Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Weighing the statistical evidence.

The legalization of marijuana has been a topic of contention and confusion for both sides of the debate.

The federal government still deems it illegal. But marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in 10 states and the District of Columbia, and a further 21 broadly legalize medical marijuana.

Researchers like myself finally have some data to assess claims made on both sides.

Let's take a closer look at three major arguments around marijuana legalization – and how the statistics stack up against them.

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How is it any different than alcohol?

Does legal alcohol help or harm Americans?

#1 | Posted by ChiefTutMoses at 2019-04-10 12:03 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

From the comments section:

"Portugal provides a useful 15-year real-life case study. They have decriminalized all street drugs and the sky has not fallen"

#2 | Posted by lfthndthrds at 2019-04-10 12:14 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Cigarettes.

Guns.

Alcohol.

Why is this even a question? Because big pharma doesn't want to lose it's monopoly on pain relief.

#3 | Posted by Nixon at 2019-04-10 12:26 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Help. Simply based on the result of mitigating institutional racism. Every other benefit is simply gravy. Every cost associated with legalization is worth the benefit in this rational, IMO; yet until it's properly studied (both medically and socially), we simply don't know the long term costs.

#4 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-04-10 12:28 PM | Reply

They have decriminalized all street drugs and the sky has not fallen"
#2 | POSTED BY LFTHNDTHRDS

This isn't completely, true; or its a half truth. ...

They decriminalized the possession of small amounts of addictive substances. It's still illegal to use drugs. But the drug user is treated as a health problem, not a criminal problem. You can still recieve a penalty.

"The focus on treatment, care, and rehabilitation as an alternative to criminal punishment of drug users is intended to stabilize the demand while a more effective law enforcement targeting drug trafficking and production was designed to reduce the supply of illicit drugs."

#5 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2019-04-10 12:30 PM | Reply

Because big pharma doesn't want to lose it's monopoly on pain relief.
#3 | POSTED BY NIXON

Its afraid, but it will make more potent MJ than you have today, driving out the poor quality stuff.

This has happened in Canada, quality pushed out the bad stuff, then the price went up ....

#6 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2019-04-10 12:32 PM | Reply

Hey, are you going to eat that....?

#7 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2019-04-10 12:37 PM | Reply | Funny: 1


@#1 ... How is it any different than alcohol?

Does legal alcohol help or harm Americans? ...

It's a cost benefit thing.

Do cars help or harm Americans? How many people are killed in auto accidents each year?

Does cheese help or harm Americans? How many people get clogged arteries from eating cheese each year?

etc....

#8 | Posted by LampLighter at 2019-04-10 12:38 PM | Reply

The reason marijauna is illegal has little or nothing to do with public safety, originally marijauna laws were designed to give police excuses to arrest "undesirables." "Undesirables"can be construed to mean any group that the police want to harass.

#9 | Posted by danni at 2019-04-10 12:40 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2


@#9 ... The reason marijauna is illegal has little or nothing to do with public safety, originally marijauna laws were designed to give police excuses to arrest "undesirables." ...

The Reefer Madness movie is a deserved classic in that regard.

#10 | Posted by LampLighter at 2019-04-10 12:47 PM | Reply

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Its afraid, but it will make more potent MJ than you have today, driving out the poor quality stuff.
#6 | POSTED BY ANDREAMACKRIS

They seem more interested in doing that through synthetic means. They hate the idea that you can grow ANY form of medicinal relief in your backyard.

And for what it's worth, I have no interest in going any higher in potency than my low to mid-shelf. There's plenty of more expensive, catatonic inducing strains out there that I've tried and deemed are simply not worth the time or effort (lack thereof).

#11 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-04-10 12:48 PM | Reply


@#11 ... They hate the idea that you can grow ANY form of medicinal relief in your backyard. ...

Connecticut is currently considering legalization. However, with the specific disallowing of growing for oneself.

#12 | Posted by LampLighter at 2019-04-10 12:52 PM | Reply

The reason marijauna is illegal has little or nothing to do with public safety, originally marijauna laws were designed to give police excuses to arrest "undesirables." "Undesirables"can be construed to mean any group that the police want to harass.

#9 | POSTED BY DANNI AT 2019-04-10 12:40 PM

You are partially right as it having nothing to do with public policy, and Lamp in #10 hits upon the primary driver of the US Cannibis/Hemp prohibition: William Randolf Hearst wanted hemp banned because it was hurting his paper business, so he was publishing hundreds of reefer madness stories in an effort to get hemp banned, which produced more fiber than wood pulp. It's more complicated than that, of course, but he was the main force behind it in the US.

#13 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2019-04-10 12:59 PM | Reply | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 1

-- I have no interest in going any higher in potency than my low to mid-shelf. There's plenty of more expensive, catatonic inducing strains out there that I've tried and deemed are simply not worth the time or effort (lack thereof).

Know what you mean. I haven't partaken in over a year, but if I did it would be mid-grade stuff, not that insanely high-potency product you can purchase in cannabis shops, or Corky's THC oil.

#14 | Posted by nullifidian at 2019-04-10 01:04 PM | Reply

Thank President Nixon, the DEA & US Prison Industry for Classifying Marijuana as a Schedule I Drug

Not My Republican Party, right!

#15 | Posted by ChiefTutMoses at 2019-04-10 01:17 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Harms the budgets of cities that tie their fiscal well-being to African American suffering.

It helps Americans survive in this racist climate.

#16 | Posted by fresno500 at 2019-04-10 05:32 PM | Reply

You might want to ask people in Colorado.

Statistically it has been a failure.

Depends on who you ask.

I'm sure the pot heads love it.

#17 | Posted by BillJohnson at 2019-04-10 09:21 PM | Reply

This has happened in Canada, quality pushed out the bad stuff, then the price went up ....

#6 | Posted by AndreaMackris

A hundred Canadian an oz in the gray market.

#18 | Posted by Scotty at 2019-04-10 09:36 PM | Reply

name one good thing the Drug Prohibition War has accomplished?

#19 | Posted by ichiro at 2019-04-11 12:23 AM | Reply

It got more kids to do drugs?

#20 | Posted by snoofy at 2019-04-11 12:25 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

#17 | Posted by BillJohnson

LOL!!!

Yer an idiot.

#21 | Posted by Angrydad at 2019-04-11 07:31 AM | Reply

Here's what's going to happen, based on history.

It will get legalized, and we'll learn that much of the pressure to do so is coming from Big Tobacco. Big Tobacco quietly buys up large percentages of weed growers' product, including outsourcing to foreign suppliers. Advertising explodes and prices fall due to large supply. Little farms are shuttered. Big Government sees a potential cash cow and starts taxing weed the way they tax tobacco. Prices rise. Old hippies are pissed. Black market is resurgent. Scientists link smoking weed to several developmental disorders, cancer, and ---- leakage. Taxes are raised again to discourage smoking weed. Weed is the new tobacco, and peyote becomes the new weed. We reargue all the old points for another 20 years.

#22 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2019-04-11 08:01 AM | Reply

Mustang,

Sounds about right but you left out the further decline of society with more people using it daily and basically staying high.

#23 | Posted by BillJohnson at 2019-04-11 01:14 PM | Reply

"Sounds about right but you left out the further decline of society with more people using it daily and basically staying high."

Yeah well the same can be said for alcohol.

What's your problem with people being high in the first place???

#24 | Posted by snoofy at 2019-04-11 01:19 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

You might want to ask people in Colorado.
Statistically it has been a failure.
#17 | POSTED BY BILLJOHNSON

Failure in what sense?

What are these statistics you're alluding to?

You couldn't be more vague if you tried.

#25 | Posted by ClownShack at 2019-04-11 01:30 PM | Reply

And along with national health provided by the government, most people on social programs will have prescriptions for weed and given monthly rations free.

#26 | Posted by BillJohnson at 2019-04-11 01:31 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"You couldn't be more vague if you tried.
#25 | POSTED BY CLOWNSHACK"

That's his shtick. He has a vague feeling in his gut and supports it with vague, mostly meaningless statements of semi-fact.

Then he says he added you to his Do Not Respond list.

#27 | Posted by snoofy at 2019-04-11 01:33 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"The reason marijauna is illegal has little or nothing to do with public safety, originally marijauna laws were designed to give police excuses to arrest "undesirables.""

"You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."
-John Ehrlichman, Nixon Domestic Policy Chief

#28 | Posted by Hagbard_Celine at 2019-04-11 01:34 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 4

#23 I don't think any more or less of weed than I do booze. I do, however, understand the implications of prohibition based on some suspect moral authority. It didn't work back then and it's not working today.

#29 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2019-04-11 01:49 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

You might want to ask people in Colorado.
Statistically it has been a failure.
Depends on who you ask.
#17 | POSTED BY BILLJOHNSON

WTF are you talking about?

#30 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-04-11 04:34 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

It's more complicated than that, of course, but he was the main force behind it in the US.
#13 | POSTED BY RIGHTOCENTER AT 2019-04-10 12:59 PM | FLAG: | FUNNY: 1 | NEWSWORTHY 1

Hearst and DuPont were sort of in cahoots with this. Hearst wanted paper produced from wood pulp and DuPont had just developed a new chemical making the paper making process easier using wood pulp. So they lobbied hard and coupled with xenophobia and racist sentiment already established in Congress were successful with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.

#31 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-04-11 04:38 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Thank President Nixon, the DEA & US Prison Industry for Classifying Marijuana as a Schedule I Drug
Not My Republican Party, right!
#15 | POSTED BY CHIEFTUTMOSES

The true beginning of the War on Drugs.

#32 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-04-11 04:39 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Weed is the new tobacco, and peyote becomes the new weed. We reargue all the old points for another 20 years.
#22 | POSTED BY MUSTANG

I know there is a black market for cigarettes, but it's hardly an issue. And definitely not one taken up by drug cartels and gangs, which ultimately acts as a significant factor in U.S. homicide rates and, by extension, institutional racism.

Not exactly a great comparison, IMO.

#33 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-04-11 04:42 PM | Reply

We throw sand into the gears of self-discipline by making self-governance a civic duty.
Alcohol is available at 120 proof, but it does not sell well.

#34 | Posted by ichiro at 2019-04-11 05:16 PM | Reply

ichisama.com

#35 | Posted by ichiro at 2019-04-11 05:17 PM | Reply

#33 You took it out of context. I was predicting the future.

#36 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2019-04-11 05:35 PM | Reply

#33 You took it out of context. I was predicting the future.
#36 | POSTED BY MUSTANG

The scrutiny of your prediction lies within the poor comparison. The two elements I'll agree with is the possibility of it being determined that cannabis is actually a carcinogen, which has been studied by UCLA in the past and determined not to be (actually had a slight protective factor against neck cancers, but this was within the margin of error) and the probability that big tobacco runs mom and pop shops out of business.

Everything else is a bit off, IMO.

#37 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-04-11 05:49 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"the possibility of it being determined that cannabis is actually a carcinogen"

I strongly doubt that cannabis itself is carcinogenic.

I'm just as sure that partially combusting marijuana and inhaling the combustion by-products does expose you to carcinogens.

The difference is it's common to smoke an ounce of cigarettes in a day. A pack weighs about that much. It's damn near impossible to smoke an ounce of weed in a day. So the exposure to carcinogens from smoking pot is far, far less than smoking cigarettes.

#38 | Posted by snoofy at 2019-04-11 05:58 PM | Reply

So the exposure to carcinogens from smoking pot is far, far less than smoking cigarettes.
#38 | POSTED BY SNOOFY

Good point.

Although, this is where my understanding of tobacco and cancer's relation to each other becomes very foggy. It's well established that heavy smokers (1+ pack a day) are much more probable of developing cancer than non-smokers, but I've heard there's still substantial risk even for the "occasional" (1 cig a day or even 3-4 a week) smoker. Even worse is this whole second hand smoke aspect too. I just saw a new commercial from an anti-tobacco organization influencing those living in apartment buildings to push the building owners to ban smoking altogether because of the potential that second hand smoke will seep through walls, vents, around corners, etc.

Is it really that big of a concern? Or is the latter examples just something else?

#39 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-04-11 06:27 PM | Reply

Good questions. The only people I feel can really make the secondhand smoke claim are those with prolonged exposure both short and long term: kids with parents who smoke; bartenders in smoky bars. For everyone else it seems like there would be too many other factors.

And of course everyone's body won't react the same way.

#40 | Posted by snoofy at 2019-04-11 06:44 PM | Reply

Willie Nelson is 85 and still touring
Kieth Richards is still alive and would be touring if Mick didn't need heart surgury
David Crosby lives.

The human body can take a little cannabis
Legalization is great

#41 | Posted by 503jc69 at 2019-04-11 06:46 PM | Reply

The human body can take a lot of cannabis
Legalization is great
#41 | POSTED BY 503JC69

FTFY!

With those examples provided.

#42 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-04-11 07:10 PM | Reply

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