article referencing a study.
Last edited by Dutch; 10-30-09 at 09:12 AM.
Here are the arguments the article makes against the legalization of marijuana:
- Where Legalization Has Flourished, Drug Use Has Increased
- Marijuana is Addictive
- Experts Agree That Marijuana Contributes to Mental Illness
- Use of Marijuana Leads to Other Drugs
- Marijuana Use Can Be Addictive, While Also Damaging the Lungs
- Marijuana Use Contributes to Crime
- It is a Myth That Small Time Marijuana Users are Crowding our Prisons
- Legalization Advocates Never Answer The Hard Questions
---- Treat it like alcohol and tobacco
---- Tax the hell out of it
---- Make it cheap -- cut out the black market
- There are Ways To Make Current Policy Better
If you keep clicking the "Next argument" link at the bottom of each argument, you will eventually reach the NORML counter-arguments.
I can't link at the moment, but look up the Cato Institute's study of the effects of legalization of drugs in Portugal.
You may be surprised, Dutch.
And for the record, the Cato Institute is a Libertarian think tank.
The study your mined argument is citing states:
http://www.opposingviews.com/argumen...-has-increasedWe examined Dutch lifetime prevalence data from various sources between 1970 and 1996 (MacCoun & Reuter, 1997). (Past-month or past-year prevalence estimates would be more informative but are scarce, especially prior to 1986.)
So in a relaxed atmosphere, more people try marijuana, go figure! I assume since 3x the amount of people who tried marijuana would translate into a threefold increase in the amount of use on a regular basis, and that after 30 years of relaxed policies, it would be sufficient time for this dramatic spike in regular users to manifest itself, and frequent use of MJ in Amsterdam would be sky high when compared to the rest of Europe, where marijuana remains illegal.
I will call upon the EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction) and their data for my argument.
EMCDDA | State of the drugs problem in Europe ? cannabisOf those aged 15–64 who have ever used cannabis, only 30 % have done so during the last year (42). But, among those who have used the drug in the last year, on average 56 % have done so in the last month.
Estimating intensive and long-term patterns of use is an important public health issue. Daily or almost daily use (use on 20 days or more in the last 30 days) may be an indicator of intensive use. Data on this form of cannabis use in Europe was collected in 2007/08 as part of a 'field trial' coordinated by the EMCDDA in collaboration with national experts and the Reitox focal points of 13 countries.
Well the first thing that jumps out (especially since I bolded it) is that lifetime use is most certainly not a good reference point - as admitted in the MCCoun & Reuter study your expert is citing, and leaning on heavily for his rebuttal - and that there is a huge discrepancy between those that try it at least once and those that use it on an annual basis, yet alone a regular basis.
What we need to be concerned with is regular, and habitual use, especially when approaching this from a harm reduction standpoint.
Looking at the table provided in the EMCDDA report on the state of the Cannabis issue in Europe we see something that immediately jumps out:
Highest prevalence countries (lifetime age 15-64):
Denmark (36.5 %),
France (30.6 %),
United Kingdom (30.1 %),
Italy (29.3 %)
Well your author has got one thing right, more people in the Netherlands have tried Cannabis over their lifetimes than any other European country evaluated. This trend holds true as well when you look at it more narrowly for the 15-34 year group, and 15-24 year group. Unfortunately we do not have minors isolated so we cannot tell trends specifically among those who are not of legal age.
now lets look to see where Dutch use fares when analyzing the yearly and monthly usage trends.. Its probably a safe bet to assume they are at the top as well since legalization leads to such rampant use, I will use the 15-64 year old group again for consistency:
Highest prevalence countries (last year use 15-64):
Italy, Spain (11.2 %),
Czech Republic (9.3 %),
France (8.6 %)
Highest prevalence countries (last month use 15-64):
Spain (8.7 %),
Italy (5.8 %),
France, Czech Republic (4.8 %)
This is also fairly consistent when you consider 15-34, and 15-24 breakdowns as well, the only change is Italy gets replaced by the UK in the top 4.
What?? where did the Netherlands go?? Must be a glitch. I bet they just missed the cut for mention.. lets look more closely at the data this table is drawing on:
EMCDDA | Statistical bulletin 2008: Table GPS-7: Frequency of use of cannabis among all adults (aged 15 to 64 years) and young adults (aged 15 to 34 years) in nationwide surveys among the general population. Part (i) Frequency of use among all users
here we go last month usage for 15 different European countries, and we even have another important stat, habitual use (20 days+ /30).
Where do the Dutch end up, they were not in the top 4.. they must be close though, lax laws undoubtedly result in rampant usage.
last month usage (dutch 15-64): 3.3%
Netherlands comes in at 8th out of 15 European countries.. of which all have a much more punitive stance in comparison,
prevalence of daily or almost daily use (Netherlands 15-34): 1.6%
Netherlands comes in at 8th out of 15.. again!!!
So where does that leave us?? the Dutch had an increase in those who had at least tried it, and in fact by far leads the other European countries in those who have tried it; however the correlation expected between this and regular usage is NOT THERE.
So we have more people trying marijuana where it is (essentially) legal. absolutely no surprise, but the problematic, regular usage is significantly lower both as a percentage of those who tried it at least once in their lives, and in comparison with other European nations with stringent laws in place.
Seems to be an EXCELLENT trade off from a harm reduction standpoint, 30 years of pseudo-legality, and habitual usage rates are AVERAGE compared to the rest of the continent.
It seems the data suggests that just because you try it, does not mean that the "flavor" of intoxication" attained from marijuana appeals to everyone, and the percentage of those who have a propensity to use habitually is fairly constant despite legal status.
which will segue me into my next rebuttal.. after I take a break from the keyboard.
Last edited by marduc; 10-30-09 at 04:18 PM.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Drugs are bad, prohibition is worse