Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"I may not have a brain, gentlemen, but I have an idea."

A recent Gallup poll indicates growing support for marijuana legalization.

I tend towards the Bill Hicks point of view here-marijuana is not a health food, certainly, but it is by far less dangerous than tobacco and alcohol. I don't have any problem with legalizing it-as the old joke goes, not only do you get the tax revenue, you also help the snack food industry.


  1. I go back and forth on this issue, but am lately on your side. I like it when we agree:)

  2. I'm probably in the minority here; being opposed to drug abuse.

  3. Dmarks, I have to ask. Are you opposed to legal alcohol and cigarettes? They are drugs and are frequently abused, yet they are legal.

  4. That's exactly the point, DM-Marijuana isn't a drug of abuse. You don't get addicted, you don't have withdrawal from it. As the late Mr. Hicks once put it-"You're at a party, a ballgame, a concert. Someone is violent, aggressive, and obnoxious. Are they drunk, or are they smoking marijuana?"

    As I say, it's not health food. Burning anything and inhaling the smoke is not likely to have positive health outcomes. In order to get it, in the US, you have to hang out with disreputable types. It doesn't promote, shall we say, scholastic pursuits or hard work of any kind.

    But worse than tobacco or alcohol? Not by a mile. I, personally, would rather you ban alcohol and legalize marijuana.

  5. By the way, the quote is from the movie "Monsters and Aliens". My son is home sick from school, and the Seth Rogen character (the blob of blue goo) said that, and it seemed to fit.

  6. Michael: It sure is a drug of abuse, as it is commonly abused. Looking at a pretty plant? A non-abusive use. A medically necessary use? A non-abusive use. But the most common use (temporary brain damage; intoxication) is abuse.

    Jeanne: There's enough to deal with on those, without letting another genie out of the lamp. But I do happen to support smoking bans in public places, due to the fact of smokers being way too often rude enough to force others to smoke against their will.

  7. You can say exactly the same thing about alcohol-the most common use is changing the user's mental state via intoxication-thus causing temporary brain damage.

    Drug abuse, by definition, involves addiction. ( abuse)

    Marijuana is not an addictive substance-at least, no more than hot fudge sundaes are. (IE they are pleasant to consume, and having finished one, the user may want another.) But they are not compelled by a physiological need to get some.

    Is it maladaptive? Absolutely. Conducive to driving or operating heavy machinery? Absolutely not. Do I want an employee using while on the job? Certainly not. Do I recommend it? No. Does it have long term health effects? Almost certainly.

    But is it an addictive substance? No. Is it any worse for society at large than tobacco or alcohol? No.

    Note: I have never used. Never been offered. (I probably could have found some in high school or college if I were so inclined, but I wasn't.) If I were offered, I wouldn't be interested. I don't know what it feels like, and I don't care to. I'm not an addictive person, at least not towards drugs or alcohol. I was drunk exactly once, did not enjoy it, and have never tried to get that way again. I feel this way about marijuana based purely on the medical literature and the anecdotal evidence I see all around me.

    I have close friends and family, and I know of several media figures, (director Kevin Smith, comedian Doug Benson) who carry on their chosen careers just fine (at least, according to their bank statements) while using recreationally. (Regardless of what you may think of their oeuvre, their fans still like them and large media companies still want to sell their work. Thus, they function just fine, and also use marijuana recreationally.)

  8. I've got no problems with smoking bans indoors, either-but the ones that cover outside are a little bit silly. On the beach? Really?

  9. I'm with dmarks on public smoking bans. On a beach, really? Yes, if it's a public beach and you are sharing it with the rest of us. If it's your own private beach (you lucky duck) do whatever the heck you want.

    Michael, please do not make alcohol illegal. I can only maintain my excellent momminess all day long if I know that at 7:30, when everyone is tucked in, I get to enjoy a peaceful glass of red wine.

  10. Lucky for you, it's not up to me.

    Actually, Jeanne, as I hurriedly point out to people who ask me why our company does certain things, I'm a married man with a teenager. NOTHING is up to me.

  11. "I've got no problems with smoking bans indoors, either-but the ones that cover outside are a little bit silly. On the beach? Really?"

    Well, we have some of these here. The reason? Smokers are such slobs that they litter the beaches all the time.

    "Drug abuse, by definition, involves addiction."

    Abuse means miss-use, and I've never heard the word "abuse" attached completely to addiction.

    Think of how much better Kevin Smith and those guys would be if they weren't into recreational brain damage.

  12. Come to think of it, "on the beach" is one of the best places for an outdoor smoking ban. The butts do show up in sand, you know.

  13. You know, you're right-I personally think both men would be better off without the ganja. But Comedy Central/Viacom (Benson) and Warner Bros. and Miramax (Smith) think their work is of high enough quality (or, at least, that it will sell enough) that they are willing to support these men by giving them hundreds of thousands of dollars. Whatever you may think of the wisdom of these companies, I'm sure they don't make such decisions lightly. Ergo, they (Benson and Smith) are successful in their fields while consuming copious amounts of pot.

    Look up the definition of drug abuse-it involves addiction. If your definition of drug abuse simply involves temporary brain damage, then Jeanne and hundreds of millions of others (those who drink) are also drug abusers. I think that notion is nonsensical.

    As for the smoking bans? I really don't care. I don't smoke, and I hate the beach.

    But as my wife (who smokes) points out to me, butts are left behind by lazy, inconsiderate smokers-not by all smokers. And we have a crime describing that-it's called littering.

  14. "Look up the definition of drug abuse-it involves addiction"

    And then look up the definition of "abuse". Surely, intentionally using a plant to cause brain damage must count for that too.

    Back to the littering smokers, well there is cleary a problem with slob smokers who throw trash everywhere. Perhaps it can be taken care of with a deposit law, like we have for cans and bottles in many states. Pay, say, a 3 cent deposit on the filters, and places that sell them have to take the uses filters in return, and these go to some sort of place to recycle them and use the filter fibres.

    There goes the problem of the slob smokers.

  15. I decided to check the definition. And, as I thought, "drug abuse" really has nothing to do with addiction.

    Think about it: if someone OD's on crack the very first day they try it, some serious abuse has taken place, even though there is really too short of a time for it to become addictive.

    Addictive yes/no has to do with the drug itself, not the abuse of it.

    Definitions of drug abuse:

    "substance abuse: excessive use of drugs"


    "Drug abuse is the use of illicit drugs or the abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are indicated or in a manner or in quantities other than directed."


    "A person who abuses a drug uses illegal drugs, or uses legal drugs in a manner that conflicts with the directions given by a physician. Abused drugs include narcotic pain medications, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, sedative, stimulants, and drugs that cause hallucinations. Physical dependence on a drug is called drug dependency. Psychological dependency results in drug addiction"

    (FreeMD: Note how they properly describe addiction as being actually a separate problem from abuse)

    "Habitual use of drugs to alter one's mood, emotion, or state of consciousness."

    (American Heritage Dictionary)

    "The use of illegal drugs or the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used, or in large amounts. Drug abuse may lead to social, physical, emotional, and job-related problems. "

    (National Cancer Institute dictionary)

    "Drug abuse can lead to drug dependence or addiction."

    (MedLine Plus: Also properly referring to abuse and addiction as two related, but different situations).

    Requiring "addictive drugs" in the definition of "drug abuse" makes as much sense as requiring "driving red cars" in the definition of "reckless driving".


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