Whitehouse opens petition site

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:33 am UTC

Aikanaro wrote:Or heard any sort of date about when he MIGHT respond? Or ANYTHING from the White House on the subject?


It states on the website that petitions which achieve at 25,000 signatures within 30 days will be reviewed at that time, and a response will be given, although it will likely take a couple weeks before a response occurs. Since the most recent petition will be due for review on Oct. 22, I'd guess mid/late November before they respond. Can't wait to see them try and weasel their way out of this one...
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Steax » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:26 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:It's not just fluoride though, tap water can contain lead, arsenic, calcium, sodium, magnesium, copper, and zinc. Many of these minerals are specifically added to the water without the consent of the people who consume it. You should only drink pure, safe, bottled spring water.

FACT: 100% of people who drink tap water will die.


It appears that a key statement in the anti-fluoride box is "but we have no option other than to drink that water! It's against freedom, and I can believe what I want!"

... Can't they use one of many methods of water purification, if they were so edgy about it?
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Dauric » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:34 pm UTC

Steax wrote:
Thesh wrote:It's not just fluoride though, tap water can contain lead, arsenic, calcium, sodium, magnesium, copper, and zinc. Many of these minerals are specifically added to the water without the consent of the people who consume it. You should only drink pure, safe, bottled spring water.

FACT: 100% of people who drink tap water will die.


It appears that a key statement in the anti-fluoride box is "but we have no option other than to drink that water! It's against freedom, and I can believe what I want!"

... Can't they use one of many methods of water purification, if they were so edgy about it?


"Personal" water treatment is -at best- expensive and far from comprehensive. Most household filtration/treatment systems will take care of particulate pollution, but to remove substances that are dissolved in water (like fluoride) takes a much more intensive process that is really only cost-efficient in the large city-scale applications.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Steax » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:45 pm UTC

True, but it's still possible. If it were that big a market, then someone could just make drinking water from some other source without fluoride, and sell that. I'm rather amused at the people screaming "they're taking away our freedom!"
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Dauric » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:51 pm UTC

Steax wrote:True, but it's still possible. If it were that big a market, then someone could just make drinking water from some other source without fluoride, and sell that. I'm rather amused at the people screaming "they're taking away our freedom!"


The people screaming about "government drugs in the water" -don't trust anyone else-. If someone else was bottling the water the accusations would run from "they're just bottling tap water" (which for some bottled water companies may be true) to, "The company is drugging us". You couldn't make a profit by bottling "Fluoride-Free" water because they wouldn't trust that you're not attempting to exploit them as well.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby The Reaper » Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:24 pm UTC

The WH has begun answering those questions.

https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#! ... -marijuana
Spoiler:
What We Have to Say About Legalizing Marijuana

By: Gil Kerlikowske

When the President took office, he directed all of his policymakers to develop policies based on science and research, not ideology or politics. So our concern about marijuana is based on what the science tells us about the drug's effects.

According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health- the world's largest source of drug abuse research - marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment. We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms. Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health – especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20's. Simply put, it is not a benign drug.

Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.

As a former police chief, I recognize we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem. We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.

That is why the President's National Drug Control Strategy is balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment while at the same time supporting innovative law enforcement efforts that protect public safety and disrupt the supply of drugs entering our communities. Preventing drug use is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. And, as we've seen in our work through community coalitions across the country, this approach works in making communities healthier and safer. We're also focused on expanding access to drug treatment for addicts. Treatment works. In fact, millions of Americans are in successful recovery for drug and alcoholism today. And through our work with innovative drug courts across the Nation, we are improving our criminal justice system to divert non-violent offenders into treatment.

Our commitment to a balanced approach to drug control is real. This last fiscal year alone, the Federal Government spent over $10 billion on drug education and treatment programs compared to just over $9 billion on drug related law enforcement in the U.S.

Thank you for making your voice heard. I encourage you to take a moment to read about the President's approach to drug control to learn more.

Gil Kerlikowske is Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
-sigh- spoiler'd for my rage
Spoiler:
We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.

Orly? IMO quality of life challenges and social challenges, and even some health challenges are exactly what weed solves.
We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms

Voluntary drug treatment: the alternative to going to jail with a narcotics charge. Using those as some kind of metric about the badness of the drug is fallacious at best.
Also: Emergency rooms? Marijuana? The fuck?

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:58 pm UTC

What a load of hogwash. Every single word of that response was lies.

marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment

no, no, and no.

To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.

I feel like those results are politically motivated. Let's look at the AMA's opposing stance. Or the AAFP's stance. Perhaps the ACP can give us some insight into the issue. Or we could ask the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.

visits to emergency rooms.

[citation seriously needed]
EDIT: or potentially "cum hoc ergo propter hoc"

We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.

Strawman: nobody is suggesting that legalizing marijuana will somehow fix all the drug problems.

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Ghostbear » Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:05 pm UTC

I suspect all the answers will end up along those lines. No new policies are going to be created by this site. :(

I understand the political aspect of it; the amount of opposition from older voters would be enormous, but the boiler plate style of this response implies to me that they have no intentions of actually considering any of the petitions seriously. Which makes me wonder why it was created at all; telling people you'll take their input under consideration is only going to discourage those people when they see their input dismissed so readily.

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Magnanimous » Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:07 pm UTC

After reading their sources, it seems like the "marijuana -> emergency room" thing was taken from hospital records showing that marijuana was "involved" in a large percentage of drug-related ER visits. Which is probably a disappointing correlation/causation error for the White House.

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Tirian » Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:44 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:I suspect all the answers will end up along those lines. No new policies are going to be created by this site. :(


Not true. Whether it was actually coincidence or not, the administration is saying that the student loan reforms that were announced this week were unveiled in part because of the petition drive. At the same time, I hope that no potheads or atheists were so idealistic as to believe that the administration would take on the wrath of the silent majority by appeasing a mere hundred thousand button clickers. A successful petition drive yields a response, not a policy shift.

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Ghostbear » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:01 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:I suspect all the answers will end up along those lines. No new policies are going to be created by this site. :(


Not true. Whether it was actually coincidence or not, the administration is saying that the student loan reforms that were announced this week were unveiled in part because of the petition drive. At the same time, I hope that no potheads or atheists were so idealistic as to believe that the administration would take on the wrath of the silent majority by appeasing a mere hundred thousand button clickers. A successful petition drive yields a response, not a policy shift.

I did not know that there was a connection for the student loan reforms. I suppose that my basic premise was wrong then. I still doubt anything that is even remotely controversial will get a better response than this one though. My point for that is that the response with respect to marijuana is so boilerplate, that it essentially amounts to saying nothing at all. I did address that the political realities of it are not good (worth mentioning that legalization polls at about 50-50 right now), but the response seems to be based on several inaccuracies / poor conclusions (as prior posters have highlighted) that they aren't taking those petitions even remotely seriously.

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Radical_Initiator » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:17 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:I suspect all the answers will end up along those lines. No new policies are going to be created by this site. :(


Not true. Whether it was actually coincidence or not, the administration is saying that the student loan reforms that were announced this week were unveiled in part because of the petition drive. At the same time, I hope that no potheads or atheists were so idealistic as to believe that the administration would take on the wrath of the silent majority by appeasing a mere hundred thousand button clickers. A successful petition drive yields a response, not a policy shift.


A fair point, but the cynic in me wonders if it's not actually the other way around: that there had been plans for such a program already, and that the existence of a petition could then be used to suggest that petitions are taken seriously, all in an attempt to avoid alienating people who still think their government is listening.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Thesh » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:23 pm UTC

I think they listen as long as it is in line with current policies and inline with their ideology and politics. Everything else they won't even begin to listen to the arguments.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby The Reaper » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:28 pm UTC

https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/% ... g/grQ9mNkN
we petition the obama administration to:
Actually take these petitions seriously instead of just using them as an excuse to pretend you are listening

Although the ability to submit petitions directly to the White House is a noble and welcome new feature of the current administration, the first round of responses makes blatantly clear the White House intends to just support its current stances and explain them with responses everyone who has done any research already knows.

An online petition is not meant as a replacement for using a search box in a web browser. We the People, those who grant you the power to govern in the first place, are requesting changes in policy directly, circumventing legislators who already do not listen to us. We the People request you govern FOR us, which means actually listening to us and actually acting in our interests instead of special interests.

You are not above us. You ARE us. Govern accordingly.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Cathy » Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:36 am UTC

Yowza, they changed the signature limit to 25,000 signatures!
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby scarecrovv » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:04 am UTC

Three responses to petitions I've signed so far. In each case the response has been "We hear what you're saying, and the answer is no."

Not that it was unexpected.

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Tirian » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:39 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:My point for that is that the response with respect to marijuana is so boilerplate, that it essentially amounts to saying nothing at all.


Yeah, my only real surprise with this project is that they weren't ready with gentle responses rejecting the marijuana and online gambling legalization, church/state separation, Patriot Act and TSA repeal, NASA overfunding, and prisoner pardoning petitions that they had to know would quickly secure enough votes to merit a response. That and astonishment that a year before the election they went out of their way to remind progressives of what a uniform disappointment the administration has been on bringing change to society.

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby caisara » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:57 am UTC

.......
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Angua » Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:51 am UTC

With the marijuana and emergency room thing, it's probably along the lines of got high -> decided to go over a wall because a gate wasn't working instead of 100m to the next gate -> breaks back -> goes to ER 'because of marijuana', as opposed to ODing (though I once heard of some people ODing as their hands slipped when they were putting it in the mixture for a birthday cake and they ended up ill and in the hospital, but didn't die or anything).

Note - the scenario I outlined actually happened to someone I know, though they were drunk instead of high at the time, so if that's what we're going by, we should probably start banning alcohol too.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:09 am UTC

But really, even if marijuana had shitloads of nasty side-effects, even if it caused emergency-room visits, permanent cognitive impairment, etc., that's no reason for the government to ban marijuana. If people want to hurt themselves, the government has no place in stopping them. The logical extreme of this policy is banning fatty foods. And I really don't feel comfortable with a mindset that is perfectly compatible with controlling what food people are allowed to eat based on fat content.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Magnanimous » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:18 am UTC

Holy crap... The response to "remove 'in god we trust' from money".
Spoiler:
The separation of church and state outlined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is an important founding principle of our nation. Our nation's Bill of Rights guarantees not only that the government cannot establish an official religion, but also guarantees citizens' rights to practice the religion of their choosing or no religion at all.

Throughout our history, people of all faiths – as well as secular Americans – have played an important role in public life. And a robust dialogue about the role of religion in public life is an important part of our public discourse.

While the President strongly supports every American's right to religious freedom and the separation of church and state, that does not mean there's no role for religion in the public square.

When he was a Senator from Illinois, President Obama gave a keynote address at the Call to Renewal conference where he spoke about the important role religion plays in politics and in public life.

A sense of proportion should also guide those who police the boundaries between church and state. Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation - context matters.

That's why President Obama supports the use of the words "under God' in our Pledge of Allegiance and "In God we Trust' on our currency. These phrases represent the important role religion plays in American public life, while we continue to recognize and protect the rights of secular Americans. As the President said in his inaugural address, "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers." We're proud of that heritage, and the strength it brings to our great country.
So we should celebrate everyone's diverse religious heritage... By referring to God. Not gods, and not the absence of god.

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Angua » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:21 am UTC

sigh
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:29 am UTC

I don't see anything wrong with the honest answer: it would piss more people off than it's worth, and those it doesn't piss off will mostly be apathetic. It's a bad political move, religious implications aside.

The Whitehouse wrote:While the President strongly supports every American's right to religious freedom and the separation of church and state, that does not mean there's no role for religion in the public square.

Yes. Yes it does.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:32 am UTC

Want Americans to feel involved and cared about in politics
[White House]
Make Americans feel more powerless than ever to change business as usual

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Angua » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:32 am UTC

I think it's more the justifications for the answer to make it sound more high and mighty than it actually is. Obviously, if they did it it would rile up most of the Christians a tremendous amount and be a political disaster. However, this is not the reason why they say that they are against it - they make up stuff about embracing religious diversity, etc.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:40 am UTC

But that's such an obvious load of crap, and the answer offends whoever realizes it's a load of crap. Would the actual answer, i.e. that it would piss too many people off, actually make anybody annoyed with the White House?

EDIT: Wasn't this petition started by an XKCDer? It has 7,300 signatures.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby jestingrabbit » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:50 am UTC

I think making removal of "in god we trust" the most important goal for currency change is a really poor prioritisation.

How about the fact that your notes are all the same size, making life harder for the blind (soon to be changed, but the fact that its taken this long is ridiculous)? Or the fact that you've got Jackson, a man who committed genocide against native american tribes several times over? In god we trust is the most superficial problem.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:52 am UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:I think making removal of "in god we trust" the most important goal for currency change is a really poor prioritisation.

While I would support that removal, I have to agree that it's not something we should really be spending any effort on.

Also, considering that the plurality of highly signed petitions are on Marijuana, I really expect a better response.

I encourage people to sign this petition requesting that same-sex marriage be legalized across the country.

I'm disgusted that there was a petition to release Sholom Rubashkin.The Chabadniks are way too good at advertising, and it severely bothers me that those extremists are pretty much the only group of Jews whose numbers are growing.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Zamfir » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:10 am UTC

Things like marihuana legalization and gay marriage seem to me the wrong things for petitions. Everyone already knows that there are a significant amount of people in favour. If it doesn't happen, it's because there's also a power block opposed. Petitions won't change that.

The potential value of petitions is to bring underlighted issues into the light. Where the normal political proces is underestimating how much support there is.

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby caisara » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:16 am UTC

.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:38 am UTC

Judging by the fact that everybody here immediately recognized it as self-contradictory hogwash, no, I don't think his spin doctors are very good. However, if that was sarcasm, then yes, his spin doctors are excellent.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby caisara » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:05 am UTC

.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby emceng » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:39 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Things like marihuana legalization and gay marriage seem to me the wrong things for petitions. Everyone already knows that there are a significant amount of people in favour. If it doesn't happen, it's because there's also a power block opposed. Petitions won't change that.

The potential value of petitions is to bring underlighted issues into the light. Where the normal political proces is underestimating how much support there is.


I'm not sure on this. I see gay marriage as being something that will happen nationwide eventually. It make take 5, 10, or 15 years, but it will happen. Marijuana I don't know. Yes, there's been a growing percentage of people who support legalization(48% last I recall), but it is a different issue. Gay marriage can only be opposed on specious grounds. Smoking pot is harmful to your health. It's not really worse than alcohol or cigarettes, but it is harmful. So legalization can be opposed/denied based on scientific and medical reasons, despite the logical and individual rights ideas that would support legalization. Adding to my doubts of legalization is the current anti-smoking trend. Smokers are being branded as evil. The trampling of free speech, individual rights, and business owners rights by anti-smoking laws is being applauded.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Zamfir » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:47 pm UTC

emceng wrote: I see gay marriage as being something that will happen nationwide eventually. It make take 5, 10, or 15 years, but it will happen.

I just meant that petitions aren't going to affect that process. It's already on the agenda. Petitions are useful to get stuff on the agenda, if the powers-that-be didn't realize people cared so much about an issue.

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:38 pm UTC

emceng wrote: Smoking pot is harmful to your health.

No it isn't. There is no conclusive evidence the marijuanaa has any long-term side-effects.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Роберт » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:42 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
emceng wrote: Smoking pot is harmful to your health.

No it isn't. There is no conclusive evidence the marijuanaa has any long-term side-effects.

Is there conclusive evidence that it doesn't?

In this case I think the default assumption would be that it's probably bad for you. Maybe it will turn out it's actually good for you in moderation, but I doubt it.

However, smoking pot is not the only way to do pot. Similarly, even if it is definitely bad for your health (like cigarettes) it still seems like a bad double-standard. The response of "pot is bad for you so we won't legalize it" is terrible because it's not well cited and it doesn't make a good case for why donuts should be legal.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:43 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
emceng wrote: Smoking pot is harmful to your health.

No it isn't. There is no conclusive evidence the marijuanaa has any long-term side-effects.

Is there conclusive evidence that it doesn't?

Not particularly, but the burden of proof isn't on me.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Chen » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:47 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
emceng wrote: Smoking pot is harmful to your health.

No it isn't. There is no conclusive evidence the marijuanaa has any long-term side-effects.


Isn't it the smoking part that is known to lead to problems? Sure there a ton of nasty chemicals in cigarettes that tend to make them worse, but I had thought that smoking anything tends to be problematic for the lungs.

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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby emceng » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:54 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
emceng wrote: Smoking pot is harmful to your health.

No it isn't. There is no conclusive evidence the marijuanaa has any long-term side-effects.


Isn't it the smoking part that is known to lead to problems? Sure there a ton of nasty chemicals in cigarettes that tend to make them worse, but I had thought that smoking anything tends to be problematic for the lungs.


And this was pretty much my point. Smoking anything is harmful to your health. Being near a campfire is harmful to your health. Sure, long term it makes pretty much no difference, but that's not the point. Being able to say 'pot is bad for you' helps prevent legalization.
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Re: Whitehouse opens petition site

Postby Роберт » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:08 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Роберт wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
emceng wrote: Smoking pot is harmful to your health.

No it isn't. There is no conclusive evidence the marijuanaa has any long-term side-effects.

Is there conclusive evidence that it doesn't?

Not particularly, but the burden of proof isn't on me.

Really? So you get to say "smoking pot is not harmful" and the burden of proof goes on whomever disagrees with you? Cow. Poop.
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