Marijuana legalized for personal use in Washington State

As most of you have heard, a new law just went into effect in the state of Washington legalizing marijuana not for medical use, but for personal use. As CBS News reports:

A new law is now in effect — the first of its kind in the U.S. — allowing adults to own marijuana for non-medical use.

Supporters in Seattle wasted no time celebrating. At the stroke of midnight, there were cheers as marijuana officially became legal in Washington State. [JAC: see below for photo.]

Washington voters passed the law partly because of the efforts of one well-traveled resident of the state. Rick Steves, who for 20 years has hosted his popular public television travel show, was prominent among those campaigning for legal marijuana. Steves has said, “I’ve spent a third of my adult life in Europe hanging out with people who think it’s wacky for locking up people for smoking pot.”

In a show from Amsterdam, Steves gave a preview of what could soon be coming to cities and towns in Washington. He says America should not fear. “Consumption is not going to go up a lot,” Steves said. “By every statistic, our government’s and the Dutch government’s, Americans smoke more pot than the Dutch and the Dutch have the most liberal laws on file.”

Seattle’s City Attorney Peter Holmes also pushed for the new law. He said, “All we have done with prohibition is fill our jails and to make drug dealers quite rich.”

He says legal marijuana — even with high taxes — will be cheaper than illegal marijuana. Holmes said he “absolutely” wants to put drug dealers out of business.

Now that marijuana is legal in Washington, the state is going to start collecting taxes on it. The state hopes to collect some $500 million a year.

And think of how the sales of munchies like potato chips and brownies will skyrocket!

Oh, and Rick Steves! He always struck me as a straight arrow on his t.v. show, but I’d heard that he was in favor of legalizing marijuana. I agree with him, of course: compared to drugs like tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is much less harmful, is not a gateway to stuff like heroin, and should be legalized. If we’re going to legalize alcohol, with all its health risks, then there’s no valid reason to prohibit marijuana.

Only two caveats here:

And while it is now legal for those 21 and older to buy marijuana, it is not yet actually legal to sell it. The state still has to write rules for licensing marijuana retailers.

and

But there is one catch: marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

We’ll see what the feds do, but if they’re smart they’ll leave the state alone.

Meanwhile, here’s a shot of the celebrations in Seattle yesterday:

Only kidding—it's FOG, folks!

Only kidding—it’s FOG, folks!

h/t: Al for photo

119 Comments

  1. Don
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    The NY Times today suggests the feds are gearing up to clamp down. Too bad, because if they do, they’ll only retard a change that’s surely inevitable by now.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/07/us/marijuana-initiatives-in-2-states-set-federal-officials-scrambling.html?hp

    • Brygida Berse
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      One would think that the Obama administration has more pressing concerns right now. Let’s hope that they will stop at making threatening noises.

      • Rhetoric
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        They had much more pressing issues during his first term, but still managed to crack down on pot all over the country in states where it is legal.

        I fail to see how this would be any different. Pot is still illegal at the federal level and Obama has shown zero interest in changing that.

      • NoAstronomer
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        I wouldn’t bet on it. Ed Brayton (http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches) has posted numerous examples of the feds cracking down on medicinal marijuana outlets in California.

        Mike.

      • Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        There are a lot of pressing issues which don’t appear to get much energy from on high, it’s true. But this is an issue of state vs. federal rights, and as such it’s a biggie.

        • Brygida Berse
          Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          But this is an issue of state vs. federal rights, and as such it’s a biggie.

          Well, it’s not 1963 in Alabama. What exactly is the justification for the federal government’s involvement in regulating private marijuana use? It is not a civil right issue (if anything, the ban could be seen as an invasion of citizens’ privacy). It does not involve interstate commerce. It is not a major public health concern. Why is it a federal matter at all?

          • Gary W
            Posted December 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            What exactly is the justification for the federal government’s involvement in regulating private marijuana use

            It’s a dangerous drug. Here is some information on the effects of marijuana use from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (part of the National Institutes of Health).

            The effects of marijuana intoxication include distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and (long-lasting) problems with learning and memory.

            Studies have also found other health problems associated with marijuana use: addiction (compulsive drug-seeking behavior and abuse), increased risk of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia; increased risk of heart attack; increased risk of chest and respiratory illnesses; possible increased risk of lung and other cancers (studies are mixed).

            • Posted December 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

              So?

              Alcohol and tobacco also have serious health risks associated with them. As does rock climbing, scuba diving, and chewing gum while walking.

              I would have expected a dyed-in-the-wool uber-Libertarian Randite such as you to have come down on the side of personal freedom rather than wanting to implement a regulatory nanny state that interferes with the private lives of citizens. So much for that theory. I guess you’re more of the big money “Don’t tax me, bro!” type of Libertarian, then.

              b&

              • Gary W
                Posted December 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

                So?

                I just told you. The feds have an interest in regulating marijuana because it is a dangerous drug.

                Alcohol and tobacco also have serious health risks associated with them.

                Yes, and the federal government regulates those substances also.

                I would have expected a dyed-in-the-wool uber-Libertarian Randite such as you…

                You have a long-standing habit of attributing to me beliefs and positions I have not expressed and do not hold. I’ve seen you do the same thing to many other commenters too. Try responding to what I actually write, and stop making assumptions about what I believe.

              • Ichthyic
                Posted December 9, 2012 at 2:35 am | Permalink

                I would have expected a dyed-in-the-wool uber-Libertarian Randite such as you to have come down on the side of personal freedom

                Indeed, even the Cato Institute has long argued in favor of legalization.

              • Ichthyic
                Posted December 9, 2012 at 2:37 am | Permalink

                I just told you. The feds have an interest in regulating marijuana because it is a dangerous drug

                and he responded, correctly, that it was no more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco.

                because it isn’t.

                you ignored that bit.

                you’re good at that, from what I can tell of you so far.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 9, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

                and he responded, correctly, that it was no more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. because it isn’t. you ignored that bit.

                No, I didn’t ignore it. If marijuana were legal and were consumed in much larger quantities, like alcohol and tobacco are, it would cause a lot more harm than it does currently.

            • Brygida Berse
              Posted December 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

              All those adverse effects of marijuana are negligible compared to the effects of tobacco smoking or alcohol. As a public health issue, marijuana use is not even in the same ballpark as bad dietary habits that contribute to diabetes and heart disease. And, as Ben noted, there are many other dangerous behaviors that the government does not attempt to regulate. Also, as we know from the past and current experience, prohibition in general not only doesn’t work, but it is the source of a whole host of new social problems.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

                All those adverse effects of marijuana are negligible compared to the effects of tobacco smoking or alcohol.

                Since Americans consume vastly larger quantities of tobacco and alcohol than marijuana, this isn’t terribly surprising. If marijuana was as freely available as tobacco and alcohol, and was as widely consumed as those other drugs, the adverse effects of marijuana consumption on our society would be much greater.

                As a public health issue, marijuana use is not even in the same ballpark as bad dietary habits that contribute to diabetes and heart disease.

                Another irrelevant comparison. Food is essential to life. The (relatively) free sale and consumption of food is fundamental to a free society. No one is going to accept rationing of food by the government in the interest of healthy dietary habits. None of these things apply to marijuana.

                And, as Ben noted, there are many other dangerous behaviors that the government does not attempt to regulate.

                Such as? His examples of rock climbing and scuba diving certainly don’t qualify. But again, in a free society the government cannot strictly regulate *every* dangerous activity. That obviously does not mean the government should not strictly regulate *any* dangerous activity, so this isn’t a serious argument against government regulation of marijuana, either.

              • Brygida Berse
                Posted December 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

                If marijuana was as freely available as tobacco and alcohol, and was as widely consumed as those other drugs, the adverse effects of marijuana consumption on our society would be much greater.

                And you know this how? The example of the Netherlands speaks against this prediction. They have the least restrictive drug policy in Europe and at the same time, their drug use level is among the lowest. Their enforcement is focused on fighting hard drug trafficking, not prosecuting pot smokers. In my own state (Massachusetts) consumption did not increase significantly since it was decriminalized four years ago.

                Having said that, no one is arguing that marijuana has no efects on human health. It is a drug and as such should be regulated. But that doesn’t mean that it should be made illegal and there is no reason it should be a priority for the federal government, especially when it would mean undermining state laws.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 7, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

                And you know this how? The example of the Netherlands speaks against this prediction. They have the least restrictive drug policy in Europe and at the same time, their drug use level is among the lowest.

                Even though you quoted it, I guess you missed the part where I wrote “and was as widely consumed as those other drugs.” If greater availability of marijuana resulted in *lower* use, then obviously it wouldn’t be as widely consumed as alcohol or tobacco.

                The prediction that reducing restrictions on marijuana would reduce use is counterintuitive. You certainly can’t predict it by comparing current use rates in different countries. Did marijuana use in the Netherlands increase or decrease following relaxation of its laws? Was use already increasing or decreasing at the time the laws were relaxed? Also, if you’re going to make these kinds of empirical claim, some citations to the supporting research would be nice.

                Having said that, no one is arguing that marijuana has no efects on human health. It is a drug and as such should be regulated. But that doesn’t mean that it should be made illegal and there is no reason it should be a priority for the federal government, especially when it would mean undermining state laws.

                It’s hard to identify a clear position from your comments. If you agree that marijuana should be regulated, why shouldn’t it be regulated by the federal government? The federal government regulates all food and drugs, through executive agencies like the FDA, the NIH, and the Department of Agriculture, and through federal statutes passed by congress. All states must abide by these federal laws and regulations. Or are you against federal regulation of all other drugs (and food) too, not just marijuana?

              • Brygida Berse
                Posted December 8, 2012 at 1:03 am | Permalink

                As I said before, I hope that the federal authorities will get their priorities straight.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

                I hope that the federal authorities will get their priorities straight.

                I really have no idea what that statement is supposed to mean in the context of laws and regulations regarding marijuana. Are you saying that you think that in order for the federal authorities to “get their priorities straight” they need to abandon regulation of marijuana and leave it to the states? Or what?

              • Ichthyic
                Posted December 9, 2012 at 2:38 am | Permalink

                If marijuana was as freely available as tobacco and alcohol, and was as widely consumed as those other drugs, the adverse effects of marijuana consumption on our society would be much greater.

                say, I have a wild idea! Why don’t WE TRY AND SEE.

                I already know what will happen, but I’ll be happy to see you come back here stoned and tell us yourself.

              • Ichthyic
                Posted December 9, 2012 at 2:41 am | Permalink

                hey, Gary.

                you know Holland has almost the exact same way of regulating marijuana that was just passed in WA.

                why don’t you go research how that has gone for the last 20 years and come back and let us know?

              • Gary W
                Posted December 9, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

                say, I have a wild idea! Why don’t WE TRY AND SEE.

                Because there are good reasons to think that legalizing marijuana, like legalizing other drugs that are currently prohibited, would cause a lot of harm.

                why don’t you go research how that has gone for the last 20 years and come back and let us know?

                You’re the one who wants to change the law, not me. If you think that experience in the Netherlands lends support to the legalization of marijuana, it’s up to you to make that argument. I’m not doing your research for you.

            • abrotherhoodofman
              Posted December 7, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

              Hey Gary W:

              Do you know why you’re on this planet?

              Answer: No.

              Case dismissed.

              You can have your vices, and I’ll take mine.

              See you in Hades.

  2. Posted December 7, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Colorado also passed a similar law that is required to take effect within 30 days of election certification, which should be very soon no. The other law that Washington passed was legalizing gay marriage, and the courthose opened at midnight to accommodate the long line of folks awaiting their licenses.

  3. Posted December 7, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    This is definitely a good thing; the War on Drugs is an obvious disaster. I’m certainly not the first to claim that.

    There are reasons to legalize other, more harmful drugs as well, of course. (This is basically Mike Huemer’s case for legalization.)

    The basic reason is that the government doesn’t normally put people in jail for harming themselves. Should the government throw you in jail, e.g., for dropping out of school, quitting your job, and alienating your family?

    Yes, drugs might cause you to harm other people, but harming other people is already illegal. We can just put people in jail for that. And we don’t always put people in jail for raising the probability that they’ll commit other crimes anyway.

    So even if drugs harm users, or cause those users to harm other people, that still doesn’t seem to justify putting people in jail for using them.

    • Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Indeed, unwanted pregnancy, especially amongst those still in school or not yet established in their careers, tends to cause at least as much long-term societal disfunction as many drugs. And, in many cases, equally adverse health consequences, including death. Yet I don’t see us throwing very many kids in jail for getting pregnant and dropping out of college.

      I’m sure, though, that many of those who favor prohibition would also love to similarly criminalize not just sex outside of marriage, but non-procreative sex within marriage as well. Indeed, look at all the attacks on birth control and abortion….

      Cheers,

      b&

      • Brygida Berse
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Because it is not as much about self-inflicted harm as it is about using a mind-altering substance. By experiencing an altered state of consciousness one tries to escape God’s control. There is a strong religious undertone in the opposition to recreational drugs, not unlike in the opposition to non-procreative sex. In both cases the offenders manipulate something (either their mind or their body) that belongs to God.

  4. truthspeaker
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    “And think of how the sales of munchies like potato chips and brownies will skyrocket!”

    Honestly, I don’t think we’ll see much increase in the number of people smoking. Most of the people who want to smoke weed already are. They just won’t be as paranoid about closing the curtains before they light up.

    • Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      I do predict, paradoxically, that Twinkie sales will plummet.

    • microraptor
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Is it possible that legalization of marijuana making it cheap and readily available could lead to people who are looking to get a buzz choosing it instead of some other drug that’s still illegal and has far higher affects on the body and addiction rates?

      • Spirula
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        “Legal, cheap and readlily available”.

        You mean legalizing pot will follow the path of substances like alcohol and nicotine, and become a gateway drug, right? Both are far more addictive and destructive than pot. This “concern” doesn’t make sense to me beacuse I don’t know any drinkers or smokers pining for something “more adventerous or risky” of which to partake. (And I know quite a few.)

        The gateway myth remains a myth.

        Some people will always look for something “more”, no matter what the risk. Is that worth incarcerating people by the thousands for using other “unapproved drugs”, simply because there is some unproven dangerous gateway to other more harmful substances? I find this thinking odd considering our society is willing to take that same risk for users of demonstatively addictive, yet legal, substances. It seems to suggest the whole thing nothing more than…political posturing. Health/societal well-being has nothing to do with it.

        • microraptor
          Posted December 7, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          No, I meant the opposite of a gateway drug: would having marijuana available make it a more preferable choice for consumption than an illegal, more dangerous, and more expensive drug for the people who’d be using drugs in the first place? Either way, I assume that the person would be using drugs of some type regardless of whether marijuana is legal or not, the difference is what type they’d choose to use: in hypothetical situation 1, marijuana is illegal and the person winds up using heroin as their drug of choice; in hypothetical situation 2, marijuana is legal, does the person choose the illegal, dangerous, and expensive heroin or the legal, easier to obtain, and cheaper marijuana?

          It’s like the difference between moonshine that will get you drunk but tastes like moose urine (and may or may not be mostly methanol) and a really good beer or wine- the same number of people presumable want a drink whether alcohol is legal or illegal, but if alcohol is legal, presumable more people will be drinking the beer and wine and fewer people will be drinking the moose urine.

          • John Scanlon, FCD
            Posted December 8, 2012 at 4:06 am | Permalink

            So how come anyone drinks Bourbon, hey? Explain that.

            • microraptor
              Posted December 8, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

              Because they make the mistake of reading the readers’ comments section on websites.

              • Ichthyic
                Posted December 9, 2012 at 2:42 am | Permalink

                +1

  5. Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    There are lots of parallels going on with the end of the alcohol prohibition. Back then, it was also a few states that legalized alcohol before the repeal of the 18th.

    I personally have no desire to light up, but I fully support full legalization. Indeed, I support legalization of all drugs so they can be properly regulated and taxed.

    Yes, even heroin and cocaine and the like. I’d much rather have people getting their fixes from pharmacies where the actual dosage and purity can be trusted and where a medical professional can at least have a chance at helping addicts get treatment. And I’d much rather there not be a criminally violent black market, and that Uncle Sam gets his fair share of the sales tax revenue.

    Cheers,

    b&

    • thh1859
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      What you say, Ben, makes such obvious sense:
      – No one pushes drugs;
      – Disgruntled teenagers don’t choose drugs to demonstrate rebellion;
      – Muggings and the prison population halve.

      The opposition to legalisation creates a strange alliance between drug barons and right-wingers.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Speaking from the UK. You have said it all – I couldn’t agree more.

    • Alektorophile
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      I only hope this will eventually result in more pot being legally grown in the US, and not simply in a continuing dependence on smuggled pot from south of the border. Unfortunately, a big chunk of El Narco’s profits comes from pot sold to the US market, the one reason I never considered this particular pastime as really innocuous (50’000+ dead in Mexico and counting). I have never smoked pot or ever had any interest in any drugs (alcohol excepted, drinking a good Portuguese as I type this), but still I do not see any convincing reason for the present “no tolerance” policies to continue. If nothing else, one potential major benefit of an increasing legalization policy will be that of diminishing the flow of cash into the pockets of the bloody Mexican cartels. As Porfirio Diaz, early president of Mexico once remarked, “Poor Mexico: so far from God and so close to the US”.

      • Alektorophile
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Obviously Diaz was wrong about God. Still, one can somewhat sympathize with the sentiment.

      • microraptor
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        It should make the national and state forests in Southern Oregon and Northern California safer, as well. Right now, both regions are full of hidden pot farms operated by Mexican cartels. It’s considered extremely dangerous to try going into certain regions.

    • JBlilie
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Well said, agreed all around. And do you know who else agreed with you? William F. Buckley. I bet that’s one of the few times that’s happened!

      (The guy was a pretty good writer and decent harpsichord player as well — though I generally disagreed strongly with his politics.)

    • Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      “I’d much rather have people getting their fixes from pharmacies where the actual dosage and purity can be trusted. . .” Are you serious? You trust the FDA? I suggest you do some research about the drug approval process and then get back to us.

      • Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        While there’s no doubt but that there are problems with the FDA, I trust them almost infinitely more than I would trust, say, the Sinaloa drug cartel.

        When you walk into the corner pharmacy and buy a bottle of aspirin, it doesn’t even cross your mind that it might have been cut with something else. Same thing with the Percocet you get from behind the counter with your prescription.

        At least if the popular media is to be believed, you roll the dice every time you ingest illicit narcotics.

        Today, if your dealer sells you some bad shit, you’re fucked.

        But, as of yesterday in Washington, if there’s more horse stall sweepings then marijuana in the cigarettes you buy at the corner store, you can sue said store or otherwise get them in big trouble without fear of being jailed for reporting a fraudulent activity that constitutes a significant public health hazard. That’s a huge step forward in consumer protection.

        I also note that marijuana is supposed to be fairly easy to grow. I predict that, soon, all users in Washington with even a vaguely green thumb will start growing their own, and that we’ll see small-scale growing communities becoming as popular as microbrewery communities. Just as beer aficionados swap recipes and bottles of the end product, I’m sure pot aficionados will swap seeds or cuttings (however it’s propagated) and bits of their harvests.

        And, you know what?

        There are very few home brewers who’re alcoholics, and I predict similar numbers of home growers will be addicts as well.

        Cheers,

        b&

        • JBlilie
          Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

          I’m sure you are right on the home-grown part. That was one fot he charms of Alaskan weed when it was legal.

          • JBlilie
            Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

            of the …

  6. John Scanlon, FCD
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    When use is legal, is the drug-testing industry going to have to start using a threshold based on impairment rather than detectibility?

    • Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      I hope so. Cops and other authoritarian types are going to be clamoring for the ability to blood test (and failing that, urine test) people. The logistics of that could mean cops more arbitrarily detaining people, based on observations (eye redness, perceived smells). Once test results are obtained, they’ll want some cookie-cutter thresholds to use, as per the breathalyzer procedure, even though absolute blood THC levels can correlate poorly with how “stoned” one feels.

      I have a feeling there’s a lot of pitched battles along these lines coming up. (and the need to educate law enforcement) I’m not too hopeful that sense will prevail.

      • abrotherhoodofman
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Legalization won’t prevent discrimination from occurring in the workplace. Unfortunately for many cannabis users, there are visible clues in the eyes, face coloration, and demeanor that are easily detectable by members of the corporate Gestapo, who obviously have nothing better to do, and will happily use this information to marginalize their fellow employees and thereby reduce and/or eliminate competition for possible promotions.

        Indeed, a foggy new day has dawned in the playgrounds of Corporate America, and “hung-up old Mr. Normal” (as Pete Townshend might say) has just been handed the controls to a political predator drone.

        Let the games begin!

        • truthspeaker
          Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          “Unfortunately for many cannabis users, there are visible clues in the eyes, face coloration, and demeanor ”

          Only if you’re going to work high. If you’re getting high after getting home from work, the only thing you have to worry about are employer-mandated urine tests.

          • Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

            That was my thought. Intoxication when you’re being paid to do a job is never okay.

          • abrotherhoodofman
            Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

            Jebus, man, who do you think you’re talking to? Cannabis withdrawal symptoms can be severe and blatantly obvious for some people. I don’t need you to tell me something I’ve experienced and seen with my own eyes. There is a significant lag time with marijuana in terms of its symptoms because it gets stored in the lipids and fat cells of the body – unlike alcohol which comparatively-speaking just races right through the body.

            I personally experience a significant degree of next-day depression and “Jonesing” that isn’t easily dismissed by your hand-waving argument. Even if one only partakes in the evenings after work, the long lag time of marijuana will cause a build-up in one’s system.

            Marijuana’s effects are different for different people. Don’t but into the hype you may read in High Society Magazine. Ask yourself why most cigarette smokers can’t just stop while they are at work. Because IT IS HARD, MAN!

            • John Scanlon, FCD
              Posted December 8, 2012 at 4:05 am | Permalink

              “why most cigarette smokers can’t just stop while they are at work”

              Because nicotine mimics a completely different neurotransmitter than cannabinoids do?

              You can’t argue from one to the other as if they were equivalent.

              • abrotherhoodofman
                Posted December 8, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

                And your point is that cannabinoids mimic the “no craving at work” neurotransmitter? ;)

                When I’m using cannabis, I crave it ALL the time. Just like decades ago when used to smoke a pack of cigarettes every day.

  7. missus_gumby
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Quick! Now is the time to invest in Starbucks. Their Seattle outlets are reporting an extraordinarily steep rise in sales of their double chocolate brownies.

    Chocolate bean growers worldwide have been asked to adopt emergency alert status in anticipation of a major avalanche of orders.

    News at 11.

  8. Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I did a video addressing this; essentially, we legalized gay marriage (thereby letting gay people suffer through it just like everyone else) which in turn pissed off so many of the religious bigots. Since both groups are going to suffer, we decided to legalize pot to help everyone get over their butthurt.

    You’re welcome, fellow Washingtonians. =^_^=

  9. moarscienceplz
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    ROFL!

  10. Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Rick Steves??? Say it isn’t so! If there’s one person on earth who should never get high, it’s Rick Steves. That guy is wrapped way too tight.

    • Uncle Ebeneezer
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      No way. He’s geeky (in a charming way) but pretty chill. I’ve noticed that almost every episode features him grabbing drinks with a friend at chowing down on some delicious local fare. Or ambling through a beautiful park and wandering some cobble-street alley admiring the architecture. Total stoner past-times! :)

      Seriously though, I can’t tell if he smokes. He seems a little straight and narrow for that. But I wonder why you find him tightly-wound. He crams alot of activity into his episodes, but he does so at fairly casual pace, so far as I have seen.

      • Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        There is something almost Mormon-creepy about him. I also absolutely HATE his writing, and if you listen to the sentences he crafts (yes, he writes it himself) you’ll realize why. I have obviously taken a very personal dislike to him, which you aren’t required to share and which won’t affect him one little bit. He scores very high on my Weird-in-a-Bad-Way Scale.

        • Uncle Ebeneezer
          Posted December 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          I can see the weird/Mormon vibe, though I never really noticed it before. I haven’t read his writing though I could see him being a lousy writer. Usually we are mostly just watching the show for the scenery and pay little attention to the script.

          I do like the fact that he often champions the socialized structures of countries in Scandinavia. Not that it’s real surprising to see such sentiment on PBS, but it’s refreshing to see someone openly applaud universal health care and such on tv.

          The biggest sin regarding his show however, was the other night when me and my wife went to watch 3-4 episodes we had recorded on U-verse. Sweden…yay!! We hit play and it’s Rome…ugh (Rome’s cool but we’ve seen a million Rome shows.) Netherlands…yay! Same thing. “I’m here in the streets of ROME”…ugh! All 4 episodes ended up being mislabeled and were the same episode of Rome that we didn’t want to watch.

        • JBlilie
          Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

          I really don’t care about his affect. He is doing what his customers want. His shows help get you excited about the place you are going to visit. I’ve watched them do this for many people.

          I happen to like his guides very much and I have used them both for planning and in country. His guides finally caused me to give up Michelin Green Guides for travel in France. The wirting style is fine — I’m not reading it for literary merit; but rather for information. He transmits that really well. He has the right information and, IMO, the right approach to traveling in Europe. He’s very focused on the practical end of things (and of course he has a very American-centric viewpoint).

          His guides are not perfect (by any means) but they are a huge improvement on, for instance, Let’s Go or the Insight Guides.

    • JBlilie
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      It’s how he unwraps …

    • Brygida Berse
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jE1Qs0VhHg

    • truthspeaker
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      He’s been on the board of NORML for awhile. I got a fundraising letter from him a few years back. It helps explain how he can be so calm and patient while dealing with the stresses of international travel.

  11. Rhetoric
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile, synthetic pain killers, equally as potent/addictive as heroin, remain perfectly legal.

    Only in America.

    • Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Not “only in America.” Only on Earth.

    • MadScientist
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      You mean like ketamine? It’s not legal on the streets. Same for cocaine – many hospitals have a license to procure, store, and dispense cocaine and yet the stuff is not legal on the streets.

  12. HaggisForBrains
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Only kidding—it’s FOG, folks!

    ROFL!

    …people who think it’s wacky for locking up people for smoking pot.

    So that’s why they call it wacky baccy.

  13. Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on njgarrell and commented:
    hopefully it won’t be long before the government catches on to the fact that marijuana is not harmful and legalize it on a federal level

    • Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      How do you come to the conclusion that marijuana is “not harmful?” As a former pothead I take exception to that. Anything that alters your perceptions is potentially harmful. I lost about two years of my life to marijuana – not that I minded it at the time.

      • Curt Nelson
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        Me too, only it was several years and to production line work at a processed cheese factory, not pot. It numbed the mind and was hard on the back. That was lost time for me. What a waste.

        Rick Steves is my hero. If only more people were like him.

      • Posted December 9, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        I appreciate your comment and can definitely see your point but I feel that the benefits of marijuana greatly outweigh any potential side effects.

  14. David M
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Did Carl Sagan advocate for and use mj?

    • Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Anonymously, as “Mr. X”. 420tainment.com/2010/03/carl-sagan-essay-marijuana-glad-read-2/

      • Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        oops… direct link here: http://marijuana-uses.com/mr-x/

      • Gary W
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        I wonder why Sagan wouldn’t put his name to the essay. I found the piece very atypical of his writing. It is entirely anecdotal. It reads like an account of a religious experience. Sagan doesn’t make any scientific case for legalizing or using the drug. He doesn’t even mention risks, dangers or adverse health effects. He claims in passing that there is “no physiological addiction” to the drug, but that claim is disputed in the scientific literature. He says that he doesn’t “advocate driving when high on cannabis,” but admits to driving when high himself, and describes the experience in positive terms. There’s no acknowledgment of the potential danger to himself or others from that behavior.

        • Posted December 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          You’re a youngster, ain’t cha? It was the sixties. California authorities were putting people in San Quentin for possessing pot seeds. Being in academia and being associated with pot could well mean the end of your career.

          • Gary W
            Posted December 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            That’s one possibility, although I thought the late 60s/early 70s were the height of the romanticized view of drug use in academia as benign and intellectually liberating. Perhaps Sagan was more worried about the effect on his reputation of such a poorly-argued piece of advocacy, especially the positive spin on driving while intoxicated.

        • abrotherhoodofman
          Posted December 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          I drive much better when I’m high, and I would happily submit to scientific testing to verify this claim. I’m more courteous to my fellow drivers, in nearly every respect, and I drive at the speed limit instead of like a bat out of hell.

          Now, is my reaction time slower? Perhaps, but it is one heck of a lot faster than Grandma’s or Grandpa’s, and they are still on the road, the last time I checked.

          Isaac Asimov called Carl Sagan one of the three smartest people he ever met: himself, Marvin Minsky, and Sagan.

          By the way, I’m still waiting for you to tell me why you’re on planet Earth. ;)

          • Gary W
            Posted December 8, 2012 at 2:15 am | Permalink

            I drive much better when I’m high, and I would happily submit to scientific testing to verify this claim.

            Studies have found that marijuana intoxication, like alcohol intoxication, leads to distorted perceptions, impaired coordination and difficulty thinking. The idea that you drive better when you’re high is about as plausible as the idea that you drive better when you’re drunk.

            • Lee
              Posted December 8, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

              You don’t have much experience in life do you?

              First tokers should never drive high. Some habitual users are indeed very good drivers while high as they overcompensate and effects are never overwhelming no matter how much you smoke. Nothing like being drunk.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 8, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

                Ad hominem, then unsupported claim of fact. Very impressive.

                Here’s a recent study on the question, from the British Medical Journal. The study found that:

                Drivers who consume cannabis within three hours of driving are nearly twice as likely to cause a vehicle collision as those who are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol

            • abrotherhoodofman
              Posted December 8, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

              And if I passed your scientific driving test, month after month after month, would you then cease with this inane outsider’s chatter?

              Probably not, given the fact that you’ve been acting like a Mormon missionary and preaching all over these comments.

  15. Blue Django
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Washington States goes Up In Smoke ;)

  16. JBlilie
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    That photo gave me my best laugh of the day (as a former Seattle resident for a couple of decades — and some day to be a WA retiree …)

    Thanks! :)

  17. threeflangedjavis
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    On balance, probably a good idea. However, absolutely imperative to police age limits as marijuana has been shown to permanently impair developing brains. Lowering of IQ has been shown to happen in adult users, although reversible. If I were an employer I would not be happy to have my staff indulging.

    Interestingly, marijuana’s old reputation as a gateway drug, in as much as there’s any truth to it, was probably as a consequence of the common habit of mixing in tobacco for a better burn. Apparently tobacco has been shown to enhance the effect of other drugs.

    • abrotherhoodofman
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Well thank Jebus you’re not an employer!

      • darrelle
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        I am emphatically for the legalization of drugs as described by several people above, and have been since I was a teen.

        I am also an employer and I would seriously reprimand, and very possibly fire depending on the specific circumstances, anyone who was intoxicated via pot, alcohol or any other drug while working for me. To not do so is idiotic, or perhaps merely ignorant, of any decent employer. I don’t care what people do away from work though. Fire it up, drink all you want. But you need to be sober when you show up for work.

        • JBlilie
          Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          +1

        • abrotherhoodofman
          Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          Actually, what is idiotic, is to use this kind of extremely subjective “criteria” to judge the quality of employees, rather than, oh let’s just say, some kind of OBJECTIVE, MEASURABLE performance standards. In my vast experience, however, most managers and bosses simply don’t want to work that hard, and rely instead upon the same management paradigm they use to raise their own children. Most managers are simply frustrated parents, and when these techniques don’t work on their employees, they merely compound their errors with disciplinary tactics, platitudes, and guilt trips — suitable for inflicting upon teenagers.

          Employees don’t have to be treated like juveniles. I graduated Stanford University with Distinction in mechanical engineering, baked to the gills nearly my entire senior year. Thankfully my professors were satisfied with judging the quality of my work on its own merits, rather than employing some religious-like behavioral dogma that is all-too-prevalent in the business cathedrals called corporations.

          If managers were clear about exactly what was expected of their employees, and cannabis-using workers met these expectations (or perhaps even exceeded them) then what, pray tell, is the problem?

          Defining performance standards clearly and MEASURABLY, as well as maintaining realistic schedules, is not easy work… but isn’t this why managers are paid the big bucks? No, most bosses merely wallow in their authority, and are mostly RELIEVED that they don’t have to spend their time wrestling with annoying technical details, and can instead simply attend staff meetings and report on how real motivation seems to be mysteriously absent in their own subordinates.

          Give me measurable goals not predicated upon my personal habits or upon what I choose to do with my free time, and I WILL RUN RINGS around Mister Goody-Two-Shoes in terms of job performance. I can assure you of that.

          And we wonder why we’re not competitive anymore. Well, it’s because THERE IS NO REAL COMPETITION in corporate America. Just a bunch of subjective, parental-type nagging and blatant cronyism that passes for “modern” management.

          I’ll hold my own in any fair contest — marijuana or not.

          • darrelle
            Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

            I’m sorry if you have had a bad experience, and much of what you complain about regarding managers is definitely true. But, you are fooling yourself if you think that any significant percentage of people can function as well when they are high as when they are sober.

            The data is hugely against that claim, and overwhelmingly shows that peoples’ motor skills, reasoning abilities and judgement are worse when under the influence. I’ve got better things to do, and less risky legally, than experiment to see if an employee happens to be a freak outlier that can function as well at work when high as when sober.

            • abrotherhoodofman
              Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

              Well perhaps you would be so kind as to cite these unbiased studies, so that I may judge the data for myself.

              I could use some entertainment right about now.

              • darrelle
                Posted December 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

                Oh I see, how silly of me. That pot impairs people is all a lie pushed by a giant conspiracy that includes myself and the science community, as well as the government and big business.

                The drug war is certainly a farce, and pot is certainly no worse than alcohol, but what you imply is ridiculous, and you are fooling yourself. Aside from scientific studies I also have plenty of personal experience to go by.

        • Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

          Absolutely.

  18. Posted December 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    “Supporters in Seattle wasted no time celebrating. At the stroke of midnight, there were cheers…”

    But the *real* partying didn’t begin until 4:20. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/420_(cannabis_culture) )

  19. Hempenstein
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Check this recent story about a kidney dialysis company, DaVita, that has allegedly been raping Medicare to the tune of 100’s of millions. And note the quote on why it hasn’t been pursued: “The U.S. Department of Justice simply doesn’t have the people.”

    If they don’t have sufficient manpower to chase an $800M scam, it’s hard to imagine how they’ll have enough to chase weed smokers.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure they’d be happy to prioritize.

    • Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      The feds don’t have enough money to “chase weed smokers,” and that’s why they don’t do it. They also aren’t planning to do it. This story is about the law. It’s about the fact that states can’t just decide that things that are illegal on a federal level are okay with them. That’s not how our country works, and it’s important to stamp this out. This would be the case no matter what the issue.

    • MadScientist
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      The whole pharmaceutical and health insurance cartel in the USA is screwing everyone over. Perhaps it’s most obvious to people who live near the border with Canada: drugs are typically a hell of a lot cheaper over the border even when they’re not subsidized by the Canadian government. The USA allows the cartels to screw over the citizens. We have one of the world’s most expensive health insurance rates and yet get the worst value for the money. Collectively, the Germans probably pay as much as we do for health care (rather than health insurance) and folks there don’t worry about whether they can afford their doctors or their medicine because the state pays for it all. Europe has much cheaper drugs as well; they’ve fined the cartels *billions* of dollars in the past 10 years and continue to fight them. In the USA all we ever hear is the lame non-sequitur: “medical research costs a lot of money – don’t you want the *best* care?”

  20. Barbara
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    As a life-long non-user of marijuana, I eagerly await legalization. Why? Illegal growers inflict severe, though localized, harm to site in our Pacific Northwest forests. Illegal grows seem to be concentrated in places set aside for their ecological importance, such as Research Natural Areas, Areas of Critical Ecological Concern, when those places are a little less accessible than regularly logged areas.

    And then there’s the risk to us botanists! A friend was shot at — just a (successful) warning shot to haze him off. Last summer we had to approach two study sites by round about routes to avoid known marijuana grows.

    Everyone involved knows that the only way to get all the grows out of the woods is legalization. (And the growers will learn some unhappy lessons in economics when/if it happens.)

  21. Jiten
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m all for legalisation of all drugs. Have you seen what keeping cocaine illegal has done to Colombia and Mexico? Personally I’m not interested in doing any drugs as I don’t want to damage my brain. I’m happy to occasionally have some alcohol.

  22. MadScientist
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    How will the federal agencies react? Well, it doesn’t take much imagination. In the state of California it was actually legal to sell dope for medical use and yet the dope shops were raided by federal agents and the owners harassed and prosecuted. The federal agencies clearly do not respect the sovereignty of the states. So that’s not “one small catch”, that’s one hell of a blockade preventing Washington from collecting taxes on dope. The state has got to uphold its sovereignty, even if it means arresting and imprisoning federal agents who claim they’re “just doin’ what I wuz told”.

    • Gary W
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      The federal agencies clearly do not respect the sovereignty of the states.

      Why does “respecting the sovereignty of the states” preclude the federal government from regulating drugs? And if it does, why doesn’t it also preclude the feds from regulating food? Are you against federal regulation of food and drugs entirely (e.g. the FDA), or just federal regulation of marijuana specifically?

  23. Gary W
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    If we’re going to legalize alcohol, with all its health risks, then there’s no valid reason to prohibit marijuana.

    But alcohol has been legal for centuries and is deeply entrenched in our culture and economy. That would make prohibition very difficult. If it were not so historically entrenched, I think it would either be prohibited or subject to much stricter controls on production, distribution, sales and possession.

    The general trend over the last few decades has been to make alcohol and tobacco harder to obtain and consume, not easier — higher taxes on sales, higher fees for liquor licenses, harsher penalties for illegal sales, stricter drunk-driving laws, expanded prohibitions on smoking in public areas, including privately-owned ones like restaurants and movie theaters. If the law is to be relaxed to allow some legal use of marijuana, I think the drug should (and will) still be very strictly regulated.

  24. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    compared to drugs like tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is much less harmful,

    I think the jury is still out on that one. It is harmful for fetuses and children before 18, so it shouldn’t be romantizised either.

    It is habit-forming in some, and impairs intelligence in all before 18. “It was found that the persistent, dependent use of marijuana before age 18 showed lasting harm to a person’s intelligence, attention and memory. Quitting cannabis did not appear to reverse the loss.”

    Rather, alcohol and especially nicotine is under-regulated. (See Gary W’s comment above.)

    is not a gateway to stuff like heroin,

    That is still debated. Use correlates to tobacco smoking (well, duh!) and that in turn to heavier drugs. I think there is an established correlation, if not a gateway, between marijuana and non-tobacco drugs.

    It is better for population health if it is not used.

    So yeah, a ban seem appropriate as many nations isn’t using it, if a ban can be enforced. If not, something like tobacco regulation and its packets labeled with all its adverse effects.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      “It is harmful for fetuses and children before 18″ especially, and as smoking for all. [Naturally.]

  25. ah58
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Hostess went out of business too soon. Just think of the massive new market for twinkies and hohos that just opened up.

  26. Am
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    As a substance abuse counselor I have to disagree that pot is NOT a gateway drug. If u were around pot users u would likely have a different opinion of this drug. It IS a gateway drug

  27. Diane G.
    Posted December 8, 2012 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    sub

  28. Posted December 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    For being such a science oriented, sufficiently liberal, and over-all skeptic based site, I’m somewhat surprised by the large amounts of ignorant comments attacking marijuana, of all things.

    I didn’t count, but I hope most of these were done by only a few commenters.

    I mean, come on. Many are arguing non-controversial things such as claims that marijuana is more harmful than tobacco and alcohol. These shouldn’t even merit a defense. These are so out of line with other aspects of this site–and science–that I first assumed people were trolling.

    Obviously it’s more harmful for a person to possess a bag of weed or smoke a joint then it is to send them to jail.

    Oh, and for those against legalization etc. etc., I suggest you drug test your family members and their children, then send the ones that don’t pass to jail. (It’s highly statistically improbable that everyone will pass. Even if you are from a “good” family.) If you support ruining millions of lives each year (850,000 marijuana arrests + family members suffering + society suffering from loss of skills, financial loss, school expulsions, etc.), then you better hold your family up to the same standards. What are you afraid of?

    This is ridiculous.

    • Gary W
      Posted December 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      For being such a science oriented, sufficiently liberal, and over-all skeptic based site, I’m somewhat surprised by the large amounts of ignorant comments attacking marijuana, of all things.

      I’m surprised at the lack of skepticism regarding claims that legalizing marijuana would be beneficial, and the lack of evidence presented in support of that claim.

      I mean, come on. Many are arguing non-controversial things such as claims that marijuana is more harmful than tobacco and alcohol.

      I haven’t seen anyone arguing that marijuana is more harmful than tobacco or alcohol. I agree with Torbjorn that the evidence is inconclusive. Even if marijuana is less harmful than those other drugs, that doesn’t mean legalizing it would be justified.

      You also seem to have a grossly distorted view of marijuana and the criminal justice system. The police target dealers, especially the ones who try to sell dope to minors, not adult recreational users. How many people are in jail for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal consumption?

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        [I haven’t seen anyone arguing that marijuana is more harmful than tobacco or alcohol. I agree with Torbjorn that the evidence is inconclusive.]

        You’ve suggested many times, that if legal, it would be much more harmful. For example, you have used statements like this, “If marijuana was as freely available as tobacco and alcohol, and was as widely consumed as those other drugs, the adverse effects of marijuana consumption on our society would be much greater.”

        Oh really? Simple Google search finds this report by the sentencing project: http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/dp_waronmarijuana.pdf

        And yes, there are loads more where that came from.

        You seem to have a personal vendetta against the drug. You reply to nearly ever post that favors legalization. What’s the driving force here? Do you have a personal connection to law enforcement?

        • Gary W
          Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

          You’ve suggested many times, that if legal, it would be much more harmful.

          If marijuana were legalized, marijuana use would likely increase. Greater use of marijuana would result in greater harm from marijuana. As reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, harm from marijuana consumption includes addiction, depression, schizophrenia, learning and memory problems, heart attack, chest and respiratory illnesses and driving while intoxicated.

          Oh really? Simple Google search finds this report by the sentencing project:

          I’m not sure why you cited that report, since it doesn’t seem to say anything about the harm caused by marijuana consumption. It’s about marijuana and the criminal justice system. And it’s a typical example of the grossly misleading use of statistics, because it lumps together different kinds of marijuana offense, and marijuana offenses plus other kinds of offense.

          The reality, as reported by the Obama Administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, is that only a vanishingly small fraction of the prison population is comprised of offenders who were incarcerated for marijuana possession alone (0.7% of state prisoners), and an even smaller share for first-time marijuana possession alone (0.3% of state prisoners).

          Unless he flaunts his illegal habit in public places (where any kind of smoking is generally prohibited anyway), the probability that a casual marijuana user will be arrested for marijuana possession is extremely low. In the unlikely event that he is arrested, he will almost certainly not spend any time in jail. The overwhelmingly likely outcome is a plea bargain in which the charge is dropped or replaced with a civil offense (comparable to a traffic ticket) if the offender agrees to a light non-custodial penalty, usually some combination of a fine, community service and enrollment in a drug treatment program.

          Here’s how the ONDCP summarizes the situation:

          The overwhelming majority of people incarcerated for marijuana offenses are not occasional, casual, or firsttime users. Rather, they are criminals who have been found guilty of trafficking, growing, manufacturing, selling, or distributing the drug, or who were convicted of multiple offenses that happened to include a marijuana charge. Seldom does anyone in this country go to prison for nothing more than smoking pot.

          • Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            You’ve suggested many times, that if legal, it would be much more harmful.

            [If marijuana were legalized, marijuana use would likely increase. Greater use of marijuana would result in greater harm from marijuana. As reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, harm from marijuana consumption includes addiction, depression, schizophrenia, learning and memory problems, heart attack, chest and respiratory illnesses and driving while intoxicated.]

            Actually, you said it again! Legalization implies more harm!
            NIDA? Really? An organization dedicated to marijuana and drug prohibition. NIDA doing a study is like GSK saying their new anti-psychotic is the best. Duh, that’s their goal. Remember the MDMA controversy?
            (Ricaurte, George; Yuan, J; Hatzidimitriou, G; Cord, BJ; McCann, UD (2002). “Severe Dopaminergic Neurotoxicity in Primates After a Common Recreational Dose Regimen of MDMA (‘Ecstasy’)”. Science 297 (5590): 2260–2263. doi:10.1126/science.1074501. PMID 12351788. (Retracted) )
            In fact, NIDA is the sole producer for research marijuana. And it’s widely known to be terrible. Not to mention things like, they control who gets it. (hint: their pals)

            [And it’s a typical example of the grossly misleading use of statistics, because it lumps together different kinds of marijuana offense, and marijuana offenses plus other kinds of offense.]

            It specifically breaks offenses apart! Are you serious? It’s on nearly every single page. Wow. 16 or 22 or 23 or essentially every page. 24, 26, 28, etc., all over.

            You go on to cite reports from the National Control Policy! That’s what it is, control! They don’t hide that from you.

            I didn’t cite anything about the harm, because it’s common knowledge that the ones you listed are time and again shown not to be true, poorly-linked, gross exaggerations, and often, flat-out lies.

            Who knew that drugs faced propaganda?

            Ok fine, if I must. Here is one example:

            http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/4/e000774.full

            Results: There was no stepped categorical distinction in harm between the different legal and illegal substances. Heroin was viewed as the most harmful, and cannabis the least harmful of the substances studied. Alcohol was ranked as the fourth most harmful substance, with alcohol, nicotine and volatile solvents being viewed as more harmful than some class A drugs.

            PS: You ignored this, “You seem to have a personal vendetta against the drug. You reply to nearly ever post that favors legalization. What’s the driving force here? Do you have a personal connection to law enforcement?”

            So I’ll ask it again.

            • Gary W
              Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

              Actually, you said it again! Legalization implies more harm!

              Yes, legalization does imply more harm, for the reasons I just explained.

              NIDA? Really?

              Yes, NIDA. Really. It’s part of the National Institutes of Health. If you think the studies cited by the government showing the dangers of marijuana are seriously flawed, you’re welcome to try and refute them. Good luck.

              It specifically breaks offenses apart!

              No it doesn’t. On the very first chart, for example, it lumps together all marijuana arrests. It fails to distinguish simple possession, possession of large amount, possession with intent to sell/distribute, selling, selling to minor, selling near a school, trafficking, cultivation, importing, delivery, possession of paraphernalia, manufacture of paraphernalia, and more.

              In addition, it fails to distinguish people arrested for possession only from people arrested for multiple offenses that include a possession offence. This inflates the count of possession arrests to make it look like many more people are being arrested for simple possession than is actually true. It’s a classic case of lying with statistics.

              Ok fine, if I must. Here is one example: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/4/e000774.full

              I guess you missed the part where the authors of that paper write that the reason for their low ranking of cannabis is that they failed to consult toxicologists and pharmacists, that at the time of their survey “high potency cannabis was not yet widespread in Scotland,” and that “individuals who misuse cannabis present less frequently requesting help.” In other words, their study suffers from a series of flaws that have the effect of understating the risks of cannabis.

              You seem to have a personal vendetta against the drug.

              I have no idea why you think failing to be convinced that marijuana legalization would be a good idea constitutes a vendetta against the drug.

              • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

                Yes, NIDA. Really. It’s part of the National Institutes of Health.

                NIH is more relaxed with drug research than than NIDA.

                For a flaw, I’d say, limiting research is certainly a major flaw.

                http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/health/policy/19marijuana.html?_r=0

                Here’s a quote:

                “As the National Institute on Drug Abuse, our focus is primarily on the negative consequences of marijuana use,” said Shirley Simson, a spokeswoman for the drug abuse institute, known as NIDA. “We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”

                They state their intent rather openly.

                [No it doesn’t. On the very first chart, for example, it lumps together all marijuana arrests. It fails to distinguish simple possession, possession of large amount, possession with intent to sell/distribute, selling, selling to minor, selling near a school, trafficking, cultivation, importing, delivery, possession of paraphernalia, manufacture of paraphernalia, and more.]

                Those statistics aren’t even measured, you couldn’t do that study. And it does break down to simple possession and possession of a large amount and intent. That’s where they split up below/above felony. Go past one chart, it breaks down into more categories. Furthermore, you get into state laws, and those greatly vary.

                Then complaining that it doesn’t look at higher grades. Look at what is available from NIDA, very low grade. They limit research.

                Here’s another harm study:

                Wayne Hall
                Psychoactive drugs of misuse: rationalising the irrational
                The Lancet, Volume 369, Issue 9566, 24–30 March 2007, Page 972

                The authors note: For example, cannabis is commonly smoked as a mixture with tobacco, which might have raised its scores for physical harm and dependence, among other factors.

                You say this:
                “You seem to have a personal vendetta against the drug.

                [I have no idea why you think failing to be convinced that marijuana legalization would be a good idea constitutes a vendetta against the drug.]”

                To this question:

                You seem to have a personal vendetta against the drug. You reply to nearly ever post that favors legalization. What’s the driving force here? Do you have a personal connection to law enforcement? Or some prohibition effort (drug abuse research (NIDA) etc.)?

                You aren’t merely, “failing to be convinced that marijuana legalization would be a good idea.”

                As I stated, “you have responded to nearly every comment that supports it.”
                There’s clearly a determination factor. I still suspect you are part of some prohibition effort. As you didn’t answer either question both times.

                Nor did you answer any of the questions presented. This is the second time you haven’t answered or even denied it. I guess we have our answer.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

                For a flaw, I’d say, limiting research is certainly a major flaw.

                They’re not “limiting research.” Their charter is drug abuse, not drug benefits. The fact that marijuana may have certain medical benefits does not mean it isn’t a dangerous drug. Morphine has clear medical benefits, but it’s also very dangerous. The dangers of marijuana have been documented by NIDA and elsewhere.

                Those statistics aren’t even measured, you couldn’t do that study. And it does break down to simple possession and possession of a large amount and intent. That’s where they split up below/above felony. Go past one chart, it breaks down into more categories. Furthermore, you get into state laws, and those greatly vary.

                No, it doesn’t break them down. Any arrest that includes possession is included in the possession category, whether possession was the only offense or not. So the possession category includes arrests for much more serious offenses that happened to also involve a possession offence. It’s intentionally misleading.

                The conviction statistics are even more misleading. I guess you don’t know anything about how plea-bargaining works. In a typical case, an offender is arrested for and charged with, for example, possession with intent to sell, but prosecutors offer to reduce the charge to simple possession if the offender agrees to plead guilty to the lesser charge. The offender takes the deal rather than risk a jury trial on the more serious charge, and his official crime is recorded as simple possession. But his true crime was the more serious offense of possession with intent to sell. In this way, crime statistics can exaggerate the prevalence of lesser crimes and conceal the prevalence of more serious ones. Political advocacy organizations like the Sentencing Project exploit this kind of practise to advance their agenda by creating the false impression that lots of people are being incarcerated for minor drug crimes. And people like you fall for their scam.

                This is the second time you haven’t answered or even denied it. I guess we have our answer.

                It would be a mistake to interpret silence as anything but that. I tend not to answer irrelevant questions.

              • Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

                Not sure how you don’t see they limit research. They are the only ones who grow marijuana for research. They decide who gets a grant. Deciding only those who show negative conclusions is limiting.
                Again, NY Times explained several ways how they limit.

                It would be a mistake to interpret silence as anything but that. I tend not to answer irrelevant questions.

                There’s a reason why when someone who is researching a drug for Pfizer, they are supposed to state any relations to the company.

                It’s simple transparency. But I guess this goes with the flow of the rest of what you’ve claimed.

  29. Launcher
    Posted December 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    With the marijuana and gay marriage initiative votes, I was definitely proud to be a Washingtonian on Election Day this year, even as a non-smoking straight man!

    The University of Washington did their due diligence this week and reminded students and staff that the campus is still a drug-free area and that employees involved in certain types of research (or required to undergo drug testing) are obligated to follow federal law. But while I haven’t ‘scented’ an increase in public lighting-ups along “The Ave” (adjacent to the UW campus), it’s only been a few days…


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29,478 other followers

%d bloggers like this: