My Analysis of the CNBC debate on Marijuana legalization (or Untruths the Prohibitionists Tell).

In a fantastic demonstration of how much our national attitude to marijuana prohibition has changed in the short time since president Obama was elected, there was a serious discussion regardling the legalization of marijuana on CNBC.

Rob Kampia does a fantastic job in his media appearances.  He always comes across as calm, rational, and well informed.  Unfortunately these debate forums are atrocious when it comes to doing any kind of real analysis of an issue, as the participants simply don’t get enough time to challenge conveniently accepted falsehoods.

So I thought I’d point out the misinformation and disingenuity on the part of Asa Hutchinson which Rob didn’t have the opportunity to specifically address:

“Legalizing will expand use”.  Quoth mister Hutchinson:

The question is whether it should be expanded or legalized, absolutely not.  If you look at harmful drugs, whether it’s tobacco or other hard drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, the objective of society is to reduce the use of harmful drugs.  If you legalize another harmful drug the question is will it expand use and avaiability?  The answer is absolutely yes!  Why would you want to do that?

In this statement, Mr. Hutchinson lumps marijuana, cocain and methamphetamine together. This is a common ploy trying to create the mental association of harm with marijuana, despite the fact that marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine are vastly different from one another with respect to their levels of harm. But mr. Kampia is right to simply ignore this, as it is a red herring.

The real lie is the statement that legalizing a drug will lead to an increase in the use of a drug. Mr Kampia makes a valid comparison to Alcohol prohibition, which the announcer fails to fathom. What Mr. Kampia is saying is prohibition does not reduce cannabis use. Since prohibtion has been put in place, marijuana use in America has increased, not decreased. 30 years of a draconian war on drugs have not helped either. On the other hand, Holland, where marijuana can be legally bought, sold and smoked, has lower cannabis consumption than its neighboring countries, where Marijuana is illegal. Oh, and  Decriminalization has also had a positive influence on Portugal’s drug problem.. In other words, prohibition does no good, only harm.

“The population resists the the legalisation of marijuana”

Thus far in the last 8 years they have not been successful in changing the law. In fact Alaska decriminalized Marijuana, when they saw it became a huge problem they adjusted the law and recriminalized it. And so the population still resists the legalization of marijuana. But it’s a public decision, but whenever you talk about the cost benefit, first of all the figures on enforcement thats applies across the board whether it’s all illegal drugs. If you legalize one drug you’ve still got enforcement coss on the whole vast range of methamphetamine, other uh, illegal drugs.

I think the strategy here is “if you can’t blind them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bullshit”. Put more cynically, in order to defend an indefensible policy, a common tactic is to lie so many times ina given statement, that its challenging for your debate opponent to respond intelligently — they just don’t know where to start.
The anouncer penetrates his bullshit on the cost front. I’d just like to point out: look there’s that anaology to the methamphetamine boogyman. Who cares that legalizing marijuana would free up resources for methamphetmine combat? Who cares that evidence suggests that treatment and counceling would probably do more good at combating methamphetamine use than criminal processes?

His citation of the status of Marijuana in Alaska is equally fascinating. There is no part of what he said that is truthful. As near as I can tell he was referring to this, but do your own research on the subject.
And of course his argument boils down to”look, pot’s illegal, it wouldn’t be illegal in a democracy if people didn’t want it to be illegal! So stop trying to make it legal!”. Baffle with bullshit. It’s such a fucking stupid argument it’s impossible to argue against it. It also completely ignores the fact that many states have decriminalized marijuana, but are suffering under federal policies.

“Prohibition saves lives”

If your motivation is to bring revenue to the government: legalize, regulate. But if your motivation is to reduce the usage, to save teenage lives, to reduce dependence, to strengthen our culture, then the cost is worth it and the revenue should not be a motivation.

Baldface lie, as I’ve pointed out above. I like that Rob Kampia points out the lie in his following line of bullshit about the health consquences of marijuana.

I love it that one of their commentators call marijuana a natural resource.

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