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.