Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Decriminalization of Marijuana

  1. Feb 9, 2009 #1
    First off let me state I would like to keep this within the forum guidelines.

    In essence I'm trying to start a discussion on the topic. I would like to hear your honest opinions and rational. Are the penalties for marijuana possession/use within reason? Should marijuana be decriminalized?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 9, 2009 #2
    i'm not sure the penalties are that harsh in most places for possession of small amounts. and i think the criminalization is a bit silly. but i also don't expect to see it change anytime soon. law enforcement loves the stuff. all you need to start searching people is to say "i smell dope" or "my dog smells dope". so it's a great excuse and it's not going away.
     
  4. Feb 9, 2009 #3
    My state, Arizona, is imploding from a lack of funds for its justice system. It is talking about not having enough money to properly prosecute murders, rapists and car thieves. At the same time, it is spending millions and millions to chase after pot heads who are doing no one but themselves any harm. This is stupid to say the least. Legalize it and tax it. Then it won't be a drain on the state, but a positive source of funds.

    (For the record, I don't smoke pot)
     
  5. Feb 9, 2009 #4

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It is legal to cultivate and possess in Maine, as long as it is prescribed by a doctor for medicinal purposes. HOWEVER, even if you do everything by the book, you can still be prosecuted under Federal laws. A local DA has been harassing a grower for (legally) supplying marijuana to a chronically-ill person, until recently a judge ruled in favor of the grower. Essentially, the DA disagreed with the medical marijuana law, and since he could not prosecute the sick person for possessing and using it, he tried to cut off the source by prosecuting the grower. What a waste of our tax dollars.
     
  6. Feb 9, 2009 #5
    THC is available in pill form, you don't need to smoke the Mary Jane for medicinal purposes anymore.

    I personally don't care if people smoke it as long as they are not hurting anyone else. If reefer was legalized, I think it should be under strict standards, similar to alcohol. Something tells me that if it was legalized, we would probably have a lot more darwin awards every year which might not be a bad thing.
     
  7. Feb 9, 2009 #6

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The UK just increased it's criminalization. An indpendant report showed it was less dangerous and the government upgraded it to class 'B' on the same day.
    With the quote "we can't wait for the scientific evidence - we must act to protect the public"

    Of course given the behavior of the current crop of politicians who have so far admitted to using it in their youth there would seem to be strong evidence that it causes long term psychological damage.
     
  8. Feb 9, 2009 #7
    That doesn't mean anything. Pill form THC is delivered to the body differently than inhaled smoke which means it may lose efficacy. How a drug is delivered is always an extremely important part of the over all picture of the pharmacological effect of a drug. In fact, patients who take marinol report more acute psychotropic side effects from marinol than when they smoke MJ. There are also other active ingredients in MJ that have medicinal effects like cannabidiol.
     
  9. Feb 9, 2009 #8

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    :rofl:
     
  10. Feb 9, 2009 #9

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I think one of the "fears" is that it *is* intoxicating and where you can have some kind of control over who can buy alcohol, there is nothing stopping anyone growing their own marijuana if it was legalized. It's a weed, and it takes nothing special to grow it. Making alcohol is much more difficult, especially tasty alcohol.
     
  11. Feb 9, 2009 #10
    i was buying alcohol at age 15. MJ may be easier to bootleg and evade taxes on, tho.
     
  12. Feb 9, 2009 #11

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Meh. Basil and oregano are easy to grow too, but I still buy them in the store. Now if they were made illegal and the price went up to $60 per quarter ounce, then I'd be off to Sam's Club to by a UV light that very day...
     
  13. Feb 9, 2009 #12

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Well, my point was that there would be virtually no way to have any control of an intoxicating substance.
     
  14. Feb 9, 2009 #13

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Basil and oregano are intoxicating! :tongue2:
     
  15. Feb 9, 2009 #14

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I *knew* you were going to say that! :tongue2:
     
  16. Feb 9, 2009 #15

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I used to love the black squidgy stuff, but when grass was the only thing on the affordability scene i bombed out, one has to have some standards.
     
  17. Feb 9, 2009 #16
    I've got a roommate that smokes all the time. In fact, I think he just got done smoking. I'd say he does it on average 2-3 times per day.

    I personally think it should be decriminalized. It doesn't really harm anyone. If the people that use it want to spend $250 an ounce to be lazy and listen to music, let them.

    For the record, I have smoked it, but found it incredibly boring.
     
  18. Feb 9, 2009 #17

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I prefer weed to bombs, may be leaders of states should have a toke before declaring war, but then again i will still nuke any one that steps on my foot.
     
  19. Feb 9, 2009 #18
    Its a tough subject. Personally I think it should be legal, but obviously within the same restrictions like DUI.
     
  20. Feb 9, 2009 #19
    I got charged with possession, 650 dollar fine, 2 years probation, 6 months of outpatient, lost my financial aid for a year and had to sit in court for 15 hours over 3 seperate days to speak to the judge for maybe 90 seconds total. Tell me that is not a little excessive?

    As for not being able to control the distribution of marijuana. Well yes pretty much anyone can grow marijuana, but not good bud. I don't believe places such as the netherlands have a problem with this; however, i could be wrong. I know I would buy government herb...
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  21. Feb 9, 2009 #20

    Hurkyl

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That is not a little excessive. (Hey, you asked. :tongue:)
     
  22. Feb 10, 2009 #21
    I would be curious as to the figures on the amount of public money spent in like last 3 or 4 decades dealing with marijuana-related crimes. I would guess the vast majority of them would be simple possession, with a minority of actual growers/distributors. The intoxicating effects of this drug is somewhat comparable alcohol, it is as far as I know impossible to overdose on, and has the added benefit of not encouraging violent or aggressive behavior like ones that so frequently happen in alcohol-saturated situations.

    There is organized crime associated with producing and distributing marijuana in many cases (domestic and abroad) but there are also plenty of domestic (nonviolent) growers that may supply a significant fraction of the demand. Both of these violent and nonviolent groups could be eliminated in the same way that organized crime associated with rum-running during prohibition was eliminated – legalize it, regulate it, and most importantly, tax it. I would assume that cigarette-like companies would jump on the opportunity and in short time be producing a quality, mass marketed product, potentially generating billions in revenue for the government (not to mention freeing up other revenue that was previously spent on keeping many nonviolent offenders in the legal system). The incentive for any regular person for growing their own marijuana plant will be about the same for any regular smoker to grow his own tobacco plant…its simply just more convenient and cost effective to buy some smokes(or mari-smokes) at the local gas station. I’m sure this argument has been made, and maybe even seems pretty reasonable to most politicians…but they do have voter bases to appeal to I guess. No, I don't smoke cigs or marijuana but I have before.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  23. Feb 10, 2009 #22
    Every discussion I hear focuses on smoking maijuana in the comfort of ones home...doesn't hurt anyone, keeps the person off the street, etc. The problem in society is when the smoking comes out of the closet and is mixed with other behavior such as drinking alcohol and driving a car. Drunk and stoned is a recipe for disaster behind the wheel of a car.

    I do believe the penalties for possession of small quantities over the years have been too severe.

    But, I hope legalization doesn't mean smoking parlors in bars (for instance).
     
  24. Feb 10, 2009 #23

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    In the Netherlands you are legally allowed to own five plants of weed (although they may be confiscated, you won't be persecuted). In my whole life I've met 1 person who I know grew and harvested his own marijuana. In total I've met 3 people who smoked a lot, but I'd say they do just fine. I'd say that alcohol abuse is a much bigger problem.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  25. Feb 10, 2009 #24
    I was at the University of Virginia when grass was decriminalized in the surrounding county for at least a year (in the 70s). The Commonwealth Attorney simply quit prosecuting users, stating he had better things to do. The local police quit arresting users since there was no point. The Feds and the State Police still could have prosecuted users, but they were interested only in dealers.

    Anyway, it was sort of odd to see people standing next to a police officer, toking up without any concern. The interesting thing is that it didn't seem to make any difference. I, for example, didn't use before and I didn't start. I was barely hanging on in grad school and couldn't afford to wipe out any brain cells, even temporarily.

    But, this was before the potent forms of marijuana hit the streets. Most of the stuff then available was little different from a catnip/oregano mixture. I doubt it set anyone up for stronger drugs; more likely it just led to an occassional COPD case.

    But, I strongly suspect (anecdotal evidence only!) that it lowered the inhibitions against drug use among teens and pre-teens and, if so, that's undesirable. As a society, we'd be better off to err on the side of caution.
     
  26. Feb 10, 2009 #25

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Actually a major reason to legalize (or condone) marijuana and other soft-drugs, is to prevent people from getting into contact with real drug dealers who will sell you hard-drugs. I don't have the statistics, but I think that in the Netherlands we have far less drug-related problems than other countries such as the United States (based on documentaries I have seen in the past).
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook