Press "Enter" to skip to content

Hunter Misfires in Anti-Pot Editorial, Ends up Supporting Ban on Shotguns and Booze

Jon Hunter says we don’t dare legalize marijuana, because it kills people:

A 19-year-old Sioux Falls man pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to fatally shooting his friend last year.

Stasek Alexandr Stefanyuk was showing off a shotgun when he shot and killed his friend Darias Tiger in September. Stefanyuk admitted he had been using drugs at the time.

The case is merely the most recent in a long string of tragedies and killings involving drugs….

Legalizing mind-altering drugs is on a roll nationwide, with marijuana leading the charge. Forty states have adopted a patchwork of laws involving some form of legalization. South Dakota is not among them.

Advocates point to the benefits of marijuana or its derivatives, often describing harmless situations, like a solitary person smoking a joint at home, or an elderly person getting pain relief from pot.

Killing another person while high is the other side of that story. For some people, the tradeoff of increased enjoyment by some while endangering others is worthwhile. We don’t think so [Jon Hunter, “South Dakota Should Resist Legalization,” Madison Daily Leader, 2019.06.25].

Hunter’s editorial contains multiple flaws:

  1. Stefanyuk pled guilty to possessing methamphetamine, not marijuana.
  2. “Legalizing mind-altering drugs” is not “on a roll nationwide.” I know of no major push to legalize meth.
  3. The shotgun killed Tiger, not the meth, and not any pot. Shall we ban shotguns?
  4. Lots of people kill themselves and others while drinking alcohol. Shall we ban booze?

There is science saying marijuana causes violent behavior:

These subjects were in the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, comprised of 411 boys who were born around 1953 and living in working-class urban neighborhoods of London.  97% of them were Caucasian and all of them were raised in two-parent households.  The researchers took into consideration other factors, including antisocial traits as assessed by the Antisocial Personality Scale, alcohol use, other drug use, cigarette smoking, mental illnesses, and family history.

Hers’s what they found:  Most of the participants never used cannabis and they were never reported to have violent behavior.  38% of the participants did try cannabis at least once in their life.  Most of them experimented with cannabis in their teens, but then stopped using it. However, 20% of the boys who started using pot by age 18 continued to use it through middle age (32-48 years).  One fifth of those who were pot smokers (22%) reported violent behavior that began after beginning to use cannabis, whereas only 0.3% reported violence before using weed.  Continued use of cannabis over the life-time of the study was the strongest predictor of violent convictions, even when the other factors that contribute to violent behavior were considered in the statistical analysis [R. Douglas Fields, “Marijuana Use Increases Violent Behavior,” Psychology Today, 2016.03.20].

…but science also puts a high body count on alcohol:

Alcohol-related violence causes substantial death, injury and health problems. The 2004 Global Burden of Disease project estimated that alcohol-attributable violence accounted for 248,000 deaths annually worldwide. As noted by Bellis and Hughes in this issue, the link between alcohol and violence has been recognized as far back as the 4th century BC [Kathryn Graham and Michael Livingston, “The relationship Between Alcohol and Violence—Population, Contextual and Individual Research Approaches,” Drug and Alcohol Review, 2012.09.01].

I share Hunter’s lack of enthusiasm for mind-altering substances. Switching off even part of one’s mental capacity with pot is like tying one hand behind your back while doing carpentry: it at least lowers your performance, not to mention creates hazards for others. But if Hunter is trying to make a case against marijuana, he should cite a case that actually involves marijuana, then get past anecdote to review actual science. He should also firm up why his argument about risk to others doesn’t also lead him to editorialize against the more obvious and widespread harm done by and to South Dakotans with shotguns and alcohol.


  1. Richard Schriever 2019-06-26 07:53

    Unlike alcohol, THC doesn’t switch anything “off”. It switches ON endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. If you’re gonna argue from a science POV – use it throughout the argument – don’t simply ignore it when it’s inconvenient to your predetermined conclusion. While it may be good forensics practice to do so (to “win” a debate”) it is NOT good scientific method.

  2. Robert McTaggart 2019-06-26 10:23

    Essentially accidents with fatalities are not up in states that have legalized marijuana, but they quote studies that have shown that car crashes have increased.

    “Law enforcement needs additional tools and advanced training to detect impaired drivers before they crash, regardless of the impairing drug they’re using.”

  3. Porter Lansing 2019-06-26 10:28

    Decriminalize Marijuana ~ [If you’re discovered with a small amount of marijuana the drug is taken and you receive a ticket (payable through the mail) for a hundred dollars. Two hundred dollars for second offense.]
    ~ Pot smokers in cages is the wrong side of history. ~

  4. TAG 2019-06-26 10:38

    Richard, I think you are getting overly semantic in your criticism of “on” vs “off”. You are not seeing the forest for the trees. Are you claiming that being high on THC somehow enhances your performance behind the wheel of a car, or enhances your decision-making when using a gun? I would argue that regardless of the exact bio-chemical mechanism going on in your brain, there is an impairment of some kind with either drug. And being impaired can be honestly described as “turning off your capacity” in a general sense.

    Having a pre-conceived narrative, or conclusion could probably be a fair criticism of many of Corey’s posts, but you certainly chose an odd time to use that argument.

    Try tackling the larger point, or the gist of what Corey is saying. Is he wrong that blaming pot for someone on meth shooting someone with a shotgun is idiocy, not logical, and hypocritical? It’s kind-of hard to argue against that. Go ahead and try….

  5. TAG 2019-06-26 16:38

    jerry: But, but, didn’t you hear? “guns don’t kill people, … dogs (with guns) kill people”

    or “guns don’t kill people, … pot makes people do meth and kill people(with guns)”

    or “guns don’t kill people, … children(with access to unlocked guns) kill people”

    So stop blaming guns. Blame dogs. and pot. and kids. And Muslims. Also refugees with kids. They are the worst. Put them all in kennels. Let guns roam free.

  6. Debbo 2019-06-26 17:19

    I’m not aware of any scientific evidence that shows weed being more dangerous than alcohol. In fact, I’m quite certain the opposite is true. Weed doesn’t lead people to engage in risky behavior like booze does.

    I vote for an exchange, weed for liquor. You can have one, but not both. 😁😁😁

  7. Robert McTaggart 2019-06-26 17:47

    Both weed and alcohol lead to poor decisions and poor reaction times while driving.

    Smoking weed means everyone else around is smoking weed whether they choose to or not. And the smoke particles adhere to Radon and/or its progeny.

    So if you are on the “all radiation is bad, all the time” train, you must oppose marijuana smoking as a delivery method because it increases the dose to people from Radon.

  8. Debbo 2019-06-26 18:11

    2 things Robert:

    1. The smoking doesn’t have to happen in the midst of the public.
    2. Edibles.

  9. Robert McTaggart 2019-06-26 18:30

    Granted, those two items are better than releasing smoke in public or driving under the influence.


    1. Smoking in an enclosed space makes the Radon delivery that much better.

    2. So nobody has ever confused regular food items with those classified as an edible? Or brought pot brownies to school and then several kids have to go to the ER?

  10. Jenny 2019-06-26 20:36

    I have never heard of an instance where a kid brought pot brownies to school and got everyone sick. You can’t die from marijuana alone by the way.
    I am more fearful of a kid shooting up a school which happens which happens far more often in this country.

  11. Roger Cornelius 2019-06-26 20:55

    There remains an elephant in the room that hasn’t been discussed and that is abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs that cause innumerable accidents and death everyday.
    As age crept up on me and health issues came up I had numerous medications for different problems prescribed for me. So many of those medications came with all sorts precautions about use: no driving, operating electrical or power equipment and what abuse could cause.
    As most are aware the opiod crisis remains a major public health problem with all the dangers that go with it.


  12. grudznick 2019-06-26 21:04

    Mr. C has a valid point. The drugs those meat magician doctors try to prescribe to fellows like me would boggle your minds. If one does not have the steel will of a grudznick one might end up abusing those drugs and go driving around and rampage on the streets. I have seen it with friends.

  13. Robert McTaggart 2019-06-26 23:05
  14. Robert McTaggart 2019-06-26 23:08

    It is not hard to find stories about kids getting sick from someone bringing pot brownies to school (both the student doing that, and sometimes the teacher).

  15. Debbo 2019-06-27 00:28

    Robert, many more kids become diabetic from eating too many sweets and drinking too much sugar laden soda. Those should probably be banned then.

    An individual or group smoking weed at home is exercising their adult choice.

    You’re examples are weak.

    I get that you are opposed to the legalization of weed.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-27 05:28

    Roger adds a really good example to the harm-vs-benefit line that Hunter tries to ply: if we can accept drugs as demonstrably dangerous as opioids into our lives, why should we freak out over marijuana?

    It seems to me that both the harms and the benefits of prescription opioids are far better documented than both the harms and benefits of marijuana.

  17. Jenny 2019-06-27 07:55

    You’re right Debbo, let’s ban alcohol, Which is far worse than marijuana. Alcohol has destroyed millions of families and Is one reason why healthcare costs are expensive. Homeless across the country sleep on sidewalks addicted to their alcohol, not being able to live in society and have a job. Millions of people have died because of their addiction to alcohol, Not to mention all the innocent lives that have been taken because of auto crashes.
    South Dakota Has one of the highest rates of alcohol related deaths, the state needs to work on its alcohol problem, But as usual it’s screwed up priorities are demonizing marijuana. Sigh……

  18. Robert McTaggart 2019-06-27 12:34

    I am more against smoking in general….I don’t think it matters what one is smoking.

    The inhalation of foreign matter into one’s lungs will require future health care that could be avoided. Those monies would be better spent elsewhere. Can we at least agree on that :^) ?

    Aside: I could say the same thing for why we should be replacing the current method of burning coal with cleaner energy. End Aside.

    And no, I do not buy into this theory that people will only use edibles or smoke marijuana at home or use some sort of smokeless marijuana. Go to a busy street corner in a big city where it is permitted, and you will see what I mean.

  19. Robert McTaggart 2019-06-27 13:27

    Alcohol can be used unwisely, if not abused. That isn’t a good enough reason to use marijuana unwisely.

    That’s like saying we didn’t really incorporate the true costs of burning coal, so let’s do the same thing with any other form of energy that we tend to favor.

  20. Debbo 2019-06-27 13:39

    Robert, I feel like you are dancing around my comments, bringing in coal, smoking in general, etc. Oh well. You are welcome to your opinions and you’re against weed. I get it.

    Yes, I’m opposed to smoking. I was a 3 packs per day smoker, quitting was a bitch, wouldn’t want to do it again. Been just about 30 years since I quit. I don’t bother other people about it except to be upwind from them and not allow it in my home or car.

  21. Robert McTaggart 2019-06-27 13:57

    Smoking and the burning of coal both generate particulate matter that can be inhaled. Sorry for pointing out an inconvenient but true fact that smoking weed and burning coal have that in common.

    Edibles at least eliminate the emissions.

  22. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-29 08:37

    The foolishness of inhaling burning particulate matter contributes to my lack of enthusiasm for legalizing marijuana.

  23. Porter Lansing 2019-06-29 09:13

    Smoking is foolish. Agreed. Let’s dissect the issue a bit and define two terms.
    ~ Legalization means SD would have stores that sold combustible pot, edible pot, and ancillary pot related items in Counties and towns that didn’t outlaw it. Smoking would be legal within state boundaries.
    ~ Decriminalization means if an adult is discovered with a small amount of marijuana it would be confiscated, the adult would get a hundred dollar ticket which could be mailed in with the fine. Pot dealing would still be a felony for large amounts.
    Cory, do you think decriminalization is worth pursuing?

  24. Porter Lansing 2019-07-01 08:14

    Colorado’s marijuana experiment, five years later.
    The state’s first-in-the-nation legalization of the drug is a case study as more and more states adopt or debate full legalization.
    Legalization has reshaped health, politics, rural culture and criminal justice in ways that defy both the worst warnings and the most optimistic predictions.
    The details: Hospitals in Colorado have reported higher rates of mental-health cases tied to marijuana. Nearly twice as many Coloradans smoke pot compared with other Americans, and while the number of adults who use has edged up, state surveys do not show a similar increase among young people.
    Quotable: “You don’t see drug-addled people roaming the streets, but we haven’t created a utopia,” said Jonathan Singer, a state legislator who endorsed the ballot measure that made it legal for adults 21 and over to buy, consume and grow recreational marijuana. – NYTimes
    ‘Don’t make assumptions. Always give people a chance to show who they are.’ – Porter MoonDog Lansing

  25. Aubree Adams 2019-07-01 16:53

    I left Colorado because of the harms legal marijuana caused my family and my community. Today’s turbo charged marijuana is very dangerous. The predatory marijuana industry makes kid friendly products that is poisoning the people of Colorado. All legal drugs kill and harm the most, adding fuel to the fire is wrong and our country does not track marijuana deaths. Marijuana cause most of the violence in this country too. Marijuana can cause psychosis and psychosis can cause violence and suicide. Legitimizing marijuana is fueling the opioid crisis and drug overdose have increased in medical marijuana legalized states by 23%!!! Embrace your children not marijuana, South Dakota and know the predatory marijuana lobbyist are manipulating your children and your elected officials. Addiction is a pediatric disease and this industry wants to profit of addiction economic and your children’s demise. Porter Lansing is only in commenting and manipulating you all for one reason. Money. When he looks at the children of your state, he sees money. Colorado’s homeless population has skyrocketed since marijuana was legalized.

  26. Porter Lansing 2019-07-01 19:43

    Ms. Adams … You didn’t move away. You’re the anonymous kook that keeps posting about Pueblo trying to overturn the CO state constitution and outlaw pot. Eleven out of your twelve sentences are factually incorrect but who cares? You don’t seem to be credible enough to be believable by thinking people. The true one is that today’s marijuana is dangerous. Does Colorado State University know about your sideline business?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.