OK, I’m entitled to change my viewpoint.
I’ve long been of the opinion – not ‘stridently’ of the opinion – but of the opinion that legalizing marijuana would be a mistake and would open up a Pandora’s Box of unanticipated societal and medical woes that we shouldn’t welcome.
And then I concluded that my views were plain silly for a number of reasons.
In the first place, legal or illegal, pot is abroad in society and there really isn’t any sensible reason why it should not be. That doesn’t mean I’m suggesting pot is necessarily ‘good’, it just means that it’s there like ingrown toenails or the music of Justin Bieber.
Secondly, of our two ‘legal’ drugs (alcohol and tobacco from which governments glean huge revenues) if you add pot to the twosome it becomes, from a health perspective, the most innocuous of the trio.
Thirdly, the massive legal costs incurred to ‘rid society of this plague’ are just plain ridiculous and in essence are as illogical as the mental meanderings of the most heavy-duty stoner. Watch any episode of Cops and regard the time, money and energy devoted to apprehending some poor schmuck who possesses a Baggie of weed in his car. Fer crissakes! And a Canadian citizen sits stewing in a US prison for daring to advertise the sale of cannabis sativa on the Internet. You’d think Marc Emery was a contract killer. What silliness.
That said, however, I do have some caveats about the matter. First and foremost, it is a mind-altering drug, and there is no such thing as an innocuous mind-altering drug. Being stoned is being stoned no matter how you slice it. In similar context the consumption of two martinis does not leave the guzzler with the same state-of-mind as zero martinis.
Secondly, pot is not as harmless as its advocates attest to it being. It can be a profound depressant; it certainly renders the partaker impaired in terms of driving or neurosurgery. It has been linked with mental illness, especially in the case of young people, and it is addictive. Advocates will say “yeah, but it’s just a psychological addiction”. So are all addictions in essence and in my years addictions counseling I had clients who were addicted to cannabis and were having a difficult time kicking.
Have I partaken? Of course I have. It is not, however, my ‘drug of choice’. Frankly, I don’t care for it. I hate the smell, and a couple of good tokes and I am immediately very stupid – or at least stupider than normal. I don’t like being unable to complete a sentence because I can’t remember what was at the beginning of the sentence. I also find it depresses me horribly. I haven’t touched it in years and have no intention of taking it up again even if it’s available at my corner store.
But, that’s just me and really has little to do with my essential argument, which is: Pot should be legalized!
The carrying on with ancient laws and ancient prejudices coming out of the Reefer Madness era is just boneheaded. Police shouldn’t be wasting their time with the matter and it should never see the light of day in our courts of law.
Furthermore, it has a proved clinical virtue in the case of some conditions so why should people have to go through such nonsense – and it is nonsense – to access a drug that is far, far, far less damaging than some other drugs that are prescribed every day of the way, and is also far,far,far less damaging to all concerned than is alcohol?
Would legalization increase usage? I suspect not. Any more than I would suspect the legalization of heroin would drive people to the needle, or legalizing crack would bring forth some Rob Ford wannabes. (cheap shot, they’ve proved nothing, but I thought I’d get it in because everybody’s doing it.)
People in a free society will do what they do whether or not it’s illegal. So lets save society a lot of money and free up our courts at stop the farce.
By the way, as I wrote at the beginning, I never thought I’d say that.