Obama: Pot No More Dangerous Than Alcohol

The New Yorker has an extensive interview with President Obama, on a variety of topics.

On marijuana:

“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

Is it less dangerous? I asked. Less dangerous, he said, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.”

On Colorado and Washington's legalization laws: He said it's important "they go forward." [More...]

“it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”

Obama feels differently about other drugs:

“I also think that, when it comes to harder drugs, the harm done to the user is profound and the social costs are profound. And you do start getting into some difficult line-drawing issues. If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”

Here's how Obama described his teenage years to a group of at-risk male students in a program called "Becoming a Man" a a public school on the South side of Chicago:

“We went around the room and started telling each other stories. And one of the young men asked me about me growing up, and I explained, You know what? I’m just like you guys. I didn’t have a dad. There were times where I was angry and wasn’t sure why I was angry. I engaged in a bunch of anti-social behavior. I did drugs. I got drunk. Didn’t take school seriously. The only difference between me and you is that I was in a more forgiving environment, and if I made a mistake I wasn’t going to get shot. And, even if I didn’t apply myself in school, I was at a good enough school that just through osmosis I’d have the opportunity to go to college.

On the NSA:

Obama admitted that the N.S.A. has had “too much leeway to do whatever it wanted or could.” But he didn’t feel “any ambivalence” about the decisions he has made. “I actually feel confident that the way the N.S.A. operates does not threaten the privacy and constitutional rights of Americans and that the laws that are in place are sound, and, because we’ve got three branches of government involved and a culture that has internalized that domestic spying is against the law, it actually works pretty well,” he said. “Over all, five years from now, when I’m a private citizen, I’m going to feel pretty confident that my government is not spying on me.”

The author of the article, David Remmick, who conducted the interviews with Obama, lists his view of Obama's accomplishments as President:

...ending two wars; an economic rescue, no matter how imperfect; strong Supreme Court nominations; a lack of major scandal; essential support for an epochal advance in the civil rights of gays and lesbians; more progressive executive orders on climate change, gun control, and the end of torture; and, yes, health-care reform.

The greatest President according to Obama: Abraham Lincoln.

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    Surely Pres. Obama is aware MJ is on federal (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 10:55:18 PM EST
    Schedule 1.  Seems disingenuous.

    Perhaps he's forgotten that he can unilaterally (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 01:43:17 AM EST
    reschedule the drug, even deschedule it, using his much beloved executive powers or through his DHHS Cabinet Secretary, according to this wikipedia article.

    And I Forget Who is the Head of the DEA ? (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:06:46 AM EST
    Oh yeah, this nitwit from the Bush administration.

    For the life of me I can not understand how that person was appointed to head the DEA by two Presidents.  

    If either actually cared about drug policy, we wouldn't have a cartoon character heading the DEA.

    It's good to hear Obama saying these things, but it would be great if he actually meant them.


    The link doesn't mention executive order (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 06:35:30 AM EST
    Neither did I. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 08:05:37 AM EST
    Then please explain what you mean (none / 0) (#12)
    by Peter G on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 10:14:21 AM EST
    by "unilaterally." I thought that White House control (called "interference" when we disagree with the result) over what is supposed to be a science-based, expert process was a bad thing. As I understand it (and confirmed by the linked Wikipedia article), an appeal from the DEA's refusal, after a hearing according to the prescribed legal process, to move marijuana out of Schedule I is pending before the federal appeals court for the D.C. Circuit.  Based on the evidence, the challengers should win, but that's no guarantee that they will.

    We'll, one thing that the President could (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Zorba on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 01:56:10 PM EST
    certainly do, Peter, is pardon the medical marijuana growers that his Justice Department has prosecuted and jailed.
    See Juan Cole's commentary.

    According to the wikipedia article, the DHHS (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 06:49:59 PM EST
    cabinet secretary can reschedule and/or deschedule the substance, even outside the petition process.

    The HHS Secretary can even unilaterally legalize cannabis: "[I]f the Secretary recommends that a drug or other substance not be controlled, the Attorney General shall not control the drug or other substance." 21 U.S.C. § 811b.

    I'm not telling; I'm asking.  You, Jeralyn, Oculus, BTD, and a few others are attorneys.  You know how to read this stuff; I don't.  It is wikipedia and might easily have been a misinterpretation.

    As for the desirability of "a science-based, expert process," there's been little of that since the beginning of reefer regulation madness.  It's been more like a catch-22.  Without a proven medical benefit, marijuana can't move off schedule 1, where it was placed by Tricky Dick Nixon's stooges, but any research which could demonstrate a medical benefit has been blocked by a DEA which seems to approve only research into hypotheses which reaffirm marijuana's hazards to moms, apple pie, and the American way.


    What you say about the perversion of science (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Peter G on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 08:23:21 PM EST
    is true, of course.  Nevertheless, a scientific study, not an administrative fiat, is what the law requires, Wikipedia to the contrary notwithstanding, to reverse the political action that put cannabis in Schedule I in the original 1970 Controlled Substances Act:
    (b) Evaluation of drugs and other substances

    The Attorney General shall, before initiating proceedings under subsection (a) of this section to control a drug or other substance or to remove a drug or other substance entirely from the schedules, and after gathering the necessary data, request from the Secretary a scientific and medical evaluation, and his recommendations, as to whether such drug or other substance should be so controlled or removed as a controlled substance. In making such evaluation and recommendations, the Secretary shall consider the factors listed in paragraphs (2), (3), (6), (7), and (8) of subsection (c) of this section and any scientific or medical considerations involved in paragraphs (1), (4), and (5) of such subsection. The recommendations of the Secretary shall include recommendations with respect to the appropriate schedule, if any, under which such drug or other substance should be listed. The evaluation and the recommendations of the Secretary shall be made in writing and submitted to the Attorney General within a reasonable time. The recommendations of the Secretary to the Attorney General shall be binding on the Attorney General as to such scientific and medical matters, and if the Secretary recommends that a drug or other substance not be controlled, the Attorney General shall not control the drug or other substance. If the Attorney General determines that these facts and all other relevant data constitute substantial evidence of potential for abuse such as to warrant control or substantial evidence that the drug or other substance should be removed entirely from the schedules, he shall initiate proceedings for control or removal, as the case may be, under subsection (a) of this section.

    21 U.S.C. 811(b) (not "811b").  It clearly requires a "scientific and medical evaluation" and then a specific administrative process, described in subsection (a) of section 811.

    Thank you, Peter. (none / 0) (#26)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 11:04:31 AM EST
    You and Oculus were both correct in inferring that I would be perfectly happy if in this case Obama forced the descheduling via whatever pretense was necessary.  After all, the relevant cabinet secretaries work for him.  He only needs a John Yoo to dream up an a plausible legal rationalization.  

    Am I a hypocrite for welcoming a finding in this case and whinging about all the war on terror findings, Bush's as well as Obama's?  Of course.


    Oculus? (none / 0) (#31)
    by squeaky on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 03:21:48 PM EST
    Maybe I am missing something here, but Oculus and Peter are not coming from anywhere near the same place, imo.

    Oculus flip comment is a routine gratuitous slam on Obama. One for the (anti) cheering section..  

    Peter, on the other hand is pointing out that there is a process, one which Oculus is making believe does not exist. Obama comment, was clearly meant as a signal to the deaf that it is time to stop the demonization of weed.

    A signal from the POTUS that most certainly will hit is mark, and undoubtedly move the legalization process forward which involves the first step to take MJ off schedule one classification.


    I do believe (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 03:29:37 PM EST
    you totally misread the comment by oculus

    Oh Good (none / 0) (#33)
    by squeaky on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 03:39:14 PM EST
    Glad to get this one wrong. I would love to hear a different more positive interpretation.

    You Got Flippant, Gratuitous Slam, and (anti)... (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 03:46:06 PM EST
    ...cheering section from these two posts ?

    Surely Pres. Obama is aware MJ is on federal Schedule 1.  Seems disingenuous.

    The link doesn't mention executive order

    That is one hell of a job of reading between the lines.  I got what was stated, which I totally agree.  His appointment to DEA Chair makes is painfully obvious that he isn't interested in changing anything.  Add in all the legal medical marijuana busts in California and Colorado over the past 5 years, and it's pretty hard for me to reconcile that with his words above.


    Oculus Post (none / 0) (#35)
    by squeaky on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 04:24:08 PM EST
    I was only responding to Oculus' post. IMO, Obama's statements in the interview do not appear to me to be in any way disingenuous. Calling them disingenuous appears to be an unwarranted and reflexive slam to me, routine.

    They might have (none / 0) (#57)
    by ZtoA on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 08:44:22 PM EST
    appeared to you to be genuine. Maybe they were. Still, I have a good friend who grew legally for years and the feds busted him and destroyed his land  simply to intimidate a friend of his. The DEA is very powerful.

    What a crock. (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by lentinel on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 05:06:10 PM EST
    Pot is much less dangerous than alcohol.

    Have you ever seen anyone get violent after smoking weed?
    I haven't.

    But I have seen lots of people get hostile, ugly, insulting and violent after drinking.

    That doesn't mean that I am in favor of prohibition for alcohol.

    Both pot and alcohol have a place in society.
    Both, in moderation, are social and convivial.

    But when someone smokes too much pot, what happens? They zone. They sleep. They watch tv. They munch.

    Too much booze - and all hell can break loose. Anyone ever see "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"? Admittedly fiction, but not inaccurate imo. But if the protagonists were smoking weed, it would be a different scenario.

    My point - why can't the guy just come out and say that smoking weed can be, and usually is, intensely enjoyable and harmless. That's why people do it. For fun. For pleasure. To laugh. To enjoy. And he should announce that he is for legalization.

    The only plus side of this is that perhaps he sees the writing on the wall - that there is at long last a drive toward legalization. To put it more accurately, a drive to end the illegalization if I may coin a word. Pot used to be legal until it was outlawed for reasons that include racism. Let's get the government out of our way. Let it collect garbage and provide us with safe public transportation and cops on the beat.

    Chill, lentinel (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by christinep on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 06:24:51 PM EST
    Take a puff or two; zone.  It really is okay.

    Now _this_ is why we elected this guy. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 09:52:49 PM EST

    Because (none / 0) (#6)
    by Mikado Cat on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 02:06:48 AM EST
    of his firm control over a devoted segment of the media?

    BTW "we" didn't elect him.


    You've got me. Who elected him? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 06:51:29 PM EST
    Obvioulsy (none / 0) (#28)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 01:48:36 PM EST
    not the people who are "worthy" or the "right" people it would seem.

    Media and money (none / 0) (#50)
    by Mikado Cat on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 02:20:53 PM EST
    same as all other politicians.

    lol; you do have a point... (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 01:31:59 PM EST
    They pretend to give us a choice, and we pretend we've got one.

    Because he has mastered the art of (none / 0) (#22)
    by BeDazzled on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 06:55:30 PM EST
    making everything old new again? Who doesn't know that MJ is safer than alcohol? It's also not addicting - no one goes to rehab for MJ addiction.

    Not true (none / 0) (#29)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 02:37:57 PM EST
    Just ask Lady Gaga.


    The addictive qualities of marijuana are not yet fully understood. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates 9% of people who use marijuana will become addicted to it. For comparison's sake, cocaine hooks about 20% of those who use it.

    "There is clear evidence that in some people, marijuana use can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, anxiety and nausea," CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta wrote in his story, "Why I changed my mind on weed," referring to medical marijuana.

    What a Crock... (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 03:13:41 PM EST
    ...not fully understood, it's been on the planet a hell of a lot longer than human beings.  That is like saying we don't understand how sugar or water works.

    That aside, from your link:

    Alcohol's addictive qualities are well-documented. Approximately 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence, according to the NIAAA. Alcoholics in withdrawal can suffer from anxiety and depression, headaches, insomnia, nausea, fever and even seizures.

    The addictive qualities of marijuana are not yet fully understood. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates 9% of people who use marijuana will become addicted to it. For comparison's sake, cocaine hooks about 20% of those who use it.

    9% of people who use weed become addicted, compared to 8% of of the entire adult population suffering from alcohol abuse or dependence.

    Have you ever used it ?

    from the other link:

    Comparatively, Scientific American pointed out that in a 1994 study showing that 9 percent of people who've tried marijuana become dependent on it, the numbers are higher for other substances: alcohol is 15 percent, heroin is 23 percent and nicotine is 32 percent.

    And while it's impossible to die from a marijuana overdose like you would from other illicit, dangerous drugs, dependence on marijuana can cause disruptions to people's lives, TIME reported.

    I mean seriously, it's probably less addictive than politics, fat, or coffee.  There is nothing that isn't addictive, from religion to watching TV.  The more important question is, is it negatively impacting people's lives.

    Marijuana withdrawal (officially called cannabis withdrawal in the recently released fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is also sometimes seen in people who stop using marijuana, and is characterized by anxiety, problems sleeping, irritability and aggression, the NIDA reported.

    So sometimes people who stop get anxious, irritable, and aggressive and might not sleep as well.  The operative word being, sometimes.  And they fail to mention that often people are using because of those very symptoms, meaning that the systems marijuana cured came back when they stopped.

    The horror.

    Honestly, the more I read, the more it's becoming painfully obvious, that marijuana is pretty much harmless to society beyond the crime of having it, it's not harming society any more than soda, maybe even less.


    Read it again (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 07:45:51 AM EST
    The comment I was replying to was "It's not even addicting."

    Leaving aside for the moment, that what they meant to say was "It's not even addictive", that statement, in whatever form, is simply not true.  You even quoted it back to me:

    9% of people who use weed become addicted, compared to 8% of of the entire adult population suffering from alcohol abuse or dependence.

    "Addicted" has a very specific meaning.  People throw around things like "I'm addicted to watching "The Bachelor"", but that simply isn't the same thing. "Addiction" is:

    ... a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

    Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one's behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

    And while 9% doesn't seem like a great number, it's still a large number of people.

    I never said anything about alcohol, so your wild and drawn out rant makes absolutely no sense.


    It Does... (2.00 / 1) (#42)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 09:51:18 AM EST
    ...when the context, aka the original post, is about the President stating that marijuana is as safe as alcohol.

    But good to see you totally avoided my points, and had to go another use a source other than the ones you originally posted to get a better definition of addiction.  Guess your two sources, that I quoted, didn't cut what you believe about marijuana addiction.

    Again, from your source, presumably you are addicted if you have withdraws:

    Marijuana withdrawal (officially called cannabis withdrawal in the recently released fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is also sometimes seen in people who stop using marijuana, and is characterized by anxiety, problems sleeping, irritability and aggression, the NIDA reported.

    Scary stuff, especially when they use the word, 'sometimes'.

    Not really fair that you didn't use the sources you posted that specifically address the issue.  Which is more accurate, your source that specifically mentions marijuana in regards withdraw, or some general clinic definition of addiction, which covers anything from sugar to crack.  Tell me JB, do the folks at your office show those kinds behaviors when they don't get their coffee because they are addicted to caffeine, or is one broad definition of addiction not really suitable to all drugs ?

    Pretty sure every human being on the planet is addicted to something, some addicted to chemicals that have life threatening symptoms when the usage is stopped, while others have almost no physical effects, only mental ones, but are still clinically recognize addictions.  Using one broad definition, especially when you original sources specifically address marijuana, is disingenuous at best.

    Have you ever used, surely an expert such as yourself has at least done one study to see if the hype is accurate, or are you like the good Dr. Gupta, never questioning the actual source data, just repeating it as fact ?  I already know, just messing around, not being all that serious, OK.

    But I do know this, you always have very good and reliable sources, but yesterday you used lady Gaga, surely that anecdotal and famous source is about as unreliable as they get.  Her month long addiction surely didn't hamper her career and if you are to believe her, marijuana provided a very real need in reducing her pain.  Something even you would agree is safer than conventional pain medications.

    I know I am not going to change your mind, and if you remember, even a year or two ago I occasionally came to your cover on this issue, but I really meant it when I said above, the more I read, the more I realize how safe marijuana is when compared to other drugs, legal and illegal.  My view, even though I smoked a lot in my younger days, but no longer do, has been evolving.  Where as once I believed it was about the government being in ones business, but understanding why.  To now, where is painfully obvious that all the information out there is complete hackery, and that it should be legalized because it has many benefits that simply shouldn't be ignored or denied to anyone.

    I find it offensive when the actual information about it's addictive properties is ignored and painted with a broad brush of addictions that most of us associated with the 'hard' drugs like meth and heroin.  Even more offensive is people in the medical and scientific communities stating that it's effects are unknown/not understood when it's been used by human beings for thousands of years.  The real world trials of marijuana have exceeded every other drug on the planet and just because the data isn't in line with their beliefs does not mean they are unknown.


    How about the Mayo Clinic? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 03:15:45 PM EST
    And note - I don't take Barack Obama's advice on medicine and scientific facts, since he is not a doctor, nor a researcher.


    It's possible to develop a psychological addiction to cannabis compounds including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana and hashish. People who have a marijuana addiction generally use the drug on a daily basis. They don't actually have a chemical dependence on the drug but rather feel the need to regularly use the drug.

    Signs of use and dependence can include:

    *A heightened sense of visual, auditory and taste perception
    *Poor memory
    *Increased blood pressure and heart rate
    *Red eyes
    *Decreased coordination
    *Difficulty concentrating
    *Increased appetite
    *Slowed reaction time
    *Paranoid thinking

    And comparing marijuana to alcohol is besides the point.  Driving a car is dangerous, but that doesn't mean it's sound science to compare that to marijuana smoking. It's a red herring.

    Does that mean that I have given an opinion on decriminalization or legalization?  No. Just pointing out the fact that anyone who says things like, "You can't get addicted to pot" should not be taken seriously because they have no idea what they are talking about.  Is it common?  No, it's a small percentage of people who use it (but according the article I posted, and the quote you reposted, more people apparently get addicted to marijuana than to alcohol, so it doesn't say much for your argument or that great medical researcher, Barack Obama).


    Yes, And Maybe I was Reading... (none / 0) (#55)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 04:32:30 PM EST
    ...something into your statement that wasn't there, but seems like people use the word addiction without qualifying the danger.  It is a red herring as well, addiction scares the hell out of people because it's normally associated with substances that ruin lives, not increase anxiety and hinder sleep.

    But when you start digging, you realize that every single legitimate source has some version of 'maybe' in it in regards to cannabis addiction.

    Like your link, the Mayo Clinic, one assumes is basing their opinion on scientific studies that have exact numbers, yet they say "It's possible", what the F does that mean, 1 in 10, 1 in 1,000,000 ?  It's possible to get struck by lighting but even that I can go find the odds/rates.

    Their refusal to quantify the addiction rate is more telling than anything.  Or they are basing their opinion on hokum, either way they aren't being forthright IMO.

    I can find addiction rates for nearly every illegal and legal drug out there, why nothing for one particular drug, the one that has been around forever.  Could it be that in the normal sense of the word in regards to drugs, it simply isn't addictive.  There is no other reasonable explanation IMO.

    So while I agree, technically it is addictive, it's not addictive as the term is used to describe recreational drug addiction.  There is simply no science to back the claim, just generalities that could apply to most medications one can purchase over the counter and many other ordinary substances we use.


    The blaze has scorched 1,952 acres and frustrated firefighters for days as it burned its way through steep terrain. At last count, five homes had been destroyed and seven damaged, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
    The suspects arrested in connection with the Colby Fire will face federal charges, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office confirmed to Eyewitness News. Police found marijuana and cigarettes in the backpacks of two of the men.

    Was the fire somehow ... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Yman on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 08:38:53 PM EST
    ... related to their possession of pot?

    Maybe it was the cigarettes (none / 0) (#38)
    by jondee on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 09:39:30 PM EST
    of a windstorm in one of the deepest and most dangerous western droughts ever.

    You've convinced me, not related.

    No one ever does stupid sh1t when stoned.


    You haven't convinced me (none / 0) (#40)
    by Yman on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 07:02:38 AM EST
    The article says the police found pot and cigarettes in the backpacks of two of the men.  It says nothing about the men being "stoned" at the time.

    No one ever does stupid sh1t when sober.


    So if Cigars... (none / 0) (#43)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 10:00:32 AM EST
    ...were found in those same backpacks, cigars would take the wrap, never mind the idiots who actually started the fire ?  

    Not understanding your point/implication, but it seems like you are saying that without marijuana, there wouldn't have been a fire.  Even if you buy that, plenty of fires with no marijuana, what gives.


    You wrote: (none / 0) (#44)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 10:13:21 AM EST
    Honestly, the more I read, the more it's becoming painfully obvious, that marijuana is pretty much harmless to society beyond the crime of having it, it's not harming society any more than soda, maybe even less.
    Even you must admit that people do stupid stuff, including inadvertently stupid stuff, when they're high.

    That stupid stuff can and does harm society, far beyond the crime of having it.


    Agreed... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 12:54:39 PM EST
    ...but a whole lot more do stupid stuff with not a drug around.  Jack@ss type stunts litter the internet, some are high, but many are not.

    Humans make errors, but the only ones we seem to focus on are the ones done under the influence with the presumption that they would not have not have done it without being under the influence.  Which is true in some cases, but it doesn't explain why others do the exact same things while not under the influence.

    In your example, let's say they were stoned, well plenty of people have started forest fires not under the influence, why are the ones under the influence held to a greater degree ?

    How many people are killed each day because of stupid non-drug related stuff on the highways, human error, but that doesn't seem to bother many, because humans make errors.  But the ones with evil drugs(including alcohol) are always considered preventable.  One is in a sense the cost of doing business, the other is the GS devil.

    I am not saying that drugs are good, or that people under their influence should be allowed to drive, only that they aren't as bad as we were lead to believe.  That when the S hits the fan, people under the influence are held to a higher standard.  I grew up in the 80's and they really pushed what I would call unbelievable non-sense.  

    I distinctly remember this Serpico like character coming into school with everyone in the gymnasium and he stating that one could become addicted to marijuana after one use.  At the time, will all the horror stories he had, I was scared to death.  Which is OK I suppose, right until you realize how many people are smoking it up and not sucking D's for their next 'fix'.  And if he lied about that, what else is BS, ditto for parents, teachers, and the cops.  You are left with no real answers that actually reconcile with what we see every day, aka reality.

    Honesty, to me, is how you get through.  Granted I don't have kids, but I was a kid in the 80's.  The wild stories only make people ignorant and distrustful, and since they vote, it flows through the system and we end with what we currently have.  Fear based policy/laws rather than effective and proportionate polices/laws that accomplish the desired outcome, or rather come closer to accomplishing the desired outcome.  The current system has not kept people from using drugs, nor has it kept them out of schools, drugs are available in every city in the US, often more accessible to kids than alcohol.  My point is lying and scaring people has failed in every sense.  

    Not sure were you go from here, but step one is recognizing that marijuana should not be in the same drug category as PCP and heroin.  How many folks are looking at that, who use marijuana, thinking "Well the head of the DEA says they both are equally dangerous, maybe all the bad stuff they say is BS because I use marijuana", when in reality, one is clearly dangerous to one's life and one is not.  Where does a kid turn to find out the facts, to have someone explain one substance is dangerous because of a bunch of windbags with agendas, whereas the other really is bad news.


    Agreed. (none / 0) (#49)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 01:50:59 PM EST
    I am not saying that drugs are good, or that people under their influence should be allowed to drive, only that they aren't as bad as we were lead to believe.
    step one is recognizing that marijuana should not be in the same drug category as PCP and heroin.

    But then you also (none / 0) (#45)
    by jondee on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 11:26:12 AM EST
    have the smart people who toke up regularly the way Carl Sagan did.

    Francis Crick..Stephen Jay Gould.. (none / 0) (#46)
    by jondee on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 11:49:58 AM EST
    Carrot Top..

    Bad Argument SUO (none / 0) (#47)
    by squeaky on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 12:04:38 PM EST
    Stupid people do stupid stuff, for one. For two, there are many many states of mind that contribute to normal people doing stupid things. Lack of sleep, fights with loved ones, work related stress, and on and on...  

    Among the population that is stoned at any given time, I would imagine that the amount of dangerously stupid (life threatening, serious property destruction) is relatively lower than most or all of the other states of minds which can be attributed to having a causal relationship to stupid behavior.

    Unusually weak for you SUO.. , imo..


    A thoughtful discussion on the subject (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by Peter G on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 03:00:05 PM EST
    of what it means to say that marijuana is "addictive" was recently posted on Reality Based Community. Thoughtful, that is, if you include the comments. (How's that for refreshing ... a blog that is informative and interesting, but even better if you read the comments?)

    you do realize this is going to annoy (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 11:07:04 PM EST
    all those people making money from the continued illegality of pot, don't you? and I don't mean just the cartels, I mean the legal machinery that's grown fat on it, and isn't likely to give it up without a fight.

    I cannot accept the premise the (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 11:54:28 PM EST
    judicial system would falter if MJ was completely legal.

    I'm tempted to suggest (none / 0) (#7)
    by Mikado Cat on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 02:18:28 AM EST
    looking at the events at the end of prohibition on alcohol, but the market for alcohol was firmly entrenched prior to prohibition which didn't last that long. Anybody have a ballpark figure on the number of people put in jail for alcohol violations, the serious side with prison time, not getting drunk in public?

    US slowly legalizing MJ maybe biggest impact is flow of dollars to sources out of the USA. A lot of government officials will get a serious cut in pay as the bribes fall off.

    If legalizing pot causes a BIG drop in the use of other drugs, the ripple will be huge, if the opposite, the ripple will be tiny.


    Was possession of alcohol (none / 0) (#14)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 03:57:52 PM EST
    unlawful during Prohibition, or only manufacture, sale, and importation?

    Ironic (none / 0) (#52)
    by Mikado Cat on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 02:38:16 PM EST
    Seems that we are now approaching the same status as alcohol during prohibition. Possession was NOT illegal, people stockpiled booze prior to the act.

    This from Wikipedia.

    While the manufacture, importation, sale, and transport of alcohol was illegal in the United States, Section 29 of the Volstead Act allowed of wine and cider to be made from fruit at home, but not beer. Up to 200 gallons of wine and cider per year could be made, and some vineyards grew grapes for home use. The Act did not prohibit consumption of alcohol. Many people stockpiled wines and liquors for their personal use in the latter part of 1919 before sales of alcoholic beverages became illegal in January 1920.


    The illegal growers are not (none / 0) (#21)
    by BeDazzled on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 06:53:22 PM EST
    going away.

    Finally a President who freely admits to (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:21:15 AM EST
    Inhaling.  Republican strategist Steve Schmidt admitted to getting stoned with Woody Harrelson on Bill Maher on Friday :)

    Bad habit? Did he get reefed habitually? (none / 0) (#15)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 04:51:37 PM EST

    Just curious (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 06:43:52 PM EST
    Any scientific info on why (supposedly) all pot smokers are mellow and some boozers get violent??

    i believe it has to do with the difference (none / 0) (#23)
    by cpinva on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 08:11:37 PM EST
    in how the active ingredients in both interact with the brain's receptors. no doubt there is scientific data on the subject, but I've no idea how to word a search to find it. possibly because alcohol kills brain cells, and pot doesn't?

    Well researched, non-tendentious answers (none / 0) (#25)
    by Peter G on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 08:31:07 PM EST
    to questions like that can be found in (my college friend) Mark Kleiman and co-authors' new book.  I know a pretty good blog on the subject, too, that might be worth checking out.

    "the end of torture" (none / 0) (#27)
    by jatkins on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 11:14:05 AM EST
    Except for last week in Ohio.

    Getting rid of the schedule 1 (none / 0) (#51)
    by Mikado Cat on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 02:27:33 PM EST
    should be the next thing to push for, until that happens no "real" research can be done on the hard medical side rather than behavioral.