So, as you may be aware, today is 4/20. I’m hoping most all of you were aware of that. What you may also be aware of, is that 4/20 is the officially recognized “Day To Get High” by gonja smokers the world over. See, the story goes that 4:20 PM is recognized as time to get high, making 4/20 a day long tokefest. Origin stories vary, but the one I find most viable is that the address on the townhouse in “Reefer Madness”, a video exposing the evil dangers of hemp consumption, was in fact 420. Either way, the number is recognized by all sorts of different illicit circles as a code word for Mary Jane herself. So, on this day, the twentieth of April, I offer you a blog post, after an unforgivably long hiatus (I was moving, so sue me).
As the title may have led you to believe, this is going to be rant about weed. To be specific, a rant in favor of weed’s legalization. Pro-pot, if you will. So going in, we should make a few things clear. One, I am not a user. I have known people who use, but I have a tenancy to avoid mind-altering substances, be they alcohol, tobacco, weed, or religion (zing!). I still vote in favor of marijuana consumption being legalized, while managed. I’m fairly libertarian, and this is one issue on which it shows. Two, I’m not going to make any of the following arguments:
That marijuana taxation would magically fix the economy. Stupid idea, conceived by those who don’t comprehend simple math.
That marijuana is good for you. It doesn’t cure cancer, it doesn’t help your respiratory system, and studies have shown that three joints do as much damage as twenty cigarettes. So shut it.
That marijuana’s being less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco means it should be legalized. Most of the arguments that head that direction just make me feel that alcohol and tobacco need outlawed.
And three, I don’t condone breaking the law, even (or rather especially) to protest said law. I don’t believe in buying guns just in case guns are outlawed, and I don’t believe in smoking up simply to try to prove a point. Both are just examples of people who have found a law they want to break, but are too self-righteous to admit it, so they’ve found an excuse that makes them look like martyrs for their cause, rather than just common outlaws.
So, I’m in favor of the legalization of reefer. And I’m not a toker myself. Let that sink in a minute. I suppose the reason why I’m in favor of the legalization of hashish is simply because I believe in letting a man destroy himself, if he so wishes. Now, obviously, I don’t like the idea of people being addicted. And I would, if I felt a friend were ruining his/her life with the stuff (or with anything), step in. But as far as the law is concerned, I don’t feel that the government, or any entity therein, has any right to say what I can and can’t do in relation to my own life. I have a strict live and let live stance on this one. Outlaw drunk driving, it can hurt others. Outlaw murder, it hurts others. Don’t outlaw gay marriage, it has no effect on anyone outside the couple. Don’t outlaw marijuana usage, it doesn’t hurt anyone other than the user. Unlike the legacy of other drugs, herb doesn’t carry side effects that are dangerous to passersby. There’s no reefer raging going on. Ever met users? Mellowest people in the world. True, it ruins the user’s lungs. True, it can start to cause brain damage after long use (akin to alcohol). But the fact is, as an adult human being, I feel I am capable of weighing the risks of such an activity on my own. I can ride my bike without a helmet, and I accept the responsibility if I crack my head wide open. I can try to do a double backflip off a roof while drunk, and I accept responsibility if I break my neck. I can leave my guitar on the floor, and I accept responsibility if I trip over it and cut my foot open (that kills, btw). I’m an adult. If I can accept the responsibilities of a job, and a marriage, and an apartment, and college, and am able to sign up for military service, then I can accept the responsibilites of cannabis use. I’m an adult human being, whose capacity for reason and inference is matched by no creature on planet Earth. Quit pretending you know what’s better for me better than I do. You know what? Maybe you do. But it’s on my head if I don’t heed your warnings. I acknowalge the warning, I accept the EULA, and I’ll sign the waiver. Let me be my own man. I’ve been waiting eighteen years for the chance.
I do not believe, however, that legalizing marijuana will somehow stop or lessen the violence in Central and South America over the marijuana trade, or that drug kingpins will fall with the law’s inception. It’s a wonderful thought, and I certainly understand where the idea comes from, but the fact of the matter is, these drug lords are, above all else, businessmen. They’re producing a product, and selling it for profit. For one, there’s more buyers than in just America, so I don’t see their stock just plummeting the moment legalization hits. First of all, there will still be no supply for the first few months that pot is legal. There are farms in Colorado and California and such, but I simply don’t believe that they can supply the amount that the populace would demand upon legalization. This provides the drug lords with a cushion, and one they’ll have been preparing for if they pay any attention to American press at all, and I would imagine they do. Secondly, even if America were where their sole income were coming from, they would, as businessmen would, simply change their product. They would start planting coca plants, or poppies, or whatever else would sell well once weed lost its low supply, high demand pricing. I’d love to believe that it were that easy to topple regimes, but they are in power because they are cunning and ruthless. Drug related deaths in America would drop, but worldwide, I don’t see a Pax Pangea coming on due to America’s marijuana laws.
The only argument I’ve ever heard against marijuana legalization that I thought was decent, came from 4chan (reread that sentence to make sure you read it right). The argument was, that a number of people, mainly kids, use marijuana not so much for the high, but to show that they’re cool. It’s a rite of passage. If marijuana becomes legal, it loses that allure, and the kids looking to show their cojones turn to drugs like crack or meth, since marijuana is something anyone can do. Although I agree with this in principle, I’m against attempting to predict the future. There’s no data to support this figuring, and until there is, a decision can’t be made based off of what we feel might happen.
If this were XKCD, the title-text would say something about how I used nine different words to refer to marijuana, ten if you count 4/20.