Marijuana’s Cost

Recently I saw a news report stating that Oreos could be more addictive than cocaine. Even more recently I heard the statement repeated once again that marijuana is not addictive.

Society is in the middle of a craze of legalizing marijuana. This movement was catalyzed by those who painted it as a miracle drug which is unfairly maligned when labeled as an illegal drug. But other strains of thought are also present. Some thought legalizing it would take a useless burden off law enforcement and correctional institutions. Others felt it was simply a freedom issue and these often advocate legalizing all drugs.

Of course, these ideas came along after a couple of generations grew up with prevalent use of marijuana among young people, movies which glorified marijuana, and politicians beginning to admit to marijuana use.

So all told I have been hearing about marijuana use for decades, with increasingly, the voices singing its praises drowning out those of caution. The road that got us here is likely to be less interesting than where we go from here.

America became great as a land of opportunity. Marijuana use demotivates the user. It may become the single largest force working against America regaining its momentum and strength. It might already be.


Clemency for Crack

President Obama is working with Eric Holder to grant clemency to a number of individuals convicted of drug offenses, that they feel were unfair and racially biased. In some cases they report the penalty for crack cocaine was many times that of regular cocaine and the people sentenced were predominantly black.

The plan is to give a blanket presidential pardon to those individuals who they believe were over-sentenced. The idea has not been implemented, since the details are being hashed out. The suggestion is to extend the pardon to those who have served at least ten years of their sentence and who have had no gang connections. No one is certain how many people will be released if it is enacted.

I have a couple problems with this plan. It is racially motivated micromanagement. These two government officials have scanned American history and policy for racial inequalities. The problem with reverse engineering this way is it overlooks the historic reasons for the legislation. Lawmakers and society as a whole were desperate to stem the tide on crack and the outrageous amount of violence that came with it. This was the reason the penalties were significantly more severe than for regular cocaine.

This is the activity we ask governments to undertake. We ask them to make a positive difference in the face overwhelming evil. We need them to take on monsters through the corporate strength of society which individuals are too weak to oppose. Overlooking this history, and in fact, the whole movement towards legalizing drugs, is the result of failing to learn the lessons of the past and setting ourselves up to relive them.

Legalizing Drugs

America is in love with its highs. I thought of this while seeing a commercial for the old Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. He was one of several, who made their living as comedians by making us laugh at the lovable drunk.

But drunk is not really that lovable and neither is high. However it appears we have moved from laughing at the lovable drunk to laughing at the lovable pothead. Some people would like to go further and legalize all form of drugs.

At what point do we begin to admit our love affair with being high is self-destructive.

Once upon a time in America we had enough people who saw alcohol as a danger to society that we made it illegal. I assume the decision was like deciding it was more important to avoid the destruction of those who would become alcoholics than it was for individuals with control to have their casual drinks. During the days of prohibition, illegal alcohol changed the face of crime. The criminal aspect of it became so strong that it didn’t take long to decide to legalize it in order to cut down on the crimes surrounding it.

Please notice, prohibition was not overturned for the sake of the drunk, it was despite the drunk. Illegal drinking became trendy. This made illegal booze very profitable and the black market became dangerous. Making alcohol legal again was essentially a measure to take the power and money away from the gangs.

In essence reversing prohibition allowed an attitude toward alcohol which is now expanding to other intoxicants. Namely that allowing a certain number of people to lose their lives to the substance is preferable to withholding the high from the public or fighting the crime of those who will get their high even if illegally.

If this is the decision society ultimately makes, the number of people losing their lives to substances will increase. Some substances are massively more addictive than alcohol. Are we sure, the cost will be worth avoiding the fight?