No surprises here
January 7, 2009 6:34 PM   Subscribe

Salon has an article up which is a pretty solid summary of why marijuana is illegal.
posted by Pope Guilty (116 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
technically it's not salon, it's some guy's blog. salon is hosting blogs now (so hungry are they for pageviews).
posted by moxiedoll at 6:42 PM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was going to sarcastically type "because people are Afraid of Mexicans," but as it turns out that's a big part of their answer.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:45 PM on January 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm concerned about the attempt to claim that there's no way to overdose on cannabis. Of course there is. The lethal dose of cannabis is a 10kg brick, dropped from a height of 10 meters onto the user's head.
posted by mullingitover at 6:47 PM on January 7, 2009 [40 favorites]


I was just reading Michael Pollen's Botany of Desire because it was praised on the blue a few days ago. It has a whole chapter on Cannabis that was interesting and had a few tidbts I hadn't known. Maybe I am too informed about the legal status of marijuana in the US but this blog post didn't have anything new to say about the history of marijuana's legal status and actually seemed to be missing a few nuances. Why doe he end it with a personal anecdote from the seventies when incarceration rates and assest seizures increased in the nineties? And didn't the laws and mandatory sentencing get tighter too? What made you think this was such a great blog post? (Not snarking, just wondering if I missed something)
posted by saucysault at 6:49 PM on January 7, 2009


You know what Marijuana really is? Its a dipshit check. How do you re-direct the scofflaws of society before they cause some real trouble? Tell them they can't do something. Then, they have to do it. Even if its stupid like smoking some lame weed that does practically nothing. There are thousands of other drugs out there but these guys just have to focus on this one that they are told they can't have. Because they are dipshits.
posted by Osmanthus at 6:51 PM on January 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


As soon as tobacco finally gets banned in all fifty states, marijuana will be legal the same year. It's the future for tobacco farmers and tobacco companies. It's such an obvious and perfect evolution for the part of our country that is dependent on tobacco for their livelihood. I've said it before and I'll say it again, we'll start legalizing it state-by-state within the next decade. Thanks for this article, I'm halfway through and it's exhaustive.
posted by vito90 at 6:51 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church was not pleased and ruled against use of the drug. Since the state of Utah automatically enshrined church doctrine into law, the first state marijuana prohibition was established in 1915.

First the Mormons outlaw gay marriage in California and now I find out they are the origin of outlawing weed in the U.S.? Strike two Mormons. Strike two.
posted by ND¢ at 6:52 PM on January 7, 2009 [59 favorites]


sometimes, I really wish there was an anti-favorite option for comments.
posted by Auden at 6:53 PM on January 7, 2009 [27 favorites]


You know what Marijuana really is? Its a dipshit check.

I don't agree with this.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:54 PM on January 7, 2009 [34 favorites]


Cotton industry vs. tobacco industry vs. gov't drug war industry...

hemp would probably fix a few issues we have with global warming...
posted by Chuffy at 6:54 PM on January 7, 2009


So someone's paraphrased 'The Emperor Wears No Clothes' in blog form now?
posted by pompomtom at 6:57 PM on January 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


You know what Marijuana really is? Its a dipshit check.


Yeah, and your favourite drug sucks.
posted by pompomtom at 6:59 PM on January 7, 2009 [15 favorites]


God damn liberals and hippies in Massachusetts!

Police balk at ticketing marijuana offenders
"Massachusetts officially decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana yesterday, but many police departments across the state were essentially ignoring the voter-passed law, saying they would not even bother to ticket people they see smoking marijuana.

...The ballot question passed in November with 65 percent of the vote. Backers said they were frustrated that possession of small amounts of marijuana in Massachusetts was a criminal offense, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500. Those convicted of possession could also receive a criminal record that could taint their job prospects for years, the backers said. Under the ballot measure that took effect yesterday, possession of an ounce or less is a civil violation, punishable by a $100 fine, with no risk of a criminal record."
posted by ericb at 7:01 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's an op-ed by Sanjay Gupta from a few years ago, "Why I Would Vote No on Pot". If Obama is truly serious about picking this guy for Surgeon General, he can expect some backlash. At least from the smokers (which is a not insignificant number).

For a pretty good documentary about all of this, there's also "Weed".
posted by zardoz at 7:01 PM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I also read recently that the term "Marijuana" is in itself racist...used to be called hemp, but marijuana sounds more Mexican...
posted by Chuffy at 7:01 PM on January 7, 2009


Osmanthus - you're comment was a dipshit check. There are many fully-functioning successful weed smokers out there that would disagree with you.

Even if its stupid like smoking some lame weed that does practically nothing.

Back this up dude....otherwise tis you you is the dipshit
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 7:05 PM on January 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


If Obama is truly serious about picking this guy for Surgeon General, he can expect some backlash.

The only way these guys are going to legalize marijuana (or stop bombing people, or give us a real healthcare system... ad infinitum) is if people threaten not to vote for them if they don't, and carry through with it.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:06 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


sometimes, I really wish there was an anti-favorite option for comments.

There is. You ignore the troll until it starves to death. The opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference.
posted by JimmyJames at 7:07 PM on January 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


tis you you? Oh man. i wish I could claim I was stoned when I wrote that.....
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 7:07 PM on January 7, 2009


That's ok, Azza. Let's all give him the mock-Elizabethan business.


You know what Marijuana really is?

Prithee, sirrah, from what demesne of foolishness dost thou hail?
posted by fleetmouse at 7:11 PM on January 7, 2009 [12 favorites]


That's the story, huh? Bummer.

But, like, it doesn't even matter what you say. They still ain't legalizing it, man.

It's all about Control... you know?

Are there any Cheetos left?
posted by Joe Beese at 7:12 PM on January 7, 2009


Hey, its not like I'm advocating what I'm describing. The drug laws are a power trip pure and simple. The lawmen are like hunters going for turkey. You don't run out into the weeds and chase them around like an idiot, you put out some bait and wait for them to come to you. This is how they think. Marijuana is loser bait.

It has nothing whatsoever to do the chemical properties of the drug, or its effects in any way whatsoever.

It is simply a way of discovering which people are easily willing to rebel against the established authority and break the law.
posted by Osmanthus at 7:17 PM on January 7, 2009


many police departments across the state were essentially ignoring the voter-passed law

Meanwhile, at the University of Maine, cops will come hauling down bike trails or go poking through the woods, going out of their way to look for suspected pot smokers.

Fuckers were so disappointed when my Altoids tin had Altoids in it.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:18 PM on January 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Since the state of Utah automatically enshrined church doctrine into law

Which is why tea and coffee also gradually became unavailable in Utah as the church became more stern with respect to its dietary codes, and why Utah was one of the few holdout states on the repeal of prohibition.
posted by weston at 7:18 PM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


If Obama is truly serious about picking this guy for Surgeon General, he can expect some backlash.

I'm going to take your argument as proof that it really is a gateway drug -- you are smoking crack.
posted by humanfont at 7:21 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, at the University of Maine, cops will come hauling down bike trails or go poking through the woods, going out of their way to look for suspected pot smokers.

Fuckers were so disappointed when my Altoids tin had Altoids in it.


"Curiously strong, isn't it, Officer?"
posted by Joe Beese at 7:21 PM on January 7, 2009 [12 favorites]


Wow, Sanjay Gupta is a moron. His argument is "OMG people just want to get STONED! IT'S BAD! AND umm errr, YOU COULD GET ADDICTED!!!!!

So tell me, is he a closet neoprohibitionist too?

What a fucking self-righteous asshole. No wonder he hangs out with Anderson Cooper.
posted by Eekacat at 7:22 PM on January 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Somebody open a window in here.
posted by ColdChef at 7:22 PM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not gonna hate on osmanthus for his comment, because I understand what he was getting at. He just meant that it's an easy "rebellion" for a lot of people who have trouble with authority, the same people who are likely to end being professional license plate makers. Weed is the next step up for troubled kids who started smoking at age 12 and want everyone to know that no one can tell them what to do! You ain't their daddy!

But he forgot to temper his statement and acknowledge the millions of people who smoke and lead productive lives, and who you know, aren't dipshits.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 7:24 PM on January 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


It is simply a way of discovering which people are easily willing to rebel against the established authority and break the law.

What have you been smoking? You sound like a pothead. Like the G-man could give a fuck who is easily willing to rebel against them and break the law. Do you think they keep big lists or something?

[nightvision scope scene]

"Oho! I see John Q. Stoner is sparking a blunt. GET THE BIG BOOK."

[scritch scratch scritch pen noises]

"John Q. Stoner, 17."

[licks nib]

Has long hair. Is easily willing to rebel against us. And break the law"

[black helicopter takey-off noises]
posted by bonaldi at 7:24 PM on January 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


It has nothing whatsoever to do the chemical properties of the drug, or its effects in any way whatsoever.

Wow, you're just beyond wrong. Care to elaborate on your...theory?

It is simply a way of discovering which people are easily willing to rebel against the established authority and break the law.


I get it. So back in the 20s and 30s, marijuana was just randomly chosen--because only "dipshits" liked it--to be the "bait" so that law enforcement would have something to do and make a list (?) of people who would break the law. Makes perfect sense. In bizzarro world!
posted by zardoz at 7:26 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


[black helicoptery take-off noises]
as opposed to
[black helicopter takey-off noises]

Because who knows if it really IS a helicopter these days.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 7:27 PM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I do agree that marijuana can have deleterious effects on a person; I've seen otherwise bright individuals fuck up their lives not because they were addicted or criminals or whatever, but simply because they really enjoyed partaking of a substance which, while you're under the influence, completely destroys your motivation to get up and do something. But that, to me, is not an argument against marijuana; it is an argument against being someone who stays home and smokes pot instead of getting out there and doing things.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:28 PM on January 7, 2009 [16 favorites]


"Eventually the right to determine our own food and drug preferences will be seen as a natural consequence of human dignity, as long as it is done in a way that does not limit the rights of others." -- Terence McKenna
posted by netbros at 7:30 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Osmanthus is right, but not quite for the reasons he thinks he is.

If you want control people (e.g., black people inconveniently freed from slavery, or poor people who might unionize, or...), you need a way to get the law after them. But in a completely discretionary way: as long as they don't buck your control, you look the other way as they take their Soma (or opium, or alcohol, or video games, or porn), whatever drug self-medicates them sufficiently to return to the fields or the mines or the factories day after day. (Or in 'Nam, back to patrols.)

But if they begin to get "uppity" and assert their rights, you can bust them, turning their habits (or addictions) into jail time.

It's a form of social control and a way to enslave them, as we saw in this FPP.

Of course, it doesn't apply to the rich or connected: Bill Buckley smoked up on his yacht, ostensibly beyond the Three Mile Limit; other rich people have boasted of obtaining marijuana for their relatives with glaucoma or cancer. Indeed, as long as you're white and middle class, you can probably get away with tokin' up -- the full force of the law is generally reserved for blacks, Hispanics, troublemakers, radicals, and whomever the local Sheriff dislikes.

I mean, note that most public employees and contractors must submit to drug tests as a condition of employment (which is to say, as a condition of being able to eat regularly) -- but no elected official must.
posted by orthogonality at 7:32 PM on January 7, 2009 [21 favorites]


Osmanthus writes "You know what Marijuana really is? Its a dipshit check."

No, you're thinking of Jack Daniel's.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:35 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, Sanjay Gupta is a moron. His argument is "OMG people just want to get STONED! IT'S BAD! AND umm errr, YOU COULD GET ADDICTED!!!!!

That's not the argument he made at all. His argument is that there are a number of possible health risks associated with smoking pot.
posted by des at 7:46 PM on January 7, 2009


It is simply a way of discovering which people are easily willing to rebel against the established authority and break the law.

What the... what..

.. What the fuck are you talking about?
posted by odinsdream at 7:50 PM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't smoke marijuana, and I never have. (I didn't, because the guys I knew in college who did, well one spent an entire semester listening to The Dead, and covering a stolen garden-supply-store two foot-tall ceramic mushroom with meticulously applied tiny slices of clay. I don't now because I just don't see the point.)

But I'm fully for legalization. The problem is, all those people who unlike me, maaaan, did get stoned and shit, maaaaan and were for legalization when they were doing it, they're are against it now that they're parents and home owners and instead of going to the "bad" (read: black) section of town to score a dime bag have white-flighted to the suburbs and want an excuse the cops can use to keep the riff-raff (read: poor blacks) out of their neighborhoods.

Seriously, I (a never user) would vote for a candidate who ran on a legalization platform. But most ex-users wouldn't. Maybe the current generation is different, but Puritanism runs deep in Americans, and all the more once they become parents and home owners. I don't think the decriminalization in Massachusetts will spread; I'm not even sure it'll not be overturned.
posted by orthogonality at 7:57 PM on January 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


If Obama is truly serious about picking this guy for Surgeon General, he can expect some backlash.

I guess you didn't follow that sad little scene on Reddit where the minions conspired to vote up "will you legalize marijuana for life liberty and the pursuit of happiness" (or something along those lines, hey, I pressed the button for it) on the change.gov's website poll of questions for the Man. To their credit they didn't try to bury it, but the response was one sentence, basically "Mr. Obama does not support the legalization of Marijuana."

I thought this brief editorial summed up the situation pretty succinctly.

And I can't front: I am very much for ending the drug war in general and completely legalizing marijuana (pretty much along the lines of alcohol, i.e. commercially sellable with pretty stringent production and sales requirements, legal to self-produce for personal use in limited quantities). I am pretty convinced the net negative effect would be negligible (in decriminalization states all the decent research says that usage stays pretty much flat, though it's hard to guess at the real use-level ramifications of legalization), a lot of useless, costly and harmful incarceration would be eliminated, a LOT of money would be taken out of criminals' pockets, and the taxes and savings on all that money the cops of various stripes currently flush down the damn toilet not preventing anyone who is moderately motivated to smoke weed from smoking weed every year could be applied to useful things, such as harm reduction, treatment, and working on ways of keeping kids from getting access to age-restricted legal things, including the one that actually kills them on a regular basis, alcohol, and the one that routinely initiates them to a lifelong habit that ultimately kills them, tobacco.

But. I won't single-issue vote on this. It isn't a cure-all for anything, and it's too unpopular. An anti-legalization surgeon general a liability? Wow, and weed-smokers are the ones who are supposed to have bad memories. Single issue weed voters rarely make an impact on an election (they probably had something to do with Jesse Ventura being elected in MN, for all the good that did them, and that was a weird 3-way race with a lot of other goofball factors) and they have their lunatic fringe hopeless candidates to back. Obama has nothing to gain and enough to lose backing weed. The best case scenario I could hope for would be his doing something to push the drug war more towards harm reduction over interdiction and incarceration, which would be a more important transition, anyway.

For now, weak "it's not harmless" arguments like the Gupta one linked above are enough to keep enough basically ignorant and apathetic people figuring it's "for the best" to keep weed illegal, on top of the rabid morality police contingent. With a huge cop bureaucracy, the prison lobby, and the legal drug complex opposed to it it's easy to imagine new reams of bullshit being minted to keep that balance against it (the way they are shamelessly pushing that insanely idiotic "OMG Psychotic Super Weed" line in the U.K., what is with that, have you heard of the devilish Firewater, it's FOUR TIMES as powerful as strong beer!). Then again, I wouldn't be astonished if a generational shift occurred in my lifetime and a century's experiment in stubbornly ignoring the lessons of history was quietly abandoned in my lifetime.
posted by nanojath at 8:06 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


orthogonality writes "Seriously, I (a never user) would vote for a candidate who ran on a legalization platform. But most ex-users wouldn't. Maybe the current generation is different, but Puritanism runs deep in Americans, and all the more once they become parents and home owners."

It's a sort of suburban tribalism. I can't stand it. Which is why I'm out in the sticks. One silver lining to a devastating economic crash is that people are less inclined to focus on moral trivialities like keeping those people over there from smoking that plant and relaxing a bit. The 21st Amendment passed in 1933.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:07 PM on January 7, 2009


I gotta laugh at all the potheads on this thread who don't get the "dipshit check" comment. Orthogonality is right, although I don't agree with his outrage. It's not about the goodness or badness of pot. It's about social control. Like urban speed limits. Nobody goes the 25 mile per hour speed limit in town. But just having it there, and knowing that just about everybody ignores it, gives the police a reason to pull over just about anybody they want. Same with pot. The police can be pretty sure that bad guys from the smallest fry to Mr. Big smoke pot, and the illegality of pot means that they'll always have some charge to pick someone up one, or threaten him or her with. Pot may have originally been made illegal for all the racist, careerist, etc., reasons outlined in the link. But over the years, the illegality of pot itself has evolved into a law enforcement tool, and as such, is probably worth keeping. It gives cops a big net to catch all kinds of criminals.
posted by Faze at 8:07 PM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


His argument is that there are a number of possible health risks associated with smoking pot.

Dogs, do you want to live forever?
posted by Joe Beese at 8:07 PM on January 7, 2009


The difficulty I have with these sorts of articles is that aren't all "fun" drugs except the big three (caffeine, tobacco and alcohol) controlled throughout most of the western world. And the only reason the big three escape is because they have been in widespread western use for too long to ban.

I just find the "it's a drug, ban it" argument more convincing than Dupont suppressing it so that hemp doesn't hurt nylon sales or whatever. I want to stress that I'm not saying I agree with it, just that that is why it was done, same as for all the other fun drugs you care to name.
posted by markr at 8:09 PM on January 7, 2009


I know several dipshits. Only about half of them smoke pot.
posted by Camofrog at 8:10 PM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


nanojath writes "With a huge cop bureaucracy, the prison lobby, and the legal drug complex opposed to it it's easy to imagine new reams of bullshit being minted to keep that balance against it"

Plenty of government budgets have declined significantly. I think the Drug War will continue, but I don't think it will have the financial muscle it's had since Reagan in the coming years. When budgets are really tight you have to be efficient and focus on outcomes, and the Drug War is not efficient nor focused on any sort of outcome. When it comes down to it, other crimes are more important, and we'll see less money thrown at the "problem." But Obama won't legalize it. Too bad. Although I doubt he would have won if he advocated legalization. But I have some hope that we're not going further down the rabbit hole on this one, at least for a while.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:12 PM on January 7, 2009


You know what Marijuana really is? Its a dipshit check.

Way to harsh my buzz, man.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:12 PM on January 7, 2009


Faze writes "It gives cops a big net to catch all kinds of criminals."

I see, so something which destroys the populace's respect for law and the state is like a net. Got it. Interesting analogy.
posted by mullingitover at 8:14 PM on January 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


markr writes "The difficulty I have with these sorts of articles is that aren't all 'fun' drugs except the big three (caffeine, tobacco and alcohol) controlled throughout most of the western world. And the only reason the big three escape is because they have been in widespread western use for too long to ban."

Well, that sounds sort of logical, but there is a lot of history with other motivations behind the prohibitions.

Anyway, one principle I hope can gain some traction legally is cognitive liberty, the idea that your brain is your own and not the purview of the government. That has implications much more broad than just concerning the Drug War, but the Drug War is predicated on the idea that the government can make those sorts of decisions about your cognition. Public safety is an issue, but these can be considered concurrently and still not curtail people's ability to alter their own brain chemistry without running afoul of the law.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:18 PM on January 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


I just find the "it's a drug, ban it" argument more convincing than Dupont suppressing it so that hemp doesn't hurt nylon sales or whatever.

This shit's pretty well documented; I'm not sure what motivation you have to question it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:19 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do agree that marijuana can have deleterious effects on a person

BBC's Nicky Taylor allowed herself to be injected with pure THC (found in high-potency skunk) and then a combination of THC/cannabinoids (similar to cannabis plant composition) to experience their distinct effects.

Her dramatically different results.

And here are links to the full show: Should I Smoke Dope ??
posted by terranova at 8:23 PM on January 7, 2009


Faze writes "Orthogonality is right, although I don't agree with his outrage."

Orthogonality's Office of National Drug Control Policy Public Service Ad

[Tight focus on orthogonality glaring at camera]
orthogonality: "Outrage-filter is my anti-drug!"
posted by orthogonality at 8:23 PM on January 7, 2009


That's not the argument he made at all. His argument is that there are a number of possible health risks associated with smoking pot.

Which is inane and reflects poorly on Gupta for saying it.

You know what else have a number of possible health risks associated with them? Butter. Driving a car. Bacon. Using a computer. Red meat. Talking on a cell phone. Sushi.

Is Gupta calling for those to be illegal? No? Then it is clear that "having a number of possible health risks" isn't the real reason behind his stance. It's puritanism dressed up in pseudo-scientific medical jargon, and it's a crock. He diminishes himself and us by making such a sad excuse for an argument.
posted by Justinian at 8:24 PM on January 7, 2009 [21 favorites]


I think the Onion summed it up best: Drugs Now Legal If User Is Employed.

Or, to quote Hugh Laurie on Vicodin: "If you're in pain, it does the job. And if you're not in pain, it does the job."
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:26 PM on January 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


That is, to quote Hugh Laurie talking *about* Vicodin.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:28 PM on January 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Faze writes "It gives cops a big net to catch all kinds of criminals."

It gives cops an excuse to lock up perfectly productive, peaceful people for no other reason. It prevents devastatingly sick people from getting some relief. The idea that it's illegal creates a disdain for the law by a lot of intelligent people, many of whom have no personal association with it, because they see the anti-drug hysteria and propaganda for what it is. It makes the government look moralizing, ignorant and paternalistic, undermining the very concept of justice. It's a waste of time, energy and your and my money, such an awful lot of money.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:30 PM on January 7, 2009 [14 favorites]


terranova writes "BBC's Nicky Taylor allowed herself to be injected with pure THC (found in high-potency skunk) and then a combination of THC/cannabinoids (similar to cannabis plant composition) to experience their distinct effects."

OK, a couple things. First, all marijuana is cannabis. There's cannabis sativa and cannabis indica, primarily (cannabis indica tends to grow better at higher latitudes and is often shorter and bushier). Cannabis sativa is the type historically grown for hemp and grows tall and lanky, but it can be cultivated to produce better flowers for smoking. The type used for hemp is not grown with that in mind and doesn't get you high, as the THC levels are miniscule. THC is found in all sativa and indica, but good quality will have higher concentrations. There are other cannibinoids, too. Primarily, cannabinol is what causes sleepiness, and is a product of THC oxidation. It's found in skunk, too, but probably the THC/cannabinol is higher than in schwag, which is often pressed, causing the THC to further break down as it becomes exposed to oxygen and heat. Yes, the effects of a lot of THC concentrated are different than smoking the plant, but smoking skunk and taking straight THC are also dramatically different.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:38 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


but probably the THC/cannabinol is higher

THC/cannabinol ratio, that is.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:39 PM on January 7, 2009


Which is inane and reflects poorly on Gupta for saying it.

This I agree with. I just wanted to point out that the article presented actual reasons for his position, which wasn't the sense I got from the comment I was replying to.
posted by des at 8:44 PM on January 7, 2009


Have you ever noticed the similarity in the pro-marijuana / pro-gun arguments?

* [guns / marijuana] are relatively less dangerous than [swimming pools, alcohol, cars, sky-diving, {insert common activity here}]
* [guns / marijuana] are given a bad reputation in the media for being used exclusively by criminals (read: people different from you) whereas actually your next door neighbor might [own a gun / use marijuana]
* the war on [drugs / guns] is unwinnable and simply wastes money; [guns / marijuana] are too easy to acquire to be effectively controlled, therefore...
* the war on [drugs / guns] disproportionately punishes otherwise law-abiding citizens
* the effect of alleged new high-potentency [super skunk / assault weapons] is greatly exaggerated by a media interested primarily in sensationalism
* people have a right to [bear arms / cognitive liberty] which restrictions on [guns / marijuana] violate

I wonder what the overlap in the pro-legalization and NRA crowds is (I suspect it is relatively small despite the philosophical similarities of their harm-based policy methodologies).

Imagine a combined platform of "GUNS AND DRUGS", which would be sure to set some record for controversy if anyone were dumb enough to try it.
posted by Pyry at 9:15 PM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


technically it's not salon, it's some guy's blog. salon is hosting blogs now (so hungry are they for pageviews).

Whatever happened to Salon? It used to be great, but now it just... sucks.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:22 PM on January 7, 2009


Pyry writes "I wonder what the overlap in the pro-legalization and NRA crowds is (I suspect it is relatively small despite the philosophical similarities of their harm-based policy methodologies). "

Libertarians.

I'm not a Libertarian, per se. I don't use guns either, but, well, the 2nd Amendment's as much a part of the Constitution as the amendments I personally like, so I'd be a hypocrite if I wasn't for protecting the rights granted by the Second.

So yeah, I'm for guns and pot legalization, though for different reasons.
posted by orthogonality at 9:22 PM on January 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


It’s crackers to slip a rozzer
Oh, the dropsy is snide.
posted by bonefish at 9:34 PM on January 7, 2009


Marijuana weaponized
posted by hortense at 9:39 PM on January 7, 2009


I would love to see a documentary source on that Mormonism thing. Went looking for one, because the church does not currently have an explicit prohibition on marijuana—it's covered under counsel against avoiding unnecessary drugs or habit-forming substances, and at present it's also covered under counsel on adhering to the law of the land, but I have yet to see an official source name marijuana explicitly. That doesn't mean it never happened; till a couple weeks ago I had not seen official policy prohibiting membership in labor unions or fraternal organizations, either, but such there were (no longer in effect). But it makes me wonder.

Unfortunately, the results of my Googling are not encouraging: Variations on the same article, with differing versions of the various quotes, and, in one case, a citation of historians at the "Mormon National Tabernacle" in Washington (hint: there isn't one, there or elsewhere). I may have to ask a real historian about this one. It's easy to believe that those puritanical Mormons would instantly condemn anything mood-altering, but (a) in 1915 the church's stand on alcohol was not prohibition but counsel toward temperance, and (b) much more recently the church filed an amicus brief supporting the Native American Church's right to use peyote, so it may not be cut-and-dried as all that.

This Mormon would legalize MJ in a heartbeat if it kept anyone from resorting to alcohol. Low/no physical addictivity, low toxicity, minimal interaction with other drugs—oh, and I never knew anyone who beat their kids while stoned, either. Bring on the herb, dudes.
posted by eritain at 9:42 PM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


salon is hosting blogs now (so hungry are they for pageviews).

Hilariously wrong. Salon Blogs closed almost three years ago (after about three years of life). They did let existing bloggers stay, though, which is pretty cool.
posted by dhartung at 9:43 PM on January 7, 2009


Imagine a combined platform of "GUNS AND DRUGS", which would be sure to set some record for controversy if anyone were dumb enough to try it.

I'm pretty sure most libertarians are against the prohibition of either. Which guns and which drugs they personally prefer is another story. Anecdotally, I went to high school with three friends who were die-hard pot smokers and were introduced to libertarianism for legalization reasons, and made noises about voting for them. They got chided for being single-issue at first - all I knew about libertarians then was Lyndon LaRouche and the kind of pit-stained commentators who appeared on Morton Downey, Jr. But they really took the paleo-conservativism angle to heart, and one of them bought land where he built a cabin, and as far as I know still spends his days hunting, fishing, collecting his traps, tending his garden and smoking the hell out of some weed.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:46 PM on January 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


the drug war is a confusing mess. if i run a dispensary in california and am in compliance with those rules, (principally meaning that i get my cannabis from a similarly licensed source) what jurisdiction does a federal agency have to bust my door down?

what i do hope from an obama administration is at least a directive to the dea/etc to stop doing this. it is pernicious and harmful and benefits no one except those who do it.

i am as far from a legal mind as one could be - why isnt this an issue of states rights?
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:57 PM on January 7, 2009


I wonder what the overlap in the pro-legalization and NRA crowds is

I'm not NRA because I do think gun control laws are okay, and I also think marijuana control laws would be okay - I just don't want either to be illegal.

But I enjoy shooting guns and smoking dope.
posted by flaterik at 10:18 PM on January 7, 2009


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing writes "But they really took the paleo-conservativism angle to heart, and one of them bought land where he built a cabin, and as far as I know still spends his days hunting, fishing, collecting his traps, tending his garden and smoking the hell out of some weed."

That's not paleo-conservatism: paleo is Pat Buchanan, strong (coercive) community values and social control, belief in hierarchal units/ Great Chain of Being, Augustinianism (depraved mankind's appetites must be held in cheek by a strong civil power enforcing God's morals): God above Civil Society above Family (Father above Mother above kids), traditional values, nationalism. A good fit with (pre-Vatican II) Catholicism: think Franco.
posted by orthogonality at 10:22 PM on January 7, 2009


Ah, thanks for the clarification. I was confusing it with primitivism.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:25 PM on January 7, 2009


Marijuana weaponized

WE ARE NOW ARMED WITH MIGHTY JOINT!
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:34 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


The libertarians actually completely slipped my mind, and I suppose they do have guns and drugs as elements of their platform (although not using that provocative phrase). And, what do you know, there's an article in Reason bringing up points uncannily similar to those in my list. There's also a current article highlighting the failure of libertarian politics (i.e., Ron Paul) in 2008, so maybe my comment that it would be dumb to try a 'guns and drugs' strategy was not so far off the mark, in the sense that the position has been relegated to a third party in a system hostile to them.

The Democrats are perceived as being soft on drugs but hard on guns and vice-versa for the Republicans, but that doesn't necessary say much about the underlying attitudes of an electorate forced to choose between the least objectionable of two sets of positions. So I am still genuinely curious as to the co-occurrence of these two opinions (pro-legalization of both guns and marijuana) in the general population.
posted by Pyry at 10:35 PM on January 7, 2009


Whoops, forgot to link the articles in Reason mirroring my list and complaining about Ron Paul.
posted by Pyry at 10:38 PM on January 7, 2009


the drug war is a confusing mess. if i run a dispensary in california and am in compliance with those rules, (principally meaning that i get my cannabis from a similarly licensed source) what jurisdiction does a federal agency have to bust my door down?

Well, because you'd be violating federal drug laws. If the question is, how come the feds can enforce federal drug laws in those circumstances, the answer is slightly more complicated. (You probably know this, but) I believe that issue was settled by Gonzales v. Raich, in which the US Supreme Court held that the federal government has the power to ban marijuana even in states that legalize it, under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. O'Connor, Rehnquist, and Thomas dissented.
posted by grobstein at 10:41 PM on January 7, 2009


Even if its stupid like smoking some lame weed that does practically nothing.

Dude, you totally got burned.
I told you not to buy from the guys in Washington Square Park.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:45 PM on January 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


thanks for the link. i did know about that but it slipped my mind. i guess what doesnt make sense to me is the notion that the commerce clause applies in a case where there is by california's rules no interstate commerce taking place. but as i said, i'm no lawyer.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:49 PM on January 7, 2009


Reefer Madness!
posted by Artw at 11:10 PM on January 7, 2009


UMMM, pot is legal in LA with a perscription. I have a medical weed card, and I'm doin pretty good. No more anorexia or glaucoma hahahaha.
posted by Dasmall07 at 11:19 PM on January 7, 2009


I see, so something which destroys the populace's respect for law and the state is like a net. Got it. Interesting analogy.

Honestly, while in general I agree with you, I think shit like this does a lot more to destroy the populace's respect for law.
posted by Caduceus at 11:32 PM on January 7, 2009


UMMM, pot is legal in LA with a perscription. I have a medical weed card, and I'm doin pretty good. No more anorexia or glaucoma hahahaha.

City cops may not be able to bust you, but under Gonzales v Reich, the feds certainly can.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:09 AM on January 8, 2009


Pope Guilty writes "City cops may not be able to bust you, but under Gonzales v Reich, the feds certainly can."

Where are we with that, anyway? Obama, and I believe even McCain, claimed in the election that they wouldn't be pulling that totalitarian crap on the states anymore if they were elected.

I can't believe that ruling. It's like the tenth amendment was never written.
posted by mullingitover at 12:15 AM on January 8, 2009


UMMM, pot is legal in LA with a perscription.

What's that joke about people from LA thinking the world ends at the county line?
posted by Benjy at 12:45 AM on January 8, 2009


Wow, Sanjay Gupta is a moron. His argument is "OMG people just want to get STONED! IT'S BAD! AND umm errr, YOU COULD GET ADDICTED!!!!!

If you remember that the man's ambitions are not strictly medical, but rather political, his answer is quite canny. The office of Surgeon General is the apotheosis of I play one on TV, and we can't have our TV doctors supporting unpopular positions. (Nurse, be a dear and fetch me another cigarette.)
posted by kid ichorous at 12:51 AM on January 8, 2009


Citizen Kaned.
posted by mandal at 3:11 AM on January 8, 2009


...I forgot what i was going to type.
posted by not_on_display at 4:21 AM on January 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was surprised when I learned that Rick Steves, that PBS travel show guy, was a big supporter of legalization. On a trip to Ireland a few years ago, Steves became this mythic figure for some reason. We were using his guidebooks and after a few too many Guinness somehow conflated the number of stars he gave a particular attraction with how stout and turgid a boner he would get upon visiting.

We'd be driving along and see a sign for some tourist stop and this scene would play out:

"Should we stop?" the driver would ask, "What does Rick Steves say?"
"Two stars."
"Two stars? We ain't got time for that limp dick shit. There any four star attractions nearby? I want something thick and veiny."
"There's a Butter Museum in Cork..."
"Dude, if Rick Steves has dipped his massive cock in the butter, we need to be there."

And so on. It was a running gag through the entire vacation. Every piece of Irish history had an accompanying reference to Rick Steves' massive wanderlust.

We had never really seen any episodes of Rick Steves' show. When we did, we noted with great hilarity that it was called 'Europe Through The Back Door'. Hee hee. Anyways, one day my wife and I caught an episode of his show that covered the parts of Ireland we had visited. Since we had used his book quite a lot, it was like a filmed version of our vacation, hosted by our private, well-slung guide. Steves is kind of nerdy, a Bill Gates-like guy (He was a piano teacher prior to being a tour magnate) so the idea that he did very, very rude things in all these historical places made it even more hilarious.

One day we were at Costco and saw they had Rick Steves DVDs! We picked up the one covering Ireland and dropped a line to our travel partners suggesting a film-fest. They agreed, but one of them expressed some reservations that watching DVDs of a PBS show could be kind of, well, boring.

So he brought some special brownies.

And there we were, happily watching Rick Steves gallivant around the Emerald Isle, his thick, ropey Rock of Cashel barely contained. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon. Once you get past how well hung Rick is, he's a really good travel show host. It's just hard to look him in the eyes, yanno? (He wears glasses)

Next thing we know, we're buying more Rick Steves DVDs at Costco. Rick Steves Saturday, with all of its accompanying dick jokes and munchies, became a regular monthly thing. Brownies became green dragon. Attendance, uh, swelled.

So if marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to harder drugs and should therefore be illegal, I submitted that Rick Steves is a gateway drug to the gateway drug and should also be made illegal. Therefore, it was a shock to when we learned that he had apparently realized this and in an effort to prevent himself from being outlawed was active in NORML.

I'm not sure what sort of effect the MA decriminalization will have here in Boston, but I doubt that it will have that much of an impact. Well, that's not true. It did just make we wax nostalgic for a PBS host's massive, massive penis.

So maybe the weeded gateway doesn't lead towards Hard Drug Path, maybe instead it takes a left turn towards Dude Crotch Junction.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:45 AM on January 8, 2009 [20 favorites]


The day after we legalize marijuana, you'll see me spacing out and rubbing my stubble all day long. I don't know why it does that to me, but it's fantastic; like getting two highs for the price of one.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:15 AM on January 8, 2009


Pope Guilty writes "I've seen otherwise bright individuals fuck up their lives not because they were addicted or criminals or whatever, but simply because they really enjoyed partaking of a substance which, while you're under the influence, completely destroys your motivation to get up and do something."

To be fair that statement could be applied to an awful lot of things, couldn't it? Including alcohol, meth, cocaine, sex, World of Warcraft, Metafilter... man I had a point here but now I can't remember what it was.

Also, as one of my friends often pointed out, the only reason pot is a gateway drug is because you need to go to a drug dealer to get it.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:41 AM on January 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


I am a 47 year old teacher and non-user who speaks openly (although, not to my students) about my opinion that pot, and all other drugs, should be legalized and regulated. About half of my circle of friends are responsible pot users. I will often suggest to them (and now to all you users out there in webboland) that if all the users lobbied their representatives for legalization of pot, it would probably be done within a couple of years.

So why don't they speak up? Fear? Or do they kinda like the mild naughtiness of it all?
posted by foodeater at 7:22 AM on January 8, 2009


i guess what doesnt make sense to me is the notion that the commerce clause applies in a case where there is by california's rules no interstate commerce taking place.

The argument was that the production of the commodity meant for home consumption can still have a substantial effect on the supply and demand in the national market. An analogy was made to wheat, specifically in the case of Wickard v. Filburn. A wheat farmer (during the Great Depression) argued that his excess wheat production was intended only for home consumption, and thus could not be regulated by the commerce clause. But the Supreme Court rejected that, because if he didn't use his home-grown wheat, he would've had to buy it on the open market. And thus through the actions of him and thousands of other wheat farmers consuming their home-grown wheat, there is an indirect impact on interstate commerce.
posted by naju at 7:54 AM on January 8, 2009


You know what else have a number of possible health risks associated with them? Butter. Driving a car. Bacon. Using a computer. Red meat. Talking on a cell phone. Sushi.

Agreed. I am not one of those people that argue that weed is good for you and will open your mind and bring about world peace. Weed can be very bad for you when used incorrectly or to excess. Fucks up your lungs and can fuck up your mind. I just think that society can draw a line somewhere and say "All substances on this side of the line, although bad for you, are not so bad that we should outlaw them. All substances on the other side of the line are so bad for you that we as a society should agree to outlaw them." And I think weed belongs way on the "bad, but not that bad" side of the line, somewhere between caffeine and alcohol. It has been placed on the wrong side of the line by mistake, hysteria and misinformation and society recognizes that and that is why there are millions of people breaking that mistaken law and why every year brings the numbers of people in favor of legalization closer to the majority. It will be legal within 20 years in a majority of the country. It is just a matter of time. However, while I believe that will make the world a better place, it is not going to solve everyone's problems and it will increase quite a few people's problems. Everything in moderation kids.
posted by ND¢ at 8:03 AM on January 8, 2009


Oh, and O'Connor's dissent in Raich is worth reading. She said that to "draw the line wherever private activity affects the demand for market goods is to draw no line at all," and we're essentially creating a federal police power that can control just about anything.
posted by naju at 8:04 AM on January 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rick Steves is the motherfuckin' man.
posted by everichon at 8:34 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


She said that.... we're essentially creating a federal police power that can control just about anything.

That's how Scalia always votes.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:43 AM on January 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


What do you mean it's illegal? WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL ME!?
posted by loquacious at 8:49 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Weed can be very bad for you when used incorrectly or to excess. Fucks up your lungs and can fuck up your mind.

Ingestion does very little to fuck up your lungs and makes for a very cheap evening's entertainment...I've been told.
posted by mandal at 9:18 AM on January 8, 2009


I love Pete Guither, he's a great guy and he maintains a pretty solid blog on the drug war. Also just a cool guy to sit down and talk to, plus he plays a mean game of Four Square.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:42 AM on January 8, 2009


Pyry writes "Imagine a combined platform of 'GUNS AND DRUGS', which would be sure to set some record for controversy if anyone were dumb enough to try it."

I believe Hunter S. Thompson ran on that platform when he was trying to get elected as Mayor of Aspen.

Anyway, marijuana is not designed to kill people.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:10 AM on January 8, 2009


People are designed to kill people. Or something.
posted by spicynuts at 12:34 PM on January 8, 2009


Man, I find it usually very easy to never comment negatively about someone here when they say something stupid or offense, but serious Osmanthus, You know what Marijuana really is? Its a dipshit check. How do you re-direct the scofflaws of society before they cause some real trouble? Tell them they can't do something. Then, they have to do it. Even if its stupid like smoking some lame weed that does practically nothing. There are thousands of other drugs out there but these guys just have to focus on this one that they are told they can't have. had to have just been totally written straight out of your asshole. There are a ton of intelligent, successful, and important people who have or do smoke. Lame weed that does practically nothing? Sure, if you smoke the wild shit that grows rurally in, like, Oklahoma and shit. Anybody who's actually smoked more than a dozen times and tried different strains can tell you that there's some fantastic herb out there that can kill pain, calm anxiety, open up the senses, and just make life better in general. There are plenty of fun, wonderful drugs that make for a great time, but sometimes, you know, I don't feel like the awful comedown from E or tripping for 8 hours off of cid. Sometimes I just want to smoke, throw on some Sigur Ros, and paint for hours with a plate of oreos and a great big glass of milk beside me.
Also, I'm pretty sure I didn't start smoking just because The Man told me I can't.
posted by Bageena at 1:33 PM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


So why don't they speak up? Fear?

Well, yes. Probably more from employers than the government. I mean, the government rarely busts individual users (yes, it happens, and it shouldn't, but your odds are pretty good, especially if you live in a generally pot-tolerant area). But employers are often far less accepting, and can definitely fire you for it, even if they can't prove you use it (at least in at-will employment states). Even if your current employer doesn't care, maybe later you'd want a job where they did, so having it on your record is basically equivalent to having a criminal conviction --- employers are free to still hire you, but it's going to reduce your opportunities.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:06 PM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also - Weed can be very bad for you when used incorrectly or to excess. Fucks up your lungs and can fuck up your mind.. Can I get some links to independent studies proving any of this? How do you use weed incorrectly? I'm very, very curious. The only way I can think of is smoking chronic with a coke can. Totally a waste.
posted by Bageena at 2:15 PM on January 8, 2009


Bageena, I will have you know that I have made some very effective pipes out of coke cans, one of which got a lot of use simply for the fact that it hit better than any of the other pieces I owned at the time.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 2:24 PM on January 8, 2009


naju writes "Oh, and O'Connor's dissent in Raich is worth reading. She said that to 'draw the line wherever private activity affects the demand for market goods is to draw no line at all,' and we're essentially creating a federal police power that can control just about anything."

Exactly. The current interpretation of the commerce clause is basically a backdoor repeal of the tenth amendment. It's nominally being used to squash the rights of states to regulate medicine within their borders, but the precedent establishes a serious federal power grab. If I were less cynical I'd be shocked that Scalia would've taken such liberties with reinterpreting the constitution, given that he likes to beat his chest about textualism.
posted by mullingitover at 3:18 PM on January 8, 2009


I’ve been a regular happy smoker for many years now, able to hold down a fairly responsible job and advance my career without any problems. I can’t see that changing. I don’t smoke as often as I once did but it’s still a great way to relax as an alternative to a couple of beers.

That said, I’ve kept up with the neuroscience (New Scientist used to have a great reference guide) and it’s pretty clear that for adolescent brains it’s bad shit, clearly implicated in psychoses and other mental illness, as well as general worse outcomes. These impacts disappear once the brain has stopped growing by the early twenties. So I’m going to be a hardarse on my sons and be really disappointed if they smoke while at school. However, if they don’t toke a few at Uni I’ll be almost as disappointed.
posted by wilful at 4:12 PM on January 8, 2009


thanks naju. it seems like the sort of legal artifice that leads to lawyer jokes, which is probably why it didnt make sense to me - because it is nonsensical on its face and seems like a garden variety power grab writ large.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:17 PM on January 8, 2009


I’ve kept up with the neuroscience (New Scientist used to have a great reference guide) and it’s pretty clear that for adolescent brains it’s bad shit, clearly implicated in psychoses and other mental illness, as well as general worse outcomes.

As far as I understand it aggrivates psychotic disorders but does not cause them. From what I've read, including but not limited to this, there is no danger unless you already have a psychotic disorder. That said, it could induce a psychotic episode which would mean that you're genetic psychotic disorder is showing up a few months early.

I don't know enough about adolescent brain development to determine other effects but I would love to read up on it. If there's any info you could send me on this, wilful, I would be interested in reading it.

What many stoners don't like to talk about is the implications smoking it has on your health. While it is established that there is no cancer risk, consistent use has been linked to other lung diseases but I haven't sorted through the contradicting articles yet to find which ones have legitimate scientific backing and which ones were funded by the DEA. It also depresses your immune system through cannibinoid receptors (either in immune system related organs or the white blood cells themselves I just don't know. My psychopharmacology text was a little light on the details).

As for cognative impairments, anyone who tells you there are long term cognative impairments is full of shit. Don't have a citation but good luck finding any legitimate research to this end other than a positive statistical relationship between blazing and the lazy and crazy. If anyone finds any evidence of causation of mental problems I'd love to read it.
posted by Pseudology at 6:42 PM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dr. Steve Brule for Surgeon General!
posted by Eideteker at 10:10 PM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sanjay Gupta: What the Next Surgeon General Doesn't Know About Pot
posted by homunculus at 10:49 PM on January 8, 2009


I setup and now infrequently maintain the studies and report forums at the messageboard set up by Pete Guither at Drug WarRant. Browsing or doing a search for 't-CB' will land you all the indexed studies related to cannabis, including all the major studies tackling mental effects of cannabis use.
posted by daksya at 12:10 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yo, folks, this claim that Utah passed the first anti-marijuana law -- and did so in response to Mormon Church leaders -- is completely bogus. The first state to pass an anti-marijuana law was...California! Here are the details. ..bruce..
posted by bfwebster at 11:39 AM on January 9, 2009


Marijuana Monopoly Maintained
posted by homunculus at 2:36 PM on January 13, 2009


Time For Some Top-Down Executive Head-Smacking, Mr. President, Regarding Medical Marijuana Raids
posted by homunculus at 3:04 PM on January 23, 2009


Apparently winners do do drugs
posted by Abiezer at 2:36 AM on February 1, 2009


Obama Says He'll Stop DEA Medical Pot Raids
posted by homunculus at 12:41 PM on February 5, 2009


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