Yep, booze and cigarettes are pretty fucking bad for you. Deadly, even, if they're abused. Hell, I had a doctor tell me straight up that if I didn't quit drinking entirely, I'd be dead within the next five years. I've never heard a doctor tell someone that about their weed smoking. Drunk driving and smoking-related lung cancer have literally killed millions.
In fact, here's a not-at-all-retarded rebuttal from a legalization advocate in response to a "Foundation for a Drug-Free World" pamphlet that claims pot is more dangerous than alcohol. In case you didn't read that, it's exactly what you'd expect from a site that runs its articles over a background of marijuana leaf gifs, versus a highly generalized and exaggerated claim from an organization that is obviously anti-pot. The argument being, "Pot is worse than booze!" "Nuh-uh, alcohol is worse!"
I know, hon. I know.
But here's the thing about that entire debate: It doesn't fucking matter.
Throwing out death tolls from tobacco smoke, drunk driving and liver disease makes perfect sense as an argument for making those things illegal. It makes zero sense when trying to convince somebody to make pot legal. Don't you understand that "It will kill fewer people than cigarettes!" could apply to fucking anything? You could pass a law that lets 12 year olds carry concealed guns to school and it'd kill fewer people than drunk driving.
"I want to shoot you so bad, my dick is hard."
If the argument is that pot is the safer choice, then by that rationale, it's also safer than deep-throating a cactus or mouth-fucking a rattlesnake. Is someone obligating you to choose between the two? There's not a third option of just not doing either of them? That has baffled me for years, and I still don't understand it. But I've heard it. A lot. As if the legalization of one unhealthy activity obligates us to legalize every single thing that's less lethal than that.
You have to remember that the people who have the power to change these laws are old, rich, stuffy white guys who for the most part don't smoke weed. When they hear rebuttals like this, they're picturing a six year old kid stomping his foot and screaming at his mother, "Why can't I play that game? Jimmy's mom lets him play GTA, and that's way worse!" The end result is still that you're arguing for the right to make things worse than they were before.
Of course, the thing that scares society about any drug, and the thing that makes alcohol and tobacco so deadly, is addiction. This is crucial to any argument for legalization, because you can't talk about "freedom" to use some product if that same product in fact takes away your ability to freely choose to stop using it. You don't hear people at AA meetings sit around and reflect on how awesome it is that they have the freedom to drink.
Here, I have to admit my own personal experience bias -- my brother used to love giving me that "it's not addictive" line as he was lighting up his tenth one-hitter, with four hours of sunlight left in the day. He couldn't go more than a couple of hours without lighting up, but he's probably just an isolated case, right?
This woman is no longer alive because my brother smoked her.
It's been suggested that because most users aren't habitual, the majority of people will never develop a severe dependency on pot. Much in the same way that not everyone who drinks will become an alcoholic. In fact, according to that link, about 15% of drinkers will develop a major dependency, as opposed to around 9% of marijuana users.
That's just the statistics for "severe" addictions. They claim that between 10% and 30% of marijuana smokers will at least fall into a minor addiction. Note that neither of those statistics are 0%. You know, the threshold for "not addictive."
Opium. It's less not-addictive than pot.
This is where my brother loves to bring up our uncle... I'll call him Thundercock Soulpuncher. Uncle Thundercock smoked pot his entire adolescent life during the 1960s and 70s, and when he decided to file away his partying days and join the adult world, he had no problem at all stepping away from weed. But studies from 1983 to present show that the average THC level (the chemical in pot that gives the buzz) back then was about 4%. The same group found that over the last few decades, the seized pot they studied had risen to over 10%, with some plants as high as 30%. It's predicted that in the next five to ten years, that average will reach around 15% before it hits a plateau.
What's that mean? It means you get higher faster, using less of the drug. It also means that younger, inexperienced smokers have a higher chance of addiction than ol' Thundercock because they're smoking stickier shit.
Now, once again, it's widely believed that pot is much easier to quit than smoking, booze, heroin, and just about every other drug out there. But the belief that "it's not addictive" is bullshit. Want an easy way to see if you're addicted? Give it up for a year. I have a feeling that would be tough for a lot of you, considering how many can't go one fucking week without working it into a conversation. It's tough to give up something that you've built your entire personality around.
But just keep in mind: if you want to see a day when the cops won't hassle you for smoking it, you're going to need to be a lot smarter about how you argue the issue, that's all I'm saying.