I’ll spoil the fun real quick by saying that there are no good arguments against legalizing marijuana in the US. The conversation is over. America deserves at least semi-legal bud.
I would like to say the same for every other country in the world, but since some nations hardly have a stoner community and aren’t pushing to legalize drugs in any way, they’re probably better off continuing to call it a “Schedule 1 Narcotic” or whatever other bullshit term they use.
The reason I don’t think it would be a good idea for an essentially weed-free country like Thailand (where I live, and where drug use is extremely illegal and shunned socially outside of a few touristy areas and islands) to consider legalizing weed is because I don’t really think smoking weed is a good idea. While cannabis seems to enhance certain people’s happiness and daily functionality, I don’t think it’s crazy to call weed a gateway drug, or even count it out as a substance that can ruin lives. We all know that no one has ever overdosed on weed in a medical sense, but I’ve met my fair share of stoners who show serious signs of psychological trauma or just plain lack of purpose or direction in life, and their smoking habits seem fair to blame. Since the people of the Land of Thai aren’t asking for it or using it very often, legislators and law enforcement should probably just continue doing what they’re doing.
Personally, I’ve had mixed experiences when it comes to blazing some bush. Some of the coolest (and blurriest) memories I have were made possible by Mary Jane. Between concerts, movies, adventures into nature, and “high”-ly sophisticated conversations about the meaning of life, the weed angel on my right shoulder is sincerely appreciated.
I’ve had some bad trips too. During some of the lonelier times of my late teens and early twenties, smoking didn’t numb me out, but instead intensified the emptiness that had been tugging down on my soul. I certainly wasn’t physically addicted, but for whatever reason, I continued to get stoned on a daily basis knowing that it was going to make me miserable. I’d like to kick that weed devil on my left straight in the balls.
At the moment, weed is an annual treat for me. I’ve only taken about three total puffs over the course of my three-plus years in Thailand. But when I make my yearly pilgrimage back to the Land of the Free, hot dogs and tacos aren’t the only exotic treats I gorge on. I guess my transition from lowly pothead to boring adult who gets high on occasion has taught me that weed, like most things, is only beneficial until used in whatever a given individual would call excess. Weed is fine; overindulgence is not.
Ok… about those brilliant arguments against marijuana being legalized…
Legalizing marijuana would cause crime to rise
If weed were legal, the streets would be run by Mexican drug cartels with trained packs of hyenas who would murder every man, woman, or child who refused to buy at least $300 worth of Sour Diesel laced with angel dust on a daily basis. The LGBT and ISIS would join forces to breed an incurable strain of Ebola, and release it into churches throughout the Midwest during Sunday mass while taking bong hits. And Hillary Clinton would stop wearing a bra and be elected to four consecutive presidential terms!
Actually, if weed were legalized (or at least decriminalized), crime rates would drop instantly. Think about it. If bras were illegal, every non-Feminist household would be housing felons! Your Aunt Bertha is a felon! But if we then decided to re-legitimize ALL women’s undies, the rate instantly drops. That’s just friggin’ math.
Now, I understand that the actual concern people have is that the right to buy and use pot will result in less morality, less self-control, and more acts of violence, theft, and other illegal activity. Obviously, no one can guarantee that that won’t come to fruition because we’ve yet to figure out time travel (though Colorado and Portugal [which hasn’t ‘legalized’ weed, but has decriminalized all drugs] have shown promising results). But from another logical standpoint, prohibition of weed and other drugs guarantees! an increase in unlawfulness. Those real, Mexican drug cartels we’re always hearing about only exist because our country doesn’t allow us to regulate drugs on our own. The government bans weed, and a vicious black market is born.
If a few liquor stores and head shops converted to weed dispensaries, drug-trafficking gangs would be forced to compete with legit businesses. And they wouldn’t stand a chance! Aside from a bit of bathtub-brewed moonshine that doesn’t exactly meet the legal requirements for alcohol distillation, does anyone know anyone who chooses to buy alcohol from criminals instead of the strip mall down the road?
In the same way that there is no market for beer or whiskey distributed by a Tony Montana type, the drug lords getting rich off of blood and unregulated drug flow would have their legs cut out from under them if we could produce and sell drugs legally.
If weed were legal, more people would use it
I mean, come on, right? Obviously if we were allowed to use weed, we’d (weed, we’d) just be all like, “Oh, yeah! It’s time for weed all day! Yeah, baby! Weed all over my face!”.
Let’s try a crude, little flowchart to disprove this one… (click on it to see a legible version)
The point is, people (especially Americans) will do the things we want to do, and will avoid the things we don’t want to do – period. Laws don’t prevent anything.
And while I’m focusing on weed, this point could easily be applied to other drugs too. How many people choose not to shoot up heroin because the law says not to? I’m pretty sure the overwhelming majority of individuals who abstain from drug use would make the same choices regardless of lawfulness.
Besides, personal responsibility is the most crucial aspect of developing as a person and succeeding as a society. Whoever decides to use drugs is making a personal decision, and is subject to whatever consequences arise. Let’s start acting like adults and treating each other like grownups too (did anyone see Grown Ups 2? The first one sucked).
Weed’s illegality keeps it away from kids
I guess this makes some sense. If weed were legal, it would most likely be in greater supply. If that were the case, probability just might dictate that more kids would come into contact with ganja more often.
I only grew up in one place: Long Island, New York. While I can’t speak for the rest of the country, I can say that it was incredibly easy to buy great quantities of pot in high school and probably even middle school (which came before my first time smoking, but definitely not everyone’s). All you had to do at my high school was ask around a bit, and voila! A dealer was available and happy to do business with you. As far as I know, that’s still the case.
Alcohol, on the other hand, was a pain in the ass. My friends and I were ultimately able to get some booze more often than not, but it required some luck or a neck being stuck out for us.
Our options were:
- Have the kid with the most facial hair (me) try to casually buy a 30-pack of Bud Light at a bodega, and avoid getting ID’d (precocious puberty rules)
- Somehow acquire a fake ID, and hope that shop owners fall for it
- Beg an older brother or sister to get off the couch, get dressed, burn gas, and break the law with zero incentives or potential benefits
- Steal liquor from parents
While I admit persistence usually paid off for my friends and me, we had to jump through some hoops to get some beer-pong ammo. Meanwhile, a twenty-sack of buds was just a phone call away, and often came with delivery service.
If weed were legal and regulated, retailers would be on the hook for selling it to minors and would have everything to lose (i.e. – their livelihood) for being in violation of the law. Drug dealers have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so selling drugs to kids is a no-brainer. They’ve already made a moral decision to operate outside the law, or don’t have the capacity to understand the difference between right and wrong. It would be quite a surprise if those same individuals suddenly become morally responsible when their customers don’t look twenty-one.
By the way, the twenty-one thing is ridiculous. The drinking and smoking ages should be lowered or abolished. Let’s grow up.
Marijuana is bad for you
I won’t argue the fact that marijuana can be damaging. It’s not directly lethal, but it can lead to some bad shit. And if there are some mystical health benefits associated with smoking marijuana recreationally, great. But I don’t care, and it has nothing to do with my point.
Lots of things have the potential to be harmful. McDonald’s can cause obesity, alcohol can kill you, driving a car can result in homicide, caffeine can be addictive, sitting can lower your life-expectancy, you can drown if you go swimming, and your dog can pee on you while you sleep.
Just because something may be harmful doesn’t mean it should be illegal. Instead of saying “drugs are bad” and then pretending they don’t exist, how about providing useful information to young people about the potential dangers and misuses of drugs and alcohol? Let them know that weed can slow you down, and make you depressed. Tell them that if they are going to smoke, they should use pipes or vaporizers to avoid cancer causing tobacco and addictive nicotine. Explain that drugs will never make you happy, and that people who are genuinely happy and also use drugs, would most likely be just as happy sober.
In my opinion, few things could be more valuable for a child than the gifts of accountability and self-worth. When kids are given responsibility, they tend to rise to the occasion and do the right thing. When they fail, they recognize their mistakes and accept the consequences like mature adults. If we keep promising kids we’re here to take care of them and will always be there when they are in need, they’ll hate us in the end and rebel. I don’t have faith in liars either regardless of how delightful their intentions are.
A suggestion I would propose if we decided to decriminalize marijuana would be to increase punishment for crimes committed while under the influence of drugs. With increased freedom comes enhanced responsibility, and laws should reflect that.
That’s it! If we value reason, there’s just not enough of it to continue marijuana prohibition. Let the people do what they want, and regulate accordingly.