Legalize Cannabis with Similar/Same Rules as Alcohol?

Since cannabis is a whole lot safer compared to alcohol, should we legalize it with same or similar rules as alcohol?

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  • 497
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  • 9


          • -2


            Yeah, and where did I say cigarettes shouldn't be heavily regulated?

            They are.

            Vaping is regulated also. You can't legally purchase nicotine in Australia. Shops that sell vaping products can't display it, etc. State by state laws apply.

            Personally, I think they should be taxed to an extent that fully covers the medical costs they impose on society.

            Why stop there? Tax the drug addicts, alcoholics, abusers, obese, and anyone else that does anything you don't approve of.

            • +1


              Tax the drug addicts, alcoholics, abusers, obese

              This… sound like a good idea? Also, I believe caithsith01 isn't talking about what he/she individually approve/disapproves of, but tax activities that cause damage ($$$) to society.

      • -2

        Vaping has not been established to be safe:

        I believe these cases were involving vaping THC btw.

  • +14

    there is no fast, accurate, AND cheap roadside method to test for cannabis.

    • Isn't the presence of THC detected in roadside saliva tests here?

      • +8

        Which cost a lot, take 15-20 minutes, and have false positives

    • +4

      NSW police already test for cannabis, and it's worth noting that people are smoking it now anyway whilst it's illegal.

      Some prescription drugs like valium have similar effects as alcohol and can impair driving, but it's not like we make them illegal for everyone because of that.

      • +5

        I'm fairly sure you're not meant to drive if you've taken a valium though

        • +6

          And you wouldn't be meant to drive if you had smoked weed… it's exactly the same. That's the point of my comment - just because driving on valium is dangerous we don't make the drug entirely illegal because a handful of people will drive under the influence.

          • +3

            @Jesus Chicken: my point was both are prohibited substances which require prescription under certain circumstances (ignoring the red tape around medical marijuana). Both impair driving. Both are illegal when not sourced through the medical system.

            You were saying we don't make say, valium illegal, but usage of prescription drugs without a prescription is not legal regardless.

            I'm actually very pro legalisation of weed from both a harm minimization standpoint + for recreational use. Unfortunately the way it stands at the moment we have a huge underground market for this stuff, and with vapeing being all the rage a lot of people are probably inhaling terrible synthetic variants, completely unaware its not actual thc extracted.

            • @knk: You should look into dry herb vapes. I'm not entirely convinced as to whether they're healthier than a joint or bong, but they seem far safer than those synthetic / liquid / gel THC types.

    • +2

      They should go back to testing for actual impairment.

      It would be fairly trivial to have some kind of device to check reaction-time/balance/coordination etc

      Now everything is covered and no need for 1001 different tests for every imaginable drug. Also no more false positives for perfectly sober people who last used drugs three days ago.

      • +1

        It would be fairly trivial to have some kind of device to check reaction-time/balance/coordination etc

        Havent seen anything foolproof so far. The current methods are arbitrary

  • +8

    Yes to decriminalised, not to legalise.

    • +14

      Would you also apply the same rule to alcohol?

      • +16

        Yes. Alcohol is a huge problem to society, but we'll never find a leader with the guts to deal with it.

        • +6

          but we'll never find a leader with the guts to deal with it

          What do you suggest we do? Easy to spout off talking points without any specific policy.

          • -1

            @p1 ama: Nothing, we leave it to the omnipotent nanny state.

    • Any reasoning on this?

    • +3

      Seems silly. If legalised then it is a refund stream for the government via taxation.

  • +10

    Yo John, re:

    'Since cannabis … can even treat some illnesses … should we legalize it with same or similar rules as alcohol?'

    It is important not to 'conceptually blend' recreational use and medicinal use together as the same or even remotely similar things. That would be counter-productive to any 'cause'.

    • +1

      Good point. I've removed that bit. Thanks

    • Why not, if doctors could prescribe feeling relaxed and open minded they certainly would.

      • +1

        Depends on what you’re asking them for.
        Lots of doctors would be iffy giving you something if it’s not specifically treating a problem.

        Also the point is that medical use of substances is validated through research and used in a particular way,in a particular situation to a particular intended effect.
        Recreational use is not. I’ve seen this kind of false equivalence applied to mdma and hallucinogens a lot.

        • +1

          My university experience taught me that the researchers giving the lectures, most of them loved recreational use of cannabis.

          • +1

            @AustriaBargain: That's not relevant to the point Im making though. Prescribing a drug for blatantly recreational use is an ethical issue, not a matter of personal opinion.

            I've had similar experiences to you and know quite a few junior doctors that use it recreationally but that's besides the point.

            • +1

              @Talsek: The average researcher I’ve met endorses and uses cannabis much more often than the average population, is all I’m saying.

              • @AustriaBargain: And Im saying that you shouldn't expect every doctor to prescribe it just because you asked.

                Nor does a personal endorsement, from any researcher or doctor, make recreational use equate to medical use.

                Both of these things were implied in your original comment.

                • @Talsek: Doctors in the US have prescribed it for writers block

                  • @AustriaBargain: Like I said in my first reply,that would be for "treating" a particular problem.

                    The boundaries obviously blur but it's hard for a lot of doctors to justify it if you just say "I want it" and nothing else.

                    • @Talsek: Recreational use cured boredom. What recreational use can you think of that isn’t a good thing for the patient?

                      • @AustriaBargain: Possible risks include psychotic symptoms in younger patients and altered motivation/reward sensitivity (which has obvious flow on effects).

                        If the only thing you're curing is "boredom" I think that are easier ,more conventional and less risky (though marijuana is not exactly high risk) things you can do. This should be apparent to both the patient and the doctor.

                        There is very much a case to be made to refuse prescribing you anything if that's the only motivation.

                        • -2

                          @Talsek: People have been using cannabis since before the English language appeared, before there was the word doctor or research.

                          • +1

                            @AustriaBargain: Then I think you should just use it instead of trying to argue why a doctor should prescribe it to you no questions asked.

                            Doctors have to operate with bioethical standards in mind, you dont. Don't conflate medical use with recreational (which was the point of the original comment).

                            • -2

                              @Talsek: Scandal after scandal in all state health systems suggests doctors don’t actually need to operate by some kind of strict set of standards. It’s a hot mess out there, like the wild west. But better people get their recreational cannabis prescribed and periodically monitored by a wild west doctor than be self prescribed by people with no science or experience behind them at all. Same with alcohol, would be easier to catch the actual health crisis that can lead to before it even begins. Maybe in a few years when people’s Siris are smarter than the typical doctor.

                              • +1

                                @AustriaBargain: They’re scandals for a reason,standards and codes of conduct were violated. It opens up the possibility of lawsuits or disciplinary action

                                And yes,if people make it clear they’re going to use it anyways (and will get it elsewhere) then most doctors would capitulate and prescribe it. It still obviously does not make it preferred nor would most doctors voluntarily suggest it for no reason. (FYI you can 100% ask to be monitored by your GP even if you are self dosing/self prescribing)

                                This kind of scenario is also quite common in unconventional body modification/plastic surgery.

  • +24

    Ultimately yes. I personally do not drink, I also have no intention of smoking pot, but I think our drug laws are ridiculously stupid. Having been around plenty of drunk and stoned people in my life, I genuinely feel much safer around stoned people than drunk people, that's for sure.

    • +1

      Would you feel safer around people who are neither stoned nor drunk?

      I'm pretty sure 40 years ago alcohol could only be consumed at licensed premises within restricted hours, or in your own home.
      We should go back to that for starters.

      • +1

        Aren't those still the laws? I assume that only leaves public spaces, which would qualify as street drinking?

        • +1

          I don't know - if it's still the law then it isn't being enforced anymore. It seems pretty standard to bring an esky to the park, beach etc these days.

  • +31

    All drugs should be decriminalised. The war on drugs is a massive failure that needlessly incarcerates non-violent people, costs the state billions of dollars, funnels billions of dollars to criminal cartels who commit some of the most violent atrocities, makes drugs far more dangerous as they are unregulated and manufactured in some bikies toilet with unknown quantities of unknown ingredients etc etc etc

    I hope that one day we look back on drug prohibition the same way we now do with alcohol prohibition.

    • Me. An occasional alcohol, and caffeine user.
    • +11

      Drugs were made illegal because it was an easy way for authorities to lockup anti war left or African Americans. Here's a Nixon aid that says this is exactly why they did it:

      • +1
      • +7

        “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

      • +3

        Any substance that makes you think outside the square, read: fosters challenge of the establishment, is illegal.

        If anything alcohol entrenches the establishment with all its associated violence and bravado, blind patriotism, etc.

    • Alcohol prohibition was handled terribly. So we should give up and live in anarchy? What happens when we realise people are still speeding - ditch speed laws too??

      I reckon we have sufficient laws to deal with alcohol and drugs: if you're in an intoxicated state you need to be in your own home, in a premise licensed for controlling such (I'm trying to think of a word that won't offend most, but all I can think of is "scum"), or in jail for being a menace to society.

      • +3

        If anything, anarchy is allowing the trade of drugs to be controlled by murderous south American cartels, and more locally, violent biker gangs on the black market.

        A model of decriminalisation and legalisation would shift the bulk of this trade to legal entities, who settle disputes in court, rather than with bullets. It would allow for drug quality to be regulated and tested. It would allow governments to make billions in taxes instead of spending billions fighting the black market. They could set aside whatever portion of this necessary for tackling whatever social harms people fear would arise from decriminalisation/legalisation (though evidence of places like Portugal who have gone down this route typically show much lower social harms post decriminalisation).

        Also, there is absolutely no need for intoxication laws such as you are proposing.

        If someone is intoxicated and bashes someone, or sexually assaults someone, both of those actions are illegal and they should be charged for that. Their intoxication is irrelevant to the crime.

        If another person is intoxicated and goes out and has a great evening that harms nobody, there is no crime. Charging them for intoxication makes no sense.

        • -4

          Fantastic, so we tolerate people out of control in public places, but if you do get killed or injured, the law will be on our side after the event.

          • +5

            @SlickMick: You are seriously embarrassing yourself. Can you counter to ANY of Lurk's points above?

    • +1

      There are various levels of drugs and drug use. China saw the devastating effects of opium and I don't think anyone would claim Meth is a harmless drug. We don't need the stupid controls we have now, but we also don't need a free for all.

    • Good on you mate. Thank you for reaffirming my shaky faith in humanity. Like you I am only a light alcohol and caffeine user (if you exclude legally prescribed pharmaceuticals), but I am saddened at how society stigmatizes mentally ill people who need to frequently use substances like fentanyl or methamphetamine or even alcohol to deal with their psych issues (this is the the self medication hypothesis of addiction).

      Drug addicts are not evil people, just desperate people. Drug trafficers aren't monsters; they are just greedy merchants trying to make money; they don't force anyone to purchase their product.

    • All drugs should be decriminalised.

      I think this is a bad strategy to get anything decriminalised.

      Some drugs are barely dangerous at all, and some drugs are extremely dangerous.

      • Yes and no. I could probably kill myself or at least do some serious damage by drinking about $100 worth of spirits from Dan Murphy's. The same goes for countless numbers of pharmaceutical drugs.

        The fact that they are dangerous if misused is not a great argument to make them illegal.

        Also, making them illegal tends to increase the level of risk dramatically.

        If your paracetamol was manufactured by bikies instead of pharmaceutical companies, you would have no idea if you were taking a safe dose, a potentially fatal overdose, or if you were even taking paracetamol at all. Paracetamol would suddenly become very risky to take.

        Same goes with alcohol. Plenty of people died during alcohol prohibition from drinking moonshine. It is far safer when it is legal and regulated.

        • I could probably kill myself or at least do some serious damage by drinking about $100 worth of spirits from Dan Murphy's.

          Yes but you are unlikely to go on a psychotic rampage, so lets keep PCP illegal.

          The fact that they are dangerous if misused is not a great argument to make them illegal.

          Of course it is. It just depends on the level and type of danger.

          • -1

            @trapper: There's plenty of people going on violent rampages when drunk, should we ban alcohol too?

            Do you think PCP is made safer by people buying it on the black market, and having no idea of the quantity or purity of what they're taking is? Has PCP being illegal stopped people from using it? If it was legalised tomorrow, would you start using it?

            • -1

              @Lurk Hartog: Why do you want PCP legalised? I mean what exactly is to be gained here.

              • -1

                @trapper: As I mentioned above… having a black market for drugs leads to significant violence, more dangerous drugs, costs governments billions, misses billions in tax revenue, needlessly incarcerates non violent people and ruins their employment opportunities rather than helps them.

                And despite all those negatives, people still use drugs, so prohibition doesn't even achieve the one main aim which could make it justifiable.

                • -1

                  @Lurk Hartog: I'm asking about PCP specifically.

                  I agree with you on Cannabis and many other less harmful drugs.

    • +9

      Yes, alcohol can make bad people act even worse.
      Or are you actually suggesting the use of cannabis makes seemingly normal individuals become violent?

      • +1

        I was trying to say drugs can somtimes be used appropriately by people but for a large part, they are not. Generally to the type of user.

        Yes to the first statement, not the 2nd.

        More about the type of person that is involved in drugs, whether they are just abusive people or if the drugs assisted in making the person that way

        • +2

          You have that completely backwards.

          Drugs can largely be used appropriately by people but for some, they are not.

          Think about alcohol, the vast majority use it, but maybe 10% have issues with it (drink driving, domestic violence, street violence, etc). The problem with your perception is you only see the drug problems, because the people who use drugs without issue can't tell you about it, because it's illegal.

          There are people all around you who are high all day and loving life. Some on pharmacuticals, some on cannabis, even some on heroin. We just can't admit it or ever let you know, because it is not socially acceptable due to our insane drug laws.

          Meanwhile the most violent and abusive drugs users (alcohol) get to roam our streets causing mayhem every weekend (sexual assualts, one-punch king hits, domestic violence, etc) and costing us astronomical health costs.

    • +6

      I realise there are high functioning every day people that drive cars, however, the other side of car driving persons are hit first think later roadrage types..

    • +4

      The only thing stoners are hitting, is a 24 hour convenience store to buy some snacks.

      • +2

        Only the dilly-dallies - some load up before sparking up :)

  • +4

    other countries have decriminalized drugs has a nice flow-on effect of lowering crime (drugs become cheaper especially if govt control handing them out) thus no more break and enters, robbery, prostitution. saves a heap of taxpayer dollars, no bs court cases or mandatory rehab saves police lives etc

    i vote to decriminalize everything except for ice, and increase the mandatory sentencing for offenders while high (or drunk) committing a crime. killing someone with a car while under the influence should be auto 25 years + etc

    • +3

      i vote to decriminalize everything except for ice

      Imagine if the authorities spent less time trying to catch pot smokers and had more time trying to break the Ice industry!

      • Honestly, I really don't think the police spend much time at all trying to bust "pot smokers".

        Yes they will bring down big hydro setups, probably because they type of people who do it commercially are the same types who also have a meth lab on the premises etc.

        • Yeah yeah, that's true.

  • +3

    yes it should be legalised and taxed the same as alcohol, unfortunately the Act has made it ok to smoke but they have not captured the tax, have a look at canada and there economy since legalising pot, they set rrp's for wholesale and retail and licensed the manufacture thru to retail, for the record, i dont smoke pot anymore. some interesting views above re how bad pot is for you, in a previous life (20+ years ago) i was driving in motor sport with my laps timed, i would regularly have a smoke during the race day about half way thru the day, lap times never suffered for it, never thru it down the road after a cone, i would never have entertained having a beer at lunch time on race day. not sure how you regulate the driving under the influence but it should be related to a reading the same as alcohol.

    • -1

      I love the tobacco tax. In my observation, Australia seems to be world-leading in dealing with a huge problem. I would love to alcohol taxed the same.
      If cannabis is truly less of a problem to society than tobacco and alcohol then I wouldn't have an issue with it being treated more leniently accordingly…

      However, I suspect that we're being selective in who we're listening to, and if most of our young adults start getting stoned daily, I wonder what the long term effects would be.

  • why doesnt the govt just be the grower and seller, at leasts they can cut the margins into the illegal growers and legalize it the way they want it instead of privatising it later down the road or having friends of friends in high places being the first adopters to monopolise the market…

  • +2

    Cannabis stays in your system for much longer than alcohol. I can imagine an increase in drug tests at work, increase in injuries and people losing their jobs.

    A little bit of edible can have a bigger effect than alcohol.

    • +1

      sure drug tests will pickup cannabis in your system over a week since you smoked if your a high user, and that's because of the science!……doesnt mean you are even remotely high

      • Perhaps chemical drugs test should be replaced with employees completing obstacles and puzzles.

    • That's an issue with how they test, nothing else.

      • In regards to tests for work? I think they'll value their insurances, WHS laws and WHS regulators 'opinions' more than a regular Joes.

        • Whups, misread your comment - I was thinking you were talking about Drug Tests for driving, which does not test for incapacitation.

  • +5

    I've never understood why alcohol is legal but cannabis isn't. Blaze it!

  • +4

    We use to make heaps of things from hemp
    It is able to make 4 times the amount of paper as compared to trees.
    Hemp was banned to protect alot of industries cause it would totally destroy the pharmaceutical companies and many others.
    Did you know you could just eat hemp seeds as your diet ?
    It's an amazing family of plants but we live in a corrupt world .
    We care about the materialistic things that's why all these things are there to care about what we don't have .
    Welcome my friend to the machine.

    • +1

      oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil oil (pollutes everything it touches)

      cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton cotton (steals all our water)

  • +8

    I personally feel the only reason cannabis is illegal in this country is because our government hasn't yet figured out a way to control, regulate, tax and profit from its legalisation. As soon as they work out a way to do that, as they do with alcohol and cigarettes, they will suddenly, miraculously decide that cannabis is safe and should be available freely for use by anyone of legal age (18, same as everything else).

    Right now, they're far too busy getting into bed with pharmaceutical producers because there's profit to be made there and I'd dare say there are plenty of politicians whose share portfolios may well include pharma companies who grow and produce medicinal cannabis (or, basically, weed, to the rest of us).

    I used to get zero THC CBD oil from the US quite a few years ago for my daughter who has ADHD, some ASD traits and anxiety which manifests as lashing out at others when it gets bad. We never used to leave the house as a family because it always ended badly and we regretted trying to do things other families did every day without a second thought. I tried the oil and it worked brilliantly. We had an amazing six months where we went out, we went to restaurants, we went to movies, we went to tourist attractions. Things we had NEVER been able to do before and all of our other kids had missed out on because it was just too stressful previously. Then along came the LNP government "legalising" medicinal cannabis and pharma companies getting on board. Suddenly Customs started tightening the noose so that people were having products seized and not making it through from OS. The situation is still largely the same although not as bad as in the beginning when the pharma companies basically told the government to get rid of the affordable, effective competition from OS so they could start to profit from a monopoly on the "legal market" here. Fast forward to now and we have a still very restricted legal MC program that a huge number of people cannot access because of ridiculously narrow "eligible conditions" and MC products that are, even with a valid prescription, frequently out of reach of even those who are deemed to require them because none of it is Medicare subsidised/PBS funded. The entire thing has been a profit making exercise for MC pharma companies, the government has been "seen to be doing something" about providing access and patients are still sourcing products from the black market because the system is not worth a pinch of piss to many people who could otherwise benefit from it for the aforementioned reasons. BUT it has bought the government time to work behind the scenes on the regulatory aspects of legalising cannabis and opportunity to strategise how they would make a legalisation decision palatable to their fan base, namely older, conservative people, many of whom consider pot to be a dangerous "gateway drug" but are happy to get themselves wiped out on nice champagne, spend the afternoon downing schooners at the pub, and popping their legally prescribed, PBS subsidised Valium and opioids (I'm quite aware that's a broad blanket statement but I'm sure you understand the juxtaposition I'm trying to demonstrate here).

    So circling back, people who want or need cannabis products still access them (but it does provide sometimes insurmountable roadblocks for the government's same fan base when conventional medicine fails them and they then struggle with the stigma of the prospect of cannabis for medical use and accessibility issues because they've "never done drugs" ever before in their lives). Admittedly, it's more of a PITA to do access it the way it happens now, particularly if you aren't familiar with those "in the business" of growing or supplying but it still happens everywhere in the country every single day. To believe otherwise is plain ignorance. But I'm happy to bet anyone that as soon as the government works out their regulatory system and a way to appease their supporters that they're not turning into lefty greenies so their polling numbers don't take a hit (pun intended) then and only then are we going to see real change around this issue. Until then, the government will continue to stay in bed with the MC pharma companies because it's in the best interests of both those camps and as usual, the real losers in this scenario will be those who would otherwise benefit from (or even just enjoy for personal reasons) access to legal cannabis.

    • +2

      100% agree because I honestly cannot see any other logical explanation for it.

      • I don't think so. They could tax it like tobacco pretty instantly. Other countries have done it. IMO this is the biggest reason.

    • +1

      Username does not check out.

      • Just because I do not comment frequently doesn't mean I'm not in a position to comment at all.

    • If you try to get medicinal cannabis through the special access schemes, then there are a fair few road blocks. However, you can get medicinal cannabis through the compounding pharmacies route with a lot less roadblocks, but you will still need a prescription from a doctor (less restrictions on the compounded route). Price is still expensive, but you can access a variety of different blends depending on the condition you are treating.

      On a side note, Schedule 3 - over the counter supply of medicinal cannabis has been approved early this year, they're just now waiting for drug companies to manufacture a product and get it approved as per the over the counter supply guidelines.

      However, current road rules still mean that you cannot drive for up to seven days after a dose.

    • +1

      They could sell yearly licences to allow X amount of plants with X amount allowed in storage, as has been done in many other countries, but strangely they haven't.

      It really seems like a great tax income stream TBH, as it works alongside the bigger players which they also get in bed with.

  • +5

    Please add the missing 4th option to the poll: banning alcohol also

    • We tried that, it turned out to be worse for society.

      • 60–70 percent of its pre-prohibition level.

        not so bad


        also it doesn't have to be banned to be banned

        the enormous and ever increasing tax on cigarettes is getting a lot of people to quit, saving lives and taxpayers money

        • +1

          Well you said to add another option, to ban alcohol.

          We already tax the crap out of alcohol to the point where the cheapest bottle of spirits costs $40. It's egregious and just puts more stress on low income households that already have a dependency on it, furthering human misery.

          Alcohol isn't going away, prohibition showed us that. Taxing it further and further will just make a black market spring up as has happened with cigarettes and chop chop.

          • @studentl0an:

            Well you said to add another option, to ban alcohol.

            there are multiple options for bans;
            *criminalisation of use - they didn't try that during prohibition
            *noncrimilisation of use / criminalisation of supply - prohibition
            *high taxation of supplier
            *high taxation of consumer - could be way higher than it is now
            *high taxation of both
            *a creeping tax that goes up every year - like cigarettes now
            *restricting its sale - wasn't kings cross doing this? clubs in qld are required to lockout at a time and close at a time - could be earlier they used to have an early last call
            *restricting its sale and consumption geographically - there are heaps of dry aboriginal communities

            just puts more stress on low income households that already have a dependency on it, furthering human misery.

            so people who spend all their money on booze instead of food for their kids - if booze was cheap they'd feed them - wouldn't they be too inebriated either way?

            cigarettes and chop chop

            how wide spread is this?

            Taxing it further and further will just make a black market spring up

            one thing that makes alcohol harder than canabis or tobaco is that alcohol is easier to produce. especially if you dont care about killing people or making them go blind.

          • +2

            @Ridiculous Panda: what about all the people who can't use them in moderation?

            • +2

              @bargain huntress: They already do it and need help. Just like the ones that excessively gamble, drink, smoke tobacco, sleep around and get STD’s.. etc.
              Maybe legalise weed and control how much each person can buy? Like alcohol in some parts of Australia?
              I don’t know mate I just want to smoke my occasional joint in piece from time to time without being called a criminal.