Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Marijuana Question

Today, I’m weighing in on the possible Legalization of Marijuana. Those of you (three, maybe four?) who have been reading me for a while now, might have noticed that I can deviate from the Party Line some when it comes to Social Conservatism. As such, it will come as no surprise when I say the following:

We should legalize Marijuana, and “grandfather” out of prison anyone who is currently there for ONLY Marijuana charges.

Breathe… Again… Ok? Good.

Now, the only way that I’ve ever seen anyone’s life become ruined by Marijuana is when they get caught.

I’m not talking about those people who were out to destroy themselves anyway, and you know who I’m talking about. If you’ve ever spent any time around less-than-stellar personages, you know exactly of whom I’m referring. The people who need no chemicals in their system to behave in a catastrophically inhumane fashion? The ones who can throw away their entire lives and sometimes those of their family's in the process? They’re already lost causes. Let them go. Everyone else? Well…

It is my belief that as Conservatives, we have some cognitive dissonance of our very own. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, I’ll elaborate:

Cognitive Dissonance- A condition of conflict or anxiety resulting from inconsistency between one's beliefs and one's actions, such as opposing the slaughter of animals and eating meat. ~ Answers.com

The left has been afflicted before with very exemplary instances of this malady, such as:

The organization Queers For Palestine (They would be put to death there)

Supporting Iran and Promoting World Peace

Claiming to be the Party of Humane Action, and then allowing rampant abortions

And so on…

In the case of Marijuana, we find the Right-wing’s secret Cognitive Dissonance Enabler. Consider how we view responsible gun ownership:

1. Human responsibility should be placed on the human responsible.
2. Do not assign moral values to an inanimate object.
3. Removal of one outlet of human nature will ensure a replacement of said outlet.

The above three tenets of such are listed here in my article on the matter. Soon after writing this piece, I noticed something. We give very good and logical reasons for our continued right to keep and bear arms, but somehow, these same applicable laws of reason don’t apply to drugs.

I’ve heard Marijuana referred to in all seriousness as “The Devil’s Weed” and much worse. I realize that drugs alter perception and thought unlike guns, but you must still acknowledge that the choice to become “high” is still a human responsibility. The application of moral values to an inanimate object is still illogical and therefore shouldn’t be allowed into the debate. I don’t care if your “second cousin once smoked pot and decided to jump off a roof” or some other silly and implausible scenario comes up, I will still hold that no one put the joint, bowl, bong, pipe, vaporizer, or other paraphernalia up to his or her lips and pulled the trigger on the lighter. The same three principles apply to Marijuana, and to not recognize such is hypocrisy.

Furthermore, the fact that we can not get rid of the drug in this country, and I can recall being able to get high when my friends and I couldn’t afford or score cigarettes (age 14 or so) underscores the (paraphrased) point that comedian Bill Hicks made in his stand-up routine:

“We have a War on Drugs, and the people on drugs are winning!”

Alcohol was completely out of the question in my youth (regulation works, how about that…), but we sure could find pot most nights to wile away the hours in suburbia.

I’m not going to get into the economic side of the issue, as I am no economist, but I will say that if we legalized Marijuana, we would see some annual profit from the substance. I’ll go you one further and say that if we grandfathered out of jails and prisons all those who were put away on Marijuana charges, we would save an additional amount of money every year.

Those people with whom I am acquainted who smoke it are usually very responsible folks who simply go about their daily routines and don’t start any trouble. In fact, they go out of their way to avoid it. Illegality aside, they just don’t want to deal with the added stress of whatever situation threatens to “bring them down”. They’re mostly peaceful and generous in their intoxication, unlike another, more legal variety of inebriant.

Make it just like Alcohol in regards to its regulation. Don’t smoke and drive, don’t go to work high, don’t do it in public (bars acceptable), frown upon its use around children, and so on. Allow for it to be bought and sold under licensed and overseen transactions. Tax it, import it, export it, grow it (with license), and capitalize on it.

This drug is a mainstay of gangs and drug dealers. Without it to hold them up, they will lose revenue. Right now, in an economic downturn, I can guarantee that sales are up for illicit recreational pharmaceuticals. Without Marijuana, a good portion of them would be very much so out of luck and out of business.

As a parent of my Step-daughter’s friend once said, “The only thing that is keeping it from being legal is the fact that as of yet, they cannot determine if you have smoked in the immediate past”. They can take you to a hospital for a urinalysis test, but that only shows the last thirty days, not that you were intoxicated while, say, driving twenty minutes ago. When they have established a test for immediate use that is:

1. Non-invasive
2. Economical
3. On-the-spot
4. Reliable

…then they will begin the legislation for its regulated legalization. I can almost promise you that when the “breath-a-lyzer” test comes, so will the serious examination of the end of Marijuana prohibition.

I have flown once again in the face of my Party’s traditional stance here, but I believe in personal freedom and responsibility. In the end, it all comes down to your individual choice to do the right or wrong thing at any given moment, and I like having the decision all to myself.

Feels like… Liberty.