Klean kettle hates scorched pot!

M. Simon's post (as well as an earlier one) reminded me of a fascinating phenomenon, which is the profoundly irrational hatred of drug users by non-users. They often claim not to hate them, but that is belied by the plethora of snarky remarks like this:

Do you hate marijuana smokers like I do?

I hate pot smokers so much. I believe they should die a slow and painful death because they are killing themselves with an illegal drug and then make up silly lies about it curing different ailments and treating diseases. They disgust me to no end. Pot has been proven to cause cancer and brain damage and very little is done to rid the country of these ignorant sickos. I'm sure all you non-stoners would agree with me.

Now, I don't smoke pot, but it would never occur to me to hate anyone who does, and I don't understand this mindset. It reminds me of anti-gay bigotry, and while I have never understood that either, at least it can be argued that the people who hate homos are afraid that they might be propositioned in the shower or something. The fear of anal rape is at least based on something that could theoretically happen, but what the hell is a pot-smoker going to do? Offer you a joint?

Here's another one, titled, simply "I hate marijuana smokers":

I believe they are more deserving of jail time than any other type of criminal that exists. They represent the notion that breaking the law and destroying your health is okay. I'm sick and tired of the media portraying this extremely addictive and unhealthy vice in a positive light. I'm also fed up with constantly seeing so much support for legalizing yet another substance for people to **** themselves up with. Everyone that supports legalization of marijuana smokes the stuff. They want it legal just so they can **** themselves up without worrying about getting busted. If pot were legalized, more and more people would use it and the amount of health problems among the general population will increase. I blame pot smokers for everything wrong with America. They are a sick bunch that need to be done away with and all non-smokers of pot would agree with me.
I don't know how prevalent these sentiments are, but I find it amazing that anyone would care that much.

Surely it isn't because pot smokers are destroying themselves, for lots of people destroy themselves and are not hated for it.

Are fat people hated like this?

Even when someone is actively annoying me (and I hate being annoyed), if he is harming himself in the process, that tends to ameliorate whatever feelings of hate I might have. For example, there are plenty of young assholes who drive around blasting the neighborhood with the awful BOOM BOOM BA BOOM BOOM! bass sounds on over-amped car stereos. But I calm down when I remind myself that they are physically damaging their hearing and they'll be half deaf by the time they're middle aged. So, assuming that pot smokers were damaging their health, if I hated them for smoking pot, that would be mitigated by the knowledge that what they are doing delivers its own punishment. Like cigarette smoking, over eating, over drinking, over gambling, etc. Hating any of these people for what they do to themselves strikes me as a pointless waste of time.

A lot of people have self-destructive vices, but some vices seem to be hated more than others. I think the desire to imprison some people for some vices is so illogical that I often wonder whether it's based more on hatred than anything else.

Lest anyone think this is some sort of scolding sermon, please bear in mind that I am not seeking to condemn hatred (I happen to think hatred can be quite healthy, even beautiful) so much as to raise the question of whether it is there, and if so, why.

FWIW, I suspect that a major reason people hate drug users is that there's a basic human ecological niche for hatred, and there's a shortage of people whom it's still socially permissible to hate.

posted by Eric on 09.11.10 at 08:34 PM


I don't hate pot smokers. I hate bores who keep telling you the same ridiculous stories that you have been hearing for years--and which turn out to be false. No, Washington did not write letters talking about how wonderful smoking pot was. He grew hemp, but for rope, not for smoking.

I hate bores who keep insisting that marijuana has absolutely no risks to it--in spite of increasing evidence that it is a serious mental health hazard for young people.

I hate bores who keep insisting that legalizing marijuana would be a complete win--and refuse to admit that there are tradeoffs involved. There are certainly some benefits from legalizing it. There are some costs as well. Pretending otherwise is a sign of a fanatic.

Clayton E. Cramer   ·  September 11, 2010 11:59 PM

He grew hemp, but for rope, not for smoking.

I can't remember which one, but one of the founding fathers wrote about separating the male from the female plants. There is only one reason to do this. Female hemp plants have a higher concentration of THC.

Ah I have it. It WAS Washington.


Did the Founding Fathers of the United States of America smoke cannabis? Some researchers think so. Dr. Burke, president of the American Historical Reference Society and a consultant for the Smithsonian Institute, counted seven early presidents as cannabis smokers: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor and Franklin Pierce. 41 "Early letters from our founding fathers refer to the pleasures of hemp smoking," said Burke. Pierce, Taylor and Jackson, all military men, smoked it with their troops. Cannabis was twice as popular among American soldiers in the Mexican War as in Vietnam: Pierce wrote to his family that it was "about the only good thing" about that war.

As to the trade offs - mostly good if significant numbers of people could be switched from alcohol to pot. In fact when it was legal doctors prescribed cannabis to alcoholics.

And ask police who they would rather deal with. People in an alcohol fueled rage or cannabis smokers?

Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?

And thank you Eric for the links!

M. Simon   ·  September 12, 2010 4:24 AM

The History Channel also documents this:

History: Secrets of the Founding Fathers

M. Simon   ·  September 12, 2010 5:12 AM

And then there is the effect of Pot on drivers:

NHTSA study:

Alcohol impaired performance relative to placebo but subjects did not perceive it. THC did not impair driving performance yet the subjects thought it had. These studies show that THC in single inhaled doses up to 300 g/kg has significant, yet not dramatic, dose-related impairing effects on driving performance.


This may explain why pot smokers are safer drivers. They overcompensate for the effects of the drug. The alcohol users do not.

But that is an old study. There are newer ones.

According to clinical trial data published in the March issue of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, subjects tested both before and after smoking marijuana exhibited virtually identical driving skills in a battery of driving simulator tests. Researchers in the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial tested 85 subjects -- 50 men and 35 women -- on simulated driving performance. The subjects had to respond to simulations of various events associated with vehicle crash risk, such as deciding whether to stop or go through a changing traffic light, avoiding a driver entering an intersection illegally, and responding to the presence of emergency vehicles. Subjects were tested sober and again a half hour after having smoked a single medium-potency (2.9% THC) joint or a placebo.

The investigators found that the subjects' performance before and after getting stoned was virtually identical. "No differences were found during the baseline driving segment (and the) collision avoidance scenarios," the authors reported. Nor were there any differences between the way men and women responded.

Researchers did note one difference. "Participants receiving active marijuana decreased their speed more so than those receiving placebo cigarettes during (the) distracted section of the drive," they wrote. The authors speculated that the subjects may have slowed down to compensate for perceived impairment. "[N]o other changes in driving performance were found," researchers concluded.


Here is a page with evidence (peer reviewed research FWIW) on pot myths:


Which is to say that the demonization of pot users bears no rational relationship to actual facts.

M. Simon   ·  September 12, 2010 6:09 AM

Both comments look like they were written by the same person.

AFFA   ·  September 12, 2010 10:51 AM

Both of the four?

Eric Scheie   ·  September 12, 2010 10:55 AM

Clayton, you make a good point about biased pro-pot zealots. They remind me of a lot of single-issue activists. As to stoners, I find them generally boring to be around. But still, they are as a whole less irritating (and generally a lot less belligerent) than drunks.

Eric Scheie   ·  September 12, 2010 11:49 AM

Let me add that some of the pro-pot zealots are some of the most intolerant people I have ever seen on the 'net.

They hate drinkers, tobacco smokers, and conservatives.

Such folks should not prevent the rest of us from doing the right thing about pot while ignoring their intolerant prescriptions.

M. Simon   ·  September 12, 2010 11:58 AM

FWIW, I suspect that a major reason people hate drug users is that there's a basic human ecological niche for hatred, and there's a shortage of people whom it's still socially permissible to hate.

I would have to agree.

Veeshir   ·  September 12, 2010 5:10 PM

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