Should Marijuana be Decriminalized? (California votes.)

California will vote this November on decriminalizing marijuana. (The link in that previous sentence is to the Reuters report a little while back.) 

What are the positives and what are the negatives? Do you think it’s the Federal or State government’s responsibility to tell citizens what to do in matters like this? Is marijuana’s impact any more significant than alcohol’s? I’ll weigh in if I need to, but I’m interested to hear what folks think about this.
From Wikipedia: “Aside from a subjective change in perception and, most notably, mood, the most common short-term physical and neurological effects include increased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, impairment of short-term episodic memory, working memory,psychomotor coordination, and concentration.[47] Long-term effects are less clear.[48][49]…..

Cannabis use has been assessed by several studies to be correlated with the development of anxiety, psychosis, and depression.

Stephen Gutwillig: “Banning marijuana outright has been a disaster, fueling a massive, increasingly brutal underground economy, wasting billions in scarce law enforcement resources and making criminals out of countless law-abiding citizens,” he said….

Legalizing marijuana appears to have broad support in the state, with some 56 percent of Californians surveyed in an April, 2009 Field Poll saying they favored making it legal for social use and taxing the sales proceeds.

In October, Gallup found 44 percent of Americans favored legalization…….

Silas Miers: “With legalization of recreational marijuana use, impaired driving, fatalities, injuries and crashes will go up, and we don’t want to see that,” California Mothers Against Drunk Driving spokesman Silas Miers said.

Critics also say the social costs of a free-smoking state far outweigh the money it would bring in.

They say that the already enormous societal damage from alcohol and tobacco use would only increase if people were allowed to legally sell and smoke pot.

What would this permit? Under the initiative, simple possession of an ounce (28.5 grams) or less of marijuana, currently a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $100 fine, would be legal for anyone at least 21. It also would be lawful to grow limited amounts in one’s own home for personal use.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Fish

    Just a couple of points/anecdotes:
    When I was in Amsterdam, my wife and I remarked on how everyone in the “coffee shops” seemed to be in their 30s and 40s and even 50s. Young people didn’t seem to find it cool.
    Our drug dollars are the lifeblood for Mexican organized crime and drug cartels. Switching our multi-billion dollar market over to homegrown / American made marijuana would cripple those gangs and help reduce violence more than any other solution I can think of.
    Alcohol and tobacco are both more harmful to society than marijuana. If you want to control pot smoking, address it the same way: controlled sales through specified outlets, age controls, and heavy taxes to help compensate society for usage.

  • James

    “Cannabis use has been assessed by several studies to be correlated with the development of anxiety, psychosis, and depression.”
    I know many friends of mine who have smoked cannabis and now have psychiatric illnesses. I wouldn’t be surprised if studies come out that show cannabis use causes psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar in more prone individuals.
    So, I’m treating cannabis in the same category as cocaine. I’m sure there’ll be less criminal activity, but for the average person, making drugs illegal does make it tougher to access.
    Thus, I think weed should be illegal. Legalizing would mean much to easy accessibility for younger people, such as how alcohol and cigarettes are.

  • Brianmpei

    Here in Canada we’ve already turned the corner on this one!
    It’s pretty tough to argue against decriminalization in a democratic society and not move to criminalize tobacco and alcohol.
    The real question, for the church, will be when it is decriminalized and people are using it in our church, how will we respond? For some flavours of the faith that won’t be a question but for those who read drunkeness is a sin but drinking is not…

  • kevin s.

    Your argument makes sense if you are simply explaining why you don’t want to use marijuana. As a matter of law, you should have a better reason for banning a substance than anecdotal evidence and a conviction that science will vindicate your personal observations.
    I believe Marijuana should be legal, but I think the proponents of legalization have utilized very poor arguments.
    The enforcement question is a non-starter. Just about any illegal activity creates an underground economy and a drag on law enforcement.
    The medicinal marijuana argument is unpersuasive. Firstly, it’s disingenuous. Those who advocate marijuana use for medicinal purposes do so to the end of broader legalization. The alleged medicinal benefits pale in comparison to more targeted treatments. Further, medicinal marijuana has clearly enriched the crop for recreational users.
    The argument for legal pot stems from the assumption of personal autonomy. Marijuana has not been found to be sufficiently harmful (unlike cocaine or heroin, both of which cause violent episodes and represent a high possibility of overdose) to merit prohibition. The government does not have sufficient reason to tell us not to.

  • Tom

    Find out why more and more cops, judges, and prosecutors who have fought on the front lines of the “war on drugs” are standing up and saying we need to legalize and regulate all drugs to help solve our economic, crime, and public health problems: Contact us if you want to set up an interview, Scot!

  • E.G.

    Yes, decriminalize. I don’t see why the state should have a say about what goes into someone’s body, if they use a substance voluntarily.
    As mentioned above, if pot (and other drugs, for that matter) aren’t decriminalized, then why are tobacco and alcohol allowed?
    Decriminalization will end the crime the stems from prohibition. You don’t see any rum running these days, do you?
    (This comes from someone who uses no illegal drugs, and never plans to… a glass of wine a month is about average for me.)

  • Anon

    It’s uncomfortable but as a parent of a teenager I have to accept the probability / possibility of my kid doing things I would prefer they don’t.
    For example, I would prefer abstinence but I know there’s a 50/50 shot she’ll have sex, so we’re not ignoring the birth control / STD message.
    Similarly, if she’s going to try pot, I would prefer it come from some kind of legal source rather than some dealer in a sub-culture that’s also involved with crime, crack, meth, whatever.

  • James

    @Kevin s.
    Yes anedoctal stories and case studies aren’t sufficent evidence as the harm of weed, and my conviction yes is a conviction. But my “gut” sense is not just out of personal anedoctal stories.
    Do a search on Medline and Pubmed, and you’ll see that there is indeed a coorelation between cannibis use and mental disorders such as schizophrenia and psychosis. Yes, coorelations isn’t causation, but if we’re talking about whether cannibis can cause psychosis, no studies have ruled that out and more studies are leaning towards that weed especially if started during adolescents does lead to mental illnesses such as psychosis.
    Do a quick google scholar search:
    So my argument: Legalization leads to greater accessibility to a drug that has harmful effects in a significant proportion of people(not proven, but recent studies are going towards this conclusion. Do a pubmed/medline/google scholar search.

  • Amy

    I’m in my 20’s and for people in my age group, I don’t know anyone who makes the decision to smoke pot from the perspective whether it is legal or not anyways. But because it is illegal, there is a chance it can get laced with actual harmful drugs, which have quite severe repercussions.
    In addition, we spend way to much money fighting this, where we could spend the money and resources on something like revamping our justice/prison systems.
    Plus, people that I’ve seen high are usually much more under control and lucid than those that are drunk, and pot doesn’t cause hangovers.
    I know people that have said that pot is the only thing that works for them when antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication does not. There should be more studies and development done in this area for people like that.
    Legalize it!

  • Your Name

    Isn’t it a tad more likely that the mentally ill self-medicate? (rather than assuming that the drug – whatever it might be – caused the psychosis)

  • Robin

    I just want to point out that this fight isn’t just about pot. ALL of the people I know who want pot legalized also favor the legalization of other illegal drugs, up to and including meth, and most advocate for the de-prescriptionization(?) of drugs like morphine. The argument is always that regardless of the negative consequences of such drugs adults should be given autonomous decision-making capacity and any negative externalities imposed on society could be dealt with in the same way we deal with alcohol intoxication.
    Weed is the first step since it is the most benign, but we are heading to widespread legalization of all drugs.
    Also, the medicinal argument is largely just a cover. Check out advertisements for medicinal marijuana that have Snoop Dogg as a spokesperson, and what other medicinal drugs can you name that have the manufacturers of said drugs pushing for the taxation of sick people. Even Viagra’s makers would contend that you shouldn’t place additional taxes on products that are medicinally necessary.

  • James

    Just to add, so what I think is that cannibus use especially when started as an adolescent has harmful long term effects. Look at the systematic reviews and studies that leans towards this conclusion.
    If weed is to be legalized, do it knowing of the potential harm. I think weed is different than how food can lead to obesity or that too much alcohol can lead to liver disease. If you drink too much water, you can die due to hyponatriemia.
    One can make a case that it’s like cigarettes and lung cancer, but I’d make the case that cannibus leans towards more like drugs like coccaine.. that even in moderation but with frequent use, it can have more dangerous permanent effects in a significant number of people. So if legalized, make sure that the public knows of the potential long term effects especially among young people
    Check out this conclusion from this systematic review:
    “””The evidence is consistent with the view that cannabis increases risk of psychotic outcomes independently of confounding and transient intoxication effects, although evidence for affective outcomes is less strong. The uncertainty about whether cannabis causes psychosis is unlikely to be resolved by further longitudinal studies such as those reviewed here. However, we conclude that there is now sufficient evidence to warn young people that using cannabis could increase their risk of developing a psychotic illness later in life.”””

  • Kristen

    Many religious leaders and people in the faith community support decriminalizing marijuana in California and across the country! The Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative is a non-profit organization that mobilizes clergy to advocate for more compassionate alternatives to the war on drugs. Find out more at our website:

  • Josh

    You mean pot isn’t already legal here?!

  • DRT

    Within the past two years a friend of one of my sons and my son got caught smoking pot. We made sure that we upheld his dignity and intelligently discussed it with him. His friend’s family made him a veritable outcast mainly based on bible thumping and legality issues. 1 week later my son’s friend put a bullet in his head on Sunday morning….amazingly he did survive.
    I think it should be legal. Anyone who wants it can get it but we are not able to adequately provide for appropriate education and control.
    Also, it is much less harmful than cigarettes and alcohol. I used to smoke cigarettes and would wish they would make them illegal….I quit and it was the best thing I ever did.
    Legalize it. I think it is an obvious conclusion.

  • Travis Greene

    James @ 8,
    Many people with mental illness self-medicate. The causal direction is probably the opposite of what you surmise (that is, psychosis causes marijuana use, not the other way around).
    In any case, lots and lots of things are harmful that are perfectly legal. I don’t see any meaningful distinction between marijuana use and alcohol use.
    My take: legalize is, but in a thoughtful, regulated way (i.e., age restrictions, restrictions on driving while under the influence, not in public, etc).
    But public policy aside, our use of drugs absolutely fuels violence all over the world, and getting high/stoned/whatever is equivalent to getting drunk, and inconsistent with the way of Jesus.

  • T.C.

    I am not in favor. Make this stuff as difficult as possible to find. It’s a real downer although the world tells you a lie that it is not.

  • Mooner

    @ Your Name
    Mentally ill can self medicate,
    but I’d also look at cohort or prospective studies that show a temporal relationship that many who started smoking weed (esp when younger) then go on to LATER develop psychosis in their adult life.
    Yes one can also make the case then that there’s some other factor that may be the cause of psychosis and mental illness, but biochemically, it make sense as well, especially if joints are laced with other products that are known to definitely cause psychosis such as Angel Dust (PCP).

  • Robin

    I predict that it will be legalized, but in a very strict manner, and permits to grow it on a large scale will be limited and largely go to those who are well connected politically. Pot contracts will be the new defense contracts, and because of that we will still make importation illegal and the drug war will no de-escalate. We’ll just fight an interntational drug war to protect the new monopolies of domestic suppliers and back yard moonshiners.

  • Robin

    Sorry, I meant that we will fight a drug war against foreign growers and backyard moonshiners growing without a permit, but the reason won’t be due to the illegality of the product, but protecting the investment of the licensed growers. Same drug war, slightly different focus.

  • Kenny Johnson

    I don’t have any philosophical or political objections to the government regulating (and even criminalizing) drugs which can pose dangers to public health. However, with that said, as a former user of marijuana (mostly in my teens and young adult years), I consider marijuana to be a mild drug in comparison with legal drugs like alcohol. Marijuana is not (or not very) physically addictive nor is it capable of fatal overdoses — unlike alcohol. In general, people intoxicated on marijuana are not violent or belligerent (unlike alcohol).
    While I think most claims of medical marijuana are just excuses for legalization, I do believe that medical marijuana does have its place. I know of both people who have used it medically and those who have been offered prescriptions by legitimate doctors (not just doctors that pot smokers go to).
    So, I guess I should say that I favor decriminalization of marijuana. Free up the legal system, jails, prisons, and police work from having to deal with what I consider to be a rather mild intoxicant.

  • Mooner

    This is one longitudinal study (of many) showing cannibus use in adolescents comes BEFORE mental illness, but do a medline/publine search yourself:
    Not all those who smoke cigs develop lung cancer, but a significant proportion does. In the same way, I think cannibus use in a significant proportion of people do go on later to develop psychiatric conditions that I think are more debilitating than lung cancer because of the age of onset.
    So the next question is, if we think something is harmful, then what role do the laws and the government have in reinforcing something as to make something harmful legal or illegal?
    Is cannibus the same as alcohol (which is legal), or is it more like cocaine (which is illegal)? If the criteria is severity of the health effect, I’d lean it towards drugs like cocaine because frequent use esp when younger people does show it leads to debilitating conditions like schizophrenia and psychosis.
    just my two cents..
    If made legal, I think there should be major public health campaigns that weed does come at a price potentially to your mental health (not in everyone, but in many).

  • Jason Lee

    Robin and others,
    Uhhh … I may not be well informed about this, but who are the major proponents of pot legalization that also want to legalize meth? Meth is so unambiguously and immediately destructive … seems like it’s in a different category than pot. I don’t see a strong or necessary connection.

  • Raymond

    From just a pragmatist point of view, the war on drugs has failed far worse then prohibition failed. We have filled prisons and wasted money on enforcing laws for marijuana. A drug which I believe to be far less destructive then alcohol. Legalize it, end this pointless prohibition and move on.

  • Travis Greene

    Robin’s scenario in 18 & 19 is disturbingly plausible. Still, our appetite for recreational drugs is the problem, and no law will make that go away. And there’s no argument that can be applied to pot that can’t also be applied to alcohol.

  • Rowland

    “And there’s no argument that can be applied to pot that can’t also be applied to alcohol.”
    Except that:
    Booze makes you drive faster. Pot makes you drive slower.

  • Fish

    “ALL of the people I know who want pot legalized also favor the legalization of other illegal drugs, up to and including meth, and most advocate for the de-prescriptionization(?) of drugs like morphine.”
    Really? NONE of the people I know who want pot legalized have never said anything like this at all. The caveat would be they’re all upstanding citizens with good jobs, many of whom attend church, so they have a particular paradigm that others might not. They classify pot in the same category as beer but that’s as far as it goes.
    Certainly if you want to classify this blogger as someone you know, the figure is no longer 100% because I think legalizing meth, etc. is a supremely bad idea. I think at some point libertarianism has to deal with reality.

  • Mooner

    Another good distinction to make is what exactly we want legalized in the long run?
    – legal to possess weed? If so, then the black market will still exist and may even grow.
    – legal to grow and sell with regulations like alcohol? The black market may cease, but then the health risks of cannibis may increase in a population.

  • Naum

    Wow, the hate is strong in here… …condemning of a natural remedy that could make so much difference in quality of life to to somebody afflicted — from cancer patient undergoing chemo that can’t keep food down (or even smell without overcome with nausea) to a much cleaner pain relief than hard narcotics. (Once somebody even argued with me that it wasn’t necessary since you can get in pill form, to which I astonishingly pointed out that if one couldn’t keep anything down, how would that be superior, or of any help at all?).
    Marijuana is no more dangerous than a glass of wine or can of beer or even the excessive dosage of caffeine that many Americans partake in. If you’re in favor of keeping marijuana legal, but not of making alcohol, caffeine, etc.… illegal, then you are a hypocrite.

  • Naum

    Should have written “keeping marijuana illegal”…

  • Scot McKnight

    Uncharacteristically harsh and condemnatory of you, Naum.

  • Bill

    I don’t quite get the argument that since alcohol and tobacco are legal, and I gather from many of the comments the opinions about both of those “drugs” are negative, then why not legalize pot. Seems just to be somewhat inconsistent. Did you ever see someone high on weed behind the wheel? I have and the cops will issue that DUI for weed just as easily as for alcohol. And if its like tobacco, later medical research showing it is indeed harmful, will it be so entrenched, ala tobacco, no way to backtrack?

  • Naum

    Seriously, really?
    What if somebody said comic books should be illegal or the substance aloe vera should be banned? What would most people think of organized campaigns to rid our land of such “immorality”? Other than an embrace of ignorance or at best pyrrhic utopian do-gooder overzealousness and overeagerness.
    And if one objectively reviews the history of marijuana law, its illegality inception roots are tied more in with racism (seen as an evil black people thing) the irrational and/or concerns from corporate entities like Dupont.
    Does anyone circa 2010 really believe marijuana is the equivalent of heroin or morphine?

  • josenmiami

    to the original question: “yes”

  • Dave


  • John M.

    Another legal “drug” pronography IMHO is more destructive than pot, alcohol or cigarettes. Perhaps with alcohol, I should say, “at least as desturctive”, if you take into consideration severe alcoholism.
    But my point is that even casual use of porn will ultimately be more destructive morally, spiritually and relationally than the above mentioned drugs.
    It seems that the drugs we are discussing can be used in moderation and still remain in biblical parameters of morality (I guess pot could be questioned based on the “do not be drunk” prohibition.) but I don’t see a way to biblically rationalize or justify the morality of partaking of porn.
    Captcha – “advertising freeetown”

  • Isaiah

    Another question is: who will sell it? The dangers of Marijuanna might be multiplied if processed and industrialized by a major multinational corportation.

  • Robin

    Regarding people I know that support marijuana legalization also supporting legalization of meth/morphine…talk to a consistent libertarian and have them fully explain the implications of their autonomy arguments, if those are the arguments they are using. If they are using medical/harm arguments it might be different. But the libertarians that I know who favor legalization due to autonomy/liberty will push for legalization of much harder drugs if you seriously engage them.

  • kevin s.

    “I don’t quite get the argument that since alcohol and tobacco are legal, and I gather from many of the comments the opinions about both of those “drugs” are negative, then why not legalize pot. Seems just to be somewhat inconsistent.
    I agree, and so let me just say that alcohol and tobacco are awesome. I love beer. I love cigars. I love the taste, but also the effect they have on me. Thank God for providing us both.
    Marijuana is also kinda awesome, from what I understand. So thank God for it, and let’s use it in moderation, just like I eat bacon and foie gras in moderation.
    Cocaine and meth are not at all awesome. They are obviously horrible. I do not, contra Robin (and I am rarely contra Robin) support legalizing those drugs.

  • Naum

    @37 (Isaiah)
    “””Another question is: who will sell it? The dangers of Marijuanna might be multiplied if processed and industrialized by a major multinational corportation.”””
    OTOH, it might be safer, with less probability that it might be tainted with some toxic spray and/or less revenue flowing into the coffers of violent gangsters…

  • Richard

    @ 40
    Yes, white collar gangsters are preferable to violent ones.
    It would be nice to live in a country that allows planting and harvesting hemp.

  • Joshua Wooden

    James @ #2:
    Doesn’t alcohol cause psychiatric problems, too? What is the logic in categorizing marijuana with cocaine, when it is actually much closer to alcohol, as far as I can tell.
    In your own words, “Legalizing would mean much to easy accessibility for younger people.”
    I don’t know if that’s true. Young people who want to find it have no real trouble at all, actually.
    As a born-and-raised Californian, I’m for this one. I don’t think it is right, and I never would smoke it, but the contention that the social issues outweigh the financial costs is, to me, quite stupid. Our prisons are overcrowded with repeat offender drug users and dealers. You could relieve the overcrowding, and more importantly, tax it. This has some negative consequences, but so does the legalizing of alcohol. Marijuana simply isn’t going anywhere. If it’s illegal, then sales will go underground, using up valuable resources to catch and prosecute them. If it’s legal, then it’s taxable and, most importantly, it will cripple gangs that depend on drugs as a source of income.

  • Joshua Wooden

    I should add, The second part was in no way directed at you James (about the social outweighing the economic). That was directed to the argument generally. Sorry for not clarifying.

  • Bradford Sherman

    If only more people would hear about this..

  • somfincute

    Alcohol is much worse than pot. Drunks are known for physical violence or murder, verbal abuse, disorderly conduct. Potheads are usually stupid and mellow. Yes, stupidity can hurt, but it isn’t cocaine. It isn’t heroin and it isn’t as dangerous as alcohol. It doesn’t contribute to anxiety and depression, that is false. It is actually used to TREAT those symptoms, in California. If you have anxiety or depression, you can get a license for marijuana, in CA.

  • Irenicum

    The whole “war on drugs” meme for the last generation has been, for the most part, an abysmal failure. It also failed to distinguish between the harder drugs and the softer drugs and the social consequences attached to their use. Believe me, I used to work in social work among the homeless,and I would take a pothead over a crackhead any day of the week. The psychology of the two is markedly different even though both substances were equally illegal. As far as marijuana is concerned, the simple and clear answer is not to just decriminalize it but legalize it and regulate it.

  • Jay W

    Does anyone of you want your kids smoking weed? This is probably anecdotal, but do you know anyone who smokes weed who’s mind has not been negatively affected after prolonged use? The argument that weed is less harmful than cigarettes sounds like the rhetoric from cigarette companies in the 50’s. The studies have not been sufficiently done to show that weed is not as harmful as tobacco or alcohol.
    I for one do not want weed to be as easy to access as alcohol for my future children. And me genoito if we ever look like Amsterdam. I am sad that there is so much violence over the illegal distribution of drugs, but I fear that this is a slippery slope we don’t want to go down.

  • kevin s.

    “Does anyone of you want your kids smoking weed?”
    This is irrelevant. I don’t want my kids drinking beer either.
    “This is probably anecdotal, but do you know anyone who smokes weed who’s mind has not been negatively affected after prolonged use?”
    “The argument that weed is less harmful than cigarettes sounds like the rhetoric from cigarette companies in the 50’s.”
    Apples and oranges. Also, cigarettes remain legal even though we have demonstrate the claims of cigarette manufacturers to be false.
    “The studies have not been sufficiently done to show that weed is not as harmful as tobacco or alcohol.”
    I disagree, but I’ll cede your argument anyway.
    Having done so, I would then argue the government should err on the side of permission, up and until studies conclude that marijuana use is sufficiently dangerous to justify federal intervention. There is no law against the consumption of dandelions, though I’m sure there are no long-term studies on the impact of dandelion use.
    “I for one do not want weed to be as easy to access as alcohol for my future children.”
    My freedoms should not be dictated by what you want for people who do not even exist. If you don’t want your future children to use pot, apply the rod to their future backsides, and raise them to avoid the substance. Spare the rod, raise a pothead, to paraphrase Franklin.
    “And me genoito if we ever look like Amsterdam.”
    Ever been to Minneapolis? We already do.
    “I am sad that there is so much violence over the illegal distribution of drugs, but I fear that this is a slippery slope we don’t want to go down.”
    The slippery slope argument, as you have applied it here, is a logical fallacy. There is no compelling reason why we should legalize prostitution simply because we have also legalized marijuana.

  • eric

    Legalize it already. in my day I smoked and drank and did harder drugs. I can promise you this its not nearly as bad as the Drinking. Alcohol is one of the few things withdraws can kill you from. Heroin and cocaine both have Terrible addictive properties through the delta, kappa, mu and Nociceptin receptors. These are what make people go through withdraw and get sick without the drugs. No Marijuana doesn’t affect these receptors in the same way so there is no chance for a physical addiction in the same manner as the other drugs including tobacco. This would cut down on very violent crimes in Mexico and also keep illegal’s from coming over here to farm the stuff for the cartels that murder innocent people families and towns. It’s going to be here anyway you look at it at least this way it can be regulated much more efficiently. As for your kids smoking teach them well and you won’t need to worry about it. I smoke pot for 5 years straight got into trouble and stopped never had a problem. It was the opiates that gave me a heck of a fight. From all the studies out pot has less carcinogenic than cigarettes and with a filter less tar, and absolutely no chemicals like in tobacco. That’s all the proof you really need on the matter.

  • DRT

    Captcha – who boeotian – i had to look that one up, boeotian is
    1590s, “ignorant, dull,” from Boeotia, district around Thebes in ancient Greece (said to have been so called for its cattle pastures), whose inhabitants were characterized as proverbially dull and countrified by their neighbors, the Athenians. The Boeotians presumably held reciprocal opinions, but their great writers, Plutarch and Pindar, thoug patriots, are full of praise for Athenian deeds and institutions.

  • brambonius

    From an european point of view, living in Belgium where weed is illegal but lowest priority if you just possess small amounts for own use. I would say if you make it legal, then do it all the way. And give people the chance to grow their own plants so that they don’t have to buy it from mafia without knowing what chemicals are used in producing the stuff, and in what other ways they have messed with it…
    I never used it (some of my friends do) even while I had the chance a lot of times. Stoned people can be boring as hell, but I’ve never seen people get agressive on weed…
    But I would say decriminalise, yes… (Though that would shock a lot of older Christians here too, I’m sure…)
    And Kevin: dandelions are edible, and there have even been studies… look up on wikipedia.

  • kevin s.

    “And Kevin: dandelions are edible, and there have even been studies… look up on wikipedia.”
    I’m aware. I can assure you, though, that there are more studies on the effect of pot than dandelions.

  • John M.

    Too bad Jerry Garcia didn’t stick with only weed.

  • Duncan20903

    It is absurd to claim that cannabis causes psychoses. It is not possible to introduce a causal factor into a population without that causal factor causing what is claimed. In the 1960s cannabis use in the US increased exponentially. Where users were counted in the single digits per 100,000 of population now the usage rates are in the neighborhood of 10s per hundred. Yet rates for psychoses are consistent with what they were before cannabis became so popular. So where are all the new crazy people? Just about 100 million adults in the US have used cannabis. Were the absurd lies warning us about this danger and that it ‘ruins’ lives true it would not be hard to find such people.
    It’s time to stop the lies. Just stop it. If you think these things true you are an idiot.

  • Duncan20903

    #47 Jay starts asking if we want our kids getting high, then says god forbid we should look like Amsterdam. Well Jay, FYI the Dutch children try cannabis at about 1/3 the rate of US minors.
    The sad thing is that people keep saying that they don’t want certain things, but then act as if prohibition is actually addressing their concerns. It does not, and you are very wrong in your conclusions. Prohibition does not provide the ends you seek, and there are decades of experience showing your thought processes are wrong. If you really cared about the children, you wouldn’t insist that something so demonstrably ineffective in reaching your supposed goal be kept up. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity.

  • Naum

    Regarding young people access — speaking from 1st hand experience (though mine goes back to 70s/80s, but from what kids tell me today too), the easiest place to score a bag of weed was in junior high school (though younger folk tell me that it is high school today, and not junior high, as it was back in my adolescence). 2nd easiest was high school and 3rd easiest was on college campus. Much much easier than coaxing a friend’s older sibling (or stranger) to purchase alcohol for the underage group.

  • Joe Whitchurch

    I’m rather fond of different sizes versus one-size fits-all. The 10th amendment (if memory serves me) makes sense on this, as with variant application and enforcement of immigration law as per AZ v. IL or DC, and yes even on local, community, and regional standards and values, like with with abortion.
    Alcohol is probably significantly worse in negative societal impact (driving, abuse, violence, addiction, other vices, etc) than pot though I do wonder in terms of initiative, memory, and motivation (like to learn or work or be responsible in other ways) whether pot may be worse in societal impact than alcohol in terms of passivity/sloth.
    I think California pretty much is already suffering from the affects of pot overload. They haven’t had a tax revolt in a long time and are clearly over taxed, and the elections of Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger being (to be bi-partisan) would be two relatively recent, Statewide examples of said suffering.

  • Cassie Cotton

    If only more than 99 people would read this..