Mile High

Denver residents voted to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults.

Great news for choice-loving proponents (though will the approval see the light of day?).

The article also mentions that some argued that "legalizing marijuana would reduce consumption of alcohol". For those who are more knowledgeable about these things than I am... Is that true? And if so, how?

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I think the presumption is

I think the presumption is that if people are allowed to smoke pot, they will consume less alcohol. I'm not sure if this holds water, however. From what I can recall, living with the Rugby team in undegrad, puffing the cheebah only increased our appetites for alcohol, and visaversa.

I think this argument is akin to the dope-smokers myths that "george washington grew pot" No. He actually grew hemp. And then they'll respond with "an acre of hemp can produce Kx the quantity of paper that an acre of virgin pine can produce." While this might be true, "hemp" is a close cousin to the Sativa variety, and has no narcotic/psychotropic effects. So tell Cheech he can grow as much "hemp" as he wants to.

I think the more defensible approach is to attack the overall war on drugs, and to demonstrate that markets are extremely distorted by its effects; which causes the crime. hundreds of thousands in prison for possession, which costs us money. Hundreds of police-man-hours spent for every minor bust, which costs us more, and it hasn't stopped the flow of any dope, it only serves to make dealing more lucrative to those who otherwise may have chosen a different path, and makes drugs harder to afford for those who want them, who resort to theft/crimes to support their habit, which continues the cycle...

I don't see how you could

I don't see how you could correlate the two. Weed and beer (wine/whisky) are a great match.

They say state law will trump the local law, but that would mean state police would need to "bust" offenders within Denver, while Denver PD spends its time eating donuts or taxing people for driving too fast.

Decriminalization is a good step in the correct direction.

I guess answering the

I guess answering the question of the effect on alcohol comes down answering the question to are they substitutional or complementary goods? I can see rationales for both. But based on conversations with my friends, they've been more substitutional (substituting for the desired result of getting, as Gretchen Wilson might say, all jacked up), i.e., a little pot will do the work of a lotta beer.

I don't know about you guys,

I don't know about you guys, but when I drink its to a certain level of fucked-upness. If I smoke a bowl before hand, I'm already a little fucked-up and don't have to consume as much alcohol as I would just drinking alcohol. On the flip side, whenever I smoke I want to drink and whenever I drink I want to smoke.

It would reduce mine.

It would reduce mine.

:beatnik: I am a Denver


I am a Denver resident and I didn't find out about the initiative until just a few weeks ago. I had seen the campaign signs on lawns around the University of Denver campus (go figure!) but they didn't say anything meaningful -- "Make Denver SAFER" ?!?

In trying to follow the spotty coverage in the local media, I was insulted by the supporters defense of their proposition. No where was there an attack on "The War on Drugs". No hard facts, statistics, nothing. What I got was the same kind of rhetoric that you usually get -- soft statistics, appeals to emotions, etc.

I am a libertarian and I was insulted by the propositions sponsors and only voted for it on libertarian grounds. If the sponsors try to take this fight to the state or national level, I believe they really need to change their approach or they will sorely loose.

I think it does. One of the

I think it does. One of the reasons i stopped smoking my sophmore year of college was because it made it less fun to be drunk, and i really liked being drunk.
My other item of anectdotal evidence is that a friend of mine got off probation (and no longer has drug tests) about 6 months ago, and hasn't gotten drunk since. And he drank a lot while he was on probation.
But I agree, the "evidence" they used to push for it isn't grounded in any sort of empirical fact. It actually sounds like it was written by the kids I used to smoke in the dorms with, because all potheads everywhere apparently sound the same. Another good reason to stop smoking.

This was not some stoner's

This was not some stoner's fantasy. The campaign was conceptualized by someone within the marijuana policy reform movement who recognized the one obstacle to reform in this country is the fact that most people think marijuana is more harmful than alcohol. Among those who recognize that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol (about 30 percent of the population), about three-quarters support changing marijuana laws. The purpose of this campaign and the SAFER organization -- -- is to educate the public about the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol.

At this point, it cannot be said definitively whether making marijuana legal for adults will reduce alcohol consumption. One study in Australia concluded that alcohol consumption would be reduced 10 percent. But only time will tell. The main point the campaign is making, however, is that alcohol consumption frequently leads to domestic abuse, sexual assaults, and other acts of violence, while marijuana does not. So why should we drive people to drink? Individuals should not be punished for making the safer choice to use marijuana.