Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Still Not Legal, Thanks Very Much..

http://www.lowellsun.com/breakingnews/ci_11382677

Had to post this article because it made me think right back to the hysteria I heard about on 96.9 and then wrote about that afternoon. Apparently, some Lowell motorist may have thought the new law meant he could drive while smoking a roach.

The police still got him for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, which seems quite fair considering that's exactly what he was doing..

Just another reminder that this proposition's passing is not going to suddenly bring an entire state to its knees as it succumbs to someone's nightmare of a Reefer Madness B movie.

4 comments:

kad barma said...

These are the stories that make me treasure my SUN subscription.

Nick said...

Manning said he was "just smoking a roach," police said.

Pure gold. You're right though---this isn't a sign of a scary and impending descent into chaos, it's just another reminder of a popular culture and school system that has too little regard for civics education. (and that's not a Lowell problem--that's a national problem).

I've read some of the broader news stories about "Question 2" and similar efforts in other states. Almost always, law enforcement and legislators are resistent. It amazes me how language can pervert all logic and reason. One police chief (I can't remember where) kept saying things like "We're endorsing illicit drug use..." and "This promotes illicit drugs to children." On and on he went without stopping to consider the word "illicit".

According to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, pot is classified Schedule 1, which means it has a high potential for abuse, and no acceptable medical benefits......Right. ( By the way, what's with bowing down to these 40 year old obsolete laws--can't they be rewritten, updated, or at least debated every couple years?)

According to the internet (and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), despite the federal and state prohibitions, Americans smoke lots of weed. Like, way more than people in every single European country. We can't match up to the Ghanaians, Haitians, and Papua New Guineans, but Americans double up the Dutch, and triple the Danes and the Portugese. **Note, these countries have all enacted various levels of decriminalization in recent decades, without a significant change in toking behaviour.

According to the same study, the only developed country that consumes more THC than the USA is New Zealand, where the anti-cannibis laws are..**cough**..way harsh.

The only kind of prohibition against pot that can actually work is an unjustly severe one. In Japan, pot use is extremely rare because even the slightest infraction can land you in jail. The Swedish government has waged an all out war on marijuana, and have reduced it's usage dramatically (mostly by sentencing users to torturous therapy, recovery, and wellness sessions). Well, if you started chopping off people's hands for making illegal turns, you can bet people would drive according to the law--but at what cost?.

What does marijuana prohibition cost us? Think of the administrative burden, the gang violence, the incarceration, and the blighted records. How much revenue could the government bring in just by pulling the rug out from under this black market, and taxing it's product?

A few years ago, Milton Friedman and hundreds of other renowned economists and scholars signed onto a paper, Prohibition Costs, which called on the President and Congress to legalize pot for financial reasons.

Oh, and I also liked your de-blurking of the "Gateway Drug" logic.

All the best,
Nick

Shannon said...

Hi Greg
So I was just talking to my freind about you and how you live in Boston,her family lives out there and said I should come out with them next summer and that we should all meet up and go out... something about Purple Shamrock..and you and your girlfriend should meet up with us..
Just email me if your interested.
Bye!
Shannon

The New Englander said...

Nick,

Thanks for dropping science here about the way marijuana prevention seems to negatively correlate with punishment...amazing. And nice point about illicit and the speaker's failure to see the irony there. To use a second-grader's language, it's like, well, duh.

And if you used that same "no law should ever be overturned or changed" logic, interracial marriage would still be illegal in most states, which would certainly hamper several of our friends' lives!

I will look for the Milton Friedman piece, which probably gains a little extra cred considering its source..

best,
gp