Marijuana. The the herb some many have tried, yet is vigorously rallied against. Personally I have never tried it, nor plan to. I’m someone who doesn’t even take cold medicine unless my cold is ridiculously bad, or I just need my health a little better for whatever I’m doing. No particular reason it’s just something I do.
Having said this, I believe is should be legal. It’s both less addictive and less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. It’s also less addictive. The only real difference is that it’s not as socially acceptable. How could it be? It’s been illegal for several decades and unlike alcohol and tobacco have not been used by the majority of cultures for hundreds of years. With the exception of tobacco of course, but its was popularized in the west only after the discovery of the New World.
Despite this we have such debate over it. The typical person against it would characterize a ‘pot’ smokers as some hoodlum who’s unproductive and a drain on society. Yet anyone who went through high school knows that the divide between users and non users is by no means related to social circles. In fact in my school it actually brought my circles (the unpopular people like goths and nerds and whatnot) together with the more popular people. It was all over the place. Don’t get me wrong the majority of the school never touched the stuff. But the minority that did wasn’t small either. I know several of the users are in college as we speak. And the rest all still hold jobs (dodging drug tests of course). Perfectly productive members of society with a ‘private habit’.
Yet still we cling to our preconceived notions of who’s what and what the end result would be. The majority of nay sayers would have you believe in a heavy decline in society should it be made legal. Yet so many do all ready. Surveys done by the US Department of Health and Human Services have shown close to half of adults have tried Marijuana by age 25. 6% admitted to using it regularly. That means 1 in 20 people have admitted to using it regularly.
So would American society collapse or worsen? 5% of the American population would have a profound effect on America if that was the case in my personal opinion. Yet we don’t see that effect. Given that about 50% have tried it by age 25, one has to wonder what the difference would be if it were made legal since only 6% used it regularly?
I’ll also like to point out that the nature of the survey implied that all of these statistics are likely higher do to people not willing to admit what they do do to fears of prosecution because its illegal, but even at these levels, it’s still telling.
Also note that 850,000 people last year (2011) for marijuana related crimes according to the website repulicreport.org (link below). 850,000 people draining our tax dollars on something not having any significant negative effect on the American society, except when in the hands of criminals profiting from its sale. Depending where you look up the costs of keeping someone in jail (I usually see it anywhere between $100 to $150 per inmate a day for regular jail not prison) you can calculate the costs for someone per day in jail. So for each day these 850,000 people were in jail, that was ~$85,000,000 a day in jail for marijuana related crimes. According to theDCpost.com 7,225,800 went to jail as some point in 2009. 850000 equals ~8.5% of that. 8.5% that US citizens don’t have to pay for.
Another thing I want to point out is the moral reasons for the government not telling me what I can or cannot put in my body. This nation prides itself on freedom yet incarcerate so many for not affecting anybody but themselves. Obviously we should not drink or drive, but we can still drink. Why not get high? Alcohol damages your liver and brain cells but its legal. Why should the government pick and choose what we can and can’t put into are bodies? I guess I’d be okay if it was all drugs and alcohol. At least them it would be consistent and since America is a democracy so its SUPPOSED to be rules by the people, I’d be okay with it. Instead we have parts of society enforcing its will on other parts of society. It’s okay to do this but not okay to do this because I don’t like that.
Point is the government should stay out of it. I can at least understand harder drugs like heroin and cocaine. They’re a lot more dangerous and addictive. There is a significant health issue and unlike marijuana, you get the urge to do some really stupid things. Not that you couldn’t on Marijuana, but you’re not compelled to. Actually quite the opposite.
However even in cases such as these, the logic behind these are quite low for many of the some reasons as Marijuana, despite making a little more since.
Point of the matter is, Marijuana should be legal for recreational use. It’s legalization would only bring positive influences to this country.