Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Legalization of Marijuana: The Philosophy is Different Than What People Think ...

I can't seem to get away from the discussion on legalizing marijuana.  It's on the news, it's on Facebook, it's in casual conversations.  Everyone seems to want to weigh in on this one, yet I can't fully understand why.  I've come to the conclusion that the only people who are going to win on this one are the sociologists.

Realistically, marijuana is less harmful than either alcohol or tobacco, both of which are legal (if heavily regulated).  Using the "it's dangerous" argument is just illogical, unless you're willing to explore making booze and butts illegal.  That whole "gateway drug" theory has long since been disproven.  

So why is it such a big deal?

My theory is that people just like to have something to complain about.  

No, seriously, hear me out.  

I think the idea that pot is this big, bad drug has been pretty much taken off the table.  According to an article I read on WMUR this morning, 60% of New Hampshire taxpayers are in favor of "legal, taxable marijuana sold by licensed stores for recreational use".

The barriers have been eroding for some time, and the legalization of medical marijuana has effectively shown that it's not really that big a deal.

True story ... a man was dying of lung cancer, and chemotherapy was wreaking havoc on his appetite.  His wife was told by the doctor that marijuana therapy would probably help him gain weight, but unfortunately it was illegal in New Hampshire.  His wife was tearfully sharing this with her daughters, and it was quickly pointed out to her that they could run over to UNH and have marijuana for him in about twenty minutes.

So, yeah, it has been moving slowly toward legalization.  The stigma has largely disappeared.  Pot smoking is no longer associated with certain negative stereotypes.

And yet the hold up continues.

Right now, the vocal majority are united in the whole "Let's legalize it" cry.  People from all walks of life are joined against the government, either by speaking out publicly or through regular tokes in the privacy of their homes.  These voices run the gamut of rich and poor, of educated and uneducated, of urban and rural.  In the battle against the government vis a vis legalization of pot, there is a strange equality that has come forth.

As soon as pot is legal for recreational use (and make no mistake, it will be), that unity is going to crumble.

Watching this unfold is a sociologist's dream, really ...

Republicans are going to start slamming Democrats about how this is just one more thing the government is trying to control.  Democrats are going to try to make pot taxes exorbitantly high to finance some sort of social issue du jour.  The wealthy are going to complain about taxes on pot.  The poor are going to complain about taxes on pot.

The same people that sell untaxed cigarettes and alcohol are going to get in on the action afforded by marijuana.  Cops are going to be paid off to overlook the difference between the legal ounce and possession of two or three ounces.  Crooked politicians are going to finance underground pot farms and receive kickbacks from illegal sales.

It's going to be a giant clusterfuck, in other words.

This sounds awful, but I am kind of looking forward to it, just because it will be interesting.  

I have no vested interest in marijuana being legal.  I mean, my own personal relationship with cannabis has ended; high school and college were ages ago.  I feel like it should be legal because there is no compelling reason for it not to be, but it doesn't really matter that much to me.  The truth is, if I wanted to get my hands on pot, it would be easy; however, if pot was legal, I would have no interest in buying any.  That ship has sailed for me.  When I am at social gatherings when bowls are passed, I choose to say no, yet I have no issue with those that choose to say yes.  (This is an awkward paragraph, yet I feel like it needs to be included)     

I am reminded of that old adage, "Be careful what you wish for."  I think, in the case of legalization of pot, it's going to lead to another saying ... "May you live in interesting times." 

I think we will be.

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