From the No Shit Sherlock Files

potMarijuanna is safer than alcohol.

It’s true. There are actual, scientific reasons why you can get a doctor’s prescription for marijuana but not bourbon.

That so many people are more deeply disturbed by someone smoking marijuana than they are by children accidentally shooting themselves is truly baffling.

Dan Riffle is a former assistant prosecutor and the director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, the primary financial backer of the 2012 campaign to regulate marijuana in Colorado. From his CNN Opinion piece today:

According to the Centers for Disease Control, excessive alcohol use is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death. In a typical year, there are roughly 25,000 alcohol-induced deaths in the United States, most from long-term consequences like liver disease and some from acute alcohol poisoning brought on by binge drinking.

Marijuana, on the other hand, does not cause overdose deaths and comes with far fewer long-term health consequences. A 2009 Canadian study determined the annual health-related costs associated with alcohol are more than eight times greater per user than with marijuana. And, according to the Institute of Medicine, people who use marijuana are far less likely to become dependent than those who drink alcohol.

Even if you don’t drink, alcohol can kill you. Federal agencies report that 40% of violent crimes in the U.S. are linked to alcohol use, whereas those same agencies report that marijuana users usually do not commit violent crimes. Alcohol plays a role in a third of all emergency room visits. As a prosecuting attorney, I often had police confess to me how much they loathed arresting drunks, given how often the situation escalated to violence. I never fielded similar complaints about marijuana consumers.

I would rather see college kids toking up once in a while rather than indulge in the binge-drinking that is far too prevalent.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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