30 Issues, Day 23: Marijuana

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Harry Levine, professor of sociology at Queens College, discusses his findings of racially-biased marijuana arrests in New York City and David Evans, executive director of Drug Free Schools Coalition, talks about New Jersey's medicinal marijuana legislation.


David Evans and Harry Levine

Comments [23]

Ant718 from The Bronx

I know many people that have had their lives ruined by alcohol which is legal and know one who has had their life ruined by Marijuana.

How many alcohol related car accidents are there in a year? How many Marijuana related accidents are there in a year?

Carry on.

Oct. 26 2009 11:01 AM
Gerald Fnord from Palos Verdes, CA

I agree with MFan at 20 super, but also a little (ε for finite but non-zero ε) with John at 11 super: privileged white kids _can_ screw up more and recover their lives better than poor black or brown kids.

Where he is mistaken is the belief that drugs' legalisation would make this worse. In their neighbourhoods, drugs are already freely available, and provide a for-almost-everyone fake alternative to the otherwise available educational and career paths. People there would be better off if the lure of selling drugs were removed, and legalisation is the only path I can see for such that does not involve our giving up our fundamental liberties (which probably wouldn't work, anyway). My suspicion is that some of the more ambitious young men there get involved in the drugs business; much better if these vicious sharks were shunted to their natural habitat: the business world.

In any event, their job prospects are not improved by a criminal record, or (to repeat) the paths we want for them having to have to compete with selling illegal drugs.

A decent society would make it easier for them to pick up their lives if they start slipping; I think feeling like you actually have a future would be better incentive to be careful than fear of a legal system that they see as hostile or uncaring-at-best.

Also, his use of the snarl-words 'egghead' and 'ivory tower' indicate that he is trying to induce a particular emotional state (fear of the out-group, resentment engendered by feelings of social inferiority) in his readers; though this is not _proof_ that he doesn't have enough reason on his side to fill up a minimal argument, such is often a good indicator.

Oct. 21 2009 11:49 AM
alys from brooklyn

The anti-legalization speaker cited research from CASA (the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse) which is well known for inflating its statistics and making invalid comparisons in its studies. Apparently they don't even engage in peer review-- a very important aspect of any sufficiently scientific research. They are headed by politicians, not scientists (and are affiliated with Columbia U by name only). While it's possible that some of the "facts" he cited may be true in some cases, they should be taken with many grains of salt.

Oct. 21 2009 11:36 AM


Oct. 21 2009 11:33 AM
Sandra from Counselor

I'm a counselor for a non-profit drug program, the addiction rate among "whites" is very high, and dysfunctional, the addiction spiral all to often started with the entry drug alcohol and marijuana.

Oct. 21 2009 11:31 AM
Mike from Inwood

While I'd agree that people who are young enough to be in school should not be smoking pot, this guy is misinformed. Pot does not cause birth defects. Why do you waste our time?

The guest also stated that Whites use pot more than Blacks. How does he know this? Survey data? Please remember that many Blacks suspect the government developed HIV to erradicate them. Perhaps there's a racial disparity in the belief that surveys are anonymous.

As for differences in arrest rates in NYC, Whites tend to buy larger quantities of pot and smoke at home, especially older pot smokers. They have professional jobs and want to minimize their risk of arrest. Take a walk through any park. Have you EVER had a White guy walk by muttering 'buds, buds, buds..." while furtively gauging your interest? Never in 25 years of living here. When you see clusters of kids smoking pot in the parks or on the streets, are they White? Very rarely. The people who smoke pot in public are the ones arrested.

I think the blatent public use is a measure of your belief that this is a serious crime. I've noticed in recent years that many people of color, as casually quoted in the media, do not even consider pot use to be drug use.

Oct. 21 2009 11:31 AM
Ted from NJ

I can say form personal experience, your about ten times as likely to do something stupid and harmful to yourself or others under the influence of alcohol. Which we all know is quite legal. The twisted logic and distorted facts of this guest make me want to scream.

Oct. 21 2009 11:29 AM

This was the worst segment I have heard so far. I came away learning absolutely nothing. These guests were not the right people to have on this segment.

Oct. 21 2009 11:27 AM

Fantastic article in NY Mag a couple weeks ago:

Marijuana is in effect legal for white people; for everyone else it's just another excuse to stop-and-frisk, lock away people for years for carrying a joint.

Regardless, hi - I am a 30-something professional, head of several small businesses, very self-motivated individual, and I light up several times a week.

Life in this city can get a little crazy. If I'm to burn one at the end of the day to clear my head, what's so wrong with that? Meanwhile as it's perfectly legal for drunken louts to wind down their day at bars, yelling in the street, I'm at home with my headphones on. ^_^

Oct. 21 2009 11:24 AM
Don from Brooklyn

Medical marijuana. A purely political copout. Thank goodness California has MDs that aren't afraid to prescribe the smoke because frankly the politicians have no backbone on this. The Netherlands have successsfully been able to regulate marijuana use without the "medical" euphamism. This country should do the same. A lot of people would be happy without the hassle and the Mexican cartel would be out of a substantial cash crop. let people grow their own!

Oct. 21 2009 11:24 AM
hjs from 11211

gosh what about freedom to choose. should the government control every part of your life?

Oct. 21 2009 11:23 AM
Dayan from UWS

Why is David Evans lying through his teeth and Brian is just letting it go by.
Marijuana hasn't killed more people like alcohol or tobacco and it doesn't cause birth defects like alcohol does.

Oct. 21 2009 11:22 AM
Sandra from Astoria, Queens

Can you anti-marijuana people watch my drink while I go out and catch a smoke?

Oct. 21 2009 11:20 AM
john from office

Mr Levine is another egghead, Ivory tower type, that would legalize drugs, and then move out of the city that they ruined. Marijuana does nothing positive for Black or Latino youth. It is a dead end. Unlike the good professor that can experiment and then brush themselves off to continue their lives.

Oct. 21 2009 11:19 AM
mozo from nyc

David Evans sounds like he is getting his info from "Reefer Madness".

Alcohol, which is of course is legal, is FAR more dangerous than pot. More violent crime is committed under the influence of booze than weed.

Oct. 21 2009 11:19 AM
Robert from NYC

Well ask him about the "approved" Rx drugs that doctors poison us with daily and how harmful they are to us. Just listen to the commercials on TV for these poisons that are approved by FDA and pharma cos. So cut the crap on marijuana being harmful and addictive.

Oct. 21 2009 11:19 AM
hjs from 11211

I assume the police want a database of photo and fingerprints (next dna) of all poor (black and hispanic) people in the city. it makes it easier to control them.

the moyor should be told pot was decimalized in NYS
POT is not addictive!!!!
parents might send their kids to rehab, that doesn't mean there is an addiction.

Oct. 21 2009 11:19 AM
Jack from Midtown

I know lots of successful (white) people who smoke Marijuana. Some smoke it more often than others. I find them annoying when they are high, but it has not affected their ability to succeed. It is a common drug, and not as addictive as other illegal/legal drugs.

Oct. 21 2009 11:18 AM
Jason from office

White crime is being ignored!

Oct. 21 2009 11:16 AM
john from office

Do you expect the police to ignore black or latino crime?

Oct. 21 2009 11:13 AM
john from office

Brian are you not going to challege anyhting this guest says. The police are just stopping innocents for no reason. Be alittle proactive here.

Oct. 21 2009 11:12 AM
lauren from NJ

this is the only reason im going out to vote for corzine, BTW. hes terrible for the environment, which is important to me, but medical marijuana / decriminalization is quite important to my husband and i.

Oct. 21 2009 11:11 AM
john from office

Brian, Marijuana is not an innocent drug. It saps you of ambition.

Oct. 21 2009 11:10 AM

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