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In our opinion: Marijuana's dangers should be considered by voters

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  • malcolmkyle NEW YORK, NY
    Sept. 4, 2012 1:44 a.m.

    Have you have finally wised up to the fact that the best avenue towards realistically dealing with drug use and addiction is through proper regulation? Then fortunately for you there is one last peaceful avenue for change.

    * It only takes one juror to prevent a guilty verdict.
    * You are not lawfully required to disclose your voting intention before taking your seat on a jury.
    * You are also not required to give a reason to the other jurors on your position when voting. Simply state that you find the accused not guilty!
    * Jurors must understand that it is their opinion, their vote. If the Judge and the other jurors disapprove, too bad. There is no punishment for having a dissenting opinion.

    “It is not only [the juror's] right, but his duty … to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” —John Adams

    We must create what we can no longer afford to wait for: PLEASE VOTE TO ACQUIT!

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 5:05 a.m.

    Re: "Marijuana may not be as immediately harmful as many other drugs, including alcohol . . . ."

    And if you don't believe it, just ask one of the blown-out potheads who will undoubtedly leap to marijuana's defense in these pages.

    Marijuana is every bit as harmful as alcohol. The level of driving carnage it wreaks is inhibited only by its illegal status.

    In states that have, either de jure or de facto, legalized marijuana, the incidence of drugged driving increases, while drunk driving remains the same or also increases.

    Legalization of marijuana merely adds more digits to the hospitality industry's horrific body count.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 5:43 a.m.

    Banning something vs controlling it. Lets give marijuana a go, let the next generation(s) decide in 100 years if it was worth it.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 8:23 a.m.

    While I'm torn on this issue, I think it is important to weigh the relative merits of legalization and regulation versus the costs to society of the war on drugs. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world by a long way, it's not even close. We throw essentially harmless people into prison where they are not only a burden to society, they become hardened. People use marijuana any way, and I'm dubious that we would see any more abuse and use than we already have. Our approach to marijuana is counter-productive and is slowly crushing us as a country. Millions in prison and the economic burden makes me think we should legalize. Yes, little good comes from it, but that could be said about a lot of things.

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 8:26 a.m.

    The argument of this article is that, if kids/teens shouldn't use it, nobody should.

    So we should gate all adult behaviors by their appropriateness for kids and teens. So much for "Free Agency".

    New state slogan: "Utah, this is the place where nobody is ever allowed to grow up."

    It isn't society's job to raise your kids with your values. If you let them out into the world, the world will show them what it has to offer. If you can't keep you kids from using pot, then you've probably failed as a parent.

    Besides, our last 3 Presidents have used marijuana, as well as the founders of many of the successful companies. It can't be too damaging.

  • Andrew American Fork, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 8:30 a.m.

    I say we legalize and control all drugs much like cigarettes and alcohol. Then teach others how harmful it is. Arrest those that sell to minors or those that do not inform others of the danger. Lower the cost, drop the crime rates, add sanity to drug producing nations. These drugs are terribly dangerous. I think you can legalize without legitamizing as socially acceptable. In many circles today smoking is not considered socially acceptable yet it is legal(except in certain locations ie work place). We can do likewise with narcotics and reap the benefits of a safer nation.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Sept. 4, 2012 9:41 a.m.

    Prohibition isn't working again. Someone tell conservatives reality is knocking.

    Why does it make conservatives feel better to make something illegal that they don't like?

    I don't like alcohol and drugs but I can see making them illegal just fills the jails and takes kid's parents away and ruins lives. Going to jail definetly ruins a person's life. Growing up in foster care ruins lives. Trying the marijuana doesn't.

    They figure 50% of kids are trying marijuana before graduating from high school. I imagine it skyrockets in college before they become someone's boss. Prohibition isn't working - why does it make you feel better? Why in the world does anyone care how you feel?

    So what's the point of continuing to ruin the lives of people that sell marijuana? Just tax it and empty the jails and prisons.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 10:19 a.m.

    Re: ". . . our last 3 Presidents have used marijuana, as well as the founders of many of the successful companies. It can't be too damaging."

    Ummmm, look around you. Do you really want to make that argument?

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    It is very unwise to legalize Marijuana for the obvious reasons in the article. If an adult smokes their child will likely smoke. Alcohol is actually more dangerous than Marijuana as those drinking not only kill themselves, but others. It would be better for alcohol to be prohibited, but then we would have the drinkers protesting. They claim probibition did not work but we consume a lot more alcohol now and lose a lot of lives from it.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 12:14 p.m.

    To suffer fate of having to live in California, probably justifies special laws to allow its citizen some means to reduce the pain and suffering.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 4, 2012 12:23 p.m.

    Re: Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    "Besides, our last 3 Presidents have used marijuana ..."

    Perhaps that explains why Obama is so mentally challenged when it comes to balancing our nation's checkbook. Can't think of a better argument for staying away from the stuff.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Sept. 4, 2012 12:41 p.m.

    I'm not going to use marijuana any more than I'm going to start drinking but...

    It's a cost benefit analysis.

    The cost to people's lives for being tried and convicted of marijuana crimes is much higher than the dangers of using it.

    The cost to society now to convict people of marijuana crimes is a very high cost vs the taxes generated by allowing it to be sold legally.

    The laws for marijuana use would likely be the same as alcohol. No public intoxication, no public consumption, no use for under 21 years of age ect ect.

    With the falling quality of jobs and conservative argument that most of us don't need a college education anyway, I fail to see thier argument that we need to preserve every possible point of IQ so we can throw them in jail and or make them fry cooks with an above average I.Q.

    Or could it be that while conservatives don't want to educate the lower classes they do in fact want thier low paid help very smart so they can follow every command promptly? So hard to find good help.

  • Kent R. Treehorn WEST JORDAN, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 1:52 p.m.

    Typical for the Deseret News, this editorial is full of ignorance and guesswork. Why don't we stick to facts instead of made up fear mongering. Where is the balance?

    To those attacking the point that our last 3 presidents have used cannabis, keep your political views out of this and show why this harmless plant was detrimental to those men. The point isn't that marijuana made them better men, it's that they used marijuana and still achieved one of the greatest feats our society knows.

    This write-up is disgusting and an insult to journalism. When cannabis is legalized this fall in Colorado or Washington or both, and the world doesn't end in those two states, will the Deseret News continue to side with ignorance?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 2:09 p.m.

    The only danger in voting after having experienced some pot is probably that they won't vote republican.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Sept. 4, 2012 2:15 p.m.

    "Perhaps that explains why Obama is so mentally challenged when it comes to balancing our nation's checkbook."

    You mean Obama, Bush, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, and on and on and on and on.

    Guess they were all lighting up

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 3:07 p.m.

    @procuradorfiscal
    "Marijuana is every bit as harmful as alcohol."

    Not even close. Alcohol causes liver failure and all sorts of other serious diseases. Tobacco causes lung cancer and all sorts of respiratory problems. Both end up with huge death tolls annually. Marijuana? What exactly does that cause that's going to kill anyone in terms of disease? It is completely illogical for marijuana to be illegal while tobacco is legal. Naturally that's why the top funder of anti-marijuana campaigns is the tobacco industry. They just don't want competition.

    "just ask one of the blown-out potheads who will undoubtedly leap to marijuana's defense in these pages."

    Oh, and about that... I've never used marijuana, nor do I have any intention to ever do so. Heck, I've never smoked a cigarette or drank an alcoholic beverage either. I just care about accuracy and consistency. Legalize marijuana or ban tobacco, because what we have in place right now makes no sense at all.

    @Rifleman
    "Perhaps that explains why Obama is so mentally challenged when it comes to balancing our nation's checkbook."

    Tax cuts + more defense spending + preserve entitlement spending = Republicans being high while budgeting.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 3:18 p.m.

    Rifleman
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Re: Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    "Besides, our last 3 Presidents have used marijuana ..."

    Perhaps that explains why Obama is so mentally challenged when it comes to balancing our nation's checkbook. Can't think of a better argument for staying away from the stuff.

    ==============

    I assume you ment GW Bush, who FYI - was voted for higher in Utah than in anyother state....TWICE.

    BTW - George Washington grew hemp.
    He'd be sitting in a U.S. prison right now if he were alive today.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 4:26 p.m.

    procuradorfiscal: just a single reference to any one of your statements, because none of what you said can be backed up by any scientific data.

    Do some minimum research and you might be surprised at one of Gods greatest gifts, a plant with a 5,000 year old history of man using it for fiber, paper, oil, food, medicine, and lastly as a political scapegoat, for Dupont and Hearst.
    who capitalizing on deception increased their profits by eliminating the competition thru government action (much like today's corporations.) But don't take my word for it, Look it up.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 4:27 p.m.

    @Kent R. Treehorn - This is an editorial, not an article. Editorials are the OPINION of the editor or contributor writing them. They are not news and therefore don't have to present both sides.

    Furthermore, no one's implying that the "world is going to end" in Washington or Colorado, or anywhere for that matter. The point the author is trying to make is that the benefits of legalizing marijuana do not outweigh the negative aspects and consequences that come along with it.

    We're constantly seeing new reports that this drug, which has been promoted by so many as being "harmless," really isn't that harmless after all. I'm all for allowing people to choose, but I also believe that at some point we as a society need to decide where to draw the line. There are numerous narcotics that are legal, and people still sell them illegally. Drug-lords aren't simply going to go legit...

    All we'll see legalizing marijuana is more impaired driving. And soon, when people are sick of being busted for that, they'll argue we need to ease up on impaired drivers too because we're being "too harsh."

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Sept. 4, 2012 4:30 p.m.

    I have no doubt that alcohol can be more dangerous than marijuana. And, if I had to approve one as legal, I might (note the word might) choose marijuana over alcohol.

    But neither of these is an argument to legalize it. We have one often dangerous drug legalized and we simply do not need another. Yes, many use alcohol with little harm, my folks included, but its negatives (both individual and societal) are indisputable.

    Surely there are many other low level drugs which could be legalized. Should we legalize them all?

    And, at what level does a drug become too dangerous to legalize? Given the increased potency of marijuana over the past few decades, would we need to monitor and "grade" the marijuana making sure it is at a legal level?

    Simply put, we don't need another drug legalized. We've got our hands full to overflowing with just one.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 5:02 p.m.

    Twin Lights asked: And, at what level does a drug become too dangerous to legalize? Given the increased potency of marijuana over the past few decades, would we need to monitor and "grade" the marijuana making sure it is at a legal level?

    1,000 times the dose that would get a person "high" is the toxic level or smoking 5 lbs of weed in under 3 minutes to ingest enough of the active ingredient for it to become lethal.

    For reference Alcohol is 10 times the dose.

    It's called a choice, not an either or.

    Look at Israel for real research since the US hasn't been able to get the results that they want honestly.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 5:53 p.m.

    Re: "When cannabis is legalized this fall in Colorado or Washington or both, and the world doesn't end in those two states, will the Deseret News continue to side with ignorance?"

    If it is legalized, will heedless, reckless, heartless proponents accept responsibility for the increase in highway carnage that will certainly, predictably follow? Will they support the orphans of those massacred so potheads can enjoy a toke? Will they support the para and quadriplegics resulting from marijuana-impaired driving? Will they comfort the mothers of those killed by gangs and cartels in order to bring them their weed?

    Why do liberal potheads hate the innocent?

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Sept. 5, 2012 7:42 a.m.

    procuradorfiscal said:
    "If it is legalized, will heedless, reckless, heartless proponents accept responsibility for the increase in highway carnage that will certainly, predictably follow? Will they support the orphans of those massacred so potheads can enjoy a toke? Will they support the para and quadriplegics resulting from marijuana-impaired driving? Will they comfort the mothers of those killed by gangs and cartels in order to bring them their weed?"

    Congratulations your comments are more paranoid and extreme than any pot smoker or radio DJ I've ever met yet.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 5, 2012 8:15 a.m.

    Re: ". . . your comments are more paranoid and extreme than any pot smoker or radio DJ I've ever met yet."

    So, will you support the orphans of those massacred so potheads can enjoy a toke?

    I know it's a tough question, but it deserves an answer from those suggesting legalization of marijuana -- with it's certain and entirely predictable increase in the death toll -- is a solution, not a problem.

  • rpm9 Lehi, UT
    Sept. 5, 2012 9:02 a.m.

    How many more law enforcement deaths do we need before we realize that it is immoral to prohibit consensual activities, including marijuana usage?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Sept. 5, 2012 10:31 a.m.

    Happy Valley Heretic,

    Reference potency and allowable levels.

    I was not referring to toxicity. I am well aware that alcohol can become toxic at easily attainable levels.

    What I was referring to is the level of high produced. That is, we may consider allowing a lower level drug to be lawful (as we have alcohol) but as growing techniques improve and even genetic engineering introduced, at what level would the marijuana no longer be acceptable as a low level drug but instead be considered as a more potent one?

    That is the issue I meant to address. Sorry for the lack of clarity.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Sept. 5, 2012 12:05 p.m.

    procuradorfiscal said: So, will you support the orphans of those massacred so potheads can enjoy a toke?

    I know it's a tough question, but it deserves an answer from those suggesting legalization of marijuana -- with it's certain and entirely predictable increase in the death toll.

    Tell you what it's been legal in CA for a bit now, So where are the stats that say driving while high has increased because of decriminalizing it?

    Twinlights: Thanks for the clarification, but much like drinking it effects individuals differently depending on many other factors.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Sept. 5, 2012 1:19 p.m.

    Happy Valley Heretic,

    Agreed. Most things we categorize as vice are similar. Some can drink, smoke, or gamble moderately - walking away when they choose.

    But this is not the fate of all.

    For some, one drink, one try of a drug, one toss of the dice and they are hooked completely with financial and family devastation to follow.

    The problem is we have no warning written on us. We can look and act alike yet one of us experiences no particular thrill while the other experiences something that will call to him or her their entire life.

    Because the negatives of addiction translate to the large populace (we pick up the tab for the direct and indirect problems associated with the vice) we need to have a say in whether or not these are permitted in our society.

    We don't allow the children of the alcoholic to starve. We don't allow the drug addict to steal. We do allow the gambler to declare bankruptcy and wipe away his debts (including those to more legitimate businesses). There are many other examples.

    Because we deal with some of the costs, we should carefully consider what is allowed.

  • rpm9 Lehi, UT
    Sept. 5, 2012 2:47 p.m.

    I agree that the use of drugs has societal impact, therefore we should have a say in determining "what is allowed." The only problem is that we can't completely control what’s available. If we could completely prevent supply, there would be no problem.
    It is our prohibition of consensual activity that contributes to violent crime. We have reached a point where the violence, perpetrated by both criminals and the state both create larger ill effects on society than the consensual, but prohibited activity.

    Yeah, Marijuana is really bad for your health. And, if you drive under its influence, you may hurt others. But by making it illegal we've contributed to 1) huge criminal enterprises that cause more crime and violence and 2) violent, state-sponsored raids on homes that result in expensive court costs, incarceration costs, and oftentimes death.

    The best way to curb the ill effects of marijuana usage, and other consensual activity we'd like to prohibit, is to reduce demand by affecting people's personal choices. This is what we have done with tobacco, and we can do it with marijuana just as well. Persuasion works better than prohibition

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Sept. 5, 2012 3:21 p.m.

    @Mukkake

    "New state slogan: "Utah, this is the place where nobody is ever allowed to grow up.""

    Duh! : )

    Honestly this 'fear' of marijuana is really embarrassing. I mean really .... it's kind of funny. It's as if the commenters here watched Reefer Madness in the 50's and, since they've never tried it in their life, really think those are the effects.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 5, 2012 3:48 p.m.

    And our good friends to the north of us,
    Canada,
    With they legalized [un penalized] marijuana laws,
    is such a haven of thugs and Drug-Lords,
    stark raving mad and out-of-control a la Reefer Madness.

    Give me a break...

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 5, 2012 4:19 p.m.

    @procuradorfiscal
    "So, will you support the orphans of those massacred so potheads can enjoy a toke?

    I know it's a tough question, but it deserves an answer from those suggesting legalization of marijuana -- with it's certain and entirely predictable increase in the death toll -- is a solution, not a problem."

    Actually that's not exactly obvious since marijuana doesn't really cause medical deaths and legalizing it would reduce drug violence since that's one less drug for cartels to work with. You know who you sound like? Mayor Bloomberg.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Sept. 5, 2012 4:26 p.m.

    Legalizing marijuana would actually cause LESS deaths caused by the illegal drug trade, LESS tax dollars spent keeping prisoners who partake in this drug trade, and MORE tax dollars made by selling it legally.

    So we have less deaths, more tax money, less tax money spent ... and ... drum roll .... we move closer to giving American's the freedom this country is supposed to protect. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Sept. 5, 2012 8:15 p.m.

    rpm9,

    Yours is a classic libertarian argument. Using that same logic there is nothing that should be prohibited. Heroin, prostitution, etc. should all be allowed.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Sept. 6, 2012 2:06 p.m.

    Big oil pushed alcohol prohibition - can't have farmers running thier trucks on corn and selling hooch to thier neghbors to drink and drive on.

    Big Chem doesn't like Hemp or anything like it.

    Prohibition is a racket.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Sept. 6, 2012 2:11 p.m.

    All those drugs used to be legal.

    Hemp for Victory!

    More recently, and an area of US history the government is very keen to brush over is the 1940’s “Hemp for Victory” campaign. During the Second World War, imports of hemp were restricted, meaning that marine cordage, parachutes and other military essentials were in short supply. The government responded by distributing free cannabis seeds and allowing men to defer the draft if they agreed to stay home and support the war effort by growing hemp. By 1943, American farmers had harvested 375,000 acres of hemp.

  • Mike777 Springfield, OR
    Sept. 15, 2012 2:36 a.m.

    The hypocrite-in-chief of the USA, who claims he used marijuana is now trying to crack down on voter-approved laws that allow for medical use of marijuana. That is so odd since, had he been caught by the police when he was young, his career objectives would have been severely curtailed.

    If you look at how many people are in jail today we have the highest per-capita percentage in the world. Yes, the USA is a police state (try going through a TSA checkpoint recently?). Sending a person to jail for marijuana makes as much sense as cutting jaywalkers feet off as a punishment and then saying it will protect them in the long-run.