Let’s start with a basic fact: I’ve smoked pot. A lot of people that meet me probably assume I still smoke pot, which isn’t accurate (I mean, there are weddings here and there where things happen, but let’s not get too bogged down in details). I’ve smoked pot and literally every single person I consider a friend, minus maybe one person I can think of off the top of my head, has smoked pot too. All those people are smart, capable, funny individuals. They all hold jobs, many hold advanced degrees, and no one is a scourge of society. (Hell, I might be the closest.) Many make six-figures and have top-25 college degrees. Almost all are raising children. Some of these people smoked tons more than I ever did.
It’s time to just fully legalize it in the United States. Let’s run through a couple of situations here.
First off, marijuana is far and away the world’s largest cash crop. It crushes rice:
Please also note that the three most lucrative crops in the world are all illegal narcotics. That’s promising.
Next, consider this. Close to half the U.S. population can both smoke weed and attend a same-sex marriage:
We’re getting there already — in January 2013, we hit a point where over 50 percent of the United States favored legalizing marijuana — for context, in 1969, it was about 12 percent.
As a brief sidebar, let’s look at this map — by most estimates, the concept of “Manifest Destiny” (the US spreading westward) began in 1812 or so. 202 years later, the American west is unquestionably the best place to take a bong hit while watching a lesbian wedding:
Here’s a good, basic breakdown on the pro/con arguments for marijuana legalization. Here’s how I’d see it:
- It makes money: You see the cash crop info above, but also note that Colorado is taking in about $6.5-$7.5 million per month from marijuana.
- We’re already halfway there: Look at the map directly above. It’s pretty much the South, the Rust Belt, and the agrarian north middle that needs to come around fully.
- The gateway drug argument is pretty much a myth: Read this.
- Soft legalization can also work: This doesn’t bring in revenue, but it can help with criminality and the overall drug trade.
- It’s a sensible approach: Even some old stalwarts are coming around.
Look, we live in a very Puritanical society — I don’t think anyone would argue that. And we live in a society where mothers mean more than almost anything as a cultural construct — look at MADD, etc. Mothers are often (not always) who worries about “the gateway drug” argument and other ideas that have long been used to keep legalization down, even though Congress debunked that idea in 1999, if not before (see link above).
My general idea: legalize weed. Each state can do it their own way. If it’s going to be taxed and become a revenue item, tax the ever-loving shit out of it, and funnel that money back into public schools or highway infrastructure or getting your state out of debt. Is it a bit awkward that people toking up could be improving public schools? Sure. But beggars can’t be choosers.
Even The Baltimore Sun is calling legalization “the only option” these days, and pointing to another good argument: you can easily make the case that drinking young (18, 21) leads to increased alcohol dependency, yet not a soul in America today is calling for Prohibition — and weed probably does less damage than alcohol, all-in.