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Obama administration drug policy advisor: the case against legalizing mar1juana

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by bigtexxx, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    The cliffs:

    1. It's addictive. More so for those who start young
    2. It leads to poor learnings outcomes
    3. It leads to lower IQ
    4. It leads to cardiovascular and respiratory problems
    5. It increases the risk of mental illness (I have seen evidence of this on this very board)
    6. It wouldn't stop the cartels
    7. It wouldn't stop criminal justice costs
    8. You can get the medical benefits through other forms
    9. Many have been duped by the powerful "legalize" lobby

    http://blog.chron.com/bakerblog/2012/09/mar1juana-a-case-against-legalization/

    The most popular of all illicit drugs is the subject of countless urban legends. And it’s important to keep in mind that urban legends about mar1juana find their origins on both sides of the ideological spectrum. During most of the 20th century, much of the mythmaking involved hysterical attempts to demonize pot and its users. The notorious 1936 movie Reefer Madness – which was a Hollywood production, not a government propaganda film – is one such example. When mar1juana became a staple of the 1960s counter-culture, mainstream conservative elements of society reacted to the “devil weed” with an attitude of “put all the users in jail and throw away the key.” There is also no doubt that some of our nation’s first anti-drug laws were motivated by fear and racism, as David Musto has highlighted.

    Fast-forward to today and much of the mythmaking and exaggeration comes from a powerful lobby whose aim is to legalize mar1juana. Capitalizing on the unfounded myths and hysteria of the past, pro-mar1juana campaigners conveniently ignore the fact that today’s mar1juana hardly resembles that of the 1960s. (Producers of the drug have learned to increase the psychoactivity of the mar1juana with a much higher concentration of THC.) Supporters of legalization laud mar1juana for its harmlessness, its revenue-generating potential and its medical wonders. These claims deserve closer scrutiny.

    Is mar1juana harmless?

    Science has learned more about mar1juana in the past20 years than in the preceding 200. Ironically, however, there has been a major incongruence between the scientific knowledge gained and the public’s understanding of the drug. People often refer to their own experiences with mar1juana rather than what scientific data has taught us. Here are some fast facts about mar1juana’s health hazards:

    Most people who use mar1juana will stop after trying it once or twice. And most of the rest will not become addicted and not use other drugs. This, however, is the case with most drugs — not just mar1juana.
    1 in 10 people who try mar1juana will become addicted to it, developing a dependence that produces withdrawal, cravings, etc. If mar1juana use starts in adolescence, the chances of addiction are 1 in 6.
    mar1juana is linked to poor learning outcomes, including a significant reduction in IQ, cardiovascular issues and respiratory problems (not to the extent of tobacco smoke, though mar1juana contains more tar and carcinogens than tobacco). Driving while high on mar1juana doubles the risk of a car crash. mar1juana use also significantly increases the risk of acquiring a mental illness.

    mar1juana and Economics

    Research uniformly reveals that under legalization, the price of drugs would fall substantially, and use would increase. Any tax revenue gained from legal mar1juana would be quickly offset by the social costs resulting from this increased use: witness how today, society receives about $1 in alcohol and tobacco tax revenue for every $10 lost on the social costs of those two legal drugs. Increased drug use means increased costs.

    Furthermore, there is no guarantee that mar1juana legalization would significantly diminish the underground market for mar1juana. In a legal market, where mar1juana is taxed, the well-established illegal drug trade has every incentive to remain. Today’s thriving underground market for tobacco is a good example of this. The drug trade is so profitable that even undercutting the legal (taxed) market price would leave cartels with a handsome profit. mar1juana legalization would also do nothing to loosen the cartels’ grip on other illegal trades such human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, piracy and other illicit drugs.

    What about criminal justice costs? Shouldn’t they go down if mar1juana is made legal? The case of alcohol again provides an illuminating example. Surprisingly, (legal) alcohol leads to more arrests every year than do all illegal drugs combined. Driving while drunk, liquor law violation, and public drunkenness result in over 2.5 million alcohol-related arrests every year. That isn’t to say that current drug policies aren’t also costly to the criminal justice system. They are. But that is precisely why we need smarter enforcement policies — not legalization, which would very likely compound the current costs.

    “Medical” mar1juana?

    What about mar1juana’s medical value? We know that there are components in mar1juana that have medicinal value. Some of these components have been turned into a pill; others are being developed into a mouth spray. But, as the Institute of Medicine has concluded, we do not need to inhale the raw mar1juana plant to benefit from the plant’s beneficial components. Just like we do not smoke or ingest opium to receive the medical benefit of morphine (which is derived from just one component in opium), we should not have to smoke or eat whole mar1juana to get its beneficial medical effects.

    Unfortunately, there is a fundamental disconnect between what research tells us about mar1juana, on the one hand, and relaxed public attitudes toward the drug, on the other. Add to this the relentless campaign to legislate raw mar1juana as medicine, or to legalize the drug outright, and we get parents and lawmakers who are confused and conflicted. All of this confusion has muddied the policy waters so thoroughly that urban legends rule the day when it comes to mar1juana. It’s time to get honest, heed the science and realize that the answer to the question “What is the most effective mar1juana policy?” may not be as easy as one might think.

    Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., is director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, College of Medicine. He served as a drug policy senior adviser in the Obama administration from 2009-2011.
     
  2. QdoubleA

    QdoubleA Member

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    I love that one of the tags is "racism". Please tell me that is just automatic when tex posts.
     
  3. brantonli24

    brantonli24 Member

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    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit, so is bigtexxx now for weed legalisation?!!! :confused:
     
  4. brantonli24

    brantonli24 Member

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    btw, a rather interesting line from this blog:

    Is this actually true? I'd imagine the majority of the 'lost' revenue is from tobacco and health costs rather than alcohol though.
     
  5. Yung-T

    Yung-T Member

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    Would like texxx's standpoint on this, kinda hard to see why he posted this.

    I fully agree with Sabet.
     
  6. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    Good news for Romney! Sure to win the pot smoker votes now!
     
  7. CCorn

    CCorn Member

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    Voting booths are too tricky.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Dei

    Dei Member

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    I don't mean to impugn on the author's authority but, considering this doesn't seem to be an investigative study nor authoritative article anyway, I present the contradicting claim by David Nutt, former chairman of the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, on his investigation on the danger of mar1juana and other substances (a study which got him controversially sacked):

    [​IMG]
     
  9. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member

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    [rquoter]
    Research uniformly reveals that under legalization, the price of drugs would fall substantially, and use would increase. Any tax revenue gained from legal mar1juana would be quickly offset by the social costs resulting from this increased use: witness how today, society receives about $1 in alcohol and tobacco tax revenue for every $10 lost on the social costs of those two legal drugs. Increased drug use means increased costs.[/rquoter]

    Then why is tobacco and alcohol legal? He didn't answer that question.
     
  10. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    I have an open mind on the topic....still forming my opinion. Need more facts on the costs/benefits/risks.
     
  11. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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    No need to legalize it, just decriminalize it.

    People will grow their own, trade with friends, get it at the Farmer's market.
    Who wouldn't rather have their neighbor's backyard hydroponic hybrid grown with loving care? No guns, no gangsters, no chemicals, no corporations, no taxes and no big mark up.

    The return of the god-ordained, peace love and understanding spreading, $10 ounce and $100 pound.
     
  12. LosPollosHermanos

    LosPollosHermanos Houston only fan
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    that graph is complete bull****. I would like to see their basis of physical harm. MDMA, ecstasy causes irreversible brain damage and is far more potent than amphetamines. Also, cocaine causes far more damage than heroin by a long shot.
     
  13. LosPollosHermanos

    LosPollosHermanos Houston only fan
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    There are two extremes on this issue. There are the people who believe that there is some huge conspiracy behind pot and that it is completely harmless. That is bull****, it does cause harm and all the stuff texxx posted above but so do other things like cigarettes. Then there is the other side that thinks it should never be legalized and fail to see that there is ALWAYS going to be a considerable portion of the population getting it illegally. I think keeping it illegal is fine, what I do have a problem with is people going to jail for a number of years for something that should be considered a misdemeanor. You have a guy responsible for the largest dog fighting business in the U.S uncovered (so far) getting something like 8 months in prison and people with possession of pot getting far more.
     
  14. Dei

    Dei Member

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  15. larsv8

    larsv8 Contributing Member

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    So then you are waiting to see which side Obama takes, immediately take the other stance and call it a failed policy?
     
  16. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    Actually Obama has already taken a side -- a side to continue ensuring it's criminal and locking away pot users in prison. It's also contributed to his DOJ killing Mexicans with guns the Obama administration allowed to enter Mexico illegally.

    You need to brush up on your knowledge if you think Obama hasn't picked a side.
     
  17. LosPollosHermanos

    LosPollosHermanos Houston only fan
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    Read it, no physiological basis for rationalization of the results, just a bunch of "experts" giving a score to each of them which was then averaged.
    Kind of funny, it actually acknowledged that a lot of the results were extremely misleading like the fact that a single dose of MTMA can cause extensive damage to the substantia nigra and basal ganglia, inducing parkinson's.

    Intravenous Heroin is extremely dangerous due to the fact that it can cause severe respiratory depression, but the way people develop tolerance to it allows it go on for a long period of time. Most heroin addicts just commit suicide. It would be held to a different standard when evaluating stuff like this. Cocaine on the other hand is a widely used stimulant which causes high blood pressure and induces strokes.
     
  18. LosPollosHermanos

    LosPollosHermanos Houston only fan
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    Legalization is too unrealistic. We can't have that happen, but what we do need to do is reduce sentencing which is also unrealistic at this point.

    Gotta take texxx's side on this.
     
  19. thadeus

    thadeus Contributing Member

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    Decriminalization makes the most sense. It's ridiculous to put some pothead in lockup.

    Also, bigtexxx is a low grade troll trying to endorse the poster formerly known as Hightop technique of saying 'HEY LOOK LIBPIGS! OBAMA DONE DID STUFF U DON'T LIKE! LOL!'

    Unfortunately, they think absolutes and don't realize that disliking Obama does not equal a vote for Romney. I won't be voting for Obama, but that doesn't mean that I'm dumb enough to vote for Romney.
     
  20. Dei

    Dei Member

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    You should have good basis if you're going to demean their experts.

    The purpose of the paper was to present a new scale for drugs. From their survey, their experts produced that graph. If anything, you can criticize their criteria for the various forms of harm - which, really, is the only original content of the paper.

    Yes. That's because they gave equal weight to all parameters. Quoting the paragraph:

    [rquoter]

    Our analysis gave equal weight to each parameter of
    harm, and individual scores have simply been averaged.
    Such a procedure would not give a valid indication of
    harm for a drug that has extreme acute toxicity
    , such as
    the designer drug contaminant MPTP (1-methyl 4-phenyl
    1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine), a single dose of which can
    damage the substantia nigra of the basal ganglia so
    severely that it induces an extreme form of Parkinson’s
    disease. [/rquoter]

    In other words, it's an extreme harm mitigated by the other parameters scoring low.

    They gave another example with tobacco (same paragraph):

    [rquoter]
    Indeed, this simple method of integrating scores
    might not deal adequately with any substance that is
    extremely harmful in only one respect. Take tobacco, for
    instance. Smoking tobacco beyond the age of 30 years
    reduces life expectancy by an average of up to 10 years,9
    and it is the commonest cause of drug-related deaths,
    placing a huge burden on health services. However,
    tobacco’s short-term consequences and social effects are
    unexceptional. [/rquoter]

    And they suggested a solution for this which is to attribute different weights:

    [rquoter]Of course, the weighting of individual
    parameters could be varied to emphasise one facet of
    risk or another, depending on the importance attached
    to each. Other procedural mechanisms, such as those of
    multi-criteria decision analysis,20 could be used to take
    account of variation of ranking across different
    parameters of harm.[/rquoter]

    And, finally, they concluded that their method was promising because of the consistency:

    [rquoter]
    Despite these reservations about
    the interpretation of integrated scores and the need for
    further consideration of the weighting of parameters of
    harm, we were greatly encouraged by the general
    consistency of scores across scorers and across
    parameters of harm for most drugs.
    [/rquoter]

    And the point of this block?
     

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