Pot and That Kettle of Booze…

Are you one of those soft-headed “libruls” who want to decriminalize pot? If so, add this to your list of arguments.

A new study compared all kinds of substances, and found that pot is more than 100 times safer than alcohol.(They didn’t take the “munchies” and consequential obesity into account, however…)  Researchers found that booze is actually the deadliest substance of all, and–based upon their findings– recommended that US law enforcement focus a lot less on pot-related crimes.

According to the Washington Post

Those are the top-line findings of recent research published in the journal Scientific Reports, a subsidiary of Nature. Researchers sought to quantify the risk of death associated with the use of a variety of commonly used substances. They found that at the level of individual use, alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine.

So, put that in your pipe and smoke it. (Okay, a little inappropriate humor there….)

For the past thirty years, at least, criminal justice scholars have documented the flaws in American drug policy. The drug war has been a costly, monumental failure–in addition to its clear failure to reduce hard drug use, it has decimated communities of color, ruined countless lives, distorted foreign policy…and the beat goes on.

Drug use is not the same thing as drug abuse. And drug abuse should be addressed as the  public health issue it is, not through the criminal justice system. (You’d think we might have learned a thing or two about overreaction during Prohibition…)

When ideology and “morality” trump evidence and common sense, you get profoundly stupid policies. We do “profoundly stupid” a lot.


  1. This is the same data that has been presented over and over for 30 years without effecting a change in the “system”. Don’t Bogart this information, pass it on.

  2. Thanks Prof K. Our nation should spend ZERO dollars arresting, prosecuting and jailing Pot smokers. Our current system is a tragic failure. Lives broken. Billions of dollars of scarce funding wasted. Billions of tax revenue lost. No chance of fixing it while the party of stupid runs the country. The justice dept could quit wasting their time and OUR money on it as could the DEA. That should be an executive branch option. Focus on REAL problems. What a concept.

  3. I actually like the place DC is now put (with the obvious exception of throwing all their elected officials in jail) thanks to congress. Legalization, combined with commercialization, is a lousy result, and what we’ve done with alcohol pretty much proves it.

  4. Don’t know pot personally, inhaled or not, but do alcohol. I don’t see either as a criminal activity but neither is a great choice for people with addictive personalities. Like unhealthy food isn’t. Or sex. Or consumerism. Or gun collecting.

    Wait, maybe the problem is addictive personalities.

  5. It is not accurate to say the war on drugs is a failure. It failed to curtail drug use. However, it was very successful in incarcerating African Americans, creating a fantasy super-predator crack addict on his way to rape your wife and murder your children, letting candidates for office look “tough on crime” without actually doing anything, turning the Constitution on it head with civil forfeitures without convictions, and creating and enriching a private prison industry which, in turns, supports the candidates. It has been very successful indeed. It’s just that the real goals were hidden in the footnotes.

  6. This story on the Perils of Pot is filed under You ain’t heard nothing yet. from the Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/03/marijuana-stoned-rabbits-utah-weakest-ploy-yet-legal-weed. Utah is considering a bill Utah that would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to be treated with edible forms of marijuana.

    According to a article in the Washington Post – DEA special agent Matt Fairbanks, member of the “marijuana eradication” team in Utah said in testimony : Fairbanks said that at some illegal marijuana grow sites he saw “rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana. …” He continued: “One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone.”

    I cannot confirm if Agent Fairbanks showed the movie “Reefer Madness” to Utah Legislators. So the next time you see a Rabbit acting strange, drawn toward you as you listen to Steppenwolf, the Rabbit may be high. Our Prison for Profit System will probably begin Lobbying our Elected Officials to lock up the High Rabbits.

  7. Hmmmm … High Rabbit Pie ?

    First incarcerate your Rabbit on a diet of Pot.
    A brace of Rabbits should suffice, Chopped Onions,
    Carrots, perhaps a little Fennel. Raised Water pastry
    etc, etc.

  8. I will confess I have never smoked marijuana and to be frank I don’t think I would know what it smelled like. That being said I came acrossed a caption today on Facebook that really struck me that I had to share….
    “Colorado sold 17 million tons of retail marijuana in its first year”, Reuters, Feb. 27, 2015
    “Life in prison for selling $20 of weed”, The Daily Beast, Feb. 27, 2015.

    Below these caption the article’s title…Two headlines that sum up everything wrong with the American drug policy.

  9. My most nonsensical memory during my 18 months as a member of the Indiana Parole Board was having to send back parolees to complete long prison terms based on violating their release terms by smoking marijuana…because the “upcharge” remains, and prosecutors can charge it as a D Felony if there is a prior conviction…26k a year the taxpayers would pay to re-incarcerate offenders on a sentence having nothing to do with the violation…senseless except to those who profit from the privatization of most of the prison services – especially medical – and even completely private prisons…

    No wait, worse was when we had to send them back for stealing dinner, yes dinner! We have to fix government, especially the treatment of felons post-release…

  10. (“Colorado sold 17 million tons of retail marijuana in its first year”, Reuters, Feb. 27, 2015)

    Is this correct ?

    2014 population of Colorado was 5.36 million, that’s a lot of pot per person.

  11. Indiana NORML has been working on this issue since 1974. There is no valid reason for Marijuana to be illegal. This nation has spent over a Trillion dollars since 1968 locking up, mostlly, otherwise law abiding pot smokers. It has ruined lives of many victims of the incarceration model.

    Marijuana is far safer than alcohol, physically, mentally and emotionally, and there is no valid reason to continue prohibition.

    Medically, Marijuana is proven an effective treatment for many illnesses, but Senator Patricia Miller saw fit to disregard suffering Hoosiers and refused to hear a sound bill that would have helped thousands of us.

    We must turn this tide, for the betterment of our state.

  12. My question (seriously) is how. How do we stop our War on Drugs? We stopped our war on Viet Nam when we admitted we were losing and we were throwing money away. We stopped our war on Iraq when we admitted we were losing and we were throwing money away. And we stopped our war on Afghanistan when we admitted we were losing and throwing money away. How do we stop our War on Drugs when it’s obvious we’re losing and throwing our money away?

  13. There should really never be a comparison of cannabis to alcohol. Our bodies have cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are responsible for the overall homeostasis of the body. Cannabinoids are more important to your health than Vitamin C. There are cannabinoids in breast milk and the mother and baby have extra cannabinoids to deal with the birthing process. They help both with the pain during delivery. They help the baby to forget the trauma. These are endogenous, made in the body, cannabinoids. They are also made when we exercise, leading to “runners high” in combination with other things like endorphins. When the body is not working correctly, extra are created. It’s when the body does not that we experience problems in healing. One way of replacing or supplementing is by using exogenous cannabinoids, found outside of the body, such as pot. This is not what alcohol can offer and why pot doesn’t leave the system as quickly as other “drugs” and has never caused an overdose. Therefore marijuana should be regulated like tomatoes. The whole reason it remains illegal is not just because of ignorance, but because other industries don’t want the competition with their synthetic versions of the same thing. It was found to cure cancer by a team of scientists who were commissioned by Nixon to report on all of the bad things that marijuana could do (none were found). That report was shut in 1972. Now we have a plant that is patented by the government for it’s curative properties, but it kept illegal-why?

  14. It’s not like marijuana is some sort of innocent cure-all, anymore than alcohol (which is our most abused drug). With all the talk about the good things that happen to you when you smoke marijuana, there is quite a list of bad things, too (criminalization notwithstanding). We do not understand the identity and nature of all the contents of unfiltered marijuana smoke, but I’m pretty sure that cancer (sooner with a quicker death) is one of those little nasty side effects, which happens when you breathe it in and hold it while it condenses on your alveoli. Yes, I know, the person who says “Well, it depends”, and “It’s more complicated than that” is the turd in the punchbowl at the party, but none of this stuff is exactly health food. Intelligent consumers should be fully aware of the downsides of whatever they use, if just to avoid that “nobody told me” defense when the family is preparing to pull the plug. It needs to be clearly heard by the adolescents (and adolescent brains) that seem to be everywhere.

  15. Sorry to rain on everyone’s parade, but I’d much rather my teenagers abuse alcohol than pot. Alcohol abuse has been going on since at least Noah, and many successful people throughout history have been heavy drinkers. This is not as true for potheads. Pot causes you to not care. You may not die from it, you may not destroy your liver, but it will make you easier to live with, more compliant, less hard driving, less alive. Ultimately it will make society less successful (think Idiocracy). Granted, I use personal experience of potheads and alcoholics to say this, but I can’t find any studies to back me up or discount me.

  16. You must be kidding, Turning in Circles. You admit you have no studies to back you up, you make unfounded factual assertions based on nothing but your own intuition, you reveal utter ignorance of the physical and pharmacological effects of pot vs. alcohol, and yet you want anyone to take your comments seriously? Maybe you should light up a joint, chill out, and yield the floor to the experts and commenters who are informed on this subject, unlike yourself.

  17. While pot may be the most used illegal drug, alcohol is the most abused legal drug that stands far and away more used than any or even all of the illegal drugs. The damage it does to people is in the billions of billions, wrecking people fast, slow and all kinds of ways, and obliterating pasts, presents and futures. If you want see personal, physical and psychological catastrophes, consider alcohol. Don’t wish for or prefer that for anyone. For every successful drinker, there are thousands of ruined lives, a gamble you and your kids are sure to lose.

    If you look at the money spent on tobacco vs. alcohol, cigs at least pay their way. Alcohol is a very expensive and awful way to go. The studies on alcoholism will back up every detail of everything I’ve said. Pot isn’t good, but pot is hardly in the game. Alcohol is the 800 pound gorilla in the drug alternatives. If you think differently, think again, read it and weep for those who have gone before us, the ones who suffer now and the futures of those who are in line to take on hell.

    Instead of comparing which method you might use to ruin your life, how about considering the many options out there to make a positive contribution while you are here.

  18. Turning in Circles either has spent little time around alcoholics or grew up in an alcoholic family so that condition is normal to him/her. Thanks, Stuart, for offering an intelligent option.

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