So, if you haven’t heard the news, Colorado officially legalized marijuana a few days ago. There’s some regulations in place, of course, just as there should be. You can’t smoke it out in the open, it’s taxed by the government, you have to be twenty-one to buy it, and you shouldn’t drive while high. Basically, all the same things that are true of alcohol. Colorado has it right. With this new system in place, I think they’ve hit on a simple solution to what some people inexplicably paint as a complicated problem. They asked some people buying weed from one of the new legal dispensaries what they planned on doing. The answers were usually more or less the equivalent of “I’m going to go home, take a couple bong rips, and watch TV.” In other words, they’re going to do exactly what they probably did last week, except now they’re buying from legal vendors instead of out of some shady guy’s apartment. See, all the arguments that people who oppose marijuana have, mostly about how it takes away your motivation, and how smoking anything is bad for you, make no sense when you put them in the context of what is already legal, namely cigarettes and alcohol. Yes, smoking anything is bad for you, but that hasn’t stopped cigarettes from being legal all these years. The government figures, if you want to do something that’s harmful to your body, go ahead, as long as you don’t do it around anyone else who might be harmed by the secondhand smoke. And you shouldn’t drive while high, either! Isn’t that a danger?! Well, yes…but people driving drunk is a danger, and alcohol is still legal, as it should be. Prohibition didn’t work, remember? Just watch Boardwalk Empire if you don’t believe me. Besides, it has long since been proven conclusively that both alcohol and nicotine are physically addictive. Marijuana is considered by some to be psychologically addictive, but contains no chemicals that have been conclusively linked to physical dependency. That makes weed safer than both cigarettes and alcohol, in my book. And as for smoking weed- smoking anything– being bad for you, I have two responses to that. The first is that you don’t have to smoke weed to enjoy the effects. You can make cookies with it, brownies, or any one of a number of other tasty recipes, and there will be virtually no harmful effects to your body. That’s what I would do, if weed was legalized in New York. The only reason I wouldn’t smoke it anymore is because I’m an asthmatic. The thing is, most drugs, and cigarettes, alcohol, and weed all fall into this category, are okay in small doses, used occasionally, for a recreational purpose. Moderation is the key to everything in life. Just like you don’t want to have a big piece of chocolate cake after every meal, because it’s high in fat and calories, you don’t want to spent all day, every day drinking beer, you don’t want to smoke several cigarettes a day, and you don’t want to be a total pothead. Because if you are, that’s when we start talking about that whole robbery of your motivation thing. Yes, weed can become a crutch, if you let it…just like cigarettes, just like alcohol…just like unhealthy foods! You can make candy bars into a harmful drug, if you don’t watch your intake, and chocolate is still legal. A Snickers bar will light up the pleasure centers, the reward centers of the brain just like toking a joint will, and they’re not about to criminalize chocolate. It’s all about moderation…it’s all about being an adult, and not overindulging.
And that’s what’s so troubling about weed being illegal in the first place. It’s the government seeming to think that while we can behave responsibly with alcohol, and tobacco, and other substances, for no logical reason, completely arbitrarily, it seems to think that we can’t when it comes to weed. I believe the people of Colorado will prove that weed is nothing to be afraid of, and that it’s actually far less harmful than its detractors claim. And I genuinely believe that their example will inspire other states to follow the same path. It will lead to an end to the illegal drug trade, at least when it comes to an innocuous drug like weed, and will significantly reduce the amount of people who are in jail for idiotic, small time drug violations. This, in turn, will reduce the economic impact of having to house these people when they’re in jail, in government custody, because the way the system is right now is unsupportable financially. See, legalizing weed, be it nationally or gradually, on a state by state basis, as it seems will be the case, will have a number of other far-reaching and helpful effects on this country at large. And it will just make a lot of people happy. Which is the greatest reason that I don’t understand why people wouldn’t want weed to be legal to begin with, just as I don’t understand why people wouldn’t want gays to be allowed to get married. All you’re doing is denying people from doing something that would make them happy, and harms no one. Why would you want to do that, unless in a very fundamental way, there was hatred, there was negativity, in your heart? I’ll conclude for the week by congratulating Colorado on their ingenuity, and wishing them the very best in this new endeavor. They were the first state to do this, but I have no doubt they will be far from the last.