-61 votes

My Argument Against Marijuana


I'm intrigued by many of the comments.

First, of all, many people have yelled at me for pointing a gun at their head or something. WTF? Did you read what I wrote?

Second, although some people have been pretty comfortable with the point I've made even though they disagree, most people are quite visceral about what I've said.

I have 41 downvotes at the moment. Why? Because I've made a moral argument against the voluntary choice to use drugs including marijuana. It's frankly the same position, if perhaps formulated sort of specifically, as Ron Paul.

I said that Marijuana is not some big demon, and sure, if you've been through hell that sort of thing might help you. I'm not condemning you.

What do you think Ron Paul is all about, why do people worship him? He's a moral man. So, in fact, is someone like Alex Jones. They have a sense of commitment of their duties to themselves, their families, their God. There is a sense of higher moral purpose.

Now, that alone doesn't make marijuana bad, but I'm trying to say that having a 'goodie-two-shoe' 'boy scout' commitment to doing right is a good thing, and we need that attitude. We are awake in that we aren't naive, and we think for ourselves, but we must have that commitment and be proud of that aspect of our character.

Okay, so I also think that this sort of do-the-right-thing morality involves staying away from drugs if you can. Chemicals that alter you mental state. Why's that such a controversial position? The CIA planting drugs in communities, the DOJ putting people in jail for it - can't you see this as a two-pronged attack?

So, you're not evil if you smoke pot. But, if I wanted my kids to aspire to something better in life, to do their duty to God - whichever God - if I was looking for that 'spark' in someone... I'd tell my kids to stay away, and I do grow skeptical of people who smoke pot. Look, I have good friends that are liberal who think that if everything in society isn't circumscribed by law and regulation, then surely everything will go wrong and everyone will die. They are smart and well-intentioned, but they're wrong. They don't think quite right. Likewise, smoking pot is not this guarantee of being something bad or whatever, but I would automatically think something's not right.

And it's the same as if I wanted to go play sports with friends, or board games, or see a show of some kind and they want to get drunk and bang girls they don't care about. I'd have a problem with those people.

Everyone's different and have different tastes, but certain qualities and activities are just of a certain type that borders on that edge of nihilism and narcissism or what have you.

Anyway, some of this is private opinion. But I KNOW that this community is really motivated by the drug issue, and I am POLITICALLY ON BOARD with that issue. However, I thought it would be constructive to bring in a counter opinion. Look, some of us think ending the drug war will save our communities. Others think that spreading hemp plants all over the world like Johnny Appleseed will save the universe. That's deranged, and I was trying to start an adult conversation without relying on sophomoric talking points to say that perhaps drugs are really not a good thing, even if criminalization is a horrific overreach, and so perhaps this community needs to think about how much we want to celebrate marijuana.

I don't get why people get so pissed when you disagree with stuff they do. I didn't call names and presented a rational argument. I DON'T have to accept what you do, and I DON'T have to ignore it because it's what you want. What I can't do is ever force or coerce anyone. But on a public forum - you better damn believe I have a right to piss people off if I think it'll make the world a little better. And my goal isn't to just piss people off, but make an argument in spite of whether people choose to be pissed off.

41 down votes because I said marijuana might sort of be bad - I hate the 'this community is such and such' or 'I might have to quit'. No, not at all! I'm not going there. But I'm a little dismayed that there seems to be a big pothead situation here.


I have been wanting to do this for a while, I'm finally in the mood.

So, this is basically an abstract/moral argument.

Happiness is the goal of life, not the purpose of it. While we meaningfully pursue our purpose, we are happy. Purpose includes basic material objectives, and abstract spiritual objective. Eating good food can make you happy. Rest can make you happy. Exercise can make you happy. Creating can make you happy. Social activity can make you happy.

Now, there are these 'drug' things. They can be anything from refined sugar (maybe), or caffeine (better argument), to marijuana or coke. I would argue that any drug is a moral negative. That doesn't mean enjoying a coffee is evil, but all else being equal, one would hope to pursue life's goals for their own sakes. This argument will make more sense in a minute. Of course, coffee has utility: alertness, creative brain power, but in this case I'm talking about that warm feeling itself as an end in and of itself.

Marijuana has utility, in theory, but the main reason why people use it is for that feeling in and of itself. And this is in fact why I distinguish alcohol from marijuana. It is a matter of intensity. Still, I won't beat around the bush. I think that alcohol is a strong moral negative, and that people drink it way more often than what might be proper. So we can conflate the two. All I'm saying is that mere marijuana use equates to heavy alcohol use. Equivocate with me if you choose, my abstract point remains the same.

The problem, then, with marijuana is that it induces a state of felt happiness. Let's discuss psychological reward mechanisms. Bringing a little science in here, we can say that generally happiness is the result of the sensation produced by dopamine in the brain. Basic survival tasks have been fine tuned and balanced by millions of years of evolution to reward survival achievements: eating, sleeping, sex, social activity with an appropriate amount of dopamine. Apparently, creative thinking, strategic planning is a uniquely human survival mechanism also rewarded.

There's more to it! With memory and conceptual thinking, we can associate these building block reward mechanisms with abstract spiritual successes. When Jesus talks about hunger and the bread of life, he equates the sensation of pure joy a starving person receives from having bread with the abstraction of a spiritual starvation and a spiritual feast.

The point is that this mechanism is real, and physiological, but it's the foundation of all our abstract and spiritual pursuits as well.

I concur that people *can* use marijuana and be functional and purposeful people. However, this is often not the case despite exceptions, and there are downsides not often discussed.

What drugs, including marijuana and alcohol for that matter do is that they induce a dopamine release related not to any act or achievement (that's natural and proper) but rather to the act of usage and using the drug itself. This throws the reward mechanism out of whack.

With heavy drugs, like heroine or cocaine, you see people destroy themselves and those they love because of this interrupted reward loop.

But, even marijuana has a bad effect. A person can still have a purpose while using, but marijuana consumes much more of that reward function than a mere 'thing you do' should. This means that you are wasting 'purpose' resources no matter what when you use.

Granted, let's say you grew up in a crappy household. Psychologically, you might be devoting so many resources to coping with that that drug use might actually free up resources by suppressing the effect of those issues. This isn't a good argument for drugs, if you can't gather.

So drugs interfere with your basic moral purpose and happiness mechanism. And this in turn prevents healthy moral and emotional growth.

Consider the way users act:
1. They are hyper defensive about their drug use. Why is this? Think about how you would feel if a beloved relative died? That person is a source of happiness and being in your life. Marijuana induces an artificial happiness, and so it takes on the role of an artificial loved one. Hence, many (not all) legalizes are hyper defensive. Losing their beloved grass scares them immensely.
2. Lack of self-awareness. It is well documented that marijuana can induce paranoid thinking. This isn't a political comment. I'm just making the point that I know users personally who get wrapped up in unrealistic ideas and have no self-awareness. Yeah, people can indeed lack self-awareness, but marijuana seems to be forcibly, chemically driving a certain lack of self awareness in people. That includes an awareness of the negative effects of using. Linking to point #1, people's state of fear over losing marijuana is chemically induced by the drug's effect on the brain, but people don't realize this. The feeling comes from their brain chemistry, and they act in response to it, but they have no rational, conceptual awareness of their hyper-defensiveness.

Those are just two examples of the sort of effects drugs have on the brain.

It's immoral because the reward process is so foundational to the greater moral purpose of pursuing virtue and a better life.

From a political perspective, the law doesn't have a place using coercive violence against drug users. But that's a general point that is so much broader than the issue of drugs.

Plus, despite my light-handed approach to this issue, drugs do in fact cause enormous harm to people and communities - this is just a fact. I like more foundational abstract arguments, but the basic pragmatic one works pretty well too.

So, that's my argument.

Like I said, we probably drink alcohol too much, but hey we do it. So, if a marijuana user is reading this, I might expect at least someone to think: "You know, he's pretty much right, but of course a vice is a vice and there's no mortal sin in a little smoke here and there." That's all I'm getting at.

Of course, if my argument is very valid, people will freak out in defense of their drug use and call me names.


I've thought about it just a bit more.

The idea is that morality is thought of in terms of general principles that inspire moral growth in a direction, as opposed to black and white. It isn't about demonization or 'drugs are bad'.

It's about, which direction do you want to go in.

I'm saying we should go in that direction of greater balance. Balance between physiology and spirituality. We have to eat, and sleep, and so forth. It affects our chemistry and therefore psychology. So we should try to be healthy so our chemistry is balanced. This means more spiritual energy to pursue the heights, if you will.

It's very clear that drug use is an unhealthy, unbalancing activity. That's what I'm trying to say.

While, therefore, drugs aren't 'bad' so-to-speak, I think I can legitimately argue for treating them with extreme reservation.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Freedom is letting people make their own decisions

even if they are bad.

You make a great case for why one shouldn't smoke pot. You should be free to share your thoughts with others and others should be free to ignore them.

The problem with drug laws is that they remove the personal responsibility and freedom from the equation.

I don't do drugs and I wouldn't even if they were legal but imposing that position on others is wrong whether we like it or not.

Yes the article written is true, but is it relevant?

The information relevant to the DP seems like it should be related to the moral nature of government intervention of personal choice. Sure many substances are less than helpful, and many are legal. I think there is a moral danger to manipulating the public in believing that one substance is more or less 'dangerous' than another. Alcohol has limited citizen value and productivity in far greater numbers to any other substance that gets attention. Think of the do as I say, not as I do speech we have all heard. The danger of politics getting in the way of right and wrong is that soon the population will believe that alcohol has no danger because it is 'legal' while segregating the folks who use other drugs because they are illegal. No law Creates morality, isn't that a more relevant topic of discussion?

It's really quite simple.If

It's really quite simple.

If you own your body then you can decide what to do with it, and others cannot. If others can decide what you do with your body and you cannot, then you are a slave - by definition. Slavery is clearly immoral.

No one has a right to violate another person or their property whether sober or drunk/high - THAT is moral.

I wish you had


On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.

I had trouble reading your entire post

If a person does something harmful to themselves but that doesn't hurt anyone else, do you think that person belongs in a cage? Heck, do they even deserve a fine? My feeling is that it's not up to you to decide what's best for everyone else.

Don't tread on me.

Back in my drug experiamentation days

I liked coke, shrooms, and mescaline much more than SMOKING pot.
Smoking pot is much more harmless than alcohol. The high doesn't last long (unless you eat it, then lasts TOO long sometimes).
I never liked the tired feeling i got from smoking, my coke highs were more fun, I was alert, happy.
Pot was just too mild, unless eating it of course.

I think drug dealers cause more harm to communities and people than drug users do.

to each their own right?

I like sleep and food way too much to like coke; hence the pot.

In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.

But; Don't forget the liquor dealers too.



or the big pharma dealers, or

or the big pharma dealers, or the fast food dealers, or the motorcycle dealers......

Jus sayin...


I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees...

One mans meat

is another mans poison.
Some people smoke dope all their lives and function brilliantly...other people are destroyed by it.
There is no clear cut right and wrong. Are the legit smokers going to pick up the pieces of the shattered lives of those who smoking knocks around?


Whatever your position on marijuana I feel putting a person in jail and destroying a life over a moral argument is wrong in a "FREE" society. I have had my life changed irreversibly because of the decision i made when I was a child. It is a plant that came from the ground!

Two cents with citation

It seems to me, recovering alcoholic and pot smoker, that most people who find themselves in the position of abusing drugs or letting them get in the way of life are suffering from several conditions. None of which marijuana or, more appropriately, cannabis can be held responsible for.

In our self-deluded, misguided, misinformed and distracted society of America I find that most people lack the sweet practice of reflection. I too lacked it for years. Whilst I had dreams and goals the healthy practice of reflection never allowed me to look at my own actions and how they were facilitating failure. Instead of sitting on the couch watching the tube I could have spent that time pursuing goals and dreams. But television rewards the brain too. And it does so in a far more artificial sense that cannabis does. But if we do not reflect with ourselves and determine why we feel the way we feel I find that it keeps us powerless to resolve those issues.

Poverty happens to be one of the conditions that keeps us from pursuing dreams and goals. Many of us find ourselves in places and positions where we would like to do something with our time but we simply cannot afford to do so. Raleigh is an awesome place if you have money to spend. If you are not a rampant consumer you will find it more difficult to pass your time actively. Places of pristine beauty like the beach or mountains are better for the active to pursue cheap, wholesome entertainment. For those who want to break out of the box who have no interest in society's usual distractions, imagination is key. I take no pleasure in football or any of the other sports that we tend to watch. No other person can fulfill my life. Watching others fulfill theirs is no way to go about it. Yet this is the distraction offered to most. And most take it willingly.

Indoctrination is perhaps one of the most powerful things keeping people from performing well in life. When you go through your early life exposed to blatant lies from officials who wrote textbooks and you are meant to believe it then therein lies our greatest burden. Why did the D.A.R.E. program not mention that cannabis is so useful? Why did they not mention that it has so many health benefits? Why did they do nothing but tell me that if I went down the path of using any "street drugs" that I would become a shitbag in society and nothing else? How many people have never broken that mold?

No matter of rationalization can justify purely lazy and parasitic behavior. Yet we seem to have a great deal of that going on now do we not? But the problems of our culture and society stem from a dishonest approach to education and personal empowerment. They certainly do not stem from plants or substances whose benefits throughout history are self-evident. You cannot blame someone's personal behavior on a single choice that was made for any reason. You must analyze the entire environment in which they were raised and in which they reside. Living in a culture in America where an entire generation should be ashamed for having let things go to hell in a hand basket on their watch while they consumed, shopped and spent themselves into oblivion while giving birth to new generations without any real understanding of what makes a person successful, free and independent has probably done more to let you down than anything else.

If you still have a resentment against pot after careful reflection and analysis there is an incredible amount of reading that will change your mind. I suggest you start with a 1988 petition to the DEA from NORML reviewed by Francis Young. When you finish reading about three year old cancer patient who used pot and got better perhaps your mind will open more. Good luck and God speed.

It seems that "morality" is your issue.

Humans throughout 10,000 years of cannabis and other substances,(herbs , flowers extracts), have used these things for food, medicine, spirituality, and euphoric effects. I feel that it is natural to humanity to explore these things. We may not lead tribal life as things are now; but social, and or, personal use of cannabis is spiritual even in ways we do not notice on a daily basis. There is the bonding connections that are pleasing in the drug culture that many never mention. I guess it is the tribal nature idea. Those who our outside the culture will never experience or understand.
There is always a use or abuse issue with self control of the individual; but I have a problem using "morality" as an issue here at all. I think it should be a requirement to have experienced something before making moral judgement; even then, with caution.
I don't want to go into the list of medicinal uses proven for medicinal use of cannabis. It is still not as important as it is an issue of "freedom and cause of Liberty". Social Conservatism scares me as much as Neocon mentality. There seems to be that slant in your post. Many things could be counter-productive; but are sure subjective.


On Social Conservative

Even in the liberty movement, any intellectual movement really, there's a notion that some ideas are dangerous.

The more libertine have grave concerns about social conservatives. Social conservatives worry about the results of libertine attitudes.

That's okay. We can all exist together, and in fact, all have strong opinions too.

We have to have a steadfast commitment to certain principles of liberty, so our differences don't cause us to destroy each other. But we certainly don't have to treat ideas as dangerous.

In any event, I agree that substances have played a role in human civilization since forever. So has war, and rape and superstition. Drugs aren't war. I'm not making that point. But implicit in my moral argument is a point that is not necessarily obvious to everyone or even agreed upon. That point is that nature and nature's laws imply a certain purpose to life, which, when clarified by the spiritual lessons of many religious perspectives particularly far Western thought, lead to ideas that not necessarily everyone accepts.

Yes, there is an objectification of goodness and beauty, but I think we live in a real world in a real universe with a real God. Goodness is a 'product'. Of our effort or God's - whatever your perspective.

In other words, "That for which we strive" or "long" that object of our spiritual lives, is not some esoteric brightness that we attain through experiencing or awareness. That's exactly what I feel the essence of drug use does to spirituality. Rather, I see spirituality as an active pursuit of goodness that is never attained per se, but is experienced through attainment.

So, God is experienced through attainment, not attained through experiencing.

To ground this point, let me say that some people long for dissociation, for feeling, for the oblivion of drunkenness, or the chaos and uncertainty of a raging party. That seems to me to be a symptom of a disease of spirit. There is so much to do in life: music, games, cooking, eating, reading, walking, hiking, biking, painting, traveling, sharing, socializing, working, making, praying, etc. etc.

None of which requires drugs. Drugs don't 'enhance' these things. They merely provide an opportunity to do things while also experiencing a high.

I'm saying that it seems to me that if you think you need marijuana, or even wine really, to fill in those gaps of what the hell you're doing in life, or to complete some aspect of your life that seems to require that and isn't good enough as life on its own - that's really a tragedy.

Although, I admit, I grew up in a family that drank wine maybe five times a year. I know families where it's like at least a couple of beers every night. Anyway, there's something tragic about those families, like they're medicated or something. Probably Irish.

I very much enjoyed reading

I very much enjoyed reading your comment, and you generally flirt with a point or two of contention I also declared in my initial comment, despite having commented rather positively toward the OP. Two notions in your comment have spurred me to reply. The first is regarding "morality". The OP altogether skirts defining the term [for whatever reason, good or bad], but I enjoyed the OP's use of the term. I would admit that's it's an extremely hot topic in and of itself though, but here I interpret it in basic fashion, not involving religious dogma or even code of ethic, but simply regarding notions of happiness and the general pursuit thereof. I can't see how the OP can not raise the issue of morality in that sense. I don't contend with your use of the term either but for an insurmountable aching to add a few words to your main sentence regarding it...

"I think it should be a requirement to have experienced something before making moral judgement" for others!

Is that acceptable? Have I overstepped my bounds?

The other notion in your comment that spurs me to reply regards your fear of Social Conservatism. It's unfortunately true that many [including many of those who refer to themselves as such] use the term willy nilly as interchangeable with Neocon, and that scares me too a bit. But they remain very different, non-interchangeable terms in essence. A Social Conservative isn't automatically even against marijuana use or fornication. In fact you have shown signs of Social Conservatism even via your comment. A Social Conservative is one who wishes to preserve an organic sense of continuum in cultural normalcy apart from state disruption. To protect norms of cannabis use from non-local intervention is to be socially conservative. Perhaps you will enjoy this following presentation as much as I have. It describes where my mind goes when the likes of Rand Paul correctly claim themselves Social Conservatives...

Good points

The presentation was interesting. The discussion on communitarian thought related to how we view libertarian or conservative was thought provoking. I feel I am a mix as most are.


This is a joke? No? Then what a hypocrite.

*"Marijuana has utility, in theory, but the main reason why people use it is for that feeling in and of itself. And this is in fact why I distinguish alcohol from marijuana. It is a matter of intensity... ...So we can conflate the two. All I'm saying is that mere marijuana use equates to heavy alcohol use."

Such a hypocritical and ignorant statement it's unbelievable. So much so I could not/ would not read anymore of your 'waste-of-time' post.

Are you a POT or a PET - Person Embracing Tyranny?

emancipate yourself from mental slavery*

For the sole purpose of returning a sliver of happiness for your effort here, I'll tell you that I have an extensive background in academic pursuit of both moral philosophy and drug use. I instinctively and quickly don my best hat of skepticism when entering such a read. From the top I was thrust into thoughts of, "Oh, he's gonna lose me here. I just know it!" My first thought as such was triggered at "Purpose includes...". Lo and behold, as sloppy as it was, you didn't drop me there. Sure, all the way through I found sloppiness, but the sloppiness ended up in general to be a boon in following your logic, although as critic I'll point out two items that distract and are unneeded [erroneous or 'spot on' is inconsequential]. Your logic presents a generally negative argument toward drugs as a whole. Minimal comparisons are rhetorically beneficial at minimal points supporting a return to your main thrust in general argument, but this comparison goes too far and is unnecessary...

"All I'm saying is that mere marijuana use equates to heavy alcohol use."

A result of such unnecessary overstepping is that I bet you lost half of your readers right there at that moment.

The other problematic point I'd like to mention is in your presentation of self-awareness...

"2. Lack of self-awareness."

My contention is with your use of the word "Lack". This term confuses. Especially when you so quickly jump into the issue of paranoia. I can personally make sense of this , but [since you claim at the end of this that you bear some rhetorical intent] my critical mind wants you to define "self-awareness" before specifically claiming a "Lack" thereof. A deeper definition as such isn't really necessary if "Lack" is eliminated. "Skewed" or "distorted" in lieu of "Lack of" may provide a rhetorically less offensive notion, although in general I like where you go with it.

A moral argument provides insight toward personal guidance and nothing more. Your piece sits rather well within such context. I pity your task to reply to detailed contentions that might follow as I scroll down to peruse the comments [I have read none as of yet]. Your general thrust aligns with my own perspective. Of course, I have extensive experience with drug use/abuse, and if that is also the case with you, that may be information worthy of sharing with your audience. I mention that because, if that is true, an argument of broader context could be made that drug use itself may be an important [if not required] factor in reaching such high moral ground. I won't lay that one out but to say, no one is found that hasn't been lost.

*yes, it's an intentionally provocative title ;D

not Marley, and perhaps not equally but oddly apropos...

Do you guys have legal highs in the US?

In New Zealand we have had "fake weed", or legal highs that are devastating our youth, yet cannabis remains illegal.
The fake highs cause violent out bursts, paranoia, and psychotic behavior. It is orderless, and cannot be detected in drug tests.
The high only lasts for about 20 minutes, so kids smoke it all day, and then very often flip out after consuming so much.
And our government dithers.

In Washington and Colorado we call it POT :)

In Washington and Colorado we call it POT :)

We sure do. Spice is more

We sure do. Spice is more dangerous than the real stuff. Many states are outlawing it though.


“Reality is a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs”
Lily Tomlin


“As far as I'm concerned, I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue.“
Albert Einstein


"The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world."
~ Carl Sagan

Official Daily Paul BTC address: 16oZXSGAcDrSbZeBnSu84w5UWwbLtZsBms
My ฿itcoin: 17khsA7MvBJAGAPkhrFJdQZPYKgxAeXkBY

So your argument is..

recreational use of drugs is a vice in that it provides a reward for what is essentially anti-social behavior. It is therefore bad and should be avoided.

I cannot argue with you there.

The problem is not the use or the vice. The problem is the state policing people's personal habits. That is a problem because it is more than those who practice vice, be it drugs, gambling, prostitution, fornication, and so forth, who are policed.

Everyone has their privacy invaded by the state making sure people are not doing things, while potentially personally destructive, harm nobody else.

Personal responsibility needs to be taken, but state involvement enforcing behavior when nobody is harmed by a personal habit or a private transaction is an abuse of power.

An individual using a drug may harm that person, but using the state to make certain nobody is using a drug harms everyone since it encroaches on everyone's liberty. It takes the idea of the presumption of innocence and chucks it out the window.

Your personal morals are not my responsibility and as long you harm nobody in the practice of your vices, it is not the state's either.

[F]orce can only settle questions of power, not of right. - Clyde N. Wilson

ecorob's picture

All of that is just perfect...

for you!

Now, how about you leave the rest of us alone? Your morality is not mine, my friend.

You would serve yourself much better by taking your argument to big pharma and leave God's green earth alone.

You have no argument against marijuana. You have a pompous self righteous indignation to rule my life and I will thank you to stay out of it.

its 'cos I owe ya, my young friend...
Rockin' the FREE world in Tennessee since 1957!
9/11 Truth.

In Short

"Don't Tread On Me"

Don't knock it until you've

Don't knock it until you've tried it ;)

Your'e a Moron

We need to legalize marijuana so that hemp can be used for oil and other products.

That is the only reason that its illegal.

Make hemp legal and we solve the oil problem.

And, as a libertarian, you have the right to put whatever you want in your body.

You're wrong!

I'm the only moron this page!

Very interesting

I enjoy other people's perspectives but I must concur with most of the comments below. "Drug" is a blanket term. It is possible to use anything as a drug. Food, television, sex, even the daily paul. If a person has a psychological crutch then they need to examine it or get help examining it. Let's not throw gods gifts away because some people abuse them.