Legalizing Marijuana: Not A Social Advance To Be Celebrated

MarijuanaLeaf_304I’ve been surprised of late at how much of the country seems to be in favor of legalizing marijuana.  With some states already passing various forms of legislation making pot legal, most states still outlaw its use and the federal law against it is still intact.  Even here in Oklahoma there seems to be a sizable number of residents who think marijuana should be legalized.  The conservative, church-raised, non-smoking, non-drinking, drug-free person in me wants to believe that it is only druggies and reprobates wanting to get high on weed, but I am well aware of the libertarian viewpoint that says drug use is a matter of personal choice and that the government should have no say in the matter.  It’s a victimless crime, they all say.  It’s none of the government’s business what people put in their bodies, they tell us.  I will concede that, as more states gradually make marijuana legal, the odds continue to increase that it will one day be legal nationwide.  I consider drug use to be a form of selfish licentiousness, so it makes sense to me that along with licentious behavior such as gay marriage, that there would be a national push to make it legal.  To make it acceptable.  To make it ‘normal.’  People don’t want to be told their illicit behaviors are wrong or immoral.

The death yesterday of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, reportedly due to a heroin overdose, should underscore for everyone, especially the advocates of legalizing drugs, that drugs are dangerous, addictive, and even when they don’t kill you have the great potential to destroy your cognitive reasoning abilities, your life, your family, your employment and everything else you consider important.  It troubles me that it takes the death of someone that people have seen in a few movies before many people even consider the dangerous aspect of drugs.  People die from drug use all the time; they all have loved ones who grieve the life destroyed and lost.  But until a famous person dies, to many it is a nonissue. 

The media and the potheads (and maybe the snack food industry!) have held up Colorado’s legalization of marijuana as an example for other states to follow, cheering the change as an advancement in society.  I could not disagree more.  And I could not disagree more with the libertarian notion that it’s none of the government’s business what people put in their bodies.  Using that argument then surely libertarians must favor legalization of heroin, cocaine and meth.  I can only imagine the number of lives that would be destroyed by such stupidity.  I have no idea what percentage of the population now uses illegal drugs or what the projected percentage would be if all drugs were legal.  But imagine if you will, even just one percent of our population using drugs regularly.  I’m sure not even the advocates of legalizing drugs would be foolish enough to say that there would be no widespread misuse, people going on drug binges or just using so much they become useless blobs of flesh; boils on the buttocks of society. 

Yes, I know, only marijuana is being legalized.  For now.  Once that is done then the push will start on the next drug, and the next after that.  Regulate it, people will say.  Make it legal.  Tax it.  Let professionals produce it.  Yes, that’s worked very well for alcoholic beverages.  The Centers for Disease Control has numbers showing the devastating effect alcohol has on our society.

There are approximately 88,000 deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States.  This makes excessive alcohol use the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation.  Excessive alcohol use is responsible for 2.5 million years of potential life lost annually, or an average of about 30 years of potential life lost for each death.  In 2006, there were more than 1.2 million emergency room visits and 2.7 million physician office visits due to excessive drinking.  The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2006 were estimated at $223.5 billion.

But people want their pot, so that will eventually be legalized everywhere.  It may take some years, but it will happen.  Perhaps one day people will even be able to buy marijuana at the corner convenience store.  But make no mistake, it is a dark path we head down when we begin to make things legal that, until now, have been illegal for good reason.  Ask Philip Seymour Hoffman’s three children if they think drugs should be made legal.  I can guess what they would say.

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4 comments to Legalizing Marijuana: Not A Social Advance To Be Celebrated

  • LD Jackson

    I have my own libertarian streak, but I find myself recoiling at the idea of making these drugs legal. As you pointed out, that tactic has not worked with alcohol. The abuses and deaths contributed to alcohol continue to mount up. We have at least a couple hundred Guardian Interlock devices installed at our automotive repair facility. These are devices that require the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before their care will start. That should tell you how badly alcohol is abused. Anyone who says marijuana would be any different is naive. And if they say legalizing marijuana would not lead to the “harder” drugs being legalized, they are even more naive.

    • I’ve always held the belief that a person’s rights stop where another persons starts. If druggies and libertarians think they should have the right to use drugs they would need to convince me first that their stupidity would have no effect on any other person they way alcohol has. Too many lives have been destroyed by alcohol. I can’t understand why people advocate doing the same with drugs.

  • TexasBrady

    To legalize weed in my opinion would be a slap in the face of the men and women who have died in efforts to keep DRUGS off the streets of our cities. But it is only a small amount of marijuana. Yes, maybe but that small amount comes from the thousands of pounds that illegally crosses our borders daily.
    To discount the thousands of people who have been KILLED in the drug wars in Mexico would be an insult to all who have given their lives to fight the cartels to keep weed out of the kids of our children…

    I may be ridiculed for taking such a hard line stance…The next thing on the liberal agenda is legalizing cocaine…it’s OK if it is a small amount….

    Alcohol started the same way when it was made legal….just look at the deaths drunks have caused…..I know I have been the nightmare knock on your door telling you your son, daughter, wife or husband was just killed by a drunk driver…because I was the cop who investigated their death..

    Next is impaired drivers who are high on weed….It’s gonna happen…trust me.

    • I think you’re exactly right. Legalizing marijuana is just the first step. Once that’s got a stronghold drugs like cocaine will be next. How far do these people want to go? Heroin? Methamphetamine? Sheer stupidity.