Sunday, May 03, 2009

Quote for the day

"My guess is that criminal laws against marijuana use have become culturally untenable. At this point, if you want to maintain criminal laws against more dangerous drugs, you're better off conceding the legality of marijuana, lest the public lose respect for drug laws in general."

This is an extremely important point that people frequently miss. When children are told that little white lie, that all drugs are dangerous, they will find out the truth someday. Then they will wonder whether the whole thing is a lie. You can almost see the thought process:

"I was told that marijuana was dangerous. I tried it, and now I know it isn't very harmful. I wonder if the same applies to cocaine and heroin?"

Also, I know quite a few people who smoke marijuana on a regular basis. I could make a phone call and get marijuana in about 30 minutes if I wanted. Here is the kicker. If I wanted some cocaine or heroin, I could get it in about an hour. How? Because I'd call the person who could get me marijuana, and they could call their dealer who could almost certainly find them other drugs. In other words, marijuana is a gateway drug precisely because it is illegal. If I was given a challenge to find cocaine or heroin, with the stipulation that I couldn't use a pot-smoking intermediary, I wouldn't know where to begin.


David said...

If you really are a third year medical student you should have enough brains to understand that because cannabis has (apparently) not harmed you yet, that is no evidence on whixch to base any assumptions about the wider social damage from cannabis. The UK has reclassified cannabis as more dangerous-mainly because of the mental health issues and the persuasive arguments put forward by our national director of Mental Health. Normalisation and legalisation of cannabis would certainly lead to more extensive use. More use means more TOTAL harm, just like the tobacco/alcohol model.

Nicholas said...

This may come as a shock, but someone can be pro-legalization and not be a user. I like the following sentence, though:

"(there) is no evidence on which to base any assumptions about the wider social damage from cannabis."

This is actually a phenomenal argument for legalization! It is ridiculous to believe (as you seem to) that everything should be illegal until proven safe. I think it should be the opposite. Everything should be legal until proven dangerous.

You have no proof about the wider social damage from cannabis, so it should be legal.

Furthermore, if our benchmark for safety is low enough that alcohol is legal, then clearly marijuana should be legal. The social and health consequences of alcohol, both mental and physical, are orders of magnitude worse than pot.