About once a week, I visit my favorite liberal propaganda website to reinforce many of my political opinions. One of the articles this week was about the debate over marijuana legalization. It was definitely written from the anti-prohibition viewpoint, so my thoughts were very nicely echoed.
It was then that I realized that I’ve never mentioned my stance on drug policy on my blog! This must be rectified. So here it is. I’m for the legalization of any drug for recreational use that isn’t highly addictive. This means I support the legalization of marijuana. The reasons are the same as the relatively well-known ones. Just in case you don’t know them, I’ll list them here.
- reduce violence associated with large black markets
- generate revenue through taxation
- end major portion of a failed and costly drug ‘war’
- is less harmful to one’s health than already legal recreational drugs
- end part of racist drug policy and enforcement
- able regulate to create a safe product
The first point is the most important to me. Even if the drug was habit-forming, I’d rather have addicts than bodies. High demand combined with prohibition for any substance has one inevitable effect: It creates a black market run by organized crime syndicates that invariably are violent. Combine that with the fact that the drug is harmless to one’s health and that it makes economic sense should make this policy change a no-brainer.
So why do people oppose legalization? Here are the reasons I know of:
- It’s addictive and harmful to one’s health
- It’s a gateway drug to more serious substances
- Heavy use by adolescence leads to socialization problems
- It promotes laziness
- Don’t want contact buzz from 2nd hand smoke
This simply isn’t true, at least not when compared with legal substances. Let’s just say I’ve done personal research on the addictive aspects (I used to be very addicted to nicotine). There is some research out there that long-term, heavy use can cause health problems; so do already legal substances. Alcohol can cause liver failure and tobacco can cause cancer if used long enough and/or frequently enough. Note, also, that both those legal drugs are addictive to some portion of the population. If this is one’s primary reason for support for prohibition, then one must also support a ban on alcohol and tobacco to remain consistent in one’s opinion.
I didn’t do any research on this point, but I’d imagine that there is some evidence that this is ture. What I think is ignored is the reasons why this might be. First, it’s the most widely available to youth, so it’s not surprising that it’s tried first. Considering the absurd propaganda against pot, I’d bet that a common response after using it would be, “That wasn’t nearly as bad as the government/adults said it was. What other drugs are they lying about?” Also since they are already breaking the law, there’s less of a stigma to overcome when contemplating more serious drugs. If we were honest about the effects of marijuana instead of using fear-tactics and if the drug were legal, it would cease being a gateway drug.
Fine. Put an age restrictions like we do for the legal recreational drugs. The fact that a substance is harmful for children is insufficient reason for making it illegal for adults. It’s an argument for restricting its use around youth, but remember that tobacco is harmful for children as well. Any restrictions on one based on this reason is just as applicable to the other.
Does it promote laziness any more than television? Shall we ban that as well then? Furthermore, laziness isn’t a crime. There are plenty of people who are lazy without chemical aides.
I can appreciate this point. I don’t want one either. I really hate the effects the drug has on me. I also hate the nauseating smell of tobacco smoke. Let’s regulate marijuana’s use similar to that of tobacco to reduce the unwanted exposure to these nasty substances.
I’m interested in hearing from you. Did I miss any reasons for or against ending prohibition? Do you have any rebuttals for my reasons for legalization or defenses of the reasons against?