Lately, there has been many atheists trying to promote the legalization of marijuana as soon as it was publicised that it didn't have many (or any) physical problem associated with it. Whether it's safe to use or not, I don't think legalizing in public is something we should do.
Firstly, if it is being smoked, then everyone around you will also be doing the same (second hand smoking). People with delicate lungs (eg: emphysema) or sensitive senses (eg: Autism) may end up having problems with others smoking this in public. If marijuana were to become legalized, then it should be eaten or drunk instead of smoked. This is technically the same issue as cigarette smoking in public
Another problem associated with this, is that even though marijuana is 'ok' for you, the smoke itself and not the chemicals in the smoke is what is bad for you. Let me explain; our lungs have evolved to breathe in ~70% nitrogen and ~20% oxygen. Breathing in smoke is essentially ~35% nitrogen, ~10%oxygen and ~55%smoke. If this were to be breathed in for long periods of times, and on a regular basis will cause lung problems. When people say that marijuana isn't bad for you, they mean specifically marijuana, because consuming it in any other way won't give you lung problems.
Even though using marijuana may be physically 'ok' to use, there are still side effects that come along with using it. According to http://www.schizophrenia.com/prevention/streetdrugs.html, 8%-13% of schizophrenia cases are linked to marijuana. Even though this may not seem like very much, people who regularly use marijuana increase their chances of schizophrenia by 600%. This means that if everyone in Australia (22 million) became a regular smoker of marijuana, then 145200 people would end up with schizophrenia. BUT not everyone does smokes it, so the numbers will be smaller. If marijuana became legal, then we are allowing (statistically speaking) 145200 to 'obtain' schizophrenia. The population of the USA is ~300 million. If marijuana was legal and everyone became a regular user, then 1980000 people (statistically speaking) will get schizophrenia. If the numbers are lower, say 1/5 Americans become regular users, then 396000 people (statistically speaking) will get schizophrenia. (The maths for this is simple, 66/1000 users according to http://www.schizophrenia.com/prevention/streetdrugs.html have schizophrenia from marijuana use; 66/1000x(population) and then you have your answer).
All in all, the main purpose of this is to say that if marijuana is legalized, then it shouldn't (legally) be smoked, rather it should be consumed some other way.
I think you need a better argument against it. First, why relate atheism to promoting or taking a stand against marijuana. You did not flush that out in your first paragraph. What is it about being an atheist and this issue that is important to you? Second, your argument against smoking it is the same as telling people not to smoke cigarettes, and you know what their response is - "It's my body, my choice.". So, given the other benefits of marijuana - taxation properties, hemp, safe alternative to alcohol (sort of), medicinal qualities, and relaxation properties, please describe why people should not be given the choice. I have been given the choice in my state, and have chosen not to smoke it. It's not like everyone is smoking this stuff on the street now.
All good arguments improve with time. They are like wine. You are assuming that people are smoking pot around you, and that it is affecting you. I have not witnessed public smoking of marijuana in any capacity to the same extent people seem to think it is okay to blow cigarette smoke in your face. Have you seen a lot of public pot smoking?
And again, let's address the benefits of marijuana - how do you offset the medicinal benefits provided by this plant? The science is clear, for many people in pain, suffering from chronic, debilitating conditions, or undergoing chemotherapy and having difficulty with their appetite, marijuana can assist. How do feel, morally and ethically, telling these people they cannot smoke a little pot and that they must suffer, because you don't agree with what they are doing?
The only thing I can say to that question is: YES !!!!
You are much more succinct than I am! :-)
I agree with Tony, and I love both his and Sentient Bipeds answers. One is right to the point, and the other covers everything.
Marijuana and all recreational drugs should be legalised to the extent that possession of the drugs for personal use be decriminalised as in Spain.
My generation has been criminalised by the 'war on drugs' which has been waged for the last thirty years and has failed. Decriminalisation effectively puts the criminal organisations which control the distribution of recreational drugs out of business.
Emphasis can then be placed on care for the weak who become addicted to and adversely affected by drug use.
If legalized, some people would use marijuana, and some would not.
Possibly, more would use it than do now. I doubt that everyone in Australia or the USA would become a regular user. More likely, just guessing, there might be more occasional or rare users, but the regular users would not change much. My suspicion, again not proven, is that people who are motivated to be regular users, already use.
Alcohol is legal and not everyone drinks (I don't).
Tobacco is legal and not everyone smokes (I dont).
With marijuana, not everyone would smoke or eat marijuana (I probably would not).
The war on drugs has has casualties that dwarf your schizophrenia numbers. 60,000 killed in Mexico over a 6 year period, where drugs are made, bought, sold for US use because there are no legal ways to do so in the US.
The US War on Drugs has meant, increased police militarization in the US, wasted resources, decreased respect for government and police.
WIth legal marijuana, inspected, monitored, there would be less incentive to make dangerous synthetic THC-subsstitute products.
As currently fought,the war on drugs is racist. WIkipedia: "A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union determined that a black person in the United States was 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though both races have similar rates of marijuana use. Iowa had the highest racial disparity of the fifty states. Black people in Iowa were arrested for marijuana possession at a rate 8.4 times higher than white people. In 1998 there were wide racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, sentencing and deaths. African-Americans, who only comprised 13% of regular drug users, made up for 35% of drug arrests, 55% of convictions, and 74% of people sent to prison for drug possession crimes. Nationwide African-Americans were sent to state prisons for drug offenses 13 times more often than white men, even though they only comprise 13% of regular drug users
As for health issues with smoke exposure, legalizing marijuana does not mean it's unregulated. Smoking inside public places is unhealthy, and that should be true regardless of what is smoked.
Imprisonment of pot users costs about $1 billion a year in the US. Also, "nearly 1 out of 8 U.S. drug prisoners are locked up for pot." and " several hundred thousand more Americans are arrested each year for violating marijuana laws, costing taxpayers another $8 billion dollars annually in criminal justice costs." More figures in Salon.com
I'm not motivated enough to look up a lot of references about marijuana. Since decriminalization in my State, Washington, admittedly a recent development, so far the sky hasn't fallen, I haven't seen people publicly using, and it's hard to know that decriminalization has happened. Then again, I'm not out in the streets, so maybe there is use there.
My thoughts -
Marijuana should be legalized for manufacture, sale, and personal growing of marijuana plants. That would eliminate much of the drain on society and ruination of personal lives, by the drug war-legal-prison-industrial complex.
Marijuana should be regulated by means similar to alcohol and tobacco. That would help with safety issues - not eliminate problems but help manage them. It would fund research into marijuana safety and mechanisms for use. Potentially, e-cigarettes could be developed, similar to those for tobacco, not burning but vaporizing. Skin patches. Eaten products. It would fund management and regulation of marijuana products.
People who are currently imprisoned for marijuana use should be released.
Governments should stop the use of police to enforce marijuana laws. That would free up resources for other crime fighting efforts.
Farm-grade hemp has multiple uses, which are not currently available in the US due to the drug war. It's a separate issue, because industrial hemp is not a THC product. But with the drug war, we are deprived of the benefits of hemp as a food product, fiber, and other products; using less fertilizer, fewer chemicals, and less damage to the environment. I might not say the same about opium poppies, because of the harm we see from opiates every day, but marijuana is not the same issue as opiates.
8%-13% of schizophrenia cases are linked to marijuana.
It could also be that people who will go crazy tend to like marijuana because it harmonizes with how their minds work. Correlation isn't causation, and I didn't see anything proving that using marijuana as an adult causes schizophrenia.
Legalization doesn't imply it would be legal for children to use it. Using marijuana as a young adolescent does seem to have bad effects.
I've actually heard that legalizing drugs makes it more difficult for children to obtain them. The illegal pushers don't ask you for ID.
I don't smoke it, but to legalize it would solve a whole lot of problems!
Splad, you’re really making a big thing out of smoke, literally. For one thing with good grass there’s a minimum of smoke. With my “cultured” head, just one or two hits does the trick. Barely any smoke at all. That’s another advantage, the more one smokes, the less is needed to get the desired effect—unlike booze.
How about comestible grass like brownies, for instance? Does you argument apply to my consumed by mouth?
The population of the USA is ~300 million. If marijuana was legal and everyone became a regular user, then 1980000 people (statistically speaking) will get schizophrenia.>>>
No offense, but this is ludicrous. Can you cite one study proving that mj causes ONE case of schizophrenia, much less 2/3 the population of the United Sates?