March 27, 2009

Just Ask Tom Petty What He Thinks

Smoking pot is something I've never done. I've not done it for a multitude of reasons. When I was younger I just didn't hang with that crowd (well I did but never when they were smoking), D.A.R.E. scared the shit out of me, I didn't know where to get it for myself and I have total control issues. Who knows how I would react? Once I got to college I liked the fact that I could look my sister in the eye and tell her I never did it. That was really important to me. Once I got out of college I figured I'm too old to start and what was I missing in the first place? My friends who did it are over it, none of them miss it, so I'm good. I have enough vices anyway.

But the biggest reason I never smoked pot was because of my father. There was something about the way he approached drinking and drugs. He was never of the opinion that drinking and drugs were immoral or would send me to hell. He came from a different direction. I asked him one day why he never really drank, and he said, your mother drinks enough for the both of us. No seriously, (she did though) he said that all of his opportunities to drink were at military functions with his squadron and he had an example to set, he didn't really see the need and our family has a history of abuse. The same reasons applied to his complete lack of Mary Jane experience. He was so calm about it, no lecture about it being "bad," no condemnation of those who do. It made complete sense to me. (Full disclosure- I have a 60 year old uncle who lives in the Rockies and the man is a walking marijuana plant. I think he's a loser when really he's the equivalent of an alcoholic. He is incapable of clarity- my brother called him once while he was in the neighborhood and the guy didn't know who he was until my brother mentioned my mother- the dude's sister. How many Zachary's can this guy know? Moderation, dude.)

I don't really understand why pot is illegal. It grows in the ground, you smoke it and it makes you hungry or something. So what? Why does the government care what I do with my brain? It's like drinking, just don't drive or operate machinery while intoxicated. I firmly believe in making the shit legal. I know it's more complicated than this but I'm going to put it simply- legitimizing pot takes care of many problems such as prison overpopulation and increasing tax revenue. Prison? you say? In many parts of the country, such as New York State, first time pot dealing offenders are thrown in prison. No three strikes, nothing. I don't have specific statistics to back this up but a large portion of the prison population is in the slammer due to drug dealing. Incarcerating only the serious offenses is incredibly attractive for social and economical reasons that I'm not going to get into here. As for taxes, that's self explanatory. Also, if you legalize pot, the pot that would be on the market will be regulated and therefore safer- no chance of contaminates or whatever jerks put in their doobies. (Are the Doobie Brothers really named after pot? I love those guys.)

What bothers me the most about the argument of legalizing pot is that lawmakers assume those who want it legalized are addicted to the stuff. That is totally not the case. People are always going to smoke pot. Why not make money from it? Why not make it easier for cancer patients to get medicinal marijuana? Why not take the stick out of your ass and think outside the box sometime? Is it because you think all people who like to get buzzed are possessed by Satan? Yeah, think about it while you enjoy your second glass of Pinot Noir, Beelzebub.


Tina Winston said...

An interesting post. One comment I would make, though, is that legalization does not necessarily mean regulation. Look at cigarettes: they are legal, but there are so many additives in them now that they are worse for you than plain old tobacco, and far more addicting. Also, alcohol is legal because the effect of it on the body is quantifiable (BAC/BAL) and so laws can be made and enforced based on those measurable thresholds. Perhaps the effects of cannabis on the brain are not as concrete or fully understood. I think it will remain illegal until more is known about it.

belleshpgrl said...

You are totally right about regulations. I didn't know that about cigarettes and the same rules are totally applicable to joints. I'm sure there are plenty of studies being done on how the plant affects your brain but maybe not too many about how to quantify the affects.

I do think these studies are very much worth conducting.

dad said...

I forget the name of the guy, but there is an ex-cop with many years experience who heads up a group of former law enforcement officials in favor of legalizing many drugs. Not a user himself, he is very vocal and makes several good points about the overall positive effect it would have on our society, but admittedly his points do not include Tina's concerns. Personally, I think the main effect of legalization and control (castrating the Mafia, MS 13, the drug cartels and the Taliban cash cow) would outweigh the cost of treating addiction--since we already have that problem in spades anyway.