NM Task Force Urges Marijuana Legalization
January 5, 2001 10:42 AM   Subscribe

NM Task Force Urges Marijuana Legalization. . . for possession of up to an ounce, but no provisions made for cultivation.
posted by snakey (19 comments total)
If you ask me, this doesn't get at the real problem -- making pot smokers pay criminal drug dealers to get their weed.
posted by snakey at 10:56 AM on January 5, 2001

Agreed -- this is a positive step, but it still doesn't get to the core problem with Prohibition. Mainly, the government has handed over control of the drug trade to criminal organizations.

If legitimate businessmen (like liquor stores and pharmacists) had similar licenses to sell marijuana to adults, it would wipe out TONS of criminal activity.

After all, when was the last time you heard about beer pushers hanging out in schoolyards?
posted by Dirjy at 11:20 AM on January 5, 2001

*checking her stash*

ok, i should be all right.
posted by sugarfish at 11:38 AM on January 5, 2001

I don't understand why those who prefer drugs to drink are unable to understand that shipping bottles of stuff, were it illegal, is a heck of a lot more difficult than drugs of any kind, and therefore for the state or the feds to want a tax (when didn't they?) is is a lot easier to tax drinks of any kind because much more visible.
I also don;t understaand why pot ught to be bought from a phramacist! Lord knows, the pharmacy company in our country has demonstrated how they can raise prices sky high..shouldn't I be able to buy pot (I don't use it or smoke) in any of the same places I can buy cigarettes?
posted by Postroad at 11:50 AM on January 5, 2001

While making legal pot would be perhaps useful, certainly decriminalizing it would be much more beneficial. And were it to be legal, wouldn't there be law suits down the road when people connect their cancer (lung) to pot and note that they do not use cigarettes? After all, the big tobacco companies were found liable. Why not pot sellerss and growers? And believe me, pot is not benign when inhaled and held for a loger time than a cigarette puff.
posted by Postroad at 11:53 AM on January 5, 2001

Well, I believe there is no good evidence that pot has any long-term effects, I may be wrong. But who cares about the lawsuits anyways, just the people selling it, and if they're smart they will have anticipated it and made provisions.
They haven't outlawed tobacco coz of it.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:59 AM on January 5, 2001

There's no link between pot and cancer. Of course, all that smoke and tar probably isn't doing your lungs any good. You can significantly reduce the amount of tar and other toxins by using a bong, hookah, or other water pipe.

As for lawsuits, as long as companies were up front about the health effects of pot smoke, I can't see them being held legally responsible. (no more than McDonalds is held responsible for shoveling Big Macs at people.)

Of course, if they found a link between pot and cancer, (or someone other disease) and then hired Doctors to go on TV and lie about it . . . then they get what they deserve.

posted by alan at 12:15 PM on January 5, 2001

no more than McDonalds is held responsible for shoveling Big Macs at people.

Just you wait, it won't be long.
posted by daveadams at 1:47 PM on January 5, 2001

Postroad, if I follow your argument, you think that we shouldn't make alcohol illegal because bottles are large but marijuana should be illegal because it is so ... small and hard to see (and therefore hard to tax).

On the other hand, maybe we should decriminilize it, but not make it legal. What is the distinction? There is no register of "legal things". Like carrots, for instance: it is not a crime to grow, process, distribute or consume carrots, but it doesn't make any sense to say that "carrots are legal."

First, tabacco is just as small and hard to see as marijuana but we (generally) succeed in both taxing it and controlling its distribution. Also, while I'd like to see pot in controlled (rather than criminal) distribution, I don't think it should be available wherever we buy cigarettes.

And snakey, as far as I'm concerned, this is one of the "real" problems. It's really a problem to have laws against things which are not wrong: it erodes confidence in the rule or law, it is unjust to punish the offenders and wastes tremendous amounts of public resources in the pursuit of nothing.
posted by sylloge at 1:59 PM on January 5, 2001

sure sylloge. The issue of personal freedom is partly addressed by this. But what about personal freedom to cultivate your own weed? What about the freedom to stay away from violent drug dealers?

Don't get me wrong, I think this is a step in the right direction, and I fully support these reccomendations. But this will do nothing to stop the drug dealers in NM from pushing coke and speed on normal folks who would ordinarily only smoke a little weed now and then.

I see white powder drugs (coke, speed, heroin) as the big public health problem. It's a mistake to hand over the market for a harmless drug like marijuana to the same people that sell those hard drugs. Let folks grow it themselves, and you get them out of the market for the truly dangerous drugs.
posted by snakey at 2:29 PM on January 5, 2001

Carrots are legal.
posted by rodii at 2:32 PM on January 5, 2001

To get back to an earlier point, no, there is no conclusive link between marijuana and cancer . . . yet. The jury is still out on that one, but conventional medical wisdom definitely suggests that putting anything other than clean air into your lungs is not something one should be doing on a regular basis.

It doesn't have to be an issue though (and I'm all for decriminalizing pot): just don't smoke the stuff. Brew tea, make brownies, whatever.

posted by Skot at 3:07 PM on January 5, 2001

Snakey, I don't think we really disagree. I definitely believe that the policy (mostly) causes the problem. And of course people should be free to grow too. I just think this is good, even if only as a first step.
posted by sylloge at 3:07 PM on January 5, 2001

Marijuana represses the reproductive system, helps shrink blood vessels in the eyes and helps alleviate glaucoma systems, abates nausea, and is not good for people to smoke if they have emphysema. Heh. That last one was just me being snotty, but yes, conventional wisdom is that anything you put into your lungs besides air is probably not good for them.

And if you live in LA, you need to even be careful with THAT.
posted by annathea at 4:01 PM on January 5, 2001

Interestingly enough, I seem to recall that the Jamaican studies showed heavy ganja smokers living longer than the nonsmoking Jamaicans.
posted by snakey at 4:45 PM on January 5, 2001

sylloge, I think one of the reason that people are fighting for decriminalization is that it's an important first step in legalizing it. I'm sure you know all the reasons decriminalization is a Good Thing, but what the hell, my fingers are itchy.

It's something of a comprimise, and it really is a win-win situation. Pot smokers in a decriminalized society can grow and smoke their own pot. They can give it away as much as they like, they just can't profit from it. That will alleviate a whole lot of problems with the nefarious drug cartel killing people to get the pot onto the streets.

They'll probably end up focussing more on lab-created drugs and will still definetely be a problem, but it at least takes out some of the conflict.

By taking away some of the market, you take away the some of the distribution channels. In this case, the distribution channels are the problem, so the government wins because they're not throwing bodies into the fray, and pot users win because, well, they get buzzed.

Once it can be proven that decriminalized pot won't cause society to crash around our ears, the government will finally wise up to the wonderful sin taxes they can implement, and start allowing it to be grown distributed and sold legally, which clears up even more of the problem.

Getting pot legalized is a long, hard battle. By taking it in steps, we get buzzed without being criminals sooner. :-)
posted by cCranium at 5:15 PM on January 5, 2001

Also there's a soon-to-be proposed legalization initiative being developed in Washington.
posted by EngineBeak at 11:04 PM on January 5, 2001

The main reason there isn't a buttload of studies on the effects of pot is because pot is illegal. Thus, it's a bit hard to do big, scientifically-valid studies in the first place. Also, you have to keep in mind that most people do not smoke pot anywhere near as frequently as they smoke tobacco. (If you're a 20-joint-a-day kinda guy, you're just a tad out of the mainstream of pot users.) That said, the few studies out there of people who do smoke pot on a several-times-a-day basis, and who do not also smoke tobacco, show that such people are even more likely to suffer from "tobacco-related ilnesses" than tobacco users. So you can't really say pot is inherently safe; it's just that most people don't use it often enough to cause gigantic amounts of disease.

Anyway, pot legalization is fine with me. Let's just not compare it so readily to tobacco.
posted by aaron at 3:05 PM on January 6, 2001

With cigarettes becoming pricey and unfashionable in the eyes of the MIANSTREAM, the criminals have already moved in.
posted by Zool at 3:24 PM on January 7, 2001

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