I'm going to take a controversial stance and assert that marijuana shouldn't be legalized. As a college student, that puts me in a much detested minority and sets me up for perhaps four years of campus castigation. Sure, I may have ruffled a few feathers with my articles on abortion and gun control, but decrying the ganja in a public forum? That's heresy that will critically tarnish my collegiate stature, maybe indefinitely. I might as well be standing outside the Social Science building shouting "Coffee sucks!" over a megaphone; this is a popularity-killing target if there ever was one.
Alas, I vaunt my innate principles over such vanities, regardless. Sure, I may miss out on a few dates and get my tires slashed by a guy in a Phish tee-shirt, but that's the price of so-called "free" speech, I suppose. Fundamentally, this is the rub I have with the sticky green; its advocates claim that the drug is, for all intents and purposes, harmless and should be legalized, as the health and public safety concerns the plant produces are no more severe than those created by tobacco and alcohol.
Now, I am no teetotaler, and I have been around the proverbial block a time or two. Generally, when people encounter anti-pot pundits, the talking heads opposed to weed-legalization are fairly nebbish, socially subdued types, seen as the sorts that have never tasted a drop of liquor nor held hands with a member of the opposite gender. Contrary to popular belief, most marijuana advocates do indeed do their homework on the subject matter (or about as much as one can accomplish while brandishing fingers coated in an inch-thick carapace of Cheeto-dust, anyway). Thusly, the typical end results in these sorts of debates are one-sided drubbings on behalf of the amateur, closet-foiled horticulturist.
That being said, a battle-scarred gent such as myself is assuredly capable of putting up a better fight.
To the "Really Green" Party out there, I proclaim the following: in your rhetoric, you claim that the illegalization of marijuana is due to corporate finagling and government paranoia. Essentially, pot is outlawed because the suits can't regulate it, anybody can grow it and that billions of dollars that would've been taxed end up squandered as a result.
As much as I hate to say this, the government isn't always preoccupied with devouring your wallet. If I may use some second grade logic; dead people can't possess money. Therefore, it benefits the government to instigate measures to prolong the existence of its citizens to insure that fiscal funds are later usurped. Hey, it's a necessary evil, that taking care of citizens' well-being, you know.
The authentic rationale for marijuana's illegalization is that it kills people, plain and simple. Sure, one joint isn't going to give you a brain tumor, but a good forty years of exposure? Yeah, there's going to be some negative implications on the smoker's health. A granule of asbestos won't give you lymphoma, but a lifelong courtship with the product very much will. Thusly, if a known carcinogen is introduced to the general populace, it is the government's job to help curb the miasmic Diaspora.
Now, I hear the clamor of several Dave Matthews fans in the background: "Well, what about cigarettes?"
Hey, I agree with you. If I were despot of the nation, I would have those outlawed as well. The difference betwixt that mass killer and marijuana, however, is the psychotropic properties of the latter. I promulgate, why is drunken driving illegal? Yes, one may contort the question to uncover a fiscal retort, but at heart, it's a simple restrictive measure to ensure the life of potential voters, I mean, citizens.
Marijuana inhibits one's cognitive capabilities, which ensures deterioration of one's physical capabilities, which in turn, provides a risk to public safety. How efficient is a half-baked construction worker, huh? You want to undergo a filling while under the care of Cheech Marin, D.D.S.? For those of you who really believe that the drug is "harmless," maybe you should try talking to the neglected child of a marijuana-user. Yeah, it's a victimless crime, all right.
Those factors considered my prime reasoning for maintaining the ban on marijuana stems not from a health or sociological standpoint, but a philosophical one. Marijuana is an agent that distances the user from the world, from the totality of reality as it exists. For a soul to desire such absconding there is clearly a pre-existing disenchantment, a sense of insecurity and ineffectiveness. These are real problems, with real consequences, that marijuana simply masks and keeps the individual from exploring and resolving.
Decriminalizing pot doesn't solve anything; it simply fosters the growth of individualistic disillusionment, and in that, real sociocultural plight is sure to blossom.