Success in the Media

Prohibition was wrong, but is legalizing marijuana right?

Crime in America.Net

The Washington Post ran another insightful article by George Will maintaining that America is ready to once again legislate morality and run the life of American citizens. While I could not share the same literary sidewalk with George Will, I’m still puzzled. How does one rail against the issues plaguing society (as we routinely do at Crime in America.Net) without trampling on the “rights” of the average American?

From Mr. Will’s article: “The evening of Jan. 16, 1920, hours before Prohibition descended on America, while the young assistant secretary of the Navy, Franklin Roosevelt, drank champagne in Washington with other members of Harvard’s Class of 1904, evangelist Billy Sunday preached to 10,000 celebrants in Norfolk, Va., : “The reign of tears is over. The slums will soon be only a memory. . . .” Not exactly.”

“Daniel Okrent’s darkly hilarious “Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” recounts how Americans abolished a widely exercised private right — and condemned the nation’s fifth-largest industry — in order to make the nation more heavenly. Then all hell broke loose. Now that ambitious government is again hell-bent on improving Americans — from how they use salt to what light bulbs they use — Okrent’s book is a timely tutorial on the law of unintended consequences”. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/07/AR2010070703558.html?wpisrc=nl_most

So George, what’s the magic formula? We just offered a rather caustic piece on child abuse (http://crimeinamerica.net/2010/07/19/up-to-93-percent-of-justice-system-youth-experienced-trauma-crime-in-america-net/) essentially calling for society to condemn bad parents. We stated:

“The truth is that few care about hungry, beaten and neglected kids feeding and raising themselves.  We could condemn the parents in the harshest way possible, but that’s unthinkable, too many would accuse us of beating up on the previous class of vulnerable people.”

So what’s a very minor pundit to do? What are the unanticipated consequences of social protest? So we condemn bad parents in the harshest terms and what’s going to happen? Are they going to be worse parents? Is that possible?  Is it a right of American citizens to be left alone to rase their kids as they see fit regardless of the consequences?

But we are always wrestling with this issue; what are the rights of American citizens? The Supreme Court settled the issue of gun ownership, but can people carry their firearms everywhere? Can citizens smoke pot to their heart’s content? Can they ride their motorcycles without helmets? At 100 miles an hour? While drinking? You think we don’t have people who  are completely satisfied with doing any of the above?

What George’s article fails to articulate is that we want an America that relies on social pressure more than the criminal justice system and sometimes, social pressure needs a boost from legislation.

Think that’s silly? How many Americans would smoke marijuana today if it was legalized? What would be the social consequences of legalization? We’ve debated this question on this and other sites and we fear that legalization will lead to more crime and considerable social harm. There are people who should not touch anything stronger than aspirin; they simply do stupid and harmful and illegal things under the influence (the advocates won’t admit to any of this regardless of the data).

We believe that millions don’t smoke pot only because it’s illegal, not because they believe that it’s harmful.

There have been endless local and national movements throughout American history that combined legislation with social pressure that worked to tame Americans into better behavior. The Victorian era is just one example where the nation felt that fellow citizens were in need of correction. Social norms and local legislation combined to do just that.

Unanticipated consequences are a huge concern but Americans sometimes need a legislative push to not drink and drive or beat their spouses or kids or to do an endless array of bad acts.

Will we get it right every time?  Obviously not.  What’s the right thing? Well, that’s the  truly difficult question.  

But please excuse me; I have to go exercise my rights as an American by riding my motorcycle helmetless after smoking a joint.  In the rain. At 100 miles per hour. After forgetting to feed my kid. God bless America.

Crime in America.Net

 Article first published as Prohibition Was Wrong, But Is Legalizing Marijuana Right? on  Technorati.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous Joe says:

    “But please excuse me; I have to go exercise my rights as an American by riding my motorcycle helmetless after smoking a joint. In the rain. At 100 miles per hour. After forgetting to feed my kid. God bless America.”

    This is literally what the Right thinks cannabis users will do when high.

  2. Asprin causes more deaths a year than Marijuna.

  3. and i forgot that tv plays apart rappers and movies influence kids to wanna live the fast life so just think if kids had no way but the right way to go about living the fast life they would have too if there was no profit or gain selling drugs than what else could they do but go to school,…think like this if im 15 or sixteen and i can make more money being a cashier at a supermarket which would i chose,alcohol and tobacco is legal do you see kids dropping out of school getn rich off selling beer or cigs..no! read between the lines!!! i feel the govt makes big bucks off jails because if you really want crime to stop you have to nip it in the bud!!! get it lol…nip it in the bud!!!!!!

    • Hi Kdogg: All good points. But speaking of race, the black church in this country is coming out against legalization of marijuana. Why? Because they know what most of us know; there are simply too many people whose lives get too messed up by any substances let alone legalized marijuana in its current form.
      Maybe we need to license marijuana users and hold them to a code of conduct. Research is showing that marijuana is popping up in an endless number of bad behaviors from buzzed driving to child abuse to violent crimes to admissions to treatment clinics. Yet there are an endless number of people who state that “they” can handle it and they don’t believe the research.
      Let’s let citizens of individual states decide and where they legalize it, study the effects. That’s the only way to judge who is right. But we fear that legalization is going to hurt endless thousands of people.
      Best, Adam.

      • “Maybe we need to license marijuana users and hold them to a code of conduct”.i like this quote,I agree with you thats one way..Oh and no disrespect to the church but its a conspiracy,the govt use religion to control us all races, especially black ppl because we are spiritual..most of these churches are hypocrits do you really think ppl are gonna let ppl who have been touching kids debate on whats right and wrong..heres a secret u wanna a black community to do something send it through the church!!the day you started needing a degree to be a pastor it stop being real to me and i open my eyes to the fact that its all about money!!CHURCH GOERS ARE THE BIGGEST CRIMINALS!! there will never be a right or wrong answer so just be fair and being fair is if you legalized cigs alcohol,gambling,strip clubs,prositution in some places etc..shut em all down then….example some football player last year killed a pedestrian in a cross walk being drunk and got 18 months is that justice!!oh well liq is legal so they cant punish him that bad right???this is unfair compared to having a guy who was selling weed or had a cpl of lbs do time for a un violent crime hold on did i mention some poor guy lost his life….

        • CHURCH GOERS ARE THE BIGGEST CRIMINALS!!

          Kdogg, thats a whole lot of people thrown into one pile. We get a ton of students at this site. Are you sure that’s what you want to say to them?
          Best, Adam.

          • SURE I DO !!IT FEELS THE SAME WAY WHEN THE CRITIC THINKS EVERYONE IN THE GHETTO IS A GANGBANGER BECAUSE OF OUR CIRCUMSTANCES AND POVERTY!!!NOW DO YOUR RESEARCH ON HOW MANY TIMES CHURCHES AND PASTORS BEEN CAUGHT UP IN CORRUPTION,YOU SEE WHAT WE ARE BRAIN WASHED TO BELIEVE IS IF YOUR WEARING A POLICE UNIFORM OR WORK FOR THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM OR AFFILIATED WITH A CHURCH YOU ARE INNOCENT TIL PROVEN GUILTY AND IN THE GHETTO YOU ARE GUILTY TIL PROVEN INNOCENT,ALWAYS REMEMBER CORRUPTION COMES FROM WITH IN DEEP!! IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN,NOBODY CALLED BUSH A CRIMINAL WHEN HE GAVE FREEWAY RICKY ROSS ALL THOSE DRUGS IN THE 80S FOR FUNDS,THE CATHOLICS ARE IN COHOOTS WITH THE MAFIA,BUT HEY SWEEP THAT UNDER THE RUG TOO!!!I CAN GO ON BUT LET SOME BLACK GANGS HAVE A SHOOT OUT OVER THE SAME DRUGS THEY BROUGHT IN AND WE ARE THE PROBLEM.NOT TO MENTION I AM A MILITARY VET AND I KNOW ABOUT HOW DADDY BUSH TRAINED AND ARMED OSAMA TO HELP HIM DESTROY IRAN SO THEY CAN TAKE OVER, YEARS LATER THE SON GETS BOMBE BY THE SAME GUY AND HE GOES AND KILLS SADDAM UMMMM…SO THE POINT IM TRYING TO REALLY MAKE IS THE CHURCH AND THE GOVT HAS NERVE TO EVEN TELL CIVALIZED TAX PAYING AMERICANS WHAT WE SHOULD SMOKE THERES BIGGE R WARS GOING ON AND WEED IS NOT ONE!!!

          • THATS WHY ITS CALLED GOVERNMENT BECAUSE IF IT CAN’T BE GOVERNED IT WILLED BE DEEMED ILLEGAL!

      • Listen, I think you all blow everything out of proportion…it’s not the same for each individual. God left that weed to be used for medicinal purposes for pain, anxieties, sleep & relaxation or feeling social instead of feeling depressed…Legalization dos not hurt countless of people, only if they let it!!! I could go both ways, try to see a broader picture of smoke, to where if undecided, stand there & before you know it, you’ll be smiling,rest, peace, and get something good to eat, “we eat like Men!!!” ;) All good. Practice what you preach. Amen. ;) ;)

  4. Thank you for responding adam,The real problem is with the people not the drugs period.I done research and can honestly say i dont agree with the conclusions,I think sometimes society only looks at it from one angel.Im a black male raised from a poverty background Im not trying to make this racial because its not a black or white thing and i know this very well because i grew up with white kids side by side that went through the same struggles.making it white and black is the scapegoat…(back to the subject)unfortunately where im from the ppl there have more ambition to chose more illegal routes to live or to be successful,personally i think the world was built off corruption so there will always be!but what you have to do is put mom and pops and corner shops out of bizness and it will drop the crime rate because in the hood they are waring for drug turf and gang reasons(which are stupid and ignorant)but the fact is..that legalizing weed you shut down another criminal lane,which means kids that have no biz in those neighborhoods wouldnt have to go there and get robbed or killed for nothing.do the stats on that,they wont be able to rob eachother for it and get away with unsolved murders because robbing a despencery would be a fed crime punishable by law…..man i can go on and on but you have to look at it from another angel.im telling you from live broadcasting and i see whats going on if you shut drug dealers down legally kids will have nothing in urban neighborhoods to drop out of school and do trust me this is the point im getting at its not gonna solve the whole prob but its a startafter that you have to find away to rid all gangs,well you’ll neva rid gangs because its really just a group of ppl ,but truth is when you hear the word you think of crips and blood,if we give them nothing to bang for then they have to do more positive than negative its all connected but the source is the drugs which is supply and demand,now it sounds like i contradictin myself but what im saying is legal or illegal they want the drugs the govt must control it tax it and put hustlers out of biz!!!theres more drug dealers i this world than killers and robbers do the stats on that…

  5. seriously? says:

    awful article obviously written by someone who took no time to study anything. saying legalization will cause more crime is ridiculous, crime plummeted when alcohol prohibition ended because gangs, cartels, mafias, and drug lords who use violence and extortion to further themselves were no longer getting money. the same thing will happen. this is a laughably incorrect and uninformed article, the writer should be ashamed. more importantly, no one has the right to tell someone what they can and cannot do with their own body and yes, people should be allowed to “smoke pot to their hearts content” because they are harming no one but themselves by doing so. we allow people to fill themselves with the poison that is alcohol and the more addictive than heroin nicotine, why not marijuana?

    • Thanks for writing.
      There is a considerable research that strongly connects criminal activity with marijuana and its documented on Crime in America.Net. We think that’s there’s a good chance that marijuana will be legalized so we may see soon who is right. But there is a ton of good research indicating that the current form of marijuana is strongly connected to a greatly increased need for treatment.
      We don’t want arrests for possession; we don’t want prison or jail for possession. We just want an honest debate as to the social consequences. We’ve said it many times–there are a ton of people who can’t handle any substances. The more people we have doing pot, the more social problems we will have. It’s just that simple.
      We appreciate your comments.
      Best, Adam.

  6. very bias topic.but ppl do crazy things on alcohol…if some ppl shouldnt take anything stronger than asprin then asprin should be the strongest thing on the market abolish the liq.cause alot of ppl die yearly due to drunk driving,abolish ciggarrettes because they r also no good despite the facts its all ignored,now u ppl wanna make a big deal about weed!!i never heard of medical tobacco or medical liq so weed actually does more good than harm than both of these….so whats the debate i think the topic should be FAIR OR UNFAIR………….AT THE END OF THE DAY YOU CANT TELL PPL WHAT THERE PREFENCE IN DRUGS SHOULKD BE JUST CAUSE U MAKE THE LAWS,IM EX NAVY I WATCH MY CAPTAIN FOR YEARS DRINK YAC IN HIS CUP AT THE HELM…AND IM PRETTY SURE JUDGES,DR,LAWYERS ALL GET WAISTED…IS THAT BETTER THAN GETN HIGH!!! MAYBE IF UR THE LAWMAKERS IT IS!!!

    • Thanks for writing
      We think that’s there’s a good chance that marijuana will be legalized so we may see soon who is right. But there is a ton of good research indicating that the current form of marijuana is strongly connected to crime and a greatly increased need for treatment.
      We don’t want arrests for possession; we don’t want prison or jail for possession. We just want an honest debate as to the social consequences. We’ve said it many times–there are a ton of people who can’t handle any substances. The more people we have doing pot, the more social problems we will have. It’s just that simple.
      We appreciate your comments.
      Best, Adam.

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