Let me get this disclaimer out of the way first: I am not advocating marijuana use. In fact, if you smoke pot, you're probably going to get busted sooner or later and be out of a job or wind up in prison right along with the sex offenders. You might as well take that college diploma, fill it with your last bit of weed, roll it up and smoke it - 'cause it won't be worth anything once you get caught.
Whew. Now that that's out of the way, let me explain why marijuana should be legalized.
Pot was everywhere in the 1970's - you couldn't walk ten feet back then without catching a whiff. Some of my earliest memories are of people smoking weed - whether it was my hippie neighbors or the teenagers I saw out back at a wedding, it was freaking everywhere! Was there a single person between the ages of 16 and 30 during the 1970's that wasn't getting stoned? Okay, maybe one or two..... so they say.
It is rather interesting that the Baby Boomers took drugs, lots of drugs, during the 1960's and 70's with little to no legal consequence, but once they became older and settled down, the hammer came crashing down on drug use. "Just say no" was the mantra in the 1980's, whereas the hippie generation enjoyed precious little enforcement of recreational marijuana use. How effing convenient.
For those of you who are against legalizing it, I ask you to reflect on the next few points with an open mind.
1. There is no empirical proof that marijuana is addictive. It may be habit forming, but what pleasurable activity isn't habit forming? You enjoy it and therefore want to do it more frequently - to say this is addiction is a huge unfounded leap. And if you just can't let go of your belief that marijuana is addictive - well, so are cigarettes, and they were legal last time I checked.
2. Please, for the love of God, do not fall for the "marijuana is a gateway drug" fallacy. I won't argue that people that do marijuana are much more likely to do coke, heroine and meth - that's a no brainer. But to claim that this proves marijuana is a gateway drug is a hilarious.
Fact: People that are willing to break the law (i.e. buy and use marijuana) are more likely to try hard drugs than people who aren't willing to break the law and jeopardize their livelihood, reputation, and freedom.
Fact: People that know how to acquire marijuana are more likely to know how to acquire hard drugs. The relationship between between marijuana and hard drugs is clear, but to claim it acts as a "gateway" is logically fallacious.
3. Alcohol is way the hell more dangerous and incapacitating than marijuana - yet booze is totally legit. Fact: I would feel much safer on the road if I knew pot was legal, but booze was not. How many violent acts, domestic and otherwise, are attributable to alcohol? Countless. How many can be attributed to pot? I'll bet the answer is zero - it has the opposite effect by relaxing the person. In fact, it's a peacemaker: people that were fighting are often brought closer together (haven't you seen The Breakfast Club?).
4. Legalizing marijuana would be an economic blessing for the U.S.: Billions of dollars in the U.S. are flushed down the toilet every year for (1) the numerous law enforcement agencies resources, (2) court costs, and (3) incarceration. How ridiculous is it that a guy busted with a quarter bag is sharing a cell with a sex offender or murderer? One is a serious threat to society, the other just wanted to get high and harm no one.
5. Legalizing marijuana would be an economic blessing for the U.S.: Billions would be generated for the government via taxes. I'm sure the government would tax marijuana like it does tobacco, and here's the numbers for that: (A) Federal excise taxes - $7,307,440,000, (B) State and local excise taxes - $15,087,691,000 (C) State cigarette sales taxes - $4,764,730,000, (D) Tobacco settlement payments - $7,200,000,000. Not exactly small change!
6. Legalizing marijuana would be an economic blessing for private industry. I think it goes without saying that companies that produce marijuana for legal use would be rolling in the dough (pardon my pun). That's jobs in production, distribution, marketing, and retail. Where's the problem?
And please don't tell me about the health risks. With millions of people in the U.S. smoking 20+ cigarettes a day, and millions more who are morbidly obese, please don't make me laugh worrying about people smoking a couple doobies a day. Trust me, no one is going to smoke 20+ joints a day on a regular basis (unless your name happens to be Tommy Chong).
I can't help but think that marijuana had a lot to do with the great music and movies that came out of the 1970's - not to mention the freewheelin' attitude and outrageous fashions. So, Obama, if you're reading this - after you get this whole health care thing ironed out, maybe think about lettin' some folks get high?