Let Your Mind “Grow”

Does anyone remember what the world was like when alcohol was illegal in this country? Of course not, it’s been years since the prohibition period in this country ended and I assume many of you can’t imagine living without your favorite vice. As the history books remind us, prohibition didn’t work at all. Not only was alcohol still being distributed illegally and being produced in bathtubs, but it created countless crime enterprises to rise during that time period. Now we all know history repeats itself and when we mess things up we can at least be ready to handle things better the second time right? No of course not. We will manage to make the same mistakes over and over again until we’re all rotting in the ground.

Marijuana. There I said it – I haven’t even said anything about it and I bet anyone over thirty-five is in a panic about “dying brain cells, underachievement and hippies.” Calm down old folks I’m here to explain to you why pot should just be legalized. First of all, this election day that just went by, heralded the beginning of legalization. A small Colorado town [not called South Park] completely legalized possession of marijuana with an overwhelming 70% vote. While we can’t be sure how this will really play out, marijuana is still illegal in the state of Colorado, but it shows that the smear campaigns that forever tarnished the public image of a harmless herb are slowly coming to an end.

While Breckenridge is the only place in the United States that has completely legalized it, some states have already decriminalized [100$ fine in Massachusetts] and many others [most recently Maine] have legalized its use for medicinal purposes. Before I even get started on the economic benefits of legalization it’s important to process that marijuana is not harmful! Did you hear me folks? There are no studies that haven’t been counter-studied, and there is no evidence that smoking marijuana is any more harmful than smoking cigarettes. Which is, as you all well know, legal in this country. Don’t come at me with the “it kills brain cells” tactic either. It is not worth making something illegal just because it kills brain cells. Everything from our cell phones, to alcohol consumption, to television, to loud music will kill brain cells. We do countless things daily that are counter-productive to our brains but that doesn’t mean they are or should be illegal.

The real issues with marijuana are the stereotypes that surround users and the lack of urgency to do anything about legalization. People who smoke pot are not lazy, good-for-nothing, boring, soul drained people. I know a lot of people who smoke that are far more productive than me. It, being a drug, affects people differently and there are so many strains that have slightly different effects on people. Most of them do not give you the stereotypical body high that makes you unproductive. So why don’t we fix it? Over half of the American public says they would vote to legalize pot and yet its still an issue. There are so many other things going on in capitol hill and every politician in the world lacks the courage to be the first to stand up on a controversial issue like the legalization of cannabis [if my other post on voting didn’t convince you there is no need to vote – perhaps this fact will] and its a shame.

All that aside, even if all the nonsense about pot being a gateway drug, and causing psychosis and schizophrenia – none of which is true, but even if it was let’s look at the economic benefit of allowing the sale of marijuana. Obviously the first benefit is the tax revenue. An economist working for the governor’s office in California reported that in California alone the legalization of pot would increase tax revenue by ten billion dollars in a single year. That accounts for the taxing of the product, the ease on the prison system, the subtraction of the policing costs and every other little reason you can imagine. In the midst of a recession this might be exactly what our country needs to both cut the deficit and perhaps even have some job growth.

I don’t really smoke. It’s not even a “pot” thing. I really just don’t enjoy the sensation of inhaling smoke. We all have our vices and I prefer to drink. But with all social issues we need to set our personal opinions aside when considering something’s legality. Imagine how much greater of a world we would live in and how much richer our history would be if we could all vote and make decisions with a clear mind. That’s all I’m trying to say and to offer. We could have avoided Roe v. Wade completely and radicals could stop harassing young girls having abortions. Doesn’t mean they should but we have no right to get involved in their rights. We might have been able to skip the civil rights movement. African-Americans would have just had rights from the beginning and the political battle could have been avoided. Is marijuana as important as these issues? of course not. But analogies still lie there and next time marijuana is on the ballot just vote against it just because you don’t like pot. Vote yes for the good of our country and for your neighbors who are smoking anyways – like it or not.

*If you’d like to read more about Breckenridge’s recent vote you can read about it at  MSNBC

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