Ajay Patel

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Why is Marijuana Illegal while Alcohol is Legal?

We all know that Alcohol is far more dangerous for society and our bodies than Marijuana is. Correct me if i'm wrong about that, but that is my opinion. Alcohol leads to more deaths and violence, far more than Marijuana.

I can continue stating points, but that is not what I am here for. I am here to hear the opinion of everyone else. So fellow TED members, why is Marijuana Illegal and why is Alcohol legal.

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    Apr 12 2013: I heard this one and thought it was funny. God made weed, man made alcohol. who is the bad one? lol
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    Apr 11 2013: Because alcohol was invented 5 thousand years ago before such laws existed. If it was invented today it would be classified as a class two narcotic.
  • Apr 12 2013: In the USA, the purpose of making marijuana illegal had little to do with its consumption.

    Hemp can be used to make great rope, clothes and many other products. Hemp would be a major competitor to some very big corporations and the entire cotton industry.

    At the time marijuana was made illegal, there was no research to document its physiological affects. The law made ANY possession of marijuana illegal, so that no research could be legally conducted. This was intentional. The people who wanted hemp off the market did not want any research to be conducted. Research might show that the physiological affects would not warrant making it illegal.

    Making marijuana illegal was another example of the powerful protecting and protracting the status quo.
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    Apr 11 2013: Regardless of Marijuana not being legal, it is still poisoning the minds and bodies of so many. I believe alcohol would be the same. People would still regularly allow it to do damage, the only difference being that they would have to go slightly more out of their way to do so. Look at the huge figures of children under the legal drinking age who drink, the law doesn't stop them.
    Unfortunately, alcohol is something which a lot of people consume a fair amount of and for may it is a normal part of their weekly routine to enjoy a drink. Alcohol is, and has always been, too incorporated into society to be made illegal anytime soon. Similarly to cigarettes, it is also too influential on the economy, it is a huge source of income for governments as it can be heavily taxed.
    In my opinion, however much it could potentially benefit society if it were to banned, I think everyone should have the choice to do as they please and if they want to spend their money and time damaging the health they were blessed with then so be it. The argument some people give to exposing themselves to the route of alcohol is to help them cope and relax, yet studies have found that alcohol misuse is a factor in 30% of suicides each year and a huge proportion of A&E and hospital admissions are alcohol related. Sounds to me like they aren't at all helping them. Like I said though, it is personal choice to drink. My personal choice is to not do so.
  • May 9 2013: Hi Ajay,
    I live in the Netherlands, a country where weed is not exactly 'legal', but it is definitely socially accepted.

    What makes no sense is that it is legal to purchase marijuana, but not legal to have a supply of it. So the fact that 'coffee shops' (that sell anything but coffee, OR alcohol for that matter) have marijuana to sell is in fact breaking the law - but because people are allowed to buy it, that is more or less overlooked... pretty bizarre method of law enforcement, if you ask me.

    It is legal to possess marijuana in Holland, up to a certain amount, for personal use. This, of course, is abused, especially in border areas (like where I live), drug tourism and trafficking is common. Recently, the government introduced a sort of 'library card' for marijuana-users to combat the illegal activity, that one would be required to show when buying weed. The card would record the amount of weed purchased, and if the card holder tried to purchase more than the allowed amount, the card would let the coffee shop owner know, that person was 'maxed out', and would not be allowed to buy any more.
    Whether this method actually works, I have no idea.

    My personal experience with weed was when I was hit by a car 10 years ago, and couldn't sleep for the excruciating pain, a cup of marijuana tea is what helped me sleep, more so than any man-made pain-killer.

    Whatever the case, I live in one of the most peaceful nations in the world, and marijuana is allowed. But I would rather not go out during any big national holiday or football game, for fear of drunken masses.

    On yet the other hand, a friend of mine, who suffers from Lupus, recently lost her mother. She told me that, of all the gifts she has received, white wine was by far the most valued, not just for the wonderful numbing effect, but because it raised her blood sugar level enough to literally get her through the day.

    Pros and cons to both.
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    Apr 12 2013: Well, people drinking at a party doesn't affect the people around them, whereas marijuana puts a lot of smoke and odor in the air. Alcohol goes well with food, marijuana not quite as much. Alcohol is a little mellower, whereas sometimes when you smoke marijuana you get a little out of control.
    • Amira M

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      Apr 13 2013: I disagree with what you said about alcohol being a little mellower and that smoking marijuana gets people out of control. I feel like many people would agree that in reality it's the exact opposite.
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    Apr 12 2013: Ajay,

    Here's my five cents:

    Moderate alcohol consumption is perfectly fine for the body - even beneficial. Even used responsibly, marijuana is bad for the lungs (in equal doses, it's actually worse than tobacco, just people don't chain-smoke weed). I have known people who ruin their lives and have liver failure due to alcohol (when used inappropriately), and people who have died of cancer due to smoking marijuana.

    Certainly weed has many perfectly good medicinal uses - for pain, depression, anxiety, etc. However it is not a sustainable medication, since it is ultimately harmful to the lungs (when smoked) and simply treats the symptoms rather than the problem. I've always seen it as a good "in between" medication, to be used while you're figuring out how to more directly treat depression, etc. However, the answer is really to find the correct substitute that won't harm the body at all.

    Ultimately, the real method of control for any substance is to teach our youth how to use it *properly*, that is, in moderation, for the proper purpose, etc.
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      Apr 12 2013: check your facts, because even the smallest amount of alcohol has negative effects, and also thc does not hurt the lungs in any way. only the smoke does, which can be avoided by a vaporizer, e-cigarette or simply eating it instead of inhaling.
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        Apr 12 2013: Krisztián,

        I encourage you to look at a couple studies about the benefits of moderate alcohol use: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7206400

        Of course, any alcohol during pregnancy/mixed with other drugs/drunk by small children is harmful - I'm not saying that everyone should be drinking.

        Perhaps I missed one, but I tried to clarify that I did mean that weed is harmful when smoked.

        (I should have made clear in my original comment that I am not pro-illegal-weed, I'm simply putting forth a further opinion in terms of its current illegality.)

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          Apr 12 2013: then we are both misunderstood. i did not intend to claim that alcohol does not have good effects. i said that it has bad effects as well, even in the smallest amount. namely, for one, it increases the chance of some forms of cancer. it is true that overall it has more good effects than bad when consumed in small quantities.

          my point was that you can find counterarguments against alcohol use just as easily, if you try. if you are rational and reasonable, many illegal drugs seem to be just as, if not more acceptable. it is also not hard to show that prohibition does not logically follow from harmfulness, especially if it is light.
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        Apr 12 2013: Ah, then I happily withdraw any aggressively. I agree that many illegal substances are needlessly illegal. As I said the real energy should be put into educating people as to how to use these substances in correct doses and for correct reasons.
  • Apr 12 2013: Good job Laren, but I would not speculate Ajay on the relative merits. My experience is only with alcohol.
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    Apr 12 2013: Don't know
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      Apr 12 2013: thanks for your reply
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        Apr 12 2013: Americans have struggled mightily for generations to overcome the oppressors of imbibing. Perhaps due to the nature of mota it does not render people good at protesting?

        Alcohol renders people good at protesting, they just have a hard time remembering what they are protesting.
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          Apr 12 2013: maybe we need to invent a combination of drugs that is optimal for protesting.
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          Apr 12 2013: Marjiuana users are more relaxed, so they don't protest, or protest very quietly.
          If someone told a bunch of drunks they can't drink it will be (and was) war.
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        Apr 12 2013: Exactly Adir

        But in all reality mota smokers can get quite irate if you try to harsh their mellow.

        But overall I agree alcohol is a better performance enhancer when protesting


        That is the kind of innovative thinking that Mr Ridley would be proud of
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    Apr 12 2013: Lawren is correct, Alcohol is too deeply imbeded in our colture, while Marijuana was very new to the european force who took over America. But that isn't the whole story, while Alcohol is somewhat hard to preduce, so it is expensive, you can easly get "high as a kite" from home grown Marjiuana at no cost (remember, it is originally a wild weed). This has too effect- one, legal Marjiuana would be consumed at much higher level than Alcohol, and two, no group with power can take money from you (drug and Alcohol componies, the government etc.).
  • Apr 11 2013: This might explain your first query
    While alcohol, currently, is more socially acceptable.