Top 19 Physical, Psychological, Spiritual and Societal Reasons Marijuana Should Not be Legal

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SharperIron's picture
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"Overwhelming data exists about the harm this chemical causes"

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I don't necessarily disagree

I don't necessarily disagree with these assessments, but the author fails to differentiate between recreational use and medicinal use.  With that said, all of these same things can be attributed to alcohol as well and many can be attributed to such things as coffee.

The author also fails to identify the fact that we spend $20 billion to 42 billion a year, fighting marijuana use.  Money that is 1) borrowed in terms of a deficit spending, and 2) might be better spent on border control, mental health issues....

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Some iffy logic

By Benzio's logic, the effort many put into the legalization of driving faster than 55mph on rural interstates demonstrates that driving above 55mph is addictive.  Enjoyable and fun, yes, but....addictive?  Um, no.  Plus, marijuana is not a chemical, but the leaf of a plant with thousands of chemicals, some benign, some not.  Moreover, alcohol and tobacco combined are not the leading cause of death in the U.S. That would be the "American diet and lifestyle", and it's not even close.   Finally, when he claims that legalization tells the country that it's OK and safe, he's wrong; suicide is legal, after all, but no one is under the impression that it's safe.

I hope we can agree that whatever our position, we will be more effective when we don't make unforced errors like this.  

Now the issues over brain damage do concern me, but let's think about the things that we know cause brain damage.   Head impacts like those in football and hockey, a diet high in saturated fat, chemical exposure, and significant intoxication all cause brain damage.  Do we want government "Keeping Our Own Kids Safe" in everything?

So more or less, his 19 points boil down to one; marijuana intoxicates in such a way that brain chemistry and behavior is modified.  Now the trick for prohibition is to establish that not only is there damage, but (a) is there a strong probability of physical addiction or compulsive behavior, (b) does this addiction cause problems in excess of those caused by legal substances, and (c) can it be banned without causing more problems than are solved.  

If we don't insist on these questions being answered honestly, what we're doing is paving the way for banning football, soccer, and foods with saturated fat, all of which are linked to the same kind of brain damage that the author cites as a reason to ban marijuana.   I've never tried the stuff and don't intend to, but the author's point # 18 indicates a very real risk that we could be accomplices to the loss of liberty in any number of ways because we try to "Keep Our Own Kids Safe."

Sean Fericks's picture
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I would like to see his

I would like to see his citations.

He does have some qualifications:
"Dr. Karl Benzio is founder, executive director, and a psychiatrist at Lighthouse Network, an addiction and mental health counseling helpline; 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242). Visit www.844LIFECHANGE.org, follow him on Twitter at @drkarlb and sign up for his free daily Stepping Stones devotionals at www.844LIFECHANGE.org/stepping-stones."

However, his position may also cause some vested interest.

Either way, I don't want to smoke weed. But I do love my liberty.  When we have a nanny state, it threatens the hippies, but it can also threaten me.  That is why I am for legalization.  I love liberty, and the government does not own my body.
 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture
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Sean,

Sean,

You don't have to capitulate and legalize everything to avoid a nanny state. Somewhere, a line still has to be drawn, or else there is no purpose in having a government in the first place.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Sean Fericks's picture
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Chip,

Chip,

I agree. As far as the federal government goes, that line is drawn by our Constitution.  Where in the Constitution is the federal government granted the right to limit what consenting adults ingest? Drug law should be a state and municipality issue.

At the state level, I would still recommend avoiding laws against cannabis.  The cost of enforcement (to law enforcement and our liberties) is not worth the societal benefit.

Jim's picture
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Maps of legalized medical and recreational
Mark_Smith's picture
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What Gives Congress the Right to Regulate Marijuana?

Assuming it is imported or crosses states lines (or comes from an Indian Nation), the Commerce Clause. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3.

Sean Fericks's picture
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Jim wrote:

Jim wrote:

2 interesting articles on the environmental aspects of production (negative):

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/marijuana-pot-weed-statis...

AND

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/marijuana-weed-pot-farmin...

 

 

Jim, I think these articles mainly address illegal grows. If production were legal, perhaps it would be cleaner.

Sean Fericks's picture
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Mark_Smith wrote:

Mark_Smith wrote:

Assuming it is imported or crosses states lines (or comes from an Indian Nation), the Commerce Clause. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3.

Not the original intent of this clause.  And, of course, the federal government bans cannabis, even if it is completely sourced in your own state (or own back yard).

If you allow such a broad reading of Section 8, Clause 3, the government can regulate every aspect of our lives, and the remainder of Section 8 becomes meaningless.  

This common, but misguided reading of the Commerce Clause, is extremely destructive to the liberties we hold dear.

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The case for legalization

The case for legalization:

  • When the cost of enforcement exceeds the benefit of the prohibition, in general a law doesn't make sense. It's a "pick your battles" kind of argument. Prohibit the killer drugs like Meth an focus enforcement there
  • The Libertarian party argument. Too much government. Recent news in Georgia. I cited the bubble wrap view in another thread
  • The medicinal value or possibilities view. 
  • The control the whole process from production (see Mother Jones articles above) to distribution view. 
  • The "it's basically Prohibition all over again" view. See recent NYTimes editorial. They see it as a State not Federal government issue

Favoring legalization does not mean that someone is pro-marijuana. Never used it ... had many opportunities (turned 18 in the '60s) ... but did not

By the way, if I hear the slippery slope argument that moderate drinking = marijuana use again. I'm gonna gag!

Mark_Smith's picture
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The clear intent of the Commerce clause

Is for Congress to be able to regulate any inter-state or international commerce that they perceive a need to. So, they can require marijuana sellers to have a drug stamp so as to prove the legitimacy and safety of the product they sell. That is not ridiculous or overreach. One of the general purposes of government is to protect its citizens.

Steve Davis's picture
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Lost cause

For three years (2011-2014) I worked as an addiction therapist in the Philadelphia Prison System and now work in a clinic with opiate addicts in different stages of recovery. I do not support legalization of marijuana for recreational use but it is happening anyway whether I like it or not. I work with some pretty hardcore men, most who have done time and many smoke marijuana even while in recovery from heroin. It is the lesser of two, three or four evils. 

In my opinion and from my experience it is a waste of resources to incarcerate people for recreational use at 30k a year or more to house them. I’ve seen some of my guys released from prison only to return for possessing a couple blunts or giving a dirty urine to their probation officer. I don’t see what purpose it serves. The prison system for the most part is not rehabilitative and many learn new tricks from more experienced criminals.  

My men might stick you up to support a heroin habit but marijuana smokers generally are not out hustling and robbing to get a joint. Of course in working with these men I want to see them completely abstinent of substances. For one reason they still need a clean urine test to work although many work under the table. Prosecuting offenders for recreational marijuana use is a lost, expensive cause. Better to regulate it because it is not going away. 

Now as a Christian I have no interest in using it (again). But the arguments in the article won't persuade many. It's pretty much the same stuff trotted out with very little documentation. 

Jim's picture
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How "intrusive" our government has become
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I hope my state is the last one to legalize marijuana

So that all the unproductive potheads move  out to the legalized states.

http://news.yahoo.com/pot-seen-reason-rise-denver-homeless-175115981.html

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Couple of quick comments;

Couple of quick comments;

1.  Regarding the Commerce Clause, I'd argue it does plausibly give government the authority to regulate drugs like this--though I do concede that for the first century of the republic, this was not done.  The question in my mind is not whether it's permissible, but whether it's advisable.

2.  Regarding the environmental hit of marijuana, you're going to have huge water and fertilizer/pesticide/herbicide use no matter what, especially for that grown in deserts like California.  Dope is a thirsty plant.  Also, unless it becomes as cheap as corn, you're going to have indoor grows simply because it's so easy to walk out into a field and cut yourself some.  So I'm guessing that it'll be a greenhouse/indoors plant for a lot of growers no matter what.

So again, the legal debate is not about the church's role, or even specifically the harms of marijuana alone.  It is about weighing the harms (estimated, sure) of legalizing the weed vs. the costs of keeping it illegal.  And non-toker that I am (and allergic to it says my allergist), I'm going more and more firmly to the legalization camp.  As a youth group leader, I will be dealing with this at some point, and it'll quite frankly be nice if I can limit my interaction to asking about the smoker's motivations for getting intoxicated this way, and not have to worry about SWAT teams coming to "talk".