Let me say up front, for those readers who don’t know, that I am a retired cop, former rehab counselor, and recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I also support decriminalization and/or legalization and regulation of cannabis, because of the inequity of the government’s response to a relatively low-impact drug.
Having said that, I have to note that nothing in my (fairly extensive) experience leads me to think that there is much — if any — merit to the “Safer Than Alcohol” argument.
We are not talking about replacing alcohol with pot; we are discussing the reduction of penalties for, and/or legalization of another drug. There is absolutely no indication that people who abuse or are addicted to alcohol will stop using it, or ameliorate it in some way by the use of cannabis.
The argument that drunks who toke will drive less is absolutely anecdotal and based on opinion. There is no study that covers that premise, and there is just as much reason to believe that we will have a certain number of even less competent drivers out there as to believe that the number will be reduced.
This entire argument is a non sequitur. The naked fact of the matter is that alcohol and cannabis do not relate in any meaningful way, except when they overlap. One is a dangerous, addictive drug that is known to ruin lives and kill innocent bystanders, but that is protected by big money interests and societal prejudice. The other is a relatively benign drug that is demonized by the same factors. (The alcohol interests are afraid that grass might supplant booze, too. They needn’t worry.)
Let’s decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis, lower the penalties for possession or sale of somewhat larger amounts, and give some real open-minded thought to legalization and regulation, without clouding the issue with arguments that are all-too-easy to refute or discount.