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May 07, 2009

California Goes to Pot

Marijuana-leaf It would be funny if it weren't so tragic, but evidently California is considering legalizing pot in order to help with the state's budget deficit. 

(Image courtesy of HowStuffWorks)

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WAITAMINIT - DtS assured us this wouldn't happen: http://thepoint.breakpoint.org/2009/05/surely-this-couldnt-happen-here.html

But I wonder what all the growers will do when they figure out that legalizing it will cause prices to drop. How do you march on the state capitol when to do so means the police should bust you on the spot?

Ben W

I see the negative health effects of pot, but that hasn't stopped cigarettes or fried foods from being legal. So for those who oppose the legalization of marijuana, why do you do so? Are the social effects really that much worse than alcohol?


Ben, as one who spent his high school years in a grass-induced haze, I don't see the logic in legalizing yet another commodity with known detrimental social and health effects. If marijuana was as ingrained in Western culture as beer, wine, and spirits (look how well prohibition went) I might agree with you, but grass is not one of our culture's age-old social lubricants. Hemp has it's industrial uses, but let's save it for sacks and rope, not happy hour.


Good point, Andy. That's sort how I've always felt about it, but I've never been able to put it into words as well as that.

Diane Singer

What I found ironic is that California has some of the most stringent anti-smoking laws in the nation, but it wants to make smoking pot legal so it can tax growers and buyers! I guess as long as people do not smoke pot in public places, it will be OK. (I once went into a Hard Rock Cafe in Amsterdam. The air was so thick with marijuana smoke that I nearly choked just walking through the door. Needless to say, I quickly exited.)

As the IBD article points out, it would make more sense for them to explore off-shore drilling if they REALLY want to raise money for the state. Guess that would make environmentalists who smoke pot mad, however!

Andy is right about the foolishness of making another drug legal, especially one that does far more damage to the lungs than cigarettes, and one that often leads to dependence on harder drugs.

Mike D'Virgilio

I'm sorry, but Andy is not right in my opinion. What is foolish are laws that actually create more harm than they stop. That is exactly what anti-drug laws do. Life is about trade offs, is it not? Our society has decided that the harm created by drug laws is less deleterious than the harm that would ensue if we legalized drugs. I am simply not convinced they are right.

Those who, like Diane, think it is foolish to legalize drugs assume they have infinite knowledge about the effects of what would happen if we legalized them. They have no idea. It is all speculation. What we in fact do know is that crime associated with illegal drugs is huge, and the evil consequences affect many lives.

No disrespect, but the certitude of those who think they know what would happen if drugs were legalized is annoying. In my mind, the harm created by legalization would be far less than what the so called war on drugs has created. Do I know this for certain? Of course not. But it would be nice if those who were for the status quo were a bit more humble in their declarations.


Mike, while I am not in favor of legalizing mary-jane, I am in favor of making the penalties for possession more rational. The differences in the penalties for crack compared to powdered coke are an example. That policy is unjust and whether intended or not, is racist. Possession of a small amount of ganja should not be enough to ruin a person's life.

Diane Singer

Mike, I do not assume "infinite knowledge" about anything. As for empirical evidence about the effects of legalizing drugs, you can check out this website: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/DEBATE/myths/myths4.htm

Jason Taylor

Andy the word "rascist" is overused. The fact that some policy has a greater affect on some groups then on others does not make it rascist. On that grounds gun-control is rascist against scotch-irish, Emancipation was anti-white, and the Regulations for the Continental Army were Anglo-phobic.


Jason Taylor wrote: "Emancipation was anti-white"

And in fact, Irish immigrants rioted in New York when they realized that they might lose jobs thanks to President Lincoln. (My own Irish ancestors had arrived at least 150 years prior.)

Ben W

Diane, thanks for the link. Unfortunately, that page doesn't make the distinction between legalization of marijuana and the legalization of harder drugs like cocaine, heroin, etc. Interestingly, though, the site does have a "Marijuana Facts" page, including notably "Marijuana Myth #3: Marijuana is a "gateway" drug it leads to hard drugs."

Andy, thanks for your thoughts.. that makes a lot more sense to me. Still, I've seen a lot of lives destroyed by the illegal status of weed, so I'm still somewhat torn on the "War on Drugs"..

Mike D'Virgilio

Sorry, Diane, for the "infinite knowledge slight." I read the piece and it is impressive. I found the National Review articles I mentioned above that argue that the War on Drugs has failed in case you are interested: http://www.nationalreview.com/12feb96/drug.html. This was back in 1996, so maybe there is more empirical evidence that it is working, but I have my doubts. Color me agnostic I guess.

Diane Singer

Ben, I think the distinction that is usually made is this. Many pot smokers do not move on to harder drugs (perhaps in the same way that not everyone who drinks alcohol becomes an alcoholic). However, people who are addicted to cocaine and heroin often report that their drug use began with marijuana. So, I'd call #3 a "half-myth" since it requires a context.

Mike, I agree that the War on Drugs, as it has been waged, has been largely ineffectual. I'm not in law enforcement, so I have no idea how to fix the problem from the law-enforcement side. However, I suspect that a nation addicted to drugs (whether legal or illegal) is a nation of spiritually desperate people who are looking for something -- anything -- to dull their soul pain. In that sense, only faith in Christ and spiritual growth offer a lasting answer to our nation's drug problem.

Mike D'Virgilio

Couldn't agree more, Diane. Good thoughts. That's why American culture is such an important battle ground so long ignored by too many Christians. I'm grateful for all the good work Christians are doing through their churches and ministries, but as long as American culture (media, education, entertainment, etc.) is dominated by the secular left God will seem to too many people no more real than Santa Clause. To paraphrase an annoying Southern political consultant, "It's the plausibility structures, stupid!"

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