Often it is referred to as the (say it with me) 'gateway drug'. Which is true. ...In the sense that breast milk/formula is the gateway drink to juice and Kool-Aid which as we alllll know leads to the stronger stuff, like Mt. Dew, and ya know, eventually, moonshine and absinthe.
Obviously it is not a lie to say that boobjuice/formula is the first thing we try, before we progress to our clandestine meetings with the Kool Aid Man, et all. But I think we can all agree that it's not ladymilk (or Similac) that is the catalyst for coming down with a later-in-life case of Otisthetowndunkitus. Which means, if are capable of being honest about that, we have the ability,
While I'd hazard a guess that most of your local meth and heroin heads would report that their first dance with recreational drugs was with Mary Jane, I would also be willing to wager that that's in large part because in our society most folks don't think of PBR, the Captain or a nice glass of chardonnay as a drug. Not because alcohol is inherently safer, (it's not) or less mind/body altering, (it's not), or that it's less harmful to the fabric of our society (again, it's not) but because of how we frame booze in our lives.
Over 70 million people have tried marijuana. Most marijuana users never use any other illegal drug. Indeed, for the vast majority of people, marijuana is the last drug they try, not a "gateway" to other drugs. If it were a gateway drug and if it were so addictive, we would have more than 3 million heroin and cocaine addicts in the U.S.
...Grandpa had one shot of whiskey every day. ...Mom and Dad cracked a bottle of wine when they had friends over for dinner. ...In most households and hamlets across the nation important occasions are marked with the popping of a champagne bottle. ...I meet up with my friends for happy hour. Whatever it looked like, for most people alcohol was always acceptable recreational drug use. But no one ever uses those exact words. (And yes, I know some people/families, religions, etc., simply do not drink. That's cool. You know me. ...Whateves. But it's not the "norm" of most Americans relationship and history with booze.)
During our lifetime, drugs have always been framed in a very Nancy Regan-esque, 'Just Say No'/post Reefer Madness kinda way . And have always meant,
And there should be no mistake that the only real reason weed is illegal today in most parts of the nation (except these places - click) is in fact predicated on stupid, baseless and unreasonable thinking and actions.
If you don't know the history leading up to marijuana going from equal footing with booze to a full-on hardcore schedule 1 drug (FYI: Schedule 1 is meant to accurately denote; "the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence." For reference sake, OxyContin [responsible for approx. 16,500 OD deaths] is a full step lower at Schedule II, with Schedule IV covering antidiarrheal and aspirin.) it's a compelling story chocked full 'o a lot of interesting subplots like a twisted, but perfectly legal selfish exploitation of capitalism, racism, and fanaticism that eschews ration and fact
(The short story) (The long version)
Understanding that our negative perceptions of pot, today, especially when held by people who see alcohol as a drug 'better than', is really nothing more than the hangover of
The next step is honestly considering the impact of weed.
On a individual user level, we all know pot is pretty dangerous. How dangerous? Well, the CDC attributes 80,000 deaths/yr from alcohol, yet when you Google "CDC statistics on marijuana deaths" (go ahead, I'll wait) no supporting data is available
But, you know, it's still a danger to the fabric of our society. Crime? What about crime for fuck's sake?!? ...Like impaired drivers! Ahhhh, yes. Impaired drivers. Well, it turns out that of the 10,228 fatalities due to impaired drivers, (in '10) of that total other drugs (cocaine, marijuana, etc.) played a role only 18% of the time. (Clarification: I don't mean, 'only' as in, 18% is an insignificant number, I mean 'only' in the context of in comparison to the impact of alcohol exclusive crash numbers. [note: 18% is comprised of all other drugs, not solely reflective of marijuana] Obviously, any/every/each life taken or affected by an impaired driver of any flavor is one too many.)
As for other types of crime, I think it's a pretty universally known, and accepted fact that high people are more likely to be guilty of muggin' a bag 'o Funyuns than knockin' Granny to the ground to steal her purse. Potheads aren't stealin' copper from every a/c unit on the block, or breakin' into houses. Child, please. Potheads are sittin' on the couch watching a movie, or out in the country hangin' with friends watchin' the bon fire, rootin' the local hockey team, baking bread, or doin' household chores, or any of the 99,999 (wait. Did I just channel Herman Cain? Great. Now I want pizza. [...
...And by 'other thing potheads do' I mean, things like jobs. Not, workin'-the-counter-of-the--last-video-store-in-America, jobs (not that there's anything wrong with an honest days work slingin' VHS. Somebody's gotta help people find out
Potheads are some of the best people you already know, who you don't know smoke pot.
When I look around at some of the potheads I know, not only are they successful by career standards, they they tend to be, at least what I consider successful human beings. Kind and thoughtful with good heads on their shoulder sorts. In my experience they're open minded and open hearted. People who manage to deal well with the shit life throws them. Which I can't with any general rule-y-ness say about people I know who's better living through chemistry approach relys on booze. Some of those co-workers who always seem to be able to consistently resist bein' a dick? High. Some of those parents you look at and think, 'man, how do they keep from literally locking their kid in a cage?', (I don't know why, but that's a thing in Ohio... Nope, I'm not kidding; Exhibit A:, Example 2:, And 3's a charm:) well some of them are holding on to their sanity, and keeping a downright delightful demeanor by slippin' out to the pole barn after the kiddies are communing with the Sandman to share a bowl. Some of the most involved, in the moment, conscientiously raising their children parents I know are half baked half the time. Which again, isn't something generally said about a household where booze is consumed on a regular/frequent basis. Alcohol is a major contributor in domestic violence. Whereas, ganga is described as "reduces the likelihood of violence during intoxication."
The ...but if it's legal everyone will just be walkin' around high all the time
The ...but if it's legal I'm sure there'll be a new wave of addicts I have to somehow pay to fix their fuck up, argument. Again, if that were the reality of the situation that would make a fine assertion. However, per Psychology Today, ya know, the fixin' addictions people; "The vast majority of those who use marijuana do so occasionally and exhibit no addictive symptoms-- no increased tolerance, no cravings, and no withdrawal. In other words, they can take it or leave it." For people who make money from treating addictions, that seems like a pretty strong statement, no? So, having to spring for mass marijuana related rehabs seems unlikely. The ironic flip side to that argument is that by keeping marijuana illegal we pay a much higher (no pun intended) price to deal with the MC's (marijuana criminals).
"National statistics show 872,000 arrests last year related to marijuana, 775,000 of them for possession, not sale or manufacturing - sparking some critics to suggest that the resources of the criminal justice system, including the crowded state prisons and courts, might be better used elsewhere," per the San Francisco Chronicle in 2009.
Newsflash: We're already paying for pot. We pay for it in the 775,000 who, assuming they have no other scrapes with the law, which is indeed the most likely scenario, have to put on every application that they are a crim. Putting otherwise decent Americans behind the 8 ball, economically speaking. Personally, I find it out of whack with the ramifications someone who might get popped for public intox, or DWI/DUI, for that matter would experience. Sure they would have to note it too, but when explained, many employers/landlords, etc., would to a greater degree accept that type of criminal record as being not necessarily a reason to reject them, whereas due to our collective
Your checkbook & cannabis crimes:
- Inmates incarcerated on marijuana-related charges cost U.S. prisons $1 billion annually, according to a 2007 study, AlterNet reports.
- Including lost tax revenues, a 2007 study found that enforcing the marijuana prohibition costs tax payers $41.8 billion annually, Forbes reports.
Reference Sources/Other interesting pot info:
- 10 Facts About Marijuana (Drug Policy.com)
- Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
- Pew Research
- And lastly, this guy. Actually, that's Captain,as in (ret.) Captain Peter Christ who I almost missed because I judged a book by it's cover. Small market interview, poor production values, etc., but I'm glad I hung in there. 15 minutes of kick ass, real-world (law enforcement) experience and wisdom breakin' it the fuck down. It's a BBG Don't Miss.
(BBG Legal Disclaimer: As always, and with all aspects of the Big Brown Girl World, do not substitute my opinions for your good judgement. It is not my contention that marijuana is good/safe. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv. I am not recommending that anyone take it up, actually I take that back. I would recommend to a few people I've met that they would truly benefit from lightin' up a big ol' fatty, but I digress. I am simply pointing out that weed is no more dangerous than other legal and socially acceptable drugs, like our ol' friend booze. To hold it, and its enjoy-ers to a different
As always, feel free to chime in with your $0.02.