I was a kid when I first went to college. I studied Addictions Counseling, so even though it was back in 2007, one of my assignments was answering the question in bold below.
I stumbled into this old college paper of mine and got a kick out of the fact that I feel exactly the same about cannabis legalization arguments today, as I did ten years ago. When I say “a kick” I mean .. the world is really messed up and it makes me laugh awkwardly.
Note: I would never call it “marijuana” now — but I am trying to bring the term “The Devil’s Lettuce” back!
Many people believe that marijuana should be legalized, for a variety of reasons. What is your opinion on this subject?
I fully believe marijuana should be legalized. I don’t think it should only be decriminalized. Decriminalization would be the government still refusing to accept the fact that marijuana is no worse than alcohol. Which, in my opinion is completely ridiculous. Even if marijuana consumption comes with the risks (which I’m not convinced it does) so does smoking tobacco and consuming alcohol.
The only reason marijuana actually became illegal was the propaganda campaign against it and all the money-hungry and racist fuel to that stigma-creating fire. The propaganda campaign began in the 20’s in the United States, and was started by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. First they claimed it would make people kill and rape. When that was proven to be ridiculous they had to come up with something new. Since heroin was on the rise, the Bureau decided they could use that to their advantage. They said pot was the “gateway drug” and using it would lead to using harder drugs like heroin. The brainwashing was successful and in 1937 marijuana was made illegal. Now, I admit most people who use heroin probably did smoke pot first. However, I also think that most people who smoke pot probably first entered the world of mind-altering substances with alcohol. Therefore, I believe alcohol is the true “gateway substance.”
The only thing the law accomplishes is forcing people to purchase pot on the street. Even many people who use marijuana for medical reasons are forced to purchase pot illegally. I personally suffer from a chronic illness (Crohn’s Disease) that marijuana can make more manageable. Because of the law, the doctors insisted I try all of the available high-risk prescription drugs first. It makes no sense for me to consume steroids, immune suppressants and opiates if I don’t have to. My doctors would rather I did morphine over marijuana, just because the latter is known as an illegal street drug. Therefore, I really don’t believe marijuana being illegal is stopping anyone from smoking it in the first place, well, besides maybe my doctors.
There are also people (like my mother) who think that if pot becomes legal everyone will be driving around in their cars smoking bongs and hitting people without even knowing it. Once again, the people who are going to do those kinds of things surely don’t care that pot is illegal right now. The police will just have to come up with some sort of way to test people for it. Perhaps police could offer them chips? Either way, they have no test to see if someone has taken too much cold medication or not slept in two days either. Therefore, the fact that they do not have an effective way to ensure people are not driving after using marijuana is not a good enough reason to have it remain illegal.
Some believe the government should not legalize marijuana on account of the health risks. Surely those people must be joking. Since the health risks of marijuana will never come close to that of alcohol and tobacco. So, I believe that similar laws to those regulating alcohol would have to be in place, such as being a certain age to legally be able to have and consume it, we’ll go with 19 (since I am over that). Smoking a lot of pot on a daily basis may not be the healthiest lifestyle. But, just as some people choose to drink or smoke tobacco everyday, it should be a choice up to each person, not the government and the propaganda from the 1920’s. Therefore, I am 100% for the legalization of marijuana.
Note: I wrote this paper before I knew vaporization was a possibility. Pretty sure vaping and eating weed every day is a healthy lifestyle choice! For me it is anyways. 😉