly inferior quality drugs?
No, because of risk of fines or jail time for violating licensing laws and taxation aren't worth the slightly increased profit margins. We can look at liquor, which is taxed and regulated, as a comparison and how big of a problem is illegal moonshine nowadays? Yes, it still exists in a few areas, but its no where near what it was during Prohibition.
 

samsmart

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This argument doesn't really make sense to me, it seems that if the people who made the drugs had to get a license and pay tax on it, wouldn't that lead to a black market of illicitly made, and therefore cheaper, and possibly inferior quality drugs?
No, because the majority of people won't buy from the black market of cheaper, inferior drugs.

After all, where do you usually go grocery shopping? From a run-down convenience store on the side of the street where hobos hang out, or at the nice clean franchise supermarket that you hear about on the radio or see commercials for on TV? Where are you more apt to buy a meal at? From a bunch of guy selling kebabs that could be rat meat down an ally? Or from a respectable place like an Applebee's that is family-oriented and has quality controls in place?

Will it put out all black market selling of drugs? No. But I believe that the average drug consumers will prefer to buy from regulated outlets rather than from unsafe illegal sellers.
 

reefedjib

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Personal freedom and individual responsibility are conservative principles. Legalization of marijuana supports those principles.

Furthermore, I would like to highlight Psychoclown's 5th point of the No Harm Principle. Please see Marijuana and the Harm Principle | noharmmeansnofoul.org for an analysis.
 

Black Dog

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It and all other drugs should be legal for adult use. I own my body and can decide for myself what to put into it thank you.

I don't use drugs because I don't want to. It should be an individuals choice.
 

Jetboogieman

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Marijuana is less harmful and less addictive then Alcohol or Tabacco. And according to a recent study, alcohol is the most damaging drug to society, and if you think about, there's absolutely no way you can refute that, alcohol obliterates lives, almost obliterated mine.

Marijuana has its own problems too, granted. One of my friends smoked himself stupid and failed grade 11 and ended up dropping out. Dumbass. Everything in moderation.

I shall now invoke the holy limerick.

Lifes a bitch
And Then you die
So **** the world
and lets get high

:peace
 

digsbe

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Thanks everyone for your contributions. I am still evaluating my opinion. Is there anyone here though who will argue for pots illegal status? Or does everyone here already support legalization?
 

ReverendHellh0und

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It should be decriminalized, prohibition should be lifted. I hate the stuff, Every time I ever did it, It would literally put me to sleep. But that said. I am sovereign over my body, and thus, as a free man should have the choice to administer as I see fit.
 

tryreading

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It should be decriminalized, prohibition should be lifted. I hate the stuff, Every time I ever did it, It would literally put me to sleep. But that said. I am sovereign over my body, and thus, as a free man should have the choice to administer as I see fit.
I agree it should be decriminalized, just to keep the the drug industry from profiting on it.

But I think people who smoke it should try to find out why.
 

digsbe

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My opinion is constantly evolving and I highly appreciate and respect everyone's opinion. I am considering legalizing marijuana and treating it similarly to how sudafed is regulated.
 

samsmart

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My opinion is constantly evolving and I highly appreciate and respect everyone's opinion. I am considering legalizing marijuana and treating it similarly to how sudafed is regulated.
The only regulation for recreational drugs I favor is to tax it and to keep it out of the hands of those who are under the age of 18 or 21. Besides that, I think people should be allowed to get high on whatever drug they want to get high off of.
 

tryreading

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My opinion is constantly evolving and I highly appreciate and respect everyone's opinion. I am considering legalizing marijuana and treating it similarly to how sudafed is regulated.
Or maybe have shops similar to liquor stores? Because, unless its been changed, I believe you can buy sudafed in small amounts over the counter anywhere, like at a 7/11 store.
 
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