Viewers respond to NewsHour’s report on Dutch pot policy

March 29, 2014 at 7:44 PM EST
Viewers respond to NewsHour's report on Dutch pot policy.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: And now to our occasional feature: Viewers Like You. Your chance to tell us what you think. Tonight: some of the comments you judged most popular.

We heard from many of you about our report last week from the Netherlands about the pot laws there — something we thought was especially timely as two states — Colorado and Washington — have legalized recreational marijuana.

Viewer Jillian Galloway echoed comments by a Dutch researcher who said marijuana is less damaging than other ‘legal’ substances and, based on that, said:

“We could prevent a lot of the harm that alcohol causes by giving people the right to choose cannabis instead of alcohol. End the failed and counterproductive cannabis prohibition!”

“August” responded by saying:

“I agree, tolerance/flexibility/pragmatism is key indeed… I am against drugs, i always discourage cannabis consumption, but I endorse a tolerant system for cannabis regulation because it results in a happier, more efficient, less harmful society.”

A viewer called “candid one” was critical of our report, saying:

“Comparing two modest-size western us states with a modest-size, sovereign old-world nation is a stretch.”

Pier Giacalone chimed in on Facebook. He wrote:

“As with all things, Americans will do things our own way and we don’t need lessons in capitalism from anyone. Stronger forces will overcome weaker ones, advantages will be exploited, etc. etc. Whatever negative health implications there are will be absorbed in the name of the money generated just like they are for alcohol, tobacco, firearms, cars, prescription drugs.

And Jim Hassinger wrote this:

“With anything people want to use, there will be people who will supply it, and if it’s illegal, the price goes up. Yes, tax it and regulate the market– but if you limit the strength or price too much, it shows up in the black market.”

Some of the toughest language we heard came from Douglas Snazel who wanted us to come down forcefully in favor of legalization:

“Would it kill you to develop just a little bit of an edge? Something bold, rather than meandering dithering pieces like this?”

Let us know what you think. Our website is newshour.pbs.org. There, you’ll also see a timeline documenting the dramatic changes to American and Dutch drug laws.