Saturday, May 06, 2006

Legalize "drugs"?!?!?!

The whole debate about legalizing "drugs", most recently in Mexico, is completely ridiculous. We already have legal drugs, and no, I'm not talking about pharmaceuticals, either "over the counter" or prescription. I'm talking about recreational drugs.

I regularly recreate myself with alcohol. I mostly stay away from the hard (i.d. distilled) stuff, but most nights find me imbibing some beer or wine. Don't laugh, this used to be a crime in the United States, in fact it was against the Constitution.

I don't smoke tobacco anymore, and that's still legal, even in California, for the time being. I try not to be one of those ex-smokers who can't be around the stuff. I understand, because I remember, how nicotine after a meal can be very satisfying. Just don't smoke it while I'm still eating. It interferes with the flavors of my food. You shouldn't smoke while you're eating either. Wait until you've finished eating, then savor a fine cigar (or at least a nicotine fix) and a snifter of brandy. That's it!

OK, what about those illegal drugs? I'm in favor of legalizing marijuana. Period. End of story. I've known too many people who take too many drugs. Heroin is vicious. People lose all control, then they lose their friends when the friends wake up to how they've been used. Cocaine? Yeah, in the '70s people said it was harmless. Friends of mine really got messed up. One lost his job because he was always away from work trying to score. He's still in the service as an enlisted man because he couldn't get away from coke any other way. Legalize it and he wouldn't have spent so much time scoring? Get real. Even tobacco doesn't get people craving the way cocaine does. This guy used marijuana and other drugs but none messed him up like cocaine. He could always wait until after work before he went around scoring pot.

Speed? I knew meth monsters back in the 60s. They called it "the drug even hippies were afraid of" and Allen Ginsberg singled it out as an inherently bad drug, something he did for no other psychoactive substance. I remember him saying that most of the souvenirs he brought back from India were ripped off by meth monsters. I really have no problem with government's cracking down on amphetamines.

Marijuana has been used for thousands of years. It's less addictive than the recreational drugs that are already legal. You can't overdose on it. Gateway drug? Don't make me laugh. That's a common post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, but even if it weren't, the percentage of hard drug users who first used alcohol or tobacco is even higher than the percentage who used marijuana. Shouldn't we go back to prohibiting alcohol? Really? Why not? Oh, right. It turned out that the negative consequences of alcohol prohibition were worse than the negative consequences of alcohol itself. And alcohol is the United States's number one drug problem.

No, I don't use marijuana myself. I used to be addicted to nicotine, I still use alcohol, and I'm still addicted to caffeine. But it doesn't bother me if people use other drugs. I'm not out to impose my values on other people. Stoners get high, giggle a lot, eat snacks and go to sleep. If you think they should be thrown in jail for that I really have to wonder about you, not them.

And if you're worried about underage smoking, the best thing to do about it is to legalize marijuana. No one ever got thrown out of a pot party for being underage. Legalizing it and regulating it would go a long way to minimizing the harm that is done by it. You would take organized crime out of the equation, make a serious dent in underage smoking, and be able to start teaching peole responsible use. Not to mention end one cause of disrespect for the law. After all, if the law comes down so hard on marijuana, then the law is an ass. Read the facts.

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