Re: This is someone
Cannabis can affect people with certain mental disorders very badly. It doesn't affect the majority of people badly at all...unless you abuse it. This is where calibrating safe doses for the average person comes in, as well as proper labelling so that people who have certain conditions don't take it.
Dextromethorpan is a cough supressant. Harmless at prescribed doses to the overwhelming majority of people and available as an over-the-counter substance. Yet if you combine it with an SSRI or SNRI ( or $deity help you, both, as in Effexor) then Very Bad Things can happen. In Canada, our pharmacists hand over the stuff, because they are told to look up your existing prescriptions to make sure there are no known interactions with your existing drugs. It is over the counter; there is nothing to stop them from selling it to you, but they do their jobs and the system works.
Cannabis can be - and should be - handled the same way. (Actually, I argue that THC should be purified and offered as an inhalant, but that's another discussion for another day.) When used in moderation by normal people, cannabis is fine. It offers consequences no worse than a squillion other substances we take without question.
Are there potential tradeoffs? Sure. Does that mean than an adult should not be allowed to make those choices for themselves? No. The tradeoffs of cannabis are far, far less likely to affect others than hundreds of other substances we all consume every day.
In Canada, we do have over the counter access to codeine. Oddly enough, we aren't all stoned out of our minds 24/7, even though I promise you there's enough codeine in my house to get you fucking baked for an entire week. It seems that my nation is filled with people who can handle this particular opiate responsibly, and stick to low doses.
That doesn't mean I advocate allowing heroin in the wild. It does mean that "all drugs are not the same" and that you need to open your mind a little.
Amphetamines are another story altogether. They have a completely different effect on people with ADHD than those who don't. Significantly different brain chemistries means that we ADHD folks process the drugs differently and that we don't tend to get addicted to them, or experience the other very bizarre side effects that "normals" report.
Does that mean amphetamines should be available over the counter? No...or, at least, not all of them. Very low doses of certain amphetamines could actually be a good thing. Better for "normal" people than hammering caffeine pills to get a pick me up. But only in low doses, and only certain amphetamines.
The rest should be prescription only, handed out to those who have ADHD and carefully monitoring the patient to ensure that the diagnosis of ADHD is correct, and the drugs won't interact badly. There are probably a whole bunch of amphetamines that shouldn't be offered, even as prescriptions, because they interact badly with all individuals.
And what about cocaine? It's certainly no heroin. Heroin is way, way more addictive and dangerous. Yet it becomes addictive at doses much lower than, for example, marijuana.
Marijuana has to be consumed in such high doses to be addictive that you will experience other, far more negative effects long before you get to the point of addiction. If you are willing to live with those effects just stay high 24/7, you're already at the point that you're A) not normal and B) need institutional help.
Cocaine can deliver addiction at doses low enough that you don't fuck yourself up completely. That said, it can also be used responsibly to deliver a mild high that is pleasant and non-addictive. So, should cocaine be banned? Or merely heavily regulated? It is the drug I don't have a quick answer for.
Acetaminophen is far more dangerous to the average person than marijuana and probably more dangerous than cocaine, and yet acetaminophen is given out like ****ing candy. Ibuprofin doesn't come with big warning labels that say "abuse will cause stomach ulcers". And that's before we get into abuse of glucose, fructose or processed carbohydrates!
If your problem with a substance is that people use it some of the time to feel good, then fuck you. Who the hell are you to tell me - or anyone else - how they can or can't feel, or how they may go about feeling that way?
A ban on driving under the influence? By all means. That's sane, rational and matters because it affects other people. But if I want to sit in the comfort of my own home and get high, having planned my week around it so that I have nowhere to go and have an emergency taxi fund in case something does come up...who the hell are you to tell me no?
Most people are perfectly capable of consuming mildly psychoactive substances responsibly.
There are some substances so powerful that nobody can be considered capable of consuming responsibly.
There are some people who will consume any substance irresponsibly.
Out job, as citizens and as a society is to find a way to intervene as little as possible with the responsible consumption of mildly psychoactive substances as possible while helping those people who abuse any substance, no matter how powerful. It is also our job to rationally separate substances that can be consumed responsibly by the average person from those that can't.
If you don't like that other people consume a substance they are capable of consuming responsibly then it is you right to voice your opinion in that regard. It isn't your right to force your beliefs and desires on others.
Your rights end exactly at the point where they interfere with the rights of others. That's the hard part for puritans and control freaks to understand, and to live with.
No substance should be banned unless it can be scientifically proven that the average person is incapable of consuming it responsibly. Period.
More to the point, we need to offer help to those who find themselves unable to consume any substance responsibly. From cocaine to herion, from glucose to carbohydrates.
Sadly, it seems that far too many people will rush to judgement for certain substances not based on logic, rationality or science...but because their belief system says that people should not experience joy or pleasure. That we should all work, suffer, experience misery and then die.
Well, there is no god and there is no afterlife. So anyone who believes in that particular bit of fuckery can get bent. Life is what you make of it, and none of us should be dedicating ourselves to making others miserable. There's nothing wrong with a good joint now and again, when consumed responsibly...and I'll go to actual war if you come for my caffeine.
You've been warned.