字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Here's something most people don't know about marijuana. Officially the U.S. federal government classifies it as a Schedule 1 drug. That is the strictest classification they have, period. Full stop. That means the government thinks marijuana is more dangerous than Schedule 2 drugs like cocaine or meth. It means they think marijuana is on the same plane as heroin. About 3,000 people died from heroin overdoses in 2010. You know how many people died directly of overdosing on marijuana? Zero. And I don't mean zero in 2010, I mean zero in basically recorded human history. Which isn't to say that smoking hay bales worth of pot is a good idea. It's not. But notice what I did there. You hear that all the time. That's what we in the media business call the "to be sure" paragraph. It's the paragraph where we cover our asses. Almost everyone says that. Even the people who think legalizing marijuana is a great idea don't say it's a good thing. The argument for legalizing pot isn't that pot is good, but that the war on pot is bad. But there is a way in which legal pot could be a huge public health win. I mean one of the biggest public health wins we've had in decades, saving huge numbers of lives. Let's go back to that drug schedule. There is one drug you won't see on there, even though it is a hell of a lot more dangerous than pot or even cocaine. That's alcohol. The thing about alcohol is it's really bad for you, lethally bad for you. I don't want to be a hypocrite here. I enjoy a drink. But the evidence on this, you cannot run away from it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there are 88,000 deaths each year attributable to alcohol. About 25,000 of them are just direct overdoses. The numbers here are really amazing. A Columbia University study found that being drunk increases the risk of a fatal accident 13-fold. Pot, by contrast, increases the risk by less than 2-fold. Then there's all the other nasty stuff alcohol leads to. It's a big contributor to violence, to crime, to addiction. It breaks up families. It gives people cancer. It gives them liver failure. People forget this but prohibition -- we laugh at it now but it was happening for a reason. People drank more then and it was a scourge. So this is the question with legal pot: Would people use it as a replacement or a complement to alcohol. If it's a replacement, it's a huge deal. Marijuana is a lot safer to use than alcohol. People don't die from it. They rarely kill others while on it. More marijuana and less alcohol means fewer deaths from intoxication, fewer drunk driving fatalities, less crime, less violence. But if marijuana complements alcohol rather than replacing it, then it's a problem. If it makes people for whatever reason, drink more, then legalizing pot might actually make our alcohol problem worse. Now I'm going to say something that kind of sucks: we actually don't know the answer here. There is encouraging early evidence. In a survey of Canadian medical marijuana users, 41% said they replace alcohol with marijuana. Another survey of California medical marijuana users found they drank less than the national average. But those are medical marijuana users. They might be different from the general population. People using marijuana for fun might have a very different relationship to alcohol than people using marijuana because they're sick. But this isn't just something we can study, it's something that we can affect, that we can change. Since we know that a lot of people want to use some kind of mind-altering substance, we could arrange public policy to push them towards the safer one. But right now, we can't because the federal government, against all the evidence, thinks that marijuana is an incredibly, insanely dangerous substance with absolutely no redeeming value under any circumstance. What are they smoking?