I just finished watching a documentary, "The Union, the business behind getting high", on Netflix (Netflix is my addiction).  Damning as far as setting forth an argument against prohibition, showing the societal costs of prohibition as opposed to lack of known negatives.  To be transparent about my own situation, I used as a teenager, thought better of it after getting some heroin-tainted product (which was too amazing), and never used again.  Didn't like getting high anyway.  I don't smoke, almost never drink, and it took a major disc problem before I was willing to take vicodin, and then only very briefly.  I really hate what oxycodone has done to our medical system and to management of pain in the susceptible, addictive-prone populations.  Purdue-Pharma has destroyed many lives, and made megabux, on oxycontin.  But I certainly don't care if other people use marijuana. 


The documentary set forth arguments for medical benefits in certain settings.  In some ways, they sound like "cure-all" benefits of other herbs, vitamins, and "natural products".  The costs of prohibition are significant, including infrastructure, outlays for employment of enforcing personnel, adding to distrust of government, and restriction of individual freedoms for little reason.



Costs of prohibition:

High incarceration rate.

Diversion of resources from other needs.

Miseducation of the public.

Deprives citizens of a generally safe product for entertainment and palliation.


Benefits of prohibition:

Certain industries benefit - private prisons, employment of prison guards, pharmaceutical industries.

Certain politicians benefit.  Plus, they're afraid that if they support repeal of prohibition, they'll lose the next election.

Parents get to have a soothing, false sense of security that their kids aren't using weed.  Just ocycontin and heroin.



It bothers me that marijuana is promoted as medicinal.  Even with certain benefits, the doctor is currently put in the impossible position of either being a 'go-to' person for "marijuana cards" - potentially putting their license at risk, and swamping their practice with people who want it for their 'headaches', 'back pain', and other real or not-real symptoms.  In addition, with increasing issues of oxycodone and other narcotic diversion, the DEA requires drug testing of some pain patients and if marijuana is present, their legal narcotic prescriptions must sometimes be cancelled.  With no quality control, safety regulation, dose management, it's impossible for the doctor to know what they are prescribing, or if it is safe or effective.  Not to mention, there is no training in use of marijuana and it doesnt come with long, lawyer-written disclaimers about the zillions of potential side effects that you get with, say, your cholesterol or blood pressure pills.


Really, medical marijuana seems like a 'back-door' route to  legalization.  But it's no more honest than people who want it illegal to "limit use", since it certainly hasn't eliminated use.



The primary use of marijuana is and should be recreational.  As for actual scientific trials of marijuana - I'm not sure there are any, or many, good clinical trials.  If someone wants to use it "medicinally", it should be in the same category as naturopathy or herbalism, unless controlled trials are able to demonstrate specific benefits in specific medical scenarios.  What is so bad about people having some fun?  It's safer than booze.  It's already illegal to drive while intoxicated, wehther with ethanol or marijuana.


What would happen if we eliminated the prohibition?



1 - Monsanto would make genetically engineered marijuana, and drive small players out of the market.  The Monsanto product would be Roundup-Ready, contain B. thuringensis as a pesticide, and contain zero (as opposed to almost zero) THC.  This would be a better renewable product than some of our other fiber and paper products.  (That being said, most of the hemp clothes that I have seen are really scratchy - maybe Ive just seen the wrond ones).  The tobacco companies, with existing manufacturing and marketing infrastructure, might dominate the market.


2 - Large scale use of hemp as an agricultural commodity, for fabric, fiber, and other uses, would make available billions of acres of plant material, and swamp the market with fake marijuana, resulting in sales of non-intoxicating hemp as bogus marijuana.  The only way for people to be sure that their weed is good, will be development of brand name products. 


3 - Companies like Marboro would get into the recreational marijuana industry, developing trusted brand names so that people could be reassured that they are buying "the real deal" instead of hemp intended for T-shirt manufacture or paper.  Some people would grow their own.  The plants do look pretty. 


Where is the nonsense in discussion of marijuana?

-claiming It's incredibly harmful.

-claiming Dire consequences would occur if prohibition ended.

-claiming It's a cure-all for anything that ails you.

-claiming It's a medicinal product and should be treated as medicine.


So that's my 2¢

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks Maggie, welcome to No Nonsense.

I've seen The Corporation - quite powerful. I thought of it when I wrote the bit about demonizing. Well, I saw most of it. I couldn't watch the animal segment (I'm vegetarian for ethical reasons).

It is available to watch free here
On Wiki, a summary, but absent any discussion of the change to flimsier cups, will have to find that somewhere else. Will be tomorrow, have work to do.

I tried the hyperlink button in the reply box, but it didn't go into my other answer.
Temps are in there, 190 plus.
But I discovered something new linked to the wiki report, there is an award named after the woman who suffered blisters and a burn ward vacation. Her name was Stella, and in addition to the money she received, she is now honored in this way.
I heard this discussed on talk radio some years back, and great hilarity resulted from a discussion of her age, her groin area injury, and the relative value of her groin area related to her age. Does this person, even if she was clumsy with her coffee, and didn't deserve a cash award at all, deserve no respect?
Maybe it's because I've used marijuana for some many years, That part of me that thinks other peoples' pain is funny got burnt out...
Stella Awards

Overlawyered has a lot of stuff on the Stella Liebeck case. Start here and follow the 'related posts' links.
Yeah, skin grafts are simply not funny. On the other hand, part of the Wiki article goes into the fact that McDonald's is not outside industry practices in serving their coffee that hot, and that if you lower the temperature too much, it really does affect the flavor.

I suspect a stronger case could be made against the design of the cup. After all, it was the necessity of removing the lid to add cream/sugar that put Ms. Liebeck at the most immediate risk. The McDonalds restaurants I have visited in the last couple of years have solved this problem (for the most part) by asking how many creams and sugars you want and then putting them in for you prior to affixing the lid. This seems like a reasonable precaution and reflects a service-oriented approach without adding significantly to McDonald's costs. But it's at least within the imagination that a superior, yet still inexpensive, cup design could allow safe manipulation in a car by clumsy people. Rather than accept routine damage settlements, why not invest in more product and process design research to lower the risks? Seems like a win-win to me.

In any event, I think a very similar, though perhaps more apt, case is that of the Ford Pinto's exploding gas tank. Ford knew about the problem, but their cost/benefit analysis said it was cheaper to just settle death or injury claims rather than improve the safety of the car. I think their cost/benefit analysis was seriously flawed in that it did not consider the effect on the company's reputation from negative publicity, which amounted to millions and would have tilted the decision the other way. That blind spot cost the company dearly, as well it should have.

It's all well and good to tut-tut with caveat emptors, but in a high-speed, mass-produced economy, producers of goods and services have an obligation to ensure that they are constantly improving their safety record. Cost/benefit analyses must cast a wide net. There is a point of diminishing returns, but myopia is always wrong, and always redounds to the bottom line.
My favorite warning is the one on soda cans: open away from face to avoid injury.
My fave is one I saw on a battery-powered hair dryer: "don't use without battery."
I bought a bottle of champagne that had the warning, "Wear protective glasses when opening" - not pointing it at your head might be another option.
My favorire is on the froen dinners. Step 1: Take out of box.
A very necessary step. I've seen friends prepare a cake with full eggs (i.e., with shells), and my own brother once put a frozen pizza into the oven without removing the plastic wrapping.
Why is it that whenever you respond to me I discover embarrassing typos?
Susan, Apple Safari and (I think) Google Chrome automatically do spell-checking as you type, like Microsoft Word does. I'm sure Microsoft will work this into IE at some point.

On the other hand, I don't think those were especially embarrassing typos. I just thought you were talking about French cuisine frozen dinners. Which is a pretty funny idea, actually.
Don't listen to Jason. The culprit here is my Evil Eye™. It brings bad luck to people, in different ways. In your case, when I reply to your posts it makes you retroactively commit typos.




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