★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

Legalization of Marijuana?

View Poll Results: Should Marijuana Be Legalized?
Yes 198 59.64%
No 134 40.36%
Voters: 332. You may not vote on this poll
10-25-2011, 02:34 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 5,833
@Leothwyn -

Sorry, I was wrong on the 50% -

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in America. Of the nearly 20 million current illicit drug users,
14.6 million (about 75 percent) are using marijuana.1
• Of the 7.1 million Americans suffering from illegal drug dependence or abuse, 60 percent abuse or are dependent on marijuana.2
• Of all youth age 12-17 in drug treatment in 2000, nearly 62 percent had a primary marijuana diagnosis.4 Approximately half were referred to treatment through the criminal justice system and half through other sources, including self-referral.5
• The average age of initiation for marijuana use generally has been getting younger.6

So, of the 7.1 million that have drug abuse about 4 million use marijuana... so about 35% of the 14 millions..

Other health effects -
Marijuana smoke contains 50 percent to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke.10 Using marijuana may promote cancer of the respiratory tract and disrupt the immune system.11
• Marijuana smokers have a heightened risk of lung infection.12
• Long-term use of marijuana may increase the risk of chronic cough, bronchitis, and emphysema, as well as cancer of the head, neck, and lungs.13
• Mentions of marijuana use in emergency room visits have risen 176 percent since 1994, surpassing those of heroin.14
• In 2001, marijuana was a contributing factor in more than 110,000 emergency department visits in the United States.15
• Marijuana can cause the heart rate, normally 70 to 80 beats per minute, to increase by 20 to 50 beats per minute or, in some cases, even to double.17
• In a 2003 study, researchers in England found that smoking marijuana for even less than six years causes a marked deterioriation in lung function. The study suggests that marijuana use may rob the body of antioxidants that protect cells against damage that can lead to heart disease and cancer.18
• Marijuana affects alertness, concentration, perception, coordination, and reaction time— skills that are necessary for safe driving. A roadside study of reckless drivers in Tennessee found that 33 percent of all subjects who were not under the influence of alcohol and who were tested for drugs at the scene of their arrest tested positive for marijuana.20 In a 2003 Canadian study, one in five students admitted to driving within an hour of using marijuana.21

The numbers are citations - and yes, this is from the government - the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

It’s not simply the trafficking of drugs that causes crime at home and abroad. Crime also results from the behavior of people who have drug dependencies.
• Research shows a link between frequent marijuana use and increased violent behavior.36
• Young people who use marijuana weekly are nearly four times more likely than nonusers to engage in violence.37
• More than 41 percent of male arrestees in sampled U.S. cities tested positive for marijuana.38
Contrary to popular belief, marijuana use is not a rite of passage. It is a risky behavior with serious consequences.

Most of this data comes from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - which is sort of like the CDC of mental health. They don't have a bone to pick, and their data mostly comes from survey instruments - they survey people, and get answers - they don't just make things up...

It is funny - in the mid 1800's a guy named Semmelweis postulated that washing hands helped prevent spread disease and it took almost 50 years before it became a practice - no one believed him...

In the late 1800's a guy named Carlos Finlay postulated that mosquitos carried yellow fever - it was 20 years before people believed Walter Reed...

People like Jenny McCartney believe that childhood vaccines cause autism, and there are a lot of people that believe her.

So, I don't have all the data saying that marijuana is dangerous, but it is certainly not safe - it certainly has harmful effects. Does that mean it should be illegal? For me, I believe so - for other's - they will have a different opinion. Do most people make value judgements based on incomplete information? Probably.. still the sun comes up, and the world goes round, and humanity has not yet destroyed itself... so we shall see. Peace...

GameCenter ID : oldestgamer
10-25-2011, 05:54 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: The Kᴉll Switch
Posts: 7,493
So we're all in agreement. Marijuana should stay illegal and since alcohol is worse we should go back to the prohibition. Fine by me!

ıllıllı ȼ₯ǥɲƹƮȿƹ˅ƹɲ ıllıllı

10-25-2011, 07:11 PM
The problem here is that the people that think marijuana should be legalized are using the wrong argument - that it is safer than alcohol.

Well, whether you believe marijuana should be legalized or not I think that there is a preponderance of evidence which proves it is NOT safe. Addiction is addiction whether it is to crack, heroin, alcohol or nicotine. People ARE addicted to marijuana. It is NOT safe. There are studies that prove this. (Pluto listed the most reliable - read them) There are health risks to using it. Not just to yourself but to others around you - this is why smoking has been banned in public areas. Remember when cigarettes first came out the only "side effect" they had was that they "stunted your growth." As time went by and research was studied, many many other ill effects were well documented. Thus the change in policy.

To say that legalizing marijuana because it is safer than alcohol is incorrect. How about:
  • The state will be able to tax something that is being sold anyway.
  • Making marijuana legal removes the "forbidden fruit" appeal and would reduce its use among teenagers. Or at least eliminate the economic advantages teenagers have by selling an illegal substance to their peers.
  • Making marijuana legal would take it off the black market and reduce criminal and gang activity around this substance.
  • Hemp could be a valuable agricultural resource if it were legal.
I dunno, there is a lot of history of marijuana and hemp usage that goes way way back and the reasons that it was first made illegal were pretty archaic. But no one is arguing that - most of the emotion is that it is "safer" than other legal products.

Grasping on to the - if we jump off a 1,000 foot bridge then jumping off a 500 foot bridge is safer - reasoning just shows ignorance. At least make plausible arguments. Two wrongs don't make a right.
10-25-2011, 08:58 PM
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 108
Originally Posted by New England Gamer View Post
The problem here is that the people that think marijuana should be legalized are using the wrong argument - that it is safer than alcohol.
I think you missed the point of most of the posts. My point in bringing up alcohol was that the alcohol prohibition was a complete disaster. People kept drinking, and a huge business was handed over to criminals. They're trying the same tactic with marijuana. I think that's relevant in this debate.
10-25-2011, 09:22 PM
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 108
I'm having a really hard time squaring all of these statistics with my personal experience. You say these people don't have an axe to grind... They may not support a political party, but being focused on substance abuse and mental health I'd expect that they're dealing with the worst cases, not people like the smokers that I know - people who smoke a little on the weekend, or even a little bit every evening. I just don't see the violent behavior that I see with alcohol or the health problems that I see with tobacco. The 'facts' seem a bit slanted to me. These people are against illegal drugs. It's understandable, but I wouldn't call them unbiased.

Marijuana contains more carcinogens than tobacco... How many cigarettes does a tobacco smoker smoke each day? 20? 30? How many joints does an average pot smoker smoke per day? 1/2? 1? Did they take that into consideration? I didn't see it mentioned. Doesn't seem like they're looking beyond what they want to see.

Another fact: Research shows a link between frequent marijuana use and increased violent behavior.
Is it possible that people living in a really crappy situation are more likely to do drugs and more likely to be violent? I bet you could find statistics pointing to more violence in the poorest inner city neighborhoods. And, you might also find that those people eat more cheap, crappy food. Is it the food causing the violence?

Those facts are short sighted and far from objective IMO.

And they still don't address my main point here: Prohibition was a failure the first time around... and it is this time too.

Originally Posted by pluto6 View Post
@Leothwyn -

Sorry, I was wrong on the 50% -

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in America. Of the nearly 20 million current illicit drug users,
14.6 million (about 75 percent) are using marijuana.1....

Last edited by Leothwyn; 10-25-2011 at 10:06 PM.
10-25-2011, 10:14 PM
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 108
Originally Posted by Chocolate View Post
With all of life's real problems, and the state of the state of the economy and the world right now --- if legalizing pot is what you're thinking about, then yeah, you may have a drug addiction going on.

I always found it amusing when druggies go on and on about why their beloved vice should be legalized. They get so cerebral and focused, but in the end, all I hear is Southpark's Towlie character asking, "wanna get high?"

PS - I think the points about alcohol etc. _are_ valid, and at the end of the day I lean toward libertarianism. But still, you know you really just wanna go get high more often.
If you lean toward libertarianism, seems like you could think of a few reasons for ending prohibition of a fairly harmless drug, aside from just wanting to get high.

Personally, I don't even like to smoke pot anymore. All I do these days is alcohol - not very much, and not very often. (Having a new baby, and never getting enough sleep, I'm not too inclined to do anything that's going to make me more tired the next day). Still, I think the war on drugs does more harm than good, and don't like seeing my tax money being pissed away.
10-26-2011, 01:30 AM
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: California, USA
Posts: 4,942
Originally Posted by HardcoreEricXXX View Post
You think all the people selling pot would quit if it was legalized? Pots already the biggest cash crop in over half of the states, and it's illegal. It's not like the government would go and drop the price from it's current going price. They aren't going to make it cheaper because it's legal, if anything they would make it more expensive because you won't get in trouble. All the while, my drug dealing friends will keep getting their pot from home grown sources under cutting the government prices. The government wouldn't be able to dictate between government taxed weed and weed grown by a local gang.
It's not like buying weed at a dispensiary is any cheaper than buying from a dealer, plus your name goes on a government list of patients with doctors recommendation to medical Mary Jane. And it isn't hard to get a recommendation, a simple search of the Internet and you'll find a doctor's office that has a preference to distributing their doctors' recommendations.
What are you talking about? In L.A. all you gotta do is drive down the street! They're all over the place! At Venice Beach you can get a script, walk a couple of blocks, and choose from different dispensaries, as only one example!

Last edited by bigrand1; 10-26-2011 at 01:32 AM.
05-10-2012, 08:07 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 502
I visted L.A. this summer and they really are all over the place! I think my home state is slowly getting the drift. Will be interesting to see how things play at over the next few years.

"Money makes the world go round, so I got to.. buckle down, do anything for the dollar."
05-10-2012, 09:17 PM
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,074
Alcohol is the most widely used/abused drug, both in America, and on the face of the planet. By far. There really is no second place.

All the statistical analysis that you throw at me will not convince me that alcohol isn't more dangerous and socially destructive then weed. The only difference is that alcohol is peddled by powerful corporations, and it feeds the capitalistic machine; a machine that does not give a damn about the societal ramifications of its actions and cares only to line it's pockets with greed. Whether said greed comes in the form of blood money or not is of no immidiate concern. Alcohol is legal because governments are run by the rich and the powerful. Money buys influence and to one degree or other every politician on the face of the planet has been bought, and i s in someone's back pocket. Politics is corrupt its very nature. If weed had powerful lobbyists in their corner, it too would be legal. Just like cigarettes are legal. (As damning as tobacco is though, it cannot hold a candle to alcohol.)

Bottom line, Alcohol is a legalized narcotic far more destructive then weed has ever been, or ever will be, even on its worst immaginable day. No drug has killed more people, torn about more families, or destroyed more lives then alcohol. It cannot even be remotely argued otherwise. It rips at the very fabric of our society. Of our civilization. If you dont believe me, just attend a sporting event. Especially an NFL game, or a soccer match. And that is merely the tip of the iceburg. You want to talk about inciting violence? Gimme a break.

Funny how nobody seems to care though. People want to get up in arms about weed, but God forbid, we can't condemn the alcohol.

Last edited by dumaz1000; 05-10-2012 at 09:21 PM.
05-11-2012, 05:35 AM
Joined: May 2012
Location: Rome
Posts: 22
Yes! Legalize it! I would probably not care about it, since I don't like it much, but it looks logic. Way better than having people give money to criminals, for something that is definitely not worse than cigarettes or alcohol.