Six More Reasons (Not) To Legalize Pot

You are so long as it continues to be against the law.
You are so long as it continues to be against the law.

A long time ago, I wrote a post on 10 reasons not to legalize drugs and for some reason, it got a tremendous number of hits, it is still one of the most popular articles on the blog most days, even though it’s more than 9 months old. I recently suggested on a forum that if people want to actually defend the legalization of marijuana, they need to come up with some specific positives that can be demonstrated to be true.  Several people made an attempt., but this individual’s attempt stood out by way of organization and effort.  However, they’re still problematic from where I stand, here’s why all of them fail critical evaluation.

1. Jobs: You will need jobs that range from growing to retail. You will employ more farmers, more distribution people, more people at retail outlets, and create new businesses in every part of those sectors. There is also the new industries of making smoking devices and other pot merchandise and selling it. Then you have an increase in any regulatory areas which would be needed to control the sale and quality of the product.

Jobs really aren’t a good reason, there are jobs to be had no matter what you do, if you legalized murder, you’d be able to employ a near endless supply of  coroners and undertakers, not to mention people to make and sell weapons, ammunition, etc.  There are plenty of other ways to create jobs that don’t entail putting legal drugs into the hands of consumers.  This may be a logical extension of legalizing drugs, it isn’t a good reason to do it in the first place.

2. Taxes. Your have direct tax revenue from taxing the sale of the product. Plus you have the indirect taxes which come from the newly employed people and commercial revenue that allows people to purchase other products and services across society.

I honestly don’t think that the tax base here is as large as people seem to think.  The second that the government starts taxing pot, and we know that they will, you’ll also have a lot of moral crusaders adding tons of sin taxes, like they already do with tobacco.  It will end up that the cost of illegal pot will be cheaper than the cost of the legal stuff and I see no reason to think that many consumers are going to go with the more expensive legal stuff when there’s already a clear distribution network for the illegal stuff.  It’s also not that difficult to grow pot yourself and once it’s legal, there’s no way to stop people from doing so.  Yes, you can make your own beer and theoretically grow your own tobacco, but those are much more difficult than growing your small patch of pot in a window box.  There’s a thriving hydroponic industry today that caters to the home grower and those people pay no taxes, nor would they if pot was legal across the board.  I don’t think this is the tax panacea some people think it is.

3. Lower use of unsafe pain relievers. Pot can be used in much healthier ways to reduce pain from many conditions. The liver damaging effects of many modern pain relievers would be reduced through a much safer and better method of controling mild to moderate pain.

This is something I’m relatively okay with, but only with a prescription.  I’d be better with it if they could find a way to package the pain-killing elements of pot while eliminating the non-essential side effects.  If they could do that, stop pot from getting you high, then I’d be more than happy to put it in every store in the country, but not until.  But of course, if pot didn’t get people high, they wouldn’t care about it, would they?

4. Reduction in crime. The sales of pot presently are a huge contributor to the revenue of criminal organizations. Those organizations use that revenue to do violence on the street, to corrupt the government, and to destroy people’s lives. By taking their revenue we can use it for more police and better abilities to drive things like gangs out of our neighborhoods while reducing the criminal’s ability to fight. There is also the reality that our present pot laws contribute to ongoing poverty by putting regular people who may not want to be a part of crime into the criminal system. once you are arrested and convicted of sale or possession you are placed in the same category as any other violent person for the purposes of getting a job. This gives the criminal organizations a large group of poor soldiers to chose from because they become the only area many of those people can get employed, and it is a profitable area to be employed in.

I don’t buy that there will be a significant reduction in crime.  Even if the entire illegal drug marketplace dried up tomorrow, the criminal underworld wouldn’t go get legitimate jobs, they’d just move on to another form of crime. Especially when you’re looking at the street level pushers, they are involved in crime, not because they want to be, but because they have to be.  They have no other skills or education required to get a decent paying job in the real world, they’re just going to move to some other criminal enterprise, be it other, harder drugs, or theft, prostitution, etc.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve never thought that we should be putting drug users in prison, they should go into treatment programs, not the criminal justice system.  Likewise, I think we ought to put all drug dealers to death, without exception.  Doing that will empty the prisons rapidly and I’m all in support of that.  I just don’t think that declaring a criminal act to be legal, just because you don’t like the number of people in jail makes any sense whatsoever.

5. Improved health care. Pot does actually have medicinal qualities and is not just a pain reducer as many pain reducers are. It actually helps with certain illnesses and has been found to reduce cancer risks. It is an all natural sleep aid and nausea reducer. It helps promote apatite for people who need that because of other medical procedures. It doesn’t conflict with many other drugs. It is cheap also.

Well, it has pain reduction qualities, it hasn’t actually been shown to help cure any disease, so once again, I’m fine with it being available to the public with a prescription.  We don’t put out Vicodin over the counter, I see no reason we ought to do so with pot.

6. Happy people. Pot is not alcohol. It makes most people who take it happy instead of being a mood amplifier. People smoke it because it is fun to do. Being high is an interesting and fun experience on pot. The worst that seems to come from it would be adam sandler’s movie career. I hate him as much as the next guy, but if something excuses the massive sales of his crap I do not care. Saturday night live might become good again.

But this just brings me back to my original statement, that I think anyone who injects or imbibes, snorts or smokes any illicit substance, particularly for the sole purpose of mood alteration, has some serious issues to begin with and I see no reason to encourage such people.

Wait, some people say, aren’t you a conservative?  Don’t you think that people ought to be responsible for themselves and have the freedom to do as they wish?  Yes, to a certain degree.  But people are also responsible to society as a whole and that’s something that most liberals and libertarians forget.  This is something they just  don’t like, that they have an obligation to those around them, as much as they do to themselves. Liberals don’t think anyone should ever have to give back to society and libertarians hate the idea that they are responsible to anyone but themselves, but there you go.  There is a balance between being free and being irresponsible.  You have an inherent social contract in which you agree, whether you like it or not, that you will follow society’s laws, that you will act on society’s behalf as necessary and that you will be a responsible individual and a civilized and productive citizen.

It is to that last option that I speak here.  If our goal is to advance society, to improve society, then we all rise or fall together.  It does society no good to wear an anchor around it’s collective neck.  It is the expectation that each and every person make at least a good faith effort to be productive, to work hard, to get educated, to pay back to society that which has been invested in them.  It’s fine to be an individual to a certain extent, it is not fine to ignore your responsibilities to those around you.

That means that if you breed, you are personally responsible for paying for and raising responsible citizens.  If you smoke, the cost of any illness associated with  your actions is  yours and yours alone.  If you screw around and fail to get an education, the responsibility for your failure is  yours.  You shouldn’t expect people to come and help you when you’re the one who messed up your life in the first place.  It’s one thing to have a social safety net that catches you when you fall and puts you back on your feet, it’s another to never try in the first place and be unprepared and unwilling to work at all.

That’s going to piss off our liberal friends, who think that breathing is enough to get one a free pass in life, but it’s not.  This is neither a totalitarian nor authoritarian position, it’s one of responsibility, not emotion, one of expectation, not wishful thinking.  You’re not special.  You do not have special dispensation to be a lazy, selfish git.  Everyone who has the ability to get up and work has the expectation to get up and work, bar none.  People do not have the right to pollute themselves, to the point where they are useless to the rest of us.  We all sink or swim together.  I choose swim.

How about you?

10 thoughts on “Six More Reasons (Not) To Legalize Pot

    1. Medical marijuana is not a cure for anything, it treats a symptom of legitimate treatment. It has nothing whatsoever with actually curing cancer. Besides, I already said I was entirely fine with medical marijuana by prescription.

  1. Just because there isn't an enormous case for it to be legalized, doesn't mean it should be illegal. There are very few reasons for it to remain illegal. The benefits of having it aren't that great, but the cases against it certainly don't outweigh the benefits. If alcohol is legal, pot should be too….people should be making a case to keep it illegal.

    1. Why not? Shouldn't we do things for a reason? That's why I keep asking for rational reasons why we ought to take something that has traditionally been illegal and reverse our policy and make it legal. There are no benefits of making it across-the-board legal. The only legitimate uses for it can still be legitimate if it remains legal only with a prescription. Otherwise, I'm still not seeing any good reasons to reverse policy on it, most claims are just pure laziness.

  2. I thought I would way in with something that bothers me about this whole debate. I have never understood why alchol is legal but cannabis is not. When you look at detrimental health effects for both substances you come to the conclusion that Marijuana is actually better than a variety of other drugs (including alchol). Here is a link to this research in the form of a news article <a href="http://(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6474053.stm)” target=”_blank”>(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6474053.stm)

    But then again I could be biased as I support its legalization and I don't drink alchol. The only other option for me to consider is to support the criminalization of alchol as the effects are the same in my understanding of the situation.
    My recent post Skeptic and/or atheist?

    1. There really are no health effects for pot. It is useful for pain control, but it is not good for you, it doesn't make a person who smokes it healthier than someone who doesn't. Alcohol, in moderation, does have positive health benefits. Tobacco has none, it's just plain bad for you. Now I don't drink and I don't smoke and I don't do drugs, never have and never will, but there's a reality that tobacco and alcohol have significant lobbies and a significant number of people make a living cultivating them, or their components. I don't agree with those reasons but I do acknowledge their existence, functionally, there is no way to outlaw alcohol or tobacco because too many people use them and too many people require their production for their livelihood. That said though, tobacco use has dropped significantly over the years, both due to governmental taxation and to public information campaigns. Lots of people have stopped smoking, lots of people who refused to stop smoking are just dropping dead from the negative side effects, and now we have artificial cigarettes that allow more people to keep smoking, just cut out the known dangers of tobacco. I'd honestly have no problem with the e-cigs if they'd eliminate the nicotine and just let people smoke flavored water vapor into their lungs. It's still a childish oral habit, but at least it doesn't hurt anyone or keep them addicted to a substance. By the same token, I'm fine with marijuana if they can eliminate the THC, and in fact, the smoke as well. That's not good for you at all. Like I said, if you could put the pain-killing elements into a pill, get rid of the "feel good" nonsense and give it to people who have a legitimate medical need by prescription, go for it. If not, we already have things on the market that we know are bad for you, but that we can't get rid of because of finances and political power, I see no reason whatsoever to introduce yet another drug onto the market that will likely end up in the same situation.

    1. The problem is, he's arguing that it's not about the drugs, it's about the crime. I disagree. It *IS* about the drugs. It's about the people who take the drugs. It's about people who take drugs to avoid being responsible for their own lives. It's about people who would like to hide from their problems rather than deal with them. That is what I am specifically objecting to. The fact that making drugs legal would make the police's job easier has nothing to do with responsibility. Hell, make all crimes legal, the police will have nothing to do!

      1. So we should have the criminal justice system dictate to people how to be responsible, tell them how to live their life? Sorry, that's not a country I want to live in.

        And make all crimes legal? What a ridiculous strawman. As an atheist/skeptic, you should know better than that.

        ——–
        Oh, I just read your last post. I'm afraid you're beyond the pale. Killing all drug dealers. See the bit about Saudi Arabia in the video (12:56).

        I don't think I'll be commenting again.

        1. Then don't. The criminal justice system, like all of the government, is just an arm of society, it isn't the criminal justice system that's dictating how to be responsible, it's society as a whole. Society has a right to decide what actions and activities are permissible and which ones are not and to determine a proper penalty for engaging in the ones that are not permissible. If you don't like that, then by all means, don't comment. It's a free country, after all, so long as you live within society's rules.

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