Harris County DA Devon Anderson, in response to President Obama’s comment that marijuana isn’t more dangerous than alcohol, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer,” issued a press release.
I adamantly disagree with the President.
Whether and how she disagrees with the President has nothing to do with whether he is correct. Let’s see her argument.
According to a 2012 Drug Use and Health survey, marijuana is the number one drug that citizens over the age of 12 are addicted to or abuse.
Untrue. Here‘s the survey. Marijuana is the number one illicit drug that citizens over the age of 12 use. The survey didn’t address addiction. “Are addicted to or” is empty language; Anderson might as well have said, “marijuana is the number one drug that citizens over the age of 12 kill for or abuse.”
How many people use (or abuse) a drug has nothing to do with how dangerous it is, but if it did then alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine would all be more dangerous than marijuana, and the President would be right.
The negative effects of marijuana use on a developing brain can be permanent,
I suspect that this is true. The same is true of alcohol.
and our President is recklessly giving what amounts to parental permission to our most impressionable citizens to break the law.
Huh? Is the President her daddy? Isn’t it parents’ job to give parental permission, and to teach their children to do what’s best for them?
Marijuana is creating deadly situations right here in Harris County.
Really? Give one example.
I welcome the President to come to Houston to review the same Capital Murder cases I did just last week that were the result of marijuana drug deals.
Ah. She’s talking about the case in which cartel hitmen allegedly killed an informant who was transporting marijuana for the DEA—none of which could have happened if marijuana were legal.
Maybe then he will see that the most effective way to keep our law-abiding citizens safe is to obey all laws that our legislators put on the books at our State Capitol.
That’s a non sequitur. The guy killed by the cartel hitmen was not a “law-abiding citizen.” He was a dope trafficker, though he had DEA permission, that particular day, to possess marijuana. And he wasn’t killed because he was not obeying the law—he had government permission—but because he was legally—indeed, at the behest of government agents—transporting something that happens to be illegal.
Another, more reasonable, takeaway from that case might be that a more effective way to keep our law-abiding citizens safe is to legalize marijuana. The murder of a DEA-sponsored drug trafficker is an excellent argument for putting the DEA out of the marijuana business.
I am acutely aware of the high price society pays for the misuse of alcohol.
And yet alcohol is not illegal.
This is not a debate about whether alcohol or marijuana is more dangerous.
Actually, it is. She said that she adamantly disagreed with the President’s statement that marijuana is not more dangerous than alcohol. Now she’s giving up on the argument?
The President’s comments notwithstanding, marijuana is illegal under the Texas Penal Code, and we vigorously prosecute drug possession and alcohol related offenses in Harris County.
Ah. Regardless of whether marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol, she says, marijuana is illegal and alcohol is not. So she is giving up on the argument.
For authoritarians, “it’s illegal” is the end of an argument—”is” trumps “ought.” For libertarians, it’s not even an argument—”is” has nothing to do with “ought.” Most people, I think, are somewhere in between: they give some moral weight to the fact that something is illegal—”is” suggests “ought”—but they still will consider why. “It’s no more dangerous than alcohol” is an argument for marijuana to be treated the same as alcohol. Reasonable people might consider that and decide that alcohol should be criminalized (again), or that marijuana should be decriminalized.
But the Scared White Republican Voters whom Anderson hopes will elect her in November are the authoritarians. They are afraid because people like Anderson tell them to be afraid, and then they vote the way that people like Anderson tell them will make them safer. If someone tells them, “this is the law,” they don’t ask, “okay; should it be”; they assume that the law is right, and look for someone to enforce that law. So Anderson, already huckstering for votes, instead of telling the truth (that Obama is probably right) and engaging in a meaningful discussion of what this should mean to Texas drug laws, simply tells those SWRVs—very few of whom will be hauling weed for the DEA—to be afraid of marijuana, and to vote for her because she will keep them safe from danger.