Jay Evensen: Marijuana acceptance will lead to social costs

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  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Aug. 25, 2014 1:32 p.m.

    Something interesting to consider about marajuana is the purpose of its use: people smoke it to get high.

    (Most) People who drink don't drink to get drunk, they socialize in environments that involve alcohol. The inebriation brought by drunkenness is usually looked down on, unless you're a teenager who thinks watching your friend make a fool of himself is hilarious.

    People who smoke don't smoke for the purpose of harming themself, they do it to satisfy a craving.

    The use of marajuana is principally and -specifically to- sacrifice your self control.

  • Jimmyisliberal Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    @JKR...What does B. Young have anything to do with this issue? Using your logic if The Pope comes out tomorrow and says he is in favor of legalization then this should be the law of the land? Separation of Church and State my friend. For some reason most in Utah have a difficult time understanding and accepting this right. Hmmmm...Wonder why.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 25, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    Hey JKR -

    " Psychiatric hospital admissions will increase as more people use and lose touch with reality."

    . . . And the Republican Party will grow exponentially

    . . . People might even vote for a Republican President again.

  • JKR Holladay, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 10:31 p.m.

    Don't let em git you down. The states that legalize pot use, starting with Colorado and Washington, will live to regret this decision. Psychiatric hospital admissions will increase as more people use and lose touch with reality. Who will pay for this? Taxpayers, of course. And less taxes will be collected as more and more people smoke dope, failing to produce goods and services. Let's revisit this column in 20 years. As a society, we need less drug use and less smoking, not more. Brigham Young would agree, no doubt.

  • Jimmyisliberal Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 4:05 p.m.

    Wait a second. Believe I constantly come across numerous posts regarding a reduced federal government and more State rights. Correct? In closing, marijuana is not a "social experiment", the legalization of it is the experiment. Possibly rather dropping bombs in the Middle East peace can be obtained by the dropping of a wonderful 100% natural herb!

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 23, 2014 4:23 p.m.

    @2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    Don't get all religious and self righteous on this. We CAN have laws regarding MJ.... and not be on the Devil's side.

    With or without laws... you still have decisions to make every day (ie, whether you will obey them or not).
    3:05 p.m. Aug. 22, 2014


    We DO alredady have laws about it.

    1. You can drive under the influence.
    2. You can not operate equipment, go to work, baby sit children, etc.
    3. Any law about being DRUNK in public or doing something dangerous is ALREADY a law.
    4. This is about "prohibition", period.

    I thought you were a "libertarian" -- i.e., smaller Government, let people make their own decisions, etc.

    It appears you are no different the the Utah-liban who keep hiding behind Sharia-type-laws with a Mormon spin on it.

    If you are against it the Middle East --
    You better show some integrity and be willing to be against it here in America.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 3:05 p.m.

    @one vote

    Re: "It is a plant that grows from the earth. Get over it"...

    What a weak superficial way to look at it... there are plenty of plants that grow from the earth that are deadly. Google "List of poisonous plants"... There's pages and pages and pages of them...


    @LDS Liberal.

    The adults in the room are talking about the social costs of MJ... do you care to comment on THAT... instead of the usual "I'm a better Mormon than you", rantings??

    Nobody's re-fighting the war in heaven over this. Don't get over dramatic. By your logic... there would be NO LAWS period (because they would be restricting somebody's agency).

    Don't get all religious and self righteous on this. We CAN have laws regarding MJ.... and not be on the Devil's side.

    With or without laws... you still have decisions to make every day (ie, whether you will obey them or not).

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    I do not --
    drink alcohol
    caffinated soda
    or use tobacco

    I do not have tatoos,
    pierced ears, lips, nose,

    I do not watch "R" rated movies or porn.

    I am clean shaven, with no facial hair.
    I wear a white shirt and tie on Sundays.


    I do not use marijuana.

    I do these things by exercising my own free will and CHOICE,
    I do not seek to legislate, or FORCE my will onto others,
    no matter how "right" it might be,
    and even if it saves their souls.

    I fought that plan in the pre-existence.
    I'm still fighting that plan in this life as well,
    ironically with those who I thought shared my same beliefs.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Aug. 22, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    Yes, one vote. It is a plant that grows from the earth, just like hemlock, tobacco, thistles, poison ivy, poison oak, and all the other noxious weeds and poisonous plants in the world. Just because it grows, doesn't mean it's safe to ingest, harmless to humans or "good for you". Perhaps a course in plant biology could be recommended?

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 8:08 a.m.

    It is a plant that grows from the earth. Get over it.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 11:00 p.m.

    "I don't fear pot-heads.... I just wouldn't want them in my operating room or on my team, or piloting an airplane, or driving a bus, or train (or a car for that matter)."

    Those people are already smoking pot. It is already available.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Aug. 21, 2014 10:20 p.m.

    I think I should reinforce that the op-ed piece is about the social costs, not the criminality or the lack there of. Here in Colorado where they voted to legalize it, the so-called tax windfall is falling terrifically short. We've had more robberies of pot shops and some deaths have come from overdose. They get to much of it and jump off something... Lung cancer isn't selective, it doesn't care if you smoke tobacco or dope, so the social costs of medical care and lost productivity are there. We have found that Colorado is the source of most of the illegal dope in surrounding states, and there is quite a black market going now, just covered on the local news outlets. Just like the contraband cigarettes and booze, they try to avoid the taxes.....imagine that...

    The social costs of reduced productivity will become more evident in the coming years. The panacea promoted by those supporting legalization glossed them over, but they become more and more evident as time goes by.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 21, 2014 6:28 p.m.

    "Marijuana acceptance will lead to social costs"

    “Social Costs?” Sure, there are tradeoffs to everything.

    But along with social costs, there are social benefits.

    And that is what has a certain segment of society worried. The drug cartels and associates in the illicit drug trade will see a huge drop in revenue.

    If Marijuana is fully legalized, Americans who want to indulge will have no reason to buy their weed indirectly from drug cartels or illicit producers. They won’t be supplying funds to organized criminal enterprises.

    We should legalize all the major recreational drugs while we’re at it . . . And all victimless crimes. I’m with the Libertarians on this issue. Americans are the biggest customers of Mexican Drug Cartels. Just legalizing dope would make our southern border safe again.

    Let’s just legalize it, tax it, rake in the millions, billions and eventual trillions in revenue, and of course use some of those funds to deal with the social costs, the negative repercussions of that change.

  • Demiurge San Diego, CA
    Aug. 21, 2014 6:00 p.m.

    Just more fear mongering without the slightest substantial fact.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 4:07 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    "Follow the money trail."

    Actually, the biggest provider of advocacy funds against decriminalization it is the tobacco companies (they don't want competition).

    @2 bits
    The safety claims are based on the idea that it generally doesn't cause health issues at substantial rates like lung cancer or liver disease for tobacco and alcohol, not the idea that people won't potentially injure themselves while under its influence.

    That said, I would never use it even if it were legal, just like I don't smoke or drink.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 3:58 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    "Ignore those who tell us that marijuana is less deadly than alcohol."

    But what if they're correct and we're sitting with a system where a more dangerous drug is legal (tobacco) and a less dangerous drug is illegal (marijuana). Shouldn't we put more common sense into the drug laws (either ban the one or legalize the other, just put them in a logical position relative to each other)?

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 3:49 p.m.

    @2 bits.

    Let me help you with the permissiveness/slippery slope.

    It can be assumed that all Hells Angels rode bikes as kids.
    Do all kids who ride bikes become hells angels at one time?
    If not, than riding a bike does not what causes one to join a Motorcycle Gang.

    Alcohol, Our forefathers drank a lot of it, for breakfast lunch and dinner. By your logic, we should be a nation of drunken lunatics by now.
    Those moral objections you raise about sex or pregnancy and abortion are a nation growing up and shaking the shackles of religion and ignorance. How many women died from back room abortions before they were legal?

    Giving people a choice is freedom.

    @2bits. Why is it considered "Performance Enhancing" by the Olympic Committee?
    Can you have it both ways? Guess so.

    Your comparing actions by individuals, and very few by percentage.
    Sober folks like those BYU students dropping gas bombs old mine shafts managed to injure themselves what happened to your take responsibility vs choosing for someone?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 3:29 p.m.

    Hemp, hemp, hemp... George Washington grew hemp... Brigham Young grew hemp... I think we all know that there are more uses for hemp than just smoking it. Don't be a hemp-head. I suspect Brigham Young grew hemp for one of these reasons (not to smoke it).


    Why do the people from ONE specific political persuasion seem to feel the need to defend recreational use of Marijuana??? Can somebody explain why it seems to be so cleanly divided on political lines?


    If MJ is so safe... why can you be arrested for driving under it's influence in all 50 States? Why have we thrown train engineers and ferry drivers into jail who caused huge accidents when under the influence of this "SAFE" herb?

    Can you explain why their being impaired was a problem... if hemp is completely "SAFE"?
    And why they went to jail for doing this "SAFE" thing??
    And why so many people have to go to REHAB to get off it?

    Obviously it's not completely safe. You are just willing to overlook that fact and repeat the hemp-head rhetoric you heard somewhere.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Aug. 21, 2014 2:18 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah
    Marijuana is labeled "dope" for a reason.


    Please site the Constitution for your banning marijuana.

    You are either FOR freedom, or against it.

    Using a Double Standard, Picking and choosing is disingeuous and not being honest.

    Coffee, Tea dn Tobacco are all legal,
    but I CHOOSE not to use them.

    FYI --
    George Washington grew hemp.
    And Brigham Young encouraged the Saints to grow hemp as well.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 12:59 p.m.

    re: airnaut & Ernest T

    I agree w/ you both.

    But, this is Utah. The state motto could be a quote from H.L. Mencken... "Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    I don't fear pot-heads.... I just wouldn't want them in my operating room or on my team, or piloting an airplane, or driving a bus, or train (or a car for that matter).

    I was making the "permissiveness leads to more permissiveness" argument. How does the slippery slope argument not hold water? Can you enlighten us or give us proof that permissiveness doesn't lead to more permissiveness? Because I can give examples where it has.

    50 years ago... were we as permissive on abortion as we are today?

    How about same-sex marriage... are we more accepting and permissive on that than we were say... 30 years ago??

    Have we gradually gotten more permissive on premarital sex? And sex between adults who are married to other partners... The answer is yes...

    And on drugs... does lessening restrictions on alcohol not help justify lessening them on MJ and other drugs? That argument's being used already... so it's hard to deny it...

    Do you have proof that the slippery-slope argument DOESN'T hold water??

    Have countries that legalized MJ not later legalized OTHER drugs? Yes... they have. It holds water.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 21, 2014 12:33 p.m.

    Marijuana is labeled "dope" for a reason. Those who are under its influence are "dopey". Their judgement is impaired; but, that doesn't matter to those who advocate "dope". They don't care what it does to others as long as they can get it "legally". That's a "dopey" attitude. When we no longer care about the effects of drugs on society, citing, perhaps, that alcohol kills more people in Utah than "dope", then we have lost our humanity.

    We guard our children against shock by inserting safety plugs in our outlets, but we throw them out with the bathwater when we minimize the harm that "dope" does to society. We let those who have too little understanding of the body to be influenced by "pushers" who want "dope".

    Studies have shown that most "pushers" are also "users". Addicts want drugs so they ush those drugs on others. Two States have joined with the pushers. Those States want to make money off "dope" users by taxing "dope".

    Follow the money trail. Ignore those who tell us that marijuana is less deadly than alcohol.

  • Michael Hunt Murray, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 12:31 p.m.

    I drink alcohol and smoke marijuana regularly while leading a productive, enjoyable life. You know what I would never touch? The stuff that comes in jars from the pharmacy. I take baby aspirin and stay physically healthy. Good luck with preventing me from engaging in my occasional intoxicants, legal or not.

  • JustGordon Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 12:29 p.m.

    There are far more people texting and using hand held cell phones in Washington (where hand held cell phone usage is banned) and in other states than the few would would choose to use marijuana without a designated driver. For a head line that suggested the writer was going to objectively look at "costs" this article was a piece of fluff that addressed the writer's phobias and not reality.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Aug. 21, 2014 12:27 p.m.

    Am I sitting in Sunday School,
    reading the Newspaper?

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    You are correct about one thing 2bits, the big pharm companies love when they can sell addicting pills.

    Most people I know on anti depressants or other psychotropics have no idea that they are addicted to them and can not stop without taking a hand full of other pills to combat the "Comedown."

    Stop using heroin (another big pharm invention) and you'll wish you were dead but it won't kill you, try stopping most prescription drugs and this isn't true, even alcohol withdrawls can kill you.

    ...and the slippery slope argument doesn't hold water.
    Pot, no overdoes, no physical addiction, (see chocolate) 5,000 years of human research should be enough.

    Addictive personalities will always have trouble, like the folks i know who are addicted to AA meetings, the schedules rule their lives, yes, they are more pleasant not being drunk, but they are addicted to the meeting as a distraction from the original addiction.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    People who are internally or externally denied something always try to find ways to deny it to others. The potheads you fear are already among you, mellow and hungry. I am not among them, by the way. I figure if we could get the Arabs and Israelis to take up pot smoking, there would be peace in the region.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    This opinion piece is a sermon, not a well reasoned discussion of a public policy issue. The facts presented do not support his conclusion. And there is no discussion of the effects of the ridiculous level of incarceration, alternative approaches, or the existing prevalence of drugs now, which involves the disasterous "War on Drugs". This piece is an obfuscation. We know where the writer stands, but it's not much use.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 11:37 a.m.

    Pot Permissiveness just leads to permissiveness on OTHER things. It's a gradual thing. First this, then a little latitude on other drugs...

    Personally I don't care if drugs are legal or not... I'm not going to use them. But there IS a social cost associated with drug use and addiction (and that includes alcohol). There's no doubting that.... look at all the people in REHAB already!


    IMO Permissiveness is fine, just as long as you also give people responsibility for the CONSEQUENCES of their choices (not society).

    When you need rehab... pay for it yourself, don't bill it to Medicaid or expect society to pay for it.


    When you loose your job for not being able (or caring enough) to perform your job duties because of addiction or embracing the stoner-lifestyle... don't expect society to pay you unemployment to sit home and smoke it with your friends.


    As long as people are OK with taking responsibility for their actions (and not expect society to bail them out for bad decisions)... I'm OK with expanding a LOT of things that are currently illegal (but are really just stupid)...

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 11:37 a.m.

    I don't use marijuana, (or booze for that matter), so I really couldn't care less whether its' legal or not.

    HOWEVER; we've spent billions (trillions?)over the last 6 decades trying to combat its' use. All to basically no avail.

    How many more billions should we spend? Billions that we don't have BTW!

    Fiscal conservatives like myself should just give up and cut our losses.

    We can no longer afford to fight the "war on drugs". Just like we can't afford to be the worlds policeman.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    Alcohol consumption is far worse than marijuana use.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 10:23 a.m.

    I wish Utah would grow up and join them, in a celebration of Freedom and Liberty, Lord know, Utah could use the revenue for education. To each they're own, intoxicants exist in all cultures, always have always will.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 8:03 a.m.

    A silly, subjective editorial. Pot is not a social experiment, decriminalizing it is. Legalizing pot in CA & WA has had many positive effects and the sky has not fallen as predicated by opponents like Jay. As someone who travels to these states on business and has friends and family living in both you'll find most people happy with the legalization and the outcome up to this point. More states will soon be following suit because of the sucess of decriminalizing it as experienced in Washington and Colorado.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Aug. 21, 2014 7:55 a.m.

    The same arguments could be made to rid the country of legal alcohol and tobacco. However, these drugs are considered safe and are widely, legally available.

    There are hundreds of legal prescription drugs available and in use by people of all ages. These drugs treat a variety of legitimate afflictions, but have the same effects as those described by this LTE. However, I don't see any movement to take away the extraordinarily profitable ventures of big Pharma to rid the country of life altering addictions.

    If you don't like marijuana, don't smoke it. Same goes for legal booze and cigarettes. You might even try going cold turkey on those little happy pills, if it would not drive you to suicide. Illegal drugs, like alcohol and tobacco are public health problems that should be legally available and regulated. And spend some time analyzing the over medicated country for a change. Happy pills can be every bit as deleterious.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Aug. 21, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    I was at a fast food place,
    and I saw 2 guys...drinking a beer!

    Oh brother,
    It would seem that someone must not realize that prohibition was reversed nearly 100 years ago,
    and that alcohol [a much more dangerous drug] is legal in all 50 states.

    FYI --
    Utah deaths per year --

    perscription drugs - 534
    Guns - 510
    Automobile accidents - 420
    marijuana - 0

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 21, 2014 7:51 a.m.

    "This might not have happened if the president of the United States had decided to enforce a federal law against marijuana use."

    What happened to states rights and smaller federal government?

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 2:51 a.m.

    Marijuana is already available here in Utah and has been since Utah was conceived. The problems claimed to be unleashed are already unleashed. Did Jay want those boys from Texas thrown in jail? He didn't mention if he wanted that. Here in Utah we could just throw them in jail. I don't want that, and the majority of Americans dont' want that either as it turns out.