It's 4/20, the "counterculture holiday" celebrated by stoned college freshmen everywhere and Doug Benson fans in whichever city he's taping his annual comedy album. The debate for legalizing marijuana's getting louder, particularly with the recognition of "legal" medical marijuana dispensaries in 15 states along with Washington DC and the fact that our entire economy nearly collapsed a few years back and state governments are desperate for revenue. In case you haven't paid up your subscription to High Times, "legal" is in quotation marks because while states are starting to come around to the idea of decriminalizing pot, even if only for medical purposes, the federal government still very much disapproves and, despite the President's earlier pledge to focus on other things, have resumed raiding dispensaries and arresting licensed growers and patients.
It's a hot
box button issue, with strong feelings on both sides. And while I would certainly never admit that I smoke weed on the blog my employer pays me to write, I can appreciate the argument for legalization. There is evidence indicating it's less dangerous than alcohol. There is evidence showing it's not habit-forming. It would put a sizable dent in organized drug trafficking here and in Mexico. It would generate a TON of money. But this isn't a blog post to convince you one way or another.
This is a blog post to complain about stoners...
Because it's impossible to have an intelligent debate on marijuana legalization in this country. The side against has their evidence and it is organized, succinct, and itemized. It requires careful, thoughtful analysis before presenting your counterarguments. This is, after all, a debate over the writing of laws. You can't just wing it; you have to know your stuff forwards and backwards and it has to pass the muster. Your science must be accurate. The onus is on you because you have 40 years of law stating this stuff is a dangerous drug and people are going to need some serious evidence to think it's safe to unleash that stuff on the populace. But you believe in the cause so you do your homework and you come prepared and you wear your best suit and tie and you make clear, cohesive, cogent points.
Then the dude in the Rasta beanie and the Grateful Dead t-shirt shows up and starts howling "LEGALIZE IT, MAN! IT'S ONLY A PLANT! WE COULD MAKE INTO PANTS OR USE IT TO POWER OUR CARS!" And your argument, however valid, goes completely out the window.
"I don't understand why my senator's not taking me seriously."
Medical marijuana is about giving people access to something that can legitimately help with severe pain and nausea. Legalizing marijuana across the board is about people wanting to get high. We all know it. To try and argue that you should be able to grow hemp so you can make rope while holding a six-feet-tall bong with Bob Marley's face on it is disingenuous and it's what turns everybody off about supporting your cause. If you're not transparently honest about your stance then people are left to fill in the gaps with what else you might be hiding, and their imaginations run wild.
Worst case scenario: a huge spike in pictures like this.
So if you wear tie-dye and have multiple possession arrests, stop arguing about "the myriad uses" of pot. Once people can start admitting they just want to get high without having to visit some guy named "P-Nut," and pointing out that it's possible to use it responsibly, they might just get somewhere.
Not that it matters to me either way, of course.
Pictures (in order)
Eugene Stoner! by Don Hankins and
High way 420, Pennsylvania by nikoretro
used under a Creative Commons license.