Column: Marijuana Should Not Be Illegal

Column: Marijuana Should Not Be Illegal
Posted by CN Staff on March 31, 2005 at 23:31:47 PT
By Michael Hugman, Columnist
Source: Collegiate Times
Why is marijuana still prohibited? Government’s answer: because you shouldn’t use it. You shouldn’t use it because it’s prohibited. It’s prohibited because you shouldn’t use it. You shouldn’t use it because…Real answer: persistent myths about marijuana still remain, and they are repeated endlessly by the government, public schools and the media. These myths are preventing many Americans from realizing that there really is no good reason for prohibiting marijuana.
However, they are becoming less and less effective. A 2001 Gallup poll revealed that one in three Americans already believes in ending marijuana prohibition. It is only a matter of time before the majority comes out in favor of ending it. I hope to quicken that process by rebutting some often-repeated marijuana myths in this column.“The only reason someone would support ending marijuana prohibition is so they can legally get high.” Many non-marijuana users support an end to prohibition for various reasons. Libertarians, such as myself, simply want people to have the freedom to do what they want without infringing on the rights of others. Smoking marijuana does not infringe on anyone’s rights, so you should be able to do it. Other people recognize that the cost of prohibiting marijuana far outweighs any benefits. And still others realize the hypocrisy in having legal alcohol but not having legal marijuana, when alcohol is the more dangerous drug.“Marijuana is much more potent today, and this is a bad thing.” The average THC in marijuana is slightly higher today (about 5 percent). However, this myth doesn’t even make sense as an argument for marijuana prohibition. Generally, marijuana smokers stop smoking when they have gotten satisfactorily high. So more potent marijuana means that less smoke is inhaled, which is better for the lungs. It does not mean it is more dangerous.“Marijuana is highly addictive.” In a U.S. Institute of Medicine report, less than 10 percent of marijuana users ever exhibited symptoms of dependence. By contrast, the numbers were 15 percent for alcohol users and 32 percent for cigarette smokers.“Marijuana can significantly damage your health.” No one has ever died from cannabis poisoning. This is mostly because the average adult would have to smoke roughly 900 joints in one sitting to overdose. In this respect, it is hundreds of times safer than alcohol and cigarettes.Marijuana does not cause brain damage. Two 1977 studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed no evidence of brain damage in heavy users of marijuana.In the long term, the most common health problem resulting from heavy marijuana use is chronic bronchitis (coughing and wheezing). Heavy use may also cause cancer, though that is not proven. Occasional marijuana use is not likely to have any significant effect on your health, but it may be risky to use if you are susceptible to panic attacks and/or psychosis.“The damage to your health caused by marijuana justifies prohibition.” Even if marijuana were as harmful a drug as warriors claim, that would not justify prohibition. We are not children anymore. I think we are quite capable of deciding for ourselves whether smoking marijuana is worth the risks.“Ending marijuana prohibition would be detrimental to society.” No, ending marijuana prohibition would be profoundly beneficial to society. We would no longer have to spend billions of dollars every year to pursue and lock up nonviolent marijuana users and sellers. Law enforcement could direct more of their efforts toward stopping real criminals. Gang violence and organized crime would go down. Assaults on our civil liberties would also be greatly reduced.“Getting ‘tough on drugs’ reduces marijuana use.” Harsher punishments generally do not significantly reduce marijuana use. Ten states currently treat possession of marijuana as a non-criminal offense, punishable only by a fine. A federal study comparing these states to states with harsher punishments found that "decriminalization has had virtually no effect on either marijuana use or on related attitudes about marijuana use among young people."“Marijuana use leads to the use of harder drugs.” If anything, the opposite is true. A 1993 Rand Corporation study found that states that had decriminalized marijuana experienced decreased hard drug abuse. The explanation for this is that if people can more easily get marijuana, they tend to use it as a substitute for harder drugs.“Marijuana prohibition at the federal level is constitutional.” No, it is completely unconstitutional. The federal government is not authorized by the Constitution to prohibit substances by the Tenth Amendment which states that power is reserved to the states or to the people. People understood this when alcohol was prohibited, so that required a Constitutional amendment. Constitutional prohibition of marijuana would also require a Constitutional amendment.There are many more marijuana myths, but these are all I have room for. If you are interested in learning more, I suggest going to: if you are interested in doing something about marijuana prohibition, you might check out the Virginia Tech NORML or Libertarian Party organizations. Source: Collegiate Times (VA)Author: Michael Hugman, ColumnistPublished: April 01, 2005Copyright: 2005 Collegiate Times Website: Contact: comments Virginia Tech NORML -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #6 posted by AOLBites on April 01, 2005 at 14:53:39 PT
of course .. 
the media is just really really stupid... so i guess its up to us.proof the media a truly idiots:It has become ridiculously easy to prank the news media.Between all the cable channels, talk radio stations, newswires, morning DJs, and blogs, our news is less trustworthy than ever. Come up with something ridiculous enough, and your idea can become instantly famous, even if it's not true. Wacky ideas continually spread through the blogosphere, and frequently are picked up by the mainstream news media, who often don't have time to check facts or verify sources.Over the past few months, we conducted a series of experiments to find out what kind of half-baked ideas could we get reported as actual news?-=snip=-EXPERIMENT #2: KENNY ROGERS-=snip=-MSNBC. ABC News. Radio stations across the nation. All of them falling for it hook, line and sinker. As a sample of some of the coverage the fake Kenny Rogers story received, here's the ABC News Radio broadcast from the morning of November 30, 2004.-=snipped link=-Bottom line: our experiment in journalistic integrity was a rousing success, which is depressing. But boy, was it fun.We had successfully beguiled the national media into believing that a country music star would be at a book signing (does he even have a book?) where his bodyguard leveled 19 people, so now we had to do something even MORE ridiculous and unbelievable. -=snip=-
The media is Fools
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Comment #5 posted by AOLBites on April 01, 2005 at 14:01:27 PT
but eventually ... 
"The truth has got it's boots on, it's going to start kicking."-Terry Pratchett
the truth
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Comment #4 posted by unkat27 on April 01, 2005 at 13:33:29 PT
Try simple logic
Next time someone tries to demonize or punish you for using mj, try simple logic."What gives you the right to deny me the right to use marijuana? What difference does it make to you what I choose to consume? How does my using marijuana affect you? How could my use of marijuana have any harmful effects to you?"According to our own US Constitution, the law of our land, it is unlawful for anyone to dictate to others what they choose to consume, so long as such consumption is not harmful to others. Where do these obviously anti-American fascists get the idea that they can take away our simple rights and punish us for simply using marijuana? It really makes no sense whatsoever at all. If any of the original founders of the US Constitution were here today, they would tell us that our land has become conquered by the very kind of evil people they warned us about and designed the government as best they could to prevent. Tyranny.
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Comment #3 posted by potpal on April 01, 2005 at 07:57:38 PT
psycho scientist
Give it a break. Sadly...
A lie can be halfway around the world before truth has got its boots on. Former Prime Minister Lord Callaghan (who died this week)
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Comment #2 posted by 420toker on April 01, 2005 at 07:41:08 PT
20mg's is huge,  
20 mg of pure thc is way over the recomended dose for someone who has never had it.2.5mg/day to 20 mg/day, increasing or decreasing as below: Starting dose is 2.5 mg po bid before lunch and supper. CNS effects usually resolve 1-3 days after starting, but if they do not, reduce dose to 2.5 mg before supper. If adverse effects (of 2.5 mg bid) are minimal and further appetite stimulation is needed, increase dose to 2.5 mg before lunch and 5 mg before supper, or to 5 mg before lunch and 5 mg before supper. Most patients respond satisfactorily at the 2.5 mg bid dose, but some have been raised to 10 mg bid and tolerated it well. Adverse effects tend to increase with dosage, however.
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on April 01, 2005 at 07:24:49 PT
latest psychosis salvo
Here comes another "reefer madness" report. This time from some Swiss "mad scientists" giving synthetic THC compounds in order to prove how psychotic we all are.
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