Alcohol vs. Cannabis – Lesser Of Two Evils?
Wine and weed
Both start out as plants. Both are cultivated and harvested for their bounty. At this point the similarities end. Whether wine, whiskey, or beer, alcoholic spirits are as varied as the strains of cannabis. The long term effects of excessive use are basically similar in one aspect: Alcoholics Anonymous.
I have personally seen the effects of excessive long term use of alcohol use and abuse. I am sure millions of others can say the same thing. Alcoholism is a horrible, wretched addiction. The disease itself leads to a vast number of other complications and maladies. In effect, starting a daisy chain of disastrous consequences.
Every year, alcohol related deaths are ranked fourth among the highest preventable causes of death
More than 80,000 people died in 2015 due to alcohol. Alcoholism and alcohol misuse cost the taxpayers over $240 billion in 2010 in government benefits, supplemental support, or other benefits.
These statistics alone are staggering
It is difficult to look at alcohol related deaths without also looking at alcohol related diseases. Liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver are just two examples of alcohol related diseases. Health Care costs for these two diseases are already in the billions.
That’s just the health related downfall of alcohol misuse
Alcohol related traffic deaths are equally costly. Nearly ten thousand (10,000) lives were lost in alcohol related traffic deaths in 2014 alone. That is just the fatalities. Non-fatal incidents were more than 121 billion the same year.
Is anyone even remotely concerned about these numbers?
Alcohol has gone from favored libation to prohibited indulgence and back to free-flowing spirits in less than two decades. It took thirteen (13) years for prohibition to be repealed. People rioted. Creating illegal booze, moonshine, and rum-running became a way of life.
During that time, the desire for the illegal goods did not cease. Networks of illegal groups were making and selling “bootleg” alcohol. All aspects from production to distribution were ran with varying degrees of success.
Taskforces were formed to quell the uprising created by prohibition
Gangs and the violence associated with them soon followed. Bootlegging became the focus on both sides of the legal fence.
When something is outlawed, there is an immediate black market need for it. There is nothing in the history of mankind that has been successfully banned and withheld. As soon as the government decides to tell the American people we can’t have a thing, we immediately want it more.
Fortunes and careers have been made on illegal substances – from both sides of the legal fence. During the thirteen years of prohibition, names like Al Capone and Eliot Ness forever made their marks.
These two men were on opposite sides of the legal fence. Ness fought to stop the flow of alcohol. Capone fought to keep it going. The blood spilled in the fight was needless. All in the name of “prohibition”.
The government was forced to accept the will of the people. After thirteen years of struggling to contain the Hydra, the many heads of the beast kept multiplying.
The most of resistance to prohibition was due to the addictive qualities of alcohol. In all reality, we have probably all seen the effects of alcohol addiction. It isn’t a substance easily done without.
Alcohol is an addictive substance
Once one develops a taste and need for it, it is hard for one to do without. It’s easier to keep imbibing. The speakeasy became the source of bootleg alcohol. The American people decided to revolt and protest. It was not allowed but it was still being distributed.
As with all legal processes, reversing a law takes time. Getting the powers that be to recognize – much less change – wrongs is no small feat. The fact that it took only thirteen years to change the laws is amazing.
I walk a fine line between respect and distrust for police
Many of the officers with which I have come in contact are, for the most part, decent human beings. Some have been real smeg-heads. Of course, in a different situation they may have been really great. However, being an avid proponent for cannabis law reformation makes for a sticky situation.
A good cop doesn’t let personal opinion sway their treatment of crimes. Wrong is wrong. Laws are meant to be upheld. The police are tasked with enforcement. In all actuality, the moral compass should rule in some aspect.
I find it difficult to understand the desire to prosecute people who smoke weed. Alcoholism has destroyed countless lives. Deaths related to alcohol are documented with the CDC.
Yet alcohol is legal
In the last few hundred years there have been exactly ZERO cannabis related deaths. One is more likely to be abducted by aliens while sitting on the front porch sucking applesauce through a straw than to die from cannabis use.
This is not a plant which was created by Monsanto. Maybe if it was they would be making bank already. As it stands today, this humble plant has been vilified into a wretched beast, intent on destruction…
How is it that label has been placed on a plant and not alcohol?
Most likely, it is the lack of support for repeal. cannabis is going to be available whether the FDA approves or not. It is easier to grow a plant than distill a spirit.
The very addictive nature of alcohol would prevent the abolishment of all use in all forms.
cannabis is addictive in the way that all good things are addictive. It produces feelings of peace and well-being. Violence while stoned on cannabis is unheard of. It just doesn’t happen.
Why? Because it isn’t that kind of substance.
Cannabis affects the body in a positive way. Cancer patients to people with PTSD all can speak to the benefits of cannabis use.
Excessive use of cannabis does not create the in the user the same addicted qualities as with alcohol. One can smoke it and still function. There is no physical addiction to cannabis. The “addiction” is psychological. The addiction is to the sense of relaxation and peace, not the physical addiction of alcohol.
Yes, I would have to say that, were cannabis users to unite and revolt as weeks with prohibition, we would see change. However, the very nature of cannabis is passive. Cannabis users will be the last ones to start a fight or rally the troops for the most part.
Our passive resistance has lead to a wide range of advancements in the medical cannabis field. We have stood behind our facts and demanded attention. We have bought and sold illegally in order to use what should be grown freely. Still, we gain ground. I never imagined that I would see a day where people are able to buy cannabis legally. The access to legal cannabis has changed the game. Just whereas the government saw the benefit in taxation of alcohol instead of prohibition, cannabis can also be a cash cow.
Millions of dollars in taxes are raised every year off the sale of alcohol.
There are countless programs set up to battle drunk driving and alcohol abuse. Each costing millions of dollars annually.
There are no “AA” programs necessary for cannabis users.
They don’t tend have anger issues. Cannabis users don’t tend to be violent or aggressive. Overall, a good look at a wide cross section of humanity would show the use of cannabis to be of no danger.
Taxation of cannabis in Colorado has opened a whole new avenue of revenue for the state with a 22% tax on recreational cannabis. It is hard not to see where the taxation benefits of legalization.
Just as with alcohol, users are willing to pay the taxes. The benefits of legalization would provide millions annually to any state choosing the enlightened path.
Removing cannabis as an illegal substance would free up millions in the prosecution of cannabis possession charges. More than half of all arrests involve cannabis. It is easy to see how eliminating millions of criminals and crimes is a good thing.
Prisons are overcrowded.
People are serving more time for cannabis related crimes than murderers, in some cases.
No one has ever gotten stoned and gone off in a murderous rage. It just doesn’t happen, folks. There are no reported deaths by bud in all of history. Not one single person alive or dead can say that cannabis has caused them to beat the daylights out of some poor sap in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Cannabis users have long suffered the long arm of the law. Wrongful prosecution under draconian laws has plagued cannabis users for decades.
While prohibition took less time, the effects are still seen today with cannabis. The same punishment tactics are used, just on a less volitile medium. The same tactics used to fight heroin and cocaine use are used on the much less volitile cannabis users.
If the punishment should fit the crime, then how is cannabis criminal?
The black market nature of it creates the mystique of taboo. Were we able to get it at the corner store, would it really be an issue? I sing with a small band at a local bar when the spirit moves me. On those rare nights, I see the people who are there. It’s hard to miss them. They’re loud, obnoxious, and often too touchy-feely. Unhappy and alone is a general theme.
Yes, there are the few who are jovial and festive. However, in a small town, it is easy to see the same people doing the same things getting the same results. I enjoy the time on the mic and the other live bands. The bar is not my scene. When I drink, I don’t want to drive. When I’m at the bar, I don’t want to leave with someone I don’t know. So, either I don’t drink or I don’t drive. Either way, the festivities are limited.
I’d much rather be home, on the couch with friends, smoking a fat spliff. No loud drunks, no interfering persons. Just a peaceful environment with good people.
A little bit of wine to cleanse the palate never hurt…
The crowd at the bar always makes me happy to be home. I love my bud, don’t get me wrong, but I could live without it. If I had to stop. Cold turkey to keep my kids – God forbid – I know I could do it.
Pray for those who struggle with addiction. It is horrible to have a chemical rule one’s life. It is a choice, though. One can choose to drink or smoke, it is not for me to judge. I speak to my 17 year old daughter, usually as we passing the blunt, about drinking and drugs. It would have been great if she had waited to start smoking. Since she is mature enough to make her own choices, I can’t ground her for much. I can expect her to make good choices.
Over the course of a few months, I saw decisions made while drunk and while high. Her choices made while drinking were far less intelligent than I know to expect from her.
Her decision making skills while high offered me much less chance for stress. She’s more likely to stay home and chill than go out when she’s with her “friends” that drink
I’d personally rather live in a world filled with stoners than drunks any day…