We’ve now recognized our long-held addiction to government and have hopefully agreed to take the steps to break that dependency. That, along with a bit of luck, can maybe help us approach the common hyper-emotional arguments that dominate the marijuana debate with clarity.
But before we do, I think it’s appropriate to raise the fact that alcohol is a legal intoxicant. It has other useful purposes like fuel, medicinal (limited), etc. Now, marijuana is an illegal intoxicant. It too has other useful purposes like materials such as clothing, medicinal, etc.
However, mainstream society equates alcohol with having a good time while it associates marijuana with good for nothing slackers. All the while, we seem to forget that anything can be abused. For example, that legal intoxicant we just talked about? It’s what is used to feed alcoholism, which is rampant in the US (and abroad).
The situation that we have is one where people have decided to trust their fellow citizens with all sorts of decisions like whether or not to own a firearm, driving a vehicle, and drink alcohol. But, we simply do not trust our fellow citizens to make the decision on whether or not to use marijuana (to treat migraines, menstrual challenges, or to just relax).
With that out of the way, let’s explore the common hyper-emotional arguments:
1.) “It’s For The Children!”
This seems to be the first objection for almost every controversial policy debate and it’s understandable that the most common argument revolves around our kids. We don’t want them to drink or use drugs; we want the best for them! However, the “It’s for the children!” argument is primarily emotional and is predicated on surface concerns as well as many things that aren’t completely in our control.
Some of the usual comments flung around are: “I can’t control what my kids do all the time” or “if they smoke pot it will lead to other drugs” or “there’s already an epidemic, legalizing pot will just make it worse.”
Well, you know what? These statements may be true. But there’s also the flip side of the coin; they may be false. Neither side can prove their argument unless the law is changed. But I can state with absolute certainty that we can discuss the topic of marijuana with our kids the exact same way we have approached them about alcohol.
Finally, we can also institute limitations to marijuana just as we have with alcohol, such as age requirements, sales and distribution regulations, etc. With the current anti-pot hysteria, it’s like we can’t even remember that this type of regulation has worked rather well with alcohol, our socially acceptable intoxicant.
2.) “Employers won’t be able to…”
Anyone who’s worked for a company in this day and age has read a drug and alcohol policy. To suggest that employers will have insurmountable troubles if marijuana is legalized amounts to cognitive dissonance at its best.
As long as it is documented in a company’s policy (and the employee has agreed to it), any employer can discipline and/or terminate an employee who comes to work intoxicated from consuming alcohol. The case is the same for an employee who comes to work high on drugs. Employers can also test their employees for drug usage and terminate them for violating the policy.
To assert that the free market can’t handle the legalization of marijuana is like saying that employers don’t know how to run their business. The great equalizer of the free market is risk vs. reward along with actions have consequences. If you want to work for an employer, you will either choose to abide by their policy or risk being fired; the choice is up to you!
Finally, let’s put to rest the notion that everyone operating heavy machinery will somehow cast aside their understanding that not drinking or taking certain prescription medicines doesn’t apply to smoking weed before driving their 18-wheeler or swinging that industrial crane. Yes, because these otherwise responsible people can’t control themselves when it comes to hitting the bong!
3.) “The Roads Won’t Be Safe!”
So, can we trust our fellow citizen to get behind the wheel and operate their vehicle safely or not? We currently allow them to take prescription medication and make the determination if they should or shouldn’t get behind the wheel. We also allow them to have some drinks at dinner or the bar and make the choice whether driving home or calling a cab is best. We have created laws to penalize the decisions of individuals who have selected to drive after one to many drinks or under the influence of drugs. But somehow, they aren’t good enough to address marijuana?
Also, people are pulled over for driving impaired already and many are charged with non-alcohol DUI. It’s not incredibly difficult to tell the difference with the pupils of a person who is high and a person who is not.
Hopefully we’re now all thinking through the marijuana debate with a fresh set of non-dilated eyes. This debate primarily boils down to taking a consistent approach to liberty and whether or not we trust our fellow citizens to be responsible or we just want the power of government to force our will on others.
For those who choose to cling to their government-aholism and continue fighting for the type of government control they want…thanks for at least admitting your hypocrisy. Hopefully someday you’ll come around to the side of liberty and take C.S. Lewis’ quote to heart:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”