Why pot is the last thing conservative culture should fear
Can we just stop with the marijuana boogeyman already? Since Colorado has become the first state to legally sell recreational marijuana, conservative demagogues have been crying about the dangers of unfettered marijuana use. It’s as if these people watch “Reefer Madness” and take it seriously.
Marijuana has been a source of cultural contention in the United States for some time now, especially since Reagan amplified the drug war in the 1980’s. Today’s generation however is creating a crucial stepping stone in ending the insidious war on drugs.
Colorado and Washington State voted to legalize, tax, and regulate the sale of recreational marijuana in 2012. Even though marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the Justice Department has decided not to pursue suits against Colorado and Washington for their legalization policies.
Personally I think that Colorado and Washington made the right decision in legalizing marijuana. I also think a precedent has been set that other states can follow. Hopefully the precedent will spread far enough that the federal government will outright end its war on drug policies. Conservatives, however, continue to believe in the failed idea of drug criminalization. Marijuana still remains a large focus of the conservative culture wars.
Marijuana, of all the substances that humans put in their bodies, is perhaps the safest and less lethal of all. If one was to put it in context, alcohol and tobacco kill thousands of people annually and both are perfectly legal and consumed regularly. Alcohol, not only kills from liver disease and other physical side effects, but it kills in the form of motor accidents and other alcohol induced violent acts.
I have seen from personal experience the violent attitudes that alcohol can put people in. A perfectly harmless person can transform into a monster before your eyes if too much alcohol gets ingested. How many people get high on marijuana and feel like getting violent?
Almost no one who smokes or has smoked marijuana before has ever gained the desire to commit violence due to its effects. If anything, all they want is to plop on the couch, eat, watch tv, listen to music, and then smoke more marijuana. The only thing they want to get violent on is a cheeseburger or humus (for my vegetarian friends). Marijuana is not totally harmless of course, smoking too much will not be very healthy. But compared to what alcohol and other items can do to one’s health, marijuana shouldn’t be a blip on the radar.
Despite this, marijuana still remains this stigmatized topic for conservative culture warriors. Most of them probably drink alcohol, and quite often. Obviously intoxication is not their issue. The issue is the desire to presser a hypocritical vision of a moral America. Like the prohibitionists before them, they continue to cling to a false vision of what makes Americans moral.
These are people who worry more about what someone does with their body and free time than the bombs we drop on people in foreign countries. If we can tolerate a culture of alcohol, how then does marijuana appear as such an abomination?
Recently, a conservative friend found a satire article from The Daily Currant that made the claim that 37 people died from a marijuana overdose since Colorado legalized the sale. I and others pointed out the article is satire, but he still adamantly clings to his position that “Weed is Evil.” Yeah. A man who believes that dropping bombs on weddings is commenting about the evils of the least lethal intoxicant in existence. A man who also happens to have his own skeletons in the closet. Conservatives are classic projectors.