Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (Updated, Expanded)
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About the Author
Steve Fox is the national policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the nation's largest organization dedicated to reforming marijuana laws. He also serves as the director of government relations for the National Cannabis Industry Association. Fox cofounded Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) in 2005 and has helped guide its operations since its inception. He is a graduate of Tufts University and Boston College Law School and currently lives in Maryland with his wife and two daughters.
Paul Armentano is the deputy director of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and the NORML Foundation. A recognized national expert in marijuana policy, health, and pharmacology, he has spoken at dozens of national conferences and legal seminars and has testified before state legislatures and federal agencies. His writing has appeared in over 750 publications, including over a dozen textbooks and anthologies. Armentano is the 2008 recipient of the Project Censored Real News Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism. He currently lives in California with his wife and son.
Mason Tvert is the director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project and a cofounder of and former executive director of SAFER. He codirected the campaign in support of the successful 2012 ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Colorado. The Denver Post named him Colorado's "Top Thinker" of 2012 in the category of politics and government, and he was recognized as 2012 Freedom Fighter of the Year by High Times magazine. He currently resides in Denver.
"It's not rocket science: Alcohol puts more people in the hospital or graveyard than marijuana. If our laws are meant to prevent harm to others, then what harm are we trying to prevent by the illegalization of marijuana? In fact, making marijuana illegal absurdly inflates its value and encourages violent crime to command its distribution. The sources of marijuana's illegalization are vile, rather easily traceable to bigoted attitudes toward Mexicans and African-Americans. Certainly, there are moments in this otherwise thoughtful and policy-driven initiative that veer perilously close to demonizing alcohol in the same manner that marijuana has been demonized. Regardless, the authors' argument that marijuana is the safer of the two recreational intoxicants is rock solid, and one can see that this everyday, common-sense comparison would be an effective tool in changing public perception, manipulated as it has been by everyone from Nancy Reagan to the great brewing concerns. The authors end with a workable proposal for a grass-roots response, complete with talking points and ready answers to FAQs, to bring the issue to the ballot. A well-designed initiative to redress the villainization of marijuana."
Starred Review, Booklist-
"If Americans could legally smoke marijuana, would it reduce alcohol abuse and the attendant violence and aggression that go along with it? That is a social experiment worth trying, according to pot-decriminalization advocates Fox, Paul Armentano, and Mason Tvert. At this pivotal time of a national shift in thinking on the double standard in law and social attitudes, the authors offer a commonsense perspective on the relative threat of and social response to marijuana versus alcohol. After detailing how the government, media, and beer and liquor companies often collude in demonizing pot and drive Americans to drink instead, the authors cite statistics and combat myths regarding marijuana, from the hysteria of the film Reefer Madness to the assertion that legalization will only sanction another vice. Focusing on the successful legalization campaign in Colorado, the authors concede they have an uphill battle in their effort to educate the public on the comparisons between pot and alcohol as they assert the positive benefits of legalization, taxation, and regulation of pot, including more revenue, less crime and mayhem, and fewer health problems. Given the changing political landscape and widespread use of pot, whatever a reader's perspective on marijuana, this book is a well-researched, thoughtful look at a controversial issue."