Another Columbian Letter

The article my letter refers to can be found here-

Cheers and Jeers

It’s the third “cheers” down.

“The Columbian’s bias has become painfully clear to me over the years. However, I believe the editorialized in the June 12 “Cheers and Jeers” relating to Initiative 1068 are over the top with ‘we wonder whether people would see it as a justification to abuse intoxicants.’ I can’t decide if that sentence is a red herring or just plain nonsensical.”

“You mention a poll that suggests voters would approve of cannabis legalization. Yet you still publish negative prose. Obviously, the will of Washingtonians is meaningless to the Columbian; bias indeed.”

“You use the same old worn-out argument that cannabis is a schedule I drug and state legalization would create a problem for local law enforcement. That’s nonsense. It would free law enforcement to go after the real bad guys. It would make room in the court system to take the same to trial.”

 “Also, it is the responsibility of the states to protest in the face of unjust federal law. Cannabis’ illegality is unjust, plain and simple. There’s no justification for it- none.”

“I respect the Columbian’s right to voice its puritanical views. I would suggest, though, that if you care to maintain any credibility with your readers you dial back your nonsensical rhetoric.”



  1. Dan Jacobs said,

    July 8, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    While I agree with many of your comments, and I am for the repeal of the prohibition of marijuana in the US, I do believe that there are many that will simply use the legalization of marijuana as an excuse to abuse it.

    I give, as a prime example of the kind of problems that we can expect, alcoholic beverages. While the intoxication is different when using marijuana, I expect that people will act in careless, negligent, reckless, and even deadly ways while intoxicated. To deny that is to deny the long standing evidence of human nature.

  2. capndrift said,

    July 9, 2010 at 7:08 am

    I’m not clear on what you mean by “abuse.”

    In my opinion people have personal responsibilities. Should an individual choose to sit around the house all day blasted out of their bean while neglecting those responsibilities- bummer deal. That’s none of my business.

    We already have laws on the books that address behaviors that put others at risk; driving under the influence, assault, etc. Should a person violate one of these laws, regardless of their mental state, they will most likely find themselves before a judge.

    People are responsible for their own behavior. I am not my brother’s keeper.

    As far as your statement about “human nature,” I’ll disagree. I still haven’t charged up my crystal ball to see what might be. That’s because I’ve got something better. I’ve got social evidence (social evidence? Sure, why not.) that would indicate you are mistaken.

    Somewhere in this blog (prohibition?) I’ve mentioned both Portugal and the Netherlands. Both have very lenient drug laws. The instances of drug abuse in these countries is much lower than in the States. Not only for adults but for children as well. To paraphrase a Dutch health official,
    “We’ve taken the cool out of marijuana.”

    Plenty of people in the U.S. are using cannabis now, Dan. Both as a medicine and recreationally. What we are seeing is when drug abuse is seen as a social health issue and not as a crime the abuse actually declines!!!

    So, in closing, I’ll say that yes, people do things that are irresponsible. That is happening right now, today. There are stoned folks out there on the road. If cannabis where legalized, there might actually be one or two less. At least that’s what we are seeing in other parts of the world.

    The evidence is there, Dan. Call it “social,” “human nature” or what you will.

    Now where did I put that charger for my ball (enter big smiley here).

  3. Dan Jacobs said,

    July 9, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I like that term, social evidence. Let’s keep using it.

    The social evidence makes it clear to me you are trying to compare apples to baseballs. There are enough vast differences between the USA and the countries you mentioned that I don’t even think they can be used in this discussion. What is different about the USA and the European countries mentioned? Damn near everything. I am not going to list them, the information is out there. Since we are talking about abuse, let’s stick with that theme.

    I’ll bet you a dollar, to be hand delivered to you at home by yours truly, in the European countries you mentioned, that:
    – There is a lower overall crime rate, and a much lower violent crime rate.
    – There is less clinical alcoholism, and less of the societal effects of alcoholism
    – You’ve already mentioned drug abuse/addiction, but it’s worth bringing up again
    – There is less elder abuse
    – The overall education of the population is higher
    – The country has higher taxes to fund education and social programs
    – The overall well being of the population is higher than the US

    I often hear European countries like Switzerland used by the pro gun folks when trying to talk down the dangers of firearms in the home. They say that the Swiss have an assault rifle in every home, but they don’t have the problems we do with gun crime. Again, this is a pretty poor argument to make to compare the US to Switzerland, as they are to nearly entirely different cultures, or have very different social evidence.

    Otherwise, I continue to concur with all of your other points. Imagine what a great country this would be if the populace kept their own personal responsibility at the forefront of their decisions, and the legal system kept out of matters until someone was actually harmed.

    Sadly some of our social history is not only recorded in history books, but also in law books. When they are thick enough to keep a big rig parked on a gentle hill without setting the parking brakes, we are, in many ways, a society run amok. Hell, someone would eventually come along and remove the book just to see what happens when the truck rolls down the hill.

  4. capndrift said,

    July 10, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Dan, ol’ pal, in your first comment you wrote, “To deny that is to deny the long standing evidence of human nature.”
    And now you maintain Europeans aren’t human? You aren’t playing fair, Dan. You’re contradicting yourself for the sake of chopping me off at the knees, man. For shame.

    I suppose I could point out that the examples I used, the Portuguese and the Dutch, are themselves apples and baseballs from a societal stand point. Thereby validating my statements using your own metaphore.

    But that would be argument simply for the sake of.

    How’s about, instead, we take a look at some of the numbers from a previous prohibition; right here in the Good Ol’ U S of A? These are from the National Prohibition Law Hearings Before the Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Sixty-Ninth Congress, April 5th to 24th, 1926.

    * Habitual drunkards in Philadelphia in 1919, 127. In 1925 the number had risen to 814.

    * The average age of the formation of a drinking habit for males in 1914 was 21.4. For females, 27.9. During the period of 1920-23 it was 20.6 and 25.8 (respectively). Superintendents of eight mental hospitals reported a larger percentage of younger patients between 1919 and 1926.

    * Deaths from alcoholism rate per 100,000 in 1920 was 1. In 1926 it was 3.9.

    * Arrests for drunkeness in Seattle 1920, 5,753. For 1925 the number was 6,377.

    I could keep going but numbers bore me. The above should be enough to give some credence to my view; the evidence is quite clear, prohibition itself exacerbates abuse.

    I know we are speaking strictly of cannabis in this conversation, however, I can’t use the word “prohibition” without having the Harrison Act spring to mind. Here’s an editorial that appeared in the Illinois Medical Journal, June, 1926.

    The Harrison Narcotic law should never have been placed upon the Statute books of the United States. It is to be granted that the well-meaning blunderers who put it there had in mind only the idea of making it impossible for addicts to secure their supply of “dope” and to prevent unprincipled people from making fortunes, and fattening upon the infirmities of their fellow men.

    As is the case with most prohibitive laws, however, this one fell far short of the mark. So far, in fact, that instead of stopping the traffic, those who deal in dope now make double their money from the poor unfortunates upon whom they prey. . . .

    The doctor who needs narcotics used in reason to cure and allay human misery finds himself in a pit of trouble. The lawbreaker is in clover. . . . It is costing the United States more to support bootleggers of both narcotics and alcoholics than there is good coming from the farcical laws now on the statute books.

    As to the Harrison Narcotic law, it is as with prohibition [of alcohol] legislation. People are beginning to ask, “Who did that, anyway?”
    Quote Ends.

    Though it was the 1937 Tax Act that effectively prohibits cannabis I think the editorial is applicable to the conversation. Don’t you?

    Oh, and hey, Dan… quit pitching those apples, will ya’? It’s making one hell of a mess over here.

  5. Dan Jacobs said,

    July 10, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I think you and I are having just a little misunderstanding.

    I, Dan Jacobs, of Beautiful Washougal, WA, and anti marijuana and hemp prohibition.

    I am talking about how the use, and abuse, of cannabis will go up in the US if it’s prohibition went away. That means more of the same kinds of social problems we see with ETOH. Why? Because a sizable amount of American society is particularly selfish, miscalculative (not a real word according to the dictionary, but I like it), and disbelieving when it comes to our own responsibility, what is an acceptable risk (especially when driving), and knowing their own limits. I can point to DUI figures here in the US as a good place to start.

    In fact, if the stats are correct, approximately half of the motorcycle deaths in the US are due to intoxication. 1/2. 50%. Clearly one segment of US society that should be extra cautious and aware of driving safely clearly doesn’t seem to get it.

    So, in closing, I am against cannabis prohibition for adults in the US, even though I fear that the effects, at least initially, may be negative.

  6. capndrift said,

    July 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    No, we’re on the same page.
    I say the use and abuse will go down with legalization. Therein lies the whole crux of our disagreement. Or so I thought.

    Not that I think there’s a damned thing wrong with recreational cannabis use. Not a’tall. Hell, I think it would be cool if cannabis use went up and alcohol went down. The reasons should be obvious. The social\health issues with cannabis are far below those of booze.

    Thanks for hanging out, Dan! Have a good one, man.

  7. Dan Jacobs said,

    July 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Your evidence about use and abuse are form countries a world away, geographically and sociologically, from the US. I remain skeptical about your hypothesis of use and abuse going down, while you remain ever hopeful. In either case, I think the cops would do much better in my world to work harder to prevent crime than to seek out every little roach or tiny little baggie that smells like pot and put people that merely possess a plant into our so called criminal justice system.

    I usually plan for the worse end of things, and hope for the best. At least that way, something turning to shit on me isn’t a total surprise.

    And, in the end, I hope that you are right.

  8. capndrift said,

    July 10, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Dammit, Dan! (and I mean that in the nicest way)… When you previously stated that my use of statistics from foreign countries wasn’t a valid argument I gave you figures from the United States. The only numbers I have available- those from a previous prohibition- the alcohol prohibition.

    Numbers, Dan. Statistical evidence. Cold hard facts. What we know to be true right here in the United States. Not what I think, or you think, but what history has shown us.

    Again, my prescience in the matter is based on nothing else. ‘Member, I can’t find the charger for my crystal ball.

    (I give the ball a rubbing, static electricity don’t ya’ know).
    Cannibis use will go up at the initial legalization. It’ll be like a novelty thing. “Everyone” will want to smoke a joint in front of their friends and family once they know they aren’t going to be locked up. It’ll be like flipping the bird or something. Then no one will give a fat rat’s.

    The use of cannabis by school children will drop like a rock (or a feather in a vacuum). “No age confirmation? No weed kiddie.”

    I am right, Dan.

    And that’s no shit.

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