Some of the popular arguments supporting legalization of cannabis (marijuana; hashish etc)….
When exposed to the light of day, most of the popular arguments used by the very noisy (but very small) lobby to legalize this drug just do not hold water.
It Will Be Taxed: That argument infers that the any amount of tax collected on this dope will be a net gain. In fact, legalizing “pot” is more likely to cost the government (and therefore – the taxpayers) more than the meager bit of tax it may yield. As long as marijuana has been available on the black market, it has been no secret that any number of additives found their way into the “pot” or “hash” being consumed. Among those additives are the residue of herbicides and industrial strength pesticide used in grow ops, to samples of other illegal drugs that are even more addictive. These additive, sample drugs enhance the hallucinogenic hit desired by consumers of the drug.
For any level of government to legalize sale and consumption of this dangerous drug, the government would leave itself open to legal action from consumers demanding consumer protection. After all, since the government would share in the proceeds of the drug, it becomes liable to shield the consumer by screening the drug as well. The startup costs for a screening agency to handle the craze caused by legalization and the ongoing costs of running the agency would wipe out any perceived tax gain and in the end, non pot users would end up subsidizing those who are demanding freedom to use this drug for recreational purposes.
Legalizing Pot will Wipe out the Illegal Market: No. In fact history proves the opposite. Governments have long attempted to curb the use of tobacco by way of tax. The theory is that if the government causes a price to increase, the consumer will stop using tobacco. We live in a capitalistic society and recreational consumers of dope such as cannabis will find (as they always have) black market suppliers willing to sell at cheaper price. When tax is applied to the drug via official channels, the government will actually be sending even more business into the hands of the black market.
The sale of illegal (tobacco) cigarettes now has surpassed the sales of taxed tobacco products. In fact, in Toronto Ontario a study was done whereby cigarette butts were collected, sorted and identified. The test results were compelling and showed that two thirds of the tobacco cigarettes were purchased by way of the black market.
Overwhelming Public Support Indicates Support for Legalization: Polls are quite often misleading. A more meaningful gauge may be demographics. Statistics show that present population has more people over the age of sixty than under the age of twenty (StatsCan). Beyond any reasonable doubt, there are more supporters of legalization among youth and more opponents among the older segment of the population. Older persons have a great deal more life experience than the youthful segment. Similarly, the aged population is much more likely to show caution. Conversely, a small number of young people have taken it upon themselves to champion legalization. Thus, by way of social media, they are proving exactly how the “Big Lie Theory” can work effectively UNLESS/UNTIL it is counteracted by fact.
Most people actually have no opinion on legalization of this dangerous drug. And, it is a great deal more dangerous than is being depicted. Polls are heavily skewed by a large number of youth willing to take part in such polls and by the uninformed indifference that represents the actual majority. I suspect that when properly analyzed, we have something much more like a Bell Curve than an “overwhelming” ground swell demanding legalization.
A second factor is very much over looked – ethnic demographics in Canada and USA. Both countries are nations of immigrants. Over riding all else and quickly over looked is the motivation for so many to have left their countries of origin and immigrated to North America. Most will tell you that they immigrated because they wanted a better life for their children. I can think of very few parents who wish for their children a life of addiction.
Cannabis is Harmless: The “Big Lie” was a technique employed in Nazi Germany during the last World War. Hitler and Goebbels understood and used the idea that if you tell the same lie often enough, people will begin to accept the lie as being factual. The last time any meaningful (and unbiased) research was doen on cannabis was the LeDane Commission in Canada in 1972.
The LeDane Report is available online and suggested that a great deal further study was needed. Much of the pro-legalization support comes from reports being quickly tossed together by supporters. Not one single such study can be considered “true science” and most (in fact) are biased wherein the “experts” displayed more than a reasonable impression of bias.
LeDane was a government funded study and among its findings are a couple things that refute claims about the drugs “harmlessness”. It has long been known fact for example that cannabis is a gateway drug and that it leads to addictions to other drugs. LeDane says, “There is evidence that a majority of the heroin users who come to the attention of public authorities have, in fact, had some prior experience with marijuana. But this does not mean that one leads to the other in the sense that marijuana has an intrinsic quality that creates a heroin liability”.
LeDane also found that the level of intoxication created by use of the drug made it unsafe for the user to operate a motor vehicle or machinery. According to the report, “mental confusion and excitement of delirious nature” occur. In addition, the LeDane report found that “flashbacks” and hallucinations were not uncommon.
That Users of Marijuana present no Risk to Society: I have had this discussion with any number of pro-cannabis legalization lobbyist- that using marijuana is no different than using alcohol and since alcohol is legal, marijuana should also be legal. This is likely the most selfish argument brought forward and really does not merit the dignity of response. The problems surrounding alcohol use are self evident and if anything should provide all the needed argument to move cannabis onto the narcotic list instead of even entering into a discussion about legalization for recreational use. Society has invested a fortune eliminating drunk drivers from our roads. Millions and millions of tax dollars have been spent to equip police cruisers throughout the nation with road side breathalyzer equipment. More than all the education and all the anti-drunk-driving media campaigns, the risk to a drinking driver of detection and persecution is likely the main reason that we have fewer drunks on the road. Do you know that NONE of the existing breathalyzer gear is capable of detecting a driver who is intoxicated by way of cannabis use? Who shall pay the enormous costs of re-equipping police with roadside saliva testing gear to keep stoned drivers from causing fatal accidents that could take lives of innocent people? What happens when someone near and dear to you is killed or maimed by a driver who is under the influence of cannabis?
The present alcohol detecting breathalyzer gear and the permanent more sophisticated gear at the police stations are capable of producing objective evidence that has led to thousands of convictions of drunk drivers. Those convictions themselves have worked as a strong enough deterrent as to help mitigate the risks of drunk drivers on our streets. On the other hand, the existing method employed by the police to detect “stoned” drivers amounts to “subjective” observations by the police. Recognize the test required to obtain a conviction of a driver stoned on cannabis has nothing to do with whether the police officer smelled marijuana or if the driver’s pupils were dilated. Such “opinions” carry little weight in court and any reasonably capable attorney would have very little challenge in establishing that the police officers subjective observations are insufficient grounds for conviction. Thus, the marijuana user has a “get out of jail free” card until very costly testing gear is purchased (by non users) and widely employed by police throughout the country.
I have set out FIVE reasons why cannabis should not be legalized. The proponents, being largely individuals wishing to have easy access to the drug for recreational use will typically also inform you that many doctors have prescribed medicinal marijuana. Sad to say that “many doctors” are also willing to do anything to move a patient through the doctor’s office. One doctor in Toronto has written over 4,000 such prescriptions and charged $250 for each such script. The drug is purchased through “Compassion Centres” that exist in most major Canadian city. The script is far from being a prescription. Marijuana is what it is – a controlled substance, the script and Compassion Centre Membership card only inform the police that the individual is using medicinal marijuana with his/her doctor’s knowledge. Unlike prescriptions for drugs manufactured in safe secure manufacturing facilities, the grass sold by the Compassion Centres is, by no means subjected to the scrutiny as takes place in the pharmaceutical industry. And, for that matter, there are no follow up visits to the doctor as would cancel the “script” when its efficacy fails to help the patient. The “script” is a lifetime guarantee that the user has access to the drug and may very well be stoned while driving his/her car.
That “lump” in the middle of the bell curve may shrink a bit when the uninformed public starts gathering facts and assessing risks of legalizing the “drug” for recreational users.