I know that this will sound out of the blue for many of my readers, but, hey, you already know that I’m libertarian (with a small “l”), so you shouldn’t be surprised:
1) The rampant alcohol abuse and violence and deaths due to alcohol found in the United States is because of the Puritanical strictures of the drinking age. Put it this way, until you’re 21 years old, alcohol is as illegal to buy, possess, and drink as any illicit drug. And then — magic presto! — at age 21, it’s suddenly LEGAL. Excuse me for saying this, but that’s *whacked*. And one major effect of this underage drinking law is that alcohol for the underaged, since it’s forbidden, is suddenly very very desirable. But, if you look at other world cultures where this legal taboo doesn’t exist and kids as young as toddlerhood has been drinking (tiny bits, diluted, with supper) as a family thing, then youthful binge drinking and drunkenness isn’t as epidemic as it is here in the States because alcohol has as much “specialness” about it as, say, bread and water.
So, get rid of the underage drinking law or, at least, make it like PG-13 or R — with adult supervision.
2) Comparing alcohol and marijuana is stupid. Alcohol has good effects that one can get, through careful and moderate drinking, while avoiding most of the bad effects. Marijuana’s good effects (and yes, there are many good, medicinal effects — a depressent, anti-nausea, and analgesic) but *at the same time* as the good effects, there’s the bad effects (getting “baked”), and you can’t separate the two. So marijuana, more so than alcohol, is more like the Schedule 2 drugs, like codiene or morphine — potent painkiller drugs but with serious side effects that need a doctor’s supervision. In fact, one potent chemical in marijuana, THC, is already in an FDA approved drug (see http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ETO/content/ETO_5_3X_Marijuana.asp?sitearea=ETO), but it’s THC in synthetic form since natural THC, found in cannabis plants, is illegal.
That’s *whacked*. That’s like saying artificial lactose is legal but milk cows are illegal.
So, decriminalize marijuana, but make it regulated like a Schedule 2 drug — *only* by prescription. That way, marijuana can be regulated and standardized so that those who need it for medical reasons can get the medicine they need, and those who would abuse it would be prosecuted like any person illegally getting prescription drugs but wouldn’t be serving felony-length times with murderers and rapists.
Let’s have a reasonable drug policy, folks!***
***FYI: the Lizard Queen drinks very little (her alcohol tolerance is very low), and she has never done illicit drugs (was never interested in them, and since she gets knocked out on one tablet of Benadryl, then she suspects mj would really get her sick as a dog).