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Legalize Marijuana???

Yes or No and why?!

Disclaimer: I want to be completely open that I am throw this out to bait discussion. I already have my opinion, but I am begging everyone not to assume they know what it is. So please... Just answer the question with your opinion and best argument.
Cody Heitschmidt
www.codytalks.com
www.whatsuphutch.com
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22 comments:

  1. Yes.

    Tax the shit out of it and regulate it much more strictly than alcohol and tobacco.

    -21 or older to purchase.

    -Same laws as driving under the influence of alcohol.

    -Cannot grow/sell unless licensed.

    -No public consumption, unless in designated places.

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  2. I came to say what Mitchell said, pretty much to the word. Maybe 18 or over, but I think liquor should be that age also.

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  3. Agree with the above.

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  4. No.

    Each time something is legalized, it's use becomes more common.

    Each time something is seen as "accepted" by society, it becomes more prevalent.

    Five years I would have answered this differently. In the days before I heard so many people, without question, say there should be no boundaries. That boundaries in general were artificial and served no purpose.

    IMHO, if nothing else has, the recent subprime mortgage crises and the overextension of personal credit in this country should have us all very aware that boundaries do matter. Both on a personal level and on a societal level.

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  5. I'm with Mitch. People are going to do it anyway, why not get some sin taxes out of it?

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  6. Jolene,

    With your comment in mind...

    Do you think we should go back to prohibition of alcohol??

    That's a honest and sincere question?

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  7. Cody,

    I think alcohol and cigarettes will be taxed/priced out of general consumption in the next few decades anyway.

    I think it was two years ago that the State of Texas addressed their budget shortfall by adding a dollar a pack/$10 a carton state tax on cigarette purchases. I imagine that's just the beginning.

    Why bother doing something completely controversial when there's a systematic progression already in place to limit the health and societal risks of cigarette and alcohol use?

    By the same token, why bother legalizing something that would take the place of current vices and would take another 50 or so years to work itself out of the system in the same cycle of systematic tax increases?

    Why do we need to do the whole cycle of wide use of pot, find out how widespread the health issues inherent with heavy and daily use would be only to follow the same path we're already following with cigarettes and alcohol?

    IMHO, it's self-defeating and redundant.

    IMHO, it also seems to me that those that support legalizing marijuana do so for it's potential to general large tax volumes? Hasn't history shown us those large tax incomes will be less than the medical costs associated with inhaling foreign substances into our bodies?

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  8. totally agree with michell!

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  9. Alcohol is never going to be taxed out of existence. No chance. But that's a little off-topic.

    Honest question... how many examples do we have of something being legalized and then becoming more common? I can come up with a handful of things that have been made illegal, but I can't come up with something that has been legalized since alcohol.

    I think there are a number of studies that show marijuana is not as bad for your health as tobacco or alcohol. For example, I remember seeing this chart floating around in the past from a BBC study on the 20 drugs that cause the most harm to health.

    Also, I think there's pretty definitive proof that Prohibition created a lot more crime, so legalizing some soft drugs could potentially lessen current drug crimes and get a lot of non-violent criminals out of our overfilled prisons and overused court system.

    So while there may be a slight increase in health care costs (which I'm not totally convinced of, because how many non-smokers are going to pick up a pack-a-day pot habit?), there could potentially be a large savings in litigation and rehabilitation costs.

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  10. I think what I would be most concerned with is that for some people it is a gateway drug--I know that some are going to disagree with that, but I have seen it to many times with people I know to say any different. I don't want pot any easier for my daughter to get ahold of than it already is. I agree that if we take the step to legalize pot, then whats next? Legal X, or Lortab 10 OTC? That scares me... I agree that health care costs for the use of pot itself probably would not increase that much, many studies have shown that it is not as bad as tobacco, but, with its potential to open up a whole new world of drug use then health care costs would go up, as would the cost of the rehab programs and the goverment mandated anti-pot programs. I am still unsure of medical marijuana, I have seen articles that are pretty pursuasive that for issues such as glucoma(sp), and also pain from chemo and radiation that its very effective.

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  11. I think alcohol is just as much, if not more of, a gateway drug than marijuana. I think a good first step would be to decriminalize marijuana and see how that goes. Can you imagine the savings in tax-payers dollars? The system is clogged with people involved in the pot trade. Decriminalizing isn't condoning. And I think once people saw the social and crime rate improvements (without our world falling apart Reefer Madness style) legalizing may not even be an issue. Everyone wins.

    But I also think legalizing it would have major benefits. I don't need to get into that, though. Reefer to Mitchell's comment. That's right. I said 'reefer'.

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  12. Scott,

    You. Da. Man.

    With all due respect to the gateway drug aspect of things, the general way pot becomes such is because it is ones first parlay into the realm of illegal drug consumption. It's also a great way to meet some unsavory folks who will gladly show you what else they've got.

    Wouldn't be the same if you could purchase it at retail locations.

    Were pot to be made legal, cocaine would be the gateway drug or opium or something of that ilk.

    And if that's not the case, then alcohol is the gateway drug.

    With all due respect, the concept of alcohol being taxed out of consumption is crazy.

    Cigarettes, most likely. But not alcohol.

    This is a tough discussion to get into without sounding like some sort of hemp-crazed hippie.

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  13. Most of the people I know drink on occasion and I in no way fear that having a drink is going to lead to hard core drugs. IMO Thats just silly. I am going to have to be stubborn about this and say that there is a reason that its still illegal, and should stay that way.

    "Can you imagine the savings in tax-payers dollars? "

    Really?

    I am all for tax savings, but not at the expense of people lives that could potentially be ruined. Yep, I said ruined because I saw what drug dependencey did to one of my best friends through jr and sr high school. It started with pot, ending with meth and any kind of pills she could get her hands on. Do you really think that legalizing pot will stop your local pot dealers from producing and selling it? If it is legalized and taxed to death do you really think that people are going to buy it at the local pot shop where its 4x as expensive than from the guy down the street with a grow room in his basement?

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  14. Cody--feel free to chime in anytime!
    Karen ;)

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  15. This argument has been had ad nauseum already.

    It's tough to take the side of something that's considered immoral, so one can barely say marijuana should be legalized without seeming like a creep, while those opposed to it appear to be taking the high road.

    That's part of why it's so easy to keep it illegal.

    Weak wills are everywhere and create issues for any number of people.

    I, too, have known people with meth, pill, drinking problems. I've known a few that wouldn't touch pot. Perhaps they had at one time, but it wasn't their bag, and it wasn't what got them started on their most damaging vice.

    Once new a guy addicted to nasal spray. He didn't smoke pot.

    So we can cite examples until we're blue in the face, but it honestly means very little. You can tie marijuana to the use of almost any other drug, because nearly any estimate I've ever read states that upwards of 25% of Americans smoke pot.

    A higher percent than that drink, I'm sure we can agree.


    As far as growing/selling it yourself after legalization. That's one reason the government hasn't yet legalized it. Having it illegal has caused the pot enthusiasts to become self-sufficient, so it would be a difficult underground market to stop.

    But, were it legal, they could put stricter penalties on growing/selling without appropriate authorization and whittle that down.

    I don't know how many bootleggers you know making their own booze still, but I haven't run into more than maybe two in my life, so they took care of that problem pretty well after prohibition was lifted. :)

    Even if they still arrest for growing/selling with stricter penalties than current, there will still be much fewer people clogging the prison system, because there would be nobody in there for possession.

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  16. I don't think that anyone who believes it should be legalized is a creep, nor do i feel I am taking the high road. It's impossible to talk about something like this without taking your personal experiences into consideration. Did I occasionally smoke pot in high school? Yep. Do I know people who still do it? Yep. I don't believe that it effects everyone the same way. For me, all it usually did was make me spend more money at The BK lounge on yummy early morning cheeseburgers, for some it becomes a way of life. I do believe that making pot legal would provide the potential for more harmful drugs to do the same thing, granted not right away, but at some point in the future. If we do legalize pot under the presumption that our jails and prisons would be less crowded, shouldn't we legalize all drugs so we just don't have to worry about it anymore? As far as prohibition goes, I have never read anything that supports that alcohol was taxed the shit out of after it was lifted, I could be wrong. If I remember right, the "whiskey tax" was being charged long before 1920.

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  17. Check the statistics in rehab centers for marijuana addicts. I have a feeling there are few, if any.

    And let me also quote a neo-natal nurse I once knew who didn't do ANY drugs at all: I've never seen a pot-baby.

    As for saving tax-payers' dollars, well, if the district attorneys, jails and prisons had fewer pot dealers to contend with, they might be able to turn their attentions criminals who actually posed a threat to society.

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  18. "I am all for tax savings, but not at the expense of people lives that could potentially be ruined."

    So, should tobacco be outlawed? alcohol? gambling? What about fried chicken?

    It all goes back to whether or not it's the governments job to protect you from yourself. I would prefer the government is protecting me from someone else.

    I don't smoke pot. Never have, never will. I know a few people who moved on from pot and let drugs ruin them. I also know a few people who are pretty successful and like to smoke a joint now and then. I know one guy who "can't remember the last day he didn't smoke weed." He never misses a day of work, and he's one of the most responsible people I know.

    I think those people who get ruined by drugs were probably going to find a way to do it no matter what. I just don't have enough anecdotal evidence to place that blame on marijuana.

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  19. Scott-
    Those things are already legal and the chances of them being outlawed are not good. I am not saying that everyone who tries weed will end up drug addicted, but it does happen. The question was not should all harmful things be outlawed, but should pot be legalized. I never said that all the blame for people who made bad choices in their life should be placed in the catagory of "I smoked pot", many people have their lives ruiend by other things, but this is still one issue on which I stand firm. ;)

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  20. http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/news/press08/Marijuana_2008.pdf

    everything you wanted to know in 75 different charts....

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