Cross posted from one of my other sites where a bunch of libertarians are acting all huffy and puffy about my disagreement about pot, Ron Paul, and the likes.
I am giving my counter argument to legalization and I am giving my endorsement to the war on drugs.
Libertarians decry any sort of law stopping drug use, or in some cases they will relent on major drugs and then try comparisons to alcohol for lesser drugs.
They are wrong on all counts.
Drugs are tested if for potential use for medicine, and discarded if not usable, and those drugs we have found, over decades and centuries, to be addictive have been banned.
But first let me use libertarian ideals here to show my argument. "When your fist hits my face" is one of the most common arguments used. I think that they are partially right. For example if I fired a gun into the air I am responsible for when/if a bullet hits property or a person. If a lack of a law over this shooting exists then if many people are shooting guns in the air (say 4th of July) then who knows who is shooting the fatal bullet? Or worse what if I deny it was my bullet that did a killing to avoid responsibility?
We ban activities which CAN result in serious harm or death. We even ban it if it can result in property damages or violations of civil rights. The extent that we ban usually has to do with the potential harm and the frequency in which the crime occurs. Carrying a gun into a bank is an increase in the level of danger because many times criminals can, and do, accidentally fire their gun and wound or kill someone. Thus even if they had the gun concealed the whole time we typically throw a gun charge on top of a bank robbery if a gun was involved.
These examples abound where potential harm is indeed an issue. Speeding, unsafe driving, drunk driving, intoxicated driving and driving without a license. I cannot drive a tanker of fuel because I do not have a hazmat endorsement. This is not to say I am unsafe, or that I cannot take responsibility for my actions... it is a sign of the potential across all persons and all statistics.
It is not "Your rights end where my face begins" so much as "your rights are restricted where as they have the potential to touch my face or my rights".
This is the libertarian ideal being used against libertarian desires for drugs. The right of safety.
Now libertarians will say that certain drugs are harmless, most often commenting about Marijuana, aka weed, pot, and reefer. They are wrong as I intend to prove.
The world experimented with drugs in an uncontrolled manner for a very long time. This included Opiates in China, Cocaine and like products in S. America, and Peyote in N. America. Wars have been fought over for access to drugs (or to stop access) and drugs have been an issue for many nations. In fact some of the earliest known laws against pot was from Islamic nations, where they fought a drug war to stop Hashish smoking.
England was the first to regulate drugs after the outright ban by Islam's Sharia Law. A method of identifying poisons and drugs and rules over both were enacted. This resulted in laws on opiates which saved hundreds if not thousands of children's lives in England as a side effect.
Later a scientific study was done on opiates and resulted in professional understanding of many issues with opiates.
Yes I am starting mostly with opium, the example is strong for my purposes.
Various nations started an effort to ban opium or to regulate it. This included many western and eastern nations. China tried to stop English ships from bringing opium, but the merchants who liked an addicted market managed to get not one, but two wars to stop this. China suffered greatly from the wars from England. China cracked down hard under Mao to stop Opium use, killing dealers, forcing women addicts into prostitution, and otherwise doing whatever he had to do to end opium usage.
But we are going to be talking about Marijuana.
I know what the libertarians say. "I can go three days between hits", "I can quit when I want to", "it has no effect upon me"... The examples abound. Yet Cannabis is not restricted to just US experiences. Thus I have a wide range of statistics, examples, and studies to utilize to prove my case.
Marijuana is addicting to SOME people, in fact my own biological father was one of those people. He was an addict for at least 25 years before quitting. He is now a drug addict recovery nurse and he speaks of the dangers of marijuana.
Usually now I get hissed at by the pro-pot crowd that I have a bone in this fight, and this invalidates me. Does a soldier who has a wound get invalidated from talking of combat? Does a doctor who has a dad with a broken arm not get to talk about broken bones? I think not. This is not personal to me, it is professional. I never knew him well and he was almost never a part of my life.
Now that I am past that nonsense we continue.
Pot is addictive for some, as I will prove below, and is a gateway drug for some as well. Pot has caused people to accidentally kill, it has caused a lot of theft and harm. It is not a drug that we can take lightly. Oh sure there are those who have no harmful effects, but as I pointed out in my intro we do not care about them, we care about those who do have the bad effects.
There are those who also complain about alcohol and tobacco. I address those issues below. Needless to say I am prepared for this argument.
So pot has been shown, in studies, to have effects upon the intelligence of people. It also has been shown to make some people have paranoia, schizophrenia, anxiety, and to ramble on endlessly (ok I inserted the last one!). Pot has been shown in studies to also lead people to experiment with harder drugs. These are scientific facts. UNAVOIDABLE FACTS. I dare ANYONE to contest this as this is an open trap. I am declaring this a trap. I love my traps, this is where you put your reputation up on stakes and I then go and crush you for your entering my trap. I usually never declare a trap. This is a trap.
Anyhow I can attest at many levels these facts on a personal basis. I grew up with pot around me. I knew where a grower (a family friend, of which member of my family I will not say) lived and grew 60+ plants. I have lived with (temporarily to be sure) three different SEVERE pot addicts. I have been a medical transport officer out of the Crisis Triage Center at Providence Hospital (before the State of Oregon withdrew funds) and transported people who had drug problems to programs and hospitals. I have been a security officer at Housing Authority of Portland housing projects (Unthank Plaza, Rosembaum, Grace Peck, Hollywood East to name a few) where I saw low income housing being used as drug factories and as drug dens.
I am not a doctor, nurse, or EMT, but other than that I am well experienced in this drug, this poison, and what it does. I do have a Corrections Officer Degree which did include 2 credit hours on Drugs and Narcotics. Poison by the way is a historic term and not an emotional one. I know this drug like few others on those basis alone. But I have studied this drug, I have a skill in statistics and I studied it from that standpoint. In the last 14 years of online activism I have made it a crusade of mine (much like libertarians might crusade against wars). I am not new in this topic, nor am I unskilled. This is my effort to inform on my experience and knowledge in this field. I am establishing my credentials here.
So as a statistician words have meaning. None, few, some, many, most, all... These words are in proper order.
SOME people have addiction problems.
FEW people have allergy problems
MOST people have a temporary buzz
MOST people get hungry (or an increase in the effect of taste)
MOST people have a short-term brain memory effect
SOME people have longterm memory issues
SOME people will have paranoia, anxiety, and other mental problems
FEW people will have no effects at all (including a deep resistance to 'getting high' on pot)
MANY will try harder drugs (sample)
SOME will go into harder drugs (addiction)
SOME will commit crimes to continue their use (not possession or other pure drug crimes, but assaults or theft type crimes)
MANY can quit when desired
FEW cannot quit when desired
MOST will have lung effects if only short-term in nature similar to smoking
SOME will have lung effects similar to long-term smoking
FEW will have cancers or other major health issues resulting in death
FEW will be involved in an accident that results in a fatality or major injury
MANY will be involved in a minor accident (reported or not)
This is how it is. These are statistics talking. These are facts.
We all (ok most of us, if in Portland Oregon) have met a serious addict (statistically, though some may not have interacted with said addict) of marijuana. I have met three. One was always talking about government conspiracies, another loved to talk for an hour how his copy machine could be converted to take a picture of the whole skyline, and another was 'not involved in illegal activity at all' as he sold Trazadone, Vicodin, and Percacet to neighbors... All three had 'medical marijuana cards' but their smoking was not for pain or another medical issue. These people needed three joints a day to keep going. They always claimed they could stop but would never ever miss the time to light up.
I also transported people who lost custody of themselves to the State for being a danger to themselves or others. In this group was some who claimed only to smoke marijuana and had issues from it. I have done intakes as security on the intakes where this was an issue. I have sat in on some who were open about declaring pot brought them to more dangerous drugs. This was a professional position.
I have been homeless as well. I got frauded in a bad way and lost all. It happens even to smart people. So I was a homeless Veteran in a Not-For-Profit called "Bridges to Change" as part of their "Homeless to Work" program. I was the only non-addict in the program. The rest were ex-criminals or addicts who needed a housing program to get them a job and get stability. All of them had used and all of them were in drug rehab as part of the program. I sat in on it as a requirement and heard their stories first hand. One good statement "I still have issues with weed craving, when I pass a dead skunk I say to myself 'that is some stank weed'". These guys all decried pot as a problem. Two got hooked back on... pot.. and got kicked out of the program. They ended up homeless over weed! Let me say that again, TWO INDIVIDUALS WERE SO UNABLE TO AVOID POT THEY ENDED UP HOMELESS.
I am told my personal experiences are 'not the norm' or some such to use as an argument to invalidate me. I say to you, your personal experiences are not the norm if you never touched a heavier drug, if you could quit on the spot for years, and if you had no effects than a buzz and a snacking desire. I am an expert through my experience and my studies. I am a professional who had duties involving this stuff. I am not the norm, I am a person who knows it far better than most. Do not try to invalidate me! Sorry but this has been a frequent attack route and I am just tired of it.
This is not a recreational drug if dealers can get thousands of dollars a month and if people will risk imprisonment to get it. It is not a 'I can give it up' drug if a person arrested twice with a major increase in penalties for future infractions is caught doing it a third time is caught! It is not a 'recreational drug' if people lose major well paying jobs to keep smoking it. It is not a 'anyone can choose not to use it drug' if people on probation will use it knowing they have a chance for a piss test on a given day. Yes I have seen people who have ended up homeless, lost big jobs, gone to jail, and more.
But this is where, after I have made my strong argument that alcohol and cigarettes are brought to play. First let me state I have a plan I wish I could put in motion which would virtually wipe out cigarette smoking in less than 60 years. All I do is keep bumping the age requirement up one year for every two years that pass. After 60 years you would have to be 48 years old to buy cigarettes for your first time. I sincerely doubt many would take up smoking that late in life.
Now on to alcohol. Religion, health, statistics, and dosage. That is my argument in a nutshell.
For millenniums wine has been a mainstay of religions around the world. That and some other alcoholic drinks. However I shall focus on wine for now. Wine has been used in Christian teachings, in the bible, in Sacraments, and in other forms for a very long time. Some atheist libertarians wish to dismiss this, but since some, rather MANY, of the wars fought around the world have been about religion, including the current one, you should not so quickly discount our beliefs. People die every day before giving up their religion. If all else was your way except the right to use drugs, how many of you would die to smoke a joint?
Then there is health. Some of you will say but pot is medicinal as well. I am going to disagree. You see there exists a method to patent any medicines you can derive from a herb. If there was actual medical benefits then Glaxo-Smith-Kline (or however it is spelled) or some competitor would have so chopped up bushels of the plant to make medicines they could patent. Cha ching! Except there is not. Not a single one even in Europe or Asia. Opium is used to make Morphine, Codeine, and Thebaine. Pot, marijuana, mary jane, cannabis, reefer, weed, hemp, ganja, bud, grass and hooch have no found medicinal benefits. However detailed examinations of alcohol have found it can help prevent heart attacks, is an anti-oxidant in some forms, and makes a good disinfectant for the mouth. Also it has historically been used to clean wounds but I think we are not going to worry about that side so much as the ingestion side.
Statistics is important because there is no known case of an alcoholic deciding to try drugs because of the effect of alcohol. There is no evidence at all that alcohol is a gateway mechanism to hard drugs or any drugs. Additionally statistics show that cleaning a drunk up is easier than cleaning a junkie up. It is far easier, far cheaper, and is more likely to result in the person to not do his bad behavior (aka alcohol or drugs being the bad behavior). Oh there are exceptions, people who never give up hardcore drinking, who destroy their own livers and die. These instances are far less than the junkies who shoot up and die in a bathroom somewhere. The real statistics has 8 drug deaths for every 5 alcohol deaths. Most alcohol deaths however are not from over-dosing or long term damage but from drunken driving and other behaviors which alcohol increases the risks. Statistics shows that there are indeed less deaths due to marijuana of course, but then there are other statistics about it which are thought provoking.
Eighty percent of the adult males arrested for crimes in Sacramento, Calif., last year tested positive for at least one illegal drug. Marijuana was the most commonly detected drug, found in 54 percent of those arrested. The study found similar results in four other cities: New York, Denver, Atlanta and Chicago. Among the cities, it included examinations of 1,736 urine samples and 1,938 interviews with men who were arrested. Researchers found that marijuana was the most popular drug used by men who’d been arrested in all the cities, ranging from a low of 37 percent in Atlanta to a high of 58 percent in Chicago. Chicago also had the highest overall positive test results, with 86 percent of the men found to have at least one drug in their bloodstreams. Google it if you want, it was a legit study.
But we also have dosage. If taken in moderation alcohol does not produce negative effects upon the body. In fact in moderation it is quite healthy for you according to studies. In moderation any drugs can have negative effects upon you. This includes pot. In 'moderation' it can and will still lower your IQ, it can and still will make you have memory problems, it can and still will make you paranoid and anxious. Yes there are SOME who have none of these effects, but the MAJORITY will suffer some effects even in 'moderation'.
Ladies and Gentlemen, conservatives and libertarians, I am against any drug use including marijuana usage. We are suffering a mass forgetfulness in our nation of why we banned this crap in the first place. It leads to crime, it leads to poverty, it makes you easier to control... It is the last thing we need in this nation.
This post was being made before Erick Erickson made his post, but it was intended for multiple location postings. I agree with Erick that pot remains a bad thing.