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Martin Odber

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Why is marijuana illegal?

Marijuana WHY is it illegal?

Some say "It's a gateway drug to hard drugs because when people buy this drug off dealers they are exposed to hard drugs" If this were the reasoning legalizing marijuana would mean people wouldn't need to go to dealers who may hook them on hard drugs so we'd be "closing the gate" between soft and hard drugs.

Some say "Marijuana can kill you if you smoke it." So far there appear to be 0 recorded deaths from any kind of overdose.

Some say "Marijuana can give you mad cow disease" So far not only does it not do that but its showing to have MANY positive medical affects including but not limited to fighting cancer.

Some say "the legal costs to taxpayers to keep marijuana illegal are beyond staggering" So far this is absolutely correct.

Our debate is to determine exactly what justifies the significant societal costs of marijuana being illegal on any level at all.

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    Nov 18 2013: There seems to be a link of increased feelings of paranoia and anxiety in younger people with heavy use. There are risks of relapse in users who have schizophrenia and other mental health problems related to psychosis:

    http://www.ukcia.org/research/Psychiat.htm

    I think most of these problems lie in the smoking of 'skunk', which is 3-4 times the strength of ordinary cannabis. Skunk has transformed what was once a relatively harmless vice into something altogether more harmful.

    Ordinary cannabis and THC cannabinoids actually have significant medicinal value for aids, cancer, chronic pain and a long list of other conditions:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_cannabis

    So it seems that light use of ordinary cannabis causes little harm. But there's the problem - how would one specifically legislate against heavy use and/or the use of skunk, while leaving ordinary cannabis legal? I don't think legislation could work with such surgical precision, let alone policing the thing in the first place.
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      Nov 19 2013: I'm not sure I would call the less potent pot of the pre-medical days ordinary or less dangerous. I was living in Michigan in the years leading to and following 2008, the year the state legalized medical marijuana. The quality of pot generally changed drastically over the course of 2009 - 10. Before 2008 most of it was imported from the south, far less potent and half the price. Since 2010 I haven't seen a single bag of that. It's rare to come across marijuana that wasn't grown in the very same town that you purchase it in.

      While the potency is higher, I don't judge the quality increase on simply that factor. Before 2008, "brick weed" was common in Michigan. For about $25 a quarter ounce you could purchase a somewhat stale, brownish corner of a brick. This was commodity weed, commercial. It was grown on large outdoor farms thousands of miles away, using pesticides we could never know about, and if it was at all sticky that was because it was sprayed with Coca Cola. For about $40 a quarter you could find a quality quite better, but likely coming from similar circumstances.

      That's virtually non-existent in Michigan today. Street prices are around $80 a quarter, "skunk weed" as you refer to here, always local. The difference is quite like the difference between locally grown organic food and a tv dinner. I would never regard the "ordinary pot" of the pre-medical days ordinary at all, and certainly not any better for you.
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        Nov 21 2013: Hi Fred, I used to smoke "brick weed" in the 70's and had no idea at the time that it was sprayed with Coca Cola and goodness knows what else. I've since learned (after speaking to you) that anything form soap to glass fibre were also used to alter its bulk and/or consistency.

        I've never tried skunk myself, but have only ever worked with people who did use it. It seemed that for whatever reason they had become reliant on it (I hesitate to say "addicted"). It was difficult to tell if their mental health problems were as a result of skunk over-use, or whether they used skunk to try and mask paranoid feelings they would have had anyway. I suspect the latter.

        I'm an admirer of the work of Professor Nutt (yes, really!), who is a psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist specialising in the research of drugs that affect the brain and conditions such as addiction, anxiety and sleep. He is well known in the UK for campaingning against legislation that restricts the use of certain drugs in his research. Interesting article here:

        http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/nov/04/drugs-legislation-david-nutt-john-maddox

        Thanks for putting me straight on "ordinary pot" :-)
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          Nov 27 2013: That link was an interesting read, thanks. I do believe the psychological side effects of cannabis and various substances is a legitimate debate, but you're right that the role these substances may have played in an individual's issues could be difficult to assess. It's not really possible to take a single personality and split it into control and test groups, and even if we, let's say, took a set of twins and studied them over the course of a decade, substance abuse might be an insignificant factor when taking into account their other life experiences.

          Now paranoia, maybe marijuana smokers have a legitimate reason to be paranoid :), if it's about getting caught at least.

          I'm not a psychoanalyst, or even at all familiar with the field, but I would take a guess that the status-quo sober state we use for comparison isn't exactly free from psychological turmoil. Clearly in cases where psychedelic use may threaten those with pre-existing psychological problems, the root of those problems isn't the drug use. Perhaps the human being is inherently but subtly psychotic, and we all have tendencies that would be only amplified by the use of psychedelic substances, putting us in a position of confronting these issues or further succumbing to them.

          There's an excellent documentary series by BBC called "The Century of the Self", which covers the history of Edward Bernays and the birth of the public relations industry. According to the first video in the series, Nazism was a big indicator to the public relations industry in the US that the human condition is inherently psychotic, and if not controlled, could lead an entire society into psychotic chaos. Even today, products are marketed to us in irrational terms, advertisements are tailored to our irrational fears and desires, designed to poke our psychotic tendencies in a way.
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      Nov 26 2013: Allan,

      I don't know that it's justification to say " are risks of relapse in users who have schizophrenia and other mental health problems related to psychosis:" is some sort of reasoning to ban the entire nation from its use on threat of life in jail or other incarceration or criminalization.

      I mean seriously .. water if you over consume it causes death (drowning). Yet no one suggests we ban water.

      Honey, peanut butter, shellfish the list of things some people are allergic to is IMMENSE .. but the items I mentioned remain commonly at the grocer.

      When I ask for logic, this is an example of what I mean.

      It is logical that we imprison murderers. If we don't we are all going to suffer I think that most people would agree that its logical to imprison people who resort to killing if its not in self defense or government authorized (war.)

      That's the kind of "that makes sense" logic I am looking for when I try to reason how society justifies keeping marijuana illegal and criminalized.

      To me? The laws of our nations should make sense to us. Then they are not the nations laws (oppressors) they are OUR laws. Laws that make sense to us require an awful lot less enforcement as they are often self supported by all participants.

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