By Will Malkus
Let’s talk about weed. Let’s start with the big question. Why is weed illegal?
I get that it’s bad for you. It can distort your perceptions, your coordination, and it can even make you anxious and paranoid if you have a bad trip. It’s psychologically addictive, though it isn’t chemically, and when taken in large doses it can even cause hallucinations and disorientation. However, no matter how many ways I look at it, alcohol is worse.
Alcohol is a poison. If you drink enough of it, you can die, or at the very least fall unconscious. If weed has a detrimental effect on your coordination, then alcohol throws it right out the window, because I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to do anything complicated while drunk, but it’s hard. So if we can legally get wasted on beer that is literally cheaper than a pack of double A batteries, why is everyone so up in arms about pot?
According to statistics released by the Center for Disease Control, in 2009 there were 23,199 deaths related to alcohol abuse. 36,284 were chalked up to car accidents, and 31,224 were caused by firearms. There were zero reported deaths related to marijuana use.
And maybe I just don’t understand the logic here, because the only thing I can think of that would keep weed illegal is economics. Would legalizing it have a negative impact on our economy? This is territory that I’m not all that familiar with, but why would introducing a new cash crop hurt our already faltering economy? I don’t get it. It’s another product to generate revenue, and you can be sure that if you offered it, people would buy it.
Which brings me to my next point. On March 26, when Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Gusman Loera officially thanked the U.S. government for keeping weed illegal He was quoted saying that if it hadn’t been for presidents too afraid to take a stand on this outdated ruling regarding the legal status of weed, he would never have been able to become the 701st richest man, according to the Forbes’ list. Following that, the Mexican president started begging U.S. politicians to legalize the stuff, if for no other reason, than it would stagger his criminal empire and rob him of so much power.
This statement implies that in an effort to “save America’s youth” or whatever phrase that’s thrown around these days, we’ve actually furthered the suffering of another country and given power to the kind of man we lock away for life. I get that American politicians have to look out for American interests first and foremost, but if we could stop beating around the bush and be candid, maybe some actual solutions could be reached.
Maybe if we stop pretending that this is a health issue, or that buying weed will somehow propagate a cycle of criminal activity, we could focus on the economic impact and the other real issues at hand.
I guess that this is just another viewpoint from another 20-something who can’t seem to wrap his mind around why this is still an issue, but that’s just it. Our generation doesn’t understand why it’s illegal, why getting caught with it can buy us actual jail time, and most of all, we don’t understand why we can’t do it.
So I can promise you two things. One, our generation isn’t going to stop smoking weed. And two, we’re never going to see eye to eye with you about this. So fix it, already.