Third Party & Independents Archives

The History of Cannabis Prohibition, 1937 - 1962, Part Six

So far this year 372,000 people have been arrested for cannabis offenses (1).That is 10,000 more since Part Five. Since the year 2000 over 4 million people in the United States have been arrested for cannabis offenses (2). And it all began with a racist, bureacratic, poorly researched act, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.

The following is part six in a continuing series (see bottom for links to part one thru five).

Thus far we have analyzed the information of the FBN and of the mass media, the bureaus two favorite sources for information to support their theories, and have found no information that would lead one to believe that the stepping stone theory is supported by credible evidence. Is it possible that the bureau would finally choose to advance scientific data in their theory for the first time? It turns out this was not the case either in the reasoning for advancing the idea that cannabis use would lead to heroin use. In fact the La Guardia report, which was still the most significant study of the effects of cannabis during the time that the stepping stone theory was being advanced by the FBN, concluded that:

“We have been unable to confirm the opinion expressed by some investigators that marijuana smoking is the first step in the use of such drugs as cocaine, morphine, or heroin. The instances are extremely rare where the habit of marihuana smoking is associated with addiction to these other narcotics” (Grinspoon 238).

As stated earlier Anslinger had actively dismissed the findings of the La Guardia report and the credentials of its committee members, yet this report was not alone in showing that cannabis use could not be credibly linked to heroin use. In looking at arrests statistics from California in 1960 it appears that the use of opiates, such as heroin, without having first used cannabis is seven times more frequent than with a history of cannabis use.

Furthermore sixty times more Californians are apprehended for cannabis without a prior history of using opiates than seem to move on from cannabis to opiates. These statistics also show that users of amphetamines and barbiturates are far more likely to begin using opiates than users of cannabis. In a similar study conducted in Chicago in 1952, only 11 of 100 heroin users analyzed showed any history of cannabis use, and the majority of persons studied actually began directly with heroin.

Two major studies conducted in New York City, during the early 1950s, of young heroin users found that cannabis use could not be said to be an element in the use of heroin (Grinspoon 243). Finally a study by N.E. Zinburg and A.T. Weil of 63 cannabis users, and many of which were heavy users of cannabis, concluded that there was no evidence that would lead one to believe that cannabis use “graduates” one to harder drugs, such as heroin (Grinspoon 244). From these studies we see that much like during the FBN of the 1930s, again in the 1950s, the theories that were being advanced about cannabis use were based on a lack of information and credible evidence.

During the years that the FBN advanced the stepping stone theory Mr. Anslinger stated one evidence being that there was an increase in drug addicts age 18-21 (Bonnie and Whitebread 205). This statement is likely to be true but it is unlikely that cannabis use was a key element in this rise of young drug users. One important fact we must remember about this period is that during the early years of cannabis prohibition cannabis users were likely to be much younger and users of heroin and other opiates older persons.

Therefore this increase in young addicts using opiates was advanced by Anslinger as being linked to cannabis use. If we understand the timeframe in which these remarks were made by Anslinger we can conclude that this connection is unlikely. During the years leading up to the United States entering World War 2 Anslinger and the FBN stockpiled 300 tons of opium for use by our military and by allied forces (McWilliams 96). Immediately after the end of the war was Anslinger’s chosen time to state that there was a great increase in opiate addiction among persons age 18-21.

It is indeed much more likely that these 300 tons of opium bred many of our troops, whom many of which were between the ages of 18-21, to become drug addicts upon their arrival home. Thus it is likely that instead of cannabis use being a prelude to heroin use and being the foundation for the stepping stone theory it is more likely that the using of 300 tons of opium on our soldiers created a higher use of heroin, yet the bureau attributed this to cannabis.

Works Cited:
1. http://www.drugsense.org/wodclock.htm
2. http://www.drugwarfacts.org/marijuan.htm

Bonnie, Richard J and Charles H Whitebread. The Marihuana Conviction.
Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1974.

Grinspoon, Lester. Marihuana Reconsidered. Oakland, CA: Quick American Archives, 1972.

Mcwilliams, John C. The Protectors: Harry J Anslinger and the Federal Bureau of
Narcotics 1930-1962. Newark, NJ: University of Deleware Press, 1990.

Past parts in this series can be found at:
Part One: http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/003700.html
Part Two: http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/003707.html
Part Three: http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/003720.html
Part Four: http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/003737.html
Part Five: http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/003883.html#more

If you will be in the DC area for the 4th of July check out the 4th of July Hempfest, information on it can be found here: http://www.smoke-in.org/


Posted by Richard Rhodes at July 2, 2006 3:31 PM
Comments
Comment #164323

The underlying fundamental question to ask is: Where and when and how does goverment derive the power to regulate what its citizens may ingest for whatever nutritional, recreational, spiritual, or educational purposes? And then the big daddy question: Should they have ever been granted that power in the first place?

My position is, government fufills a desire of the public to inform the public about the benefits and liabilities associated with ingestible substances and foods, but, oversteps its bounds when it legislates against personal voluntary ingestion behaviors.

This view of mine places me solidly in the Libertarian camp on this particular issue. It should also be a conservative position since, conservative implies respecting and conserving the original Constitution of the U.S. which had many checks and balances installed to prevent such gratuitous intrusion into private behavior by the federal government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 2, 2006 5:44 PM
Comment #164342

David-
Granted that is the right question. However as is apparent my purpose is to show people that cannabis was made illegal under very suspect circumstances. And thus to teach people what happened during the first 25 years of the prohibition, which set the groundwork for what happened thereafter.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at July 2, 2006 6:39 PM
Comment #164398
but, oversteps its bounds when it legislates against personal voluntary ingestion behaviors.

How about legislating against companies that have unsafe practices resulting in bad meat. Or companies that dump mercury, arsenic and other poisons into our streams and rivers that pollute our drinking water and fish (not all of us are lucky enough to have our own private artificial lake stocked with bass like President Bush)?

Where do you draw the line, David?

Posted by: American Pundit at July 3, 2006 12:03 AM
Comment #164414

AP, I draw the line exactly where I drew it. The public expects to be informed about the status of ingestible items, from food to medicines to paints which are accidentally ingested by young children.

But it oversteps rights to privacy and personal freedom for the goverment to dictate what folks can and cannot ingest. I expect my government to warn me of dangerous medicines, paints, automobiles, etc. I don’t expect them to manage my risks for me by deciding what I can and cannot buy for personal use.

Europe has a 100 mpg vehicle. Funny how our government won’t let American consumers buy them here. And that is true of many competitive products whose sale to consumers might upset politician’s beneficent corporate campaign donors, Republican and Demcrat supporting, alike.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 3, 2006 3:57 AM
Comment #164435

I have to say that this weekend I saw a great bumper sticker on a fellow libertarian’s car that said:

“Legalize Liberty”.

Awesome. And I agree David, especially about the 100 mpg vehicle. Not to take the topic too far off point but while watching ‘The Presidents’ this weekend on the History Channel (I’ve seen it several times and love the shows) I remember seeing one mention of a president who instituted trade embargos to ‘protect the american worker and poor’ by preventing products from overseas companies who could produce those items cheaper because of the low cost of labor. The idea was that this would protect American jobs and help our economy. The effect? The American companies had a near monopoly and raised prices substantially, put many workers out of work and increased the cost of goods to where more companies had to cut employment as well.

It had the exact opposite effect of what it is touted to do. And we’ve already seen it happen. Just as we’ve already seen what prohibition does to a society.

Unfortunately Americans are great at forgetting or just simply ignoring the lessons of the past and keep repeating them over and over again.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 3, 2006 9:28 AM
Comment #164439

David,

For the first time that I cam remember I agree with you 100%.

All I want the government to do is exactly what the constitution mandates it to do and stay out of my way otherwise. I will decide what is best for me.

I believe ultimately each individual becomes responsible for his own wellbeing when he becomes an adult.

Posted by: Tom D. at July 3, 2006 9:51 AM
Comment #164446

Rhodes and Remer

I can’t believe you guys. You need to come out of the cloud of pot smoke and put down the Doritos long enough to realize how rediculous you sound.

Every year, nearly 20,000 people die as a result of DUI related offenses. Many of those offenses are drug related rather than alcohol related. And you guys are advocating the futher liberalization of the countrys drug laws. Drugs and alcohol pose a much greater threat to human life than joining the military and being shipped out to Iraq. We already have a culture where doctors hand out prescriptions like candy, and alcohol and recreational drug abuse are considered minor annoyances. Meanwhile people are dying by the thousands.

Are you both saying that we as a country should become more like Amsterdam in Holland? Is that what you really want? I would love to hear how you think that model is better for our country.

Remer, what are the safety statitics on the 100 mpg car? I’m sure we could design a similar vehicle right here in the US but would it meet the safety standards of your old pal Ralph Nader? Let’s bring back the Pinto and install a built in roach clip. Now theres a winning ideology.

Posted by: jwl at July 3, 2006 10:22 AM
Comment #164455

Anyone have an opinion on the 300 tons of opium we used on our soldiers in WWII? Or maybe on the fact that 2 million Americans have been arrested due to cannabis since the year 2000.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at July 3, 2006 10:59 AM
Comment #164468

Anyone have an opinion on why Rhodes refuses to address the questions posed to him?

Posted by: jwl at July 3, 2006 11:54 AM
Comment #164475

jwl: I personally would prefer a model similar to that of Holland’s over ours, although I think that model is not perfect and could be fixed to better accomodate this country.

Why that model is better for our country:
1. We wouldn’t have massive arrests of Americans for non-violent cannabis offenses by adults.
2. Police wouldn’t have to waste their time and our tax dollars arresting these offenders.
3. The courts wouldn’t have to waste their time and our tax dollars prosecuting these offenders.

However ultimately I would rather see our country treat cannabis in a manner that is a mix of how we treat tobacco and alcohol, meaning:
1. It would have a age 21 use like alcohol
2. It would have similar driving and machinery rules like alcohol
3. It would be heavily taxed like tobacco

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at July 3, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #164476

Jwl,
You didn’t address your post to me but since I agree with David 100% on this issue I feel obligated to respond.

You speak of the 20,000 deaths a year which are drug and alcohol related and I agree it’s a horrible statistic, however the answer isn’t in more restrictive laws. The answer is with PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. If I get drunk or stoned or totally wasted on herion and hurt myself then I am responsible and shouldn’t complain to anyone. If I hurt someone else during that time then I am also responsible for that.

As far as joining our military and going to Iraq, anyone who does so immediately earns my respect and admiration.

I’m not suggesting we model ourselves after Amsterdam or anyone else. I’m suggesting that we should make no laws restricting what people can and cannot eat or drink.

As far as the 100 mpg car I don’t know anything about it so I should not comment on that.

The bottom line is that the government is NOT responsible for our wellbeing…WE are. Don’t try to protect me from myself I will resent you for it.

Posted by: Tom D. at July 3, 2006 12:26 PM
Comment #164478

jwl: The Netherlands vs. USA stats
http://www.drugwarfacts.org/thenethe.htm

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at July 3, 2006 12:31 PM
Comment #164480

But jwl the main point here is to show people how cannabis was made illegal, and if you have been following these posts, you can see it was done under very suspect circumstances.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at July 3, 2006 12:33 PM
Comment #164481

I have a novel idea….Suppose we stop treating society as a person. All crimes would have to have an actual victem. All prisoners with offenses like drug use and distribution, prostitution, and gambling to name a few would be released from prison. Imagine the tax benefits when these people are once again are taxpayers. It also would open an awful lot of prison beds for the real criminals.

Just a thought.

Posted by: Tom D. at July 3, 2006 12:34 PM
Comment #164497

Tom,

First of all I am certainly not trying to protect you from yourself. I am trying to protect myself and my family from irresponsible pot smoking and beer drinking idiots that think its OK to get behing the wheel of a car, operate equipment, or otherwise interact with me or my family while intoxicated.

The laws in this country are extremely weak when it comes to keeping DUI offenders off our streets. In many cases people are convicted over and over again without substantial jail time. Only after they kill someone does our justice system sometimes get serious. This is NOT the case in europe. The laws are VERY strict.

You said that personal responsibility is the answer, but if your wife and kids were slaughtered by a pot smoking teenager behind the wheel of his daddy’s Range Rover, I think your attitude might be different. Should he proclaim his sorrow for his actions before the court and do a little community service? Or should he be convicted of several counts of manslaughter and be locked away for 20 plus years. In this country, the latter seldom occurs.

Our government does have a responsibility to protect us from those who willingly and knowingly endanger themselves and everyone around them. Legalizing pot is not a solution. Tough enforcement, severe financial penalties, and meaningfull jail sentences will save lives.

I don’t think you don’t want a solution, I think you want to legalize your behavior.

Richard,

Nice stats. Ever been to Amsterdam? Perhaps you would like our city parks to be surrounded by brothels, filled with wasted drug dealers and hypodermic needles lying in the grass. Lets all bring the kids.

Personally, I don’t give a damn why pot was made illegal. It should be and so should alcohol until our society can demonstrate enough maturity and personally resposibilty to ensure the safety of innocent men, women and children.

When our justice system puts DUI drivers back on the streets and high priced lawyers plea cases down to reckless driving, we can expect more people to die needlessly. A drunk driver behind the wheel in no different than a phycopath with a loaded gun. One felony and the convicted can no longer own or possess any firearm. When we get that tough with DUI, thousands of lives will be saved every year.

Posted by: jwl at July 3, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #164506

jwl,

Can you actually show us statistics on deaths caused by cannabis users driving?

If not your argument has no grounds, and therefore is irrelevant. Alcohol use while driving is very dangerous, should we make it illegal for people to posses that as well?

It is not the government’s job to make sure we are responsible.

Posted by: iandanger at July 3, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #164514

iandanger,

Are you trying to say that pot does not effect your ability to drive? I would love to hear your attempt to convince us of that.

I will find you that stats you desire, but with or without them, my argument is perfectly valid. It does not matter how many die from DUI associated with pot vs those associated with booze. Do you think that legalizing pot will make the number of pot related deaths go down??? The fact is that many DUI related deaths involve both booze and pot.

Regarding your alcohol comment, please re-read my previous post. And YES, until there is a real consequence to DUI that is enforced in our legal system.

I never said that its governments job to ensure we are responsible. IT IS GOVERNMENTS JOB TO HELP PROTECT US FROM THOSE THAT DONT GIVE A *&%# ABOUT ANYONE ELSE AND PUT INNOCEMT MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN DANGER.

Now before all of you guys get all bent out of shape and say that I am calling for prohibition there are some things you should know. First of all, I have some first hand knowledge of drug use. Then I grew up. Secondly, if the government can assure me that those who put others in danger by using drugs and/or alcohol will be prosecuted to the FULLEST extent of the law when caught, then I might come around to your position. Until then, the very last thing we need is to make these substances more available to the public.

In europe, people have more respect for the laws regarding DUI than here. Teenagers have the common sense to call cabs before getting on their mopeds or even bicycles. Drivers licenses are not a right. They cost money. A lot of money. Extensive testing is required before one is issued. Driving is a very valued priviledge and most people do not risk losing that priviledge by DUI. Americans are a very long way from treating that priviledge with the same respect. And BTW, most countries in europe still consider pot illegal.

Posted by: jwl at July 3, 2006 2:44 PM
Comment #164515

jwl,

The alcohol and drugs don’t cause the problem. The problem is caused by a lack of personal responsibility. If someone in a range rover was smoking pot and killed my wife and kids I would feel the same as I would if they were eating a big mac and not paying attention to driving and had the same accident. If you don’t like the current DUI laws then I suggest you lobby your state government to increase the penalties, not restrict what people do in the privace of their own homes.

The problem with outlawing a substance like pot is that it not only stops people from driving while stoned but also stops anyone from enjoying it even if they don’t drive.

You say that “Our government does have a responsibility to protect us from those who willingly and knowingly endanger themselves and everyone around them.”

I will agree our government has the responsibility to protect us from those who willingly and knowingly endanger others, but I think the government has no responsibility or right to protect me from endangering myself.

It sounds to me like your bitch is with the justice system and their DUI laws.

Leave the potheads alone.

Posted by: Tom D. at July 3, 2006 2:50 PM
Comment #164518

Another point JWL,

How many people in the United States die each year from obesity and it’s related problems? Should we outlaw Wendy’s or just stop them from selling hamburgers? after all they are endangering the public with all their fatty foods.

Posted by: tomd at July 3, 2006 2:56 PM
Comment #164522

Tom,

On one hand you say the problem is personal responsibility and then say the government should have no authority to fix it. The government has made pot illegal and therefore has made the personal responsibilty issue mute. If you choose to use, then you have chosen to live outside the law.

I agree in principle with you that the government should not restrict what people do in the privacy of their own homes. The problems arises when you’re done hitting the bong and you need to go to the store for munchies. In this country, most people do not call a cab or take the bus. They get in their car.

If the people pushing for the legalization of pot were pushing for severe consequences when its use endangered other people, I would be more likely to support it. I don’t see that from them or anyone else.

I’ll make you a deal. I’ll support the legalization of pot when the following protections are in place for both pot and booze.

1 Mandatory 1 year revocation of all driving priviledges on first offense. $25,000 dollar fine to be used for familys of DUI victims.

2 Mandatory 5 year revocation of all driving priviledges on second offense. Permanent revocation of any commercial type license. 1 year in jail no parole. $250,000 fine.

3 Permanent revocation of all driving priviledges. 5 years in jail no parole. $1,000,000 fine.

4 If you injure or kill someone. Same as item 3 but you face criminal second degree murder conviction and add that sentence to the madatory 5 years. No parole.

Can you live with that? Most people in europe live with these type of laws and have for decades. I don’t think our beloved trial lawyers will ever let that happen in this country. Do you?


Posted by: jwl at July 3, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #164523

Tom,

You’re off base with the second comment unless the consumption of a Biggie Frosty impairs your ability to drive.

Wait a minute….

Could be….???

Brain Freeze.

I’ll have to re-think everything. Lets include cell phones, gps guidance systems, dvd players, hot cups of coffee, ear shattering sound systems, women in short skirts, …….

Oh My God,…..OVERLOAD…..SYSTEM SHUTDOWN

Posted by: jwl at July 3, 2006 3:34 PM
Comment #164524

well let’s pretend for a moment it gets legalized….you still wouldn’t be able to smoke it almost everywhere…. it would end up getitng treated like ciggerettes are currently, then of course the second hand smoke lawsuits…and what would happen if you wern;t smoking but got a second hand buzz from it, dui, accidents, manslaughter, booze has no second hand effects, so you go to the bar light up with 10 or so other ppl and the designinated driver having a coke gets a buzz? That is where the differences between smoking and drinking come into play.

Posted by: RHancheck at July 3, 2006 3:35 PM
Comment #164525

New study shows cell phones as dangerous behind the wheel as enebriation.

Think about that for a second. When one is talking on a cell phone, what is distracting about it? A huge portion of the accidents occur NOT during dialing, picking up, or hanging up, but in mid conversation. And the incidence is far higher for hands free cell phone users as well.

What does this say? It says talking to anyone, including a passenger in your car increases the risk of accident and fatality for everyone on the road. So, what is the solution? One seater cars? Mandated by the government?

Look putting 50 million people in the operator seats of 2 ton metal and fiber glass missiles shooting down our highways is what is dangerous. Inherently, all by itself, without any other contributing factors. Should then we ban private transportation on public highways? See, that would be a great solution. Mass transit for all, mandated by the government, with professionally trained operators. Think of how many lives would then be saved. 80% or more reduction in highway deaths.

But, would folks want to give up that personal liberty to travel on in their own vehicle down roads of their own choosing at times of day and night of their own selection? Of course not. Despite the fact that it would be a rock solid solution to the accident rate on our highways.

And that’s the deal. Someone above said: it is about responsibility. And indeed it is. And responsibility has never been something a government can enforce. It can punish the lack of it, but, cannot force enactment of it.

But, you know the biggest cause for highway accidents? It is insurance. Especially the no fault kind. Drivers need not be concerned about legal fees, bankruptcy, being sued etc. as a result of driving irresponsibly. There’s the biggest contributing factor to highway fatalities and injuries. Far more than pot or alcohol. Insurance actually allows people to enjoy driving a vehicle and view it as a recreational activity instead of the heavy responsibility with heavy consequences which, it in fact, is.

All attempts to enforce responsibility have become boondoggle failed programs wasting vast amounts of public monies for very small marginal returns. Insurance was the greatest escape from responsibility ever devised, not to mention one of the most profitable. Ancient Greeks developed the concept for shipping on the Aegean sea, in which shippers all insured each other minimizing the losses for any one of them, since over time, they were all going to fall prey to the unpredictable weather of the Aegean Sea.

But, if one looks at the mountainous geography of Ancient Greece, one readily recognizes commerce had but one route, the Aegean. Hence, there was no choice but to take the risk if commerce and growth were to continue and grow. But this was not insurance against personal irresponsibility. This was insurance against unpredictable adversity outside their control.

In modern America, we have perverted this concept to the extreme insuring ourselves against our own “I don’t give a crap about responsibility” attitudes and manners. Think about it. Road Rage covered by NO FAULT insurance? It’s absurd and preposterous on its face, and yet no one questions it, because it is a mega profit source which astronomically increases the cost of living, and absolves the government, and the people of their faults and hubris, of their incompetence, and hormonal rushes, which cause loss and catastrophe.

Pot causing accidents on the road? Yep, I am sure there a few hundred cases each year. Maybe even a few thousand. But how many occur because of the subconscious opiate effect of knowing one can take some risks because one is insured and someone else will pay if the risk goes badly?

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 3, 2006 3:55 PM
Comment #164527

JWL,

No I wouldn’t support laws like that unless they applied to other forms of negligent behavior as well.

It seems to me that you don’t have a problem with pot. Your problem seems to be people driving while impaired and I fully understand that reasoning. My position is that smoking the pot is not the problem. Driving while high is a different problem. If pot was legalized it would still be illegal to drive while impaired the same as alcohol and prescription drugs now. If we need to stiffen those laws then maybe I can support you on that.

As to your first statement about users living outside the law, I think everyone knows that and that’s why so many people want to make it legal.

I don’t think my second comment was off base at all. If the object of legislation is to save lives because of irresponsible behavior, is it any more irresponsible to smoke a joint (and maybe drive) or serve that 400 pound man or woman a 4000 calorie meal and offer to supersize it? Nice comment btw.

Posted by: Tom D. at July 3, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #164580
I expect my government to warn me of dangerous medicines, paints, automobiles, etc. I don’t expect them to manage my risks for me by deciding what I can and cannot buy for personal use.

So, it’s OK with you if Oscar Mier sells really cheap hot dogs as long as the label says “This really cheap food may (or may not) kill you. If you can afford the more expensive food, you probably should buy it. If not, then good luck!”

Sounds a little too hard core libertarian for me.

Posted by: American Pundit at July 3, 2006 8:19 PM
Comment #164627

AP, quite right, and good example. Because fat laden really cheap hot dogs will kill you. But, lo and behold, that warning is not on the label. I advocate remedying that. And yes, let the people choose. Poverty kills, AP, that is not news. Want to do something about it, seek to end poverty, not the choices of the consumers and the people.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 3, 2006 11:20 PM
Comment #164641
Because fat laden really cheap hot dogs…

Hah! I had in mind something a little more Upton Sinclairish. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at July 4, 2006 12:17 AM
Comment #164669

Thank you David Remer. I had never thought of insurance in that way., but I believe you are 100% right.

Posted by: gergle at July 4, 2006 3:01 AM
Comment #164679

Buying insurance is betting against yourself.

Posted by: tomd at July 4, 2006 4:40 AM
Comment #164717

David,

That was the most lame argument I have ever heard. I expect better of you. Do you really expect us to beleive that millions of americans are driving down the road thinking about their insurance?

Are we to beleive that insurance is a bigger risk to highway safety than people driving under the influence of intoxicating substances? That is completely ludicrious and laughable.

All you pot smoking idiots that try to convince yourselves and the rest of the world that your habits have no consequence to yourself or others are just trying to excuse your own bad and irresponsible behavior. Suck it up people. Take responsibility for you own actions. Your behavior is directly responsible for thousands of deaths. From the the illegal drug trade, to the victims of DUI, it is the users and their demand for those illegal products that put the blood on your hands. You can’t dance around that truth.

What other criminal activity would you like to legalize? Perhaps we should allow people to drive at any speed they feel like. After all the government shouldn’t tell us what to do in our own cars. Its a victimless crime. I am not hurting anyone else by my actions. Maybe we should legalize the use of speed for commercial truckers. Products get to the store faster, your produce is fresher, and maybe even cheaper. Another victimless crime, right??? Yeah, not until the speeder loses control or the trucker finally passes out, does anybody get hurt.

If you can get laws passed that seriously tries to protect me and my family from pot smoking and booze driking drivers, then I will support your effort to legalize pot. Tom D, wants to legalize pot but doesn’t want to accept serious responsibility if he gets behing the wheel. Apparently he doesn’t feel that endangering me and my family warrants stiff legal penalties. He wants to be able to be irresponsible and only get a slap on the wrist is it all goes wrong. Sorry, but that just does not cut it.

Posted by: jwl at July 4, 2006 11:15 AM
Comment #164734

jwl,

Do you normally misrepresent what others say here? You are blowing your credibility.

You said in the post above “Tom D, wants to legalize pot but doesn’t want to accept serious responsibility if he gets behing the wheel. Apparently he doesn’t feel that endangering me and my family warrants stiff legal penalties. He wants to be able to be irresponsible and only get a slap on the wrist is it all goes wrong. Sorry, but that just does not cut it.”

That was in response I believe to your former post when you asked

“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll support the legalization of pot when the following protections are in place for both pot and booze.

1 Mandatory 1 year revocation of all driving priviledges on first offense. $25,000 dollar fine to be used for familys of DUI victims.

2 Mandatory 5 year revocation of all driving priviledges on second offense. Permanent revocation of any commercial type license. 1 year in jail no parole. $250,000 fine.

3 Permanent revocation of all driving priviledges. 5 years in jail no parole. $1,000,000 fine.

4 If you injure or kill someone. Same as item 3 but you face criminal second degree murder conviction and add that sentence to the madatory 5 years. No parole.

Can you live with that? Most people in europe live with these type of laws and have for decades. I don’t think our beloved trial lawyers will ever let that happen in this country. Do you?”

and I replied

“No I wouldn’t support laws like that unless they applied to other forms of negligent behavior as well.” and in a later post I said “If pot was legalized it would still be illegal to drive while impaired the same as alcohol and prescription drugs now. If we need to stiffen those laws then maybe I can support you on that.”

I really don’t mind you disagreeing with me but please don’t misrepresent me.

And I’m still waiting on your response to the fast food post I made.


Posted by: Tom D. at July 4, 2006 12:09 PM
Comment #164754

jwl,

I have two points:

1. If you cannot demonstrate that there are a large number of deaths caused by people high on cannabis crashing cars, then your argument has no point at all. If cannabis can be demonstrated to be lethal and a plight, then there is room for a case for criminalization. But if you are basing your argument on a statistic which is for all drugs, then you are drawing false conclusions for a drug which is mostly harmless.

It does impair short term memory and reaction time, but it does not cause people to drive as dangerously as alcohol. It should be illegal to drive while high, but it should not be illegal to smoke.

Secondly,
By your logic, anything which has the potential to be abused could be controlled. Certainly guns have been demonstrated to cause thousands of deaths a year, do you think we should make them illegal? As you say “It does not matter how many die from DUI associated with pot vs those associated with booze.” If that is true, then if only one death while driving can be associated with cannabis, and that is enough to make it illegal, then where do we stop?

Find me statistics actually demonstrating people high on cannabis (just cannabis, no other drugs) killed people last year, and we can continue this.

Posted by: iandanger at July 4, 2006 1:26 PM
Comment #164764

I heard it said somewhere else…”A drunk will run a stop sign…A stoner will wait for it to turn green”.

Posted by: tomd at July 4, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #164808

iandanger,

“It does impair short term memory”

Fortunately, short term memory eventually becomes long term memory.

Posted by: Rocky at July 4, 2006 6:59 PM
Comment #164873

jwl, first of all, I don’t smoke pot. Haven’t in many years.

Second, your bring up the topic of speed limits. Thank you. Because one only has to sit on the side of freeway or drive on one AT the speed limit to realize that there are far, far, far more drivers endangering your and your family’s life by exceeding the speed limit than their are people driving under the influence of pot.

And why do they endanger lives by speeding? Insurance is part of that equation. If a single offense resulted in losing one’s insurance (depriving ins. companies of profit), and being caught driving w/o insurance resulted in jail time, then speeding would vastly decrease. But, insurance profits cannot and will not be threatened in that manner in America, not by American politicians who lobby them intensely and fork over profits to their reelection campaigns.

Denial is another part as speeders will tell you they are in control and won’t have an accident. Lack of enforcement is another. The speed limits in this country are a joke, precisely because they are not enforced for the most part.

That is the same deal with drug laws. They are not enforced. Now one CAN enforce the speed laws. Just need enough radars and police. But, one CANNOT enforce drug use laws, because by making them illegal, the law makes users use them outside of the view of the law and everyone else. The law itself makes using drugs largely Unenforceable, especially those drugs which the large portions of society view as relatively harmless and for which there is a very large demand.

Cocaine. The drug of choice for the white collar and middle class workers in America, is one of America’s biggest problems second only to crack. It’s widespread use and social acceptability even in government circles, makes the law banning it unenforceable.

And what happens to any civilization that passes laws it cannot enforce? Same as happened to the Roman Empire. It implodes under the weight of its own unenforceable laws. That weight of course resulting form a pervasive disregard and virtual scoffing at the laws by the population at large.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 5, 2006 3:59 AM
Comment #164874

jlw, please avoid phrases like “All you pot smoking idiots”. It violates our critique the Message, not the Messenger, policy.

Posted by: WatchBlog Managing Editor at July 5, 2006 4:02 AM
Comment #164878

gergle, thanks. But the credit belongs to a Philosophy instructor of mine back in college, Dr. Nikhil Bhattacharya. He awakened me to the appropriate and many inappropriate applications of the concept of insurance. Insurance is fundamentally betting against one’s own good fortune. You place your bet (premium) with the insurer that you WILL have an adverse circumstance befall you. Hence, insurance only makes sense if the following two conditions exist: the probability of misfortune is very high, and the premium is less than the cost of self-insuring through savings.

Where the risk is low or, well within your own control to avert, insurance makes no sense. You are giving money away for nothing. And, (this is something most people don’t consider), putting the premiums into an your own investment account earns returns directly to you if don’t have a misfortune, whereas, paying premiums to someone else, returns absolutely nothing upon expiration of the policy period.

Insurance is one of the greatest P.T. Barnum scams ever devised against the people of modern western societies. And it has huge economic and social costs as the Fed keeps reminding lawmakers in regards to the adverse effects of our low, low savings rate in America. Not to mention the hidden cost of reckless living enjoyed by large numbers of folks in America.

Insurance allows building in flood plains, and extreme fire zones, and on fault lines. How dumb is that? These are risks folks wouldn’t dream of taking if millions of other premium payers were not underwriting the risk.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 5, 2006 4:50 AM
Comment #164893

David,

“Where the risk is low or, well within your own control to avert, insurance makes no sense. You are giving money away for nothing. And, (this is something most people don’t consider), putting the premiums into an your own investment account earns returns directly to you if don’t have a misfortune, whereas, paying premiums to someone else, returns absolutely nothing upon expiration of the policy period.”

While I agree with the concept, auto insurance is required in most states, and enforcable or not, to drive without it is a crime.

Posted by: Rocky at July 5, 2006 9:03 AM
Comment #211304

What the article does not mention is that the government has long allowed the drug companies to dictate drug selection to the physician and pharmacy communities. Insurance companies and benefit Plan management are part of this and it includes. WBR LeoP

Posted by: Leonard at March 10, 2007 7:22 AM
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