And the word of the day…

…goes to Maia Szalavitz, in a very interesting analysis in Time Magazine: Prop 19 Analysis: Will Marijuana Legalization Increase Use?

Many questions remain about what will happen if Proposition 19 passes, but the only result I can unequivocally predict is that drug policy debates will finally become less theoretical — and much more interesting.

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16 Responses to And the word of the day…

  1. strayan says:

    A better question:

    “Will Marijuana PROHIBITION Increase Use?”

    But I guess we already know the answer to that.

  2. Jon Doe says:

    Is an increase in cannabis use among adults really something that anyone should be concerned about?

  3. Dano says:

    I think we are already seeing a shift in policy direction at the DEA. For years they have been pushing lawmakers to give them more power over prescription drugs, and now much of their rhetoric seems to be pointing in that direction. There have been calls for a federal registry of all Dr/Pharmacy/Patients that prescribe/fill/use drugs that are frequently used on the street for recreation (vicodin and oxycontin just to name 2 big ones).

    If marijuana prohibition dies then those DEA officers want to protect their jobs and will start going after chronic pain sufferers and anyone associated with their prescriptions. Going to be the same old arguments – we put you in prison so you don’t hurt yourself!

    Hopefully the public will see through the lies, but then again I can’t go to the drug store and buy several “over the counter” drugs without signing a registry or being limited in quantity. My guess is the public will just accept the new prohibition without much question. After all “it’s for the children”…

  4. paul says:

    I think there will be a bump in use for a couple of years, then it will decline as the novelty wears off. Maybe even decline below current usage levels.

  5. claygooding says:

    I don’t expect my use to go up,unless I start staying up longer every day.

  6. Just me. says:

    My use will go up , as I dont consume now…only due to the fact I need a job to survive . A guys gotta eat. Even then it’ll be like having a beer or two after work.

    As paul stated above, after the novelty of it being legal wears wont be a big deal anymore…just like beer.

  7. darkcycle says:

    Clay, lay off the heavy indicas and stick to sativas ’till late at night. And increase your coffee intake. Nothing like the old “hippy speedball” to help prolong the smoking session. That should help some….and find a milder variety that lends itself to all day smoking, like blueberry or diablo (I can smoke the blue all day just for the flavor!). Afgooey is for sleeping. I’ll be right there trying to find a way to influence those statistics, too.

  8. kaptinemo says:

    Some very interesting insights from the Szalavitz article…but not enough is being said about something that needs fleshing out:

    “The trick is to determining how high to set the tax — the price has to be high enough to minimize consumption, but low enough to avoid creating a black market.”

    All well and good, and something we’ve touched on in the past. But then we get the following:

    “Regardless of how you feel about Prop 19, how to stop a race to the bottom is going to be important for everyone. No one wins if we end up with a really low tax rate on a really low price,” Kilmer says. To prevent that, he suggests that the state government could withhold certain types of funding to localities that set marijuana taxes under a certain limit.”

    Stop right there. Hold it. Hit the brakes, and hard, right effin’ NOW.

    This whole GD’d mess happened in no small part because of an elitist urge on the part of some anal-retentive types who desired a ‘drug-free’ Utopia via social engineering. Recall, the Fed law that outlawed cannabis to begin with was a tax.

    I and legions of cannabists are quite capable of self-regulating our own behavior, and don’t require a nanny of any sort to determine how much cannabis we may consume…most especially not some ignorant bureaucrat salivating and wetting his pants at the prospect of attempting that very same kind of social engineering via taxation.

    The market will, eventually, win out…as it almost always does. That is a given. But, of even greater importance, behind the mercantile aspects, has always been the issue of freedom. Namely, the freedom to do what you will with your own sovereign person. Let us never lose sight of that. Regain that most crucial of freedoms, and the crypto-fascist, authoritarian Nanny State that has been ‘slouching towards Bethlehem to be born’ will have to start turning back…and government doesn’t like that one bit, for it’s managed to grab powers it would never have been ceded otherwise.

    So much more is at stake than just being able to use your medicine in peace without fear. Basic freedoms have been increasingly trampled under the treads of the faux-‘public safety’ Juggernaut. Here’s our chance to slow the damned thing down, maybe even cripple it.

  9. undrgrndgirl says:

    as with the repeal of alcohol prohibition, yes, there will probably be an uptick in use…as with the repeal of alcohol prohibition, there will be a falling off after the initial uptick to levels of use similar to those we see now, though hopefully cannabis users will begin to come out of the closet…

  10. permanentilt says:

    From the article:
    “One thing the ICSDP report makes clear is that current U.S. drug policy has no effect on marijuana prices or use.”

    UUUUHHHHH what????? Actually it clearly shows that US drug policy ABSOLUTELY has an impact on prices or use. THE MORE WE CRACK DOWN ON USE THE LOWER THE PRICES GO, THE HIGHER THE POTENCY GOES, AND THE HIGHER THE USE GOES! I thought that was the point of the whole article!

  11. paul says:


    I totally agree. It sticks in my libertarian craw to read social engineering stuff like that, but if getting into bed with nannies like that is what it takes to win legalization, I’m ready.

    I’m certainly not going to respect her the morning after, and I’ll be screening her calls, but for right now, its time to boogey.

  12. malcolmkyle says:

    Here are some facts concerning the situation in Holland. –Please save a copy and use it as a reference when debating prohibitionists who claim the exact opposite concerning reality as presented here below:

    ”Cannabis coffee shops” are not only restricted to the Capital of Holland, Amsterdam. They can be found in more than 50 cities and towns across the country. At present, only the retail sale of five grams is tolerated, so production remains criminalized. The mayors of a majority of the cities with coffeeshops have long urged the national government to also decriminalize the supply side.

    A poll taken earlier this year indicated that some 50% of the Dutch population thinks cannabis should be fully legalized while only 25% wanted a complete ban. Even though 62% of the voters said they had never taken cannabis. An earlier poll also indicated 80% opposing coffee shop closures.

    It is true that the number of coffee shops has fallen from its peak of around 2,500 throughout the country to around 700 now. The problems, if any, concern mostly “drug tourists” and are largely confined to cities and small towns near the borders with Germany and Belgium. These problems, mostly involve traffic jams, and are the result of cannabis prohibition in neighboring countries. “Public nuisance problems” with the coffee shops are minimal when compared with bars, as is demonstrated by the rarity of calls for the police for problems at coffee shops.

    While it is true that lifetime and “past-month” use rates did increase back in the seventies and eighties, the critics shamefully fail to report that there were comparable and larger increases in cannabis use in most, if not all, neighboring countries which continued complete prohibition.

    According to the World Health Organization only 19.8 percent of the Dutch have used marijuana, less than half the U.S. figure.
    In Holland 9.7% of young adults (aged 15–24) consume soft drugs once a month, comparable to the level in Italy (10.9%) and Germany (9.9%) and less than in the UK (15.8%) and Spain (16.4%). Few transcend to becoming problem drug users (0.44%), well below the average (0.52%) of the compared countries.

    The WHO survey of 17 countries finds that the United States has the highest usage rates for nearly all illegal substances.

    In the U.S. 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. The results for cocaine use were similar, with the U.S. again leading the world by a large margin.

    Even more striking is what the researchers found when they asked young adults when they had started using marijuana. Again, the U.S. led the world, with 20.2 percent trying marijuana by age 15. No other country was even close, and in Holland, just 7 percent used marijuana by 15 — roughly one-third of the U.S. figure.

    In 1998, the US Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey claimed that the U.S. had less than half the murder rate of the Netherlands. “That’s drugs,” he explained. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics immediately issued a special press release explaining that the actual Dutch murder rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people, or less than one-quarter the U.S. murder rate.

    Here’s a very recent article by a psychiatrist from Amsterdam, exposing “Drug Czar misinformation”

    Now let’s look at a comparative analysis of the levels of cannabis use in two cities: Amsterdam and San Francisco, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health May 2004,

    The San Francisco prevalence survey showed that 39.2% of the population had used cannabis. This is 3 times the prevalence found in the Amsterdam sample

    Source: Craig Reinarman, Peter D.A. Cohen and Hendrien L. Kaal, “The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy”

    Moreover, 51% of people who had smoked cannabis in San Francisco reported that they were offered heroin, cocaine or amphetamine the last time they purchased cannabis. In contrast, only 15% of Amsterdam residents who had ingested marijuana reported the same conditions. Prohibition is the ‘Gateway Policy’ that forces cannabis seekers to buy from criminals who gladly expose them to harder drugs.

    The indicators of death, disease and corruption are even much better in the Netherlands than in Sweden for instance, a country praised by UNODC for its “successful” drug policy.”

    Here’s Antonio Maria Costa doing his level best to avoid discussing the success of Dutch drug policy:

    The Netherlands also provides heroin on prescription under tight regulation to about 1500 long-term heroin addicts for whom methadone maintenance treatment has failed.

    The Dutch justice ministry announced, last year, the closure of eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty. There’s simply not enough criminals

    For further information, kindly check out this very informative FAQ provided by Radio Netherlands:
    or go to this page:

  13. Duncan20903 says:

    Say, did everyone here get a chance to look at that bastion of drug free living, the People’s Republic of China?

    My apologies if this is a repeat in this forum.

  14. Duncan20903 says:

    “Recall, the Fed law that outlawed cannabis to begin with was a tax.”

    The 1937 Marihuana Tax Act was more accurately the end of the process of criminalizing cannabis. 46 of the 48 states had already criminalized cannabis under state law. California was the first to criminalize in 1913. They did it to get rid of the Mexicans. Damned prohibitionists can’t make anything work. 97 years later the people of California are still up to their eyeballs in Mexicans.
    clay, LOL. May I suggest that you switch from inhalation to ingestion? You use a lot more cannabis when you eat it.

    Doesn’t it matter to the know nothings how any possible ‘increase’ in cannabis use occurs? I guess it could be a problem if suddenly people like the Amish start getting high, but the number of people who are sober as judges that take up cannabis will be small enough to count on one hand, with fingers left over. It is much more likely that people that spend their days on a barstool will be responsible for any increase in cannabis ‘use’, and I can’t for the life of me see that as a bad thing.

    I did read a story about an Amish from Paradise (near Lancaster PA) who got a DUI for riding in his horse drawn buggy with a BAC of .18. I say riding because he was passed out unconscious and got pulled over because his horse preferred to be in the middle of the two way road. I’ve never read an analysis of how horse drawn transportation prevents most alcohol induced accidents. Well, as long as the horse isn’t drunk as well.

    Hey, I found the news article:

    How about a DUI for a crippled person riding in a wheelchair?

    All the world is queer save thee and me. And even thou art a little queer. – Sir Robert Owen

  15. Duncan20903 says:

    Malcolm, it is strange that we rarely, if ever hear a know nothing suggest that Germany, Belgium, and France should repeal their laws against cannabis production, distribution, and possession because of the burden those laws have on the Dutch. Another consideration is that Masstricht has a location that makes it easy for the foreigners to visit. California has one comparable location in Lake Tahoe. All of their major cities are located on the west side of the state and only San Diego and Lake Tahoe California are near an adjacent jurisdiction. San Diego’s neighboring jurisdiction is of course a foreign country. Given the right regulatory climate I suppose a ‘drug tourist’ industry could cause a couple of ‘drug tourist’ locations to be authorized and built near the borders. After all, Las Vegas exists because it was created as a ‘gambling’ tourist attraction.

    For a time I lived in Hardin County, Kentucky which is a dry county. At least it was last time I was there in 2006. If you were in Radcliff KY you were about 5 miles from the Meade County border. You should see the size of the liquor super stores that are about 500 feet into Meade county.

  16. Carol says:

    The way I see it, there will be a seeming increase in cannabis use. The problem is, is it a lasting increase, simply more people open about their use, or curiosity? Probably somewhere in the middle. Some people who was wanted to consume for non-medical reasons but were afraid of the police will try it, others will be just curious, and others will simply be more open. While I do expect a higher normal level, I don’t think it will be that great an increase as prohibitionists think. The novelty will wear off for some, and the rest will settle into a moderate level of use.

    After all, it’s just a plant, and like any other plant some people will like it, some won’t like or tolerate it, and some people just aren’t interested. Once the

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