Would you be more upset if teens were smoking pot or drinking?

President Obama said in an interview with The New Yorker magazine that he doesn’t think pot is any more dangerous than alcohol. He does think it’s a bad habit and a vice.

With pot already legal in two states (Colorado and Washington), I wonder: Would you be more upset if you caught your teen smoking pot or drinking?

Here’s what some experts said in a USA Today story about which substance is worse: pot or alcohol.

From USA Today:

“A frequent argument is that marijuana is safer because users “don’t drop dead immediately, while you can overdose and die from ingesting alcohol,” said Gitlow. But “nobody dies immediately from smoking cigarettes, either,” he said. That doesn’t make them any less dangerous….Gitlow cites studies showing marijuana use can cause loss of productivity and, in heavy users, lowered IQs. In about 1% of heavy users it can induce psychosis, he said….”

“Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington D.C., points to a World Health Organization study on the health and societal consequences of marijuana compared with alcohol, nicotine and opiates.”

“The report found that the risks associated with marijuana are small to moderate in size and that it is less likely to produce public health problems on the scale of those caused by alcohol and tobacco.”

“Alcohol is more of a social problem because it makes some people belligerent and dangerous. “Everyone knows that person who has a few drinks and gets out of control and hurts themselves or others. When people think of marijuana users, they think of someone who is a little mellower and not causing serious problems,” said Tvert.”

So what do you think: Is alcohol more dangerous than pot or vice versa? Which would be more upsetting to find your teen partaking in? How would you feel if pot were legal? Would that affect your opinion about use of the substance?

27 comments Add your comment

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 22nd, 2014
11:23 am

I thought I hit publish on this last night — so sorry no new topic up earlier!!! uggh!


January 22nd, 2014
11:58 am

This is a stupid argument. Noone cares which is more dangerous, because the answer is unrelated to “should it be legal.” Legal is unrelated to “good for you.”

I wouldn’t be upset either way unless they got into a car afterwards.


January 22nd, 2014
12:18 pm

Both are fine with moderation.
How do you legislate moderation? You can set age limits on it (both alcohol and cannabis in CO), you can set quantity limits on it (none on alcohol?? but there is a quantity limit on pot in CO.) You could also go to the system used for purchasing sudafed at pharmacies.

Anyway, moderation begins with communication – a little is fine but binge drinking or daily smoking is hard on your body’s system.

Hidden Agenda

January 22nd, 2014
12:24 pm

Would you be upset to know that the biggest contributors to “The Partnership for a Drug Free America” are the alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical industries? Well its true. Why wouldn’t these groups, who profit heavily from natural medicines and much cheaper “recreational” alternatives being illegal, be big advocates for a war on other drugs?

In Holland, where marijuana purchases are legal for anyone 16 and older, marijuana use is considerably lower for 16 year olds. How much did you drink before you were 21 and how much after? The taboo is what draws people in as well.

How would you feel knowing that the very anti-drug policies and laws you support to “keep your kids safe” were the very things that “encouraged” them to try these potentially dangerous things and motivated others through high profits to want to get your kids to try them???


January 22nd, 2014
12:29 pm

My preference for my babies:weed, alcohol, then big pharma. Stay off the pills and your Momma will be chill.


January 22nd, 2014
12:43 pm

Right now they are both illegal for teenagers so I would be upset for both.


January 22nd, 2014
1:19 pm

Colorado and Washington State law states you have to be 21 or older (and 1 oz or less in possession) to be considered legal for recreational use. (Alaska is considering a similar law with the same age restriction)

SO even if we were in state where it was “legal” I would be upset if my teenager were to use it. It is not legal in any state for a teenager to use either.

Pro-recreational marijuana Initiatives are expected in various states in 2016, including Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana and Nevada, according to Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project. A good thing you are moving? ;)

We live in the buckle of the Bible belt. We just got the law for buying booze on Sunday (and I have not been in on a Sunday yet!) so I am thinking it will be awhile before GA agrees to put weed up for referendum let alone gets it approved.


January 22nd, 2014
1:25 pm

20 states have legalized medical use of pot NONE are in the south. KY and TN are both have pending legislation about medical marijuana. Alabama is favorable to it’s medical use but will not put forth legalizing legislation. AL does have pending legislation that someone in possession of pot could introduce medical evidence of the need (and apparently having obtained it in a legal state) in order to have the case thrown out in court.

Does this surprise anyone? (I am a total Libertarian so you can guess where I might stand….again never bought booze at the store on Sunday though it is legal).

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 22nd, 2014
1:38 pm

good points FCM!


January 22nd, 2014
2:25 pm

Pot has its reasons for being put on this earth. As with anything, moderation and control come into play.

mother of 2

January 22nd, 2014
2:26 pm

I have a teen and one over 21. I would be equally upset if my teen smoked pot or drank alcohol because both are illegal. I’d be upset if my 22 year old smoked pot because it’s illegal. Smoking pot in the state of GA is illegal, plain and simple. You don’t get to break the law just because you don’t like it. If they feel so compelled to imbibe, they need to do something to get the law changed.

ATL Born and Raised

January 22nd, 2014
2:57 pm

I believe marijuana use will be legal nationwide within our lifetime. It will likely take Supreme Court action, but I think it will happen. The criminalization of drugs in this country is beyond absurd and needs to be drastically overhauled. That said, kids are going to do stupid things. But they are less likely to kill themselves or anyone else using marijuana than alcohol, so I guess that’s my answer. Alcohol is much more dangerous.


January 22nd, 2014
3:23 pm

I’ll vote for weed as soon as I can vote to make moonshine legally..


January 22nd, 2014
3:31 pm

Both, but I know that weed will do him less harm than alcohol

Typical Redneck

January 22nd, 2014
4:08 pm

I would prefer neither, but as someone with extensive experience with both (I use neither anymore), I would be more upset with alcohol use.

a reader

January 22nd, 2014
4:16 pm

For now, we’re stuck with what is legal and what is not, and what are the consequences of breaking the law.

The drug laws are currently quite harsh: school expulsion (if a private school), loss of financial aid / scholarships (including HOPE) at the college level. Even if you can stay in school the money may be gone. I’ve told my kids that they need to obey the law. It’s what we are stuck with and the consequences, while seemingly disproportionate to the crime, are what they are.

Hidden Agenda

January 22nd, 2014
4:28 pm

If people fully understood the history of alcohol prohibition, the crime and corruption it caused in this country and the big business enterprises behind drug (especially cannabis/hemp) prohibition it would cause an unbelievable uproar in our country.

We were supposed to have a government that protected our unalienable rights, yet at ever turn they violate them despite no constitutional amendment allowing it (as they did with alcohol) or any victim to be found in the consumption of a substance by an individual. You either own your own body or the government does. There is NO middle ground. If the government owns you then that is slavery and supposedly we ended that with the 13th amendment.


January 22nd, 2014
4:36 pm

I was upset when I found out about both BUT I’m actually ok with him having a beer when he’s home now because he’s 18 and he does it at home under our guidance. I was not OK before he graduated HS/turned 18 because the dire consequences of getting caught these days and really it’s the reason I’m not ok with smoking pot. Technically it is legal to drink in a private residence with parental consent in GA but smoking pot is illegal no matter what. If it were legal or was under the same laws as alcohol, I’d probably feel the same about both.


January 22nd, 2014
4:40 pm

Oh and just to add, I’m quite sure he drinks at college… our hope is that he’s responsible enough to not do something stupid that will get him caught.

Class of '98

January 22nd, 2014
4:55 pm

Stoned people don’t start bar fights because they feel ten feet tall and bulletproof. Alcohol is exponentially worse for the user, and the people in close proximity to the user.


January 22nd, 2014
5:31 pm

Of the two, I would be more concerned about alcohol use than pot.


January 22nd, 2014
8:16 pm

Both are not acceptable.


January 23rd, 2014
8:35 am

Alcohol of course, one is deadly, the other isn’t.

Veteran Observer

January 23rd, 2014
9:22 am

Many years from now we will be judged as a society by the decisions we make upholding or destroying our ethics and mores! I have attended rehab therapy with two close relatives who were addicted to marijuana. I have seen addicts who would lie, steal, and committ assault to get their drug! I have talked with internationally known therapists and they all agree. Marijuana is a slippery slope which severely limits productivity and reduces an individual’s energy and sense of responsibility! Medical use is acceptable under a doctors care and prescription. But we must hold the line despite the Hollywood and entertainment hedonists who act and speak as spoiled children! All of us adults need to boycott movies and television shows that glorify drugs and as a business owner, I test for drugs and positive results disqualify applicants and employees from working for me! This is about personal responsibility and leading our young people! Alcohol is legal and most citizens partake in moderation but it can destroy a person. Marijuana is insidious and our young people use it to create an artificial world and buffer from reality and that is sad! Call upon our leaders and even our weak ones like the president to act responsibly to uphold our laws and history will judge us favorably! If we do not, we may destroy this glorious experiment in individual rights and freedom called the USA!


January 23rd, 2014
9:52 am

I am against both, and my children know it. Both are illegal for my daughters right now. However, if as they get older, they have a drink a night prior to going in for drug testing, vs. weed, they will pass the test. With marijuana, it will still be in their system. I’ve never done it, nor has my husband, never had a desire to, and if my girls are smart, they will follow my example.


January 23rd, 2014
9:23 pm

Why is this an “either/or” situation? Cigarettes, alcohol or marijuana isn’t good for you — physically or mentally. I may have a glass of wine a couple of times a month, but I have never smoked ANYTHING — yuck!! Why would any sensible person voluntarily bring that noxious junk into their lungs? There are many healthier ways to unwind, relax or “veg out” that don’t require chemically altering your brain. I would be severely P.O.’d if my kids were smoking weed — there’s just no reason for it, and a waste of time and money. I feel the same way about cigarettes. Smoking — either tobacco or weed — is for losers.

They are now both over 21, and they both drink socially, and seem to be handling it in a mature and responsible fashion. They’ve both seen the results of drunk driving and out-of-control drinking, and I hope they’ve taken those lessons to heart.

As with anything — any parent hopes that mistakes that their kids make won’t be the kind that leave permanent scars on their body or their heart.


January 24th, 2014
2:23 pm

It is absurd that marijuana is not legal for medical use in Southern states, considering that other, much stronger and more addictive, substances are sold as pharmaceuticals. This is an example of logic being thrown out the window and this lack of logic and common sense by our lawmakers is also what keeps us at the bottom of the education ladder.