So, What’s Up with Marijuana?
As many of you already know, I spend a lot of time driving to and from work. During that time, I listen to lots of liberal talk radio. Specifically, on the way home, I listen to the Norman Goldman show (which I was actually on during the June 28 show…yeah, I’m a celebrity). Norm, and his liberal co-horts, love marijuana…or more precisely, love the “legalize it” movements. In California, for example, there is a proposition to legalize pot on the ballot for November (medical marijuana has been legal for a while now). I don’t see it passing, but if such a proposition stands a chance anywhere, it’s California.
Now, I know some people who call themselves good conservatives that actually think we should legalize marijuana. Of course, they flow a little more libertarian than I do (or a lot more…libertarianism is logically self-destructive…but that’s a different post). They think it should be o.k. to smoke pot in the privacy of one’s own home. Liberals think the same thing, although they’re not quite as blatant about it. Liberals would also like to tax it because, well, that’s what liberals like to do. The question I continue to ask, that no one seems to ever have a good answer to is, would legalizing marijuana make this country a better place? And before you say something about “freedom,” smoking pot isn’t a constitutional right, so get a grip.
Since the status quo for pot is that it’s currently illegal, an argument must be advanced as a reason to legalize it. I’ve heard lots of arguments, and they’re all about as convincing as a story about unicorns told to me by my six year old over a game of Go Fish. First, there’s the high school quality “well alcohol’s legal” argument, which is complete nonsense. Alcohol, if consumed in moderation, will not cause one to become inebriated. The same cannot be said for marijuana. I’ve always referred to this as the “you can’t smoke crack responsibly” counter-argument. Seriously, does anyone smoke pot for any reason other than to get high? I doubt it (I’ll deal with the medicinal arguments below). Also, if enjoyed in moderation, alcohol isn’t unhealthy. Again, not true with marijuana. In fact, pot is worse for you than cigarettes.
Then there’s the only slightly better “cigarettes are legal” argument. Well, cigarettes, like pot, are definitely unhealthy. They don’t cause you to become inebriated though. In other words, people can smoke cigarettes while driving without automatically running the risk of crashing into somebody because they’re trying to hide from the black helicopters. And no, one does not drive better while high.
Simply put, unless a user of pot is physically confined to his or her home for a few hours, smoking pot is a bad idea.
Then there’s the medicinal crowd. While smoking marijuana has been proven to stimulate the appetite and help control nausea, this is equally true of orally ingested cannabis, which typically doesn’t cause one to become high. In other words, there’s no reason for a cancer patient to be smoking marijuana.
Finally, there’s the “let’s tax it” crowd. As an initial point, even those who argue in favor of legalizing marijuana agree that no one knows how many people would use pot if it was legalized or how much in revenue would be generated. For example, would enough be generated to off-set the government subsidies which would certainly go to those who became addicted to marijuana or who are unemployed because of it? No one knows. Simply legalizing something just to tax it though, when we can’t deal with our current budget, seems like a dumb idea…especially when the something has little benefit to society.
That’s right, I dropped the “society” line in there. Too liberal for you? Maybe…but at some point it has to be said. Would it be better if I said something like “let’s legalize all drugs, because then, all of the losers would be weeded out of the herd?” While I’m a conservative, I’m also realistic…we all need to live in the community (unless you’re a survivalist living in a shack in the woods…in that case, you can smoke whatever you want). Simply put, what’s the benefit to legalizing the stuff? We’ve all known people that smoked too much and couldn’t get off the couch. If we believe the hype that more people will use it because it’s cheaper and legal, do we really want more people on the couch? Does marijuana make anybody more productive (other than “artists”)? I doubt it.
Legalizing marijuana has all the signs of unintended consequences. I think it’s a stupid idea, but I’ll continue to listen to the arguments in favor of it…maybe one will actually change my mind.
But I doubt it.
P.S. To the “if we legalize it, crime will go down” crowd…crime would go down if we legalized lots of things. Should we legalize heroin next?