First of all, there is no reliable evidence showing that marijuana is as bad as tobacco or alcohol in terms of health costs. In fact, it's way down on the list of drugs that do harm in those terms.
But there is one angle where legalizing, or at least decriminalizing, would make a big difference: the drug war now raging on our border with Mexico. As the administration has been saying for the last week, the US's appetite for these drugs (a large chunk of which is Mexican weed) is fueling the war (as are our guns).
Before Sarah Palin changed the Alaska law, a citizen there was allowed to grow as much weed as they wanted as long as it never left the property on which it was grown. This kind of decriminalization would increase domestic production of pot, and decrease the demand for the weed coming in from Mexican narco gangs.
So, the dismissive way which Obama laughed off the question was, indeed, a big missed chance for him to say something substantive about the good things that could happen if we would refocus our resources on things that actually cause more harm, like alcohol, tobacco, meth, and blow.
Plus, decriminalization would mean less people in prison for pot. The fact that we jail people for possessing even small amounts of weed is astounding to me. These are non-violent people enjoying a substance which has been proven to be less detrimental to the public health than tobacco or alcohol, and yet we put people in prison for it. I have severe arthritis and live in a state where I can't even legally use it for pain, even if my Doctor thinks it would be better than the pharmaceuticals that have severely screwed me up in the past.
This is a serious subject, and deserves to be treated that way. Laughing it off just shows me that our president is capable of ignoring important issues because he thinks the people who ask the questions are stoners.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Lauging off the Weed Questions
The following is a comment I left on John Cole's post today about weed: