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Poitical abuses in national research authority

Bill Skaggs bill at nsma.arizona.edu
Wed Oct 16 11:44:35 EST 1996

"Dr E. Buxbaum" <EB15 at le.ac.uk> writes:

>    On the other hand we have considerable problems in our society
> with addictive drugs. Amplifying those by creating a legal market
> for yet another one of them should be considered only in dire
> emergency, if all other options are exausted. Opiates and
> benzodiazepines show how easy it is to divert such substances from
> legal to illegal use. And cannabis IS an addictive drug, contrary to
> the long disproved claims of its proponents. It can cause
> psychological dependency in "normal", and physical dependency in
> very high doses. 

I don't believe that legalizing marijuana would amplify the problems
of addictive drugs -- in fact, a strong argument can be made that the
opposite would occur.  Commonly teenagers experiment with marijuana
because it is easily available.  It doesn't take them long to realize
that marijuana is a pretty innocuous drug, and that the propaganda
along the lines of "This is your brain on drugs!" is stupid.  Why,
then, should they believe the warnings related to heroin or cocaine
or amphetamine? -- which are indeed very dangerous drugs.

The claim that marijuana is addictive is controversial and largely
beside the point.  The best way to put the situation in perspective is
to compare marijuana with a certain legal drug, namely alcohol.  I
would not argue that marijuana does no harm at all, but I would argue
strongly that any harm done by marijuana pales in comparison with the
harm done by alcohol -- and I think that only a small minority of
experts would dispute this.  Few people would wish to illegalize
alcohol today, because even those who consider it a drug best avoided
are aware of the social evils that resulted from banning it in the
1920s.  The same sort of cost-benefit analysis should be applied to

	-- Bill

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