Streams

Pot-For-Profit

Monday, March 30, 2009

Online commenters made marijuana legalization the most popular issue during President Obama's "Open for Questions" town hall last week. But the argument was more fiscal than anything. If the underground pot economy comes into the light, can it really have an impact? Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance Network, makes the case for legalization.

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Comments [130]

rebeca v. taub from NYC

Pot is bad but that's no reason to outlaw it; as tobacco is legal and alcohol has been legal except for the 20's. The reason for outlawing pot was: a new process was invented to make paper from hemp. It threatened the timber holdings of the Hearst newspaper empire. The reefer madness angle was used to inflame the public. True goal: protect Hearst. Makes sense that it was led by then Sec'y of Treasury. As usual public suckers manipulated by oligarchy. Per old issue of the Earth Island Journal.

Apr. 03 2009 07:51 PM
acellist1 from Austin

#126, I must say, as composer and an advocate for science, you hit the nail on the head.

Apr. 02 2009 10:20 PM
citizen from california

it should be legal it is less harmful than tobacco and not physically addicting. And you can't overdose like alcohol it is a safe drug and unlike any other drug.

Apr. 02 2009 07:07 PM
Barry from New Hampshire

I love how those opposed to legalizing marijuana think the country will turn into a bunch of pot smokers. Well, we have been since the 60's. Have you seen the TV lately? Take a pill to feel happy, take a pill to get a stiffy, take a pill to lower cholesterol, take a pill to make sex better, take a pill to grow hair. but when you see the small print you get side effects like anal leakage, heart failure, seizures, etc. Right after the ads for building a better pecker you get the ad saying say no to drugs.
What's the side effect of weed? You may feel hungry and decide to eat 2 bags of dorito's and a bowl of ice cream? Let the states decide. It will save money spent trying to stop it, save money not having to prosecute it, save money not having to house those convicted and make money taxing it, make jobs cultvating, manufacturing and selling it and being a fast growing plant help repair the ozone. But it's ok to suck down a gallon of alcohol, run over some poor soul, grow liquid muscles and punch out your fellow man, cause liver and kidney failure and become so addicted that you need rehab just to stop the shakes. Hasn't anyone figured out that those making the billions of dollars are the very same ones paying to keep it illegal?

Apr. 01 2009 10:41 AM
tensity1 from Las Vegas

#95: "Rather, I'd like you to give me an example of one human endeavor that is 'improved' by dope smoking."

Creative thought and expression, namely all the great music, art, and writing that I'm sure countless musicians, artists, and writers have created throughout time. Even the sciences and technology have been aided by unfettering of thought process that marijuana and other drugs produce. It was either the idea for the Internet or ethernet technology that was thought up under the influence of LSD. I wouldn't have any qualms about taking a bet that plenty of math and physics majors and other science types have used marijuana to great effect and pleasure.

In the end, who are you to judge a person's reasons for using a drug (especially a substance as harmless as marijuana), whether for medication or pleasure or to escape? Who are you to judge anybody about any of their actions unless it is causing harm to another, such as murder, theft, rape, etc.? Methinks someone has a complex, either a controlling one, or just has low self-esteem and needs to bring others down.

Apr. 01 2009 07:46 AM
russell bailey from WV

it's all about control of the product. the government has quite effectively led the majority to the tax it already mode, and from what has been proposed, it's quite a hefty tax. i believe i read the proposal was 98.00 per ounce, and we're eating it up. how about the constitutional infringement that was recognized when the supreme court made the ruling it could be criminalized, or the repeated propaganda that is clearly in the mindset of the general population. if the truth were told, and the constitution upheld, we could all grow our own medicine for free.

Mar. 31 2009 09:29 PM
Brandon from Boulder

legalize it! it's ridiculous that cigarettes and alcohol can be used and abused, but someone can't get mj for medical or every day use. additionally the hoops one must jump through for a medical mj "green card" are also ridiculous, for those of us lucky enough to live in a state that issues them.

Mar. 31 2009 04:15 PM
Paul Barnes from Manhattan

In the late 30's of the last century, the DuPont company developed Nylon, and immediately realized that they had an enormous potential market for Nylon rope in the US Navy. They also realized that the Japanese were likely to cut off our supply of Sisal, or Manila hemp from the Phillipines. Their mext biggest commercial rival would be Indian hemp, or marijuana, so DuPont gave large amounts of momey to Harry Anslinger and his allies to help them to get the US Congress to outlaw pot.

I'm not making this up: there was an article on this subject several years ago in the magazine Scientific American.

Mar. 30 2009 02:48 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Paulo, if you’re still reading, I’m not trying to be absurd. Municipalities have tried legal and legislative maneuvering before to get certain effects. If I remember correctly, I think Illinois put a tax on illegal drugs at one point. It was perfectly legal to purchase tax stamps, which one could do without incrimination or question, for illegal drugs. Any dealer caught in a bust with untaxed drugs would also be slapped with a charge of tax evasion… Tax evasion took down Al Capone. I supported the argument with the way alcohol is highly regulated. It’s illegal for the word “refreshing” to appear in certain beer print ads. Your mention of flavored marijuana was new to me. All I did was ask is it flavored like flavored tobacco with cloves, menthol, and fruit flavors… flavored like flavored vodkas and malt liquor, or flavored like the difference between ryes, malts, barleys in liquor and varieties of grape in wine.

Mar. 30 2009 02:19 PM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

Alright Voter,

I can see you're not going to take this subject seriously. I bring up valid points, and rather than address them directly, you present absurdities. And when I counter the absurdities, you make it seem like I'm the one who brought it up in the first place. So I'm done. Enjoy your day.

Mar. 30 2009 02:00 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Paulo, What about creative legislation. Make cultivating, growing, harvesting, transporting (even interstate), selling, buying, and possessing marijuana legal, make marijuana use illegal. All of the problems on the black-market would be solved because everything could be out in the open and in stores being taxed if people so desired. Use would still be illegal. Alcohol is heavily regulated because a case could be made for non-abuse consumption prohibiting a ban. Governments tell sellers how much to tax for it, they determine when it can be sold, where it can be sold, and to whom it can be sold. Government regulates how it can be advertised and where it can be advertised. Government does a lot so supposedly protect public health and safety. The failings can easily be pointed out, but the motives are hard to miss. As for flavor country, would you smoke marijuana if it couldn’t get to high, but was full of flavor? And, since I didn’t know this, are these added flavors like wild cherry or the difference between wine, beer, and wisky?

Mar. 30 2009 01:51 PM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

Yeah, it seemed as if people were not realizing that you were making a case for legalization with the delivery man example, ads. Don't worry. I got it though!

Mar. 30 2009 01:36 PM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

Voter,

"When tokers toke are they going for connoisseurship or are they going for the strongest, smoothest, or best bang for the buck high?"

"They do have a compelling interest to make them illegal under the guise of public health and safety, but someone could construct a compelling argument that maybe they just like the taste of Mad Dog 20/20."

Let me see if I get this straight... you're saying that the government should stay out of legislating cheap, hard liquor because someone MIGHT like it because of the taste (eventhough drinking even small quantities of it will likely lead to drunkeness). So if someone can make a compelling argument that they like smoking marijuana because of the flavor, it should be allowed too? Marijauna comes in lots of different flavors...

Mar. 30 2009 01:34 PM
ads from nyc

eva,

re: The delivery men. You are missing my point entirely.

Yes, you are correct. During prohibition of alchohol alcohol purveyors killed each other all the time. Making a market illicit always causes increases violence since only the rule of the violence is available to protect your profits. It was alcohol prohibition which brought the Italian-American mafia to prominence in U.S. organized crime just as drug prohibition is a global business worth billions which fuels civil wars in Colombia, destabilization in Mexico, and coup d'etats in Guinea-Bissau.

Is all this mayhem worth it? Simply to give us the satisfaction that someone's personal decisions to abuse drugs are ultimately illegal in addition to being harmful to themselves?

Legalizing drugs is the only solution. Many many, many more have died due to prohibition related violence than from using the drugs themselves.

One more question: If cigarettes were illegal and thus cost $100 a pack (since smuggling etc raises the price of the illegal product), would addicts rob deli's and commit petty crimes for the money to buy cigarettes?

Mar. 30 2009 01:25 PM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

The question ultimately is this: Has the creation of a huge, global black market made our children and our country any safer? Has putting the extremely lucrative business of drug production in the hands of the most brutal and unscrupulous members of our species been an acceptable cost for an unquantifiable gain? Drugs are still readily available, and we have no idea how many people would use drugs if given the opportunity to do so legally. Has turning arrested non-violent drug offenders into violent prison gang members been out-weighed by the possibility that someone avoided using a drug out of fear of the law?

Given the huge social problems that drug criminalization has created, it's easy to be anti-drug and pro-legalization.

Mar. 30 2009 01:25 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

111 Paulo, I could make the slippery slope argument there… States to regulate what kind of alcohol can be sold where ( I guess it’s usually by manufacture or alcohol content) without wholesale bans. They do have a compelling interest to make them illegal under the guise of public health and safety, but someone could construct a compelling argument that maybe they just like the taste of Mad Dog 20/20. So governments regulate access to harder things versus outright bans. In my home state, liquor can only be purchased in the state run store (and yes, they do take untraceable cash)

Mar. 30 2009 01:19 PM
eva

Voter,
Sorry, I just saw your comment.
Thanks! I get your point of view, and agree with you in large part. Just not sure where to come down on this, because we really don't know everything, and a lot of the arguments come from people with vested interests. My own perspective on cannabis (and on the medical field and pharma) has changed a lot, maybe too radically, as a result of work experiences which may not take into account the bigger picture.
Okay, now signing off.

Mar. 30 2009 01:16 PM
eva

Julie Ann,
Thanks, it's an interesting subject. I have hope that the new research they're doing on cannabis may turn out to be useful for MS patients.
Signing off, be well everyone.
eva

Mar. 30 2009 01:10 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

You know, I don’t agree with Eva and I think I could poke holes in some parts of her argument, but I do feel as if I should give credit where credit is due. She has made (to me) the most credible and convincing argument for pro-legalization. I just think we shouldn’t lose sight of the current public health and safety, not to mention money-pit issues, we have involving legalized tobacco and alcohol abuse and whether legalized marijuana wouldn’t lead us down the same path.

Mar. 30 2009 01:07 PM
Office Worker from Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Make ALL drugs legal.

You can decide what you want to say "no" to.

Mar. 30 2009 01:05 PM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

Alright, Voter, but when you responded to my earlier comment you said: "however, I’m also not in favor of living in a society full of otherwise healthy tuned out self-medicating people taking drugs to cope with normal everyday life. …" So this led me to believe that you were saying that the alternative to criminalization is a "society full of otherwise healthy tuned out... people". I was merely saying that there's no reason to believe that such a thing would be the result. If MOST people don't choose to live in an alcoholic stupor in spite of the abundance of legal alcohol, why would the demand for marijuana sky-rocket in the event of legalization? But you say that you don't think it would, so there's no need to discuss it further.

So if you want to talk about function, we can talk about function. Yes, there are lots of different kinds of alcohol produced with many different purposes in mind and with different effects on the body. I don't think you would deny though that there are types of alcoholic beverages that are made purely for people to get drunk as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Does the state have a compelling interest to make these kinds of alcoholic products illegal?

Mar. 30 2009 01:05 PM
Peter from NY

It is strange that synthetic drugs like all painkillers can be bought over the counter and a plant not. legalizing is the way to go. As a dutchman I was able to have pot, although for medical reasons, when I needed it. it is better, cheaper than prescription drugs and green.

Mar. 30 2009 01:02 PM
Julie ann from nyc

Eva I just want to say I like your comments and they are very informative, and I am glad there are non pot smokers that are interested in this subject and stand up for the rights of the people.

Mar. 30 2009 12:55 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

#95 Paulo, I didn’t make the slippery slope flood gates argument, or at least I didn’t intend to because I think it is a fairly weak unreliable and erroneous one when it comes to weed. I did make the argument in an earlier post that people who do want to drink themselves into a stupor have anything from Wild Irish Rose and Night Train to cloying sweet cocktails, PBR or party punch to get themselves there and that when it comes to alcohol, there are beverages where the vehicle (wine, whisky, or beer) isn’t just a means to an end (consuming the depressant), but the intent itself. Can the same be said for cigarettes, marijuana, or even harder drugs? Do smokers smoke menthols or flavored tobacco because they like menthol and strawberries, or are they doing it for the nicotine. When tokers toke are they going for connoisseurship or are they going for the strongest, smoothest, or best bang for the buck high? For harder drugs the argument is selfevident.

Mar. 30 2009 12:54 PM
eva

Julie Ann,

Don't sweat it, I do the same thing, and have no excuse. Hopefully I'm not representative of most non-pot-smokers. :)

I forgot to add - when we were trying to find explanations for our test results, we found several studies that suggested that pot smokers are able to detach from a range of distractions in order to focus on a singular task.
This has its plusses and minuses, as you might imagine. But it explained their excellent results on the math part of the tests we gave them, and also explains why so many downhill skiers and downhill mountain bike racers use pot so chronically. Those are activities that demand an extremely narrow focus.

The part that I find confusing is that the pot smokers I know are not exactly narrowly-focused "detail" types - they are, in large part, very good at looking at the larger picture. As a detail person who tends to get lost in the details, I find this interesting. I guess that, while they are intoxicated, they are able to focus on a singular task very well, but perhaps that allows them to detach to the larger view once the intoxication wears off.

Who knows?

Mar. 30 2009 12:47 PM
Julie ann from nyc

One more question to ponder.

When was the last time a cop needed to take down a "reefer crazed" madman?

Mar. 30 2009 12:43 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Al oof, look at it this way… Maybe marijuana in and of itself isn’t addictive, I don’t know. But maybe marijuana users are addicted, addicted to relaxing or more accurately needing a chemical depressant to relax. Eva does yoga… some people drink chamomile tea… there’re reading and hobbies… there’s also alcohol, cigarettes, and heroin. I know I’m in the minority on this issue amongst the comments here, but the same way I agree with Eva that Big Pharma has a stranglehold on this country in convincing people that being drugged up should be a way of life, I also believe that self-medicating with any substance or potentially harmful activity shouldn’t be a way of life either. As far as non-self medicating cases are concern where someone just wants a little private escape for an evening or two… to each his or her own, but I can’t readily agree with the majority that it is healthy.

Mar. 30 2009 12:43 PM
Julie ann from nyc

One more question to ponder:

When was the last time a cop needed to take a "Reefer crazed" mad man?

Mar. 30 2009 12:42 PM
Julie ann from nyc

Eva pot is not as harmful as alcohol. No one has died from marijuana. You can die from having too much alcohol. Alcohol can be deadly, pot is not.

Mar. 30 2009 12:41 PM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

BJK, your fears are warranted about the dangers of drugs, but you create the false premise that young people are not already exposed to drugs. When I was in high school, we smoked marijuana because alcohol was too hard to get. There was more than enough drugs available to keep us in a perpetual haze, and yet we didn't.

This isn't meant to say that there isn't an addiction problem, shifting this from a criminal justice issue to a public health issue isn't going to result in some huge rise in addiction rates.

Mar. 30 2009 12:38 PM
hjs from 11211

ads
i guess it was in the 1920's when alcohol was illegal

Mar. 30 2009 12:36 PM
Bill from New York

BJK: We both know marijuana didn't kill your friend and that your friend had access to what killed him, or to what he killed himself with, despite the laws against it or them. Again, there's no correlation between use and legality, so there's no indication that cases like his would explode, and with his addictive propensities and his access to what ailed him, despite its illegality, whether through an underground or legalized and regulated drug economy, the legal question for your friend is moot--except maybe not. If treatment rather than criminality were the guiding paradigm, things might be different. Surely we'd be burying fewer men and women as a result of gang violence.

Mar. 30 2009 12:36 PM
eva

#94:
"One more question to ponder:
When was the last time a Coors delivery man killed a Budweiser delivery man when they ran into each other at Super Stop and Shop making deliveries?"

But during Prohibition, didn't mobsters kill one another frequently while making alcohol deliveries? (Or more likely, while fighting over turf and money?)

I'm not advocating that anyone start smoking pot. I'm advocating that we examine whether it makes sense to continue to spend money on prohibition, on fighting a drug that is equally harmful as alcohol, which is legal.

Mar. 30 2009 12:35 PM
Julie ann from nyc

Sorry for getting too passionate, I spoke a little too harshly. What can I say? Yes Eva I hope that I am not representative for most pot smokers also. I hate the idea of anyone suffering as I have in my life because of a stupid law. My point is that many people in this world are suffering because of this. All the broken families, all the crime, all the money, and for what? Just because one day someone decided for us that this was not the right thing to do? This law was inspired by prejudice. There is no good side to this law at all.

Mar. 30 2009 12:32 PM
eva

We actually did an experiment in our human phys lab, pulling in older test subjects from the medical marijuana community and comparing their reaction times and ability to do somewhat lengthy math problems in a controlled environment against young pre-med students.
Our chronic users had been, well, chronic. They had been using for 15-20 years.
As a non-pot smoker who was not in any way an advocate for marijuana use, I was shocked by the results. On every test, the chronic smokers performed better than the young pre-meds.
When we researched possible explanations, particularly on the reaction times, we learned that a study in England had shown that chronic users doing a simulated driving test were highly aware of their level of intoxication, and were actually able to compensate for it. That is, they drove much more carefully than they would when not under the influence of marijuana.
This is obviously not the case with alcohol. (And it didn't explain their math capabilities.)
Our experiment didn't prove much, and while it didn't address alcohol use, it did strongly suggest to me that the two substances are wildly different. Of course, my ultimate drug lesson from working in health care: there is a great deal of disparity in how individuals react to different substances, whether pharmaceutical or street.

Mar. 30 2009 12:27 PM
BJK from Queens

We buried one of our friends last year, after a lifetime of drug use that started out when we were all ~ 15, 30 years ago.
He was smart, came from a 'good educated family', lacked for nothing, except an insatiable desire to climb that ladder for the next high.
I know that this is not going to convince any of the dope-smoking parents in Westchester bedrooms, but I could care less about this libertarian bullshit.
Any drug, of any type, wreaks havoc on a persons ability to think, contribute, to function, with some worse than others.

I've worked as a medicinal chemist for 18 years, so I could provide you with the studies you request, but you can actually find them yourself with some intelligent googling.

Rather, I'd like you to give me an example of one human endeavor that is 'improved' by dope smoking.

Mar. 30 2009 12:25 PM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

Voter,

The problem with this argument is that there is no direct correlation between usage and harshness of drug laws. Many countries with strict harsh drug laws have higher addiction rates compared to countries with much more lax or legalized policies.

The assumption is that legalization would "open the flood gates" and that most people would immediately become users. This ignores the fact that there are many forces that work to counter this. Interestingly enough, you actually provided the case for this. You said that you don't think most alcohol users drink to change their mood eventhough they have access to enough alcohol to alter their mood. Yet you seem to think that the majority of the population would take mood-altering drugs if they were legally allowed to. Why would the majority of alcohol users who can freely drink to the point of drunkness not do so, but the population at large would use drugs to the same end? If the legality of alcohol has not created a demand for drunkness, why would the legalization of marijuana create a market for getting high?

The same negative effects of drugs (and alcohol) you cite are the same negative effects that would keep people from being users of these drugs. Fewer and fewer people smoke cigarettes these days. Is it because of government regulation? Taxation may help to some degree, but by and large it's because people don't want the negative effects of smoking.

Mar. 30 2009 12:21 PM
ads from nyc

One more question to ponder:

When was the last time a Coors delivery man killed a Budweiser delivery man when they ran into each other at Super Stop and Shop making deliveries?

Mar. 30 2009 12:18 PM
BJK from Queens

#88 Thanks for clarifying for me what the point of the story was.

As the sane woman from the Bronx cited in her call, there is real concern among mental health professionals that among certain people, perhaps for genetic or environmental reasons, or a combination of both, fooling around with something that contains an irreversibly-binding hallucinogen may not be the smartest thing.

If dope becomes legal, thereby exposing a huge young population pool to experiment with it, do you think that's a good idea?

Mar. 30 2009 12:17 PM
Bill from New York

BJK from Queens, could you backup those claims?

Of course the guest was well-practiced. He's a spokesperson. You can imply he's mendacious, but you haven't addressed the validity of anything he's said.

"I suggest you take random polls of people in prisons ..."

Many of whom would not be there, would be contributing to our economy, and would have spared the tax payer the exorbitant cost of the law's enforcement and their arrest and processing, prosecution, and incarceration.

"...school drop-outs, and 'harder' drug rehab facilities, and ask them whether dope smoking was part of their early experimental 'regimen': you'll get all the confirmation you need."

see a post above as well as the linked Economist article for the fact that there's no correlation between legality and use. And you might just as well ask the same people about alcohol--for which, of course, there's treatment and as there would be for marijuana, though with nowhere near the need.

Mar. 30 2009 12:17 PM
ads from nyc

A relevant question from an recent oped:

"Now here's a moral question: How many Mexican police officers have to die because American parents believe that U.S. drug laws will keep their teenagers from doing something their kids may or may not do whether it is or isn't legal?"

Source - http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2009/03/14/INHQ16CJB0.DTL

Mar. 30 2009 12:16 PM
al oof from brooklyn

"The whole pro marijuana issue just seems to be one of supporting addiction and crutches for mental, emotional, or social cripples."

except marijuana isn't addictive. and for most people it's a way to relax, not a mental crutch. i think you might be fooling yourself when you say most alcohol consumption is devoid of mood changing intentions. even when people are having a glass of wine with dinner, they are aware of and usually desiring the relaxation effects of it.

the 'whole marijuana issue' also includes dealing with public policy based in racism, economic spending on prison time for people who have not done anything violent, ever, and acknowledging that the reasons that pot is -illegal- are not based on public health concerns but -are- based on the concerns of the medical, tobacco and alcohol establishment.

there are lots of listless idiots who smoke pot. but, and this might surprise you, there are a lot of listless idiots who don't smoke pot. marijuana is by and large not used for medicating unhappy lives, certainly not anymore than alcohol. and alcohol -is- highly addictive and can (and does) cause fatalities -on its own- without having to drive a car anywhere.

Mar. 30 2009 12:14 PM
hjs from 11211

BJK
the point is there are pot smokers who never ever use other drugs

Mar. 30 2009 12:08 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Excellent point Paulo. You are 100% correct, I didn’t draw a distinction between them. I am pro neither. To your final point, I say this. I am not in favor of government telling people how to live their own lives; however, I’m also not in favor of living in a society full of otherwise healthy tuned out self-medicating people taking drugs to cope with normal everyday life. …or just to stay tuned out altogether, whatever the case may be.

Mar. 30 2009 12:06 PM
eva

#82, Voter,

Okay, hopefully, Julie Ann is not representative of most pot smokers.

I do have several friends who are chronic, daily cannabis users, and it has long been a contentious issue among us. (It's not just the dependency - it's the failure to examine what is underlying the dependency that is the problem.)

But I have worked with older cancer patients who had serious problems with their appetite, and cannabis helped a good deal.
If those same patients used cannabis as some kind of "escape" WHILE they actively dealt with the disease, I would excuse it.

There is new research that points to the importance of an occasional, temporary detachment from reality. I get that from working out, but cancer patients aren't always in the position of being able to even do a simple yoga stretch.

BTW, about a decade ago, my orthopedic surgeon prescribed vicodin after a sports-related knee injury. It had no effect on my knee, but was potentially very addictive. In the end, I was able to avoid drugs and surgery simply by realigning my hip and knee through yoga. The new research shows that knee surgery is NOT more effective than physical therapy, which in my case involved yoga.

Health care as it is practiced in this country actively prevents people from taking pro-active, non-pharma, non-invasive measures to deal with pain - measures which are safe and have no side effects. We need reform.

Mar. 30 2009 12:05 PM
BJK from Queens

I was astounded that the premise of your program was actually being seriously considered.
Your guest was quick and smooth and cited one study after the other, only not the ones that are most relavent to this issue:
marijuana contains thousands of compounds that when smoked are far more dangerous than tobacco, but not one mention was made of the fact that THC, the psychoactive agent in dope, is very powerful (dependent upon dose), and little understood.
Rather than cite the well-practiced talking points of your guest, I suggest you take random polls of people in prisons, school drop-outs, and 'harder' drug rehab facilities, and ask them whether dope smoking was part of their early experimental 'regimen': you'll get all the confirmation you need.

Mar. 30 2009 11:57 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

77 Eva… to quote myself “. Alcohol poisoning kills. What differentiates alcohol from illegal drugs and cigarettes is that (other than to teens, college students, alcoholics, and apparently BL listeners) an alcoholic beverage isn’t necessarily a means to an end.” When I said that there are people (my assumed majority) that don’t look at (all) alcoholic beverages as a means to an end (meaning Wild Irish Rose isn’t equal to a single malt scotch, drinking Night Train on the front stoop isn’t equal ordering a bottle of wine at a restaurant, moon shining isn’t equal to a home artisanal/craft brewery) I meant that there are people who drink beverages that happen to be alcoholic and aren’t just out to drink flavored alcohol. That’s one of the big problems with teen drinking. Products are basically marketed to teens and alcoholics so they can get as much of the good stuff as possible without actually tasting the alcohol. As ugly as A DT is, alcoholism is uglier and whatever their justifications alcoholics are no better than drug addicts. It’s all unhealthy coping.

Mar. 30 2009 11:57 AM
Bill from New York

No. 81, "anonymous": There's no proof that marijuana's a gateway drug. The only support for that label is the post-hoc reasoning that results from its arbitrary categorization with the harder drugs you mention. Post hoc ergo propter hoc = fallacious. Indeed, it may well be that the company our laws makes marijuana keep, and the built in thrill of dabbling in something prohibited, is what makes it a gateway drug for many: you try it, wonder what's the big deal, and figure they've been lying about the harder stuff, too. Illegality is the gateway drug.

Read the posts above. Better, read this and related fact-based articles:

http://www.economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=13237193

Mar. 30 2009 11:49 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

63 Eva, I am no fan of Big Pharma… it’s one of the main things that wrong with the US healthcare system. That said… people don’t advocate going to the opium den (which were closed largely as a reaction to Asian immigration into the US) over opiate based drugs from Big Pharma to deal with pain. The same with other substances in illegal drugs that have a beneficial therapeutic use, however, people act as if there is no other viable alternative to smoking up and getting stoned. I’ll freely admit that there are therapeutic uses for substances in marijuana but if a cancer or glaucoma or AIDS patient wanted to get their hands on some weed just to tune out and not necessarily to manage their condition, I think they should be denied. Other than the failure of the war on drugs and black men in prison, the “it helps sick people” seems to be the biggest pro legalization argument… If a sick person doesn’t want the benefit without getting the high, then they shouldn’t have either. The high is what they really want. And again, there are very few if any saints in Big Pharma, but Americans don’t exactly have the safest and most responsible track record in self medication either. AA, NA, etc.

Mar. 30 2009 11:34 AM
anonymous from Nassau County

I just heard your broadcast while I was driving and it infuriated me. You've got to be kidding, laughing about parents asking their kids to get drugs for them, hiding their pot smoking in their bedroom. Substitute the word bourbon or booze or liquor or whatever. What would your attitude be if parents came home and then later that evening started drinking, in front of or away from their kids, not "socially" but to feel high? Whatever happened to role models? Marijuana, for a lot of kids, IS a gateway drug. Smoking weed becomes a way of life for some kids, and then when that high wears off, they go for cocaine, crack cocaine, pills, heroin--anything "mood enhancing" (to quote the guest). Maybe you don't know, but there is an epidemic out here on Long Island--kids using, shooting up, heroin. Just come out here and participate in an Alanon Parents Meeting, for parents of not only alcoholic children but drug addicted kids as well. Marijuana is not a joke. It's a drug. It's appalling that parents use it in their home.

Mar. 30 2009 11:34 AM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

Voter,

I think you have to draw a distinction between pro-marijuana and pro-legalization. I'm not pro-marijuana, but I am pro-legalization. And I don't understand why someone who seems to be stressing personal responsibility like you would so fervently support the continued expansion of the Nanny State to regulate our personal choices and buying habits. People should be allowed to make their own decisions (and their own mistakes). I don't like the government telling us that we can't be trusted to make our own choices.

Mar. 30 2009 11:30 AM
Julie ann from nyc

Yup high peole listen to WNYC :)

Mar. 30 2009 11:27 AM
Julie ann from nyc

You don't want to live in a world of stoners but what is worse is living in a world of prissy, close minded, stuck up, people who want to control other people's lives? When it is legalized not everyone will smoke it you fool. Besides I bet you wouldn't know when someone is high anyway. Because a marijuana high will not make you act like a fool. I am high right now and make a better argument than most of you people do. No one has the right to control what other people choose to do with their lives.

Mar. 30 2009 11:23 AM
eva

#71,

You're kidding yourself that most people don't drink for the mood alteration.

As a non-pot-smoking health care worker, I can count the total number of times I had to care for pot smokers who "had too much" - it was exactly zero.

Number of times I had to help restrain a patient who was going through alcohol DT's or who had gotten in a fight because they were drinking and it had put them into a rage, and whom we then had to stitch up? Too many to count.

Alcohol DT's... to a non-drinker, I have to admit it's pretty fascinating to watch. But really scary. Like the lawyer we had to strap into his gurney who couldn't stop with this free-associative talking. None of the words connected to make a full sentence. And yet he was known as a competent lawyer. So, alcohol is not exactly always benevolent, nor are most people motivated to drink for reasons other than "mood alteration."

Mar. 30 2009 11:21 AM
Ralph from Staten Island

To continue to arrest and jail non violent marijuana offenders is extremely short sighted. If alcoholic beverages can be taxed and regulated, then the case for pot is already made. Alcohol is the most dangerous legal substance behind guns. Any intoxicant can be dangerous but no way does pot ocme even close to the danger posed by aloohol consumption. I think that meth, cocaine and heroin are very dangerous and should not be legal. But pot? You would isolate the players of these other substances. As a matter of fact there are pharmaceuticals that are more dangerous than pot. Do you know what happens to a person high on pot when he or she is startled or faced with an emergency? Their high is blown- instantly sober. duh?

Mar. 30 2009 11:19 AM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

#59:

No, I don't want to live in a world full of stoners, but you also have no evidence whatsoever that legalization would lead to such a world. I've seen the potheads in the dorm. I've seen them today. With the drug illegal. Making it illegal certainly hasn't reduced its availability.

But what I have more of a problem with is drug cartels murdering people, turning neighborhoods into warzones, drug money funding terrorism. What's the alternative? MORE enforcement? MORE money for the war on drugs? Have we seen any sign that do anything but line the pockets of corrupt government bureaucrats?

I've got this weird little idea called capitalism. And there's this other thing called the free market. The worst you'll get from the free market is a few extra billionaires. Having an authoritarian government legislating people's behaviors and buying habits only creates a black market, and a black market just creates violence and more illegal activity.

Mar. 30 2009 11:19 AM
Ex-pat living in Mexico from Los Cabos, BCS, Mexico

I was extremely disappointed at the President's comments regarding marijuana legalization and at his decision to laugh off a subject that is clearly important to many Americans. The prohibition against marijuana does not prevent anyone who wants it from getting it; it simply fuels the economic engine of some truly dangerous groups while bleeding the American public of badly needed funds that are now going to the useless and failed war on drugs. Can't America grow up and stop demonizing a crop that has been, is and always will be sought after by its citizens? By the way, Humboldt county's finest is readily available down here and commands nearly $500 US/ounce.

Mar. 30 2009 11:17 AM
Julie ann from nyc

Only stupid people smoke pot is a moronic comment. There are many people who smoke pot and have more brains that you do. Okay Jane? People that are more successful and better than you can ever be. You would be surprised to see who smokes pot.

Mar. 30 2009 11:14 AM
eva

#59,

"Do you really want to live in a world with a bunch of stoners. I don't."

I agree, but I can tell you that would be less terrible than living in a world where so many children are on multiple prescription psychotropic meds that any deviation from their catatonic state leads to freakouts or, better yet, school shootings.

Can no one link the prevalence of school shootings to the rise in prescription meds to adolescents?

Oh, Big Pharma, I hope your shareholders are happy. You make the average pot dealer look like Mother Theresa.

Mar. 30 2009 11:11 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Al oof from BK. I see your point on mood-altering drug danger; however, the point is that these are substances people go to when they can’t deal with their own life or need a boost to “feel “ so to speak. It wasn’t about what can and cannot kill. Alcohol poisoning kills.
What differentiates alcohol from illegal drugs and cigarettes is that (other than to teens, college students, alcoholics, and apparently BL listeners) an alcoholic beverage isn’t necessarily a means to an end. I don’t sit around thinking… “I need to alter my mood, will it be vintage champagne, the single malt, or the Mad Dog?” Most people who consume alcoholic beverages do not either. I happen to drink very little because I don’t like being drunk. And I happen to believe cigarettes should be illegal because of their use by escapists and the cost to society (healthcare etc.)
The whole pro marijuana issue just seems to be one of supporting addiction and crutches for mental, emotional, or social cripples.

Mar. 30 2009 11:11 AM
julieann from nyc

Too many people are going to jail just for smoking a plant. It's retarded. Why should I let this evil government control my life? I smoke what I want, when I want. And no one is going to stop me. Same with the millions of others that smoke this plant. The funny thing about this whole marijuana argument is that the people who don't want it legalized sound like absolute morons. They have to shout to argue their points they cant go about it peacefully. They must shout their moronic words because otherwise no one would hear.

Mar. 30 2009 11:08 AM
Barry from Elmira, NY

Where to begin? Pot is called a "gateway drug". The reason this may be true at times is basically because it is illegal. Someone selling pot probably also sells meth, cocaine, and other harder drugs.
People talk about the violent Mexican cartels. Legalizing pot would put many of these people out of business overnight.
Economically, how many billions do we spend a year to enforce these unenforceable laws? Instead of this it should be legal, taxed and regulated. This would not only save billions but would generate money for taxes. This would certainly help the economy.
I'm not sure how pot was made illegal in the first place but take a look at the movie "Reefer Madness". Such propergander!

Mar. 30 2009 11:08 AM
Dickanubis from metro area

Pot should never be legalized beyond its medical uses. As a pot smoker and grower of more than thirty years I am sure that should pot become a legal crop the big tobacco companies will monopolize its cultivation adulterating it just as they have done to tobacco. I don't want Monssanto dosing my seeds so that I can only grow a single crop and then must return to them for more seeds, such as they have done to many produce farmers. I also don't want all the trace pesticides like ROUND UP that would be forced on to crop even if it wasn't necessary.
I have never profited from growing weed as I do not sell it, but I'll be damned if I let a corporate giant pluck all my buds and sell them back to me after they add in a hundred or so dangerous chems.
As far as price, I don't see it dropping much if it were legal. Again the agri-profiteers would so convolute the processing of this simple plant that a pack of lays would cost in weight pretty close to the average $20/gram weed costs now. Of course we'd have the added benefit of additional carcinogens.
Concerning the potential medical dangers, well cigarettes, booze, fast food all have an impact on latent health problems. It will need to be studied and people warned of the perils. I think from the medical evidence that exists today, we still have a recreational and possible medical plant that comes with the least hazards compared to what we normally ingest for kicks.
NO LEGALIZATION!!

Mar. 30 2009 11:07 AM
Robert

I have financial problems, and pretty much the only thing that helps is smoking pot.

Mar. 30 2009 11:06 AM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

Also... statistically, a higher percentage of the population of the United States uses or has used marijuana than places where it's either legal or marijuana laws aren't enforced.

There is no direct correlation between legality and usage. Similarly, there are many perfectly legal products sold in every supermarket, hardware store, or gas station in America that will get you high but aren't being used for those purposes because people realize how stupid it would be to use them. But if you criminalized any of them as dangerous narcotics, you'd probably see a rise in usage as a drug.

Mar. 30 2009 11:05 AM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

Can't have it both ways...de-criminalize it or do away with medicinal presriptions.

Mar. 30 2009 11:05 AM
hjs from 11211

Susan from Kingston,
the same thing that happens when someone drinks and drive (or uses a cell fone and drives) should we outlaw beer and cell fones, spend billions on police and jails cause some people can't control themselves.
you must like to pay taxes!

Mar. 30 2009 11:04 AM
eva

#41,

I take exception to your claim. Please read my comment again. I neither smoke pot nor drink. Nor do I submit myself to big pharma, which is probably the bigger dealer (see Robert's note at #28.)

I use yoga, exercise and copious helpings of Western philosophy. I can't say it's made me "right" but having worked in health care, directly with people who have been greatly harmed by the excesses of big pharma, I also disagree with your apparent faith in prescription medications. (To be fair, your quote was: "There is no redeeming effect to using these drugs that can’t be replaced with safer, synthesized pharmaceuticals.")

Have you even had to help restrain a patient who was given prescription psychotropic medications and had a bad reaction? It is heartbreaking. Frankly, I prefer that such people self-medicate, if the alternative is an industry that has only its shareholders in mind.

Sheesh.

Mar. 30 2009 11:04 AM
Bill from New York

Clark, it might have been the VW vans that triggered the whole thing. Hippies.... (kidding)

Mar. 30 2009 11:01 AM
Barry Jackson from Montclair New Jersey

Legalizing pot should be a "no brainer". People do not go up the scale from pot to hard drugs. The real issue is stopping the drug trade.

The discussion should be whether legalizing the "real drug trade" would reduce the effect of the cartels.

The drug trade is ruining northern Mexico. And it is the US's responsibility to solve that issue - and bundle it with immigration.

Mar. 30 2009 11:00 AM
C. David

I feel so guilty and ashamed when I smoke for pleasure, because it's illegal. I'm not an addict. I smoke only in my own home and bothering no one.
Grass needs to be legalized for said economic reasons, to reduce prison population, and to begin to regulate and eliminate other unwanted chemicals (meth) sometimes mixed in.
The Danes have it right.

Mar. 30 2009 11:00 AM
Kathy Yellen from Connecticut

Wow...how disappointing. Isn't there anyone out there that remembers the pot heads sitting in the corner of a dorm room smoking pot. Hooked on doing nothing, going nowhere and thinking life was best when they were so stoned that they didn't feel anything. Do we really want this for our children. Forget legalizing pot. We should be legalizing alcohol at age 19 so our children aren't so quick to turn to pot. Do you really want to live in a world with a bunch of stoners. I don't.

Mar. 30 2009 11:00 AM
julieann from nyc

I have bipolar disorder and the only thing that helps me is weed. They put me on heavy duty meds that made me gain weight and loose my hair. I went from 120 to 180 in 3 months. Finally I am down to 105 pounds. What kind of country we live in that can allow someone to destroy their lives on pharmaceutical drugs. People should have the right to choose what they want. Weed is less harmful than any drug and can be smoked safely through a vaporizer. I am sick of other people trying to control the lives of others.

Mar. 30 2009 10:59 AM
Bill from New York

What makes him annoying? That he supports an issue you don't? That's brilliant. Except your "argument" was that it should be illegal because its users are annoying, which is to say you've offered nothing ("I don't like it because I don't like it!"), which is pretty annoying. Do you have an actual position? Why do you think it shouldn't be legalized apart from your ad hominem above?

Mar. 30 2009 10:59 AM
clark

Tried it three times in High School, didn't feel a thing. Never tried again.
Grew up with parents and extended family smoking it. No big deal.
My only problem was I got strip searched at the Canadian border at the tender age of 13. My toddler cousin had her diaper checked.
Picture it, 3 VW vans coming back from camping in Newfoundland; uncles, aunts, and 3 kids. It took two to three hours for the Canadians to process us.
They didn't find anything. My Mom had an alligator clip in her purse which triggered the whole thing.
It would have saved everyone time & money if it had been legal.

Mar. 30 2009 10:59 AM
Phil M from New York City, NY

If we legalize pot, consumers would know the strength, which would help prevent some of the problems that were discussed. For instance, a caller mentioned it might incline one to mental illness: with the strength of the pot known, people could moderate their intake of THC, which would probably decrease the amount that it causes mental problems.

Mar. 30 2009 10:58 AM
Jacqueline Moss from Manhattan

The war on drugs in general has been a colossal failure and waste of money. The United States has an insatiable demand for illicit drugs. People are always going to want to do drugs. The best thing we can do is legalize, regulate, and tax drug consumption, just as we have for tobacco and alcohol (which frankly are the most common gateway drugs out there, most people who smoke weed do not go onto to experiment with harder drugs). Compared to every other drug out there, including supposedly salutory prescription drugs or vitamins, are much more dangerous than weed. Also, the war on drugs is based on racial and class stereotypes, thus never addresses the real roots of drug abuse and addiction.

Mar. 30 2009 10:57 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Nat from Brooklyn, I’m a Black man. If Black men don’t want to fill our jails, perhaps they should stop breaking the law. Just a thought. Just because racism and/or racial disparities exist in the criminal justice system that is not a justification for letting criminals go free or uncharged. Yes, they have a tougher road to hoe than white teens, but Black men really need to man-up and get their s**t together.

Mar. 30 2009 10:57 AM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ


The drug cartels would not be legitimized. They would be bankrupt. Because legal companies with government sanction would start manufacturing the drugs and undercutting them. Now, are the drug cartels dealing mostly in marijuana? Well, marijuana is the most profitable of all drugs with high profits and relatively low risk. And the question is, if marijuana were legalized, would demand for other drugs drop off?

I don't smoke marijuana. I don't think it's harmless OR good for you under most circumstances, but I also think people have the right to poison themselves if they want. Criminalizing anything creates a black market which breeds violence and poverty. Making drugs illegal hasn't made them inaccessible. It hasn't left cities without drug problems. It was easier to get pot in my high school than it was to get beer! And the cost is millions going through the prison system, money funding other illegal (and far more destructive) activities, and billions of wasted tax dollars.

Mar. 30 2009 10:56 AM
Robert

Bring back the pillory and the stocks for these annoying potheads.

Mar. 30 2009 10:56 AM
Paul from Glen Cove

When booze was legalized again [21 amendment?]
it put the illegal production out of business, and brought the price down, stopped the violence.
There will always be alcoholics, junkies, chain smokers; that is something the world cannot control.
I'm not a user, but as far as the marijuana issue - we need to divorce ourselves from the white Christian ethic [horror] of smoking weed.
We can sip from a chalice, why not toke from a splif.

Mar. 30 2009 10:56 AM
al oof from brooklyn

"OK, tax it for profit… Why not legalize heroin, cocaine, crack, GHB, off-label pill use, ecstasy, K, meth, etc and tax them to hell too. What’s the harm, eh? "

those drugs have harmful effects on their own that marijuana does not. it isn't about why people use marijuana. people have sex to alter their mood, and don't get me started on watching tv (which i do, and i -know- it alters moods, that's practically the point). but cocaine can kill you. crack can kill you. marijuana -can't-.

why not illegalize cigarettes? because believe me all those people dealing with their anxiety with cigarettes are using them to alter their mood and for no other reason.

Mar. 30 2009 10:55 AM
Henry from NYC

I agree with most of the comments here. So much money is spent on enforcing anti-marijuana laws, yet we all know how to get it without a problem. How much money can that U.S. Government earn taxing the drug? Lots of money. Illegal activity associated with Marijuana will obviously go down leaving our law enforcement to focus on actual crimes as well. We can follow the example of Amsterdam and highly regulate its use as well. The positives highly outweigh the negatives. And about health issues related to Marijuana use: Alcoholism and addiction to cigarrettes is the cause of many chronic illnesses as well. So what's the difference?

Mar. 30 2009 10:54 AM
Jane from brooklyn, ny

Pot makes you stupid! Or is it only stupid people who smoke pot?

Mar. 30 2009 10:53 AM
Chicago Listener

Thanks, Bill from New York, for your opinion. The speaker on the radio, a pot smoker, is annoying, as are all of the people [you may be one of them] who make this the central issue of their life.

Mar. 30 2009 10:53 AM
John from Brooklyn

The increasing openness to overturning prohibitions on marijuana -- including among those who do neither use nor approve of others using marijuana -- mirrors the increasing openness to overturning prohibitions on marriage equality.

It's all part of the same cultural shift.

At some point, people look around at all these outdated prohibitions and say: "This is just silly."

Mar. 30 2009 10:52 AM
Nanette from NYC

Barack Obama, January 21, 2004: "The War on Drugs has been an utter failure."

It is idiotic to continue marijuana prohibition.

I am a parent of a 20-year-old. She has been taught moderation with respect to alcohol, and she seems to use pot moderately as well (I understand from her comments).

Legalization of pot is LONG OVERDUE.

Mar. 30 2009 10:52 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Why should we change the status of marjuana just because 40% of Americans want it? What happens when someone gets high and drives? This guy is a jerk!

Mar. 30 2009 10:52 AM
Ny from NY

ps.
one of the reasons that kids use drugs is because it is easier to find pot than alcohol.. you have to get some grownup to buy booze for you and drugs are everywhere... that is another thing to consider.

Mar. 30 2009 10:51 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Wow, reading these comments from BL listeners is a little telling… Apparently everyone smokes up to tune out and drinks so they can deal. No wonder our economy and society is such dire straits; no one wants to grow up and deal with the downsides of life. And the guest keeps touting his 40% number…. That means 60%... a supermajority of sorts, is against.

Mar. 30 2009 10:51 AM
Bill from New York

Yeah! Let's ban incense, too. I love the smell of marijuana, but incense? And cigars. Cigars smell horrible. And flatulence! Down with beans!

Mar. 30 2009 10:51 AM
eva

Not a pot smoker, but am a taxpayer, and would like to see the prison situation relieved, as well as the save the money we pointlessly throw at marijuana law enforcement.

Also: interested in some of the research using cannabis to treat various neurological/muscular impairments. Unfortunately, big pharma would prefer to come up with man-made compounds, instead of exploring material we already have, and which has already been shown to be largely harmless, as evidenced by multitudes of idiot potheads who can still do things like run huge innovative companies such as Apple.

Mar. 30 2009 10:51 AM
George from Manhattan

I am sober. I haven't had a drink or drug in over 7 years. Alcohol is the most dangerous drug in our society, yet it is legal. Marijuana is a different story. I don't smoke it, but it should absolutely be legalized.

Mar. 30 2009 10:50 AM
anonymous

Would the guest be in favor of age limits on legal marijuana use?

Mar. 30 2009 10:50 AM
hjs from 11211

brian
pot can be delivered to your house!

Mar. 30 2009 10:49 AM
David from Manhattan

If you're disappointed with the President's side-stepping, write a quick note to him.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Mar. 30 2009 10:49 AM
Chris B. from Upper West Side

I have read that the Mexican cartels depend on marijuana for almost 60% of their revenue.

This is an enormous amount of money!

The plant itself is so easy to cultivate, and grows almost anywhere. There is no reason that an ounce should cost $500.

If the government legalized and sold the plant itself, prices could be brought down to 200 an ounce with an added surcharge of $50 and make billions for the state.

It's SO easy to get in NYC especially. There are countless "delivery" services that you can call and someone comes right to your door within an hour. It's time to wake up people!

Mar. 30 2009 10:49 AM
c from manhattan

I don't want it legalized because I already have problems with neighbors who smoke both cigarettes and marijuana. I don't want to have to smell anyones smoke. All smoking should be banned.

Mar. 30 2009 10:47 AM
Bill from New York

No, Chicago Listener, annoying people who smoke weed are annoying, just like annoying people who don't smoke weed (you may be one of them) are annoying.

Mar. 30 2009 10:47 AM
nat from brooklyn

A minor possession charge will disqualify a student from federal financial aide.

Legalization of Marijuana is an educational civil rights issue. Due to the racial and class disparity in Marijuana enforcement, more young black (men) are facing minor possession charges than young white teens. CDC reports for teenagers say more white teens use pot, at a 3-4% higher rate than blacks; but the enforcement disparity is similar to other racial disparity in legal enforcement.

The net effect is more young black men who need higher education the most, are harmed by the criminality of Marijuana.

Mar. 30 2009 10:47 AM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ


What the pro-marijuana groups need to do is to attach themselves to the conservatives. Democrats and liberals in general cannot legalize it because the more conservative elements in society would just say "This is just more liberal licentiousness!" So they need to link up arms with the conservative libertarian wing and the farmers, and pledge VOTES! Political parties have never met a voting constituency they weren't willing to accomodate!

Mar. 30 2009 10:47 AM
Ron

I don't smoke and don't want to. But it is a huge problem for lots of reasons for presidents, governors, members of congress, legislatures to admit having done something for which thousands spend years in jail.

Mar. 30 2009 10:46 AM
Robert from NYC

Prescribed drugs are more harmful to us than marijuana. Just watch the tv ads and listen to the "possible" side effects. People I know have had discontinue Lipitor because it caused memory loss and muscle damage. I suffered the second of these side effects and had to discontinue using it. So what does marijuana do to you?
Gives you the munchies? Uh, what else, you giggle? Oooooo, tsk tsk tsk, you giggle. Makes you act silly? May be that some folks are allergic to it's bad for them. Well, some people are allergic to peanuts inter alia and they don't eat them! Did I make my point. Marijuana should be made legal.

Mar. 30 2009 10:46 AM
Robert

This is sad. Marijuana is not going to rescue our country from its economic problems. And why would we want to build a nation on drugs? Saying marijuana is no worse than alcohol is hardly an argument for legalization.

Mar. 30 2009 10:46 AM
P from New York

If marijuana was legalized wouldn't that legitimate drug cartels who would be posed to to take advantage of the legal status? How would we prevent legalization from benefiting drug cartels?

Mar. 30 2009 10:45 AM
al oof from brooklyn

keeping marijuana illegal certainly hasn't helped curb any gang violence, eh?

Mar. 30 2009 10:45 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

OK, tax it for profit… Why not legalize heroin, cocaine, crack, GHB, off-label pill use, ecstasy, K, meth, etc and tax them to hell too. What’s the harm, eh? Unlike alcoholic beverages (of which most people consume for taste or as part of a meal and not just to get drunk and forget their troubles), these substances are used purely for mood altering affects (cigarettes included, which I also think should also be illegal.) There is no redeeming effect to using these drugs that can’t be replaced with safer, synthesized pharmaceuticals. Basically the argument is legalize drugs so people don’t have to deal with their pathetic lives? As far as it being a cash crop, I'm sure we'll use this same argument to help out the Afghani farmer.

Mar. 30 2009 10:45 AM
Bill from New York

It has to start at the state level like gay marriage. This will never happen top-down until significant moves are made from the bottom up. California could open the floodgates just by taking the leap, and after they have real economic results to show the fence-sitters, Obama (or whoever's president by then) won't have to be dismissive, indeed may have to give it serious consideration, for political expediency's sake.

Mar. 30 2009 10:44 AM
Anne from Manhattan

How would legalizing pot effect the Mexican drug wars? How much of the border wars are from pot and how much is from other drugs?

Mar. 30 2009 10:44 AM
Marsha from Upper West Side

I can't stand the smell of marijuana and don't want to have to walk by it or smell it in my building. Legalization will infringe on my quality of life. It also has an effect if one is around it and not smoking.

Mar. 30 2009 10:44 AM
Mike Phillips from Crown Heights

The thing that struck me about this is that Obama dismissed the most popular question from the public, and one that was posed thoughtfully and in good faith. In a crisis like this, we can't afford to ignore good ideas just because they might make some people uncomfortable. Read my column on this subject at http://hexedjournal.com/2009/03/26/the-solypsisyphisticate-12/.

Mar. 30 2009 10:44 AM
superf88

$500 an ounce you say? If I were presently in the business of selling pot my biggest fear would be the legalization and subsequent de-valuation of this product!

I wonder if one could identify large growers simply by reviewing the anti-legalization nonprofit donation lists...

Mar. 30 2009 10:44 AM
Nina from Manhattan

Totally agree with Mr. Nadelmann. I don't smoke pot (prefer wine), I have teenage kids, and I agree that it is less dangerous than drinking or smoking. Let's get it legalized.

Mar. 30 2009 10:44 AM
Aneece from Manhattan

I hate drugs. I've never done them.

Legalize pot already.

Mar. 30 2009 10:44 AM
rick

ps think about all the poor people in prison because of this!

Mar. 30 2009 10:43 AM
rick

you don't have to be a pot smoker to be pro legalization. it is much safer than tobacco or alcohol. also, hemp has many uses....

much of the violence in mexico is caused by the illegal drug trade.

lastly marijuana is much safer and with fewer side effects than any number of prescription drugs.

Mar. 30 2009 10:43 AM
Chicago Listener

your speaker just made the perfect case for NOT legalizing marijuana...people in straight society are worried about ruining their careers by getting busted for smoking weed.

and, anyway, i don't think any of these pro-marijuana people has a problem getting his hands on a bag of weed. they just can't shut up about the topic. which leads me to my final point...people who smoke weed are annoying.

Mar. 30 2009 10:43 AM
Nora York from manhattan

I am not a pot smoker... and I have no opinion about gateway or not... I do not think that only potheads are in favor of this.
I am strongly in favor of legalizing marijuana.
counter productive!

Mar. 30 2009 10:42 AM
Jason N. from Kalamazoo, MI

Brian!

Enough, is enough, is enough!

This is the dirtiest little secret of our private lives.

Why can't we just grow up and get over this?!

Legalize, make it safe, put filters on it and reap the taxes.

Why can't this country just grow up and get over it?!
JN

Mar. 30 2009 10:41 AM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

He could've just said that there was going to be no change in the law.

If anything, dismissing the demand of people online as nothing more than druggies looking to create a pot smokers paradise is to ignore the huge US prison population that is due largely to pointless drug laws. And in that respect, he's showing a real disconnect with the lower class minority base that helped put him in office.

The real question that nobody seems to ask in the political sphere is: Are the negative effects of individuals using drugs more serious and thus in need of greater regulation than the societal effects of drug's illegality (drug gangs, overcrowded prisons, conflict on our border)? We could immediately cure many of these problems by cutting the legs out from under these social problems.

Mar. 30 2009 10:41 AM
Nick from Atlanta, GA

It's political suicide but man this would be one of the best moves he could make. It would relieve our jails and a little on our borders. Not only that but it doesn't make sense when compared to alcohol and cigarettes.

But then again, you ask the internet.. heh

Mar. 30 2009 10:41 AM
duane

de-criminalize it

Mar. 30 2009 10:41 AM
al oof from brooklyn

brian, the way you're saying 'forget about cocaine, forget about heroine', and i have to ask, what do those drugs have in common with marijuana, aside from their being illegal? now, what does marijuana have in common with, as you said, whiskey?

Mar. 30 2009 10:40 AM
Cory from Manhattan

No question about it. The way to get our economy working again is for more people to get stoned. That will make us competitive with all those stoned Chinese and Indians taking our jobs. Yeah, right.

Mar. 30 2009 10:40 AM
anonymous

Personally, I think the idea has more merit as a measure against Mexican drug cartels than as a revenue source, though of course we're probably not about to legalize heroin so it wouldn't entirely solve that problem.

I agree that it should be left to the states to regulate.

Mar. 30 2009 10:37 AM
J. Hayes from Brooklyn

legalizing marijuana on a federal level might be asking a lot, but why not honor states decisions to legalize it. California has made this decision, yet still Federal raids on random dispensaries continue.

Mar. 30 2009 10:36 AM
Michael from Green Wood Heights, Brooklyn

The question is moot. Marijuana will not become legal any time soon because of the tobacco and pharmaceutical lobbies.

Mar. 30 2009 10:36 AM
RLewis from The Bowery

Doesn't the president have enough to worry about right now? How about we put pot up for a vote after comprehensive immigration reform passes... and right now, even that is pretty far down the priority list.

Besides if the govt gets their hands into my stash, it's sure to be a loser for me in both price and quality. Just ask republicans, govt is not the solution.

Mar. 30 2009 10:35 AM
al oof from brooklyn

yeah, it's not just about the taxes. it's about the money being spent on policing weed. what are the numbers there, how would they change? what about paying for non-violent pot offenders forced to live in prisons?

you know what we should tax (and i would have put this in the last segment, but you've moved on!)? stock transactions. a- one penny for every stock transaction would give us millions. one penny! b-perhaps such a tax might encourage people not to trade constantly, stabilizing things a bit. of course, realistically, the stock trade is the worst thing to base an economy on, but we seem to stuck with it.

Mar. 30 2009 10:35 AM
hjs from 11211

we all know why BHO made a "joke" about the pot issue. beyond that how much does it cost the tax payers to enforce the anti-pot laws and yet we all know how to get our hands on some. that's the real joke!

Mar. 30 2009 10:13 AM

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