David Leyonhjelm on why legal marijuana makes sense

Those who have seen my aging visage but are not familiar with my libertarian principles may be shocked to learn that I am an enthusiastic supporter of legal recreational cannabis.

This is not because I am an enthusiastic toker, although I don’t deny having inhaled. Rather, it is because the policy of prohibition does more harm than good. Moreover, we in the Liberal Democrats believe the government has no right to prevent adults from making choices that do not harm anyone else.

The ban on cannabis has dubious origins, having been the victim of a nearly century-long smear campaign launched by US anti-drug crusader Harry Anslinger in the dying days of alcohol prohibition.

It was Anslinger who brought the word marihuana into the English lexicon, making it sound menacingly Mexican compared to its botanical equivalent, cannabis. Anslinger was a racist, and the only race he hated more than Mexicans was African Americans.

Appointed the founding commissioner of the US Treasury’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930, Anslinger masterminded the campaign to criminalise cannabis. Not enough Americans were consuming illegal cocaine and heroin to keep him and his men busy, and Anslinger wanted his bureau to become as all-powerful as the Bureau of Prohibition had been when he was its assistant commissioner.

Stoking White America’s fears that Spics and Negros were peddling dope to young white women and leading them into lives of iniquity, Anslinger convinced legislators to push through the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Cannabis was then conflated with narcotics, prompting most of the rest of the world to follow suit including Australia.

Attitudes have been changing over the last couple of decades. Few now accept the claim that cannabis is addictive like narcotics, or that it is a pathway to drugs more addictive than alcohol or tobacco. Many countries allow its use for medicinal purposes and a growing number have decriminalised recreational use as well, including Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Norway and 18 US states.

Cannabis is not totally innocent. Its impact on those with pre-existing mental conditions can be quite negative, and it can trigger anxiety and even psychosis in some people, particularly adolescents. On the other hand, the rap sheet for alcohol is far worse. Nobody gets into a fight, gambles irresponsibly, engages in domestic violence or destroys property as a result of smoking cannabis, for example. Alcohol can lay claim to each of these.

Which raises the question – apart from keeping it out of the hands of minors and preventing adverse effects on others (as we attempt to do with alcohol and tobacco), what is the justification for regulating cannabis more severely?

Quite clearly, the policy of prohibition has failed dismally. An estimated 35 per cent of Australians admit to having used marijuana at some point in their lives. Considering it has always been illegal, that’s an awfully large proportion of us engaging in unlawful conduct. And given the price has not increased in more than 20 years, supply has not been inhibited either.

In 2016 I obtained figures from the Parliamentary Budget Office to show how much the war against cannabis was costing taxpayers. This showed the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force were spending almost $100 million a year chasing down those not deterred by the law. State enforcement costs, which are inevitably substantially greater, are additional.

I also had the PBO calculate how much GST revenue could be raised if marijuana was legal. The answer was about $300 million annually if a free market was allowed to operate. Obviously there would also be substantial savings in law enforcement costs.

In nine US states, including the entire western seaboard from Canada to Mexico, recreational cannabis is now legal. Canada joined them earlier this month. Canada’s Bureau of Statistics says Canadians spent AU$6 billion on cannabis in 2015 – almost as much as they did on wine.

And one by one, those who have been predicting dire consequences from this are being proved wrong.

Last month I introduced into the Senate a bill to repeal all Commonwealth laws restricting cannabis use, transport and production. If passed, it would leave marijuana regulation entirely to the states. I also succeeded in convincing the Senate to hold an inquiry into my Bill and the complex issues it raises. This will occur over coming months.

If the government can get over the pearl clutching and puritanism that characterises drug debate in Australia, the days of slavishly following the agenda of Harry Anslinger will be numbered.

David Leyonhjelm is a Senator for the Liberal Democrats

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91 Responses to David Leyonhjelm on why legal marijuana makes sense

  1. Fang

    So, Mr Leyonhjelm
    I normally agree with alot of your policy principles, but can you show me the pallarel policy of causing death to a fellow human by the consumption of cannabis by the likes of been in comand of a vehicle or work machine? And mandating life imprisonment? And holding courts to account, if they don’t up hold the principle of law?

  2. sdfc

    Keen on alcohol being made illegal then Fang? Fangworld sounds bit dull.

  3. John Constantine

    The real world examples of the American states that have legalised recreational cannabis show the world doesn’t end.

    It does show that over regulation sucks.

    If legalised recreational cannabis in American states were producing significant harm, the American legal system ambulance chasing lawyers would be all over it.

    There are distortions, like organised crime arbitraging operations between cannabis prohibition states and legal cannabis states, but that will end either with a return to prohibition or coast to coast legalisation.

    The world with legal cannabis isn’t something we have to guess at, we can examine in detail real world people living with these laws.

    Severing the cannabis stream from the crime and corruption stream has a vast potential good.

    Like gay marriage, the fuss dies down, the activists go looking for another war, the novelty wears off and we find out how people really do arrange their lives.

    At least sober bakers won’t have to face demands to bake marijuana cakes.

    The predictions of cannabis taking over from booze never came true, dope tax evasion is more popular than moonshine, some people will make bad choices, but the organised crime sector will be billions of dollars a year worse off.

    Almost as good as busting open OPEC.

  4. As the world edges even closer to Huxley’s Brave New World, is cannabis then to be the Soma drug, with which no citizen can find happiness?

  5. John Constantine

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/10/13/heres-how-legal-pot-changed-colorado-and-washington/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ebf0ed64c496

    “3. Marijuana legalization appears to have had little impact on traffic fatalities.

    “In Colorado and Washington the post-legalization traffic fatality rate has remained statistically consistent with pre-legalization levels, is lower in each state than it was a decade prior, and is lower than the national rate,” the DPA writes, citing federal traffic statistics through 2014.

    More recent data through 2015 and 2016 analyzed by the Cato Institute yields similar conclusions.”

  6. Petros

    It was decriminalised in South Australia ages ago, wasn’t it? Are there any comparisons of crime rates, hard drug usage etc between SA and other states?

  7. Nerblnob

    Nobody gets into a fight, gambles irresponsibly, engages in domestic violence or destroys property as a result of smoking cannabis, for example.

    With all due respect David, I think you must live in a different world to me.

    I’ve worked with plenty of psychos over the years on rigs and in mining camps and there have always been a few who react violently to dope. Small minority, for sure, probably smaller than the small minority who go berko after drinking alcohol.

    But definitely not “nobody”.

    ” gambles irresponsibly, or destroys property” would be an even bigger slice of demographic.

    This is not a reason to make weed a crime.

    But your line of reasoning will just add to the wowser anti-alcohol push,

  8. Gerry

    So a lot of young people will think it’s okay to smoke cannabis and will just do it on and on ….and there will be no legal incentive to stop until they are mad …sounds like a great outcome for some of these youngsters …just so the social smokers can feel vindicated – they were never getting arrested anyhow …

  9. sdfc

    i>So a lot of young people will think it’s okay to smoke cannabis and will just do it on and on.

    You can say the same thing about alcohol. What makes cannabis so special? A cannabis user is likely to be less violent than someone pissed up.

  10. Leo G

    Rather, it is because the policy of prohibition does more harm than good. Moreover, we in the Liberal Democrats believe the government has no right to prevent adults from making choices that do not harm anyone else.

    Legal prohibitions do more harm than good? Is that true in all instances of prohibition or just in some instances such as those involving cannabis? Should all crime be legalised?
    I suggest that prohibiting cannabis appears to do little to constrain cannabis use and may be largely futile, but that does not mean that reckless cannabis use cannot cause harm.
    Moreover, government does have a right to prevent adults from commiting crimes, not just where acts are deemed injurious to public welfare, morals or to the interests of the state, but because they involve negligence.
    The good senator implies that use of cannabis cannot in any circumstance be negligent.

  11. areff

    Legalise and the quality will go down, price up and the regulation will fill volumes. The free market works well at the moment — there is evidently no shortage of supply, the penalties for personal use are minimal in the unlikely event of a bust. I’m sure most dopers would prefer to support green-thumbed entrepreneurs than more bureaucrats.

    One thing that does need to change, though, is a legal standard for impairment. Alcohol has its .05, beneath which you are deemed capable of driving. But smoke a reefer on Sunday, get tested on Tuesday and it’s conceivable you’ll be in bulk trouble for the merest, slightest test sample trace.

  12. max

    The legalization of drugs has only been an issue in the 20th century the 21st century. Prior to 1914, which means prior to the cartelization of the medical industry, there were no restrictions on Americans’ consumption of drugs. The federal government’s war on drugs has always been part of a larger war: the war on medical choice.

    It was only after the Rockefeller Foundation began to promote the cartelization of the medical profession, did we see the move to make illegal various sorts of drugs. This began in 1910. It began with a call to control medical education, converting it into a cartel. This led to state licensing of colleges and universities, a massive cartel that generates around $400 billion a year for the cartel.

    The political cover for the cartelization of the pharmaceutical industry has always been state restrictions on the sale of drugs that are in some way addictive. The big money has been made by the federally protected drug cartels, which produce legal but restricted-access drugs. Big Pharma operates in terms of federal and state laws prohibiting the sale of rival drugs. The cartel that makes a major difference in the economy is the conventional drug industry, not the gangs.
    When compared to the massive profits of the legal but restricted drug cartel, the Mexican drug cartel and other gang-related drug cartels are small potatoes. They sell to poor people. They sell drugs in the inner cities. They do sell drugs to upper-middle-class businesspeople, and they make a lot of money doing this. But these are fringe organizations. They do not have the force of law behind them. They do not have the medical industry behind them. They do not have the voters behind them. They do not have the patent law system behind them.

    https://www.garynorth.com/public/11879.cfm

  13. tgs

    Haha, love a good marijuana legalisation thread on the cat.

  14. areff

    Fang: as far as I know, there have been minimal real-world tests of driving while stoned. They’re all simulations, usually conducted by government agencies keen to bag grants and produce whatever results the government of the day desires. I wouldn’t trust the Traffic Accident Commission — a bureacratic empire that was set up to cover compulsory third party and now sponsors jazz festivals, footy comps and grows ever more insistent in imposing its “expert” opinions.

    One study I do know about was conducted in Holland 20-odd years ago. Dope has been de facto legal there since Adam was a boy and the conclusion was kinda odd: male subjects showed no appreciable dimunition of skills or performance, but female subjects tended to drift slightly and made more corrections to stay in lane.

  15. areff

    Forgot: the Dutch tests found all subjects, male and female, drove more slowly. A good thing, no?

  16. max

    “As the liberal sees it, the task of the state consists solely and exclusively in guaranteeing the protection of life, health, liberty, and private property against violent attacks. Everything that goes beyond this is an evil. A government that, instead of fulfilling its task, sought to go so far as actually to infringe on personal security of life and health, freedom, and property would, of course, be altogether bad.

    Still, as Jacob Burckhardt says, power is evil in itself, no matter who exercises it. It tends to corrupt those who wield it and leads to abuse. Not only absolute sovereigns and aristocrats, but the masses also, in whose hands democracy entrusts the supreme power of government, are only too easily inclined to excesses.

    In the United States, the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Other countries do not go so far, but nearly everywhere some restrictions are imposed on the sale of opium, cocaine, and similar narcotics. It is universally deemed one of the tasks of legislation and government to protect the individual from himself. Even those who otherwise generally have misgivings about extending the area of governmental activity consider it quite proper that the freedom of the individual should be curtailed in this respect, and they think that only a benighted doctrinairism could oppose such prohibitions. Indeed, so general is the acceptance of this kind of interference by the authorities in the life of the individual that those who, are opposed to liberalism on principle are prone to base their argument on the ostensibly undisputed acknowledgment of the necessity of such prohibitions and to draw from it the conclusion that complete freedom is an evil and that some measure of restriction must be imposed upon the freedom of the individual by the governmental authorities in their capacity as guardians of his welfare. The question cannot be whether the authorities ought to impose restrictions upon the freedom of the individual, but only how far they ought to go in this respect.

    No words need be wasted over the fact that all these narcotics are harmful. The question whether even a small quantity of alcohol is harmful or whether the harm results only from the abuse of alcoholic beverages is not at issue here. It is an established fact that alcoholism, cocainism, and morphinism are deadly enemies of life, of health, and of the capacity for work and enjoyment; and a utilitarian must therefore consider them as vices. But this is far from demonstrating that the authorities must interpose to suppress these vices by commercial prohibitions, nor is it by any means evident that such intervention on the part of the government is really capable of suppressing them or that, even if this end could be attained, it might not therewith open up a Pandora’s box of other dangers, no less mischievous than alcoholism and morphinism.

    Whoever is convinced that indulgence or excessive indulgence in these poisons is pernicious is not hindered from living abstemiously or temperately. This question cannot be treated exclusively in reference to alcoholism, morphinism, cocainism, etc., which all reasonable men acknowledge to be evils. For if the majority of citizens is, in principle, conceded the right to impose its way of life upon a minority, it is impossible to stop at prohibitions against indulgence in alcohol, morphine, cocaine, and similar poisons. Why should not what is valid for these poisons be valid also for nicotine, caffeine, and the like? Why should not the state generally prescribe which foods may be indulged in and which must be avoided because they are injurious? In sports too, many people are prone to carry their indulgence further than their strength will allow. Why should not the state interfere here as well? Few men know how to be temperate in their sexual life, and it seems especially difficult for aging persons to understand that they should cease entirely to indulge in such pleasures or, at least, do so in moderation. Should not the state intervene here too? More harmful still than all these pleasures, many will say, is the reading of evil literature. Should a press pandering to the lowest instincts of man be allowed to corrupt the soul? Should not the exhibition of pornographic pictures, of obscene plays, in short, of all allurements to immorality, be prohibited? And is not the dissemination of false sociological doctrines just as injurious to men and nations? Should men be permitted to incite others to civil war and to wars against foreign countries? And should scurrilous lampoons and blasphemous diatribes be allowed to undermine respect for God and the Church?

    We see that as soon as we surrender the principle that the state should not interfere in any questions touching on the individual’s mode of life, we end by regulating and restricting the latter down to the smallest detail. The personal freedom of the individual is abrogated. He becomes a slave of the community, bound to obey the dictates of the majority. It is hardly necessary to expatiate on the ways in which such powers could be abused by malevolent persons in authority. The wielding, of powers of this kind even by men imbued with the best of intentions must needs reduce the world to a graveyard of the spirit. All mankind’s progress has been achieved as a result of the initiative of a small minority that began to deviate from the ideas and customs of the majority until their example finally moved the others to accept the innovation themselves. To give the majority the right to dictate to the minority what it is to think, to read, and to do is to put a stop to progress once and for all.”

    https://mises.org/library/liberalism-classical-tradition/html/p/30

  17. sdfc

    Cannabis users are less likely than drunk drivers to take risks behind the wheel.

  18. Bela Bartok

    sdfc
    #2744801, posted on June 22, 2018 at 11:31 pm
    Cannabis users are less likely than drunk drivers to take risks behind the wheel.

    Um no.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2967464/Major-car-accident-Sydney-Harbour-Bridge-leads-traffic-chaos-thousands-commuters-ambulances-rush-scene.html
    (Can’t find local media link)

  19. OneWorldGovernment

    I will allow legalization of maeajiana not a problem.

    But I reserve the right to shoot the fuck out of bent and twisted people.

    And fuck the drug addled coppers who know nothing.

    And I will shove it up the so called “judges”

  20. Bela Bartok

    Oh – and even a 10 second search finds this:
    http://acrs.org.au/files/arsrpe/Roadside%20Drug%20Testing%20in%20New%20South%20Wales.pdf
    23% of drivers in accidents under the influence of drugs other than alcohol.
    But hey, thanks for taking a ‘progressive ‘ stand on something meaningless but which will have a serious impact on road users.

  21. Ubique

    How many heroin addicts didn’t start out on marijuana?

  22. Ubique

    The government’s war on tobacco and tobacco smokers won’t extend to marijuana, despite its many harmful effects, until such time its marketed by Big Tobacco.

  23. None

    Cannabis today is not the Cannabis of the nineteen sixties it’s f****** dangerous. I do not want people behind the steering wheels of cars or piloting planes after having a toke. And to think cannabis has never killed anyone – no don’t even when it induces murdererous psychosis and causes fatal car accidents. I’m not going to support regulatory scheme for people who can’t face reality and need mind-bending drugs. I’m not paying taxes so this place can become a useless California. You can all f*** off.

  24. Jumpnmcar

    Prohibition all on mobile phones because some text and drive !!!

    That’s how silly the argument for weed prohibition is.

  25. struth

    Smoking dope causes delusions.
    People start seeing borderless utopias.

  26. nerblnob

    Gerry:

    .and there will be no legal incentive to stop until they are mad

    Not really needed.

    Big employers are more zealous puritans than state authorities.

    Large proportion of them require drug and alcohol testing.
    That’s why most people I know don’t smoke it anymore.
    Small employers might be more tolerant but usually their contracts with bigger companies require then to sign up to drug and alcohol testing.*

    When I first started offshore, it was so prevalent you’d have thought it was compulsory.
    In the mines too.

    * and produce policies against “modern slavery”, “child labour” “human trafficking” and various other kinds of irrelevant value destroying nonsense.

  27. rickw

    Long term cannabis users sound like they are mentally retarded.

  28. EvilElvis

    Yawn. Dealing with the big social and lifestyle issues of our time. Go libertarians. How about making the country prosperous and focus people on personal responsibility, then you and your green constituents can do whatever the fuck you like.

  29. struth

    Those who have seen my aging visage but are not familiar with my libertarian principles may be shocked to learn that I am an enthusiastic supporter of legal recreational cannabis.

    Not shocked at all.

    This is not because I am an enthusiastic toker, although I don’t deny having inhaled.

    No shit.

    Was it dot there with you in Byron, back in your hippie past when you discovered Libertarianism.
    Remember (probably not) there in your mulling up days, through the smoke, how, just before Dot went out into the kitchen with the munchies, and started chomping on beer coasters thinking they were rice crackers?
    In a scene reminiscent of Neil from the young ones, you proclaimed, yeah like wow man, this freedom shit is like, really heavy, dude.

  30. Leon L

    There’s too much government regulation of our lives and legalisation of smoking dope is the first item on the agenda.
    Mr Leyonhjelm has been smoking too much dope.
    Cannabis is the commonest cause of psychosis in young people(read those under 18) today.
    It isn’t harmless.
    We need way less government but legalising cannabis isn’t going to win the war against the government machine.

  31. AussieMAGA

    It makes no sense for a society wishing to maintain the dignity of man. This topic is a Last Man’s concern.

  32. .

    MAGA: Do you believe in self-ownership?

  33. .

    Cannabis is the commonest cause of psychosis in young people(read those under 18) today.

    Car accidents probably kill most young men under 25. Do you want to ban cars?

  34. .

    Cripes.

    A lot of Muslim wowsers on this thread.

  35. bollux

    Everything should be legal if everyone is held accountable. That’s the difference between then and now. If you raped someone when drunk or drugged, they used to hang you. So you were careful. If you got sick, you paid for treatment. If you didn’t have the means, you died. If you didn’t or couldn’t work, you starved. If you assaulted someone because you didn’t like their politics, you may have been shot, etc etc.
    Trying to compare the past to this socialist nihilism of -you can do what you want because someone else will pick up the tab, is deceitful and he knows it. The days of personal responsibility are over, we are well into Big Brother knows best territory.

  36. JohnA

    If we pursue a general policy of liberalising substance consumption then, as a corollary, we must remove from the court system the concept of diminished responsibility by substance consumption as a legal defence.

  37. Leo G

    Prohibition all on mobile phones because some text and drive !!!
    That’s how silly the argument for weed prohibition is.

    Strawman argues that if he can’t text while driving, then no one should be allowed to use a mobile phone.

  38. struth

    Car accidents probably kill most young men under 25. Do you want to ban cars?

    Stoners driving, their hands clenched to the wheel, doing 25kph in the fast lane thinking they are going flat out probably doesn’t help.
    Too much dope fries your brain.
    You can tell somebody who smokes regularly , or did.
    So it obviously has an effect.
    And No they may not look like Neil from the young ones, but they call themselves libertarians, (but only on causes that suit them)
    They zone out for times way after they have had their last cone.
    They jump off trains……………..
    But the very worst thing is they become chilled out lazy bastards, and achieve nothing and think they can all write better music!
    The Beatles have a lot to answer for.
    Lucy in the bloody sky with diamonds, hovering above Sargent Peppers stoners in the yellow soobmarrine.

  39. struth

    Does the world need more of this?
    Bloody Dave twanging his guitar aka Pink Floyd.
    These cone head freaks all hate The great Don Trump (praise be upon him)
    So in my book, they should all be shot, the bloody lazy bastards.

    You DL, try and clear the smoke from between your ears and try to tune into what the electorate actually is concerned about.
    We have told you before, but like the typical old East coast toker you are…..YOU’VE BLOODY FORGOTTEN!
    If you hadn’t smoked so much dope, you may have been able to FOCUS!

  40. .

    Come off it struth.

    I Wanna Hold Your Hand is nothing like the originality or aesthetic value you will find in Revolution or Here Comes the Sun.

    The only early song as good as them is probably Paperback Writer.

  41. Tel

    Cannabis is the commonest cause of psychosis in young people(read those under 18) today.

    That’s total crap.

    No one can have dignity unless he or she owns themselves. That means you can eat what you want to eat, smoke what you want to smoke, and drink what you want to drink. My body, my property, none of your beeswax.

    Living with bureaucracy is the most common cause of psychosis in the young, and the old, and society in general. OK, and living with people who believe we must disarm our military and refuse to guard our borders doesn’t help either. Go find a real problem to work on.

  42. .

    That’s total crap.

    I thought so too Tel.

    The primary causes are genetic but otherwise relate to trauma or stroke and so on.

    A little bit of research and facts blows most of the ludicrous scaremongering out of the water.

  43. EvilElvis

    You DL, try and clear the smoke from between your ears and try to tune into what the electorate actually is concerned about.
    We have told you before, but like the typical old East coast toker you are…..YOU’VE BLOODY FORGOTTEN!

    He’s worried about the electorate, struth. That electorate consists of the queer libertarian set and fence sitting greens who need somewhere to plonk a preference. Weed gets them in, DL sneaks into a seat.

  44. candy

    One of things worrying is the effect on babies in utero. There are probably lots of kids around with some retardation, poor growth or abnormality due to the mum smoking weed in pregnancy, let alone being brought up by parents who use drugs.

    I don’t know why we would want to risk making life harder for children to get off to a good start.

  45. .

    I don’t know why we would want to risk making life harder for children to get off to a good start.

    What an ominous and totalitarian thing to say.

  46. Leo G

    Car accidents probably kill most young men under 25. Do you want to ban cars?

    Suicide Is the leading underlying cause of death among Australians aged 15-24 and 25-44 years. Do you want to ban suicide?

  47. JohnJJJ

    Perhaps a few people need to travel to countries where dope was commonly used for centuries. India, Nepal, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya – in fact most African countries. The social and very long term effects of smoking dope can’t be measured in some Uni lab. Look at the places over years. All of them disasters, lack of long term planning, little motivation, no innovation, no development, constant tribal warfare. Long term cause and effect are extremely difficult to measure. This is almost all we have. That and to extrapolate from the dope heads who chill out in our society. Pretty convincing to me

  48. .

    That is a nonsense conclusion. Correlation is not causation. Causation can be proven with time series data.

    The United States and The Netherlands have permissive policies and 1st world living standards Holland has a long enough standing policy to show there is no causation.

  49. a happy little debunker

    Legalise it, subject it to all the same regimes & controls as Tobacco / Alcohol and then watch the kids turn to opioids as a cheaper alternative.

    You know it makes sense?

  50. .

    Simple, don’t tax any of them!

  51. H B Bear

    Suicide Is the leading underlying cause of death among Australians aged 15-24 and 25-44 years. Do you want to ban suicide?

    Purely anecdotal but the two people I know who committed suicide were both heavy marijuana users at high school and beyond. Anyone who thinks that modern strains of marijuana doesn’t pose a serious risk to developing adolescent brains is kidding themselves. Also lived with a Pom and a South African in the UK who would have a smoke every day after dinner the way others might sit back with a port. Good luck trying to segment these types of behaviours in a legal market.

  52. Roger

    No one can have dignity unless he or she owns themselves. That means you can eat what you want to eat, smoke what you want to smoke, and drink what you want to drink. My body, my property, none of your beeswax.

    Until you end up in hospital on the tax payer’s dime.

    You can have unfettered personal liberty to ingest whatever substances you want to or you can have a public health system, but you can’t have both.

    That’s an observation, not an argument, btw.

    At the very least, those who want to have that right should opt out of Medicare and/or commit to reimbursing any costs incurred by the general community as a result of their personal choices.

  53. areff

    Marijuana’s effects on actual driving performance were assessed in a series of three studies wherein dose-effect relationships were measured in actual driving situations that progressively approached reality. The first was conducted on a highway closed to other traffic. Subjects (24) were treated on separate occasions with THC 100, 200 and 300 µg/kg, and placebo. They performed a 22-km road tracking test beginning 30 and 90 minutes after smoking. Their lateral position variability increased significantly after each THC dose relative to placebo in a dose-dependent manner for two hours after smoking. The second study was conducted on a highway in the presence of other traffic. Subjects (16) were treated with the same THC doses as before. They performed a 64-km road tracking test preceded and followed by 16-km car following tests. Results confirmed those of the previous study. Car following performance was only slightly impaired. The third study was conducted in high-density urban traffic. Separate groups of 16 subjects were treated with 100 µg/kg THC and placebo; and, ethanol (mean BAC .034 g%) and placebo. Alcohol impaired performance relative to placebo but subjects did not perceive it. THC did not impair driving performance yet the subjects thought it had. These studies show that THC in single inhaled doses up to 300 µg/kg has significant, yet not dramatic, dose-related impairing effects on driving performance.

    http://casr.adelaide.edu.au/T95/paper/s1p2.html

  54. .

    Until you end up in hospital on the tax payer’s dime.

    Why are you arguing for socialism?

  55. struth

    Until you end up in hospital on the tax payer’s dime.

    Public health.
    Once you have it, your country is rooted.
    The militant wowser Nazis ban you from doing everything based on the “cost to the community”.
    Should have been paying a private health Insurance policy with slightly higher premiums than those who don’t smoke but eat Maccas.
    No hang on.
    Those that drink but don’t smoke tobacco
    No hang on, those that walk a dog but don’t eat baked beans.
    No hang on………………………

  56. .

    Also lived with a Pom and a South African in the UK who would have a smoke every day after dinner the way others might sit back with a port. Good luck trying to segment these types of behaviours in a legal market.

    This is the worst kind of elitism.

    You want it illegal to allow your higher IQ friends to illicitly use it, but to discourage others who might be a little to quite a lot more stupid than your higher IQ friends?

  57. H B Bear

    You’ve done well to read all that into my post dotty. Keep up the good work.

  58. Big_Nambas

    I don’t know which of my schizophrenic personalities should comment on this post but I know that they all exist as a result of smoking cannabis for 40 years.
    The Senator has obviously had little or no contact with heavy cannabis users.
    Society needs less drugs and lots more reality if it is to survive.

  59. C.L.

    No one can have dignity unless he or she owns themselves. That means you can eat what you want to eat, smoke what you want to smoke, and drink what you want to drink. My body, my property, none of your beeswax.
    —————
    Until you end up in hospital on the tax payer’s dime.

    Ah yes. When prohibitionists fail on liberty grounds, they always play that card.
    ‘See, I’m not a wowser; I’m a fiscal hawk!’

    By this same logic, parachuting, rock-fishing, football, water skiing, home renos, skateboarding, netball, boxing, alcohol and McDonalds should also be banned.

    In any case, so many more billions would be in government coffers if the War on Drugs was ended that it wouldn’t make any difference to treat more people in hospital.

    People who use drugs are weak dick-heads, IMO. I’ve always thought so. People who sell ice should not be afforded any rights; they should be harassed and clubbed by the police. But I’m sick and tired of this Keynesian con eroding liberties and legitimising fascism.

    One thing David doesn’t essay is the effect of legalisation on price. Applying the tobacco template, legalised cannabis would very quickly become a luxury that only the very rich could afford. Which would only encourage use of dirtier, more dangerous alternatives.

  60. Chris M

    Long term cannabis users sound like they are mentally retarded.

    Indeed they are. It’s especially harmful while the brain is developing during the teens and early twenties.

    How to tell if your country is stark raving bonkers…. when it wants to legalise psychotic drugs whilst banning plastic bags and halogen light bulbs.

  61. Tel

    By this same logic, parachuting, rock-fishing, football, water skiing, home renos, skateboarding, netball, boxing, alcohol and McDonalds should also be banned.

    And they fully intend to ban every bit of that. Banning recreational drugs is the “wedge” and once that wedge is firmly in, people will cheer long and loud as every single thing gets taken away from them.

    Sad.

  62. Fred

    Can you imagine drug dealers applying for an ABN, registering for GST, issuing tax invoices to their drug addicted customers, completing quarterly BASs and then remitting GST to the ATO.

    Libertarians really do live in a fantasy land.

  63. .

    H B Bear
    #2745059, posted on June 23, 2018 at 10:18 am
    You’ve done well to read all that into my post dotty. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks, little buddy.

  64. .

    Indeed they are. It’s especially harmful while the brain is developing during the teens and early twenties.

    You could say the same thing about alcohol.

    How to tell if your country is stark raving bonkers…. when it wants to legalise psychotic drugs whilst banning plastic bags and halogen light bulbs.

    Marijuana causes psychosis? You can’t even get it right as to what the downsides are. To people who are predisposed, it can trigger schizophrenia, but tobacco is more potent in that regard.

    In a high enough dose, you can get high on nutmeg or die from drinking too much water too quickly.

    These are extreme cases with virtually no bearing on anyone who wouldn’t otherwise win a Darwin award. The same goes for a daily heavy user of marijuana. They are extreme cases and would be no better off smashing a case of cider every day, possibly; worse off.

  65. .

    Fred

    Hookers do that – ABN etc. It is not a big deal as you imagine. It is less intrusive than income tax reporting and payment.

    Libertarians don’t want marijuana taxed. We don’t want fuel, tobacco or alcohol excise either.

  66. Up The Workers!

    Smoke enough ‘waccy tabaccy’ and even Sarah Halfwit-Bung will make sense……..eventually

  67. Up The Workers!

    “Car accidents probably kill most young men under 25. Do you want to ban cars?”

    At a pinch, that would probably be preferable to the Greens/ Q.W.E.R.T.Y.L.G.B.T.Q.I.S.S.M.A.L.P.’s preference of banning all men both under and over 25.

  68. Jumpnmcar

    Canyou imagine drug dealers applying for an ABN, registering for GST, issuing tax invoices to their drug addicted customers, completing quarterly BASs and then remitting GST to the ATO.

    Plenty of weed smokers do that in their current occupations.
    So do alcoholics.
    Libertarian bashers really do live in a self blinkered fantasy land.

  69. Mitch M.

    Purely anecdotal but the two people I know who committed suicide were both heavy marijuana users at high school and beyond.

    Research shows alcohol use is very common just prior to suicide. Not surprising given the brain changes that can happen with sustained alcohol consumption(you feel good then you feel bad, for some people very bad).

    Cannabis is the commonest cause of psychosis in young people(read those under 18)
    today.

    Rubbish. Child abuse is the biggest cause of psychosis, depression, and schizophrenia. Marijuana in itself does not cause psychosis, there needs to be other causal factors.

    One of things worrying is the effect on babies in utero. There are probably lots of kids around with some retardation, poor growth or abnormality due to the mum smoking weed in pregnancy, let alone being brought up by parents who use drugs.

    Long ago Fried et. al.(CMJ) did a series of longitudinal studies. It is a very bad idea to smoke while pregnant, as it is to drink, to smoke tobacco, to work long hours, to be chronically stressed, to get a persistent infection, to be exposed to various chemicals, to have poor nutrition. The children of pot smoking mums are still within the normal ranges. There is an impact. Parenting and regular pot smoking is a very bad idea for most people.

  70. Tel

    Libertarians don’t want marijuana taxed. We don’t want fuel, tobacco or alcohol excise either.

    There’s an opportunity to go down the path where trade in marijuana remains illegal, producing or storing large quantities is illegal but producing enough for your own consumption (within some reasonable amount like half a kilo or something) is allowed. That way the government keeps out of people’s lives, you avoid building up a big industry where people are actively pushing the stuff, but you also guarantee that NO ONE makes a profit out of it, and that include government won’t line their pockets either.

    That to me is the most Libertarian option, and if trade in drugs is still illegal then at least the wowsers get that leg tingle from making something illegal. But actually I can see the point that if you want to take drugs that’s your individual choice, so once there’s a profit incentive inevitably you will get people actually pushing the product and encouraging people to take the stuff (and let’s be honest with ourselves that’s exactly what the medical industry are doing with SSRI’s and those things turn kids into serial killers so if we want to start talking about harm done, that’s a good place to start).

  71. Y

    Completely agree, and while we’re at it legalise non-harmful, beneficial substances like melatonin, lsd, mdma and psilocybin.

    Opioids should be regulated medically, not criminally.

    The war on drugs has been an insane disaster and needs to stop. Imagine if alcohol prohibition had continued to this day, backed by the full might of the armed forces and intelligence agencies. That’s the war on drugs.

  72. Mitch M.

    (and let’s be honest with ourselves that’s exactly what the medical industry are doing with SSRI’s and those things turn kids into serial killers so if we want to start talking about harm done, that’s a good place to start).

    Good point that deserves elaboration. Some antidepressants can induce bad changes in lipids, blood glucose, insulin resistance leading to obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The hypocrisy is that they refer to SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome so as to avoid the claim that SSRIs can be addictive.

    Some of the most commonly prescribed antipsychotics are far worse, can induce all of the above, studies demonstrate cerebral shrinkage, and APs are being increasingly prescribed to children off label.

  73. .

    Tel

    If Kesha & Lil Tay, along with hippies chancers selling organic veggies make money for the crap they make, you should be able to make money selling ceramic bongs and an ounce here and there.

  74. Leo G

    Child abuse is the biggest cause of psychosis, depression, and schizophrenia.

    Familial responses to behavioral issues during a child’s early development does not appear to impact their chances of having schizophrenia. Psychosis is an umbrella term for a range of symptoms which may or may not be associted with schizophrenia. Depression is not necessarily clinical depression nor illness.
    There may be an association with child abuse though- psychosis, depression or bipolar disorders can lead to child abuse.

  75. Dr Fred Lenin

    Be good if the present alp government in Canberra legalised marijuana , they could tax the shit out of it like tobacco and have more revenue for pollie wage rises and welfare for Islamic illiterate peasants and African gangster future alp voters .

  76. RobK

    How about making the country prosperous and focus people on personal responsibility, then you and your green constituents can do whatever the fuck you like.
    I see some merit in this approach. When so many things need to change to facilitate and enable increased personal responsibility and freedom, starting off with a relatively minor item that is often used as an escape of sorts, is probably not the highest order issue in the fight for individual freedom.

  77. struth

    Socialism and the welfare state has a much bigger effect on drug and alcohol abuse than often considered.
    The place that bans alcohol yet has the most alcoholics, your local aboriginal community.
    They are not allowed to dream of a future, so they kill it.

  78. Mitch M.

    Familial responses to behavioral issues during a child’s early development does not appear to impact their chances of having schizophrenia. There may be an association with child abuse though- psychosis, depression or bipolar disorders can lead to child abuse.

    If you are a layperson with just an opinion I don’t care because I see that sort of nonsense all the time. If you are a professional you should hand in your license.

    Severe abuse in childhood may treble risk of schizophrenia

    Psychotic patients with a history of childhood trauma tend to present with a variety of additional problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, greater substance abuse, higher levels of depression and anxiety, and more frequent suicide attempts. Initial studies suggest that trauma-specific treatments are as beneficial for these patients as for other diagnostic groups.

    And in another study it was found that those who had experienced childhood sexual abuse were ten times at greater risk of having hallucinations.

  79. JohnA

    It was Anslinger who brought the word marihuana into the English lexicon, making it sound menacingly Mexican compared to its botanical equivalent, cannabis. Anslinger was a racist, and the only race he hated more than Mexicans was African Americans.

    This is a non-argument, in fact, a fallacy of guilt by association.

    Since nobody is perfect, everybody will have some fault.

    But the validity of a policy does not depend on the character of the proponent.

  80. John Constantine

    https://www.newcannabisventures.com/cannabis-stock-index/

    Many multibillion dollar marijuana companies in the world, an entire convoy of multi-hundy million dollar market cap companies.

    Herds of corporate lawyers, billion dollars worth of genuine research.

    I don’t use cannabis myself and hope I don’t need medical marijuana, but this isn’t an unconsidered action.

  81. BorisG

    How many heroin addicts didn’t start out on marijuana?

    How many heroin addicts started their life in a womb?

  82. Adam D

    Is this a libertarian blog? I think I am lost.

    Christ some of the arguments here are stupid

    We have bigger issues to deal with – I wasn’t aware our politicians are only allowed to address one issue at a time

    Car Accidents – Logically alcohol should be banned on the same premise.

    Psychosis – Ban anything with a potential side effect: sugar, alcohol, tobacco, Grilled Meat (potential carcinogenic, there would be nothing left

    Drug Dealers not paying taxes – Despite evidence of tax revenue from the US recently, how much brain power would it take to deduce that legitimate business people would get in on the billion dollar market if legalised?

  83. Confused Old Misfit

    How many heroin addicts started their life in a womb?

    What an incredibly stupid statement. I did not think it possible from you.

  84. EvilElvis

    We have bigger issues to deal with – I wasn’t aware our politicians are only allowed to address one issue at a time

    They’re not but they do. And it’s all social fucking issues, dumbarse.

  85. Herodotus

    “An estimated 35 per cent of Australians admit to having used marijuana at some point in their lives. ”

    Tried it twice to no effect. Switched to booze, still happy …

  86. hadyn

    For as long as I am paying for the consequences of people’s choices, cannabis should stay illegal.
    Increased risk of psychosis and mental illness leading to an NDIS claim or institutionalisation means that I have a say in whether people want to smoke or ingest.

    To all the dopeheads here who think your use is harming no-one else; go have a look at some of the young people in aged care dementia wards and see what they have done to their families.
    Sorry David Leyonhjelm, I cannot agree with you on this.

    Let’s actually start a war on drugs. One like they fight in Singapore.

  87. struth

    Quite a good point to make actually.

    Let’s do a deal.
    You want to legalise drugs?

    I’m all for it.
    Do what you like to yourself.

    However, the deal must include privatising health care and personal responsibility for your own health care.
    Because if I’m not paying for it, I don’t care.
    Making it illegal has had, as much as prohibiting alcohol in aboriginal communities , zero effect on consumption.
    Especially dope.
    Think about how the authorities have admitted defeat.
    They swab you for drug driving and people say, The last time I had a smoke of dope was over a week ago……how unfair.
    The cops never ask where you got it.
    They never follow it up.
    They set up injection rooms, never once following up on how you became an illegally supplied drug fucked loon.

    Please don’t take me wrong.
    I believe in private medical insurance and not public health.
    It’s the basis of all our social Nazis excuse to rule and bully and social engineer.
    So I am just claiming that we use their own arguments back at them.
    Hopefully they legalise dope in that instance.
    It would be worth it to get rid of our increasingly failing, costly, public system.

  88. EvilElvis

    Making it illegal has had, as much as prohibiting alcohol in aboriginal communities , zero effect on consumption.

    Struth, you make a grand assumption that lower or no consumption is the desired outcome. The only outcomes prohibition, laws that restrict or ban, have is the increase in administration, monitoring, surveying and pontificating by an ever increasing public service.

  89. .

    hadyn
    #2745635, posted on June 24, 2018 at 7:44 am
    For as long as I am paying for the consequences of people’s choices, cannabis should stay illegal.
    Increased risk of psychosis and mental illness leading to an NDIS claim or institutionalisation means that I have a say in whether people want to smoke or ingest.

    To all the dopeheads here who think your use is harming no-one else; go have a look at some of the young people in aged care dementia wards and see what they have done to their families.
    Sorry David Leyonhjelm, I cannot agree with you on this.

    Let’s actually start a war on drugs. One like they fight in Singapore.

    This is the most dishonest load of crap I’ve read in a long time.

    Bloodthirsty and quite psychotic too.

    Do you read the Quran regularly?

  90. Diogenes`

    Bella

    23% of drivers in accidents under the influence of drugs other than alcohol.

    No, they have some trace in their system. That would be the same as saying that somebody with a BAC of 0.01% was drunk driving (ie a test a 9pm, picking up 1 standard drink consumed at 5pm)

    Fred..

    Can you imagine drug dealers applying for an ABN, registering for GST, issuing tax invoices to their drug addicted customers, completing quarterly BASs and then remitting GST to the ATO.

    The drug dealers will be your bottle , baccy /vaping shops, who , believe it or not do the above.

  91. Chris M

    go have a look at some of the young people in aged care dementia wards and see what they have done to their families.

    This is exactly right. I’ve done some work on Psych wards of different levels and the nurses told me about 50% of the patients had self inflicted brain damage from alcohol and drugs. I expect that rate will rise. And 24/7 care with the necessity of multiple nurses on hand at all times due to violent outbreaks is incredibly expensive. Between this and NDIS it will suck the country dry.

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