As a warning, this next post will likely tap into my inner hippie. But I think I’m right on this one. Well, when have I NOT thought I was right about a post? Anyway, I digress.
Yesterday at church, my pastor preached about how Christians have lost their boldness when it comes to standing up for our beliefs. He surmised that we have taken a back seat as secularism has assumed control of this country, leaving us in a position where our belief system is growing increasingly irrelevant. In addition to that being an odd statement given my beliefs that our commitment to Christ is measured more by how we treat our fellow man than how closely we align ourselves with rules or beat the world over the head with our beliefs, I found it odd that he used growing support for same-sex marriage and the legalization of medical marijuana as the basis for his argument. The gay marriage thing I’ve already discussed; so I’m good on that one. But what I haven’t discussed much have been my thoughts about marijuana; legal or otherwise.
Before I start, please don’t misinterpret this post as an explicit endorsement of weed-smoking. It’s not. I don’t smoke weed, I have no interest in it and – outside of once unwittingly eating brownies laced with marijuana, I’m no expert on how the stuff even works. But at the same time, I pride myself in being a champion of common sense. The arguments against weed – I’m sorry to say – fail on all fronts.
Let’s examine a few of the contenders, shall we?
(1) Weed is dangerous.
I’m a [relatively] young, black male living in Flint, Michigan. That being said, (1) going outside is “dangerous” in and of itself and (2) I can go anywhere within the city limits and be within a pebble toss of the neighborhood drug user. Hell, I have a few druggies in my own family. Every black family I know in Flint does. It’s not a pretty sight. So, yeah, I can partially see the argument about how drugs have a frighteningly disastrous effect on people. But then again, so does sticking your tongue on a hot oven range. Or using laundry detergent as a sugar substitute for your coffee. Or jumping out of airplane from a few thousand feet in the sky. Or using shards of glass to shave your face. But last I checked, none of these dangerous practices are illegal. Stupid as hell, sure. Illegal? Absolutely not.
My examples are silly, I’ll grant you that. But I think they’re effective in pointing out the stupidity of arbitrarily deciding what self-imposed bodily damage is and is not legal. But even if we want to consider examples less absurd than the ones I used, even alcohol and tobacco – both far deadlier than weed – are perfectly legal and are available at any local party store. That’s probably why, in that respect, I’m on [gulp] #TeamTeaParty. The government’s job is not to tell me what I can and can’t do with my body. Their job is to protect us from small pox, Martians, and
BinLaden, Saddam, Qadaffi, Kim Kardashian.
(2) Legalizing weed will lead to widespread use.
This nonsensical argument suggests that the only thing keeping weed usage from reaching epidemic levels is legislation. Of all the silly arguments I’ve heard, this one takes the cake. Perhaps I’m naive, but I’m sure Walmart wouldn’t have a line wrapped around the block full of new customers looking to buy weed. They’d attract the people already using it and maybe – just maybe – a few new and/or curious customers. They will probably be a few new users, but it’s not unlike anything currently available (alcohol, tobacco). People who already want it/use it would probably be the biggest population of consumers.
(3) People operating under the influence of marijuana lack the faculties to properly function.
This argument falls in line with the suggestion that drugs are dangerous. We try to imagine marijuana users in a capacity where their abilities could be impaired during situations calling for them to be alert. Again, I call nonsense. How many employers do you know would allow their employees to arrive at the job drunk? Or too sick? Or just too tired to operate? Added to that, many organizations are slowly removing cigarette smoking off their property and damn-near forcing people to either go home or fly to the moon just to light one up. All that being said, how many employers do you think would allow their people to work while they’re high? Getting over the highness of weed isn’t just about popping a few tic tacs in your mouth.
In summary, I don’t see any clear reasons not to make weed legal. Oppositely though, I can see all sorts of reasons to nationalize the legal use of marijuana, medical or otherwise. Legalizing drugs drastically changes this so-called “War on Drugs”, which would be a huge plus for black men who are often subjected to the harshest punishments for drug use. I can also see significant financial implications at play on a national level. Drug legalization could easily translate into billions of dollars worth of much needed revenue in this country. On top of it all, legalizing drugs lifts the restrictions the government has imposed on people and their individual will to dictate what they can and can’t do with their own bodies.
I’m sorry, but until someone can offer up a compelling and sensible argument on why weed is bad (or, at the very least, somehow worse than alcohol, tobacco, or overeating), I can’t be preached to about the evils of drugs. But that’s me. What say you?