View Poll Results: Should Marijuana be legalized?

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    84 55.26%
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Thread: Should Marijuana be legalized?

  1. #71
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    Re: Should Marijuana be legalized?

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    My first point of confusion is that John Locke and John Stuart Mill are to be considered libertarian?
    I'm sad to say it, but if you're even capable of naming the philosophical thinkers behind your political ideals, you're not part of the mainstream. The Enlightenment itself was a massive intellectual revolt against the authoritarian governments of the day, and almost all of its political philosophers-- except Hobbes-- formed the basis of classic liberalism. Liberalism essentially split into two movements in the early 20th Century, between those liberals who absorbed progressive ideals and those who absorbed anarchist ideals. I think most people would agree that the classic liberals today would be considered moderate libertarians, while the modern Libertarian Party is more hardline-- having absorbed many of the arguments and beliefs of the anarchist movement.

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    I suppose the social conservatives look to the bible...
    It's not really the Bible. It's the political philosophies of Calvin and Hobbes with Biblical justification.

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    You list three alternatives: social conservatives, progressives and I am not sure what to call the third - economic conservatives? What about fiscal conservatives (moderate conservatives) and liberals? What do they classify as harm?
    I wasn't sure what to call the third, either. Not fiscal conservatives, quite, but anyone who considers financial responsibility and balanced budgets a paramount concern. As far as moderate conservatives, I'd say it's a matter of whether they're more heavily influenced by social conservatism or fiscal conservatism, but generally they consider the two to be intrinsically linked. Immoral and irresponsible behavior lead to financial ruin and dependence upon government programs. As far as modern liberals go, you're looking at people who basically agree with your concept of harm, except they believe you have to have the means to exercise your rights in order for the existence of those rights to be meaningful; they're the people who took on the progressive mantle of seeking to alleviate poverty and establish strong social safety nets. It's a matter of convincing them that keeping people out of prison is more important than keeping them off drugs. Aside from libertarians, they're the group most likely to support legalization already.

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    By the numbers:
    Social conservatives: is habitually smoking pot immoral? It would be tough to make an argument here if they do.
    They're the people that gave us the first Prohibition. You tell me.

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    Progressives: do Progressives really think this? Again, it would be hard to make an argument here, other than to state that the harm is mild.
    I try not to speak for other people; I'm painting with a broad enough brush already. But yes, generally they believe that people do need to be protected from themselves and from the power of exploitative marketing. This is close to my own position, which is why I support legalization only in the context of strict regulatory controls. The argument here isn't so much that the harm from cannabis is mild-- though it helps-- but that the harm caused by criminal organizations and otherwise handling recreational drug use as a criminal problem is greater.

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    Re: Should Marijuana be legalized?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    Reef, you're better than that. You're creating a strawman.

    Psycho paraphrased - "There are adverse affects possible"

    Reef paraphrased - "What?! You're wrong, there's no risk of long term adverse affects"

    His argument was not concerning specifically long term.

    There are unquestionably potentially adverse short term affects related to marijuana use. Altered state of consiousness, heart rate increase, disruption of short-term memory, slower reaction time, weakened attention span, anxiety, and decreased motor skills.

    Those are all potential short term adverse affects, so to say it has "none" is a bald faced lie.

    In regards to long term, even that is questionable and depends how you term it.
    While I appreciate your argument, it can all be negated by one simple concept: Informed consent.

    Put a label on commercially sold recreational drugs informing the purchaser of the potential risks, and allow him to make the choice.

    BUT, if someone chooses to take those drugs, the law should make it perfectly clear that the idiot has NO legal recourse when his brain melts, his lungs rot, or his pecker falls off. Smokers choose to smoke. From the first day they decided to ignore the painful hacking cough from their first drag on their first cigarette, they choose to take the second one, and put the onus of dying from lung cancer on themselves.

  3. #73
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    Re: Should Marijuana be legalized?

    Quote Originally Posted by BCR View Post
    study comes from Australia buddy makes it completely invalid, Australia is the worst for bullsh!t propaganda against Marijuana...Marijuana does have negative side effects, never said it doesn't, but they are very minimal and certainly not deadly.

    Heavy Marijuana Use Doesn't Damage Brain

    Some studies have shown that heavy Marijuana use in young teens increases the likelyhood of Schizophrenia to those predisposed to it. This only strenghtens the case for legalization, ask any teenager or adult what was easier to get Tobacco and Alcohol or Marijuana, most of them will say Pot...I can attest to that.
    do you have proof Australia is the worst for bull**** propaganda against marijuana? and the study was conducted by the best university in Australia, not a government agency, meaning it has no stake in legislation.

    and the study you cited against the study Kal'Stang cited are incompatible, your study measured participants response to a set of criteria, Kal'Stang's showed a difference in brain make up.
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    Re: Should Marijuana be legalized?

    The site that I made the assumption on was a site about Australia's drug campaign. They have changed the info on there, rightfully so.They claimed outrageous things like "overdosing on Marijuana can lead to death"(although technically true, just never mentioned how much was needed). This was a couple years ago when I saw the site since then they have updated the info, thankfully.

    Obviously I didn't look where the study came from so I apologize for making that claim..I don't know how Australia's government is towards weed because I don't live there but I did make the assumption from said site and a couple of Australian people on another forum talking about the government's way towards pot. Of course two people don't speak for an entire nation and the site has since been updated.

  5. #75
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    Re: Should Marijuana be legalized?

    The entire issue of whether or not marijuana is good or bad for you is a red herring and is non essential for the debate. Are there potential health risks for using marijuana.. sure there are, but this is also the case from virtually every substance and or foodstuff we put into our bodies. Alcohol and cirrhosis, and also alcohol induced dementia primarily comes to mind with the mention of the study finding hippocampus and amygdala deterioration that was cited.

    I would even go so far as state that if marijuana was harmful and had an impact on brain development then that would be an even more compelling reason to have it regulated and controlled in order to make it more difficult for youth with brains that are still finishing their development to not have such ease of access to the drug.

    I will concede that drugs are bad, which is precisely why we need to not yield control over their distribution, and is precisely why they need to be legalized, regulated and controlled. Marijuana likely does have a potential to negatively impact a developing brain or a developing child, which is hwy we should take realistic PRACTICAL steps to keep it out of the hands of children,

    ok before I go off on a tangent I do have a few points to cover in regards to the study Kal Stang cited.

    The actual study and not the press write up is here:
    Arch Gen Psychiatry -- Regional Brain Abnormalities Associated With Long-term Heavy Cannabis Use, June 2008, Yücel et al. 65 (6): 694

    First off is to criticize the sample size, a sample size of 12 is not going to get much in the way of meaningful results.. that jumped at me immediately, and what digging I have done I have also found talk of peer reviewers criticizing it on the same grounds.

    secondly, I found a review that includes their study alongside 41 others on the same topic.

    the link for the pdf here:

    Neuroimaging in cannabis use: a systematic review of the literature

    Results Sixty-six studies were identified, of which 41 met the inclusion criteria. Thirty-three were functional (SPECT/PET/fMRI) and eight structural (volumetric/DTI) imaging studies. The high degree of heterogeneity across studies precluded a meta-analysis.
    41 studies and their findings were inconsistent and they could not do a meta analysis as a result.
    they also make mention of this:

    Some of the functional studies in the literature had groups that were smaller than what would usually be regarded as an acceptable minimum (... for fMRI studies 15 subjects)
    Yucel as I mentioned before only had 12 subjects, and it was an MRI study, so it was among those being referenced by the preceding quote from the review)

    Furthermore, the review mentions a couple of things worth highlighting:

    With regards to structural neuroimaging studies, only two found significant differences between users and controls (Matochik et al. 2005; Yucel et al. 2008)
    out of 41 studies only 2 found significant differences, Yucel was one of the 2.

    there is more interesting info to be had there as well, but this is getting long enough as it is. As is usually to be found with press coverage of scientific literature being released it is to be taken with a grain of salt.

    For news articles and journalistic write ups on scientific literature it is in their interest to not dig into details, it is not their job to investigate the validity of the study, it is their job to sensationalize it.

    At best the Yucel study is interesting, yet inconclusive, and I also saw secondary quotes where Yucel himself had essentially stated as much.. which I wont link to since they are secondary and not admissible in a court of law, or solid for debate.
    Last edited by marduc; 07-17-10 at 04:02 AM.
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  6. #76
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    Re: Should Marijuana be legalized?

    I am curious as to who the invisible troll is that is stuffing the ballot box.

    So far 38 of the 40 no votes have been anonymous. mrbassline is that you?
    Last edited by marduc; 07-17-10 at 04:21 AM.
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    Re: Should Marijuana be legalized?

    Quote Originally Posted by Korimyr the Rat View Post
    The argument here isn't so much that the harm from cannabis is mild-- though it helps-- but that the harm caused by criminal organizations and otherwise handling recreational drug use as a criminal problem is greater.
    This is dead on target here, and deserves to stand by itself.
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    Re: Should Marijuana be legalized?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    I see Kori summed this up pretty well but I'll go from my angle a bit on it. Libertarians principle tends to be slightly more to the "right" on the conservative scale in regards to governmental conservatism than your average Republican and even many general conservatives. The notion of "anything that doesn't harm others shouldn't be dealt with by the government" is part of this. Its where you have libertarians breaking with Republicans in regards to assisted suicide for example as well.
    I would love to see Kori and a well composed, informed libertarian go the rounds on morality and the role of government.

    The idea that libertarians are more conservative that Conservatives takes some getting used to. I don't think a linear axis is suitable.

    So the main argument you're making is most likely to have the greatest impact on the one group that has the largest percentage of its population already in favor of what you want.

    This is not necessarily bad, and it seems this is more you having a particular theory and a pet issue, and pushing it because it interests you rather than trying to have some kind of tangible or realistic effect. In which case, you're dead on and doing a good job of that. I am simply saying that if your goal is not primarily from a philosophical and ideological but from a persuasive and activist stand point that a shift in your focus would be needed. But it seems your desire is more for the former, in which case your focus is perfectly find and well reasoned.
    I would like it to be persuasive, of course. This is why I am trying to get at the root of these other conclusions about harm, see if I can construct an argument to address them.

    Not necessarily simply the bible but cultural tradition. Cultural tradition in the country is that drugs are bad. While TECHNICALLY alcohol and caffeine are drugs, technically people are animals but every day people don't normally view ourselves as such do they? Marijuana, despite all the evidence you may present, is traditionally and culturally ingrained in many people to be more in line with coke and heroin then it is Jack Daniels and Budweiser, because of no other reason but its illegality and classification as a drug for the majority of these individuals lives. The notion of legalizing it is the notion of turning a cultural norm and standard on its head, in turning what they were taught by their parents and what they've taught their children into essentially a falsehood, and to establish in their mind the slippery slope possibility of "if we let one drug in, how quick will they use the same kind of arguments to get more". Its not necessarily the "Bible", as much as it is the cultural and societal traditions amongst many in America.
    This makes sense, but it is a sad thing. In the 1930's there was a concerted campaign to paint marijuana as "reefer madness", to paint it as a racist drug with corresponding dangers to white women, and to establish it as a drug promoting immorality. These activities created the cultural tradition that we are now faced with. The only way I can think to address this is to call out the activities originally used to paint it in a negative light.

    There could be numerous reasons for various others to not want it. Take Diane Fienstien, an unabashed liberal democrat, in regards to California's recent efforts as needing to be defeated because, as she describe it, legalization would be "a jumbled legal nightmare that will make our highways, our workplaces and our communities less safe." ... There's also the issues of combinations, as if I remember correctly studies generally find that Alcohol + Marijuana is more dangerous in regards to it affects than either substance on its own. So you have the safety issue as one of the possibilities.

    The legal issues are one as well, in regards to the difficulty of it. People talk about how much it'd save in bureaucracy in regards to law enforcement, but one must look also at the difficulties in establishing it. To my knowledge there's no easy way to test for intoxication by marijuana like there is for alcohol to manage DUI issues. You have the unquestionable public issues that would arise if outdoor smoking of it is as allowable as cigarettes due to the persistence of stereotypes and the lacking of true, thorough, long term, studies in regards to second hand smoke from marijuana. That's going to cause constant issues with regards to it. While we can use alcohol and tobacco as a baseline for many things with it, neither are a direct analog so the issue of putting laws down that makes it reasonable and addresses concerns is going to likely be far from simple.
    As far as screening goes, they have this technology: 5 Panel Oral Saliva Test :: Oral Drug Tests :: Arham International, Inc.. That will only get more sophisticated.

    So let me try to sum up the various interpretations of harm due to marijuana, by various groups:

    • Social Conservative: violates a cultural tradition of marijuana being viewed as a drug, in a negative light. Viewed as immoral. Counter: deconstruct "reefer madness" and observe that marijuana is no more immoral than alcohol.
    • Progressive: harm is done to self. Counter: some mild harm may occur, especially in chronic users. This is not as bad as the harm from alcohol.
    • Economic Conservative: widespread use will lead to loss in productivity. Counter: most users are not chronic and would not lead to productivity loss. May lead to productivity gain. Chronic users would be dealt with like alcoholics.
    • Liberal: harm due to tangled legal situation. Safety is a concern, especially combining marijuana use with alcohol. Counter: clean up the laws. Issues such as enforcement - use saliva testing, outdoor smoking - establish smoking zones, and risks from second hand smoke - begin research. Responsibility to be safe when consuming drugs like alcohol and marijuana.
    • Libertarian: harm done to others - violence, operating vehicles, second hand smoke. Counter: studies show violence is unrelated to marijuana use. It is the responsibility of the use to not operate vehicles, just like with alcohol. Studies show that people are safer drivers when high from marijuana. Safe smoking zones and other rules prevent second hand smoke risks, just like with cigarettes.



    It annoys me a bit when people suggest there's no reasonable reason to oppose legalization. There is. There may be reasons you DISAGREE with. ... But neither makes either side inherently unreasonable with regards to any and every argument being made against/for it.

    (The last bit wasn't specific to you reef, just a general thing)
    I understand it wasn't. ;-) The first bit was, since I was claiming that a "harm to others" interpretation of the Harm Principle was the only correct one. My ways have been exposed! I see the need to create arguments on the ground others occupy and on the "harm" issues they are concerned about.

    My list above is an attempt to summarize both the perceived harm and the counter argument. If you have the time and are willing, feedback on my understanding of the harm done from each perspective would be very helpful. Feedback on the coherency of my counter arguments would likewise be useful.

    Thanks!
    Rob

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    Re: Should Marijuana be legalized?

    Scenario #1: Marijuana is ILLEGAL
    Marijuana is produced in foreign countries under uncontrollable conditions by cartels. The cartels expend much money and manpower in their own countries bribing officials, fighting authorities, etc... in order to ensure steady production. These cartels exploit poor people as mules and spend a lot of money/energy on attempting to get it in to the country. In turn, the US government spends billions annually on diverting manpower to attempt to track and catch these criminals, and to prevent the drugs from entering the country. The drugs that do get through are sold on the street by individuals and gangs, which leads to a massive increase in violence due to drug-related crimes. The US government spends billions of dollars on law enforcement, processing and incarcerating criminals. The legal system gets backed up months or even years due to these drug related cases. Prisons get packed with criminals incarcerated for drug-related offenses. The US government spends billions expanding and maintaining this extensive prison system, including a diversion of manpower into these prisons. Meanwhile, users are prone to being robbed/killed, purchasing bad product, running the risk of having their product tainted or laced, and also have to pay an extremely inflated price due to the illegality of the drug, which diverts disposable income into illegal activities and ultimately out of the US economy.

    Scenario #2: Marijuana is LEGAL
    Companies produce the product competitively in controlled environments under FDA regulation. Product is taxed by the government. The price is driven down due to competition. Consumers pay much less. The health risks are known and advertised on the packaging. There is no more gang violence based on marijuana distribution. The prison and legal systems are no longer congested. The government saves trillions that it was previously diverting into "fighting the war on drugs". Abroad, cartel activity is severely damaged due to the black market on marijuana no longer being a source of revenue.

    Any questions?
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    Re: Should Marijuana be legalized?

    Quote Originally Posted by Korimyr the Rat View Post
    I'm sad to say it, but if you're even capable of naming the philosophical thinkers behind your political ideals, you're not part of the mainstream. The Enlightenment itself was a massive intellectual revolt against the authoritarian governments of the day, and almost all of its political philosophers-- except Hobbes-- formed the basis of classic liberalism. Liberalism essentially split into two movements in the early 20th Century, between those liberals who absorbed progressive ideals and those who absorbed anarchist ideals. I think most people would agree that the classic liberals today would be considered moderate libertarians, while the modern Libertarian Party is more hardline-- having absorbed many of the arguments and beliefs of the anarchist movement.
    I am sorry to say that I have only a passing knowledge of classical liberalism. I have all these books I have been intending to read... I am reading John Locke currently.

    Even still, I would consider myself a classic liberal - a moderate libertarian. I have detected the stronger line that the Libertarian Party throws down. I like to think of the Whigs as that moderate position, even though we are going nowhere fast.

    It's not really the Bible. It's the political philosophies of Calvin and Hobbes with Biblical justification.
    That's awesome!

    I wasn't sure what to call the third, either. Not fiscal conservatives, quite, but anyone who considers financial responsibility and balanced budgets a paramount concern. As far as moderate conservatives, I'd say it's a matter of whether they're more heavily influenced by social conservatism or fiscal conservatism, but generally they consider the two to be intrinsically linked. Immoral and irresponsible behavior lead to financial ruin and dependence upon government programs.
    My dad is a fiscal conservative, and as you just described it a social conservative - he feels irresponsible behavior leads to financial ruin and dependence upon government programs.

    As far as modern liberals go, you're looking at people who basically agree with your concept of harm, except they believe you have to have the means to exercise your rights in order for the existence of those rights to be meaningful; they're the people who took on the progressive mantle of seeking to alleviate poverty and establish strong social safety nets. It's a matter of convincing them that keeping people out of prison is more important than keeping them off drugs. Aside from libertarians, they're the group most likely to support legalization already.
    What do you mean: "they believe you have to have the means to exercise your rights in order for the existence of those rights to be meaningful"? How does that apply to marijuana?


    They're the people that gave us the first Prohibition. You tell me.
    "Reefer Madness" was a brilliant, sustained propaganda campaign. They created a cultural animosity to smoking pot among social conservatives.

    I try not to speak for other people; I'm painting with a broad enough brush already. But yes, generally they believe that people do need to be protected from themselves and from the power of exploitative marketing. This is close to my own position, which is why I support legalization only in the context of strict regulatory controls.
    You are very knowledgeable and I am glad you are painting with that size brush. I believe it is called comparative politics.

    Since it is close to your position, do people make such bad decisions that they need protecting from themselves? I can see how exploitative marketing will target such people. How do you protect the people, regulation?

    The argument here isn't so much that the harm from cannabis is mild-- though it helps-- but that the harm caused by criminal organizations and otherwise handling recreational drug use as a criminal problem is greater.
    You mentioned this before ("It's a matter of convincing them that keeping people out of prison is more important than keeping them off drugs."). I totally agree with it, I've mentioned it before, and so I need to make reference to it when evaluating the total harm done by legalization. I'll defer to Marduc's quote of this.

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