Carol Platt Liebau: Attn: Legalizers

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Attn: Legalizers

Here, a piece about a study showing that long-term heavy use of marijuana slows both the mind and the body. As if we hadn't already guessed . . .


Blogger wile e coyote said...

I am a "legalizer". I have never supposed that drugs were not harmful to the user.

Making drugs legal would take the money out of sales and distribution. This would take the crime and violence out of drugs as well.

To me, the human and financial costs we pay as a society by making drugs illegal illegal far outweigh the benefits.

10:51 AM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

rzafft, do you think there would be more or less users if it were legal? And if the answer is more, then do you think that might put a strain on society?

2:29 PM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

I am not convinced that people who want drugs today can't get them. The fact that large-scale drug busts don't increase the street price of narcotics suggests market saturation.

Making the distribution of drugs illegal makes them expensive. This encourages crime since people need the money to buy them and leads to violence to control distribution. Losses from the violence (deaths, injuries, medical care) probably measure in the billions and costs for enforcement (police, courts, incarceration) probably measure in the tens of billions.

Assume for the sake of argument that legalizing sale of drugs increases usage, either from people who try who otherwise would not (and these are few, I think) or people who use more now that it is cheaper. But, at the same time we have taken the crime and violence out of drugs and can divert some of the enforcement/ incarceration money into treatment.

There are also foreign policy implications of illegal drugs, since they promotecorruption and chaos in places like Afghanistan and Latin America.

I don't have the numbers for this, but imagine there are studies that have, as well as the experience of Western European countries that have tried it.

It is a matter worthy of debate and experimentation. I might be wrong, but I don't think the issue is a slam-dunk for the other side.

This argument is separate and apart from liberarian concerns that if people want to harm themselves with drugs (or tobacco or alcohol or fast food) let them, as long as they don't harm others.

Finally, I would note that when a drug becomes popular with the white middle class, possession of amounts suggesting use (rather than sales and distribution) tend to become decriminalized. This to me seems hypocritical and I leave it to the "illegalizers" to explain why small-time possession shouldn't also mean jail time.

5:57 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

Cannabis is worst drug for psychosis
Simon Kearney,5744,17310424%255E23289,00.html
November 21, 2005
Four out of five people with incurable schizophrenia smoked cannabis regularly between the ages of 12 and 21.
Andrew Campbell, of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal, warned that a hidden epidemic of cannabis-induced psychosis could make the so-called soft drug more dangerous than heroin.
"It's much safer to take heroin -- you can live to be 90 with heroin," Dr Campbell said.
Studies link cannabis use to psychosis in teenagers
January 28, 2006
Evidence is mounting that heavy marijuana use can increase the chances of developing severe mental illness for some adolescents whose genes put them at added risk.
The link between cannabis and psychosis gained ground this week when two influential medical journals reviewed the research to date and concluded it was persuasive. In PLoS Medicine, Professor Wayne Hall, a public health policy expert at the University of Queensland, wrote that genetically vulnerable teenagers who smoke marijuana more than once a week "appear at greater risk of psychosis". An article in the British medical journal BMJ cited estimates that marijuana could contribute to about 10 per cent of psychosis cases.

1:56 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

Remember when smoking a joint was referred to as "smoking dope?" There was a reason!

We're just getting more scientific proof now.

Personally, I think if you want to be a dope and do dope, it's your funeral - but don't stick me with the tab.

4:53 AM  

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