Prison Time from Marijuana

Heres an interesting question and one that bothers me.
First lets get some context and my view here. I think that marijuana isn’t quite as big of a deal as people make it (heck science has proven it isn’t as deadly, damaging, or impairing as alcohol). Now don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating the use of it nor am I saying that is not sinful to do it because it is a drug that intoxicated you in a way and isn’t productive to a relationship with God. Anyway…

Do you personally think it is morally acceptable to send people to prison for marijuana?

My opinion no. I don’t think someone should be stripped of their freedom and place in society because they use, for the most part, a harmless drug. Now is it still a drug? Yes. Is it morally correct to use? Probably not. But is it worth years behind bars? Absolutely not.
I think that sexual impurity and masturbation are more serious sins and those are propagated in our culture.

I think that that the punishment is much heavier then the offense, which in itself is an injustice. If there is going to be a punishable crime for marijuana use I think it needs to reflect the gravity of the crime, so at most a fine or some other punishment that doesn’t require possibly years of jail time.

Sidenote: I am speaking about people who get caught with marijuana for there use or your average college age drug dealer who sells some to pay bills. I am NOT talking about those who grow massive quantities of it to distribute, which would justify a harsher punishment.

Prison for smoking no.

Marijuana is a problem. I live in Mexico, and my neighbors here routinely use marijuana to a point it wafts over to my place, and because we are just so close…in these apartments, I think I can get high from their usage. I haven´t bothered to ever report this. I´m not sure the laws, but I think that´s illegal. If push came to shove, I probably could, but were it legal, I´d be completely out of luck.

Now, if marijuana is perfectly legal, then, if you are getting high from your nextdoor neighbor’s usage, you have absolutely no recourse, one thing.

Further, some people have jobs which will do drug testing, where they WILL fire you if you come up positive. Now, if your nextdoor neighbor is using, and you, who aren´t even using, come up positive, and lose your job, how fair is that?

A lot of people come on the forum, trying to legalize marijuana, often times, seemingly, because they are users, want it not only decriminalized, but legalized.

Some will say that marijuana really isn´t that bad, point to alcohol.

We tried to make alcohol illegal, exactly since it created so many problems for society. We know its excessive use is problematic, but, since it has been culturally acceptable for years, it just couldn´t be done.

Even Christ used alcohol. It has been in our culture for milenia.

Whereas…marijuana, has not.

If we begin making exceptions for marijuana, what will be the next step?

Okay…we begin to say…okay…you can possess a few grams.

Now, it makes law inforcement that much more difficult. So now, I don´t think it´d work to have a dog sniff like it used to, find a stash, and just work with that. They need to find a stash…weigh it. The entire process, now, has become very complex.

Marijuana is also one of those slippery slopes. It´s sort of like with gay rights, abortion, etc.

Now, with abortion, it initially was just for women who were raped and incest. Then, it went to the mother’s health. It went from the first trimester, the second trimester, and into the third trimester. Now, they are wondering what to do with babies who survive abortion, whether infanticide would be okay.

With gay rights, it was initially that people not harm gays. Then, it went to recognizing gay partnerships…then, gay marriage. Then, gay adoption. Now, some are closing down Christian, and Catholic businesses and organizations, when they refuse to adopt to same-sex couples, saying this is “discrimination”.

Catholic adoption units have been closed down as a result, and now, I think the government needs to pay benefits to gay couples…survivor´s, etc., when this is a situation which is so detrimental to society, that doesn´t need to be promoted, but just the opposite.

Some are not seeking for the government, and its citizens, to pay for sex-change operations. People really no longer have the right to practice their faith any more. Christian cakemakers are being forced to either do this or close.

Now, what does any of these scenarios have to do with marijuana? Well yes, it can seem harsh that we punish people who use, but let´s look at the alternative.

Let´s say you decriminalize, and even legalize marijuana. Well, there will be pressure to bear to say, “Well, cocaine isn´t really that bad. Statistically speaking, there are more people getting into car crashes from alcohol than from cocaine. Therefore, I move we also legalize it, and all these other drugs”.

With marijuana, is this something we really want to promote? Do we really want a nation of potheads?

Yeah, some may not go out and kill somebody. It´s more a scenario that it´s the only thing they will think about, and they will just want to smoke pot, do nothing else. They will say they aren´t hurting anyone by using, but if it´s so tame, why do we also have these self help groups forming to help users, and their families?

Here´s an example of one:

It´s not only the user who has problems but the family.

It hurts society in untold ways.

I know that employers now don´t want their workers high on marijuana.

Now, if we were to think this completely through to the end, we would see we really don´t want marijuana widespread.

Okay…other scenarios people may not have thought of. What if you have a family, and the mother and/or father are users. They have children…even babies. If marijuana is legalized, how can you then later turn around and try to protect the children from its exposure.

You could then have he parents, very openly, smoking marijuana, holding a baby, blowing marijuana smoke into its face. What recourse would that baby, or the other children in that house, have? None, right?

What if the children don´t want to go to school high?

We know that marijuana has a bunch of health problems. With alcohol, it isn´t as direct, in a sense. I could drink, even get drunk, and at least that may not affect someone in my immediate vicinity, unless I do something else crazy.

With marijuana, by its nature, automatically, you affect anybody within a certain radius.

When people even smoke cigarettes, it causes anyone around to smell like cigarettes, and the effects of second-hand smoke have been well documented insofar as the adverse health effects.

It has adverse respiratory effects, and even adversely affects, I think fertility, and I forget what all else.

So, again…do you really want these children, and neighbors, going to school, and work, high?

The line had to be drawn, somewhere. Marijuana is a good place to draw it, in my opinion. It is different from alcohol, in that it isn´t…or at least wasn´t…part of our culture. If it´s legalized, then it WILL be a part of our mainstream culture.

Sometimes, people don´t use, because it´s illegal. I know of one person, who while visiting Denver, who would not have otherwise used, tried it, just because it was legal, now.

We know that most people do not go directly from using nothing…to cocaine and the rest. They usually undergo a progression. They generally begin with alcohol and cigarettes, then move to things like marijuana…and then go up from there.

If you weaken this, start saying marijuana is now fine, not really so bad, get ready for the next wave…and expect there will not only be marijuana, but an entire slew of other drugs on the list to decriminalize, and later, legalize, and on and on.

Do we really want to encourage drug usage?

Some have said if we decriminalize, or legalize, we will do away with the mafia. In Mexico, they have legalized prostitution. They (mistakenly) thought if it were only decriminalized, legalized, all would be well.

So, they did that in certain zones. I have NEVER, in all my life, seen such open prostitution as right here! I´ve seen it openly and NOT in the designated areas. In fact, I happened to be here once as a tourist, was almost raped, and I was NOT in one area, but the decriminalization and legalization made an environment of acceptance where it was now considered “okay”.

They also tried to legalize graffiti in certain areas, (mistakenly) thinking it´d cut down on it, that people would just graffitize just those areas. No…they graffitized those areas AND all the rest. In the case of both legalized prostititon AND graffiti, legalizing it made it 1,000 X worse, NOT better.

Once you legalize marijuana, in this experiment, also, how can you ever go back and say, “Oops… THAT was a mistake!” You can´t, because now there´s a precedent established.

When marijuana was legalized, didn´t they celebrate with one of the world´s largest pot parties complete with the police handing out Doritos?

A lot of people will say these people aren´t hurting anyone, but I don´t believe that to be the case.

If it is legal, then they will be able to also promote this. When it´s illegal, they can´t…at least not as easily or openly.

My sister once told me if they would just legalize drugs, marijuana specifically, it would in one fell swoop also do away with the mafia. I told her about Mexico, that they DID legalize prostitution here, and the mafia is thriving, bigger than ever, but she still won´t believe me, I don´t think.

We have already opened this Pandora´s box, and only time will tell what the long range consequences will be. We don´t even know what those are going to be, because nobody has bothered to think that far ahead.

If you don´t want children getting high or neighbors, we would pretty much have to have something strong in place to stop this, so I guess it would need to be jail time, since it´s a difficult addiction to stop. So yes, I guess, as difficult as it is, that might be the only way for people to get the message, in some cases, the severity of this, that it is affecting themselves, children, neighbors, and society, as a whole in a very adverse way.

Sidenote: I am speaking about people who get caught with marijuana for there use or** your average college age drug dealer who sells some to pay bills**. I am NOT talking about those who grow massive quantities of it to distribute, which would justify a harsher punishment.

Ah, the good old “college student” drug dealer. Just like the college girl with the heart of gold who works as a part time prostitute until her Peace Corps application gets approved.

Do these stereotypes really exist?

Even if the stereotype does exist, the distributor who is made rich by the “college student” is likely a ruthless gang that kills people, and is enabled - and made rich - by such “heart of gold” street salesmen.

I guess the first choice is the best representation of my view though I take exception to the use of “always”. There should be some provision in the law for first time offenders with regard to possession for personal use. But anyone who sells should go to jail. And anyone who provides marijuana - for sale or for “free” - to a minor should go to jail. I don’t buy into the hooker or the drug dealer with a heart of gold fiction. Not only is drug dealing a larger crime, it is material cooperation in a violent, immoral industry.

Now there is a separate discussion as to whether the amount of incarceration is proportionate to the crime. But that’s a bigger issue than just marijuana. :shrug:

What about marijuana for medical use? Classify it the same as the opiate drugs we have and control it likewise.

There seems to be a neglected middle here. There is another alternative to the forbidden at all times and the on demand marijuana use for recreation.

Agreed - through real doctors and real pharmacies. In the US, we actually have that now with cocaine as well as opiates. It can be prescribed and administered but is very controlled. Not only is it better control but it would encourage true research as well as standardized dosage.

With marijuana, also, why are people doing this? Often, it´s a need to self medicate. It’s like how alcoholics are often “self medicating” to deal with underlying problems, traumas, etc.

And, with marijuana, they can combine with other substances…alcohol…etc.

When we tell people it´s legal to smoke pot, they get into a mindset that drugs are okay, really not that bad, so just go ahead. To me, that´s very dangerous, not only to themselves, but to society, who, literally, sometimes has to pay the bill for this.

I interpreted, briefly, in substance abuse, and people had lost their lives as a result of drugs. It was just awful.

How many employers will want to hire a marijuana addict? Would you want your surgeon on marijuana? Your pilot, if you are flying somewhere? Would you want him high on marijuana?

If you were an employer, would you want your employees using marijuana? Very few do. That´s why a lot of places do drug testing as part of preemployment in many, if not the majority, of places.

Even if it becomes legal everywhere, this drug usage is unhelpful. It hurts a person’s ability to be employed, relationships, finances, etc.

He, also, must control his addiction…use only so much, but addicts often can´t control their addictions. That´s why they are addicts.

They develop a codependency to the drugs.

A lot of times, I can look at someone, tell if they are on drugs by looking into their eyes.

Later, drugs (even when legal) are SO expensive, that one will possibly need to either steal or go into prostition to afford them.

I think it cost, was it $15 US, legally, in Denver for ONE marijuana cigarette. That gets expensive, fast.

If these people can´t work regular places, since they come up positive on drug testing, how will they afford this lifestyle? Often, they can´t…hence, need to turn to illegal activities.

The problem is that jail time is much more damaging than the drug in a lot of instances. There are a number of people who live productive lives and use weed. But in the other end there are those who aren’t productive. Just like with alcohol, some can use in moderation and others abuse to the point of destroying livers and breaking families.

As far as 2nd hand smoke, isn’t this already an issue with tobacco, a drug that is legal? I wouldn’t tolerate someone blowing smoke in my babies face (if I had one ) so why would the legality of it affect the same with weed? Also, i don’t know about Mexico but in most parts of the US, a tenant can demand relief from tobacco smoke (force landlord to adjust vents, etc ) though one can’t guarantee it will work.

Lastly, the Mafia will always find something illegal to do to thrive. But to cite the violence associated with something illegal is problematic because it is the illegality that forces violence to be used. You never see T-Mobile putting out hits on Verizon because they can use the courts.

Yes, I think it is acceptable to send someone to prison for marijuana, but not because of the drug itself. Rather, I believe people should be punished for intentionally breaking a just law. I have no problem with medical marijuana, and take no issue with total legalization of it. As it is, however, it isn’t legal and there’s not really a good reaon (with legal medical use) for someone to not observe teh law in this case. So, if they break the law, they should be punished for breaking the law.

Is that really relevant, though? If jail time for commiting a crime is more damaging than the crime itself, wouldn’t it make more sense for a person to first avoid the crime, and THEN push for legalization in a way that doesn’t involve them going to jail?

There are a number of people who live productive lives and use weed.

There are a number of people who live productive lives and commit any number of crimes of any nature. If you want to push for legalization of marijuana, this isn’t the argument to use.

I don’t think they should be sentenced to prison. I believe that being stoned on pot, is better than drinking. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not really an advocate for pot. However, I think between the two, I don’t believe people have aggressive behavior as they do when intoxicated with alcohol.

I believe it is a grey area. For one, THC can stay in your system for 30 days. I don’t think you can tell when the person last had it, if they test positive. Unless, you can tell by a titer lab draw.

I think marijuana should be treated like alcohol, when it comes to driving. I believe that driving while stoned can be dangerous. But, then again, how can you tell if a positive thc comes up, if it is recent. Perhaps, a failed sobriety test would give more weight in this situation.

I think instead of prison, the offenders should be sentenced to an aversion program. Repeat offenders should be required to attend a rehab.

I advocate for medical marijuana. However, not in a form where you smoke it. Marinol is a great oral form of thc to simulate appetite. Many elderly do not have any appetite and have malnutrition.

I am on the fence for legalization of it.

I do not believe that people are rehabilitated in prison. It is more of getting people out of society, and sometimes that is truly necessary. I think marijuana use is a lesser offense and should not be punishable to prison. We want the end result to be rehabilitation. I believe there are other ways. Something more where the punishment fits the crime.

Yes it is relevant. The difference between drugs and say robbery is that the “victim” and the perp are one in the same. You can argue DUI and such, but those are separate charges with penalties assigned based on the harm to others.

the issue is that with higher penalties comes more incentive to commit other crimes to conceal the original crime. Am extreme example is a murderer may also kill witnesses to avoid punishment or less extreme am embezzler may threaten blackmail to hide crimes.

There are a number of people who live productive lives and commit any number of crimes of any nature. If you want to push for legalization of marijuana, this isn’t the argument to use.

Since the primary victim is user then it follows that except for it being a crime the harm caused in those cases would be minimal. If you are to argue that hurting themselves victimizes others than that applies to alcohol, tobacco, dangerous activities, poor diet, failure to manage health, etc.

I don’t think marijuana is harmless. If it’s “safe” why do children end up in the ER after mistakenly eating baked goods or candies with marijuana in them? And if smoking cigarettes can cause cancer, do you think that marijuana cigarettes don’t? Some of these can be contaminated just like regular cigarettes. It’s also known that the drug can make someone “spacy” which means their reaction time can be lower when driving. So, while I don’t advocate long prison sentences for a minimal user, I don’t think it should be decriminalized either.

I voted no. This article from Crisis Magazine is probably 10 or more years old but I still refer back to it.

The whole thing is useful but the relevant section is: 5. End the Drug War.

A lot of things are illegal, but we don’t have a “war” on them. The immense scope of today’s drug war can be blamed in large part on mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related crimes, which are based solely on the weight of the drugs involved. In 1993, conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist called mandatory sentences “a good example of the law of unintended consequences”; the next year, Justice Anthony Kennedy concurred, saying in congressional testimony, "I think I’m in agreement with most judges in the federal system that mandatory minimums are an imprudent, unwise, and often unjust mechanism for sentencing.

I don’t see how it’s relevant. In fact, that position is a non sequitur. It doesn’t matter if the victim is one in the same (and I believe an argument can be made that there are other victims in the drug trade besides the user). That’s only relevant if you are arguing for legalization. In this case, the topic is on the punishement for breaking a law…for doing something that is already illegal.
So my question still stands: If jail time for commiting a crime is more damaging than the crime itself, wouldn’t it make more sense for a person to first avoid the crime, and THEN push for legalization in a way that doesn’t involve them going to jail?

Since the primary victim is user then it follows…

No it doesn’t, unless you change the argument. It’s either a non sequitur (it doesn’t follow that something should become legal just because productive people engage in it) or a strawman (you change the argument) or *special pleading *(you move the goal posts).

…that except for it being a crime the harm caused in those cases would be minimal.

Well, first of all, that wasn’t what was being discussed. You commited a logical fallacy to arrive at that comment from my response to another person’s comment. Second of all, you are *begging the question *(circular reasoning) by presuming that “the harm caused would be minimal”.

If you are to argue that hurting themselves victimizes others than that applies to alcohol, tobacco, dangerous activities, poor diet, failure to manage health, etc.

I dont’ think anyone is arguing that.

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