Toke On This!

I’ve been thinking about the drunk morons at the Redskins game that I wrote about yesterday. It brings to mind these conversations I used to have with my friend Jim about pot, and how he couldn’t believe it wasn’t legalized. This may sound blasphemous for an guy who lives on the East Coast to say, but you have to remember I’m from Arizona, the state crazy enough to legalize medical marijuana along with California. Why isn’t pot legal?

I don’t smoke pot. I never have. I don’t drink. I never have. I don’t smoke cigarettes. I never have. I have never taken narcotics that weren’t prescribed to me. I personally don’t get the attraction to making myself dumber than I am. That said, why is pot illegal and alchohol and tobacco aren’t? The long term effects of pot are equivalent to the other two. The personality changes in a pot smoker are a lot less radical than someone who’s drunk. I’d much rather go to a football game with a bunch of stoners than a bunch of drunks. Drunks fight. They’re obnoxious and have a habit of vomitting on themselves. They get belligerent and hostile, or weepy, or overly friendly. They lost inhibitions (which leads to the rest of the stuff already listed). I don’t think anyone ever got married or an unfortunate tatoo after smoking a joint.

I don’t understand the hypocrisy. The critics point to pot as a gateway drug. I don’t agree with their logic. Pot’s status as an illegal substance is what I think merits its gateway status. It’s a gateway drug because people who use it often have to deal with folks who are into or deal stronger and more illicit substances. Alchohol is a gateway to chee-tos and pizza because it’s sold in grocery stores, bars, quick stops and gas stations. Alchohol and tobacco kill far more people than pot ever will, and cost this country billions in healthcare.

So, let’s make the hard choice, either people are adult enough to control themselves with pot, tobacco and alchohol, or all of them should be illegal. They’re all addictive to a degree, all cause health problems, and are all pretty much equal in their damage. Pick… I’ll be happy either way. If there were no more drunk jackasses at sporting events, I might go to more of them. If I didn’t have to worry about second hand smoke in bars, I might go see more live music. People will die in car accidents for reasons other than intoxicated drivers. If people could buy pot in stores, the dosage of THC were regulated and we could charge taxes, I doubt we’d have a budget deficit. We could afford to keep school music, art and physical education. I just don’t get it. Am I missing something? Am I wrong?

12 thoughts on “Toke On This!”

  1. i’m way on the fence on this issue for reasons far too deep to go on about here, but what i’d recommend is renting the film “bully,” locking the kid up in his room, probably not inviting the wife to partake of said cinematic disturbance, and let me know what you think.
    best,
    mkg

  2. I haven’t made up my mind, it’s just one of those things I don’t understand. I know that alchohol and tobacco have a rich and wonderful cultural history both here and abroad, but does it make sense to have them still legal when we know they cause so many health and social problems? And if it IS OK, then why is pot so wrong when it apparently just makes people repeat themselves and hunger for foodstuffs covered in mozzarella cheese? I’ve never almost been runover by a pot head. I have had some really funny conversations with stoned friends… never once with a drunk guy.

  3. I agree that it’s really hypocritical that drinking and smoking are still legal and pot is, but I think legalizing pot will only make the problem worse. There have been criminals and driving accidents brought on by marijuana use. When I went to Florida a few years ago a teenager had just killed himself in a car accident because he was high on pot. It’s hypocritical yes, but let’s not make the problem worse.
    And besides that, there are laws about drinking to excess, people still do it anyway though. And they are punished for it. If you get into a car when you’re drunk, you’re breaking the law. Making more laws won’t make people stop, cause in general, people are stupid. There’s only so much we can do about that.

  4. Something else I forgot to mention – there are laws about smoking, too. In most states you can’t smoke in bars anymore, but some other states aren’t willing to accept that yet. So there are people out there who are sick of the hypocrisy and are doing things about it, they just aren’t always making headlines.

  5. Right, since no one obeys them, what’s the point of having them? We put pot dealers in prison, a lot of them. We pay to keep them in prison. If the government could sell a higher-quality, safer product, it could put those dealers out of business or marginalize them, and save us the tax dollars it takes to keep them locked up. There are a lot of sides to this issue, and I’m not convinced of any one piece of it, nor will any one piece make up my mind, but I think there should be a national debate on it, and we should keep our options open.

  6. oh grrreeaat. now we’re going to have a bunch of unemployed dealers standing in line, on the dole. a real boost to the economy. 😉
    btw – don’t bother renting “bully.” it’s really just kinda disturbing (same guy who did “kids” and “gummo”). true story tho. and kinda interesting. i hear the book is much better.
    you know kevin, if there were more folks like you who don’t drink and don’t toke and have decent haircuts and didn’t smell really bad and weren’t constantly dealing with attacks of the munchies making cogent arguments for legalization of mary jane, then maybe something might happen (that wasn’t an endorsement).
    personally, i think it will be a 10+ year waste of taxpayer dollars in the courts on this issue and we won’t have any resolution. frankly, i think issues like the reliance of fossil fuels and doing something about that could have a much stronger environmental and economic impact. let me call george w. on those. i’m sure he’d be interested in hearing from me.
    the imprisonment thing does bother me a lot. like in michigan, i think it is, where even thinking about selling dope makes you a dealer? folks have been imprisoned for talking about sale (conspiracy).
    i served on a jury a few years ago where we convicted a 19yr old kid of conspiracy (the facts were there). i was struck at how incredibly screwed up the system, the environment, and the people affected (sellers, addicts and neighborhood folks who have seen their homes turned into a warzone) were. it was really sad.
    best,
    mkg

  7. Heck, let’s listen to all my stoner friends who think hemp is the wonder-cure for everything wrong in the world. Maybe we can all drive clean-burning hemp cars in the future.

    Seriously, your point on fossil fuels is well taken. There are bigger issues in the world than legalizing pot, this one just caught my attention this week.

    Maybe next week, I’ll talk about that top-secret energy task force and all the “unfettered” advice Mr. Dick got. Why is it we don’t talk about that anymore?

  8. hardly anyone dies or is injured seriously from smoking pot. however 4,000 people a day are arrested for using or distributing drugs. 1/2 million people are serving hard time for it. and for what? did they hurt anyone besides themselves?
    another issue is the farmers. the us tells them to stop growing but they don’t because they’re poor. they simply can’t make money selling anything else. when they do switch crops, the demand (therefore price) of the drug goes up. this makes it much more tempting for a farmer who doesnt have enough money to feed his family, to start growing the drug.
    so then what does the us do? we set fire to their feilds or poison them. now how are they to get by? so whats more important, making sure a teenager doesnt lose a few brain cells, or the lives of thousands of farmers who depend on their crop?
    well any patriotic american would say screw the growers, they’re poisoning our youth!
    might i add many european countries have legalized pot and a lower percentage of youth smoke it.
    plus think of the money we lose on this war on drugs (read: war on poor) we are losing billions and the amount of drugs being shipped has not slowed!

  9. Yeah, I decided just to kind of leave that one alone. I’m tempted to post a big arguments for and against post with all of the “old standards” toted by both sides with my thoughts on each one, but I’m kind of past it. And yes, they do have a habit

  10. I agree that pot should be legalized for various reasons, including the amount of government money saved and better used by spending it on education rather than prisons. There is also the hypocrisy of keeping alcohol and tobaco legal while pot isn’t. As for any negative consequences from smoking pot, I think that they result from irresponsible use of it, just as negative consequences result from irresponsible use of various other substances as well as “privileges” such as driving a car or owning a weapon. I also agree that the issue of legalizing pot should be a national conversation and it need not take away from other conversations such as the environment, global justice, etc. They can all be happenning simultaneously.

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