In the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to rant and rave a little bit about the legalization of pot. Just like every middle-class twenty-something with a partial education and a liberal mindset, I am a pot smoker. It makes bad movies watchable, my posts funnier and it’s not hurting anybody.
Now, many of you probably remember a few posts back, where I talked about burnouts and how they were kind of douchebags. It’s people like that who are responsible for weed still being illegal.There, I said it.
What governmental body would legalize a substance that turns its users into lumps of giggling, all-consuming meat with blood-shot eyes and an unexplainable appreciation for Phish? It also doesn’t help that the die hard advocates for the legalization of marijuana are not exactly the most professional-looking bunch. How does your dreadlocked, hackey-sacking ass expect to be taken seriously in front of the Federal Senate, anthropological degrees be damed.
Now, I have a few friends (shocking, I know), many of whom indulge more than I. Some of these people continue to function perfectly well, some even better than the average person, despite how much they smoke. They maintain steady work, make rent payments on time, have an active social life, continue their educations and even have enough time at the end of the day to take their pet for a walk. The fact that they smoke weed seems almost incidental when everything else is taken into consideration.
But, that being said, every coin has a flip-side. I’ve seen people who just become so cripplingly burnt out that they don’t take care of themselves, they can’t hold down steady work and their social circles drop down to just their dealer. They miss rent payments, get booted from apartment after apartment and, eventually, get so apathetic towards everything that they barely ever leave their beds.
“Aha”, moos the barnyard cow from atop his soapbox. “That must be at least a part of it. Why would the government legalize a substance that has the potential to transform people into low-functioning, lazy zombies that do nothing but damage themselves and everyone they know?”
Okay, says I from atop my much larger, more well-constructed soapbox, then riddle me this: why do we have bars, clubs and liquour stores? Why do we have casinos? Why do things like World of Warcraft and Second Life exist? Why are the tobacco companies still churning one of the biggest profits on the planet?
There have been more deaths related to alcohol than marijuana, by an enormous margin. Whether it involves impaired driving, sudden bouts of drunken anger, depression leading to suicide or a person simply drinking themself to death, pound for pound, alcohol has one of the highest body counts in the world as far as legal substances go. Gambling, too, is another completely endorsed method for ruining lives. How many stories are there of people losing their whole fortunes in a single night of blackjack or craps? A few years back, a Korean man killed his neighbour over an item in World of Warcraft. Not video game killed. Actually murdered. Like, with a hammer, I think. While this is obviously an extreme case, people do spend thousands of dollars of real world money to improve the lives of their online avatars. I’m guessing I don’t need to explain why cigarettes are bad. The staggering body count should speak for itself.
What’s the difference between these and pot? Pot isn’t regulated by the government, while all the others are (with the exception of online gaming, which is regulated by the gaming company). Their distribution is monitored and controlled, their usage is taxed and limitations are put in place to at least help the users keep from going to extremes.
Now, here’s the system that I think ought to be in place. And I know the chronic users and burnouts might get mad at me for what I’m about to say, but that’s alright. I’m not too worried about being violently attacked on the street by people who are still having difficulty finding outside.
Get a system set up like the one in the Netherlands, where weed is perfectly legal, but regulated. Set up similar coffee shop-type places here in Canada (or wherever you’re reading this), and allow the government to maintain control over pricing and distribution. This plan would, in one fell swoop, drop the crime rate, stimulate the economy and create massive turnover for Kelloggs, as Pop Tart sales blast through the roof. It’s not a perfect plan by any stretch of the imagination (pot would definitely become more expensive, for starters), and there are still going to be uninterested parties, but it makes the most sense to me. You disagree with me? You want the world to know what you think? Write your own fucking blog.
While we’re on the topic of uninterested parties, let’s take a good, hard look at the biggest argument against legalization: marijuana being a gateway drug.
I once heard a parent tell her child that it has been scientifically proven that people who smoke marijuana are guaranteed to want to do harder, more dangerous drugs. This is almost completely untrue. Weed has less to do with the pursuit of more dangerous substances than how susceptable a user is to peer pressure, and the fact that pot smokers are just more likely to be exposed to things like cocaine or ecstacy. It has nothing to do with pot making you crave other drugs.
The one time I was offered a hit of coke, I declined outright, and I was already a little high. Maybe it was due to my lack of interest in being accepted into that crowd, or maybe it’s because I used to look a little bit like Chris Farley, and I know an omen when I see it. Regardless, I would never touch anything harder than marijuana. You can keep your cocaine, inevitable arrest and heaps of prison rape. I’ll stick with my bong, a bag of Doritos and Dark Side of the Moon on vinyl.
Happy 420, everybody.