REVIEW: Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?
Marijuana Doctors - April 5, 2011
As the current legal status of marijuana keeps popping up in public discourse, the timing is perfect for a new informative, yet easy to understand book to present pot in a context many seem to overlook entirely: marijuana, an illicit drug, versus alcohol, a fully legal – and often lethal – substance.
Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? is a thought provoking comparative analysis of the effects of marijuana versus the effects of alcohol. It’s a book that will make anyone think twice about throwing back that next beer, and consider lighting up instead. Because as Marijuana is Safer so eloquently proves, cannabis is a safer alternative to alcohol, and the laws against it actually drive more people to drink.
Don’t be fooled, this is not just another pro-stoner book for pot smokers; even those in favor of marijuana prohibition will learn a few new things, and hopefully open their minds to a different perspective when thinking about the true effects of weed, when compared to those of booze.
And for those that support current Draconian policies regarding marijuana, this is a book that should shred your arguments and roll them up in a joint; and even if you don’t smoke, after reading this book, you should see in plain view that our laws are outdated, unreasonable and without a doubt need reform.
This book combines decades worth of experience in advocacy for the abolishment of cannabis prohibition, featuring Steve Fox, the Director of the Marijuana Policy Project(MPP), and cofounder of the organization Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation(SAFER), Paul Armentano, the deputy director of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and Mason Tvert, a cofounder and executive director of SAFER and the SAFER Voter Education Fun, as co-authors.
Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? exposes the pure hypocrisy of our society and the many contradictions in our marijuana laws, which punish people for ingesting and merely possessing cannabis – a substance proven to be safer than alcohol.
This book proves beyond a doubt that marijuana is superior to alcohol, and it’s time for everyone in the country, whether a pot smoker or not to demand that our elected representatives make the changes and reflect this in our drug laws. Not only a great read, but excellent for any interest or research into this topic.
Read the original review.
Real Change News
The 411 on the 420
by: Olivia Conner, Contributing Writer
In September 2003 Seattleites passed an initiative, I-75, to relax marijuana laws that were focused on the persecution of small-time pot users, with the hope that the police department would then concentrate on, and have more funding for more serious criminal offenses. According to “Marijuana is Safer,” penned by group a of experienced marijuana advocates, this is the best thing that a city can do to enforce safety.
Their thesis relies on the theory that many people are resistant to accept marijuana as a legal substance, so the best way to change this belief is to advocate for a new paradigm: “Our goal is to demonstrate to you, the reader, that marijuana is not only less harmful than alcohol, but that the difference is really quite significant.” With this in mind, they hope to open people’s eyes and minds to the possibility of legalizing reefer in the near future because: it would reduce alcohol abuse, lessen the amount of alcohol-related crime and give people a safer alternative for recreational marijuana use.
The three authors are not your typical cannabis advocates; they are professional entrepreneurs who have spent years researching and lobbying for the legalization of pot. Steve Fox works for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is an organization out of D.C. with a $5 million budget. He co-founded SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) with co-author Mason Tvert, who also participates in Denver’s Marijuana Policy Review Panel. Paul Armentano is the deputy director of NORML, The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and a well-known journalist.
Aside from a shared propensity toward acronyms, these men want to convince the public, with jaw-dropping data, that marijuana legalization is a worthy cause: “Today marijuana is the largest retail cash crop in the U.S., far outpacing the value of corn, soybeans and hay.” If the massive quantity of ganja being sold does not impress you, then the information about the antagonist in this story, alcohol, is meant to.
Read the whole article here.
Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People To Drink?
by Mark Thornton
The authors of this book work on the frontlines in the battle against marijuana prohibition. Steve Fox (Marijuana Policy Project), LRC columnist Paul Armentano (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), and Mason Tvert (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) make the case for marijuana legalization based on the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol.
In the forward to the book, the former Chief of the Seattle Police Department makes the important observation that police officers experience criminals and victims of alcohol-related crime and violence on a daily basis, while such marijuana-related violence is almost unheard of.
The "marijuana is safer" message of the book is based on the fact that marijuana consumption is safer and healthier to consume compared to alcohol. It also results in far less violence and crime than alcohol and produces fewer costs on society. They make their case by presenting results from government studies and other scientific research.
In this light, our draconian marijuana laws reduce marijuana and increase alcohol consumption, as basic economics would suggest. Therefore, if we reformed our marijuana laws, consumption patterns would move away from alcohol and we would be safer, healthier, and better off in many respects.
The book does explain all the other reasons why we should legalize marijuana, but they believe their "marijuana is safer" argument will be the most effective political argument. Their strategy is presented in the final section of the book.
As an important prelude to their analysis, the authors show that the demand for intoxicating substances is widespread around the globe. Alcohol and marijuana have been the dominant products dating back to the beginning of human society, about 10,000 years ago. They also point out the various industrial and medical uses of marijuana and that our founding fathers grew and used it for a wide variety of purposes.
A basic introduction to marijuana is provided which is especially important for non-consumers interested in policy reform. What is marijuana? How does it get people "high"? What are its effects? How is it consumed? Why do people smoke it?
The core of their analysis is a comparison of the health effects of marijuana and alcohol. While the consumption of one or two drinks per day has long been associated with better health (even compared to non-drinkers), heavy long-term drinking is clearly bad for your health. It is associated with a wide variety of health problems and is the third leading cause of death in the US. Drinking too much alcohol in a short period of time can even cause sudden death.
Based on a large number of government and scientific studies marijuana is safer to consume than alcohol. In fact, there are very few negative health effects from marijuana. In addition, there are health benefits to marijuana, such as treating glaucoma. It has been shown to both treat and prevent certain diseases and can even kill certain types of cancer cells.
In addition, marijuana helps cancer patients maintain their appetites; it reduces pain and stress, and improves sleeping. These attributes help the body to heal, or at least maintain itself. This is the primary basis for the medical marijuana movement, which seeks to use marijuana to reduce the suffering from incurable diseases and to supplement the treatment of other diseases and aliments.
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Volume 4, Number 10
With each passing year, more and more Americans are agreeing. "Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?" is a discussion of the current laws prohibiting marijuana use in the public, which the authors describe as simply 'draconic'. The premise is that marijuana has little confirmed scientific effect, while alcoholic beverages cause thousands of deaths per year (from wrongful use to alcohol related deaths). Therefore, why should marijuana be illegal when alcohol is not? "Marijuana is Safer' is an informative and enlightening read on the place of marijuana in today's society.
"Nationally recognized marijuana-policy experts Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, and Mason Tvert compare and contrast the relative harms and legal status of the two most popular recreational substances in the world--marijuana and alcohol. Through an objective examination of the two drugs and the laws and social practices that steer people toward alcohol, the authors pose a simple yet rarely considered question: Why do we punish adults who make the rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol?"
The reality is that due to the ongoing economic crisis in America, marijuana may become legal in some states in order to tax it and raise billions of dollars in revenue. One can only hope that such reason will prevail, for assisting in running our government and for common sense public policy. The only real valid argument against marijuana is ingrained social prejudice. But that's no way to run public policy.
"Our current draconian laws prohibiting the use of marijuana by responsible adults are doubly flawed. Not only does such prohibition violate fundamental freedoms but also, as this book documents, it undermines personal health and public safety. Regardless of your views on the civil liberties issues, this book should convince you of another compelling justification for marijuana law reform: that it will promote health and safety for all of us, including our nation's children."--Nadine Strossen, former President, American Civil Liberties Union, and Professor of Law, New York Law School
Read the whole article here.