Lately, I have taken to posting semi-regularly comments on my local newspaper's website www.princegeorgecitizen.com. The paper itself is neither here nor there in terms of quality, but their website provides one of the only existing forums where one can express themselves in regards to local issues. Often, the commenting area becomes a "left vs right" debate and I am not one to shy away from such a practice. Earlier today, while reading commentary on an article titled "Grow-op leads to house arrest", I came across an anti-marijuana diatribe that was rife with inaccuracies and fear-mongering. Feeling compelled to reply I composed a lengthy response that I would like to cross post here. To be fair I will post the article link complete with the comments I responded to from user: "h0nneybadgr".
I appreciate the time and effort you put into your post, although it
feels that you copy and pasted it's contents from an essay you wrote
years ago. You provided us with 9 paragraphs and 1 source from 2002, so
I will take this as an opinion piece and as such will respond in kind.
Your first paragraph belongs in a stand up comedy routine, not in a
debate about marijuana legalization. Illegal organizations make their
money in illegal ways, hence the reason they are called "illegal". The
production of marijuana is a very profitable endeavour for these groups
for a number of reasons. The profit margins are artificially high due
to the illegality of the product. Of course, illegal means fear in some
of the public, which makes the product more difficult to obtain. At
the same time, penalties when caught are still reasonably low, so the
risk is not high when weighed against the profitability. With the new
laws the Conservatives have established, there is little difference in
jail time between a high volume producer and a small time user of
marijuana, so it makes sense for the criminal organizations to find a
place at the top of the food chain so to speak. If marijuana use and
production was legal, these organizations either wouldn't bother being
involved or would be just one of many groups growing to distribute.
When legalized, the price of a product comes down, this is basic
economics. Demand will not increase, as there are very few people who
would like use marijuana but don't due to it's legal status. It would
be nice for all users if they had access to the product in a safe
friendly environment where they didn't have to interact with criminal
organizations. Take out the illegal aspect, and the marijuana industry
is just that, an industry, and a very large one at that bringing in $4
billion dollars in revenue annually. The price would likely be reduced
if legalized, but take a minute to imagine the tax revenue that would be
created. (Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com...
Next, you delve in to the classic idea that all drug users steal to
get their next "fix". Those that simply use marijuana and not anything
harder will likely not need to steal for their habit as the cost is
relatively low. A heavy marijuana user may spend $400 a month, the
approximate cost of 2 ounces in today's market. Notice, that this cost
is similar to the amount spent by a pack a day cigarette smoker. Why
are we not accusing cigarette smokers of stealing for their "fix"?
Drinking, even casually can easily cost someone $100 a weekend or $400
in a month. Again, are we to assume that they are also stealing for
their "fix"? Those who are stealing for their "fix" are likely dealing
with much bigger issues then marijuana use, and to argue that their
problems were brought on by marijuana is laughable.
You seem to fear an increase in people being "high on the job" if
marijuana were indeed legalized. Explain to me why this concern would
be any different if the legal status of the substance changed.
Legalizing marijuana use would not impact the current laws in place in
regards to "driving under the influence". There are numerous people in
professional situations who use marijuana, and many others who chose to
abstain while working and partake only in their own private time. To
that end, there has been little, if any scientific proof that marijuana
use makes one a dangerous driver. (Source: http://norml.org/library/item/...
This just keeps getting better. You really go for the gold medal
with your paragraph about "marijuana induced psychosis". No sources or
references in sight, one can only assume you pulled this one out of a
Ronald Regan era fear mongering ad, or you just made it up off the top
of your head. This line has to be considered the true gem of your
entire diatribe: "The cost of policing (not the drug but the behavioural
impacts), the cost of care, the loss in productivity, and the
socio-dynamic impact on people’s lives and the lives of their family
is astronomical." You are claiming a link between criminal activity
and marijuana use. Has their been instances where criminal acts occurred
solely because the perpetrator was high on marijuana? In a state of
"marijuana induced psychosis" I suppose this is possible. What to make
of the studies that show marijuana having positive effects on brain
function among schizophrenia? One study even found that "Patients with a
history of cannabis use were found to have superior neuropsychological
functioning." (Source: http://www.opposingviews.com/i...
At this point I will rest my case. I am not out to sway the opinion
of people like yourself as I doubt I would have any success. I find it
insulting when numerous inaccuracies are put out in the public domain
with so few sources to back them up. Your opinion is just that, your
opinion. I appreciate that you were able to brace yourself for "hateful
messages from those who either failed to read the whole thing, or
are completely indoctrinated and unable to see both sides of the argument."
I hope I didn't come across as hateful as that was not my intention.
It was your piece and a few others that inspired me to respond. The
characterization of all marijuana users as lazy, uninspired,
underemployed members of society left me annoyed and
inspired to counter your arguments. If you would like further
assistance in getting over your stereotypical beliefs on marijuana users
I can introduce you to numerous people who are at the same time
professional, hard-working, well educated, friendly, and supportive of
friends and family both financially and emotionally. You may think you
don't know anyone who fits the above description, but there are likely
people in your life that are exactly that: functioning, contributing
members of society who's life doesn't come to a grinding halt just
because they use marijuana for one of many different reasons.