Get PJ Media on your Apple

PJM Lifestyle

Will Legal Marijuana Be a Bonanza for Trial Lawyers?

Won't pot growers face the same courtroom challenges tobacco did?

Theodore Dalrymple


June 14, 2014 - 9:00 am
Page 1 of 4  Next ->   View as Single Page


Pressure to control the consumption of tobacco has grown in tandem with the pressure to liberalize the consumption of marijuana. Perhaps this is not a paradox in the most literal sense, but it is certainly very striking.  The yin of prohibition, it seems, always goes along with the yang of permission.

An article in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the forthcoming tussle between what it calls Big Marijuana – the commercial interests, analogous to Big Tobacco, that will inevitably grow if marijuana ever becomes as accepted as tobacco once was – and the public health authorities.  For while the smoking of marijuana does not yet cause anything like as many health problems as tobacco or alcohol, it would do so if its use were as general as the use of tobacco or alcohol. A little statistic that was published some time ago in the Lancet caught my eye: the French police attribute 3 percent of fatal road accidents to intoxication with cannabis and 30 percent to intoxication with alcohol. If, as seems likely, ten times as many Frenchmen drive drunk as drive stoned, marijuana is as dangerous as alcohol where driving is concerned.

The authors of the article point out that commercial growers and marketers of marijuana are likely, given the chance, to resort to all the techniques and obfuscations employed by the tobacco companies. They will minimize the harms done by marijuana while trying to increase the concentration of the very substance in their product that does the harm. The concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in modern cannabis plants is already much higher than it was when hippiedom first struck the western world; Uruguay, where the cultivation and sale of cannabis has recently been legalized, is attempting to control the strains of cannabis that can be sold, with what success remains to be seen.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
If we can agree that the fight (war?) against tobacco has been much more successful than the fight against cannabis, then we should also agree that the best way to limit cannabis use is to make its legal status the same as the status of tobacco.
NB: on harder drugs, i have no opinion to offer.

As for me, i am happy with just caffeine and alcohol; the latter preferably in the form of beer and malt whisky.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, it's not like everybody who's lobbying for drug legalization is doing so for particularly principled reasons. Having another big industry to extort and plunder for funds would suit a lot of government fat cats as well as lawyers.

It's kind of similar to how a lot of the homosexual "marriage" advocates are divorce lawyers. They know all that stuff about having government officially define any sexual coupling as a marriage supposedly bringing domestic "stability" to our civilization is a total lie. When the sexual desire all dries up after a few years (or months), former same-sex couples will end up in front of the same judges who are currently extorting and robbing straight men in court, with the same lawyers who make a lot of their money playing straight men and women against each other in nasty divorce battles now taking their cases.

By the time the divorce courts get through with them, those foolish sodomites are going to be wishing they could get the tyrannical activist judges' absurd rulings against heteronormative state laws overturned, and those worthless "marriage" certificates of theirs annulled. Likewise, after the first multi-billion-dollar ruling against the marijuana industry, domestic drug lords will be wishing the libertarians had just kept their mouths shut about how legalization would bring down the crime rate, and about all the revenues it would bring the government (especially considering how horribly true that latter claim ultimately turned out to be). They might even take up smuggling "hot" reefers between states the same way some small-time criminal outfits are smuggling tobacco right now in order to evade state taxes.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
With the research pouring in, the facts are accumulating regarding brain alterations, adolescent vulnerability, and traffic fatalities.

Recreational marijuana use in young adults compared to nonusing controls suggests that marijuana exposure is associated with alterations in the gray matter of the brain, particularly that of density, volume and shape.
(Gilman et al: Journal of Neuroscience 2014)

Damage from smoking marijuana to the adolescent's developing brain iimpairs nerves that are still in the process of establishing connectivity involving alertness, awareness, learning, memory and IQ compared with those who have never smoked marijuana. (Volkow et al: New England Journal of Med 2014)

In 2010, Columbia University researchers looked at 24,000 driving fatalities and did toxicology exams on all of them. Marijuana contributed to 12% of the deaths; that was 4 years ago and the stats didn't include those who were severely injured!
(, 2014)
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Alcohol does not affect thought processes and powers of analysis, or long term memory from just short term use. Pot does. This is just a way to make people more pliable to Dictatorship. Keep them high enough, long enough and they loose the mental ability to even recognoze they are being turned into sheep. All they care about is keeping the pot coming.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
No. Pot producers will be indemnified against medical lawsuits and from damage lawsuits from their clients injuring or killing others. They are Progressive and therefore US Laws don't apply to them. Seriously, they simply don't apply to a group with "correct" political views. Just as laws don't apply to any of Obama's political hit groups like the IRS, FBI, NSA, DHS, TSA, CIA etc etc.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Haven't read all the comments, so I may be paraphrasing. There is another bonanza for the trial lawyers when they introduce "indirect" responsibility; ie, the bartender is at fault for serving the defendant more alcohol. The pot shop's liability insurance premiums will explode.

BTW, POT revenues probably exceed liquor sales already, except POT payments are mostly under the table and hence unreported.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I enjoyed the twisting in the wind from the regressives. Their position was they were for legalization because Reagan had his war on drugs, therefore anything republican is bad.

In shock and awe, and something they would never comprehend, republicans and libertarians took to the platform for legalization. Shock and Awe because 1. it is so contrary to the 1950's propaganda picture that libs paint of conservatives 2. we do actually change while the regressives are still in 1920.

Now regressives clam they support it but....only if not in their backyard. They support the same idiotic 'drug treatment" for addiction excuse for those who get busted with two trash bags full in a trunk.

The different between the Big Corporation takeover conspiracy and evil additives added by the wicked Growing Companies doesn't transfer to pot very well.

I agree, the lawyers are twitching in anticipation and any excuse to be absolved of responsibility and shifted to someone else will be gladly provided by the Dims.

While we can grow tobacco in our back yards, the curing process is long and complicated.

With pot, anyone can grow their own plant and hang it up to dry in a laundry room.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The drug warrior prating over pot is getting rather tiresome.

All of the problems were are having with an over-militarized civilian police culture is directly tied to and is the result of the War on (some) Drugs of Ronald and Nancy Reagan and it's continuation by the political class to get votes and hand out cash to LEOs.

Yea, I'm looking at of you pot warriors. YOU are the reason the police go around in military style gear now as if they are soldiers and not cops. I watched it all unfold, being a member of the military that assisted LEOs with their pot eradication mission.

All that started with the pot raids in our forests in the 1980s, with the cops dressing like they were in Vietnam and not a National forest. Now, you whine because some lawyers might make a buck if we legalize it. That's the risk any legal business owner takes when they sell anything more complicated than a marble.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I do notice you used the 'some' disclaimer. If you recall while you were running around in your camo in the 1980's, the issue was cocaine and heroine....which have not gone away.

The raids on the crops in forest, which continued to this day, is due to the Mexican Cartels who found it easier to plant and sell here in the US instead of shipping. Considering the boobie traps and guns involved, I would not begrudge anyone, even you, a vest.

Now, if it were de-criminalized, that would be over and done, won't it?

Unlike democrat liberals, we do not conform to decisions made years ago that do not work. Programs must be re-evaluated, assessed and weighed for changes. Unlike libs who claim the science is settled and the facts are set in stone.

The local level military crowd running around is not looking for pot, bubbas, they are marching into meth labs and street wars.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm sure it will. Just think of the lawsuits about burners high & doing stupid & dangerous things to property, other people or playing bumper cars while on the freeway... Besides, did you ever know a lawyer to turn down a case???
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
It occurs to me that, with marijuana, second-hand smoke might become coveted rather than condemned. Blow in my face, neighbor!
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
If nothing else, it will be fun in a perverse way at watching some of the anti-tobacco/anti-alcohol nanny staters try to argue a few years down the line why the same types of lawsuits shouldn't apply to marijuana growers or retailers, in such cases where pot users either have an intoxication accident or illness related to repeatedly putting smoke into their lungs.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
This essay is very good. If it is not definitive, the facts and arguments discussed in the essay will be used for a very long time.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All