Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Big Two Are Much Worse

Here's a snippet from a very good article by Stephen Jonas, a doctor of medicine at Stony Brook University, and author of more than 30 books. You can find it here. He argues that the widely noticed David Brooks column on the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado is really a Brooks call for a return to prohibition. But of course. I love it how these "small government" "less government" people on the right are always so ready to use the police power of the state to prohibit something they don't like. And of course, as the Jonas article shows, booze and tobacco are much worse than pot, use of which has not even caused one death, as far as anybody knows.
I do not associate myself with those who argue for marijuana legalization because it's "not very harmful" or it's "less harmful than alcohol or tobacco." It seems that the latter is the case, but what I am primarily concerned with as a public health physician is that we do know for sure just how harmful the Big Two [alcohol and tobacco] are. Nevertheless, both are legal, at least for persons 18-21 and older (depending upon the drug and the jurisdiction). And since they are legal, there is no rational argument for illegalizing marijuana (and most of the other RMADs [recreational mood-altering drug], most of them small-use, as well). In fact, there are important lessons to be learned from how tobacco and alcohol are handled that could be used in dealing with all of the RMADs. Advertising and price, their use and control, are key.
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