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U.S. warns Canada against easing pot laws
May 2, 2003 11:22 AM   Subscribe

U.S. warns Canada against easing pot laws "David Murray, right-hand man to U.S. "drug czar" John Walters, says he doesn't want to tread on another country's sovereignty, but warned there would be consequences if Canada proceeds with a plan to decriminalize the possession of marijuana." WTF?
posted by ZenMasterThis (95 comments total)

 
First gravy on their french fries, now this? What has the world come to?!?
posted by sharksandwich at 11:26 AM on May 2, 2003


I said it before and I'll say it again. Bush will bring us to war with Canada, one way or another.

Let's just wrap this all up quickly and declare the planet the United Sovereignty of America already. It'll save us all a lot of time and energy.
posted by archimago at 11:30 AM on May 2, 2003


Murray tried to express the feeling in the U.S. that looser drug laws go hand-in-hand with increase in crime and drug addiction among youth, and used some apocalyptic language to do it.

"You can't wall this off saying, 'We're only talking about a little cannabis.' Our experience is they come together like the Four Horsemen," he said.


Yeah, don't let the actual evidence get in the way of your War on Drugs there, Mr. Murray, I mean, why start now?
posted by biscotti at 11:31 AM on May 2, 2003


Well, obviously the "drug czar" fears that the successful example of a rational drug policy next door will endanger the house of cards that is Marijuana Prohibition.

It's not the first time these irrational, corrupt feeders at the trough of Drug War funding have also made similar threats in the past to Australia and New Zealand when they've gone down the same path.

He should spend his time going after the revived opium growers in Afghanistan.

BTW, let us not forget that the historical Czar was a despotic, self-centered tyrant.
posted by reality at 11:37 AM on May 2, 2003


He said if marijuana becomes more widely used in Canada, it could penetrate more widely into the U.S.

Dude... you're stoned.
posted by spotmeter at 11:40 AM on May 2, 2003


The longer we sit here and discuss it, rather than voting their neo-conservative butts out of office, the worse the damage.
posted by FormlessOne at 11:40 AM on May 2, 2003


"It's not just Canada's relationship with the United States that would change; it's Canada's relationship with the world," he said.

this coming from the US after recent world events.
posted by poopy at 11:42 AM on May 2, 2003


What are they going to do, invade? Ha ha... oh wait.
posted by jjg at 11:43 AM on May 2, 2003


I figure one thing that'll definitely happen is that the border crossing from Canada into the US is going to be more of a pain in the ass. Personally I'm hoping they don't decriminalize it for that exact reason. If they do, and the border becomes too much of a pain, I'll probably stop visiting the windsor casino. (Hell, if people start smoking pot in the windsor casino I'll stop visiting, can't stand the smell of the stuff).
posted by piper28 at 11:44 AM on May 2, 2003


The longer we sit here and discuss it, rather than voting their neo-conservative butts out of office, the worse the damage.

Uh, dude, the polls aren't open right now ... are you stoned?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:45 AM on May 2, 2003


Blame Canada!
With all their beady little eyes
And flapping heads so full of lies
Blame Canada! Blame Canada!
They're not even a real country anyway
posted by linux at 11:54 AM on May 2, 2003


It's not a great movie, but Canadian Bacon needs a re-viewing from me I think.
posted by gluechunk at 11:56 AM on May 2, 2003


Is any one else getting that funny feeling that Canada may have ties to Al Qaeda? And may well be hiding a cache of wmd?

Canadian people take heart, freedom may soon be on the way! And you poor Canadian women badly need liberation!
posted by madamjujujive at 11:59 AM on May 2, 2003


In a related story, Canadian P.M. Jean Chretien responded to Mr. Murray's remarks by saying: "Take off, eh."
posted by Zonker at 12:00 PM on May 2, 2003


And may well be hiding a cache of wmd?

Warm Mulled Drinks. Mmmmm...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:01 PM on May 2, 2003


The longer we sit here and discuss it, rather than voting their neo-conservative butts out of office, the worse the damage.

To the polls, huzzah!

I've voted the left side of the ticket in every election since I turned 18, and that included eight years of Bill "I didn't *kaff, kaff* inhale, man, now pass the fried chicken" Clinton, and we still haven't decriminalized the p-o-t. There's going to have to be some grass (heh heh, he said "grass") roots efforts on a state-by-state level to finally push THC over the counter where it belongs.
posted by mikrophon at 12:02 PM on May 2, 2003


He said if marijuana becomes more widely used in Canada, it could penetrate more widely into the U.S.

I don't know where he lives, but where I go to school, it's harder to find people who don't smoke pot, than who do.

This guy makes me long for the good ol' days of Barry McCaffrey. At least he made sure we had good TV to watch while we smoked...
posted by SweetJesus at 12:04 PM on May 2, 2003


War with Canada? What, did they discover oil there or something?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:12 PM on May 2, 2003


madamjujujive: you are absolutely correct, Canada has secreted away a stash of WMD (Weed the Masses Desire), and like that nasty Saddam character, we've hidden it in small quantities throughout suburban neighbourhoods, schools, hospitals -- you're going to have to bomb half the population to get it all!
posted by filmgoerjuan at 12:18 PM on May 2, 2003


So has anyone thought about the products liability implications of this? Who are the trial lawyers going to sue? Is Philip Morris going to go into the pot business?
posted by Durwood at 12:18 PM on May 2, 2003


Who the F%$# is this murray. where does he get off with veiled threats against canada because she wishes to change a law that has no bearing on the U.S.

what are we gonna do next, bomb trucks coming in from canada. What does murray hope to gain, some sort of blockage of pot coming into the us from canada if canada passes this law?

WTF.

(rant)

all the pot in the usa comes from canada....right. and now it will be cheaper....oh no.
what does he think, this will be like the prohibition days where the purple gang ran sleds of booze along the frozen river?
I am insulted to think that canada would be a potential exporter of pot. Hell, we all know that canada is famous for it's hash. we don't need there ditch weed.

we got tons of shit pouring over our boarders from mexico... this is unreal.
i have a feeling this statement from Murray will be amended.
posted by clavdivs at 12:23 PM on May 2, 2003


The more insane, fucked-up shit this administration does, the better. I'm at the point where I want them to start killing people in the street. Anything, just so people will realize Bush needs to go.

Unless the public turns out overwhelmingly against him, it's going to take a Coalition of the Willing to oust Bush. (Was watching Castro speak on C-SPAN this morning, and cheered. From day one, he's been the only person speaking the truth about Bush.) Do France, Germany, Russia, Cuba, and Canada have the courage to liberate America?

(I hyperbolize, but only a tiny bit.)
posted by son_of_minya at 12:30 PM on May 2, 2003


So has anyone thought about the products liability implications of this? Who are the trial lawyers going to sue? Is Philip Morris going to go into the pot business?

There aren't any implications, because (as was pointed out in the first thread about this) it won't be legal to grow and sell on that level. They just want to decriminalize it (much like the U.K. did) which only relaxes the punishment for small amounts of possession.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:34 PM on May 2, 2003


...John Walters, says he doesn't want to tread on another country's sovereignty, but...

But what, Mr. Walters? Oh, you're going to do it anyway. Riiiight, I get it.

Asshat foreign policy drug czar hypocrite sons of bitches with grand aspirations of running the world should should get off their high horses before the world forces them to.

Somehow.
posted by ashbury at 12:40 PM on May 2, 2003


There aren't any implications, because (as was pointed out in the first thread about this) it won't be legal to grow and sell on that level.

Sorry, I must have missed that........so it will be illegal to grow and sell, but legal to possess (and I assume to smoke) in small amounts? So how are the trial lawyers going to make any money?
posted by Durwood at 12:43 PM on May 2, 2003


so it will be illegal to grow and sell, but legal to possess (and I assume to smoke) in small amounts?

Not exactly. It won't be legal to possess and smoke small amounts, but the punishments will be greatly reduced (namely, no jail time). IIRC, in the UK I think a first offense was a warning, and then after that progressively larger fines. The assumption can probably be made (although I admittedly don't know a whole lot about the Canadian and British Court Systems) that if a fine can't be paid, then the option of either serving time in jail or community service will be offered. It's not carte blanche for the stoners. Just a less severe slap on the wrist.

So how are the trial lawyers going to make any money?

Presumably, if they do at all, it will be less than what they got before. My line of thinking here is that less people will challenge their punishments based on the court costs and times will not be worth more than the fines themselves. This also has the added benefit of freeing up the Canadian courts for more dangerous and important crimes than sitting around grinning with a chee-to hanging out of your mouth.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:49 PM on May 2, 2003


clavdivs - you think Murray's statement will be amended?
Like Cellucci's statement was when he recently threatened Canada? Not. I think Murray is being used as their little water boy carrying a message right from the top - perhaps he's a direct apostle of the god-fearing Ashcroft.

We have moved into an era of pitbull diplomacy.

filmgoerjuan: I am going to volunteer to be a Canadian wmd inspector!
Plus don't worry about the bombs - only the first 250,000 hurt, and then you'll be dancing in the street!
posted by madamjujujive at 12:51 PM on May 2, 2003


Durwood: so it will be illegal to grow and sell, but legal to possess (and I assume to smoke) in small amounts?

It's legal to carry it, which doesn't really matter 'cause -- get a load of this -- if the cops stop you, it's illegal for them to search you. Searching you is a right that the cops in Canada don't have.

Durwood: That did it, man -- I'm fuckin' goin', that's all there is to it.

You'll dig it the most. But you know what the funniest thing about Canada is? It's the little differences. A lotta the same shit we got here, they got there, but there they're a little different.

For example, you know what they puton french fries in Canada instead of ketchup? Gravy. I seen 'em do it. And I don't mean a little bit on the side of the plate, they fuckin' drown 'em in it.
posted by son_of_minya at 12:53 PM on May 2, 2003


so it will be illegal to grow and sell, but legal to possess (and I assume to smoke) in small amounts

No, it will not be legal at all (yet, anyway). As far as I know, possession of small amounts will result in a fine, not jail term, and not a criminal record (similar to a parking ticket - it's illegal, but not criminal). Of course, this is already the case in many states, like Ohio and Colorado (but those are state laws, rather than federal laws, which is what Canada is considering). Of course, to most intents and purposes, the law is already more or less like this in places like Toronto (the police generally don't care about small amounts of weed that's obviously for personal use unless there's some reason they should).
posted by biscotti at 12:55 PM on May 2, 2003


decriminalize it (much like the U.K. did). Oh, I wish. What we in the UK have had is a set of vague promises and no action. Some areas in London, it's a slap on the wrist. Pretty much everywhere else, it's as illegal as ever. And the FUD continued just today.
posted by punilux at 12:59 PM on May 2, 2003


Thanks for the update, punilux. I just assumed after the announcement that it would take effect. Didn't know that they didn't actually go through with it very well.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:12 PM on May 2, 2003


Only a fool would vote for Bush in 2004.
posted by the fire you left me at 1:17 PM on May 2, 2003


there would be consequences

Oh No! This is the second whack of the consequence stick! Somehow I think this one is related to the growing strength of the mighty loonie.
posted by srboisvert at 1:21 PM on May 2, 2003


Murray didn't spell out what the American response would be, but he invoked images of tie-ups at border crossings and intense bureaucracy.

Wait a sec - border tie-ups AND intense bureaucracy?? It's political Armageddon!!

C'mon people, this guy is the Drug Czar's "right hand man"! This makes him by default a blowhard of colossal - nay, Olympian - proportions. The constant henny-pennying around here every time some government dickhead says something retarded is unseemly. Don't buy into it! Save your ire for those who truly deserve it, I beseech you!!
posted by UncleFes at 1:26 PM on May 2, 2003


I'm getting so sick of living in this reactionary country, waiting for people to come around, waiting for things to get better. All the time, they're getting worse.

Personally, I think the SUV is the greatest thing that ever happened. If Americans keep driving them, global warming might improve the weather in Canada.

As soon as I can get weather comparable to San Francisco (not asking a lot) anywhere up there, I'm movin.
posted by scarabic at 1:27 PM on May 2, 2003


Durwood: That did it, man -- I'm fuckin' goin', that's all there is to it.

Just to set the record straight...I did not make this comment. I don't want to move to Canada for any reason.
posted by Durwood at 1:28 PM on May 2, 2003


He said if marijuana becomes more widely used in Canada, it could penetrate more widely into the U.S.

It's been a while since I smoked pot, but I never met anybody who encountered a significant barrier to purchasing it. What amount of use is more wide than 100%? As long as the US keeps hanging out with friends who dropped out of high school, it will never want for weed.
posted by vraxoin at 1:33 PM on May 2, 2003


Suuuuuuuure you don't, potboy!
posted by UncleFes at 1:33 PM on May 2, 2003


Frankly, I'm looking forward to going up 'dere, getting stoned off my ass, and eating plates and plates of poutine.

Fucking "eh" right.
posted by padraigin at 1:36 PM on May 2, 2003


getting stoned off my ass, and eating plates and plates of poutine.

I've eaten poutine maybe ten times since I've moved to Montreal. Once I wasn't high. Guess which time I didn't enjoy?
posted by jon_kill at 1:47 PM on May 2, 2003


For example, you know what they puton french fries in Canada instead of ketchup? Gravy

Instead? No. But it's an option. So is mayo. And melted cheese. And some of us use ketchup and gravy. Simultaneously. But ketchup is on every diner / fast food table. Gravy ain't.
posted by dobbs at 2:00 PM on May 2, 2003


he doesn't want to tread on another country's sovereignty

um, threatening Canada's relationship with the world... sounds like treading to me.
posted by moonbird at 2:03 PM on May 2, 2003


For example, you know what they puton french fries in Canada instead of ketchup? Gravy

Also, Reese's cups are just called "Reese" in Canada. And the McDonald's logo looks like it has a bullet wound right smack between the eyes, thanks to a little red maple leaf placed just so.
posted by kindall at 2:12 PM on May 2, 2003


Cost of jailing an inmate for one year -- vs-- someone paying the gov a $200 fine.

As a taxpayer, this is GREAT NEWS!!! You'd think the right wing lower tax, less government intruding in our lives would be all over this like a stoner on a pizza?

In other words, imagine the tax we'd all be paying if instead of a fine for speeding, you go to jail.
posted by CrazyJub at 2:35 PM on May 2, 2003


And another thing...

Don't tread on me, mutha fucka!
posted by CrazyJub at 2:45 PM on May 2, 2003


U.S. to Canada: You have too much freedom.
posted by pitchblende at 3:25 PM on May 2, 2003


As soon as I can get weather comparable to San Francisco (not asking a lot) anywhere up there, I'm movin.

Heard of Vancouver? We'll be expecting you, and you can check out the Hemporium on Hasting Street when you arrive.
posted by jokeefe at 3:28 PM on May 2, 2003


canadian oil
posted by delmoi at 3:50 PM on May 2, 2003


the overlap with the Bill Bennett bs in another thread is amusing. Quit peeing our legs Bill .... and telling us its raining.
posted by specialk420 at 3:51 PM on May 2, 2003


I hope that the coming war with Canada will feature a Baldwin bombing. Please?
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:10 PM on May 2, 2003


vraxoin:

It's been a while since I smoked pot, but I never met anybody who encountered a significant barrier to purchasing it.

In the county west of mine, they've started growing it by the ton. It's some good shit too. This is what happens when you destroy all of the local factory jobs and send them to third world nations in the name of "free trade".

Support your local pot grower: homegrown is good for the economy!

You think that after all of these years that we'd wise up, legalize cannabis and tax the holy hell out of it. It works for alcohol and tobacco doesn't it?

Marijuana is the #4 cash crop in the U.S at least.

Personally, I find the $15,000,000,000 estimate grossly conservative. You have to figure for every plant they know about there's at least one they don't. Something to consider. . .
posted by mark13 at 5:26 PM on May 2, 2003


You have to figure for every plant they know about there's at least one they don't.

This certainly must be part of the figuring, though.
posted by shabrem at 6:14 PM on May 2, 2003


This certainly must be part of the figuring, though.

Not if they're really high.
posted by vraxoin at 7:44 PM on May 2, 2003


Canada, it could penetrate more widely into the U.S.

I knew they were on top of us for a reason.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:54 PM on May 2, 2003


Anyone else think this David Murray guy looks like a neanderthal? Unfrozen caveman fuckwit?
posted by DyRE at 8:58 PM on May 2, 2003


What are they going to do, invade? Ha ha... oh wait.

i wouldn't worry about that sort of thing... the last thing on earth those republican halfwit motherfucks want to aquire is 11 (10 provinces & the territories) more democratic states to permanently shift the balance of political power.
posted by t r a c y at 9:29 PM on May 2, 2003


t r a c y - more democratic states to permanently shift the balance of political power

Bling bling! We have a winner. What better reason to joint venture and become a progressive über power?
posted by vito90 at 11:03 PM on May 2, 2003


Hey, son_of_minya --

Want some Canadian bacon?
posted by wdpeck at 12:35 AM on May 3, 2003


The continental divide : CBC indepth look at Canada-US relations.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:39 AM on May 3, 2003


You'd think the right wing lower tax, less government intruding in our lives would be all over this like a stoner on a pizza?

Wrong.

Leave me alone" is an appealing slogan, but the right regularly violates its own guiding principle. The antiabortion folks intend to use government power to force their own moral values on the private lives of others. Free-market right-wingers fall silent when Bush and Congress intrude to bail out airlines, insurance companies, banks--whatever sector finds itself in desperate need. The hard-right conservatives are downright enthusiastic when the Supreme Court and Bush's Justice Department hack away at our civil liberties. The "school choice" movement seeks not smaller government but a vast expansion of taxpayer obligations. Maybe what the right is really seeking is not so much to be left alone by government but to use government to reorganize society in its own right-wing image.

From The Nation, scroll down to chapter V: Are they right about America?

This president, you elected him?
posted by NekulturnY at 6:36 AM on May 3, 2003


This president, you elected him?

Umm... it's kinda complicated.
posted by Eamon at 7:51 AM on May 3, 2003


I understood marijuana was the #1 cash crop in the US...?
posted by Lleyam at 8:28 AM on May 3, 2003


I hope Canada's response to the USA is "bring it on." Fuck the US government: we're a sovereign nation and we must do what's best for our citizens in our borders.

"fuckin' drown 'em in it." Er, no. I guess you can probably get poutine-like fries most anywhere, but they definately don't have the cult status in the West that they supposedly do back in Quebec. Thank goodness.

But put poutine and the thread on fat Americans together, and we probably have a solution to the rogue nation problem: once American's find out about poutine, they'll probably chow down enough to give themselves all massive heart attacks. Problem solved.

And as far as Canadian weed goes, apparently pot is the #1 money-maker in the USA. Y'all don't need Canadians to help you get stoned.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:04 AM on May 3, 2003


First of all, saying that all of our pot comes from Mexico or Canada is ignorant. I live in Oregon, and if you don't already know, one of the best states in the country for growing. Now, I know a few drug dealers and i've come to a realization:

Fact 1: Marijuana is a tax free way to make the poor richer. at $20 to $25 for 3.0 grams, money passes hands quickly. And for you republicans: a surprising amount of those hands are white.

Fact 2: You can function and maintain a stable job history and still be able to smoke pot. This has been proven for thousands of years, by many famous people.

Fact 3: The American flag was originally made from hemp.

Fact 4: Marijuana does not make you want to drop out of school. Nor will it make you want to quit your job. The only thing marijuana does is make you slightly nervous and "out of mind". But not in the way that makes you do out of mind things. Theres a reason why we can't drink beer at work. I think you should be sober when you have something to do, and I think a lot of people would agree with me.

Fact 5: Lets do a little math. Lets say it costs you 50 cents to grow a 20 sack of pot. Normally $20, but lets say the government comes in, leaglizes it and makes it $10 from Philip Morris (who has already bought some of the rights), and people start to buy that product. Lets just assume that only 1 million people smoke pot in America. 100 million dollars later and our schools suddenly have art classes again. What keeps us from doing something along these lines?

Fact 6: Pot comes from your neighbor or street. BC can stand for British Columbia or brown crap. But in the end, only the hard drugs seem to really be in demand as far as imports.

The war on drugs is just a way to garner support from the religious right and alienate hundreds of millions of people from your causes. Crimethink. Don't quietly disagree with your superiors or the thought police will be watching you. hold on, MSNBC is talking about weapons of mass destruction. Time for another 2 minutes of hate.
posted by Keyser Soze at 11:16 AM on May 3, 2003


I would buy pot from large corporations if the taxes went to school funding.
posted by Keyser Soze at 11:18 AM on May 3, 2003


The only thing marijuana does is make you slightly nervous and "out of mind".

oh please. Try increased heart rate and pulse, dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting (esp. when used with alcohol), mood change, and impaired timing. Don't make it sound like less than you know it really is.

Not to mention long term effects (from heavy use) such as impaired memory, cancer, and amotivational syndrome. And don't say "that doesn't always happen," because the minor response you describe is just as unlikely.

Personally, I could give a rat's ass what Canada does with their drug laws and how the U.S. responds. Nobody's ever gonna agree and people will always be able to get/use drugs.
posted by dogwalker at 12:31 PM on May 3, 2003


Try increased heart rate and pulse, dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting (esp. when used with alcohol), mood change, and impaired timing. Don't make it sound like less than you know it really is.

Don't accuse someone of understating while yourself going completely overboard in the other direction. Can you document these, from a primary medical (i.e non-political) source? And not just that they have been observed in someone, by someone, somewhere, but actual studies that indicate the severity and frequency of these symptoms and what dosage level is involved; and furthermore whether such dosage levels actually occur in real users and not in laboratory doses formulated for the study?

All the most prominent medical journals -- NEMJ, JAMA and the Lancet -- have published opinions supporting decriminalization, and at least one has gone on record as saying the real-world health risks of marijuana are chiefly related to its illegality -- i.e. exposure to criminality, law enforcement and prison.

Medicine routinely uses drugs whose efficacious dose is as little as one third of its lethal dose. Cannabis doesn't appear to even have a lethal dose.

And I'm not even a cannabis advocate: I personally don't even like the crap. But I like official lies, distortions and propaganda even less.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:08 PM on May 3, 2003


increased heart rate and pulse, dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting (esp. when used with alcohol), mood change, and impaired timing

Oh, by the way, these side-effects, even when found, would put it in essentially the same class as over-the-counter antihistamines. The difference being that overdosing on those will kill you.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:20 PM on May 3, 2003


Don't accuse someone of understating while yourself going completely overboard in the other direction.

Read my entire comment. I said "because the minor response you describe is just as unlikely" in an effort to show that my comment is (knowingly) as completely overboard as his was understated.

And I'm not even a cannabis advocate: I personally don't even like the crap. But I like official lies, distortions and propaganda even less.

On the same page as you here, but I guess with a stronger distaste for unofficial lies like "marijuana has no negative effects."
posted by dogwalker at 2:04 PM on May 3, 2003


dogwalker, fair enough. I guess you sort of set off a gripe of mine: the government cheerfully spending our tax money on transparently manipulative advertising to sell us on this prohibition. My current fave is the one where the young girl learns she's become pregnant, we are told, under the influence of marijuana: because it "can cloud your judgement." I'd really like to see a study of what proportion of unwanted pregnancies result from regretted sexual encounters occurring under the influence of marijuana versus... oh gosh, I dunno, alcohol maybe? I mean really, d'you think?
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:27 PM on May 3, 2003


Dogwalker, you're right that generally people are going to smoke anyway. So wouldn't you rather not spend the money to house smokers in prisons? And do you believe pot smokers even belong in prisons? I suspect you don't, and that you were just reacting to what you perceived as pro-pot propaganda.

On preview, what Spiggott said, too.
posted by squirrel at 2:55 PM on May 3, 2003


Basically, what it breaks down to is this: People will always smoke it and other People will always punish the smokers. I am neither of those People.

Yeah, some of my taxes go to jailing people for smoking pot, but I'd rather it went somewhere else. But also, some of my taxes are spent on health care for people because they smoke pot, and I'd rather that money went elsewhere as well. (Obviously, the imprisonment costs more, but if I had total control over where my taxes went...)

Just like I've stopped trying to convince people not to smoke marijuana, I've also stopped trying to convince people not to punish those that smoke it.
posted by dogwalker at 4:02 PM on May 3, 2003


some of my taxes are spent on health care for people because they smoke pot

Now I'd seriously like to see numbers for this. What gets potheads into the ER, slipping on spilled bongwater? Being rear-ended because they're driving 15mph in a 45 zone? Singed lips from smoking it down too far?
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:45 PM on May 3, 2003


Not necessarily the ER, but smoking unfiltered marijuana cigarettes is thrice as harmful to a person than filtered tobacco cigarettes when considering levels of tar and carbon monoxide. Directly inhaling the smoke of burning marijuana leaves and paper therefore has inherent negative effects, i.e. lung cancer, that make smokers ill. This is my main problem, and would prefer for people to ingest hashish or hash oil [which avoids respiratory problems] if they are desparate for thc. Yes, I also detest paying taxes to cover health care cost for tobacco related illnesses.

And despite the rarity of a pothead getting high and crashing his car, I still don't want to pay for it any more than I want to pay for part of a pothead's jail sentence.
posted by dogwalker at 5:06 PM on May 3, 2003


Yeah, some of my taxes go to jailing people for smoking pot, but I'd rather it went somewhere else.

Fuck the taxes, man. There are people in prison. It's a little more important than some nickels and dimes taken out of your paycheck.

This is like Eichmann discussing the most efficient transportation methods. Just civilized people, trying not to waste tax money? I say: Accessories to crime against humanity.

I'm not calling anybody here a Nazi. I am just underlining the severe importance of this debate. Imprisoning people for "moral" reasons is immoral. Imprisoning people for reasons of "efficiency" is immoral.
posted by son_of_minya at 5:16 PM on May 3, 2003


There are people in prison. It's a little more important than some nickels and dimes taken out of your paycheck.

Not to me it's not. Hell, I'm even on your side -- don't jail people who smoke pot. Put that to a vote and I'll fuckin vote for it.

However, I believe it's wrong to smoke marijuana in the first place due to the negative health effects. So I refuse to defend those who choose to deliberately and repeatedly inhale toxic smoke. Do you see why I have trouble fervently supporting a right to do something I think is wrong?

I can't believe you implied that I'm an "accessory to crime against humanity" because I think it's just as wrong for people to knowingly give themselves lung cancer and emphysema [diseases that will shorten their freedom filled lives] as it is to lock them up.
posted by dogwalker at 6:28 PM on May 3, 2003


I believe it's wrong to smoke marijuana in the first place due to the negative health effects.

That's marvellous, but it is neither right nor wrong. Wise or unwise, perhaps, foolhardy or cautious, maybe.

What is wrong is the wish to dictate to others whether they may or may not 'choose to deliberately and repeatedly inhale toxic smoke,' provided they do so in such a manner that they do not harm the health of others, and provided further that they provide in some fashion for the health-related costs that they my eventually incur as a consequence.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:38 PM on May 3, 2003


dogwalker:

There are people in prison. It's a little more important than some nickels and dimes taken out of your paycheck.
Not to me it's not. Hell, I'm even on your side -- don't jail people who smoke pot. Put that to a vote and I'll fuckin vote for it.
You fail to recognize that an injustice is being committed. "Not to me it's not" means that you are unconcerned because it doesn't effect you personally, right? Which means that you do not care about the suffering of innocent people at the hand of an unjust government. It's like saying, "I don't care if homeless people get beaten to death. It won't happen to me." That is the worst kind of selfishness.

[sarcasm]And you are not on my side if you support the beating to death of homeless people, you sick bastard.[/sarcasm]
However, I believe it's wrong to smoke marijuana in the first place due to the negative health effects. So I refuse to defend those who choose to deliberately and repeatedly inhale toxic smoke. Do you see why I have trouble fervently supporting a right to do something I think is wrong?
No, I do not see why you have trouble fervently supporting a right to do something you think is wrong.
I can't believe you implied that I'm an "accessory to crime against humanity" because I think it's just as wrong for people to knowingly give themselves lung cancer and emphysema [diseases that will shorten their freedom filled lives] as it is to lock them up.
There is a difference between people doing something themselves (spend time smoking weed), and being forced to do something (spend time in prison) -- especially when both may endanger that person's life.

Even if pot smoking were analogous to imprisonment -- and there is no equivalency there -- you should be able to see why your argument is so offensive to me. Imagine this: A person enjoys sky diving. Would it be wrong for the government to kidnap that person and drop him out of an airplane with a parachute strapped onto his back? Would it be wrong to rape a prostitute?

There is no moral equivalency between smoking weed and being sent to prison! They are not "equally" wrong, by any stretch of the imagination.

You sitting there offering support to unjust government policies, just because you think it won't happen to you, or people "deserve it" because they're not health conscious (!) makes you every bit as guilty as the drug warriors and the prison industry.
posted by son_of_minya at 6:46 PM on May 3, 2003


You fail to recognize that an injustice is being committed

No, I definitely see the injustice of someone being locked up for excersizing his rights, even if it is the right to harm himself. I just don't see it as such a great injustice as you do. Accept that I'm not as reactionary as you are.

"Not to me it's not" means that you are unconcerned because it doesn't effect you personally, right?

Again, no. I am just not as heavily concerned as you are because there are other issues (you would call them injustices) that have a deeper effect on me personally. Sorry if I don't have the same priorities as you.

You sitting there offering support to unjust government policies

Nowhere have I offered direct support to any such policies. To suggest that not being ardent or passionate enough in opposition denotes support is akin to a Good Samaritan Law, forcing me to look after others. I can abstain from the fight and still agree with one side.
posted by dogwalker at 8:03 PM on May 3, 2003


You fail to recognize that an injustice is being committed.

It's an injustice to lock up people who break the law now? Sheesh, I musta missed the memo.

It's a stupid law, but as long as it's on the books, justice is served by enforcing it and punishing those who break it.
posted by kindall at 10:10 PM on May 3, 2003


"I can't believe you implied that I'm an "accessory to crime against humanity" because I think it's just as wrong for people to knowingly give themselves lung cancer and emphysema [diseases that will shorten their freedom filled lives] as it is to lock them up."

Ok, im going to be as respectful as possible about this.

Cigarettes. Alcohol. Tylenol. Driving! Why are these things legal? They are dangerous. So is masterbating if you 90 years old. How can this be "just as wrong"? By your rationale, people who smoke cigarettes could be thrown in jail and it would be the same thing.

Please, realise that the freedom to kill yourself slowly is just that: the freedom to kill yourself slowly. In jail you don't have freedom.
posted by Keyser Soze at 10:22 PM on May 3, 2003


dogwalker: Okay, that's cool. Maybe I read too much into your comments. I think I see where you're coming from now.

kindall: We're talking about two different types of justice. The other is far more important.
posted by son_of_minya at 10:24 PM on May 3, 2003


And looking back at my first post, I realize that my explanation of what pot does to you is quite encapsulating. I know friends who literally cannot smoke pot or they will become anti-social. Pot is also dangerous too, in the way that smoking anything is.
posted by Keyser Soze at 10:28 PM on May 3, 2003


and looking back at the previous post, duh. :)
posted by Keyser Soze at 10:30 PM on May 3, 2003


It's an injustice to lock up people who break the law now?

It's an injustice to have unjust laws and it's an injustice to enforce them. Was it injustice to fine or jail black people who refused to move to the back of the bus, or insisted on trying to dine at a white-only lunch counter? Yes. More currently, is it an injustice to enforce sodomy laws against consenting adults for sexual acts which occurred in the privacy of their homes? Yes. You cannot pass just any damn law and call its enforcement justice.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:40 PM on May 3, 2003


No, you can't pass just any damn law. But the reason the marijuana law is stupid is not because it's unjust, but because it is expensive, ineffective, and counterproductive (it does more damage to society than it prevents). It doesn't work any more than alcohol prohibition worked. But IMHO, nobody has an inherent right to put mind-altering chemicals into their body. Anything that makes people less rational is inherently bad, and a case can be made that society has a right to protect itself from people who intentionally make themselves stupider, even temporarily. It's just that, as I said, the way they're going about it isn't working.
posted by kindall at 1:22 AM on May 4, 2003


But IMHO, nobody has an inherent right to put mind-altering chemicals into their body.

wow. What about meditation? Or what about natural childbirth - a friend of mine compares the surreal experience caused by her body's hormones during labor (scroll past pics) to tripping... What about dreaming? Surely your dreams aren't all rational and practical. Why is the experience or creation of altered perspectives inherently bad?

I agree that reason is the best way to organize a society, but it is the not the entirety of the human experience: fiction and art and love are not necessitated by reason even if they are perfectly compatible with it. But the strength behind them comes from a non-rational desire to be and to express (not irrational, but still non-rational, not necessitated by reason).

sometimes people may use drugs just to escape or become "stupider", but other times they can be used to awaken a different outlook for a while, which can be a meaningful experience, like getting lost in a painting or listening to a concerto or reading a good book can be. It needn't produce answers to problems in order to still add depth to your character.
posted by mdn at 7:45 AM on May 4, 2003


society has a right to protect itself from people who intentionally make themselves stupider

Wow, that means we could pass a law against watching Fox News. Seriously, if what you're expressing is the conservative position on drugs, then Conservatism doesn't mean what I thought it does. Apparently we have a right to protect ourselves from the hypothetical harm that might indirectly result from others putting things in their own bodies, but not from the real harm caused by those who put things in our bodies (arsenic and metals in the water supply, PCBs in the food chain). One's own drug-taking is not a protected activity -- but poisoning others is.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:53 AM on May 4, 2003


Wow. I'm reading in Kendall's last comment an ethical objection to non-rational consciousness implying a defense of enforced mental uniformity. Amazing. Is there no context in which non-rationality might not be wrong? What does this rejection of non-rationality logically require? What are the implications for beer, for love, for daydreaming?
posted by squirrel at 12:16 PM on May 4, 2003


For religion?
posted by homunculus at 12:39 PM on May 4, 2003


Wow, I'm reading a lot of strong reaction to kindall's post, and a lot of assumptions being made about his opinion on drug use being tied to a wider conservative position. I think what Kindall said is perfectly rational, and if it can be shown that normal pot use doesn't actually reduce one's faculties dangerously (and if judged against the already-legal alcohol, this is almost certainly the case) then it wouldn't fall under the same category as say, heroin.

Since I haven't heard too many cases of people breaking into houses to steal TV to go sell to get more pot (something which the junkies in Vancouver can accomplish in about 15 minutes) it should almost certainly be treated differently from other drugs.

However, society does have a right to protect itself from people harming themselves in a way that would also harm others, the extent to which this is carried out is a matter for debate, obviously, and certainly isn't black and white.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:56 PM on May 4, 2003


Not to mention long term effects (from heavy use) such as impaired memory, cancer, and amotivational syndrome.

Interview transcription from Sunday Morning Edition NPR, Liane Hansen interviews Dr. Mitch Earleywine, author of Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence--

A-motivational syndrome:

Liane Hansen… The subtitle of your book is A New Look at the Scientific Evidence. First of all, what is that new look? Did you look at new studies that have been done new evidence or are you taking a fresh look at older studies?

Dr. Earleywine… I looked at everything all the way from the 1600's up to 2002. And to tell the truth there were a few new things that have come out particularly things that were counter to what we all may have learned in health class in junior high. Things like marijuana's impact on aggression, which seems to be non-existent. The idea that marijuana causes A-motivational Syndrome, which the data also doesn't support.

Liane Hansen… What is A-motivational Syndrome?

Dr. Earleywine… A-motivational Syndrome was this notion that you would somehow smoke cannabis and suddenly not want to do anything for society not want to contribute not want to hold a job and be incapable of setting goals and obtaining them. In both education and in occupational domains the data just don't seem to support this. For example, college students who smoke cannabis get grades that are comparable to college students who do not. Cannabis users seem to earn as much money and pay the same amount of taxes. Those sorts of things all seem to kind of defy the idea of A-motivational Syndrome.

Memory:

Dr. Earleywine… During intoxication, while people are high, essentially there are definitely some deficits in short memory. So it is very difficult to learn new skills or to memorize material during intoxication. Generally though, long term users, even daily users don't show meaningful deficits in memory when they are not intoxicated. So we might find studies that show list learning tasks where people have to learn long lists of words. And cannabis users might do slightly worse than non-users if they are daily users for two years or more. But often the difference is say, half a word on average or one word on a long list.

Lung Cancer:

Dr. Earleywine… The biggest health risk associated with cannabis use right now just all has to do with lung function and although there aren't any documented cases of lung cancer in people who have smoked cannabis and only cannabis not cigarettes. There do seem to be some small changes in the lungs of people who smoke long term say twenty years or more that suggest they might be at risk for developing lung cancer.

Dr. Dean Edell:

Email Question: I was wondering if smoking marijuana could cause lung cancer?

Dr. Dean: Amazingly, no, not as far as we can tell, which is surprising us.

WebMD - Marijuana Unlikely to Cause Head, Neck, or Lung Cancer
posted by y2karl at 4:43 PM on May 4, 2003


Geezus, karl, next you'll be telling people that along with marijuana not being the demon drug, that there is no santa claus, and that the easter bunny doesn't lay coloured eggs.

You shouldn't go destroying people's myths all willy-nilly. It's very traumatizing.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:45 PM on May 4, 2003


Anything that makes people less rational is inherently bad, and a case can be made that society has a right to protect itself from people who intentionally make themselves stupider, even temporarily.

Two assumptions here : 1) that less rational = bad in all cases and 2) that less rational = stupider.

I would argue with both as blanket statements, and opine that being blithely self-assured of their veracity would tend to lead one to live a life less full than is humanly possible, to put it mildly.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:45 PM on May 4, 2003


The most dangerous thing is letting a small amount of people run the planet in whatever way they seem fit.
posted by hellinskira at 1:40 PM on May 5, 2003


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