Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It Doesn't Take Common Sense to Know...Legalizing Marijuana is Not a Bad Idea

It Doesn't Take Common Sense to Know...Legalizing Marijuana is Not a Bad Idea

Now I know that this sounds strange, but I have never done any drugs in my life harder than aspirin. I have never smoked marijuana and I don't plan to. It's funny that I have to preface this with that and I know this sounds strange because many people do it.

Since high school I have gotten used to saying the phrase "no thank you". I am not ashamed to admit that in the beginning I was just completely and utterly terrified to do it. I was afraid of getting caught, getting sick, or being labelled a "pot smoker". Even though nearly everyone I know has smoked pot or still smokes pot, getting labeled with the title "pot smoker" apparently still carries a negative connotation to it. Moving forward to senior year of high school and beyond, I was just simply not interested in smoking pot. There was and is nothing appealing about it to me. I am a relaxed person anyway so why the hell do I need to be more relaxed. When it comes to having the "munchies", I am pretty overweight as it is. Having witnessed someone go through a bad case of the "munchies", I think if I was a regular pot smoker I would be dead. All jokes aside, it really was and is not something I am interested in. Now I must admit that I was a pretty big underage drinker, drinking parties with the football team, drinking beer and playing Halo 2, or just having a beer at a barbecue. That brings me to my next point.

One of the major arguments against legalizing marijuana is "that will make it easy for people who are underage to access it". I find this argument very weak. Yes it maybe true that it may make it easier but if it is regulated to say that you must be over 21 to consume marijuana, I don't see a problem. Alcohol can only be consumed by people who are over the age of 21 so what's the problem. The point is that if underage people want to use pot or alcohol they will find ways to use it, whether it is illegal or not. It is truly incredible, when having conversations with people, to discover strictly by my own experiences how many people actually smoke pot.

The important point is that if a person who is underage is caught drinking, most likely they will either get a slap on the wrist or a fine. Nothing will be put on his/her records and most likely there will not be outrage or excommunication from family and friends. Now if a person is caught smoking marijuana, the outcome can be very different. Not only can you be charged with a crime and put in jail, but depending on how much you have on your person, you can be charged with a felony. It's truly not fair considering that smoking pot and underage drinking are both things that seem to be rights of passages these days.

Why take the risk? I don't understand why people take the risk to get high. I know the answer to that is, “Well you haven't tried it, so you don't understand”. The point is that I have come to the conclusion, at least in my head, that the risk doesn't outweigh the reward. I don't judge people, it's just simply something that I do not want to do. That all being said, there should not be a risk associated with doing something in the privacy of your own home and property, by yourself or with friends. By breaking it down, the simple answer is that marijuana is a plant/herb that you smoke to provoke a chemical response within in your body. The same can be said about alcohol, tobacco, chocolate, coffee, and tea. All of those substances are perfectly legal and just as natural as marijuana.

By making it illegal you make it dangerous in so many ways. You create a black market and illegal drug dealers, who can be dangerous people in their own right. So there is a risk associated just with buying pot. Not only is there a physical danger but the person who is selling it can be a cop, you could get caught by the police transporting it home, and by buying it illegally, you run the risk of purchasing fake pot or even worse it could be laced with something harmful. I know that this is not typically the case and everything I mentioned are the worst case scenarios. But it is not impossible and those things can and do happen all the time.

Lets discuss one of the main arguments that are made against the use of marijuana. By legalizing marijuana, whats the next step, legalizing cocaine, heroin, crack, etc? I honestly am torn by this argument. I feel that people who are capable of making rational decisions should be able to do whatever they want to their body as long is it does not affect other people. I am a complete believer in Darwinism especially when it comes to society. If you want to use heroin by all means use it, because you are going to die. There is a line that needs to be drawn and it really doesn't take common sense to know that if you use heroin you are going to die. There is a big difference between using pot for recreation and relaxation, and using heroin. I don't know what it is but if you were to legalize all drugs, it just seems like there is something wrong with looking behind the counter at a deli and seeing bags of cocaine, needles, crack rocks, and marijuana next to the cigarettes. Oddly enough the healthiest thing on that list is the marijuana.

I know, the same can be said about cigarettes. If you want to smoke cigarettes you are going to die. I don't know, I just don't put hard drugs in the same category as marijuana, alcohol, and cigarettes. I think I might have to use the argument that I hate. I can't condone making it easy for children or underage people to get hard drugs. "But if they want to get it they are going to get it anyway!!" The point is that, I can't see places selling a product that is guaranteed to kill you. Heroin, cocaine, crack, let's not have any illusions about this, those drugs will kill you/ruin your life. The problem with hard drugs other then heroin, you tend to hang on for a while and your life just completely implodes and then you die. I am sorry but people can function perfectly normal using marijuana, smoking cigarettes, and drinking alcohol. Like anything else, moderation is very important and addiction can be attributed to nearly everything. So if we are going to outlaw something based on it being addictive then I am going to go to jail, because if you make coffee illegal, hell I might turn to prostitution to get my caffeine fix.

Finally to the most interesting arguments I have heard for the legalization of marijuana. There are a lot of arguments made for the legalization of marijuana but I think that some of the most convincing are the most simple, as is usually the case when it comes to common sense. The most obvious to me is that alcohol and cigarettes are a lot more dangerous then marijuana. You can die from drinking too much alcohol, be it from choking on your own vomit after passing out or good old fashioned alcohol poisoning. Cigarettes will eventually kill you but the short term effects can be scarring of the lungs, coughing, compromised immune system, not to mention second hand smoke hurting the people around you. Marijuana has no known side effects, it is impossible to overdose on pot, there are no long term effects, and because of its natural source, tar and other deadly chemicals are not introduced into your system. Cancer has not been known to be caused by regular use of marijuana. Furthermore the benefits of smoking pot to alleviate the effects of chemotherapy and benefits for patients with glaucoma are proven and even implemented in states that allow medicinal marijuana use. Still marijuana is illegal, and alcohol and cigarettes are perfectly legal with age restrictions.

An amusing, but compelling argument are the tax benefits associated with legalizing marijuana. Cigarettes are heavily taxed as well as alcohol. By outlawing pot use not only do you create criminals for a victimless crime but you are losing millions if not billions of dollars in tax revenue for the government. Why keep waging a war on pot smokers when the war is quite convincingly lost. By legalizing pot you create a whole new industry, a taxable industry and you take away the factor of pot being shipped in from foreign countries and possibly funding organized crime actives both foreign and domestic, or even worse terrorism.

After all of that, this is still a very heavily debated topic in American politics and rightfully so. This is a very sensitive issue because it basically comes down to personal opinion. Whether you smoke pot regularly or you are vehemently against it I don't think that you can deny that what someone does within the privacy of their own home is their own business. If you are worried about your child smoking pot if it is legalized then you will have to watch them just as much as you would watch them if you didn't want them to get their hands on alcohol. It really is as simple as that. If you are against the legalization of hard drugs, well, I am completely with you on that. The real answer to that is I don't know. Even though I said I believe in survival of the fittest I can't logically condone or use common sense to justify the legalization of a product that is basically guaranteed to kill people.

Written by: Salvatore Pezzino Jr.
Edited by: Julius Motal

1 comment:

  1. Sal, I think you make a great argument, and I want to add to it. Your argument about taxation is, as you say, quite amusing yet effective and it's one I like to use. But, in conjunction with the argument of taxation is marijuana was illegal,you can also argue the other point concerning the millions (if not billions) of taxpayer money that could potentially be saved by not having to police, investigate, arrest, jail, prosecute, and imprison. Persecution and imprisonment
    of those convicted of marijuana related crimes comes at high cost to American citizens. And much of it could be saved (along with the money made from taxation) if marijuana was legalized.