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October 30, 2007 6:55 PM   Subscribe

On the Legalization — or Not — of Marijuana (via - with Pete's response)
posted by i_am_a_Jedi (72 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting, the first guy against legalizing marijuana has this to say:
Criticism of current marijuana policy typically starts by limiting the calculation of marijuana’s societal costs to the costs of arresting and imprisoning marijuana users...

...Just as many people who speed do not have accidents, many people who smoke marijuana do not have problems as a result of their use, especially those who use the drug for brief periods of time and/or infrequently...Nevertheless, speeding and drunk driving are punishable by law because of the serious consequences of these behaviors.
This implies there are 'consequences' for other people as a result of smoking marijuana. But what are they? He took the time to propound the externalities of speeding and drunk driving, but why not explain his thesis? What are the externalities of marijuana use?
posted by delmoi at 7:07 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Put your waders on folks - it gets pretty deep in there.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 7:08 PM on October 30, 2007


He proposed these externalities:
"the costs of treatment, drugged driving crashes, and lost productivity."

Not that different from alcohol...
posted by u2604ab at 7:12 PM on October 30, 2007


Their arguments for/against are exactly what you'd think they would be when you look at who they are/speak for. The guys who are/were with the government are going to argue against it. The guy from NORML is going to be for it.

Why try to frame this as an alcohol vs marijuana argument, though? If you were given the opportunity to form a legal basis for the use of either drug, they should be considered independently.

I don't want to see legalization happen, not that it would anyways. De-criminalization is the better option. Stop enforcing the laws, putting people in jail for holding personal-use amounts. Legalizing marijuana means commoditizing it, much like alcohol. Which means the government then has to get into the business of regulating its trade.

It is a complex issue, to say the least. One that won't be solved by asking for answers that were obvious already.
posted by ninjew at 7:23 PM on October 30, 2007


the costs of treatment, drugged driving crashes, and lost productivity.

Oh, I guess I didn't notice that in his verbose screed (it was buried in a parenthetical), and also because it was so out of wack with the consiquences for drunk driving and speeding. I mean 'Lost productivity'? Really? Shouldn't it be people's right to chose their level of productivity? I mean, why not ban video games and anything else that wastes people's time?

Look, The reason drunk driving and speeding are illegal are because they kill people. The problem of drugged driving can be eliminated by banning smoking and driving at the same time, not by banning the substance entirely, just as we do with alcohol. Of course, it may very well be that he thinks we ought to ban alcohol as well.

I mean, this guy is essentially saying we ought to throw people in jail because it might cost us some money (in terms of lost productivity, and drug treatment), and that argument is, essentially sick. Why not just throw every lazy person in jail while we're at it?
posted by delmoi at 7:24 PM on October 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


"Enhancement refers to that capacity of the marijuana high to add to the strength, worth, beauty, or other desirable qualities of experiences ranging from food and sex to creativity and appreciation of the natural world...If used properly, it leads to a gentle alteration of consciousness..."

I think the problem with alcoholism is that it doesn't have marketing material like this.
posted by 517 at 7:27 PM on October 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Legalizing marijuana means commoditizing it, much like alcohol. Which means the government then has to get into the business of regulating its trade.

What's wrong with that? The government regulates everything else we buy, and it works pretty well. Decriminalization is for pussies, and furthermore it leads to enormous inconsistencies in just how 'de'criminalized it actually is various jurisdictions.

On the other hand, the government could mandate that marijuana have it's THC content clearly labeled, so you'll know exactly what you're getting. There would be an enormous selection of varsities, you would be able to smoke any type of weed you want, you could buy from a specific grower, and so on.
posted by delmoi at 7:29 PM on October 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


I don't want to see legalization happen, not that it would anyways. De-criminalization is the better option. Stop enforcing the laws, putting people in jail for holding personal-use amounts.

I'm not sure how we could do that without either legalization or selective enforcement. And selective enforcement is generally bad for society, invariably resulting in discrimination.
posted by scottreynen at 7:34 PM on October 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


I still think the absolute worst argument against legalising drugs is that propounded by Hakim Bey in Temporary Autonomous Zone: that if drugs are made legal, they won't be as fun anymore.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:34 PM on October 30, 2007


Can we all just admit that weed is illegal because the folks in charge don't like blacks, Mexicans or college students?

Because that would be a major, breakthrough-level of honesty right there.
posted by Avenger at 7:41 PM on October 30, 2007 [11 favorites]


there are some differences between legalizing marijuana and decriminalizing it that need to be explored. I don't agree that it should be legal and freely available. i also don't agree that every prison in the country should be overflowing with potheads. in my experience, somewhat dated, i must admit, marijuana use was a counter culture drug that bonded like-minded, free spirited people together. these people often had goals and dreams that went beyond rock and roll and getting laid. they were the artists, musicians and thinkers of the day who smoked pot and attacked a repressive culture and ended a war. i believe that pot smoke makes bright and motivated people brighter and more motivated, but it's effect on the general population is to make them even more stupid in thought and action. my vote goes to the allowance of reasonable possession, but an intolerance of distribution. once corporate minds are turned loose on legal marijuana, we're all fucked beyond salvation.
posted by kitchenrat at 7:42 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Many cities have successfully decriminalized it. I was able to very easily buy any variety and quantity I wanted in San Francisco.

Selective enforcement will never disappear. Avenger made that point above, which saves me from saying it. And drug laws are not the only laws selectively enforced anyways. What many will argue, and in fact some in the linked piece did argue, is that marijuana law enforcement is bad for society. Needlessly crowding the justice system and stressing law enforcement resources.
posted by ninjew at 7:45 PM on October 30, 2007


Law enforcement, private prisons and the whole DEA live off marijuana laws. That's a mighty lobby.
The only chance of legalization is if the big tobacco companies are interested in marketing it. I wouldn't bet 10c on it.
posted by bru at 7:46 PM on October 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


What are the externalities of marijuana use?

Prohibitionists have consistently failed to produce believable worst case scenarios. I've always wondered why they felt the need to lie to us about drugs. All they ever had to do was tell us the truth. The really bad drugs? Of all the reasons to avoid them, their illegality is the least compelling. Programs like DARE are worse than useless; they're harmful. Why in the world should children learn about drugs from a cop? Wouldn't a doctor be a better choice?

As for marijuana, I don't see why full legalization, taxation, and commodotization would be a problem. Just treat it the same way that we treat alcohol - as something that must be strictly regulated, that minors aren't allowed to have, and that has a socially sanctioned time and place.

Look, I've been to Amsterdam. Twice. And you know what they have there? A bunch of mellow loungy-type places where people get ripped and sit around and shoot the shit. Nothing scary. In fact, the Netherlands boasts one of the world's lowest rates of substance abuse - certainly lower than ours in the US.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:02 PM on October 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


The pro and con arguments have been made so many times I think there isn't really a lack of information, or understanding what the other side is saying, it is a matter of personal belief and that will only change over time or through personal experience.
posted by edgeways at 8:18 PM on October 30, 2007


I think the problem with alcoholism is that it doesn't have marketing material like this.

You must not watch TV or read magazines. Because alcohol looks to me like it would make me popular, sophisticated, and a hit with the ladies.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:18 PM on October 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Weed is illegal because it's so easy to grow. If anyone were allowed to grow and smoke marijuana, the market for booze, wine, beer, and cigarettes would shrink, because a large percentage of people would rather get high for free than pay for a hangover. Can't have those economic ripples so there is a whole false rationale for keeping it illegal.
posted by autodidact at 8:32 PM on October 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Weed is illegal because it's so easy to grow. If anyone were allowed to grow and smoke marijuana, the market for booze, wine, beer, and cigarettes would shrink, because a large percentage of people would rather get high for free than pay for a hangover. Can't have those economic ripples so there is a whole false rationale for keeping it illegal.

Anyone can make their own booze as it is.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:53 PM on October 30, 2007


Simply put, marijuana is a substance that intoxicates those who use it, injuring their health and the well-being of those around them.

Won't someone please think of the roomates!
posted by acro at 9:04 PM on October 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


I like to mull over the hypothetical question, "if you were building a society from the ground up, and were going to ban only one of alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana, which would it be?" I don't see the argument for choosing marijuana.

If a Congressman came out tomorrow and introduced legislation to legalize marijuana-- or even to set up a panel, consisting of the people in the linked article, studying legalization-- I think he'd get slammed. Sure, 60 percent or so of people would be ok with it. But social conservatives would flip out. They're holding us all hostage.

It's pretty astonishing how, well, substance-free the arguments for prohibition are. No one wants to compare it to alcohol, which is the ostensible purpose of the discussion.
posted by ibmcginty at 9:09 PM on October 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


If anyone were allowed to grow and smoke marijuana,

Who do you know who grows their own tobacco?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:13 PM on October 30, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "Anyone can make their own booze as it is."

Not in Hazzard County!
posted by krinklyfig at 9:19 PM on October 30, 2007


lupus_yonderboy writes "Who do you know who grows their own tobacco?"

They would if it were $500 an ounce.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:20 PM on October 30, 2007


For what it's worth (another Important Internet Opinion ahoy!), and even though I've had friends whose lives have been effectively destroyed by cocaine, I am in favour of total legalization accompanied by heavy taxation and regulated sales of not only marijuana, but any other recreational drug you care to name.

And I don't even like weed.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:30 PM on October 30, 2007


ninjew writes "Legalizing marijuana means commoditizing it, much like alcohol. Which means the government then has to get into the business of regulating its trade. "

Sounds good to me, when it breaks down we get melamine in our (cat) food.

Pope Guilty writes "Anyone can make their own booze as it is."

Pot is a lot easier to grow than brewing beer or making wine.

lupus_yonderboy writes "Who do you know who grows their own tobacco?"

Tobacco is fairly hard to grow (well at least in Canada, maybe there are places in the states where it is easy to grow) while still getting a decent product and also is consumed in greater quantities. Pot grows like a, well, weed.
posted by Mitheral at 9:30 PM on October 30, 2007


Many cities have successfully decriminalized it. I was able to very easily buy any variety and quantity I wanted in San Francisco.

Well I'm pretty sure I could buy "any quantity" I wanted right here, that's not the point. The point was that government regulation is mostly a good thing in most cases. It keeps people from getting sick and injured from faulty products, and consumers know exactly what they're getting. You can work up a trust relationship with your marijuana dealer and get a lot of that now, I'm sure.

But that doesn't change the point that simply decriminalizing it and not making it legal makes no sense in any way other then pure political expedience, and it will lead to all sorts of problems due to inconsistencies. Someone could do something that's 'decriminalized' in one city, and then get charged with a felony in another city, without even being aware of the risk. It's just a terrible idea on the local level.

If it's not criminal, it should be legal. There is no reason to have unenforced laws on the books, its actually a fairly big problem.
posted by delmoi at 9:50 PM on October 30, 2007


I still think the absolute worst argument against legalising drugs is that propounded by Hakim Bey in Temporary Autonomous Zone: that if drugs are made legal, they won't be as fun anymore.

Hell, I could totally see that used as a pro-legalisation argument. Half the fun of illegal actions is the rush you get from them being illegal, so if you make marijuana legal, it stands to reason that less people will want to break the law and smoke the big bad weed.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:15 PM on October 30, 2007


I am way too stoned to read all that. It would take me three hours.

This is a conspiracy.
posted by Camofrog at 10:39 PM on October 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Today in the U.S., the criminal penalties for marijuana use are mild, far more so than for speeding and drunk driving, and are usually limited to the payment of a small fine. The few people now in prison solely for marijuana use have almost all been charged with more serious offenses, and then pleaded guilty to this lesser offense.

Well, it seems Dr. Robert L. DuPont is a moron who doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about.
posted by zardoz at 10:50 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Today in the U.S., the criminal penalties for marijuana use are mild, far more so than for speeding and drunk driving, and are usually limited to the payment of a small fine. The few people now in prison solely for marijuana use have almost all been charged with more serious offenses, and then pleaded guilty to this lesser offense.

To expand upon zardoz's point, during my $5,000 30-days-in-jail, 26-weeks-of-brainwashing MISDEMEANOR marijuana arrest experience (which involved exciting drama like a SWAT team holding guns to my wife's and stepson's heads), I met several people who were going to prison for stupidly long terms for what amounted to a string of marijuana possession charges.

Of course, they were probably lying baby rapists, cuz I met them in jail.

As a side note, I'd like to congratulate Lt. Byrd for his lateral move from narcotics to jail services, which I suppose is desk duty. Hope that's working out well for you, you overzealous nitwit.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:27 PM on October 30, 2007 [9 favorites]


Every now and then people on the internet need to read things that everyone's already heard so that they can agree with it again, emphatically.
posted by klangklangston at 11:49 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree emphatically, klang.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:10 AM on October 31, 2007


Every now and then people on the internet need to read things that everyone's already heard so that they can agree with it again, emphatically.

Yes, but what's really valuable are those perspicacious internet commentators who are able to rise above the fray and point out the failings of disputants on both sides of an argument that everyone's already heard (and, of course, those who praise them).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:24 AM on October 31, 2007


*feels included in an exclusionary sort of way*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:28 AM on October 31, 2007


I look forward to enjoying a decriminalized joint... assuming I live till 85.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:29 AM on October 31, 2007


I look forward to enjoying a decriminalized joint... assuming I live till 85.

Why? Is there an age limit on plane tickets to Amsterdam these days?
posted by DreamerFi at 2:12 AM on October 31, 2007


Here's a slightly more detailed financial analysis of the costs of marijuana usage using the Government's own numbers.

For comparison, this article estimates that the economic costs of alcohol consumption are roughly similar to those for all illegal drugs combined, as reported in the first link.

Not that any of this matters, of course. As noted elsewhere, the opposition to marijuana is clearly moralistic in nature and not amenable to reasoned debate. For example, the continuing opposition to even the study of medical uses of marijuana is not a rational position.
posted by Jakey at 4:57 AM on October 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


Jakey has it; you can argue that cannabis makes Jesus weep, but you can't argue that it's worse than drugs which are legal and cause millions more car accidents/deaths/injuries.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:14 AM on October 31, 2007


I was wondering about the driving-safety aspect of this argument the other day...a co-worker who's very pro-marijuana told me, "Now, think of the bar fights you've seen. Can you even imagine two guys getting high and wanting to go to Fist City?" I ignorantly responded, "That's a great point, but what about DUI [driving under the influence] on grass? How safe is it to drive after a joint?"

He averred that he was a better driver high than not -- more relaxed, more focused, better able to concentrate on his driving and ignore distractions. I wonder, though. Does smoking grass slow down your reflexes the way alcohol does?
posted by pax digita at 5:39 AM on October 31, 2007


He averred that he was a better driver high than not

The Raymond Babbit Driving Competence and Risk Self-Assessment test. What could be wrong with that.
posted by Grangousier at 5:43 AM on October 31, 2007


Is it just me, or does every anti-marijuana argument in that article (and well, pretty much anywhere) seem to sound like "It can't be legal, I mean, come on, it's WEED! Drugs are bad right!?"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:53 AM on October 31, 2007


Or to put it less snarkily, someone once told me that they were driving home stoned in the early morning one day - about 5 a.m. - and, after sitting in a queue of traffic for what seemed like an interminably long time, wondered why the traffic was so bad at that time in the morning and realised that they were sitting behind a row of parked cars.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the grand situation, someone under the influence of psychoactive drugs isn't really in a position to judge their own competence any more than one would like them to judge the competence of other people.
posted by Grangousier at 5:56 AM on October 31, 2007


pax digita, your co-worker is an idiot if he thinks he's a better driver when he's stoned; there are a lot of drunk drivers who justify getting behind the wheel of a car after they've had a few by telling themselves the same thing.

Personally, if I had to race my wife to the hospital or something (this is a thought experiment) after a) drinking a six-pack or b) smoking a good-sized joint, I'd opt for the beer. Weed gives me the stupids something fierce.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:07 AM on October 31, 2007


The Card Cheat writes "Personally, if I had to race my wife to the hospital or something (this is a thought experiment) after a) drinking a six-pack or b) smoking a good-sized joint, I'd opt for the beer. Weed gives me the stupids something fierce."

Yeah, but that's you. The actual research shows that it's not as bad as alcohol. Even so, if you know marijuana has a severe effect on you, then you shouldn't drive. It does affect people differently.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:21 AM on October 31, 2007


Today in the U.S., the criminal penalties for marijuana use are mild, far more so than for speeding and drunk driving, and are usually limited to the payment of a small fine. The few people now in prison solely for marijuana use have almost all been charged with more serious offenses, and then pleaded guilty to this lesser offense.

Tell it to the 750,000 people arrested last year for pot. Three Quarters of a MILLION people. How absurd is that?

The drug laws are randomly enforced, and the penalties paid are significantly higher for the lower economic classes and minorities. And the seizure laws, which allow police departments to confiscate houses, cars, art collections and everything else a pot smoker might own provide a financial benefit that cops are not going to give up lightly. In fact, you might say that they're addicted to the budget increases from stealing from drug users.

You know, the drug debate is a lot like the abortion debate. Everyone has already picked a side, and nobody from either side is likely to convince someone from the other side. Which is not to suggest that the topic should be shelved, but it does suggest that presenting the prohibitionists with logic and facts and data is a pointless endeavor.

All we can do is wait for the dinosaurs to die.
posted by Peecabu at 7:39 AM on October 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


All we can do is wait for the dinosaurs to die.

Yeah dude, and the old people and the fascists.

Wait, what?
posted by chlorus at 7:59 AM on October 31, 2007


"Yes, but what's really valuable are those perspicacious internet commentators who are able to rise above the fray and point out the failings of disputants on both sides of an argument that everyone's already heard (and, of course, those who praise them)."

Correct; they're both wise and handsome.
posted by klangklangston at 8:18 AM on October 31, 2007


I think I'm confused.

Marijuana is illegal?
posted by loquacious at 8:28 AM on October 31, 2007


Schwarzenegger Says Marijuana Not a Drug. "But his spokesman said the governor was toking joking."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:49 AM on October 31, 2007


Way upthread: "The only chance of legalization is if the big tobacco companies are interested in marketing it. I wouldn't bet 10c on it. "

I would. I'd bet my house that in my lifetime Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds (I don't even know what iteration they exist in now, still Nabisco?) will have jumped into this market with both feet. Tobacco is dying, the only growth for cigs is overseas, all people are aware or tobacco risks, and their customer base has this weird way of dying prematurely. They are PERFECTLY positioned to capitalize on the huge market for marijuana. They have the lobbyists, distribution channels, hell even the production facilities for rolling joints. We'll break down the federal government state-by-state, then around 2020 we'll elect a president that didn't "experiment" with weed, they full on smoked the shit seven days a week for an eight year run during college and grad school. And that...will be that.
posted by vito90 at 8:55 AM on October 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


I heard from some guy that Marlboro already has marketing plans drawn up for a marijuana cigarette, called Marlboro Blues. I guess green is already taken as a motif for menthols...
posted by chlorus at 9:07 AM on October 31, 2007


I don't think the marijuana debate is nearly as irreconcilable as the abortion debate. For the abortion debate there is real moral ambiguity and the moral stakes are high. I get why people are against abortion. I can see how you could think it was a serious crime. I understand where they are coming from.

The people who think people should our drug policy with regard to marijuana are definately wrong about things. They don't know what they are talking about. There is no way that they are right. No way. They have been lied to and believe the lies. I don't blame them too much, the lies come from sources that ought to be credible. Marijuana is a drug that carries a modest risk. It makes you a bit less able to make good decisions in many cases. Fine. That's as bad as it is. It is also a lot of fun, it makes many people's lives better in real ways, it can make sick people feel better. There are no pleasures in life that are free of consequences, not swimming, not eating cake, not sleeping late.

The people who are against in really don't understand it. They think it is something that responsible people don't do. That it is incompatible with being a decent human being. That it takes smart people and makes them stupid and takes the industrious and makes them lazy. They think these things because they were lied to. Because they confuse necessary discretion with shame. And because the artificial legal consequences make not smoking actually more responsible not breaking the law is more responsible.

I don't know what can be done about it. I don't think it is hopeless, but I wouldn't say I am hopeful. I wish everyone that smoked could just tell their sober parents, friends, and family that they smoked and that it wasn't a big deal. It wasn't all that bad. It isn't a big deal. Maybe that would be a good thing to do.
posted by I Foody at 9:10 AM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


The anti-weed guys would change their opinion on a dime if they and their wives took a bong hit before having sex. Oh Goodness.

But I'm not sure which they would object to more, weed or sex.
posted by MrPants5000 at 9:50 AM on October 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


I Foody: a large part of the prohibitionist crowd is taught, and/or believes, that drugs "open the door to Satan".

You can’t reason a person out of a position they didn’t reason their way into.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:56 AM on October 31, 2007


a large part of the prohibitionist crowd is taught, and/or believes, that drugs 'open the door to Satan'.

I think pot opens the door to Santa. That's why he likes cookies so much.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:23 AM on October 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


Tell it to the 750,000 people arrested last year for pot. Three Quarters of a MILLION people. How absurd is that?

We don't know how many people are arrested for pot. Those numbers in circulation come from the annual FBI survey of police departments around the US. The agencies which choose to volunteer, send in ASR forms, which don't distinguish between arrests & citations. Apparently some agencies combine the two and report that total as 'arrests'. That point was emphatically made by a Nevada police officer during last year's mid-term election.
posted by daksya at 10:53 AM on October 31, 2007


From the link, Richard Miller says: But opponents of reform are no more interested in the mainline scientific consensus than are persons who oppose taking protective steps to reduce risk of climate change. There is no debate, merely theater. Discussing drug policy is like discussing gun control or abortion: facts are irrelevant.

and a comment: Sadly, it appears that Richard Miller has hit the nail on the head.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:21 AM on October 31, 2007


This is just one more example of the prime maxim of pander politics. If you have social conservatives on your side, you don't need fact or reason.

It works the same anywhere. In Canada, the Conservative government is pushing for mandatory minimums modeled directly after the same laws that have been so disastrous in the US. They don't need reasons, all they need is HURF DURF TOUGH ON CRIME and the frightened idiots clap their hands.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:13 PM on October 31, 2007


Something else to blow your mind:

We have DEA agents in 85 countries around the world (also Tandy is riding off into the sunset on Motorola's horse - presumably to continue linking 9/11 to drugs at their traveling horse-and-pony show).
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 1:05 PM on October 31, 2007


The real reason we have drug laws is that many people want other people to suffer. Not people that they know or whatever, but in general, groups of people they don't like, they want to see them suffer, they want to hurt them. That's why our drug laws are the way they are, because of malice.
posted by delmoi at 2:38 PM on October 31, 2007


I'm all for decriminalization, but some of those mexicans deserve a little jail time for that shitty weed they smuggle in. Just sayin.
posted by vronsky at 3:57 PM on October 31, 2007


He averred that he was a better driver high than not -- more relaxed, more focused, better able to concentrate on his driving and ignore distractions.

Christ on a stick, I hate it when people make that lame excuse.

Driving well is a CHOICE. There is not one goddamn reason why a person who drives well while stoned should not be fully capable of driving much better when straight.

Pot smokers react slower. There is no. fucking. way. that one can drive safer while stoned than while unimpaired. The only people who are safer when stoned are people who choose to be bad drivers.

Laziness, anger, competition: these are behaviours that kill. Too lazy to learn to be a better driver, too angry to drive sensibly, too testosterone-addicted to drive safely.

People that give in to those behaviours need to grow the fuck up: the automobile is not a fucking nursery and you do not have the right to behave as a child while driving.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:12 PM on October 31, 2007


krinklyfig: the actual research shows reaction times are slowed with marijuana intoxication. It is impossible for stoned drivers to be better drivers at a physical level.

There are fewer accidents involving marijuana, sure. There are also fewer accidents involving goat-fucking, but that's hardly proof that goat-fucking makes you a better driver.

Any improvement to driver ability is due solely to attitudinal changes. While they may have better driving behaviour, they have depressed reaction times and a poorer ability to process the information they see and hear. So long as things are cool, they're better drivers... but the moment an emergency/accident situation arises they're a greater danger.

It is preferable that they remain straight and simply get their behaviours under control. That way they (a) won't be the cause of emergency/accident situations and (b) will be able to cope with those situations when they do arise.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:28 PM on October 31, 2007


The anti-weed guys would change their opinion on a dime if they and their wives took a bong hit before having sex. Oh Goodness.

That really can not be over-stated. If you have not smoked a joint with your lover before doing the nasty, you have truly missed out. It can be a transcendental experience.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:32 PM on October 31, 2007


five fresh fish, I don't believe krinklyflig is advocating driving while under the influence of anything. What krinklyflig is doing is countering an argument based on opinion with actual facts. That does none mean he advocates driving while stoned, he's just saying that stoned drivers drive better than drunk ones.
posted by Eekacat at 8:16 PM on October 31, 2007


My bad. I misread.

Fortunately, the original discussion was about how to best race to the hospital. This is clearly a hypothetical, as a stoner isn't going to get off the couch, much less find his car keys. At best he'll call an ambulance.

Should he prove so useful as to get to the car without forgetting to bring his injured wife, and without injuring her further, he shall then be faced with racing to the hospital. Which is where and holy shit itslikeweremovingsofastomg and where is the hospital? damn, made a wrong turn why's this lane taking so long off the light? shit, it's a parking spot, dumbass, get driving, man, it's an emergency, man, it's your wife! hey, 7-11, doritos!! Honey, you wanna hotdog? Honey? [shakes Honey] Oh, shit!

Better to just stay on the couch, man. It's a dangerous world out there.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:02 PM on October 31, 2007


Picture this: you walk up to a green plant, growing in a forest.

You pick part of this plant and put it in your pocket.

You are now a criminal.
posted by tehloki at 6:23 AM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Pot smokers react slower. There is no. fucking. way. that one can drive safer while stoned than while unimpaired. The only people who are safer when stoned are people who choose to be bad drivers.

fivefreshfish--I don't think you'll find many people who'll argue stoned people drive better than sober people, but a case can be made for some stoned folks driving as good as a sober person. It's silly to generalize this kind of thing either pro- or con-...pot affects people differently, and some people--I've witnessed it firsthand--do drive perfectly fine while stoned.

As an aside, people who have never or rarely been high on weed somehow think being drunk is essentially the same. Being really drunk is a lot more debilitating than being really stoned, at least in regards to driving.
posted by zardoz at 11:45 PM on November 4, 2007


I think that an unremarked difference between driving high and driving drunk is the way that adrenalin affects your buzz: a spike of adrenalin kills a pot buzz, and intensifies drunkenness. At least that's been my experience.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:12 AM on November 5, 2007


The difference between driving drunk and driving high is about 30mph.
posted by tehloki at 8:52 AM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Stoned drivers have slow reflexes and minimal situational awareness. This can only worsen their driving ability. But stoners are also slightly paranoid and notoriously unhurried. To some degree, these effects cancel out.

I imagine these mitigating factors are more influential when only fatal crashes are considered. Driving 15 under the limit does wonders for survivability.
posted by ryanrs at 5:32 AM on November 7, 2007


I agree; Stoned drivers are certainly impaired, but it would be a bit of a stretch to call them dangerous, per se.
posted by tehloki at 5:34 AM on November 8, 2007


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