Everyone under the sun has heard the arguments for and against legalizing marijuana.
Cheech: It should be legal because it grows in the ground, it’s not like those other drugs man.
The Man: It is an illicit drug that ruins lives. What morally bankrupt world do we live in that would even consider this?
Cheech: How can you put this in the same category as heroine? It’s less addictive than nicotine, and less damaging than alcohol, man.
The Man: It’s a gateway drug. Studies have shown that you’re [made up number]% more likely to move on to harder drugs once you use cannabis.
…. and on and on
I’m sick of the spokespeople for legalization being burn-outs or extreme’s. I feel like this is the one topic our generation should be able to sit around and discuss like adults.
First off, if you have never tried marijuana you really can’t add to the conversation. Aside from citing sources and giving random anecdotal stories about your “stoner friends” you have as much understanding of the subject as a virgin does about threesomes.
I know this stipulation puts my argument on thin ice. I can just hear the counter-arguments now…
Dick: Why don’t you just pass that down to all the drugs. Ok… ok only people who have snorted coke can discuss the legalization of cocaine. All you have left are addicts and rich people. Of course the conversation is going to be in favor.
Me: Listen Dick, unlike cocaine, heroine, PCP, crack, meth, and the cocktail of other drugs you could take. You can’t overdose on cannabis. Can you say the same about alcohol?
Dick: Well… no.
The fact is, if you have never experienced the high you have no basis for comparison. So when I say “you are more in control of your body while high than you are while drunk”, you have nothing to add or detract.
Now that this is in order. Here is my, very adult, sound, rational reasoning behind why I believe we should legalize, not just decriminalize, but legalize cannabis.
First, why I believe it is mild enough for public consumption.
- You cannot overdose on it. Even extreme consumption does not appear to produce any noticeable or significant negative effects on the body. Unlike alcohol
- Yes it has carcinogens, but nothing outside what tobacco products also offer.
- While it does impair vision, judgement, and fine motor skills- to a similar if not lesser degree than alcohol- it is not a hallucinogen. You do not see things while high.
- The high is akin- in intensity, duration, and disorientation- to drunkenness just without the dehydration and nausea.
- The side effects (paranoia, hunger, dry mouth, elevated heart rate) are all just as mild as those found in coffee or dayquil or any other over the counter medicine.
- You do not get a hangover.
- While apparently it is addictive, I would put it on par with the addictiveness of chocolate or roller coasters. You do not deal with physical withdrawl symptoms for recreational use (unlike alcohol and caffeine). Past recreational use I have no experience.
Second, with the understanding that cannabis is as mild a narcotic as nicotine or alcohol, why it makes sense to legalize it.
- The government can tax and control it. Instead of us spending tax $$ to police it, we make tax $$ by selling it.
- It would allow a controlled environment for the growth and purchasing of cannabis. I believe this would play a big part in curbing the “gateway drug” aspect of it. Instead of purchasing from a drug dealer that also offers (and pushes) coke, meth, and ecstasy, you can buy from a cannabis store/coffee shop.
- It would free up DEA and other police resources.
- It would put less pressure on our overtaxed prison and court systems.
What this comes down to to me is a little bit of fixing a technical error. We (Nixon) overreacted to the “hippies” and their crazy drugs. Unfortunately cannabis was thrown into the category of illicit narcotic when really it should have been placed right there with caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol.
The distribution should be controlled. It should have the same advertising restrictions as tobacco, and it should be sold in specific, closely monitored stores (like liquor). Hell I even think a 21 year age requirement makes sense.
But when it comes down to it, cannabis is as much of a drug as those we have already made legal. It will not break down society, and won’t cause the decay of our youth and moral fiber.
Though it would give happy hour a whole new meaning.