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There was a clear winner on election night: Marijuana (thehill.com)
205 points by evo_9 79 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 138 comments

I think it would make a fascinating poli sci case study about why almost all cannabis legalization came from popular referendum instead of legislation.

What is it about cannabis that makes it so much more amenable to direct democracy compared to representative democracy. Polls show that overwhelming majorities in most states support legalization. Yet elected representative have been extremely reticent to move policy in that direction. Two thirds of Americans support legalization, yet neither of the major party candidates for president do.

I think it's pretty simple -- politicians think it's going to happen, but don't want to be personally linked to it because it can hurt their popularity with certain segments of voters they rely on. Nobody wants to claim credit for it.

So they put it up for referendum instead, so it happens but it doesn't harm anyone's careers.

It's not at all any kind of vindication of direct democracy. Rather, because it's broadly popular but also highly unpopular with significant segments of voters on both sides... a referendum works out for everyone.

I also think it's an older generational mindset, that being pro-pot will sink your career. They don't want to offend too many people so it's easier to stick their head in the sand and then "come around" when it's suddenly popular.

There's also people like my mother who believe marijuana is akin to meth. If you smoke it once you'll end up homeless, under a bridge down by the river

>They don't want to offend too many people so it's easier to stick their head in the sand and then "come around" when it's suddenly popular.

Another example to point to from recent US political history: the federal legalization of same-sex marriage, and subsequent rapid rehabilitation of the public platforms held by its former opponents still regularly running for re-election.

Just to be clear - the “federal legalization” of same-sex marriage came from the Supreme Court, not actual Federal Law, so it is definitely at risk of being overruled with the new court membership. The best our federal government could do was the Defense of Marriage Act, (reluctantly) signed in to law by Clinton in ‘96, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Individual states, with significant aid from the Supreme Court, did away with that barbaric nonsense. We are not likely to see such progressive thinking from the current bench regarding drug use.

Rarely does SCOTUS reverse course like that, even when the justices change. The risk, while not zero, seems very slight.

New York has been trying to legalize for a few years now but it gets hung up on how to divide up the revenue.

New York has all the political will needed but the problem is the bureaucracy. This should not be the least bit surprising.

The "bureaucracy" would be the unelected government employees, but the NY issue last I checked what about what regulations and fees to levy, monopolization, and reparations concerns. All of that is rather over-complex, but doesn't deal with the "bureaucracy" per se?

By that definition, meth isn't like meth either :D

Most legislators now are pretty awful at their jobs.

Changes to law are coming from the courts, ballot initiatives, executive orders, and the bureaucracy, not from legislative bodies like they're supposed to. Legislators 'dunk' on Twitter all day and very little legislating actually happens.

It's an easy out for them -- they rarely go on record for supporting or opposing things now -- and can blame presidents, bureaucrats, and the courts for anything that turns out to be unpopular.

That doesn’t seem like a satisfying explanation. Why then do legislators routinely support other legislation that is similarly or even less popular than marijuana legalization?

At least until recently, there was no money backing it. Support for unpopular policies is presumably backed by rich corporations, right? I'm thinking relaxing environmental regulations and war as two examples that come immediately to mind.

I'm (very seriously) trying to understand how backing something with >2/3 open support, that's clearly bipartisan, would hurt one's political career.

I'm guessing maybe it's because although those who oppose some form of marijuana (neither medical nor recreational) are in the minority, they still make up a sizable voting block when an election is won on the marginal vote. But how does that play out when >2/3 of people support it across the board, and that politician is the only one doing something to push it forward? That politician would literally be the only choice if marijuana is meaningful enough to a voter. So while the politician may lose some supporters, would they not gain support from others?

It's simple math. People are against marijuana tend to hold that position more strongly to the point where they might refuse to vote for politicians who support marijuana. Pro-marijuana people on the other hand usually have that as a weaker preference.

https://medium.com/incerto/the-most-intolerant-wins-the-dict... is a good article discussing these types of effects.

> What is it about cannabis that makes it so much more amenable to direct democracy compared to popular democracy. Polls show that overwhelming majorities in most states support legalization. Yet elected representative have been extremely reticent to move policy in that direction. Two thirds of Americans support legalization, yet neither of the major party candidates for president do.

It's counter to "tough on crime" messaging, and for both parties, a lot of your reliable voters love "tough on crime" candidates.

Campaign contributions from groups interested in the status quo (law enforcement unions, private prison groups, pharmaceutical/tobacco/alcohol companies) also have an interest in funding the "No" campaign.

It turns out alcoholic beverage companies and big pharma have deep pockets.

Whoops, forgot the link as an example.


And I think it's important to fight to make sure we don't get similarly entrenched weed cartels. We now have a new fight - against market consolidation of the weed producers.

Would there even be a chance of a healthy weed market? From my perspective the market will quickly be saturated by big tobacco, since they already have all the plantation & manufacturing infrastructure needed to mass produce smoking products.

Note this is also why I have the feeling a lot of the pro-marijuana research the has come out recently is going to turn out just as illegitimate as all the pro-tobacco stuff from years past - if not even financed by the same exact industries

> Would there even be a chance of a healthy weed market? From my perspective the market will quickly be saturated by big tobacco, since they already have all the plantation & manufacturing infrastructure needed to mass produce smoking products.

It would depend on how the laws are structured, as well as market demand.

Microbrews and local produce markets come to mind. They are popular precisely because they are not large: their smaller scale allows them to offer higher-quality and speciality products.

I suspect something similar would show up very fast in the cannabis industry if the laws are structured to allow it.

How do regular people like us fight oligopological market consolidation of commodity goods vendors?

Make sure to lobby to grow your own.

a legalization bill without “grow grow your own” provisions is better than nothing, but is not consumer or citizen freedom respecting. It also harms the us all by enacting into law just another toll bridge for corporations to exploit. I don’t grow my own, but if I were in a different life circumstance I definitely would.

I feel like the smart thing to do instead of wasting money on bribes is to invest in the new markets before they're legal.

The booze companies are already cozy with state regulators and have the logistics to get everything off the ground post legalization. Some even have age restricted venues (taprooms, pubs, etc) where they can sell directly to consumers and reduce concerns or risks with zoning.

Oh, the war on drugs was way too useful for politicians to give it up themselves. A classic case of "Just give me more powers so I can protect you and your loved ones from this horrible danger you can’t possibly protect yourself against".

It had to come from the people. Hollywood helped too, making weed smoking seem familiar, funny and harmless way before it was legal.

It's a side-effect of our gerontocracy. Even moderate political candidates under 40 support it. Younger conservatives will even get behind decriminalizing it. Problem is seasoned leadership (who skew older) don't want to touch it with a 10-foot pole.

I think being pro legalization doesn't win many votes, but being anti legalization could cost votes. It's an easy attack ad to make. One of the worst things about politics seems to be that the substance of the attack doesn't really matter, just the fact that it exists.

With popular votes on the topic, everyone wins: people get what they want, and no legislator needs to grow the courage to stand up for it.

Sadly being pro-legalization loses you older voters that were exposed to a lot more propaganda during the war on drugs - legalization is inevitable as we age out of those voters but it still is a semi-risky political stance.

Bear in mind that John Boehner (yea that one) is now hawking legal marijuana himself after years of publicly opposing it.

I don’t think that’s as true anymore.

Someone who was 18 in the Summer of Love (1967) is 71 today.

The people who took part in the Summer of Love were a minority of the population of 18 year olds at the time from what I understand. Around 100,000 according to Wikipedia[0]

That's not to say that drug experimentation wasn't more widespread than that group: I know my father experimented because he's told me. However he has become pretty conservative as he's gotten older. Or at least supports conservative American politicians and voted for Trump probably both times.


One way or another, it does demonstrate a medium-is-the-message dynamic in politics. How democracy is structured is the deciding factor. Referendum, sortition, representative democracy, etc. will have wildly divergent vote counts on a lot of issues.

Fascinating indeed, especially considering that legalizing MJ nationwide would easily add a few percentage points to their ratings, and they don't even have to do anything - just get it de-scheduled and strike out the statutes criminalizing it. If you want to do it right, let out all people who are in jail for possession too. I can't think of any legislative measure that would get more popular support. I'm not a user myself, but I have tried it (after voting for legalization in my state), and it's ridiculous that it was illegal in the first place.

Right to repair in Mass was also popular vote and won in a landslide. Republic democracies are no longer representative of the people. Instead of the blue and red football team we should get direct ballot votes.

In theory, we elect representative to understand the issues better than we do, and protect us from ill-informed impulses.

In practice, it seem like our representatives "understand" what lobbyists are paid to help them understand, and they protect entrenched interests from anything those interests don't like.

To combat drugs, huge sums of public funds flow to public-sector union jobs and private industries. Both contribute significantly to political campaigns, whereas victims of the drug war cannot.

It’s not a wild leap if you’ve followed the history. Cannabis prohibition is directly tied to post-Civil War criminalization of Black lives/activities/culture. The word “marijuana” is a racialization of the drug to associate it with Latinos. Using prohibition to increase law enforcement scrutiny, imprisonment and the war on drugs has been consistently part of how the US has maintained two power dynamics that have significantly eroded by popular shifts in public opinion.

Because representatives don't represent the people that want to legalize it. Or the Governor's don't.

Voting on referendum allows voters to vote on policy divorced from the tribalism of party.

Florida voted for a $15/minimum wage, part of Biden's platform, but chose Trump over Biden.

What would we come up with if we voted by national referendum on gun control? Immigration? Climate change? Healthcare? Reproductive rights? I wonder...

Politicians in both parties are bribed (er, lobbied) by special interests. The average joe voter wouldn't care a rat's ass what Exxon thinks of climate change legislation (say).

One has to be careful with what the majority supports. I think if we always follow a majority we'd still be burning witches at the stake. I am not against people smoking joint though. Their choice.

How should we choose whose opinion matters?

I wish I knew. I bet there is no single recipe and it depends on many things and what is the subject. I community discusses building kids playground maybe 2/3 majority is enough. If we are talking death penalty "get tough on crime" crowd screams the loudest but in this case telling them to sod off I think would be a good thing.

It was more of a rhetorical question, to make the point that you saying "one has to be careful with what the majority supports" doesn't really offer any solutions because it's unclear who we should listen to, if we don't listen to the majority.

It would also be worthwhile to study where the citizen's initiative referendum came from to begin with.

In some states it's from the same place that voting under the age of 21 arose.

During the Vietnam War, kids were being drafted into the Army at 18 but still not allowed to vote until 21.

Just like it was in World War II only this time they weren't fighting for their country, they were fighting for somebody else's country.

Then along comes Nixon and it was plain to see he was an evil war-monger at heart.

Things got worse as expected, and there was no end in sight since it takes so long to become a powerful politician that the top positions will mostly be the oldest dogs in the race, and therefore by statistics alone the most out-of-touch about things affecting young people that were not a factor in their previous generation.

Fortunately there had been a baby boom so the 21 to 30 age group was bigger than ever at the time, and were largely on the same page as the still-powerless under-21 citizens.

Nixon was doing more damage to US democracy every year, at the same time the war was becoming more widely recognized for its pure stupidity as waves of returning soldiers and officers were able to confirm so with growing consensus.

This built a nationwide unification around lowering the voting age to 18. Even some war hawks could understand the unfairness of continuing to draft kids under 21 when they were still politically powerless. The dogs of war still despised the draft dodgers and their supporters who were constantly pointing this discrepancy out though.

Pressure on legislators eventually won the vote at 18, and while there was momentum plus a new decent size voting block overnight, the push for _Initiative Referendum_ got underway.

Before citizens can put something on the ballot themselves without necessarily having any politicians or political parties involved, their legislators often had to pass a law restoring the right to that type of freedom.

Due to the unprecedented pressure, many states chose to no longer deny this liberty to their people.

They then codified the hurdles that must be overcome for mere citizens to make things right without having to wait for sluggish politicians who may not be interested, or who could act as obstacles until more responsive representatives got into power.

Too bad not every state got this, especially now that it's needed more than ever, but that's what we were planning at the time.

It was plain to see that the 21st century was going to be pretty ugly, but there definitely needed to be some hope.

Texas is not a free state in this regard, remaining more like the Spanish monarchy that ruled when Texas was still a state in Mexico before it joined the USA. The legislature by design still has no provision to quit denying their subjects the full liberty to vote on items of their own initiative.

Oklahoma's lawmakers have presided over a free state by comparison, and their citizens have enjoyed one of the fundamental elements of democracy that Texans can only dream about.

representatives represent corporate interests

individuals represent their own interests

Drug prohibition benefits established power structures. It's the same reason why neither major party wants to enact universal healthcare, despite being generally acknowledged as more efficient in terms of care for the cost.

Does this mean states could enact universal healthcare from referendum, or are they barred from incurring tax raising consequences?

They absolutely can enact universal healthcare, and some have tried in the past. Vermont famously(?) did this with Green Mountain Care - the problem is that when it comes to healthcare you end up needing to pay the same outrageous market prices for healthcare that insurance drives but without any of the wink and nod discounts that HCPs and Payers exchange to keep things moving - along with a lot of market players working actively to extort as much money as possible from your system.

Universal healthcare is difficult due to the inability to actually nationalize health care providers without having your state's system overburdened by everyone from neighboring states which you're quite limited in restricting due to federal interstate commerce requirements. Also the federal government would probably come down hard on you.

Some have at least moved incrementally in that direction by referendum. Maine, Missouri, and Oklahoma voters opted in by ballot initiative to ACA's Medicaid expansion, after their respective state governments had decided not to expand Medicaid. That's admittedly easier than designing an entirely state-level system.

Police don’t support it. Difficult to enforce on some people (under 21) and not others.

Businesses don’t support it. People should not come to work drunk or on high.

Government doesn’t like it. Marijuana creates bad atmosphere of drugged people.

People who never face the problems associated with marijuana are ok with it. But they still need a reason to vote yes. And prison population and Black Lives Matter did just that

Interesting to see people on social media with one breath talk about how mask wearing should be up to the individual, with another that legalizing weed is a terrible move that will lead to the breakdown on society. Personally I really do not like the smell so I would like a "freedom from skunk smell" bill passed too.

With decriminalization the smell is everywhere around parks too which bothers me the most when I’m trying to enjoy fresh air. I wish they’d go ahead and switch to vapes or something that smells less. Even tobacco was better or carries less.

I'm on the opposite side of this. Tobacco is the absolute worst lingering smell. It's not even a close comparison and never was. I think combustion should be less widespread for sure. I don't think we'll see mass switches to vaping without legality though.

Even now you can get flower vaporizers but it seems not all that many people know about them.

No way does pot smell worse than tobacco. Cigarettes have the worst, most acrid smell that carries the furthest. Just horrible, like burning plastic or something. Just my own opinion, of course.

My state has been legal for a few years now. The smell and prevalence in public places had a bit of an uptick when it was first legalized. But a few years on, it's not really different than before. The people that smoke it still smoke it, and the people that don't still don't. At least anecdotally.

That law already exists. I'm not aware of any recreational state that allows public consumption. It just seems to be rarely enforced.

I really wish there were also laws about not doing it in public spaces. I don't care if people do it in their own spaces, but when the smell wafts out onto the sidewalk, it makes me nauseous.

I agree with you that it is very obnoxious and super rude to be doing in an area close to other non-consenting people. I also think that a law about where you could smoke would inevitably be abused and not serve anyone: for example, is it really a police matter that you can smell your neighbors smoking weed, or that someone is doing it to near you in a park. I think we need to get away from this tattle tail mentality and work on being clearer with people when their behavior is interfering with our enjoyment of our surroundings. Being polite about smoking pot needs to become a social norm, not a law.

And just as a concrete example, I would rather see tax money go to an ad campaign that says "a lot of people find the smell of pot disgusting, smoke it away from others" than into law enforcement.

Personally I would very much be in favor of banning public smoking, especially if such a law extended to tobacco as well.

i believe we’re running into cultural differences here.

I see it as a quality of life issue and people forcing their smoke onto others. Smoking in public in large metropolitan areas should have laws around it. Especially in built up areas. Walk a mile in New York City these days and you will constantly be in range of Pot or Cigarette smoke. Either passing by people smoking or being stuck behind them walking. It's a civility issue but unfortunately by and large we can't trust people to be civil in our cities unlike large metropolitan areas like Tokyo for example, therefore we need some quality of life laws around this and more importantly the expectation that they will be consistently enforced. There are plenty of laws in big cities such as New York that are never enforced invalidating the existence of the law in the first place.

Smoking cigarettes, smoking pot, smoking anything should result in a fine in any public space. Do what you want to do to your body in your private space, but don't expect me to participate in your activity.

At least it isn't hazardous like cigarette smoke.

I really wish cigarettes were completely banned in public spaces. If you want to destroy your own lungs on your own property, fine. But I shouldn't have to breath it in.

I don't think it's much less hazardous than cigarette smoke, it's just that people don't tend to smoke 20 joints a day.

Also, a bit of secondhand smoke outside isn't dangerous, it just smells bad.

> Also, a bit of secondhand smoke outside isn't dangerous, it just smells bad.

That's provably false. And besides, not only does it smell bad, but it sticks to your clothes and then you smell bad.

I’ve never in my life observed clothes smelling like smoke from being near smokers outside.

You probably just don’t have a very sensitive nose. My wife would be able to tell any time I hung out with my coworkers for their smoke break, and that was many hours later.

This is the correct answer.

Never been to an outdoor concert?


Add gasoline/diesel powered automobiles to that list please.

This is the standard strawman argument that antisocial smokers who don't care about others right to peacefully enjoy relatively clean air make.

Fact is, cars have a lot of other utility, and if it was possible to make a car that doesn't make smoke cheaply and without any other negatives, the whole car industry would go that way, legislation would happen and no more smoky cars would be made.

Smoking however has no other utility beyond, "screw you, I smoke wherever I want regardless of others comfort/health, and if you don't like it then you have go somewhere else".

While I am not an antisocial smoker myself, I disagree with complete ban on public smoking as the parent comment suggested. Designated areas for smoking, sure!

There are ways to make cars that don't make smoke cheaply (Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt etc) and the argument about "without any other negatives" is really debatable when compared with manufacturing process of any other car.

Designated areas would be awesome, as long as it was actually enforced when they smoked outside those areas.

Personally I'm a fan of the idea of those hilarious little smoking boxes that they have in some airports.

Getting off-topic, but... I'd like to get an electric car, but there's no infrastructure anywhere near my area. My coal-addicted government (Australia) is definitely not making it a priority.

Electric cars are unsuitable for lots of people currently and do have significant negatives. If the infrastructure was there, then great. But it isn't.

I wasn't actually talking about electric cars though. If suddenly a discovery was made that a catalytic converter could be made cheaply that cleans the smoke from a car completely and doesn't affect power, etc, don't you think that every single car company would adopt it immediately?

Smoke is bad for you period. The chemicals and nicotine content is irrelevant.

I'm quite sure breathing in any sort of hot soot does you no favors, but it's obviously absurdly false that the chemical composition of the smoke doesn't matter, or that all smoke is made equal. Some smokes are much worse than others.

American Sprits initially made it seem like their additive free cigarettes were somehow more "healthier" when they really weren't. I get that chemically they aren't the same thing. However it's like saying Captain Morgan isn't as bad as Fleischmans. If you compare someone taking significantly more weed hits than you are tobacco hits, the weed smoker will most likely be in poorer health than the tobacco smoker.

If you smoke as much weed as a chain smoker does cigarettes you're going to be really high.

Generally speaking "weed usage" introduces far fewer carcinogens compared to "cigarette usage" - but lots of things are bad for you including alcohol and, especially, sugar.

Carcinogens: smoke, alcohol.

Not a carcinogen: sugar.

Sugar demonization is out of control. Many people eat an unhealthy amount of it, but any level of tobacco or alcohol consumption harms health.

Not being a carcinogen doesn’t mean something isn’t bad for you. I’d even go so far as to say all added sugar is bad for you. Doctors even put fruit juice on the list of bad things since it’s just sugar, even for kids.

And sugar needs to be vilified more if anything. I would bet healthcare spending on issues related to excess sugar/carbohydrate consumption (aka being overweight) dwarf anything else.

The original point is that no amount of smoking or drinking is good for you. Sugar has a threshold since fruit is healthy.

Sugar gets all the blame, and fat is ignored even though consumption of both have increased (in the US) over time. And fat is confusing to people because nowadays plenty of people believe saturated fat is ok. I'd support a soda tax though.

Soda taxes are stupid. Look at cigarettes. Still in existence yet you're taxing the (more than likely) poorer class of people because they got addicted to something. If you really want to stop this, you regulate the factories that produce the goods. You can't deter economic behavior among consumers simply by charging more. You can however alter their habits if the market goods that exist change.

For instance, when I buy groceries at walmart, if they don't have tyson boneless chicken that i want but instead great value boneless chicken, and I need chicken, I'm going to buy the great value chicken. Likewise in the scenario, if all fruit juices contained far less sugar, all of the country could adapt. If they want more sugar, nothing is stopping them from manually adding it themselves.

Extra taxes are just imposed upon lower classes. Just because you charge more from an item doesn't stop poor people from buying it. It just makes them poorer.

> Doctors even put fruit juice on the list of bad things

That's not because simple sugars are inherently bad for you but rather because many people don't realize just how much of it fruit juices contain. Related to this, an older family member was warned by a doctor for various reasons to cut back on fruit intake (not juice, but fruit itself).

Also a good indicator of what is fruit juice and what is not is look if it's a cocktail, vitamin c, no added sugars (high fructose corn syrup), and ingredients in general.

I never buy juice unless it's roughly 80-100% plus in vitamin c and it contains 0 added sugars. I'm often shocked how many "juices" are literally de-carbonized soda with a healthy looking image.

That is my point though. Even though sugar isn't inherently bad for you, it's so incredibly easy to over consume, that is responsible for an enormous share of our healthcare costs, if not the majority.

So it's possible to consider it as even worse than some carcinogens.

Personally I find marijuana smoke way more irritating than cigarette smoke, at least second hand outside.

Maybe I'm reading too much in to your comment, but with cigarette smoking there is a lot of the "if you want to destroy your lungs" attitude that I hypothesize stems from the puritain "if you want to prioritize enjoying something over long term health, I'll be especially harsh towards you". I 100% understand the infringement (or at least encroachment) on your right to enjoy the outdoors and believe it is very rude to expose someone to obnoxious smoke. But judging the "destroying your lungs" aspect is nobody's business but the person doing it. You may not have meant it this way, but I have seen a lot of people who do.

Edit - also, marijuana smoke is hazardous, just like tobacco smoke. Why would it be more benign?

I find tobacco smoke the worst, and it's not even close. There is almost nothing worse than being behind a smoker on the sidewalk.

I really, really could not care less about what people smoking do to themselves, but that horrible smoke carries so far and is so overpowering that it's hard to think about anything else when you're forcefully exposed to it.

A smoker is dominating a massive area around them and preventing other members of the public from enjoying that space. In a city space is at a premium.

Being an addict skews their ideas on what is socially acceptable, but the worst part is that the smokers themselves have no idea how bad it smells because they have completely ruined their sense of smell, so they are also at a heavily reduced capacity to judge how their actions are affecting others.

We have rules around a lot of antisocial behaviors, why should smoking be exempt?

>But judging the "destroying your lungs" aspect is nobody's business but the person doing it.

There's a limit to how far this principle goes. If you saw someone trying to saw something out of their arm, would you think "whatever, it's their arm," or "this person is having a psychotic break and desperately needs medical attention, including restraint?" A lot of people would extend that to most forms of irrational self-harm. I don't want anyone to extend it to anything I do, though, so applying the principle of liberty even when it involves letting people destroy themselves for no reason, still seems attractive.

I was thinking closer to common behaviors that are known to be unhealthy... drinking pop, not exercising, whatever. If someone is trying to kill themselves I think its different and they should get help. But we cant be hyperbolic about what that means and try to force everyone into a norm that values long term health above all else, because of how it encroaches on freedom.

A more realistic example of what you're saying could be like when people get those big holes in their ears. It's clearly destructive to the body, I personally think its gross, but there is no good reason to limit people's right to do that. The limitations on freedom that preventing that behavior would entail is far worse than letting it happen.

>there is no good reason to limit people's right to do that

Grandparent was talking about the adverse health effects on the people around who are not smokers, but forced to breathe toxic smoke from someone who doesn't care about anyone's health, including their own.

That's a very good reason in my book.

The big holes won't kill all of you, though, in the same way that filling your lungs with carcinogens would.

> also, marijuana smoke is hazardous, just like tobacco smoke. Why would it be more benign?

I dunno if marijuana smoke is more benign, but I wouldn't be surprised if one is much more harmful than the other. they are different substances. wouldn't you rather be at a barbecue than next to a trash fire?

They really are about the same health wise, they both contain the particulate matter which is the worst (health wise) part of smoke. The main difference is that you don't smoke as much MJ as you do tobacco, so it's easier to keep the amount in the healthy range.

In a city, even smoking on their own property can affect the neighbors.

Well sure, that too. Although cigarettes seem to be not as popular as weed around where I live.

Public consumption is illegal for all (?) states that have legalized it.

Same in BC, but that's very inconsistently enforced

Every legal state I know of has laws around outlawing public consumption.

Agree. It used to be fun to visit Seattle Pike's Place Market and take in the ambience of the nearby waters, fresh seafood, coffee, and other baked goods. Now on any average day you can't walk a few hundred feet without the overwhelming stench of a frat-house weed den.

I think if you just decriminalize it instead of completely legalizing it then usually what happens is people will successfully hide it so they don't give away their dealer, and the cops get to go after a potential larger offender as well instead of having to convince the locals the small time users aren't criminals. Based on my experience in Canada. Of course, then the dealer will try to upsell their users to harder drugs so there's trade-offs there.

Ultimately it's the same as drinking though, just be considerate and hide it from the kids!

It's illegal to use in public as others have said, but enforcing this rule isn't exactly a high priority for police. I think it's really a situation where somebody has to ask the smokers to stop, like many other obnoxious but not felonious behaviors.

I used to smell it all the time in my city, now I rarely do - at least here I think most people have switched to vaping which doesn't stink as much

cannabis kicked down the door and psilocybes are about to stroll on through. clever fungi.

Nobody seems to talk about marijuana being a “gateway drug” anymore, even though it’s still true.

I’ve witnessed friends in college become addicted to weed (yes, psychological addiction is still addiction) and their futures have suffered as a consequence.

I believe we need to discourage drug use as a society, not give up and let it become accepted. If that means instilling fear that one could be arrested with possession, then let it be.

You can discourage while still having it legal. In fact, it's easier to detect people with problems if it's legalized, since they lose the incentive to hide the habit and it becomes easier for them to seek help when they feel like it. It's also easier for them to come clean and resume a normal life; otherwise, once you're tainted with felony, all the incentives are to fall back even worse on substance abuse.

If there is one thing we've learnt from the heroin years, is that these things have to be faced in the open, and that addicts are sick people, not bad people. You don't send sick people to jail, you send them to a hospital.

> that these things have to be faced in the open, and that addicts are sick people, not bad people. You don't send sick people to jail

... and not all users of <substance> are addicts. Recreational use shouldn't be lumped in with addiction, nor should it be persecuted.

The problem is, many of these people don’t believe they are sick. So if you wanted them to get treatment, it would have to be by force. At that point, what’s the difference between that and going to prison?

I agree it shouldn’t be on someone’s permanent record, but it should still be punished. Maybe keep it as a misdemeanor?

> At that point, what’s the difference between that and going to prison?

Despite some shockingly bad practices in the past and the common portrayal by media as "prisons for crazy people", psychiatric and psychological treatment is waaaaay different from prison. And yes, that treatment can be made compulsory, the legal instruments are already there, no new law necessary. DUI, for example, will obviously stay on the books no matter what, and you can work from there.

> Maybe keep it as a misdemeanor?

Why? Do you consider drinking alcohol punishable as a misdemeanor? We should just treat drug addiction the same way we treat addiction to alcohol, pills, regular smoking, etc.

If you look at the stats for countries where it is legalised you’ll find that abuse is not higher than in places where it is criminalised.

The war on drugs just hurts individuals and helps drug cartels. Surely that is antithetical to the goal of having a healthy society.

How does your anecdote support the claim that marijuana is a gateway drug? Your story supports the "MJ isn't harmless" position (agreed), not "MJ leads to harder drug use" (more doubtful).

As far as I know, most states that legalize set aside some portion of the generated tax revenue to support drug treatment programs, which at least partially addresses the "MJ isn't harmless" issue.

I agree with you that weed can be very problematic. But shouldn't adults have the right to live the lives they desire, as long as they don't negatively impact others?

Unfortunately, for most people, the side effects of being convicted are much worse than the side effects of smoking.

That and the racial and class politics behind who gets convicted.

(UK) I know some rich people who have some plants growing right outside their kitchen, if I tried that where I live I'd get shafted without question.

>"I believe we need to discourage drug use as a society, not give up and let it become accepted. If that means instilling fear that one could be arrested with possession, then let it be."

Did not prohibition already show how it ends up?

Anecdotally, people who dont smoke or use drugs tend to have pretty strong opinions. Case in point the hilarious story of gateway drugs. You don't suppose drug addiction is a linear progression do you? What variables, risk factors are involved from a drug to go from being a giggling fool to being hamstrung on herione? What percentage of the weed smoking sample populatiob does your observation represent?

Sample size matters.

Seeing 2 people become addicts is not ground to mobilise society into not legalizing a recreational drug, very much like alcohol and sugar of which have worse health side effects which society subsidizes.

The opportunity cost of changing the status quo is overwhelming in favour of doing so. Drugs can ruin your life, so we'll send you to prison for decades?

That's the status quo!

It’s heartening to know there are some issues that don’t become political footballs.

well to a point they have, the politicians kicked the can down the field and the people got it on the ballot. the politicians really don't want a connection regardless of their personal views.

there are quite a few hot button issues that could be solved by referendum but I tend to think we only need those when we face a legislature that is not listening

Weed is fine and all, but let's not overlook the other decisive victory, for right to repair!

Not overlooked, just in a different discussion thread https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24987691

It's realy weird to see healthy direct-democratic decisions on a state level right along a national election where voters are compelled to choose the "less bad" of two candidates unfit for office.

More correctly: the big businesses that are pushing Marijuana


Oregon took it to the next level.

Amazing work there. Full Decrim and therapeutic use of mushrooms.

And Dc decriminalized mushrooms.

Some people voted yes despite never consuming because it was persecuting a certain race of individuals.

That’s not how laws should be formed in this country.

Out of sincere curiosity, how did you come about this knowledge of what reasons people voted for or against this?

I asked people who opposed marijuana on religious grounds of never intoxicating the mind. And they were young and inclined towards social justice. And they told me.

I asked a hospital doctor who said the same after witnessing Newark communities and voted to legalize.

... People shouldn’t vote for things that they don’t personally use?

I mean, I don’t use golf courses or fax machines, but I probably wouldn’t vote to ban them if the question was asked.

This seems absurd to me, since by that logic I shouldn’t support gay marriage. Put another way your view kind of discounts the quality of compassion.

Do you have to consume a substance to be in favor of it being legal?

care to elaborate? that sounds like exactly the way laws ought to be formed in this country: people placing justness over the impact to their personal lives.

So people should only want things they personally like to do to be legal?

Should everything that I don't personally do be outlawed?

I am in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana. But I’d also like to see tax dollars from it to be used on educating public on its danger, much like we do for tobacco.

A personal story - when I was a teenager, a friend of mine smoked weed, thought that he can fly and jumped from the roof of 9 story building. He was 15. Just a warning that this is not all just fun and games.

You'd probably faint if you heard a tenth of the stupid shit people do after drinking alcohol. And yes, it includes people jumping off buildings.

so what’s your point? it is all safe and no harm whatsoever?

No, he's just telling you that your anecdote is sad but does not at all reflect the impact cannabis has on most people, while the effects of alcohol are widely known, studied and quantified. We know how many people die of alcohol poisoning and we know how many die from cannabis overdose (0). We also know quite well how many die while doing stupid shit drunk and how many (much much less) people die while doing stupid shit high on pot.

a personal opinion -> your friend had other problems.

Yeah, cause and effect might be reversed in parts of this story.

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