Death and injury also have a large social cost, because of the fees that come with them. Especially injury because then the injured person has to go to the hospital. Healthcare fees are also taken from public taxes. In 2010, 2,669,987 people were hospitalized in the US for either Alcohol Dependence Syndrome (1,013,634), Non-dependent abuse of alcohol (774,177), Chronic Liver Disease and Cirrhosis (852,354), or Alcohol Poisoning (29,822). Any one or combination of these health emergencies could kill a person. So there is the cost to the individual, but there is also cost to the hospital, which means a higher price for the public. These people must be treated and sometimes have life saving surgeries (a liver transplant for example). There is little credible data on marijuana induced hospitalizations. The most reliable of data is a study of hospitalizations from 1961 to 1969 in Los Angeles. The study showed that of the 701,057 patients admitted, nine were admitted regarding marijuana use. Three patients had the mild effects that marijuana induces on everyone, dizziness or euphoria, one patient was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but his was a pre-existing condition. The others presented symptoms of simply ingesting too much, such as vomiting, fever, and chills. Though the data is older, it still stands that there are hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations due to alcohol, while there are hundreds (at most) due to marijuana. And of those marijuana induced hospitalizations, the “injuries” were only to the individual. Whereas with alcohol injuries other people can be hurt, like someone killed because they were hit by a drunk driver. Alcohol creates a greater risk for injury to the individual and others.
When asked, most people might say that because marijuana is more of a "drug" in the traditional sense of the word, it is worse for society. But upon closer inspection, alcohol has a greater cost to society and therefore is the more harmful drug. Marijuana has a negative connotation because the general public considers it to be a drug and not alcohol. They are both drugs, yet one has more positive uses than just recreational use. Marijuana, or more specifically the cannabis plant can be used for medicine, food, clothes, paper, and many other things. Alcohol is only a recreational drug, sterilizing agent, and sometimes used as fuel. There are more uses for alcohol other than recreation, but there are far more positive uses for the cannabis plant. Alcohol has more negative externalities and fewer positive uses. Therefore, in terms of societal cost, alcohol is the more detrimental drug.