New Evidence Proves That Legalization Won't Increase Marijuana Use

No concept is more central to any defense of our oppressive marijuana laws than the argument that use will increase dramatically under legalization. Opposition to marijuana reform rests in its entirety upon the premise that marijuana = bad & more marijuana = more bad.

And yet, there exists a powerfully simple example of how wrong that is. There's really nothing groundbreaking about this latest data, but I can only assume it's surprising new information for anyone who thinks legalization is a one-way ticket to oblivion:

Dutch among lowest cannabis users in Europe-report

AMSTERDAM, Nov 5 (Reuters) - The Dutch are among the lowest users of marijuana or cannabis in Europe despite the Netherlands' well-known tolerance of the drug, according to a regional study published on Thursday. Among adults in the Netherlands, 5.4 percent used cannabis, compared with the European average of 6.8 percent, according to an annual report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, using latest available figures. [Reuters]

When it comes to debating the impact of allowing marijuana sales, there is no data more important, more relevant and more revealing than this. The Dutch people can buy marijuana anytime they want, but a huge majority of them choose not to. All of this serves to illustrate a very simple, yet significant, fact about marijuana that everyone should know: people who don’t want marijuana will not use it no matter how legal and available it is.

The very idea that there exists a vast population of potential marijuana users deterred solely by the drug's illegal status is just wrong. That's not how this works. You see, no one respects our marijuana laws. People who enjoy marijuana will overwhelmingly make their own decision about it and the only thing the government can do is literally rip it out of our freedom-loving hands one at a time. We all know how badly that effort has played out.

The bottom line here is that when we debate marijuana policy, we are not weighing competing visions of how much marijuana use is acceptable in our society. The only question to be addressed – the only issue we have control over – is whether it makes moral and practical sense to punish people for marijuana. We don't get to decide how many people will use it. But it's our decision how to treat those who do.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Amazing article

great article, you really pulled no punches. it is the only way to win this war waging against us.

they can stop us all, the weed makes us stronger. and we make the weed

The dutch numbers are meaningless to prohibs

...for the same reason that our overtly racist drugs laws have withstood the test of time. White America lives in fear.

I've actually heard it in code. The argument goes something like... the dutch have a uniform society - read "far fewer uppity blacks and other undesirables" - so they have the latitude to allow such things.


You've hit the nail on the head. The War on Drugs serves an unstated agenda which no amount of statistics or logical reasoning about drug policy will change. It is about oppressing black, brown and poor people to make rich, white folk feel safer. If the government loses this tool, which makes keeping the undesirables easier to manage, too many people from the lower classes will start to work their way out of poverty, at which point the upper class will start to lose their control over society. This is to be avoided at all costs and so drugs will remain illegal, at least federally, for a long time to come. All the current froth and bubble about legalization will come to nothing because too many powerful people have too much to lose if it does.

Sanity will only enter into it when the majority of people realize that drug laws are really just human rights violations - not really different to the laws the Nazis made regarding Jewish people.

The definition of the political right

A Republican is a person who when confronted with the fact that although we have 5 percent of the world's population we have a whopping 25 percent of the world's known prison population, would suggest that Americans are five times more evil than the rest of world rather than change our criminal justice system.

And when you pick at the reason why Americans are five times more evil, it's always paradoxically about too much freedom, too many liberties, too many outsiders.

candy_19's picture

I agree..

That is very much true. Legalizing marijuana doesn't mean it may increase the number of users, users are users while non-users are not, that's it! And in fact wether you legalize it or not, marijuana users will still use it. So for me it would be better if the government would just legalize it, just for an additional earning purposes. It may help also to those people selling it because they can have additional sales so no need for a cash advance for their daily living support.

why total "use" won't increase

1. I can't figure out why there are fewer users in the Netherlands. This source doesn't mention amount of consuption per user, which will be my point.

2. Observor and the preceding comment are correct: it's about controlling certain minorities. I would add: "It's the money, stupid". Arresting a young black man puts a mark on his record making it harder to get into a high prestige university and glide effortlessly to a high-paying job later on. The confinement of blacks and Hispanics in low-paying jobs means their communities eventually have smaller funding with which to elect political candidates. (Obama got through by means of an internet explosion of fund-raising; by 2012 the 'Pubs will presumably have caught up with that.)

3. To the shaming statistic, 4.5% of world population, 25% of imprisonment, should be added another imprisonment: Hot Burning Overdose Tobackgo $igarette Enslavement. US with its 4.5% has 8.2% of worldwide $igarette death toll: 440,000 per year compared to 5,400,000 (WHO, 2008). (We are losing our lead as Chinese and Indian teenagers begin to have enough discretionary money to buy more coffin nails per victim, and corporations gear up their advertizing blitz. A 2004-5 study found tobacco use depicted in 89% of Bollywood movies.)

4. Yes, controlling the minorities is one motivation behind the arrest war against cannabis users. Protecting the tobackgo overdose marketing empire is the other. Legalizing cannabis means unambiguously legalizing single-toke "one-hitters". Cannabis users adjust their dosage downward when they have strong skunkweed. If this conservative practice spills over into the tobackgo user population, the hot burning overdose $igarette empire is TOAST. (tossed, getissen.) That is why Big 2Wackgo feeds its political money to campaigners like "Crack Down on Pot" Giuliani (check the 2008 Presidential campaign statistics).

5. Thus, to my main point: legalization will free cannabis users to own and use openly moderate-use utensils like long-stemmed one-hitters, vaporizers, and the ultimate nemesis of Big 2Wackgo-- the THC-loaded e-cigarette. Thus even if the gross number of cannabis users greatly increases, the amount "consumed" (especially with carbon monoxide and combustion toxins included) will decrease, and so will the world-record 6-million-a-year (ACS est. for 2010) "smoking" genocide.

Malkavian's picture

2 nails more for the WoD coffin

Pretty much the entire website is built on that one UN-explainable thing with the Dutch: why is it that the Dutch, who have shops where anone of age can buy marijuana, have lower usage figures than severely Prohibitionist countries like the USA?

Also, among the newer stuff there's no way around Portugal. Check out Glenn Greenwald's report on Cato:

If a graph existed, based on real data, showing that harsher laws translate into lower usage numbers across nations the drug warriors would sooooo rub our noses in it. It just doesn't exist, and I figure it's so obviuos that they dare not even try to just lie about the issue.

Legalizing marijuana won't

Legalizing marijuana won't increase it's use?

Id definately have to read more research to be convinced that won't be the case here in the US. Many "studies" in Europe have not quite panned out the same way here as they did over there.

I couldn't believe I traveled via train to Europe one year and the guy next to me offered me a joint and I was like wtf? Just as well his
eurail pass had him get off in Germany!

Dutch more Mature?

There is no won't pan out for these studies. I have lived there and its true. The overwhelming majority of Dutch do not use cannabis or any other "street" drug. Teens do not spend hours/days single-mindedly trying to score a bag or a case of beer for that matter. Its just no big deal there. Under 18? No weed for you. If someone tries to sell you a bag on the street, you think they must be crazy, because its nearly unheard of. If some guy offered you a toke on his joint on the train, Its because its no big deal. Just like offering you a spare beer to help the miles go by. You were the weirdo in that situation. Guess he didnt mention he can legally take up to 7 grams of weed and 3.5 grams of Hash accross the OPEN border.

It's 4:25

All of us in the United States will not be free until marijuana is decriminalized. I tend to not agree with completely ending prohibition on all drugs.
Cocaine will take everything you have if you let it. But that is because it is so addicting. It is also very expensive, which I feel is a good thing. If the US lifts its prohibition on marijuana, nearly every other country would follow.
I heard that there are about 30,000 industrial uses for canabis. One is the fact that one acre of marijuana will make as much paper as four acres of trees. And we all know how long it takes a tree to grow.
The amount of money generated and jobs created by canabis would be nearly impossible to calculate. And we would have to include jobs not lost and jobs previously unable to get because of using marijuana and being "not worthy" of living a happy,stable life.
I personally don't like being forced to not do something that is really no bodies business and doesn't affect anybody but myself. Oh, you mean I have to drink that nasty ars beer to get a buzz. That's messed up man..
We need to vote for marijuana reform whenever it is possible,that is the way to decriminalization. Make our voices be heard.
Let freedom ring and power to the people.

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Actually I think that legalizing marijuana will decrease the use. If they legalize it they can tax it and that will make a lot of people angry. Dealers will not make as much money and people will lose the thrill of defiance that some of them get now. casino en ligne

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