We haven't had anyone jump way out ahead of the pack in a while in sheer, mind numbing stupidity (at least no one new). So let me introduce you to U.S. Representative Mark Kirk, who thinks in these times of economic crisis, strained resources, inflamed international tensions, a nation in a foul mood, and a prison population at an embarrassing 25% of the world's total (that's the whole world, and nothing but the world), that action urgently needed now is...
tougher marijuana laws.
Ed Brayton has a fabulous summary. Here are some of the high points from it and other reports:
U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk will call for legislation Monday that would toughen drug trafficking laws regarding a highly-potent form of marijuana (THC content > 15%, about double average), with penalties of up to 25 years in prison for a 1st-time offense.
Yeah, because people can't just smoke the average stuff twice as much to get the same effect. Oh wait, they can, but that means twice as much smoke inhalation, which means twice as much risk of health problems (which luckily in many cases means twice zero is zero). But the real killer is how this compare to European weed:
To put this in perspective, the average potency of marijuana that has fueled this fire is seven percent THC. This is the marijuana that White House Drug Czar John Walters warns is horribly dangerous because of its super-strength. In contrast, Dutch government standards require medical marijuana sold in pharmacies in the Netherlands to be more than twice that strong. So a country where teens are actually less likely to use cocaine and heroin than in the U.S. wouldn't even use our marijuana to heal their sick. A recent report from the European Union noted that "a slight upward trend" in potency means little because the potency of U.S. marijuana "was very low by European standards."
I think the speaker in the second quote confused current potency with potency relevant in the proposed law, but the implication is that the potency Mr. Kirk thinks is so dangerous is at the same level as minimum required in the Netherlands. Either way, America, we're pot pussies, and totally irrational about it.
Science doesn't support this in any way.
...peer-reviewed scientific data show that higher potency marijuana reduces health risks. Just as with alcohol, people who smoke marijuana generally consume until they reach the desired effect, then stop. So people who smoke more potent marijuana smoke less - the same way most drinkers consume a smaller amount of vodka than they would of beer - and incur less chance of smoking-related damage to their lungs.
And all the talk about kids in rehab for marijuana is based on completely distorted, predetermined ways of interpreting the information:
According to the U.S. government's own statistics, most teens in marijuana treatment are there because they were arrested, not because of actual evidence of abuse or dependence. Virtually all of the vaunted increase in marijuana treatment admissions stems from these arrests. So, we arrest kids for smoking marijuana, force them into treatment and then use those treatment admissions as "proof" that marijuana is addictive. Somewhere, George Orwell is smiling. This wave of marijuana treatment has nothing to do with actual dependence...more than half of marijuana "abusers" used marijuana three times or less in the month prior to entering treatment - and this, we are told, is proof that we must be fearful of highly addictive "super pot"!
There has never been a time where legalizing, regulating, taxing, and thereby controlling marijuana in the country has made more sense than it does now. Billions saved in law enforcement that protects no one. Billions saved on prisons that remove productive people from the workforce. No more millions of hours of official work time wasted. No more lying to the children, only to have them get involved in real serious drugs because they caught onto the lies. And Mark Kirk wants to go in the opposite direction? You, Mark Kirk, are my Idiot of the Week.