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If Marijuana is Dangerous, How Come No One Gets Hurt at These Huge 4/20 Parties?

This year's 4/20 holiday was bigger and bolder than ever before, generating big headlines, big web traffic, and really really big pot parties. Even the Drug Czar participated by suggesting the holiday is dangerous and warning parents to keep a close eye on their children. But for all the fanfare, no one got hurt on 4/20.

I don't think one could possibly overstate how revealing that simple fact really is. Scanning the 4/20 news coverage, one fails utterly to find examples of the sort of negative outcomes we've been told to expect when people use this drug. Last week, more people got more stoned more publicly than any other day of the year. If pot is dangerous, this would be the time to learn that lesson in stark terms. So where are the hospitalizations? The fights? The car accidents?

In Boulder, CO a turnout of 10,000 produced no arrests or mishaps. This means not only that police were ignoring open marijuana use, but that the users were remarkably well behaved under the influence of the drug. They didn't fight, steal, damage property, or do anything else that would have forced the police to take action. Out of 10,000 people at a completely disorganized marijuana-themed event, nothing went wrong at all.

Similarly, at UC Santa Cruz a crowd of 6,000 led police to express embarrassment at their failure to suppress marijuana culture. And again, there were no arrests made for any offenses of any kind. Arrests and injuries are typical at sporting events, but not these giant impromptu 4/20 pot parties.

This quote from the Santa Cruz Sentinel illustrates that point nicely:
Monday, some readers and callers to the Sentinel expressed shock that police knew what was going on and yet nobody was arrested as they drove away from the gathering, apparently under the influence of marijuana.

Grant Boles, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol in Aptos, said the CHP made no arrests Sunday…
Amazingly, the California Highway Patrol had an uneventful afternoon on the biggest pot-smoking day of the year. I guess no hippies crashed their cars that day. No one swerved over the yellow line and got pinched for DUI. You can bet we'd know about it if they had. I'm not saying people should get stoned and drive. I'm asking where to find the carnage we've been told to expect from stoned drivers.

So often, we're told that if we change our marijuana laws, everyone will get stoned and it will be horrible. Yet, when marijuana is used gratuitously by massive crowds at unsanctioned events, negative outcomes are extraordinarily rare. The drug is simply not effective at hurting people.

The whole "marijuana is harmless" argument for reforming marijuana laws certainly has its limitations, but damn, look how amazingly safe marijuana is! Wow!
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pot parties

So these cannabis parites caused absolutely no harm. Duh. Legitimate science has been telling us the truth forever. For some "reefer madness" reason the average "man on the street" has come to the conclusion that if a person drinks alcohol and can't drive well then the same must be true for cannabis users. How dumb can we be? It's like George W. Bush has infected half the nation with his anti-science sickness. Why can't people embrace science (which has given them everything) instead of trying to live in a cave in extreme ignorance like a pre-history animal?

I'd like to point out that fighter pilots use "speed" to improve their flight skills. Speed given to them by their military command. Duh again. How in the world could they fly a plane with a drug in their system? Duh, it's science, not ignorance. Anyone ever hear of performance enhancing drugs?

The bottom line is that we should simply accept cannabis use and get over it. Allowing pot to be grown as if it were tomatoes would eliminate the drug war immediately. My sister grows a garden every year and gives me tomatoes. If she could do the same for pot the world would be a less-weird place.

The world has many, many, many worse problems than cannabis use. Our priorities are really off target.

My advice: smoke pot if you want to and to hell with the law. Bad laws should not be tolerated and we shouldn't have to try to convince some religious "holier than thou" asshole polititian to please let us have our pot. F--- em.

End of rant.

Sam Sharp


I think any drug is harmful even if it appears not to be. Using Marijuana makes people apathetic and the spirit of the person could be diminished. I smoked ten Marijuana cigarettes in my life and I didn' like the way I felt. I don't think it is good for the lungs or the environment. I never was a smoker and maybe that's why I didn't like Marijuana. Maybe Marijuana is a fake Holy Ghost. I don't know if so many people should go to prison for smoking it, because the Government allowed the weed in here to begin with; maybe the government should go to prison not the people. People should learn through trial and error, thats how we mature. If a person wants to sign to use Medical Marijuana I guess he can use his free will to do so.


I used to smoke marijuana, and I had motivational issues.

I switched to vaporization (and a much better quality marijuana), and the motivational issues (and any other negative health impact) went away.

In my experience, it's not the marijuana the drags you down. It's the smoking and/or the lower quality marijuana.

Also, moderating marijuana intake is important.

Marijuana can make the grass greener

"Using Marijuana makes people apathetic and the spirit of the person could be diminished."

To the unexperienced pot smoker, the 'shift' may be disorientating and impair the subject. However, the experienced smoker seems to be able to use the effect for creativity, as seen in music and art. Personally, I like to work-out (exercise) when I'm under the influence. Marijuana can make a rather boring task (like running on a tread mill) much more interesting, almost new again. I would guess, this is similar to how much better (new again?) food tastes, when a person gets the munchies.


I am not trying to attack you or anything but I think you have a lot of propaganda mixed up in your logic. Marijuana might make some people apathetic but in many, including myself, cannabis can make me extremely non-apathetic (if that's a word). I think it can help me focus on the task at hand, or it makes the shitty task I am doing seem a little less shitty. It's not like alcohol. Can you imagine going to workout drunk? I don't even want to think about that, but high, I will do it every time. I think that's the main difference. They are two totally different drugs. I used to not like the way MJ made me feel until I learned what I was actually feeling.

One of my biggest quips about anti-cannabis people is this. Is there anything really wrong with being "High." To me being "high" means feeling better than normal. There is one anti-depressant on the market that the pharmaceutical companies don't want you to have. This drug has very little side effects has enormous medicinal potentials. The only market you can get this anti-depressant is the black market. The major side effect that makes people mad is that it makes other people feel better than they are feeling right now. That drug is Cannabis. It's a plant and will always be just a plant.

the advice i would give about marijuana

is to hardly ever smoke by yourself. the only exception might be when you excercise; excercising high i think is a good thing. other than that, always smoke with other people (other people who are also smoking). the problems marijuana might cause some people are psychological, and they usually happen when people smoke too much by themselves. they get too much "inside their own heads" and they start to get mentally and emotionally isolated, and they get confused (this especially happens if the smoker has low self esteem). that can lead to anxiety, depression, paranoia, and things like that.

always smoke with other people. in fact, I find that smoking with other people actually has the opposite effect to smoking alone. always smoke with other people, and especially with women if you can (i'm a man). if you smoke and have a good time with other people, it can improve your social skills, it can give you a better outlook on life, it can improve your capacity to maintain a chilled and positive emotional state, etc. the best is to smoke with women. i find smoking with women can be profoundly uplifting. also, playing sports high can have that effect, since you're combining socialization with excercise, that can be really good. never smoke by yourself. always smoke with other people.


"is to hardly ever smoke by yourself. ....the problems marijuana might cause some people are psychological, and they usually happen when people smoke too much by themselves. they get too much "inside their own heads" and they start to get mentally and emotionally isolated, and they get confused (this especially happens if the smoker has low self esteem). that can lead to anxiety, depression, paranoia, and things like that.

I don't think marijuana becomes dangerous when people smoke it alone. Much of pot's 'paranoia' comes from it being an illegal practise. The marijuana "high" is a shift to different perspectives, some crazy thoughts as well as brilliant ones.

Sometimes the pot smoker can run-away with the "far-out" idea; and this can also happen to groups.

I think the best advice I would give, would be: never smoke pot everyday; don't make it your consciousness only. Being sober has it's advantages.

i agree

"I think the best advice I would give, would be: never smoke pot everyday; don't make it your consciousness only. Being sober has it's advantages."

I agree, the important thing is to smoke only sometimes. three days a week the most. i think being sober more than fifty percent of the time is the best advice.



oh, and i want to add

(i'm the guy from the previous post), outdoors is better than indoors. your mind is more open and you have a lighter mood (and you're more active and entertained by stimuli with more significance) when you're outdoors. Go to the beach, or go hiking with your friends and have a smoke along the way. psychologically that can be very uplifting.


Im sorry how is pot harmful for the environment?  Ive never heard that before

Marijuana Harm?

Great post, Scott. The point made is an excellent one. I wish the mainstream media would run with it.

But I need some assistance with regards to:

"The whole 'marijuana is harmless' argument for reforming marijuana laws certainly has its limitations"

What exactly are those limitations?

I know marijuana can be abused. Abusive behavior is of course harmful, but anything can be abused. Where is the harm in marijuana use?

I know smoking is harmful, but marijuana can be conveniently vaporized, for example.

I know marijuana mildly, temporarily "impairs", but all recreational activities impair temporarily to at least some degree. For example, if I'm at a movie theater with my cell phone turned off, how effectively can I respond to a home emergency compared to being at home at the time of the emergency? On a cruise ship? Working out at the gym? Having dinner at the neighbor's house?

Bottom line:

Is there any conclusive, irrefutable evidence proving that an instance of marijuana use, in and of itself, causes any harm at all?


Really what I mean is that you have to meet people where they're at. Claiming that marijuana is safe before a group of reformers is fine. But this is not the argument to make before a skeptical audience. The research is complicated and can be used effectively to undermine us if we rely solely on the safety argument. For example if you question the methodology of a study that refutes your point, you've lost the argument, because the audience doesn't understand or care about methodology.

It is more important to illustrate the harms of prohibition than to defend the safety of marijuana specifically. That's what really matters here, because legalization would still be the best policy even if marijuana were dangerous.

Expanding Limits

I would never advocate that we rely solely on the safety argument.

I've been working hard to consolidate the case against drug prohibition into a manageable overview to quickly provide the basics to those who don't have the perspective we have.

As part of that effort, I've isolated four points against the CSA. The CSA is unwarranted, unfair, ineffective, and destructive, and each one is backed by a solid case.

Freedom in the U.S. (which at least on the surface is very precious here) has been unjustly violated, if prohibitionists can't provide conclusive, irrefutable evidence (i.e. real science) proving an instance of marijuana use (an illegal act) constitutes any harm.

To the extent that the entire legalization movement has the resources to do so, I believe that we should be simultaneously focusing on all four points, using the lack of real science against marijuana (and other scheduled substances) as part of the unwarranted facet.

I agree that we need to understand our audience to know which facet(s) work best when addressing them, but I'm not convinced that the destructive one should be the sole focus. Many prohibitionists seem to see the destructive aspect as collateral damage, thinking for some reason that we're "losing a little to win big".

Strongly focusing on all four points while building an effective public relations campaign to publicly counter the prohibitionists in the mainstream is a solid strategy, IMHO.

Regardless, alcohol will always be #1

Which drug do Dutch prefer considering that both are legal for all practical purposes? The vast majority prefer a drink over a toke. The reason has been already been mentioned above: "apathetic"/"spirit diminished" Vs. "liquid courage." Matter of fact, the Dutch drink more than Americans do but toke less. I think it's psychological in that parents see alcohol as the image of success, vibrancy, and sexiness and because of that parents are willing to be okay with their kids even getting drunk, because in the end their children will be successful business owners, lawyers, politicians, etc. "It may even help you live longer, according to studies." We don't see the negative aspects of alcohol as much in mainstream television shows and commercials. On the other hand, marijuana use has a slacker image (Ashton Kutcher, Cheech & Chong, Jeff Spicoli, etc.) and no parent that has invested all their time and energy raising their kids wants their kids to end up like that. We don't hear about the successful people who have used marijuana (Rick Steves, Carl Sagan, Peter Lewis, etc.). It's all about marketing.

alcohol is number one because

of a couple of reasons (the one you mentioned, the image it has and the marketing), but also other reasons: it's the easiest drug to socialize with; it makes you not care what other people think (weed gives you a better mental state and it can be therapeautic to smoke with others, but it does NOT lower your inhibitions), and also, alcohol makes you not care about your problems. coke makes you not care what other people think, but it's too powerful a drug with too many possible pitfalls, so most people don't use it. heroin makes you not care about your problems but it's obviously not an option because it's way too bad for your health, so most people don't use it. what people want is emotional freedom, but since they're too lazy to work their way towards that freedom, what they want is to lose their inhibitions and to not care about their problems. for that purpose, alcohol is the perfect drug.

and also because...

Have you seen a map lately?! Where is Denmark? Well, its not near Hawaii thats for sure!
I am a 100% pot smoker and I do believe alcohol is more dangerous and makes most people look and act like huge shit and marijuana gives people that higher state of consciousness and goodness and so on and yet when you find yourself in a freakin' freezing country like Denmark, Norway or Russia you wouldn't feel like smoking that much,would you?! as someone said in a previous posting smoking MJ is more like breathe-fresh-air, sit-on-green-grass outdoor activity. Is it that hard to understand? All your senses hit the roof after smoking! If you Dear Non-smokers can imagine and if any Drunk remembers how it felt to have these senses, cause as we all know alcohol does make a nice vegetable from you! So if I'm somewhere in the snowy mountains of Alaska I also would prefer first quality or any quality(after all its cold) Russian vodka, cause that's what alcohol does - increases your body temperature and there are places in the wide world where that might even save your life, so lets not shoot alcohol down, but for my every day busy life i choose to puff and puff and puff, cause it helps me concentrate and get organized:) Believe it or not it is working out for me!

If you don't...

like pot, you don't have to smoke it. If you like pot ,no one has the right to stop you.Not the government ,not the church, and certainly not JoeBlow the enforcer. The apathy in question ,is simply another lie brought to us by fearfull ,superstitious people.If you read real science,you know, cannabis is GOOD for you! Fight lunacy, stop the drug war evilness!


If you don't like it, you don't have to smoke it. I totally agree with you on that. What I'm about to say has been said how many hundreds of thousands of times... That being; Prohibition of Marijuana has not worked and will never work. It's just like alcohol prohibition way back when, people still wanted it so they brewed it in basements, started bootlegging and increased organized crime. The same thing applies with Marijuana, people will still illegally grow it and supply the so-called "demon weed" to the masses.

Now let's focus on a non-cannabis user's opinion on Marijuana (keep in mind that she has never tried cannabis).

"It is illegal so you shouldn't do it." Well yes, it is illegal, but how else are we going to get the laws changed if people don't stand up like they did during alcohol prohibition?

"I've never tried marijuana and I never will. But it's bad for you, it alters your state of mind, and can lead you down a path which you do not want to lead." Hmm... Hold up, Hold up! If you have never tried marijuana then how can you even say how it affects one's self? What, are you relating to paranoia attacks? Well, those can happen at times, even to the most experienced of users. You may wonder what I am talking about, but if you don't eat for about 18-24 hours before you smoke you virtually have nothing to absorb the THC in your system, which is fat soluble. I for one have tried this and is true, but may not be for others. In a sense I was just over-thinking due to this. Weird I know. Face it, this substance just like any other affects people differently and always will.

All in all I support the legalization of Marijuana. We all know that Marijuana is a safe and effective drug that should be given the option to be regulated like tobacco and alcohol. No, really it needs to be free so everyone could grow a plot in there backyard :P In reality though this wouldn't happen, for if it were to become legal our "Government", which I thought represented us for what we the people, believed in. Sorry, I'm going off in a tangent. They would regulate this substance to earn more tax dollars, which would be A-ok by me.

Marijuana can be dangerous to the sick mind

"Face it, this substance just like any other affects people differently and always will."

No doubt. Some people should not smoke pot, and it is not for everybody. Where alcohol dulls the mind, melting the pain of the moment, cannabis hightens the senses to experience the 'out-of-the-box.'

That's why people, although I support laws against it, can drive stoned. Once an experienced user gets used to the marijuana experience, the effect can be used to peer deeply into what a person is doing. This can produce a (relative) core understanding of the action a person is performing. For example, I really think that the professional race-car driver could benefit from the use of marijuana, obviously studied and experienced. Mind altering drugs may be a way to enhance mind and motor funtion.

But most people do not have that much control. Negative people tend to be negative, regardless if they use drugs. But give a depressed, paranoid individual a powerful lense, and they will use it to intensify their mandness.

Some people don't want to alter their consciousness. And I say great! People have a right to be free in their decision; and I agree with you, cannabis should be legal but regulated by doctors, medical and recreational. Because science is truth and most doctors would agree, when faced with alcohol or tobacco as as a means to recreation, that marijuana is safer. All legalization should be is about a choice, to say no as well yes! And doctors, rather than law makers, have a better ability to recommend who should not use cannabis, as well as people who could benefit.

wow totally agree , what

wow totally agree , what marijuana allows you to do is peer inside yourself

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