A Rebuttal to Crime in America’s anti-Marijuana Commentary

Posted: August 31st, 2010 by Militant Libertarian

by Aaron Turpen, CannaCentral

A group called Crime in America wrote an opinion editorial for the LA Times on the subject of marijuana.  The op-ed, titled Marijuana: People Do Incredibly Stupid Things Under the Influence seems to have been written by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, or was at least written on their behalf.

Most of the arguments against marijuana’s legalization are old hack.  The title alone gives the general bent of the opinion as a whole.  There is little to back up their claims that cannot be refuted with two simple responses:

  1. People also do incredibly stupid things under the influence of prescription drugs, alcohol, religion, and a lot of other substances (controlled or uncontrolled) that we have not outlawed today.  Why is marijuana somehow different than, say, the religion of Vampirism or wine coolers?
  2. The op-ed piece claims that the authors do not wish to jail people for using or holding marijuana. How is that any different than legalizing it?  What’s the difference between decriminalization and legalization and why is that fine line so important?

The first point answers itself.  Marijuana is no different than any of the large number of other things we have legalized (or never made illegal) in this nation.  Our country is built on the ideal of personal liberty.  IIt is legal for someone to sit in front of the TV and drink Budweiser to their heart’s content.  Yet if that same person sits in front of the TV and hits the bong, they’ve somehow crossed a line that must be enforced.

This makes no sense.  No sensible person is going to argue about whether using marijuana in public or doing stupid things is OK.  If you smoke a joint or down a couple of shots and then ride your bicycle, nude, through the city park you are in need of some discipline.  But what about in your back yard?  At the lake while barbecuing?  At the bowling alley?  It’s legal to drink in those places and the vast majority of those who do so in those locations don’t become a public nuisance.  So how is pot somehow different?

The truth is.. it’s not.  Only the perception of the sweet leaf versus alcohol or religious fervor or prescription drugs is different.

As for the fine line between decriminalization and legalization, it doesn’t seem to be much of a point.  Making something non-criminal is, de facto, making it legal.

The crux of the Office of Drug Control Policy’s opinion hinges on a straw man argument about what “society” can “handle.”  It ignores reality, as Washington usually does, and makes a direct attack on the ideal of personal freedom and liberty by pretending to worry about the “consequences” of marijuana should it be legalized.

Consequences as opposed to what?  Consequences like the huge number of people jailed in this country for merely owning some plants?  The consequences of finally allowing people to do as they wish and only punishing them if they hurt others with their actions?  The consequences of lifting a large chunk of the failed War on Drugs and finally conceding that the policies of the Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr., etc. were wrong and unjustifiable?

Since most of the “experts” who wrote this opinion editorial were directors of the Office of National Drug Control Policy during those named presidents’ tenures in office, they should know the true consequences of the War on (some) Drugs.

Instead, they overlook that and make straw man claims about supposed impacts on society and hint at the Reefer Madness idea that marijuana turns everyone involved with it into drug-crazed lunatics bent on rape, mayhem, and worse.

[source Crime In America]


Comments (3)


  1. Jillian Galloway says:

    $113 billion is spent on marijuana every year in the U.S., and because of the federal prohibition *every* dollar of it goes straight into the hands of criminals. Far from preventing people from using marijuana, the prohibition instead creates zero legal supply amid massive and unrelenting demand.

    According to the ONDCP, at least sixty percent of Mexican drug cartel money comes from selling marijuana in the U.S., they protect this revenue by brutally torturing, murdering and dismembering countless innocent people.

    If we can STOP people using marijuana then we need to do so NOW, but if we can’t then we need to legalize the production and sale of marijuana to adults with after-tax prices set too low for the cartels to match. One way or the other, we have to force the cartels out of the marijuana market and eliminate their highly lucrative marijuana incomes – no business can withstand the loss of sixty percent of its revenue!

    To date, the cartels have amassed more than 100,000 “foot soldiers” and operate in 230 U.S. cities, and Arizona police are now conceding that parts of their state are under cartel control. The longer the cartels are allowed to exploit the prohibition the more powerful they’re going to get and the more our own personal security will be put in jeopardy.

  2. Adam Smith says:

    To all those who want to make marijuana legal…
    September 3, 2010[

    Dear readers: CannaCentral is a website advocating the legalization of marijuana (link below). An author criticized our post on the dangers of marijuana and suggested that an editorial in the Los Angeles Times written by the Office on National Drug Control Policy was authored by us on their behalf (untrue).

    The point of our rebuttal is that people who advocate the legalization of marijuana would better serve their cause if they did not engage in distortion. Citizens throughout the country must make decisions as to legalization or the lessening of criminal sanctions for the personal use of marijuana. They need straight-foward information to make informed decisions, not mindless advocacy.

    Crime in America.Net.

    Hi Aaron

    I guess this is a rebuttal to a rebuttal. You made reference to our post in http://crimeinamerica.net regarding our article alleging that people do stupid things while high on marijuana and you alleged that it was written by staff at the National Office of Drug Control Policy. See http://cannacentral.com/news/a-rebuttal-to-crime-in-americas-anti-marijuana-commentary/comment-page-1/#comment-324.

    Silly allegation. We do not know anyone at that office let alone write it in collusion. I’m sure that an e-mail to us or a call to them would have straightened that issue out.

    We remain astounded that people on your side of the issue simply cannot admit the harm marijuana may cause and the refusal to admit that there is considerable evidence of marijuana’s connection to crime and a wide variety of social ills.

    Wouldn’t your cause be better served by truth and honesty? What is so terrible in admitting that reasonable people want to know all the facts before they make decision as to legalization?

    Are you so insecure as to your position that everything becomes a distortion? Are you so lose with your journalistic ethics that you would make a claim of authorship without checking the facts first?

    If the pro-marijuana side cannot engage in a reasoned debate then let us tell you how to get people to support your side: don’t lie, hold yourself to ethical statements, admit the truth and let the public decide.

    What is so terrible in having a reasoned discussion? What is so wrong in letting the American people decide?

    Lots of states have approved activities that are perceived to be harmful and the personal use of marijuana might be one of them. But it will never happen unless advocates are willing to have an honest debate.

    As to perceived inconsistencies as to our desire for no arrests/prosecutions/incarcerations for personal possession of marijuana and legalization (the criminal justice system has greater priorities considering massive budget cuts) it’s simple: legalization approves a behavior that may bring a lot of harm to a lot of people.

    Your site (http://cannacentral.com/) expresses strong approval for a proposition that makes possession of marijuana a fineable offense but does not make it legal and you accuse us of inconsistencies?

    To all those who want to make marijuana legal, please understand that you may win your cause. Just be honest within the confines of the debate.

    If you listen to folks like Aaron, it won’t happen. It’s that simple.

    Best, Adam Smith and the contributors to Crime in America.Net.

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