Nov. 1 2011 08:24 PM

Fuddy Duddies pull statistics out of their butts to make a point

Edwin Decker

Gallup recently reported that 50 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana, while 46 percent remain opposed.

Well, doesn’t that just bubble my bongwater! For the first time, we can actually say that there are more rational, logical, free-thinkers in our society than idiot bovine who mindlessly devour the propaganda of the anti-fun fuddy-duddies who have lorded over our country for way too long.

Naturally, after Gallup released the report, all the anti-fun fuddy-duddies appeared on the cable news shows, rehashing their tired B.S. that marijuana is not a virtuous blossom grown from the mineral-rich soil of God’s green Earth; rather, they say, it’s a heinous pistillate fertilized in the hothouses of Hell with the blood and bone-bits of deflowered Girl Scouts.

OK, nobody quite put it that way, but there was an awful lot of fear-mongering, such as when David Evans of the Drug Free America Foundation told MSNBC’s Chris Jansing that “Marijuana use is going to double or triple” if made legal.

Don’t you hate when people make declarative, predictive statements about things that might happen in the future when everybody knows that nobody knows what the future holds. Evans said that marijuana use is going to double or triple—not “I think it will” or “I believe it will” or “My gut feeling is that it will.” It’s a statistic he clearly pulled from his anus. Actually, to retrieve such a ludicrous stat, he had to reach his arm beyond his anus—deep into the ravaged hinterland of his rectum, past the cold, crusty crevasse of his dying colon, up the snaky ravine of the intestines, where his fist waged an epic battle at the gates of the ileocecal valve (fiercely guarded by the Owls of Ga’Hole) and drilled into the slimy folds of the lumen, where poop and other poop-like matter (such as bogus statistics) are formed.

Double or triple? Please! There is no way of foretelling such complex matters of human behavior—especially when no one knows if legalization will cause the price of marijuana to rise or drop; or how much it would be taxed; or how much government regulation would be implemented; or how much, and what kind of, marketing will be permitted— which is why not a single, legitimate, scientific study has attempted to predict how much consumption will increase, if at all, and why Evans had no choice to but to retrieve that number from the recesses of his bowels.

Whatever. The job is to frighten the herd into submission. So, the fuddy-duddy cattle farmers spew their propaganda on cable news shows like CNN (Cattle News Network), HLN (Heifers Late Night) and, of course, FOX (For Oxen Only) News, and all the livestock on Mooing Moron Farms believe it—unquestionably—just as they believe that the slaughterhouse is where well-behaved cows go for a spa and massage.

My gut feeling is there would be a slight increase in usage if pot were made legal (about 10 to 15 percent), which would occur over the course of a dozen-or-so years, and my reasoning is:

1. Pot is already as easy to acquire as any legal drug and damn near as easy as buying groceries. Cripes, my pot dealer delivers, making it easier for me to score a quarter-ounce than a Quarter Pounder with cheese.

2. According to a 2009 survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, roughly 102 million Americans (41 percent) have admitted to using marijuana during their lifetimes, while 15 million (6 percent) admitting to using regularly.

Put another way, of the 102 million Americans who have tried marijuana, 85 percent of them did not become regular smokers, which suggests that there is a whole shitload of people out there who tried it and realized, at some point, it wasn’t for them, which suggests that it wasn’t a law that kept those 87 million people from smoking dope (or they wouldn’t have tried it in the first place); rather, it was their own disinterest.

There is something Evans said that did make sense. He said that when cannabis consumption doubles or triples, “all the costs to society will double or triple, as well.”

That seems reasonable. Whatever the increase in consumption—10 percent, 50 percent, double, triple, centuple—the cost to society will likely increase, respectively. Of course, the question then becomes, what are the societal costs of marijuana consumption and legalization? Is it the cost of manufacturing more cardboard Pringle’s canisters? Is it the cost of pressing all those extra String Cheese Incident concert tickets? Is it the cost of providing emergency-room health care to uninsured reefer smokers who burn their fingers trying to light the last millimeter of roach? Or, is it the cost of hiring more IRS agents to collect and oversee the estimated $6 billion in extra tax revenue should pot become legal?

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Didn’t Decker just attempt to predict the future by saying we will reap $6 billion in taxes? Perhaps. But two things are certain: First, there definitely would be significant tax revenue. Secondly, I didn’t pull the number from my ass. I pulled $6 billion from a study conducted by economics professor Jeffrey Miron of Harvard University. Of course, he could be wrong, too. It is—study or no study—just an opinion. However, it’s an educated opinion, which is only my opinion about his opinion, but I’m right about my opinion—in my opinion.

Write to and Edwin Decker blogs at Follow him on Twitter @edwindecker or find him on Facebook.

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