I understand from news sources that there is a push toward legalizing marijuana which recently made it to “suggestions for the White House” or something like that. I have to say that I don’t understand all the details, but I am NOT for legalizing pot, not for taxing it for revenue, not for saying it’s good in any way — with the possible medical use of cancer patients and patients with other diseases that make a person “waste away” like HIV.
I was one of those voters who didn’t want to decriminalize pot, because I thought it was the first step toward legalizing it, regardless of what the police or sheriff on the radio said. Sure enough, here we are. That said, I’m actually more in favor of decriminalizing pot than I used to be, because there are some realities I didn’t know about. For example, if possession was a felony and you were found guilty, it was harder — if not impossible –to get student loans. I never knew there was a connection between student loans and drug convictions, but apparently there is. Decriminalizing it meant that such nonsense changed. Decriminalization also meant that people didn’t go away to prison forever for smoking a joint or two or even ten. The cost of keeping somebody in prison is a ridiculous amount of money per year, and there so many better things to be done with that money — plus putting people who aren’t violent in with violent criminals makes more violent criminals and more traumatized people. The legal system and the punishment system in this country are so messed up right now that the fewer people we can put in jail, the better off we are as a society. Let people who are really psychopaths or violent go there, but other than that, keep people unlike that away. But that’s a whole other blog.
Back to marijuana — here are my reasons against it.
1) Today’s marijuana is “not your father’s marijuana”. It is 1o times (at least) more potent than it used to be. It is far, far from the “innocuous little weed” my teacher in college talked about smoking.
2) It is way more expensive than it used to be — by factors I can’t even imagine. My clients tell me about the wide variety of pot that’s out there — from “dirt” which probably was your father’s pot — to “cush” which costs some incredible amount — hundreds of dollars — for a bud of marijuana. The people I know who smoke marijuana don’t have that kind of money and they don’t have any time to waste blotto out of their mind. Between spending a lot for it, and making nothing while using it, marijuana use destroys any financial stability a person might have. We don’t need another way to keep the poor poor.
3) It is addictive. Because teachers years ago spoke of it as “innocuous”, and because nobody I knew in the day had to have any, I assumed it wasn’t addictive. Back in the day, I knew lots of “stoners” and “burnies” who lost a lot of brain cells and thinking capacity smoking all the time, but not of them got violent if they didn’t have it. About six years ago, I met my first guy who was “addicted to marijuana” and it took a bit to get used to his existence. I doubted that he was actually addicted, but if he thought so, that was good enough for me. It was his life, and his experience. Recently, I read an article that talks about withdrawal symptoms from marijuana, so the science is there.
Besides that, I have plenty of experience with pot addicts. Since then, I have come to know people who truly are addicted to pot, who get violent and aggressive and act like jerks to their families and children because they don’t have pot. I knew a man on disability who received $700 or so per month, spent $400+ per month on pot and couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t able to pay his bills! The same man gets really, really nasty to his wife and deprives his child of food because of it — and I know many of “him” in various locations, with various families.
4) People like the man in #3 can’t tell the difference between “decriminalized” and “legal”. The day that Massachusuetts voted to change the law and make it a $100 fine for possession of less than an an ounce of marijuana, — that very day I had clients telling me it was legal. People who think that way already will use any excuse to use a drug. “Not being punished harshly” is the same thing as saying “its good” ! If we make it legal, people will start saying it’s good for you — aka “healthy” — to smoke pot.
Again, there are all kinds of subtleties and plans about tax money and lower costs for pot, etc. Those things would require a lot more than I’m ready to — or capable of — discussing. But just purely on a “is marijuana good or bad” and “should society condone it?” basis, I see nothing good coming of the legalization of pot. People don’t need another way to die — smoking pot destroys the lungs faster than cigarettes. People don’t need another way to get poor — or another tax for poor people to pay like beer and cigarette taxes. Children and families don’t need another way to be denied what they need. Being stoned out of your mind is not a way to live — it’s a way to avoid living.
I welcome responsible opposing viewpoints, but — for now, and for simplicity’s sake — I’m against legalizing marijuana.