One - The Economist's 2009 article "Failed states and failed policies" - http://www.economist.com/node/13237193 (you might have to Google the title to get around a paywall)
Two - The documentary, The House I Live In - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2125653/ (trailer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0atL1HSwi8)
Both make such a fascinating case that drugs should have never been a crime and punishment issue, but rather one of public health. I highly recommend both for a read and a watch, and both will articulate the case far superior to anything I would be able to write here.
Not disagreeing with anything you said, just providing a thought.
Common opinion dictates that we need the state to take care of public health; thus, in common opinion, public health is an issue of crime and punishment.
If you take it as a principle (as I do) that we need sepration of state and public health (as with church, as with education), it has interesting implications.
Update: Most glaring example is Obamacare. You have to pay a fine (punishment) if you don't get insurance and it imposes massive burdens on doctors. I am only adding this because I got massively downvoted. I guess people didn't understand that what I said was just a matter of fact. Our society does support the idea that public health is actionable on a "crime and punishment" level and in general that is still the modus operandi.
Mh? It isn't illegal to get an STD, and you don't get punished for having an STD; yet our society actively tries to limit STD transmission. Not sure I'm understanding what you're arguing for/against.
I haven't read those laws, but I can only assume that it is not illegal to have and STD and have sex with somebody if they are fully informed and accept the risk. Those laws are almost certainly more about consent than limiting the spread of disease.
Case in point, sodomy and fornication may have been considered wrong because they spread of diseases. Many of the diseases we can treat easily today were probably debilitating and fatal back then, and they imposed a cost that society then could not bear.
Another example, adultery: most of the animal kingdom has no concept of marriage, but a desperately poor society may not be able to tolerate any bad blood brewed by adultery. When your primary resources are the productive youth of your society, you'd prefer them to be united in their toils (be it farming hunting of wars) rather than killing each other over petty jealousies.
Some parts of Islam seem overly brutal to us, but (AFAIK) it was forged in a society that mostly lived an unbelievably harsh tribal life in the desert. Consider theft in that context. Even a minor theft could cause somebody to lose their life, and hence thievery in general was deterred with very harsh punishment.
Sure, some rules were made purely for the benefit of a select few, but that doesn't affect the point that many others were reasonable for their time.
The problem with religion is that people still assume these rules as God's (with a capital 'G') own truth when they no longer make any sense in the modern day.
Yes, there are arguments to prove eating pork in the biblical middle-east was more dangerous than eating other kinds of meat. But to say that some wise and beneficent scholars recognized this fact implies there were prototype longitudinal surveys coupled with an ancient germ-theory of disease. It also doesn't explain the dozens of other prohibitions that have no relation to public health.
I suggest the book Purity and Danger by Mary Douglas. She's a structural anthropologist who posits these religious taboos as extensions of the symbology dominant at the time.
All over a governments abilities boil down in their extreme to their monopoly on violence.
Most people's decisions whether to follow or disobey laws are more heavily influenced by social pressures and conventions than the fear of imprisonment or physical assault by cops.
Incidentally, what usually happens when you don't pay taxes is you get nasty letters. If you have wages they might be garnished, and if you have assets they may be seized. Employers comply with garnishments and banks comply with seizures mostly for social reasons, not because of a fear that they will be imprisoned or shot for selflessly protecting a deadbeat.
A reasonable thought experiment is to imagine what would happen if the government convincingly announced that it would no longer perform any physical enforcement of any laws. I for one wouldn't immediately go out and murder or burgle anyone, because my reasons for not doing those things are firstly my ethical intuition that such an act is wrong and secondly the fact that people are likely to fight back. But you better believe that I would immediately disregard some laws, particularly ones prohibiting so-called victimless crimes.
I would make essentially the exact opposite argument as you. I think that most people believe that government is not primarily in power because of violence, I think they're wrong, and I think history (ancient to modern) makes it extremely clear that they're wrong.
Governments that rely on violence may be perceived as legitimate by force but they frequently lack credibility.
Locke's _Two Treatises of Government_ is one of the earlier sources for this model, but it's a common theme in liberal political theory.
Not that I inherently oppose the use of violence to ensure that certain things that society has agreed on are enforced,
Just that in many cases, I believe I would follow a current law set by a government even if there was no chance of punishment by the government (other than perhaps a public record)
(This is not to say that this is true of the majority of a given population, just that I believe that it is probably true about some people because I think it is probably true about me. (though I of course could be wrong in how I model myself) )
Note that I am claiming that there exist laws that I would follow without enforcement, but would not follow if they were not laws,
but I am /not/ claiming that, for all laws, whether or not I follow said law is not affected by whether it is enforced.
Try seizing houses from people without the threat of guns and violence, see how that works out.
What possible motivation would employers have to shelter a lawbreaking employee, at no benefit to themselves? Why would the threat of violence be remotely necessary?
What makes you think that? As far as I know, there is no easy way for a third party to determine whether any given company cooperates with garnishment orders, so how can this incentive exist?
> and because they have accepted the proposition that paying a reasonable amount of tax is a civic duty.
I imagine that most citizens think some level of taxation is a civic duty. But I also suspect that a large portion of citizens think their own level of taxation is too high, and would give less to the government if the government changed its rule to "give us whatever you think is appropriate to fulfill your civic duty."
I like this definition better because it avoids some of the objections people have responded with. 1) it avoids the word "violence" - the use of force does not require violence, and I think most people would hope that governments wouldn't use violence in their enforcement of laws (though we know that in practice this is often not the case), though the threat of force is more consistently necessary) and 2) it acknowledges that it's not a monopoly on the use of force, as the reality is that many people use force, but on its legitimate use.
I know it's even called "monopoly on violence" in the wikipedia article, so it's not that I think you're mistaken, but rather I prefer this definition. The article mentions the term "monopoly on violence" in English is indeed common, but also controversial.
In the US (and a few other countries), homeschooling is legal. In addition, if you don't pay your taxes, the IRS might take your stuff or paycheck (as others here have said), not necessarily throw you in jail.
And plenty of people go to jail for tax fraud. Al Capone probably being the most notorious example.
It may seem like there's a thin line between them, but IMHO tax fraud requires a lot more effort and ill intent than tax evasion (it may even be possible to not even know all the taxes you have to pay, like use tax in some US states).
What's with the libertarians fondness for hyperbole? In common opinion, public health if firstly seen as a service the society provides in developed countries, especially if viewed in contrast with countries that do not have a functioning government. Secondly it is seen as based on rules. Yes, if you break every rule this amounts to crime down the road, but common belief in post-adolescents is that your precious personality is not constantly raped if you follow rules.
>Update: Most glaring example is Obamacare.
To most Europeans, Obamacare is simply the US catching up with other industrialized countries. I doubt anyone here except for a sub-percent minority sees this as the state stealing from its citizens by forcing them at gunpoint to pay up.
Your logic is incorrect. The vast majority of the time in fact, public health is absolutely not an issue of crime and punishment.
I don't know if the correct solution is to criminalize it, but please keep in mind that drugs change who you are. That is truly the unique thing about them compared to other addictions. And again, if you think heavy marijuana use doesn't change a person, you don't know any heavy marijuana users.
For example, banning alcohol and marijuana probably isn't going to work, but selling bottles of cheap vodka at the grocery store 24/7 is setting up a lot of people who are trying to get clean to fail.
I think that you yourself will be surprised when it's more accepted by law - you'll find that many people you know and respect smoke, and they keep it from you because they're afraid of your judgment.
edit: There's actually one difference that I've noticed between my pot smoking and non pot smoking friends - the smokers tend to be small business owners, contractors and freelancers more often than the non-smokers, who are more wage-laborers. I don't have a theory about it, but I've noticed.
My guess is that simply reflects a difference between those who are in a position to drug test, and those who are in a position to be drug tested. That would be interesting to study though.
As a somewhat-in-denial marijuana addict that now recognizes the health impact it has had on me over 10+ years of regular use, and have seen lots of people placated by marijuana use I think you are assuming causation where there is only correlation. I'd consider myself somewhat high-functioning, but often wonder at where my mind and body would be today had I taken better care of myself (now that I'm in my 30s).
More to the point though:
> selling bottles of cheap vodka at the grocery store 24/7 is setting up a lot of people who are trying to get clean and recover their lives a lot more difficult.
If a well functioning government is thought of as a securely-running application, outlawing cheap vodka at grocery stores at 2am is like monkey patching. Allowing monkey-patching into production creates vectors for bugs. Allowing the state the outlaw victimless crimes is like allowing monkeyh patching in production.
If the problem is that there are people who are abusing themselves by drinking too much vodka: then using resources to find and help those who need it, and separating the ones who are causing harm to others from everyone else, is going to be a better long term solution.
While the idea of "lets just make it really hard for people to get vodka, then they will drink less.. problem solved!" is great, the reality is that sometimes people will go to great lengths to get their vodka anyway. You just created criminals out of the very people you were trying to help by legislating vodka distribution laws.
Is the evidence available strong enough to suggest that it's the marijuana causing this? Marijuana is often used by those suffering from depression and anxiety as a form of self-medication.
In BC, Canada the province's leading medical doctors have come out in strong support of legalization.
There is no possible way a 12 year old is going to take from five sentences that drugs are safe for 24-7 consumption. In fact, I'd argue that stigma and prohibition are more likely to cause a 12 or 14 year old to try pot than anyone asking if substance abuse might have other underlying causes.
The same is true of other drugs, and this is an important thing to understand about society in general and its relationship to law. We cannot legislate morality. We cannot run people's lives. We cannot, fundamentally, stop people from making major mistakes with their lives. Even life threatening mistakes.
Nor should we.
Liberty means the ability to fuck up your life. And to the extent that all of our lives are intertwined in a modern society it means to a certain degree the ability to fuck up other people's lives too. That's part of the bargain. But in every instance liberty has proven to be superior to oppressive collective control, even when that control attempts to be benevolent. Ultimately responsibility must devolve to the individual, because regardless of the law it does anyway. As you yourself point out people are still having their lives ruined by drug use. And those drugs are very, very illegal. It's tempting to imagine you can get rid of something by making it illegal, but in some cases, recreational drug use being the prime example, it often just causes even more problems.
Maybe in your case. I was seeing people badly damaged by drugs (alcohol and heroin, mostly). I also know the only reason some kicked the heroin addiction was because they were allowed to ask for help without fearing imprisonment, since drug usage is not a crime in my country.
If so, I wouldn't doubt that you have a lot of friends addicted to marijuana.
In terms of a response to your post, I am less than 4 months away from turning 30 years old. All of my friends were "potheads" in high school (and college). Zero of them had their life destroyed by it. They are all productive, upstanding people. If anything, I think the fact that some of them were stigmatized so heavily by being potheads really set them back.
Now, this is just anecdotal and I may not represent a "representative sample". So that's just my experience.
I wish I was unaware of addiction, particularly alcoholism, while growing up.... It sounds like you had a nice sheltered childhood.
Nevertheless, my experiences have not rendered me a prohibitionist.
Cause or effect?? Marijuana isn't addictive in the since that cigarettes and heroin are. It's highly likely that your friends that are unsuccessful are merely using marijuana to medicate for other issues.
But there are some real issues to be worked out, as someone who had a friend sent to hospital after being hit by a stoned driver who blew through a stop sign. Whats the legal limit?
I'm not sure how easy it is to detect if someone is "under the influence" as the drug is detectable for weeks in the blood (in this case the join was in the car).
"Driving dangerously" should be the metric. Not whether your body contains chocolate milk, weed, alcohol, oxycotin, aspirin, or whatever.
Too many people under the influence of alcohol or drugs are under the impression that because they can drive in a straight line and stop at red lights they are not dangerous and are being 'careful' and 'responsible', yet their judgement and reflexes are nonetheless impaired and this makes them dangerous.
Besides, you can't reasonably equate aspirin and chocolate to the dramatic effects that even a moderate amount of weed and alcohol have on your attention and brain response.
I'm all for the decriminalisation of drugs but I'm also in favour of zero tolerance if you choose to get behind the wheel.
Sorry that happened to your friend. Was it proven that the driver was stoned? If so I'm guessing they have an accurate way to measure it. Either way this is always going to be a problem. Look at the number of people killed by drunk drivers. The only solution is harsh prison sentences imo. Some people, willing to take the risk of DWI, disregard the danger they pose to others and if they can't understand that they should be severely punished. DWI shouldn't just lose you your license and get you probation. The punishment should be much more severe.
As for your question on the legal limit - there shouldn't be one. If you get in the car you should not have had any marijuana in the last 24 hours.
Not saying it should be ignored as an issue all together, but it seems to be the last issue the opposition can attach itself to and sound sane, and its getting a little carried away.
Thats the point - there are literally 100s of other ways to be just as (if not more) impaired while driving and be completely legal. We don't parade those issues around (namely because the big pharma companies would like people to not realize just how impairing their products are)
The difference is that there is a large enough group opposed to legalization that they make this issue a primary one in their fight against legalization and blow it vastly out of proportion to the actual scale of the problem.
You can actually be arrested for an 'OUI' in some states, an Operating Under the Influence, for when you are clearly impaired, but fall below the legal cutoff for a DUI. This would likely necessitate being the same sort of thing, a legal recognition that you were driving recklessly, and you exhibit the signs of recent marijuana usage (or if we have some way of actually measuring it, then that too).
All that said, there's little correlation between the amount of THC in one's system and the level of intoxication. A chronic user (no pun intended) will have a much higher concentration of THC in their system and be affected less by it as compared to say, a tourist coming in and trying it for the first time in 20 years.
I don't really mind a nearly-zero-tolerance policy for driving while on any kind of drug. Some people are way more tolerant to weed than others, and may be nearly sober even with a THC concentration that makes someone else couchlocked, but I think it's better to err on the side of caution.
, as I could be considered one and believe it should be handled similar to DUI, and I've never met another "marijuana activist" that thought differently.
> Furthermore, the risk is far less than the risk of driving at .08
, again
> which is legal in most states.
No, driving at or above BAC 0.08 regardless of impairment is illegal in all 50 states, and in most states driving with any impairment due to alcohol is also illegal (though a lesser offense) even if the BAC is below 0.08.
And your point about .08 being illegal is pedantic. Driving at .0799 would be legal, and the risk is identical.
Source? I would drive in neither case, but I certainly feel far more able to drive after a penicillin than after a few drags off a joint.
> Amoxicillin may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use amoxicillin with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
That said, I can find nothing similar for penicillin. Eg, it's not listed in the "impressive list of drugs [which] may cause vertigo or dizziness" at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3853661/ , though several other antibiotics are listed.
I don't agree with the GP however. There are significant differences in effect between the strains of MJ that it isn't rational to make statements like the GP.
MJ has a HUGE group of people who use it medicinally. My wife can not eat or drink without it, due to chronic nausea to the point that without it, she throws up every 20 minutes. Medicine like Zofram barely help even at max dose, which carries with it other side effects.
Calling everyone who smokes stoners is the equivalent of calling everyone who drinks a glass of wine an alcoholic. I regularly enjoy MJ - and I think it would be short-sided to consider me a stoner, considering im a successful father of 2 with a great salary and a happy family.
The good news is - the "minority" you speak of is people like you... the outdated mentality is in the minority now, with the majority of the country FOR legalization - even in traditionally red states like TX.
This makes the practicalities of banning marijuana different to those of alcohol but is not necessarily a comment on the ethics of doing so.
Damn, right there's almost good enough reason to oppose legalization.
- How to deal with driving under the influence is not a question with a perfect answer yet
1. The person that crashed into you (sorry, that sucks) could have done the same thing after drinking alcohol. It's legal. Do you also recommend prohibiting it? I think most people would agree driving under the influence of marijuana should be illegal. Punishments should be severe. But even now with prohibition that doesn't stop stupid people doing stupid things. Illegal or not, the world is full of idiots and there's very little we can do about it.
2. I don't mean to be insensitive but your sister-in-law made that decision. It's her right. You have no right to enforce your views on her. I have seen many people addicted to alcohol and it's horrible. But they have an excuse - it's highly addictive. Marijuana isn't. It is less addictive than caffeine meaning that if she is choosing to spend her days on the couch, high, it's a choice she's making.
2. I completely agree with you but do you think that legalising it is going to reduce the health impact? No, it's going to make it socially acceptable.
Shit or get off the pot: Cite your sources regarding addiction.
Edit: Ask for proof/sources = down vote. Hey everyone, fuck science.
America showed the hell that can come from alcohol prohibition. Only an idiot would look at that and consider it a solution to some anti-social behavior on the weekends.
2. I'm not sure it will make it socially acceptable. From what I've seen in the Netherlands a lot of young people think it's 'uncool' to smoke marijuana. And regarding the health impact if it is legal the government will be able to put out advice on minimizing the health consequences (e.g. using edibles, not mixing with tobacco, vaporizing instead of smoking etc.).
As for sources - Google it. I did and found several sources in seconds. The sources vary on specificity but the general message is people can become dependent but that it isn't very addictive.
That isn't the obviously good idea you seem to think it is. Outlawing things that people like also causes problems: it criminalizes responsible use as well as irresponsible use; it creates a black market which feeds organized crime; it has been a major factor in the militarization of our police departments, so that now there are lots of little towns with SWAT teams, which do get misused.
There are costs to making these things illegal, and so the question you have to ask is whether the benefit outweighs them. In the case of marijuana, it is increasingly clear that it does not.
Never mind that prohibition was already tried and already failed.
The physical and mental health problems and associated healthcare burden.
This is not insignificant and totally shrugged off by the "pro-legalisation" side of things.
People keep saying "prohibition didn't work" but I'm hard pressed to find a conclusive paper on the subject. Perhaps you could enlighten me?
That's oversimplifying; couldn't we drastically reduce the number of automotive deaths by outlawing driving?
Marijuana isn't an absolute evil with no redeeming qualities, and prohibition brings along a bevy of its own problems. So then we're really talking about which method, legalization or prohibition, is better in the aggregate.
When I say that prohibition doesn't work, I'm talking literally; something like a third of people in the US have smoked marijuana, and a sizable percentage (including me, a productive salaried software developer) smoke regularly despite the potential legal ramifications. I've gone on vacation with no connects and found a dealer inside of a day, which is to say that no one who wants to smoke is being stopped by prohibition.
When you take that with all of the bad things that prohibition causes, I don't know how you can rationalize its continuation.
Sure, but prohibition isn't prevention.
> People keep saying "prohibition didn't work" but I'm hard pressed to find a conclusive paper on the subject.
Assuming, arguendo, your suggestion that there is no conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of prohibition, then, given the money, lives, etc. that have been expended on prohibition, the absence of conclusive evidence of its effectiveness is, itself, a pretty strong reason not to keep tossing lives and treasure into that pit.
in other words, by any rational measure, it's a risk worth taking.
Well, today we already have those costs, plus the even larger costs of law enforcement. The choice is not between "pot is illegal and nobody uses it" and "pot is legal and it causes social problems".
Marijuana is illegal right now. That didn't stop that bad stuff from happening to you or your sister. Turn it into a public health issue and people like your sister-in-law will have more resources to get help.
I also have skepticism that marijuana caused someone to crash into your car. It has not been proven that weed has much if any effect on driving ability, especially for those experienced with the drug.
It affects your judgement, your motor skills, slows your reaction time and so can the withdrawal symptoms.
I'm not even going to link a page because it's that easy to find supporting information that is credible.
I've been smoking for many years, and have many friends that do. The majority of stoners will tell you that it's very safe to drive while high. Why? When you're high each and every one of your senses are heightened, making you more 'aware' of things going on around you, making you a safer driver. And in addition, the feeling of slight paranoia usually makes you drive pretty slow and careful. I have no studies to back that up, but most stoners generally agree on this.
Never heard of one single incident of smoking and driving causing accidents. Alcohol and driving on the other hand, oh boy, been there done that, never doing that again (irresponsible teenager at the time). Vision blurry, misjudgement is distance, etc., very dangerous side effects for driving usually only associated with alcohol, and not marijuana.
Btw, I'm one of those productive stoners, can't stay away from my programming hobbies when I'm high. I enjoy marijuana, but I'm not exactly an advocate of legalization. There are many dangers with Marijuana from my experience, but driving certainly isn't one of them.
My own anecdote: sitting passenger in a car with someone stoned and thinking traffic was going too fast, racing by him. On I-95 in the middle lane, going approximately 25 mph. And he insisted he was actually safer when driving stoned due to that slight paranoia you'd mentioned. I mention this here only to underscore the reliability (or lack thereof) of the source you're using.
The study’s lead author, Eduardo Romano, a senior research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, said that once he adjusted for demographics and the presence of alcohol, marijuana did not statistically increase the risk of a crash.
In addition, the abstract's conclusion starts "Although overall, drugs contribute to crash risk regardless of the presence of alcohol, such a contribution is much lower than that by alcohol." (Emphasis mine.) This seems to contradict your statement that there is not an increased risk with marijuana use. (The NYT article seems to confuse the two when it talks about "risk of a fatal accident" in one paragraph then "risk of a crash" in the second.)
Instead, I think the paper you want, which is a bit older (from 2012) but not behind a firewall, is http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3276316/ . It says:
> Experimental studies have shown modest functional impairment, but debate exists over how well these experimental studies translate into real-life driving situations (41). Epidemiologic studies, however, have shown contradictory results (39, 42, 43). ... it is unclear whether marijuana plays a significant role in crash causation.
The paper itself is a meta-analysis. They write:
> Results of this meta-analysis indicate that marijuana use by drivers is associated with a significantly increased risk of crash involvement. Specifically, drivers who test positive for marijuana or self-report using marijuana are more than twice as likely as other drivers to be involved in motor vehicle crashes.
It then very emphatically points out that this conclusion is not strong enough for public policy decisions, and that there are many possible confounding factors.
This conclusion is also mentioned in the NYT link you posted: "Still, it is clear that marijuana use causes deficits that affect driving ability, Dr. Huestis said. She noted that several researchers, working independently of one another, have come up with the same estimate: a twofold increase in the risk of an accident if there is any measurable amount of THC in the bloodstream."
Thus, I think it's enough to suggest that your first line is likely incorrect.
Specifically, drivers who test positive for marijuana or self-report using marijuana are more than twice as likely as other drivers to be involved in motor vehicle crashes.
Without having read the study, do you know if this statistic controls for age or anything else? If so, I stand corrected.
Thanks for your polite tone, it's not every day I get called a "fucking moron" before 7 a.m. :)
The study I linked to says: The data were stratified and analyzed according to study design, type of drug assessment, study time period, study location, or age of the study subjects. A more than 2-fold increased crash risk associated with marijuana use was found in each of the subsets of studies
Table 2 shows the age breakdown as "<25" and "all ages." See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3276316/table/tb... .
I ask that you reconsider your desire to impose your views of how other people should behave on them, using Government force if necessary. People who lead their societies down that path have a nasty tendency to find the things that they personally like get banned next.
On the other hand, I definitely sympathize with the smell, the obnoxious behavior, the litter, and even the smoke itself. Were I a supreme dictator with no care for the needs of my subjects and having some method of enforcing 100% compliance, I'd ban all smoking and public displays of alcohol and sleep soundly at night.
Unfortunately (nah, fortunately) for the two of us, life doesn't bend to such whims. In any society where I'd want to live, I'd much rather the individuals who cause harm (minor, like litter, or major, like property damage or personal injury) be slapped and slapped hard by the law, but those who are responsible and cause no negative external effects are free to do what they like.
When it gets too much or puts people in danger, through drug driving or mindless paranoia caused violence, they have the power to say "stop - that's enough" and solve the problem there and then through the courts. If legalised, that power diminishes into a non-absolute method of control.
We have laws against drinking and smoking in certain places as well already and things have improved massively since these were introduced.
The deep problem we all know, and this is written in many a paper freely googlable, is that smoking, alcohol and drug consumption have observable and statistically obvious negative health effects and negative effects on society. In the UK, this means healthcare budget being sucked up.
Compare that to america where a tremendous number of college-age kids are imprisoned, where vast swathes of the black population are put away, where police meet their targets for funding by prosecuting weed smokers. It's a completely different world.
The "drug driving" is not being legalized anywhere. Illegal things are still illegal. "Mindless paranoia caused violence" is, as far as any one can tell, a myth. But even so, that's a HEALTH issue - not solvable by police.
As for "negative effects on society" and "health care budget" - these are phrases meant to restrict lifestyles available to people on the basis of your own fear, self-interest and jealousy. "Freedom" if it is to mean anything is the ability to enjoy: to have your life be - to you - enjoyable and worth living.
Regarding your latter points, I assume you have never talked to NHS mental health staff who have to deal with addicts on a regular basis? Not a pretty job and actually puts you right in there to see the effects in action.
I fear no one, but "freedom" should always encompass the ethic of reciprocity.
That point is what's missing from all discussions on the subject otherwise it is just self-interest.
Perhaps that is why you were downvoted. Note the NYT is an American newspaper, and was addressing marijuana policy in the USA. You may be unaware of the consequences of drug prosecution here (losing voting rights, prison time, lost professional opportunities, propery seizure, and so on), but given the difference your blithe dismissal sounds ignorant and insensitive.
As an analogy. As far as I know heart disease is one of the main causes of healthcare costs and death. Obesity leads to an increased risk of heart disease. Does this mean that we should have a government mandated diet to eliminate obesity?
In that context, you're getting slapped because you're ignoring the fetid mess that the US drug policy has caused, and that our current drug policy is not being very effective for public health or public spending:
(a) It's horribly racially biased:
(b) It's incredible expensive (ibid), to the tune of billions of dollars per year in paying for enforcement, incarceration, and lost productivity;
(c) It doesn't obviously reduce use rates!
You don't have to be a fan of drug use to appreciate this mess. I'm not - speaking personally, I'm about as negative about the issue as one can get, for drugs, alcohol, and tobacco all together. But that's not the point. Barring some actually worthwhile, cost-effective, and fair method of enforcement, which nobody in the US has stumbled upon yet, we need to stop pissing away money putting nearly 1% of our population in jail  where not only do we burden them forever with a criminal conviction, we introduce them to a lot of real criminals and set them on the path to real crime.
Putting someone in jail in NYC for a year costs $167,000 . Surely we could do some more effective prevention and education with that money. Or take it and try to reduce alcohol DUI fatalities or tobacco use, both of which are currently more deadly than pot use.
- What if I was in an area first, say a park? Does the right to light up trump my right to be somewhere in that case?
- What if I have to be there? Does the right to light up mean that I miss my bus because I'm walking to another stop or do I just have to live with it if there is no other nearby stop?
What if someone was burning a tyre in my neighbour's garden directly affecting my health?
For effect: "What if someone built a rocket launch pad next to my house and it was directly affecting my health?"
The analogy is valid as is "pissing over my fence onto my head", "kicking a football through my greenhouse", "catapulting dog shit into my garden" etc etc.
I have a neighbour that often cooks curry; I can't stand the smell of curry. Even though the smell comes in through my windows, I don't have the right to force them to stop cooking. I just close my windows.
 I hope the nomenclature evolves re marijuana. "stoned", "bong", "skunk", "chronic", etc conjure up images that are too tightly aligned with negative stereotypes IMO.
I've actually never smoked weed in my entire life (seriously). I have no interest in smoking weed once it is legal either. But I'm very sick of paying to support a stupid wasteful policy. So who are the people that are actually fighting to keep it illegal? I honestly can't find them, I'd love to read their arguments.
Which specific lobbying groups are for and against it? What factions of the two political parties are hardline for keeping it illegal? What newspapers and TV stations? What arguments are they making?
In these kinds of issues, the NYT is typically a lagging indicator, so it's nice to see them leading for a change.
Having a respected media outlets come out and say they've rethought their position might give her cover to rethink her own position.
The Times did not say anything here that wasn't known to be true 20 years ago. They just waited until it was a more popular thing to say. The Times would do well do understand why they were unable to write this editorial in 1994. What has changed except popular (uninformed and unscientific) perception?
I tend to be bored easily. Normally boredom inspires me to get out of the house, do something productive, write some code, etc. Marijuana is a boredom cure. After using it, I could stare at a wall for five hours and be deeply fascinated and content. I cannot afford to waste time staring at walls. I need to be productive. Therefore marijuana is a bad idea for me, but I don't believe the state should make that decision for everybody.
This is highly important. No body wants someone "high as a kite" operating a vehicle. It is not in the public's best interest to have very high people driving just like having severely drunk people driving. Its all about safety.
You could frame the argument that marijuana is similar to other medicines (OTC or prescription, labeled with "do not drive or operate machinery") but the attempts to legalize marijuana for all uses - recreational - negates this point. If people can use marijuana at all times, any time, than a method of ensuring a using person is not endangering others is needed.
To sum, legalization requires a definitive method to measure "highness" to ensure safety for the public. Once this occurs and people know the rules and levels at which they can be high, then legalizing makes sense.
Additionally, it's self-evidently not "all about safety". That's insane. If so, why let anyone drive at all? That's another option - there's no test for if you are driving tired, but that provides similar levels of driving impairment to alcohol, plus there's already quite a bit of illegal use of marijuana. If we ban all driving, no one can kill each other with cars, problem solved, and there are no safety implications here, because driving is not critical to your safety. Police, ambulances and firefighters can still use their vehicles, because safety is the only thing that is important.
> On Monday at 4:20 p.m. Eastern Time, Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor, will be taking questions about marijuana legalization at facebook.com/nytimes.
It seems obvious to me that marijuana legalization would alleviate the two aforementioned issues by raising awareness of marijuana-related DUIs and eliminating distribution networks that sell to children, but I probably haven't considered other problems associated with widespread marijuana use.
That said, NYT, the morphing graphic of the stars in the US flag turning into pot leafs? That's just tasteless. Let's not go from illegal to "symbolizing our country" in one op-ed, eh?
I hadn't even noticed that, way to shoot their cause in the foot. What a silly, and disrespectful graphic. It doesn't even use the right values for blue and red before the morph. Granted, I take our flag pretty seriously, and personally can't stand it when people wear it as shirts or have some bastardization of it plastered on their mug.
The NYT isn't just running a series of articles on legalization, they are taking a stand as a newspaper in favor of it.
Edit: and the piece is by a sitting Republican congressman, who is a somewhat legendary figure in movement conservative circles.
Supporting marijuana legalization isn't solely a left-wing stance, and the NYT isn't particularly early to the position. William F. Buckley Jr., the founder of the National Review, was in favor of legalization as far back as the mid-1960s.
The only restrictions imposed apon them is where they are allowed to operate their business. (Not near schools, playgrounds etc).
What a fucking racists! The article started so well.