S.A.M. supporter demonstrates its absurdity

April 9, 2013
By

When Kevin Sabet tweeted a virtual thumbs up to an article, I thought I should go check it out: Not so fast! A case against legalizing marijuana by Daniel K. Duncan, director of community services for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse–St. Louis Area.

Daniel endorses the S.A.M. position while demonstrating how absurd it is.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse-St. Louis Area does not endorse legalization. However we see the benefits in an intelligent decriminalization of using small quantities of the drug. [...]

Marijuana may be less harmful than other drugs, but it is far from harmless.

The research clearly indicates that marijuana is not only addictive (approximately 1 out of 6 youths who smoke marijuana will develop a dependence) but that the dangers of marijuana are, in fact, far more pronounced in young people than in adults. Marijuana is unquestionably a gateway to other, more dangerous drug use and, unsurprisingly, recent studies show regular users of marijuana may suffer a significant and permanent drop in IQ. The other health risks attached to smoked marijuana (e.g. stroke, cancer, psychosis) are suggested by early research but still unknown. [...]

While it may make sense to intelligently decriminalize the use of marijuana, a legitimate case for full legalization has yet to be made. Introducing another likely “legal” threat to public health — especially the health of our youth — is misguided, premature and ill-advised.

So, to recap, because marijuana has potential risks (that we’ve been unable to clearly demonstrate after decades of study), we should institute a policy where we don’t punish people for using it, but we are careful to leave the distribution of it in the hands of criminal networks with no regulatory oversight.

These ridiculous arguments always seem to come from “treatment experts.” How can you make the argument against regulation if your concern is for the well-being of your charges? How can we not believe that you’re in it to protect profits? Now Sabet claims that it’s not about profit – that treatment folks would make more money from cannabis being legal. That’s nonsense, but let’s assume they believe it. What does that make them then? Just stupid?

Or is it something about being around people all the time who can’t control their drug use? I remember growing up that my Dad (a minister) had almost no contact with anyone who drank alcohol, except when they came to him for counseling becuase they had lost their job, beaten their wife… His view was that all alcohol use must be pretty horrible, because that was all he saw. And he came close to, but avoided, the trap of feeling morally superior to them.

Do these treatment experts suffer from a sense of moral superiority? (Many of them are recovered addicts themselves, and you probably know reformed cigarette smokers, for example, that can be pretty judgemental about current smokers.) Maybe this is a case of knowing prison won’t do any good for their charges, but just not being able to stand the notion of anybody being able to enjoy the drug without some kind of potential justice hanging over their head.

I don’t know.

Maybe it is just profits.

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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