Just Jot It January #4 – Legalization

 Legalization

To those arguing that using Marijuana is less harmful OR no more harmful than using alcohol;

For SOME people it is.

I’ve been surfing the tags addiction, alcoholism and drug use, and came across generic opinions that don’t appear to have been thought through too much.

Alcohol and Marijuana can and do provide social benefit.  They also have a detrimental effect within communities.

Comparing the two when advocating to have Marijuana Legalized serves no valid purpose in my mind.  I have witnessed challenges faced when both substances have been used and there needs to be further measures introduced that inform & educate about the possibility of adverse affects for users and their families.

Generically making statements like ‘Marijuana is no worse than alcohol’, when Alcohol use and abuse can (and does have) devastating effects on communities is not exactly helping the case for Legalization.

It might also be seen as a promotion of a valid alternative to alcohol consumption, which could have some pretty dire consequences.

Alcohol and Marijuana are unique substances.

When considering the idea of Legalization,  it should not be a question of ‘Which poses the greater risk to health’ – a loose comparison at best, but a study of the science and social impacts of each in its own right.

The more information we have about those impacts, the more we can inform and educate the public on them.

What are your personal experiences?

How do you feel about Legalization?

Just Jot It January #4; Legalisation

 Part of Just Jot It January

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105 responses to “Just Jot It January #4 – Legalization

  1. Wow, fair old long comments section! And, how did I miss this from 2 months ago? Maybe I was too busy gettin’ high…
    Anyhoo, for what it’s worth, decriminalisation (not legalisation) and registration of supplier and purchaser, a la Colorado, Portugal, Uruguay, etc., is the way to go. I believe this is the model NZ has recently chosen, also.
    Completely get, and agree with, your point about not comparing with alcohol – they are very different beasts.
    Maybe one way to address the mental health issues associated with pot in some people is to have a GP’s clearance before you can get a ‘license’ to buy pot from your local registered supplier. This might prevent schizophrenia-prone/susceptible individuals from going off the deep end…

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  3. I am all for the legalization of marijuana! In my personal experience, which is all I can speak from..marijuana benefits outway the risks. It cures my insomnia, calms my anxiety and I prefer it to drinking or any other drug. While some people may be all day stoners, that I don’t agree with. I feel if you are functional and live up to your responsibilities in life then why shouldn’t you be able to kick back with a blunt?
    Valid points though i really enjoy your blog!!

    • Thanks so much for sharing your personal experiences Nikki. That is what I think the discussion needs to be about when it comes to the legalization of Marijuana.

      I have never used the drug personally, though have know those who have – some with positive reactions, some with negative and some with barely any at all.

      It’s all part of a pretty important conversation that needs to take place at a policy level, in my opinion.

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  6. I’m pro-legalization. Let’s tax it heavily and educate the daylights out of the population.

    I smoked a fair amount in my youth–more than some, far less than others. I never experienced any deleterious effects from it–aside from alarming my girlfriend a time or two . . .

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  8. My contribution; whilst we discuss, Uruguay does http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-25328656 What interests me in this is “It had also drawn international criticism. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) warned the law would “be in complete contravention to the provisions of the international drug treaties to which Uruguay is party”. What do these treaties say? Anyone know. Is there where the debate has to start? With the INCB? Or can individual countries start the debate that changes international law?

    • Thank you for the article, very interesting piece.

      You’ve brought to light something that I had not considered – International Law and surely that is going to be a point of contention?!

      This could become a very very messy business. I wonder if the relevant policy makers had considered international law when even drafting the new legislation?

      On a completely separate note, I am concerned about the current behaviour of the Australian Government in relation to their policies and treatment of Asylum Seekers. – I am fairly confident that under international law we are breaching (Not to mention the inhumane treatment being carried out).

      I wonder, in relation to international law – when is it actually enforced? When do sanctions get applied?
      How do they even have the discussion when someone clearly breaches the line.

      I’ve got research to do!! lol

      • I am not sure what happens. I did know once.I would need to research again. You may be interested in checking out my nephew’s blog http://radicalblues.com/ He is political and vocal and is concerned about many issues, like the Asylum Seekers, and is well-informed. And has written a couple of blog posts on the Asylum seeker issue.

      • I will definitely do that. I”ve written several political theme posts, particularly since the most recent goings on in the government.

      • I don’t know if you will be able to listen to this but it was a brilliant interview on Radio New Zealand this morning with Thomas Keneally. http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday Here is the blurb “To focus attention on what he called “one of the central moral issues of our time”, prolific Australian author Thomas Keneally last year edited and contributed to A Country Too Far – Writings on Asylum Seekers. It’s a collection of works by 27 Australian writers (and one New Zealander, Stephanie Johnson). Many of Keneally’s novels deal with the upheaval of war, poverty and emigration – including the experience of his own Irish ancestors. He won worldwide acclaim and the Man Booker Prize for Schindler’s Ark, which was later made into a Hollywood blockbuster, Schindler’s List. Thomas Keneally is in New Zealand in March for the New Zealand Festival Writers Week.”

      • Thank you for passing that on. I will have to go and see if I can find a copy of it somewhere so I can have a listen.

        I really enjoy the work of Thomas Keneally as well and will definitely try to track down this work.

        Miss Lou
        xx

      • Further to the United Nations’ investigation of Australia and our treatment of refugees, here is a link to a Sydney morning Herald article explaing that the UN have found Australia guilty of 150 human rights violations.

        The Commonwealth of Australia has 180 days to provide proof that the victims of our crimes have been compensated and treated.

        http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/un-finds-australia-guilty-in-150-cases-20130822-2sei6.html

        I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to entertain any national pride, now that we have officially joined the ranks of the Republic of North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nazi Germany and the USA.

      • I am both appalled and disgusted by the conduct of our Government in relation to this very vulnerable group of people – Who have every legal right to seek asylum.

        Persecuting, abusing and torturing them physically and psychologically to try and ‘discourage’ future boat arrivals. GIVE.ME.A.BREAK

        Covering up arrivals to make it SEEM like they have reduced.

        GIVE.ME.A.BREAK.

        Asylum Seekers have the right to seek asylum and to be treated in a humane, and compassionate manner while their claims are being investigated.
        on the very rare occasions that a person turns out not to be a genuine Asylum Seeker, they can be deported. But statistics demonstrate that most are genuine.

        Ohhhhhhh *scrunches up ma face* This entire situations saddens and frustrates me beyond belief. The way this has been blown ridiculously out of perspective in the grand scheme of arrivals is outrageous. Using it as a political football. Joke.

        GIVE.ME.A.BREAK!

  9. Pingback: Just Jot It January #5 – Boundaries | Miss Lou Aquiring Lore·

  10. I would say legalize for medicinal use, and here’s why: I used the drug as teenager for anxiety treatment. I was self medicating at the time as I had no access to medical care without my mother being aware, and I didn’t want to give her any ammunition. She suffered from many different physical addictions, gambling being the worst. So, from 13 on to 17, I medicated. I did not drive until 16, and at that age, I wanted to get the hell out, so I didn’t drive or work under the influence: it siwhich if would have prolonged my ability to be free. At the age of 17, I suffered a huge anxiety attack after smoking, right out of the blue. I quit smoking pot, and took antidepressants instead. I had to seek out a counciler and explain my situation just to get there, and I had to pay my own way for that, after the suicidal thoughts passed I made it through. Throughout all of this, I attended high school, maintaining a B average and worked a part time job. By 17, a week before my 18th birthday, I had first month’s rent and deposit, paid for an apartment. I promise, this whole back story has a point, I’m getting to it.
    Fast forward 10 years. Haven’t used pot in that time. I’m diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I can’t move, breathe, or even think without a deep throb I pain-every where, all day every day. I’ve tried all the therapies and over $500 a month medicines suggested by my doctor, nothing works. I finally join read that cannabis may help fibro….sounds interesting, I’m desperate, I just want to FEEL EMOTION UNLACED WITH PAIN. So I get some and smoke, aware I may have a wretched anxiety attack, and fully ready to risk it. What’s heart palpitations to unending pain? After years of experience, not much. After about 10 minutes, I realize….wait! I CAN MOVE??? I can actually walk to my own bathroom, ten feet, without a cane, or having to be carried. I can speak without wincing, type and breathe at the same time (like I used to even!), and I am for the first time in 3 years, *truly enjoying a moment, a beautiful precious uninterrupted moment of sweet oblivion to the pain that has been a more constant companion than even my clinical depression ever was*. I feel free. Since I no longer drive, I’m given a ride back home from my friend before my daughter gets home from school. I’m usually lethargic by then, but not today. She gets home, and I get to help her with her home work, ask her about school and actually respond because I’m not mentally bogged down by pain, and even play a game. The things I used to do before I was ever sick, tired, irritable, or in fibro fog. I was present in a moment, and I wasn’t having to duck into the bathroom to cry from pain….hell, I even got to make her a grilled cheese! I enjoyed that day immensely, but decided to nit keep smoking indefinitely. It is not legalized here, I have a sxrip for a narcotic I hate to use but sometimes have to, and I was not risking my daughter, even for relief. You never know in the states when they’ll decide to drug test you, to collect your genetic material on their say so, without your permission. Anyway, I concluded I would smoke weekends,, so I could be present for her soft ball tourneys, help her with spelling and weekend home work.

    My point here is, it’s like any drug. The reactions are going to be varied. Prescriptions carry worse warnings than the conditions they’re actually treating in most cases. With no job, (being unable to stand for any length of time is a no go for any employer), I couldn’t afford any more, and so have lived managing pain with a pill. A friggin pill that has a very high addiction rate. Over the counter meds don’t work, it’s a nerve condition unfortunately. I have started gabapentin instead, which is actually an anti-seizure medication, and if the dizziness doesn’t get me may be an actual treatment, because it’s what is covered for me. Pot isn’t. I don’t care about medical grade this or that. I care that I have to take a medication that may possibly make me too dizzy and messed up to even function. I’m allergic to other pain meds, this one is it. After that quits working, and if gabapentin doesn’t, i am truly and royally screwed. I just want my life back here, not riots in the streets. I want medical professionals to actually -research- instead of posture and debate. I want facts, not projections. How is it someone can hve anxiety atracks from a drug when ohysically healthy, and then have relief from that very same drug ten years later after realizing it wasnt just a lot of aches and pains? How does it work? Forget about legalization for a moment, what really makes that change??

    • A lot of what you said is a very good point. Consider that when you did it when you were younger, first your brain was still not matured, second your hormones were still in flux and your brain chemistry itself was different. Also consider what you smoked, the strength or makeup. As someone else pointed out it isn’t the same thing as what the natives once used. What is available today is so much stronger and has more THC at different levels. That is why there are so many different. Also consider that you’re having a neurological issue and that part of that is relaxing any muscles, joints or nerves. Whatever you took now isn’t the same and is having a different affect. This is another bigger reason regulation is necessary. In one instant it may cause you hard and another help. Your body, brain and physical makeup, hormones all of that is different than it was when you were younger. You’re brain doesn’t complete development until between the ages of 21-24 years of age.

      I agree research needs to be done and if it’s valuable for medical purpose then make it for medical purposes not for everyone that just wants to live high. Morphine is misused can be deadly but helpful for pain. It’s extremely addictive as many found out eventually.

      • I think any substance, of any kind, is addictive, indicative to the individual’s either natural, genetic, or emotional tendencies. And yes, my brain was not matured, but neither was a girl’s in the 16th century when she was forced into marriage to bare heirs. Basically, information becomes subjective to the person looking over the data. We all have a natural bias. Are my medical conditions due to drug use? My genetics would argue no as all of them that I have contain genetic markers, fibro is merely one of many that I have had to fight my entire life. I was given tetracyclene at the age of 4, which also resulted in a few medical conditions. What I’m getting at with this is: the scope of medication/drugs remains unknown. We could research for 50 years, and eventually there will be new and more severe side effects due to natural genetic mutation, environment, diet, habits, and many many other factors. My grandmother on my mom’s side suffered from fibromyalgia, yet it is not considered a genetic disease. And no, the plant is most def not the same thing, more man playing god, as a species such as us is wont to do. Ever read about GMOs? That’s terrifying, because they are changing plants on a cellular level, with no clue as to the physical and long term effects they will have. Regulation aside, which I wholly agree with by the way, why has there been so little research? I’ve been hearing about legalization for so many years, yet each and every time they try to research it seems to fizzle. Why are they not researching? What’s putting a stop to it for so long? It’s not necessarily even the smoking, it’s the renewable resources it could also provide, paper products to name one. Anyway, I’ve seen plenty of people who have done any number of ridiculous drugs and manage to survive, and others not do drugs and kill themselves. At what point does it become someone else’s responsibility to keep you from self medicating? Aside from morphine and others that are now obvious. Shoot, you used to be able to order Lithium, of all things, from a Sears and Roebuck’s Catalog. At what point did the self moderation stop? Why do people need it so badly to be numb? Cannabis didn’t make me numb, it allowed me a small measure of control at the time, which I assure was better than the cutting and self mutilation that I had participated in before I discovered it. There are any number of reasons for regulations of substances, but there is no solid reason to me why people are so eager to be numb. So when I see people constantly inebriated, I’m truly at a disadvantage to understand why it’s so necessary.

      • ” I want facts, not projections. How is it someone can hve anxiety atracks from a drug when ohysically healthy, and then have relief from that very same drug ten years later after realizing it wasnt just a lot of aches and pains? How does it work? Forget about legalization for a moment, what really makes that change?? ”

        I am not sure what you are getting at with your response. I was referring to just this section of your comment regarding why did it affect you one way at one time then another when you were older.

      • It’s just something I find interesting, that leads to more questions, speculations, and then more questions.
        Simply put, I want to know what we don’t know yet. Times change, as people do. What we thought we knew is usually turned on it’s head after enough research, because it all starts with the hypothesis. I’m simply questioning, what if the hypothesis is wrong? What if instead of drugs I was doing, it was emotional and mental abuse that changed my brain chemically before the drugs? I was a cutter before the drug, but not after. I had anxiety, then I didn’t. Sure, they can legalize, but since I’m thinking on it, it only seems to be treating a symptom, not the actual problem. What if some of us are just chemically deficient, leading to self medication, and the drugs, be they prescribed or otherwise are merely just a band aid? I liked your article, where you pointed out people comparing alcohol to pot and vice versa. Historically it’s all the same. It’s good for you, then it’s bad for you. Are they guessing when they say it’s safe? These are things I start to wonder with regulations. If there’s regulations to something, how much safer is it, really? I mean, they had regulations on darvocet, which was pulled after some 20 years, probably more (can’t recall exact years) after being discovered to cause birth defects. It just always begs the question in my head, how safe is it just because they say so? Your article just prompted the thought, sorry about that. I say and type what comes to mind at random….not great for conveying an idea. Lol I do apologize 🙂

      • I think many times a lot of the things we learn to see as mainstream is directed and projected through public relations. Therefore we only see what lobbyist want us to see, because that is what is in the forefront.

        I always ask why. I always want to know what we have yet to know and then something we should already know. Times do change. As a scientist you learn that at any point in time what you have proven can be disprove as we gather more information and continue the research.

        Abuse doesn’t necessary change your brain chemistry, but it does change your perception. Now given whether you were doing drugs or not you may have suffered from anxiety because of life stresses. On that point marijuana is known to trigger latent mental illness because it affects the brain chemistry. Therefore it is possible that it may have been a combination of things from life stresses, drug use, abuse, and changes in brain chemistry that affected you. Meaning that it may have amplified or triggered anxiety as a latent effect. Also consider that whichever kind you used may have played a part. Therefore there is still a possibility that use may cause or trigger that same latent anxiety as before or other possible mental illness other than just anxiety, depression, even psychosis.

        The cutting is a way to take control of something or the only thing in your life you have control over , yourself, when you are in a situation where you feel helpless or lack control (abuse/neglect…). Whereas your situation changes therefore does your emotional stability. But the biggest thing is the immature brain, which lacks the myelin sheath, which ironically essential for proper functioning of the nervous system. So opens another question, does the use of drugs that affect the brain and it’s chemistry before the sheath is completed , about the age of 24 or so, can it have caused the issues you face now. It’s just a musing or food for thought. I know there are researching working on those questions as we speak.

        There are both organic and inorganic causes for mental illness, some social factors and some biological or physical.

        As for the band-aid, physicians today know that things like pain medication are just that band-aides. They don’t cure or do anything but alleviate discomfort. Therefore it is better to get to the root of the matter to heal than to cover it with pain medications.

        Regulations are politically motivated. Therefore just because one thing is regulated and another is not doesn’t mean one is better or safer (that is sending the wrong message). It means that one topic had a bigger political agenda, motivation and ability to lobby (money, power and control). If marijuana becomes legal it will not be because it’s good. It will be because someone with money, power and agenda to want it to be normalized i.e. social control mechanism. Religion has been used as that tool in the past as has psychology. Consider that even in this countries earliest history politicians understand the power of having those who would rise up, addicted because then you control them. This was evidenced in the intentional addiction of the Native Americans to keep them complacent and under control. The U.S. government has done research on addiction to control populations as did the Germans during World War II. Addiction a a powerful tool as dealers already know as well. If you control the supply of a populace that is addicted…they are easier to control. Just food for thought.

      • I actually cannot disagree with any of that, because it’s exactly what I believe: albeit, written in a much more flowing and cohesive blend than I could achieve haha I’m fading into bleary eyed sleep, but I will definitely return to continue this discussion, simply because it will likely be a first that I’m not called paranoid for my own thoughts on every single one of the issues named. Have a great night 🙂

    • Hi OddGirlNextDoor (would you like me to call you anything else?) I very much appreciate that you have taken the time to comment on my post and share your own personal experiences. You have such a remarkable story and that testimony is so powerful and has the ability to change hearts and minds! I also spent some time looking through your personal blog, and want to encourage you on your personal journey.

      You are doing awesome things for you and your daughter and making the right choices.

      You support Legalization for medicinal purposes and the reasoning you have provided is very sound! Personal experiences such as yours (I’ve not ever personal used), as a person who has used and had both positive and negative experiences are an important part of this conversation – collectively.

      I’m sorry to hear you are suffering from fibromyalgia. A friend I have know for years has been suffering with this hard to diagnose ailment and I know that things have been very difficult for him, even at the best of times… ( I might try and wrangle him in on this conversation)

      You have highlighted one of the points that I was trying to make when I wrote this post – and that was that reactions are going to be varied for different people at different times and it is almost impossible to predict.The comparisons to alcohol are not well suited, because in my mind, although both forms of drugs, they are completely different substances, and chemically there are substantial differences.

      I also like you, also consider the different reactions you had when you used marijuana and think alot of that could be put down to a point that Dave made – Chemical properties different in marijuana now – and also the other point, that Anbayat made – you were still young then and your mind was developing.

      We might never know, but the experiences are an important part of the conversation, and I thank you again for taking the time to share!

      Miss Lou
      xx

      • Thank you. If you like, you can refer to me as Aril, strangely, I was kind of dubbed this by another blogger, and it has a part of my name in it, but she doesn’t know this. Lol

        I really hope I’m doing the right thing, it seems to be a very hard decision to move forward with, many many things seem to be against it, so it’s quite odd. It’s like I’ve pissed off the Universe, or it’s telling me no, and it’s slowly driving me bonkers.

        I wouldn’t care about it being legalized for other than medicinal if the population at large could get their sh*t together and could be trusted to use the stuff properly.

        The fibro has been a challenge, the doctor has given me gabapentin, so far it seems to be working, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will not suffer from the debilitating dizziness that effects so many. So far, it’s only moments of dizziness, so since I suffer from Vertigo, that’s business as usual. I just want to be able to move and do, and keep going.

        The comparisons to alcohol really do irritate me, it’s inaccurate and doesn’t sound very positive for the argument, nor are they even remotely chemically the same. It’s like comparison apples to oranges, doesn’t work so well.

        I think Dave was dead on about the chemical properties. Many plants are cross bred, which is fine; what I don’t like is when they try to do that to increase yield in crops and the like. There’s only so much to be done, and sometimes I think man takes it too far. Just plain too far.

        I agree we may never know, but it can’t hurt to look into all of it and see where the differences are. I was glad I could contribute! 🙂

  11. The first thing that comes to mind for me is the fact that there are no roadside tests (that I’m aware of) for detecting how stoned someone is. Makes impaired driving that much more difficult to catch.

    • Right Linda, I think there are tests to detect whether or not the substance is present, but not to what degree – which is concerning when we think about all of the variety’s of the stuff as well strengths etc etc.

      Good point.

      ML

  12. Colorado in the US recently legalized widespread marijuana use.
    On a personal level, I’ve both drank myself silly and smoked myself into a paranoid fit of the giggly munchies.
    I don’t do either anymore, for personal reasons.

    I’ve never sat down to read the long-term effect of THC, so I’m not really well informed.
    But my gut tells me that it’s on the same level as alcohol and tobacco.
    And regardless of legislation, people will continue to use it responsibly, and not.

    • I agree that people would continue to use it – both responsibly and not.

      Colorado might be one of those areas that assists in informing the development on educational resources at a policy level – if legalized across a greater area.

  13. The “war on drugs,” like whether it has been “won or lost,” is PR propaganda. There has never been a war for or against it. That’s the misinformation driven by the same administration that provided the Iran/Contra affair. It’s a play on misdirection, whereas the facts are twisted and misconstrued to fit the political need and no truly serve the social sphere. The fact that is dusted under the rug and not given any attention is that “natural” doesn’t always mean good or better. As well as that marijuana does cause changes in the brain and with extended use causes brain damage and triggers mental health issues. You can’t compare it to alcohol. We live in a society replete with excuses and crutches. But if you have ever seen the affects this drug has in a society or a sub culture take a very good look at the under class which has historically been known to turn to self medication to escape the harshness of their circumstances. There is a direct correlation between addiction, mental illness and self medication. There are some drugs that have medical merit but should still have and be held for only those purposes because misuse of it can be detrimental to society as a whole.

    There was a time in society when we preached to our children not to allow peer pressure to become the guide for their existence of their futures, but yet in today’s society we very much seem to want to bend to social pressure in a way would have discouraged children to do so in the past. The legalization of marijuana is one of those instances. Society itself, those everyone purports to respect and admire are the biggest culprits. When society has normalized it’s use and abuse then it very much because a social problem. It’s not taken seriously or handled responsibly. “Just because something is common doesn’t make it right.” We’ve become a nation where “children” dictate what is acceptable and right in society, whereas the parents are the followers and the children lead (the blind leading the blind). We’ve moved into generational addictions, whereas mothers party with their children, getting high, drunk and establishing “party houses.” This brings a community to its knees and allows is social and moral system to crumble. There is a correlation between drug/alcohol abuse and poverty. The cost of it to a society is greater than money.

    • What about the large subset of users, who carry on productive lives, but enjoy a snoot (pot or booze) from time to time?
      I think alcohol is a much bigger problem. I hardly drink, but I do enjoy a drink when I have it.

      At what point does societal interest infringe on personal decision?

      • There is really no comparison between the two. And saying one is worse than the other doesn’t diminish that fact that it’s a problem either way. So finding something that is worse to compare it to is another way to justify it. “societal interests?” that is exactly what legalization is the agenda or interest of a group infringing on society. There is NOT a large section of the population that is productive and using, again that’s propaganda- you know the good of the whole should be more important than the self interest of one.

      • I agree wholeheartedly, and it is a problem.
        But in line with the other problems society has, is it enough of a problem to devote resources to stamping it out?
        I wonder what percent of people are casual smokers.
        To the google!

      • I’ll agree with Anbayat on this one – which was really what this post initiated from – my personal view that for the purpose of considering Legalization the properties and resulting pros and cons of alcohol and Marijuana really need to be looked at as unique – because they are.

        As explained in one of my previous comments below: The substances themselves are different, not one and the same and they affect people differently. When considering legalization of marijuana, lets have a conversation about specific benefits and ‘bad results’ of marijuana, not how those benefits are better than using alcohol or produce better ‘bad results’ than alcohol consumption.

    • As per our recent discussion on other posts, many of my views are consistent with yours, An.

      I appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences, views and ideas here.

      ML
      x

  14. Of course the other comparison is the relative cost of trying to prohibit the use of these substances. America has lost the war on drugs. I don’t know enough to argue in favor or against broader legalization, but I can read the statistics about the money spent in this battle, the number of people in prison, the cost of keeping them there and I can feel comfortable saying that what we are doing today isn’t working.

    • You raised an interesting consideration, Dan. Of course, there are other costs (mental illness, family dysfunction etc) associated with the use of Marijuana that are difficult to measure.

      It is my understanding that those incarcerated for use/distribution of Marijuana have a relatively high cross over in other areas of criminal activity. Depending on the location and legal system involved. Prisons are already at plus capacity, and I think that would have an effect on sentencing.

  15. @joeyfullystated: You wrote,”I’ve never heard of people committing robbery or neglecting their children because of a marijuana addiction.” Unfortunately, I have! Not the robbery but neglecting their children—so stoned they are NOT available to BE their for their children—being “stoned” does NOT make anyone more present than “alcohol” does. In my 63 years of life, I have ONLY been to ONE social gathering where ALCOHOL was NOT present—that was the sanest and most interesting and fun gathering I have ever been to! There is nothing worse, than parents being STONED and not reacting to their children’s needs~! Heartbreaking!

    • This conversation has really highlighted the variety of experiences people have had with the drug – both positive and negative.

      One more reason why this sort of discussion is of real benefit at a policy level, where legislation is actually made and amended.

      ML

  16. My personal experiences with the herb is that it has amazing healing properties when used properly. And that’s the key to use it properly. Plenty of people use it recreationally and have no issues, and some people do the same and chose to live an appealing lifestyle. One question though for those who question medicinal purpose,I have you ever been prescribed a medicine and not been given a dosage? Would you get vicodin and make your own dosage without expecting adverse affects?

    • Thank you Seva, for your comments.

      Interesting point you make about using properly (re medicinal purposes) – and wonder whether or not the legalization would result in a tighter, cleaner market for those that use it in this manner. I assume that it would and that would definitely be a benefit. – Of course especially considering the concerns raised by ddigman – re types and strengths etc.

      ML

  17. I think is such an ignorant statement for people to use in advocating the legalization of this drug: “Marijuana use is no worse than alcohol”—My God, I personally have experienced the devastation that the use of alcohol does to an individual, a family and society at large! Alcohol use ruins the lives of so many…the ripple effect is devastating! And I cannot believe if a parent or anyone is “stoned”–that that is good for the person or any of us! We are a society that looks to pills or comatose-inducing drugs to solve our issues, instead of making the character changes that are needed. I realize that marijuana does help people with medical issues–exceptions to every rule–be these should be EXCEPTIONS not the norm!

    • I also have experience with alcoholism in my family and the community and agree the ripple effect is staggering.

      The effect on hearts and minds, as well as the resources utilised to try and deal with the addiction and subsequent fall out is significant.

      I also very much understand the point you make when you highlight society’s more generalised approach to resolving issues being to take a pill, or numb ourselves with drugs.

      Everyone is different, and different things work for different people, though sometimes we need to accept that what we need to do is experience the very difficult times,(sometimes created from our own doing and sometimes not) to learn our lessons and grow stronger – both in character as well as general resilience.

      Thank you for your comments, they have contributed to this discussion greatly 🙂

      ML
      x

  18. I think it should be legalized. I’ve never once heard of people smoking a joint before starting a brawl, or people high on weed shooting others in a craze, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve never heard of people committing robbery or neglecting their children because of a marijuana addiction.
    Like alcohol, it does have medicinal benefits. (Even those who never drink are known to have a bottle of whiskey for colds or antiseptic.)
    I’m not much for drinking regularly and I don’t smoke pot, but I do think there’s a time and place for these things, and that they can be beneficial.
    I found the former customs agent information interesting, as well as the few comments about triggering schizophrenia. It does seem there needs to be education about usage, and an open dialogue about its disadvantages.
    I find the revenue from legal marijuana sales impressive, and many US cities could benefit from that.
    I am concerned about people driving stoned. I must say, I find it alarming how many people smoke before going to work…
    The idea that people are incarcerated or harassed for marijuana use is ridiculous to me.

    • Hi Joey, thanks for your comment and your opinion in relation to the Legalization of Marijuana. You have presented some valid reasoning for your thoughts and position.

      Unfortunately, my own experiences working with children & young people from the out of home care system (including Foster Care, Group Home Care, Kindship Care, Hostels and the Juvenile Justice System) and I have witnessed great suffering as a result of Marijuana use and addictions.

      Specifically neglect (in many instances) when the purchase of Marijuana was prioritized over food for families to eat. Domestic Violence when parents/ teenagers have reacted adversely to the drug and had a break in behaviour. Near death when the drug was mixed with another unknown drug.

      My own brother experienced extreme paranoia, thinking people and things were going to kill him and subsequently has suffered very severe anxiety attacks ever since that incident.

      I suppose that comes down to appreciating that there are different experiences outside of our own and what is our truth for something, does not necessarily apply to that of another person.

      You then came full circle and I agree when you state that there needs to be education about usage, and an open dialogue about its disadvantages – and also it’s benefits (I.e the medicinal use you referred to). Many of the points Dave raised I had absolutely no idea about!

      The reference to revenue is another much needed consideration and I too, like you know of many who have driven stoned and I often think about how on earth we police that.

      Re incarceration of people using marijuana – while it is a crime, they need to be accountable for their actions, and if and when it becomes legal – they will still need to be accountable for their actions. It just wont be for possessing and using the drug itself, but more so the behaviour that takes place while on it. – If and when any adverse behaviour occurs.

      ML
      x

    • The damage is to society as a a whole as it becomes a generational addiction. There is a reason historically that healers kept things like this only for the ones they felt were necessary and it was regulated, because it changes brain chemistry. You may not hear of a violent tirades from it unless it is laced with something else, but you will hear of addicts selling things affecting their financial stability and well being of their offspring. You will see apathy it causes, the malaise. I had someone recently tell me that it was better for him to smoke than to drink and use that same excuse about not being violent. When he described that it “made him not care about anything, relaxed, disconnected and unaware.” Is that really the kind of society anyone would want to live in?

      • One could say the same things of alcohol, and yet, it’s legal.
        I’ve never heard of the bad stuff, so I guess it’s good we’re having these conversations. I’ve certainly learned a great deal today, but it doesn’t change my opinion on the legalization.
        Of course, I’m not using, either, so maybe I’m too distanced from the adversity.

      • When morphine was legal because it was also deemed to be “natural,” and have medical benefits it caused a series of social problems that extended from theft, malaise, apathy, addiction, brain and neurological damage before research finally showed that its ill affects on the individual as well as society outweighed the singular benefit. Although eventually it became a regulated narcotic which is still used for medical purposes but no longer legal to use casually. As someone pointed out what exists to today as marijuana is far from natural. It does have repercussions.

      • I guess you can say I’m invested in it because I am invested in society. I don’t partake nor do I intend to. I take the same stance with pain medication. I don’t do it. I would have to be in extreme pain and even then I probably won’t do it.

        Like another who commented I just don’t get the wanting to be that disconnected or high. I like to experience life and feel things.

        I guess you can say I have seen what it does to children who’s parents are more worried about having it than buying groceries, paying bills or saving for their futures. I have seen what it does to whole generations who seem to think it’s ok. As a researcher I do believe there is a lot more that people need to face and take responsibility for before just bowing to politics or social pressure.

        I didn’t grow up in a home with alcoholics or drug addicts but I have helped children who have had to live that life. I have seen the generation affects and the economic prospects of those change and the downward social spiral . I have seen the affects on the adult child of that “natural,” and “harmless” thing as they grow up in poverty or neglected because mum was too busy “stoned or high.” to ensure their futures. The drug became the end all and be all. So yes seeing those affects on individuals and society it affects me in the sense that I can see the patterns.

      • I agree – really great to hear about each others experiences and learn new things and perspectives!

        I’m not a user of marijuana, nor have I ever been a user. My experiences are based on what I have witnessed directly in my own family and as a part of the work I have done with at risk children and their families.

        For me the most important thing is education. Ensuring that people have all of the information so that when they make their decisions to engage in the use of Marijuana (or alcohol or any drug) they are making an informed choice – KNOWING the risks involved, and KNOWING when to seek assistance. – like some others have commented – whether or not it is Legalized – people are still going to make the decision to consume.

        Thanks again for taking the time to share your opinions and participate in the discussion.

        Miss Lou
        x

  19. Look, without debating benefits or otherwise of marijuana over alchahol consider this. Imagine if Alcohol was illegal. That would mean having to buy it from the criminal underworld. Being caught in possesion would result in a criminal record and eventualy fill up all the prisons with people, who otherwise would be law biding citizens. More prisons would need to be built because the problem would continue to grow not lessen.

    They did try that once and it gave birth to Alcapone – that didn’t work out too well did it?

    Get it out in the open. Allow people to use it for personal use only. It would remove the dealers off the streets. It would greatly reduce the opportiunity for the buyers to be exposed to the harder drugs that dealers like to push. It would save enormous costs for governments both national and local, police forces would free up time to pursue “real” crime and it would stop youing kid’s lives being ruined by a needless criminal record.

    • Hi Bill, thanks for your point of view.

      I think you raised some excellent points relating to potential benefits of Legalization.

      I believe that like alcohol, we will still have the community benefit as well as the detrimental effects and those detriments cost our community, no matter which way you slice it. Money to put people through the legal system will instead, likely be used to develop and implement more tailored programs for users and their families to access as they deal with the consequences of using the drug.

      I do not have the statistics available relating to people actually in incarcerated for the personal use of marijuana – generally incarceration for that alone does not happen in Australia – UNLESS there has been a cross over of crime related activity associated. I honestly could not say whether or not the legalization would contribute to an increase in the overall resources used by the legal system, though there would definitely be a decrease in some areas, with an increase in others (outlined above)

      Thanks again for your input into this conversation, greatly appreciated and got me thinking about another side to the debate I had not considered in much details prior to now.

      ML

      • Thank you. Just to add to your deliberations. I have expressed what I think about marijuana legalisation. There are of course many young people in trouble with harder drugs. The current call in the UK is to try and get the authorities to stop treating the problem as a criminal matter and treat it as a medical / health problem.

        Trials have been tried here where addicts can report daily to a clinic and get adminisetered the Heroin substitute they are slaves to. The circumstances under which they take the drug is clinical, hence clean needles reducing the risk or spreading desease through shared needles etc.

        The drug is free (as long as they attend rehab sessions) which means they don’t pay money to dealer and so therefore they keep away from illegality lifestyles. The addict no longer has to steal to pay the dealer to get the drugs of questionable quality. Further more, because the addict no longer spends ALL their money on the druig, they can afford food once more and their health and well being can improve with help from the clinic.

        Trouble is, the politicians don’t have the balls to carry through on such a policy, and the best experiment was cancelled by the government (despite the Local Police chief stating that crime in the town had reduced) because of a campaign by a national newspaper. The results were not conclusive – but it’s a start and our leaders (national & local) need to be bold try something new to solve the problem.

        I better stop now. 🙂

      • I really enjoyed reading about this Bill, thank you for taking the time to share it!

        Information such as this can assist in developing and implementing programs that have a genuine effect on lives and communities.

        Not conclusive – but a start – and we HAVE to start some where!

        ML
        x

    • I don’t believe it would remove dealers off the streets anymore than legalizing alcohol has, in effect you have people looking for unregulated bath tub moonshine even today. It gave the benefits and money the ability to be corporations. This whole tactic and the reason it is legal has more to do with money and power than the good of society.

  20. Hello, long time no speak (been working hard to keep alive after my heart attack).

    I am a former customs officer and have heard all manner of myths about marijuana. I’d like to make a few comments about it — one is pro, the others are con.

    Firstly, I had a very dear friend who died of cancer a couple of years ago. She had it in multiple areas of her body and used marijuana to manage her pain and I saw nothing wrong with that.

    The trouble with prohibition is that it means that things are taken to ridiculous lengths. People should not have to break laws in order to be given effective pain relief from terminal illnesses.

    I do also happen to agree that if someone wishes to put something in their body, then as long as they are harming no one else, they should not be prevented from doing so.

    That proviso, ‘then as long as they are harming no one else’ is the sticking point. Too often, recreational users get in their cars and go to work stoned, or cannot work because they are stoned too often. If someone is affected by drugs when they get behind the wheel, if they survive the attempt they should be made to do hard time with a permanent loss of license. No exceptions. If nobody has the right to dictate what people can and cannot put inside their bodies, then that means that nobody has the right to unnecessarily expose others to the risk that the bonnet and engine of a car is going to be non-consensually inserted into someone’s chest cavity.

    Employers have every right to expect their staff do their jobs — so I say let anyone who wishes to get high do so if they wish — but only if they can be sobre by the time they clock on at work.

    And let parents get stoned if they wish, as long as they meet the needs of their children, do not expose them to secondhand smoke and do not expose them to lousy behavioural examples and abuses in the form of domestic violence.

    I have heard people claiming all manner of rubbish about drugs. I have heard claims that Customs drug detection dogs are trained to sniff out drugs by being made addicted to the drugs. Yeah, just like explosive detection dogs are addicted to explosives (one detonation and they can never get enough).

    Similarly, I have heard that marijuana is okay to use because it is ‘natural’ and because it has been used by native cultures for thousands of years.

    Not the stuff they have today.

    Modern marijuana has nothing in common with the contemporary varieties which are either engineered or artificially selected via hydroponic expermentation to radically increase the tetrahydracannabinol (THC) content — the active ingredient.

    I have read data suggesting that some single puffs of contemporary marijuana deliver more THC than did an entire joint of the natural form of the drug.

    The ‘native’ or original marijuana is actually extinct now, apart from a few seeds preserved in seed banks.

    The marijuana people use today is pharamacologically a different drug to the original — and has been proven to cause organic brain injury resulting in schizophrenic symptoms. It is also considered suspect in the rise of tardive dyskinesia, an always fatal neurological side effect in which the spinal cord becomes inflamed and contorted causing drooling, tics, respiratory failure and eventual death — a very slow death that takes years, sometimes decades to endure.

    There was a research paper on the subject I read (and I’ll have to try to look that up and let you know where you can read it) from Britain in which they found around 20% of patients in British psychiatric hospitals being treated under the label ‘schizophrenia’ were considered to have developed their symptoms purely and exclusively due to cannabis consumption.

    I think we need to legalise it, if only on the general principle that I do not believe it is a valid role of government to tell the citizens what they can or cannot put inside their bodies.

    But I do also think that anyone who wishes to use an intoxicant (of any type, be that marijuana, alcohol, guarana, caffeine, methamphetamines, etc) has to accept responsibility for the consequences, and for regulating their behaviour such that they do not impose harm upon other people.

    I used to work (in a volunteer capacity) with young people who had serious mental health problems, and most of them were on drugs of varying types. More than a bearable number of them died. In their teens. Or in their pre-teen years.

    But for those who need it for pain relief, that is where marijuana, especially the newer, more powerful versions, are extremely useful.

    Personally, other than that, I don’t get why people want to intoxicate themselves.

    I don’t understand how deadening one’s ability to perceive the world around us can honestly be labelled ‘fun’. By definition, one is making oneself insensible, and insensibility blocks enjoyment as well as pain.

    • Hi Dave – it is wonderful to see you – hoping my persistent comments hunting for new posts from you played a part in bringing you back 🙂

      I want to thank you for these comments (2 lol) – you have provided information which helps to educate others about the properties of Marijuana as it exists today as well as the consequences of using – both good and bad.

      I agree that the use of Marijuana for medicinal purposes can be very beneficial and also note the valid statement about taking things to ridiculous levels of prohibition where those that can benefit cannot without breaking the law. On reflection I think that there would be benefit in this being recognised as a prescribed way of treating illness – under the supervision of a doctor who provides clear advice about dosage (Gee wizz – I know you can put this stuff in cookies, surely you could put it into a tablet form? Maybe a green smoothie?)

      Yes – agreed that people should also be able to put something into their body. even if it is harmful, providing they are not causing injury or harm to others. Great Sticking Point you raised too! Some users make personal choices that jeopardize others and this is unacceptable.

      ‘Yeah, just like explosive detection dogs are addicted to explosives (one detonation and they can never get enough).’ – I’m sorry I giggled at that!

      The schizophrenic symptoms you refer to have been experienced by several people I know, so that is certainly something to consider in terms of Social Impact.

      I’d very much like to see the report released in Britain that states people developed schizophrenia exclusively due to cannabis consumption. – That would make for an interesting read!

      Thank you again for sharing both your personal experience and your position of support for Legalization. Your reference to personal accountability is one that is pretty important in this conversation, in my view.

      ML
      x

    • Just to reply to one of your excellent points. The form of marijuana today. Because of the forced-hybrid strains of marijuana being sold today causes huge problems. I don’t know the chemistry of it, but I understand that there are two main ingredients in the marijuana plant, one of them makes you high the other couneracts the effect. In the hbybrid versions the second ingredient is lacking and (according to a doctor specialising in the subject) mental anxiety is more prevellent in people using these hybrid versions.

      This hybrid version is grown in order to maximise the yield for the growers (often right here in the middle of town). If it were legalised, then a more natiural product could be available which might reduce the mental health issues.

      Good luck with your recouperation.

      • Dear Bill,

        Thank you for the kind comments!

        Whilst I am aware of the THC issue, the existence of the other ingredient is new to me.

        I think I have some research to do!

        Yes, they could reproduce the original drug, because there are seed samples preserved in seed banks (there are ethical as well as scientific and common sense reasons why nothing should be allowed to go completely extinct. That and, sadly, military purposes, is why smallpox samples have been preserved in storage).

        Medically, marijuana has a lot of potential in so very many areas of treatment.

        On my recuperation, it is working slowly. My doctors are all rather happy with me and I have lost, and continue to lose, a fair few kilos.

        And I have taken up photography, both as a hobby and as a new business.

        Cheers, and thanks!

    • Bill Hayes, if you are talking about methadone. That has it’s own issues and is not as easily dismissed. It is also a dependent form and a way that they have tried to control drug use, but here is the thing it is just as addictive, and sometimes addicts will sell it or trade it for their drug of choice. It has just become another issue to contend with. IT doesn’t cure the addiction. It keeps people addicted. It doesn’t help people save money or buy groceries. That is the goal of course. It just didn’t work out that way.

      A couple of years ago I met someone that seemed nice and I came to realize he was and had spent his entire life from the age of 14 on doing drugs, just about every kind of drug you can imagine. He came directly from that generation and he would tell me he was “candy kid,” so he did everything at one point in his life in such excess that it made you wonder why he was still alive. But he may not have always noticed but the longer I knew him I noticed not just the social effects drugs had on his life but the physical. The twitch from the cocaine or the malaise and can’t care enough about himself attitude when he was high on yep marijuana. This person threw his life away on drugs and lost 15 years plus of it. I will not lie I was curious but not in the way you think.

      I was curious to see all of this and met his friends, coworkers etc. HE seemed to bring all of that aspect of society out of the woordwork or better yet I began to see things about society I never did before because I didn’t know what to look for. There were individuals at different levels of use but one thing was clear, addiction. Enough so to jeopardize families, and careers to keep that high. He was the most adventurous and heaviest user, the rest mostly smoked marijuana.

      I never did it but the association alone had major repercussions on my life as he always needed to be high even if he was broke and he was willing to cheat, steal or lie to get it and at times even trade himself for it. So on a personal level what I saw and experienced first hand in a small group of 100 people a sampling of this community I didn’t judge at first, I just observed with an open mind to understand. My decision about it’s benefits medicinally finally were outweighed by the rampant misuse of it within the community and the gross negligence and poverty that came along with it. I learned that addiction, any addiction can have devastating affects. So when someone tells me oh it’s natural and fine and is harmless I have seen it first hand for 3 years and watched people stoned out of their mind not caring and in a few occasion giving themselves away for sex because they were so out of it . I have seen parents smoking with their children right next to them or sharing it with their child. As I said I know how to be an observer.

      The thing is that when he started doing all this stuff, when they all did it was for “fun.” From my perspective the “fun” died out a long time ago and they were doing it from habit, and necessity to be able to function. At one point several told me they didn’t feel normal and could not function without it. Normal to them was being high. And the way it was explained to me “it makes you not care.”

      I’m not writing because I just hate marijuana and blindly follow some conservative track. I simply say it because of what I saw, learned and experienced. They were immersed in it that they could not even see the negative affects of it on their lives because that life of neglect and”not caring” became normal. Now this person did stop for a while but not without heavy repercussions. He described it as coming out of a haze and he didn’t feel normal without. He had anxiety without it. His body was dependent on it. He would have mood swings and beg for it. I think the worse for him was when he wasn’t using for a long time and began to realize how much of his life he’d lost to all of it. Given a choice he would rather be in that haze because he couldn’t’ face the track of his life. So back to getting high and not caring because it was easier than facing himself. Now I am not guessing at this. I sat with him for 3 years listening to him about what it was like with and without, watching his colleagues, friends, acquaintances.

      I am the outside and the outsider looking in saw things they no longer noticed. So for the person who thinks I am rambling well I am speaking from experience. I was once someone that thought well as long as it doesn’t affect me why should I care? I don’t do it so it doesn’t matter. Live and let live. I did believe all those things, until I saw its affects first hand. I knew and have always known the statistics the history etc. But until you are an outsider looking in watching what it does and not in the midst of it, it is hard to ignore.

  21. Abuse is the bane of almost all things in life. The advantages become immaterial when the disadvantages explodes to other areas. Like you said, we should think hard before any legalization takes place.

    • It is important for these conversations to take place and I appreciate your comment.

      For those jurisdictions that have already Legalized marijuana, and those that may well do so in the future, lessons have been learned about the legal use of other drugs – tobacco and alcohol.

      That learning in the context of educating our communities about substances and possible side effects could inform some foundations of policy relative to the Legalization of Marijuana.

      Some communities and their governments are already there, most aren’t.

      Either way, some critical consideration is required.

  22. My son smoked dope and they say his use triggered the gene for schizophrenia. The doctors called it “Awakening the sleeping tiger”,

    • I’m sorry to hear about your sons experience omtatjuan, though I much appreciate that you have shared it. 🙂

      Thank you.

      My brother had a similar experience, and it was a very painful time.

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