Huffpost Denver
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Bob Enyart Headshot

Great Marijuana Debate Rebuttal: A Risk We Shouldn't Have to Tolerate

Posted: Updated:

Yes, long-term pot use leads to disorganized thinking. But can't at least one person out of the thousand commenting here on HuffPo recognize how arbitrary they all are? Hundreds of angry comments hit one side for mentioning God. But not a peep is heard against the pro-pot lawyer for quoting the Bible.

My opponent Robert Corry and the "HuffPot" readers posting comments are making arguments that have nothing to do with right and wrong.

So the sum total of everything they've said cannot possibly determine whether it is wrong to decriminalize marijuana. All who claim that right and wrong are irrelevant can no longer argue that the anti-pot side is wrong.

All they have left then is raw force. So if there are fewer level heads than potheads (and their supporters), then by majority rule they just might be able to decriminalize marijuana.

And speaking of majority rule, while reading Mr. Corry and the many comments, I see that marijuana advocates are familiar with our founding fathers. So they'll recall that the majority once approved of laws allowing men to own other men as property. Those quoting leaders from back then tell of the antebellum expectation that hemp could have saved the world, and would have except for cruel prejudice. Today, all those who think majority rule should replace absolute right and wrong therefore reject that smoking pot can even theoretically be "wrong." But then they sure can't claim that slavery was "wrong" either (unless they're smoking).

I appeal to those who know, and to those who are still open to the possibility, that right and wrong actually exist. I think Mr. Corry would agree with me that "Thou shall not murder," is not just a good idea; it's the law. And it "was" the law, even before any constitution or king said so, as per the book my opponent quoted from. For those who oppose legislating morality, please be inconsistent when it comes to rape, kidnapping, stealing, and murder. For God's enduring commands include: "Thou shall not steal" and "Thou shall not bear false witness," which we call perjury, and also from Exodus: "Thou shall not kidnap," which alone if enforced would have prevented America's slave trade.

MONEY: Apparently conceding the higher ground of right and wrong to the anti-pot side, Mr. Corry's argument to decriminalize pot is arbitrary: money. He wrote, "The war on marijuana costs us money." Yes. So do our efforts to prevent murder. And the government does a lousy job deterring that too. But that's not a reason to decriminalize murder. And for those currently smoking, I am NOT comparing smoking pot to murder. I'm testing the form of Robert's argument: It costs a lot; it's not working; we should give up.

FREEDOM: In his next section, Mr. Corry tells us that, "marijuana prohibition was born out of racially-charged fears of Mexicans and blacks." But he forgets to add that therefore cocaine law must be targeting attorneys since cocaine is the lawyers' drug of choice. And I appreciate Mr. Corry quoting from Genesis 1 (although his references get a different response; when I mention God it burns the eyes of our readers, like tossing holy water at a vampire). "God gave man every seed-bearing plant;" they were good, and the Lord gave them to man for food. But don't stop there. Keep reading just till chapter 3. Man's rebellion destroyed the original paradise. The ground was cursed. That's why today the Earth has many dangerous plants.

Reading a bit further explains why it is wrong to offer hemlock, or intoxicants, to our friends. Then, again arbitrarily, Mr. Corry fails to test his own argument with other illicit behaviors, like sexual assault in prison. He argues: "If the government cannot keep marijuana [out of jail] can anyone seriously argue prohibition is enforceable in the general population?" The same could be said for rape. And again, stoners, I'm not comparing getting high to rape -- I'm exposing Mr. Corry's reasoning as arbitrary.

SAFETY: And here too, of course Mr. Corry would not apply many of his own arguments to other behaviors, like trafficking in children or killing the innocent. "Human demand for marijuana [innocent blood, sex trafficking] has lasted thousands of years, and will never go away." So what. The arguments, not being based on right and wrong, are meaningless.

CHILDREN: "It is literally easier for American schoolchildren to obtain marijuana than beer." What does that have to do with anything? It's easier for students to steal cars than buy them, to cheat rather than earn an A; and to get pregnant rather than buy pornography. So what? These are arbitrary observations that obscure the underlying issues of right and wrong.

Ending the pot prohibition will affect kids as consumption increases. Pot propaganda and studies alleging that during prohibition cirrhosis of the liver and crime didn't decrease all that much, claim that that "prohibition doesn't work anyway." No one would get noticed reporting that it gets darker after dusk, nor that prohibition reduced alcohol consumption. And add to that the decades of pro-pot bias on universities and it's amazing that any studies admit any increase in alcohol-related problems since prohibition ended.

Uniform crime statistics leave much to be desired today, and in the 1920s and '30s such data was nonexistent and has to be recreated by secondary indicators. But regardless, of course for the average person alcohol consumption significantly decreased during prohibition, and with that decrease, there would be fewer child victims from alcohol-related crimes.

The U.S. Census Bureau today counts more than 4,000 alcoholic beverage wholesalers with 178,000 employees, and more than 43,000 bars with a third-of-a-million employees with alcohol also sold at more than 31,000 liquor stores by 147,000 employees and in a hundred thousand grocery stores, hotels, casinos, airplanes, and restaurants with a mature industry distribution channel employing a fleet of tens of thousands of modern 18-wheelers. Adjust for population all you want, and even if we had no evidence of a decrease in crime or cirrhosis, the very laws of physics falsify the misconception that prohibition didn't decrease alcohol consumption. For there is no way that America's massive Budweiser, Coors, Bacardi, Gallo, etc., alcohol distribution system could be compressed into a secret criminal endeavor supplying speakeasies in the wee hours of the night.

So consumption of pot would increase with decriminalization, just as medical marijuana has already lead to Colorado's "stoned driving epidemic." Then, as parents get high (as with pot, alcohol, or any substance), they become a threat to their own children (and to neighbors, emergency workers, etc.) and as a result more kids will suffer.

The argument is not that alcohol should therefore be recriminalized. Rather, it should be criminal to get drunk (which it's not) or to possess a substance the normal use of which gets the average person high. Of the many comments I've read not a single one even attempted to refute the main point from my first round. I couldn't find one showing the point was even understood.

Here's the main point. There's a difference in the normal, proscribed use of alcohol, versus the normal use of recreational drugs, whether crack, or ecstasy, or pot. The normal use of hash gets people high. (But no one would learn that by reading Wikipedia's Hashish entry as of March 22, for with the culture's godless bias, there's NOT A SINGLE REFERENCE in the whole article to "drug," "intoxicant," nor even the possibility of getting "high," as though they were reviewing coffee beans.) On the other hand, millions of people drink a beer or a glass of wine every night (many, even for decades) and don't get drunk (nor slow and stupid). But millions of people cannot smoke a joint and not get high. I first observed pot smokers getting high in the 1970s on just a few puffs. And hosting a talk radio show for twenty years has kept me up to speed on the constantly increasing potency of marijuana that makes it much easier to get wasted today than it was decades ago.

Extrapolating from my firsthand observations, from the former potheads who've said as much on my talk show, and from increasing potency, it is obvious that for many millions of people, even a single drag, or two, or three, on a marijuana cigarette, will get them high. I also allege that the culture's continued mocking of potheads (Why do you think they call it dope?) is an indication that countless millions intuitively know that prolonged pot smoking makes people dopes.

Demonstrably, unless a pothead goes through detox for a week to a month, he's slower mentally. And we all still call it dope. Even the aforementioned biased Wikipedia admits that the long-term effects of cannabis have "been correlated with the development of various mental disorders in multiple studies." And of course it's addicting, for there is often compulsive use even among those who acknowledge harmful effects on relationships, work, etc.

Drunk and stoned people present an increased risk to their neighbors and society at large, a risk we shouldn't have to tolerate. A marksman can shoot a gun in a park and not hit anyone but we don't put up with the unnecessary risk and it really doesn't matter that we're killing his buzz. As argued above we have increased alcohol consumption as compared to prohibition and it follows that we have more negative effects from alcohol abuse today than during prohibition. But laziness causes trouble, so negative consequences alone are insufficient grounds to criminalize behavior.

The "normal" use of pot makes millions of users high. That's a risk that God (I know, their eyes are burning) doesn't require that we put up with. So, other than by prescription from a pharmacy, that's why pot should be illegal. And besides, as above, long-term use makes you stupid.