There's Only One Argument Against Legalizing Marijuana (And It's Wrong)

Opponents of legalization routinely regurgitate an endless array of flawed logic, mindless speculation, and apocalyptic prophecy anytime they're confronted with the case for marijuana reform. But regardless of whatever head-spinning mouthful they deliver, it invariably rests upon the same grand assumption: that legal marijuana means many more people smoking much more pot.
 
Fortunately, we've made enough progress already to take that theory for a test-drive, and the results are delightfully underwhelming:

Marijuana use is not on the rise.

At least, that's the gist of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health done every year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2008 — the most recent data available — 6.1 percent of Americans 12 and older admitted using marijuana in the previous month.

And yet, during those same years, marijuana has been edging toward legitimacy. States with medical marijuana laws have made it possible for thousands of people to buy pot over the counter, in actual stores. Some police departments have started de-emphasizing marijuana arrests. [NPR]

Imagine that. After decades of debate, the first stages of reform have taken hold and all the trains are still arriving on time. More than a decade after the first legal marijuana sales began taking place on American soil, the consequences we were told to expect can be found nowhere other than the imagination of our dwindling opposition.

If rates of marijuana use aren't rocked by reform, then everything bad that's ever been said about marijuana is perfectly irrelevant to the legalization debate. The morons who think we're trying to "add a new drug into the mix" are shown to be badly confused, and we can move fearlessly towards dismantling the vast spectrum of nightmarish prohibition problems that we've brought on ourselves for no reason whatsoever.

If our opponents have any integrity, if they truly want safer communities and just laws, then they'll someday be very pleased to learn that we've been right all along.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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I WISH consumption of

I WISH consumption of marijuana would go up if it were legalized, the travesty is that it won't. If more people in this country would smoke at least a little pot from time to time, we would be FAR better off.

Using fear tactics and lies

Using fear tactics and lies to support a war on Americans destroys lives.

I couldn't agree more that

I couldn't agree more that prohibitionist arguements almost invariabiably rest upon strings of empty phrases put together. I cringe when I see the following phrases all together in the same paragraph: "we can't just wave the white flag and surrender", "we must protect our kids from these drugs", "talk of legalization sends the 'wrong message' to our kids", "advocates of legal. want to just add another drug to the mix", "we already have legal alcohol and look how much damage it does (w.o ever addressing the issue of the differences in their pyschoactice properties or why that arguement isn't one for a return to alcohol prohib)", "Do you want your kids walking the same streets as meth addicts?" Can we start a list of these and offer point by point rebuttals? Despite the damage prohibitionists have done, some, like the former military officer on the Stossel show last night are American heroes who believe they are doing good and who's greatest fault is closemindedness. To call these people idiots only fosters contempt from the other side in this debate and a tendency for them to dig their heels in and completely disregard any aspect of our position. Prohibitionists arguments are rarely well thought out or supported by empirical evidence personal, and it is exactly this which we should call them out on; not their mental acuity.

number of pot smokers

the NSDUH relates the number of people who *admit* smoking marijuana -- which is a gross underestimate of reality, and has actually been pretty much flat-lined since the last revamping of the study instrument in 2002. in reality, it is a no-brainer that marijuana use will indeed rise if it is legal (both in terms of how much pot is consumed and how many consumers there are).

the better approach for countering the "use will sky-rocket" argument is this: so what?

since pot smoking itself is not causing very much measurable damage (as opposed to prohibition itself), even if there were a linear increase in "damages" wrought by an increased number of users, such damages will remain at extremely low levels. and what would those "damages" entail, exactly? more people in "treatment" -- maybe not, since over half of those "seeking" treatment for marijuana are forced into it through the criminal justice system. more ER visits in which marijuana is "mentioned" -- again, so what. 98 percent of past year pot smokers somehow end up *not* going to the ER to announce that they are pot smokers.

death from overdose -- nobody with more than three functioning brain cells buys into that one.

the "damages" attributed to marijuana use are primarily those that occur in the form of having your life destroyed as a result of being arrested. certainly, that number would decrease no matter how many more people take up pot smoking

here is the context in which to consider the "dangers" of marijuana use: http://www.briancbennett.com/charts/nutshell-marijuana.htm

i believe we would be well advised to admit up front that legalizing marijuana will *absolutely* lead to more marijuana users and more marijuana use. what it will not lead to however, is more "damages" being inflicted on said users and more importantly, on the rest of society.

Please don't forget the criminals!

To all of the tellers of lies and fear, isn't it true that you "prohibitionists", want to keep criminals in charge? Isn't it more comfortable for you that "cartels" are taking BILLIONS of dollars, tax free out of the U.S.? Is it more comfortable that criminals are in charge of distribution, control. and that they regulate what our government can't or won't? This, my friends, are a few questions all of our elected officials and hired enforcement people should be forced to answer honestly. Otherwise, please don't forget the criminals, they are doing a better job than our "officials".

Is it just me, or is Scott's

Is it just me, or is Scott's writing improving? He must be smoking more pot...

Thanks

I really appreciate this kind of feedback, because I've been doing this long enough now that it's sometimes hard to find new ways to approach the subject. As for your later point, I don't get stoned before blogging. Although, I seem recall that I was partying when I wrote this.

Marijuana should be legalized - And so should HEMP

Tobacco and alcohol are MUCH more harmful than marijuana. Prohibition has NEVER worked and it never will - this stupid "war on drugs" is a total waste of money - the REAL "war on drugs" should be against the PHARMACEUTICAL DRUG COMPANIES whose LEGAL DRUGS kill more Americans each year than all of the illegal drugs COMBINED. These drug companies are allowed to peddle their highly dangerous DRUGS under the auspice of "medicine" - no drug is medicine - because drugs only address the symptom and very rarely cure. This is because the root cause of the illness (usually poor diet/dehydration/excess acid in body) is NEVER addressed. Without correcting the poor habits that CREATED the medical condition in the first place, no drug can ever cure you. But this is EXACTLY WHAT THE DRUG COMPANIES WANT - they are not trying to "help you get better" - they want you to be chronically ill so that you will always have a "reliance" on their ultra expensive patented drugs. Marijuana is harmless and there are actually specialized THC receptors in the brain - how many synthetic drugs can that be said for? The only reason(s) that marijuana is illegal is because it is a known pain reliever and by demonizing it , it makes its completely docile cousin Hemp easy to be banned as well. Hemp could supply enough energy to completely eliminate our dependence on petroleum and that is why it is banned - the oil companies (and the paper mills and cotton producers) do not want the intense competition that hemp would bring to the table so they have had laws passed to ban hemp thereby protecting their market.

so you have never used drugs

so you have never used drugs to cure a disease?? Never got the flu for an infection and needed "medicine" fix the problem.  Medicine in the reason that the life expectancy rate has risen in the past 100 years more than 100%. It is obviously waisted on you.

Science Avoidance

Prohibitionists share a common theme. Scientific evidence avoidance. They will fund new studies until they get the results they want, and disregard all other evidence.

It's like having a discussion with someone who is committed to what they view as facts, such as creationism. There was no big-bang, Darwin's evolutionary theories are nothing but heracy... Prohibitionists share a similar mindset, and no matter how much rational data is presented, they feel they are right (or even if they know they are not, will never admit it as that would be a sign of weakness and prevent them from being re-elected).

I am in Texas, where our Govenor, Rick Perry, is quoted as having said that the oil rig disaster in the Gulf was an act of God. No amount of information about economic shortcuts, improper equipment, or taking shortcuts on the well will change the reasoing of people like this

But in the end, the truth will prevail. Use facts, scientific evidence, and respect in dealing prohibitionists. Until their is a cure for cranial-rectumitis, they will always just be stuck in the dark.

Maybe stopthedrugwar could report on the subject of hemp

and it's 'green' potential. The jmiles82 post prompts me to ask this. Obviously it's a very useful plant, but is it a miracle plant that could take a big bite out of climate change? If it is, environmentalists should be pushing for outright cannabis legalization as their retort to the outrageous and absurd prohibition on non-psychoactive hemp.

There are many

compelling reasons for ending prohibition, but only one reason to continue it -- to protect the careers of people who make their livings destroying the lives of others. We're paying these parasites to kill us for the sole purpose of giving them an excuse to kill even more of us. Disgusting.

It's stupidity

My country - Sweden - is unique in Europe in that we continue to hang on to the "hard line", now completely abandoned by the rest of the european countries. Not that we have that horrible police brutality with DEA-agents shooting people on suspicion, but the agenda is "prohibition". All the other countries that have left the hard line have been blessed with less crime, less legal costs, less deaths and so on. But what does it matter, it's no use telling people that. Prohibitionists simply WILL NOT listen to reason. If you could prove that all the inhabitants in the US would be millionaires, if you stopped the drug war, it would happen nothing anyway.

Stupid people can not listen to reason, they enjoy the hysteria, feeling christian, lawabiding and so on. I think that enlightenment is useless. Violence and war against them will not do. BUT there are so many small things that hundreds of thousands of antiprohibitionists can do! I guess that it's illegal to take a tiny chip of cannabis, rub it here and there on the walls in airports, schools etc, thereby confusing drug dogs utterly. (It works.) And also grind dried Papaver into a fine dust, blowing it away, in a locality where urine samples are tested....But it's not illegal to call the DEAoffices and tip them off, the cops to tip THEM off. Imagine thousands of calls every day, each and one of us just have to call once a month, for it to be startling for them. And it's not illegal, is it? I mean, you SAW really some weird bloke that possibly sold drugs...

There are much more intricate things one can do, but as to enlighten the stupid masses, remember Schiller: "Against stupidity, even the gods are struggling in vain..."

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