Monday, April 12, 2010

Why is marijuana illegal?

I was reading something recently that pricked in my mind the question which serves as the title for this post: Why is marijuana (Mary-Jane, i.e. MJ) illegal?
To clarify, I have never done marijuna, no, not even during my teenage rebellious year. Nor, is this post meant to advocate that this drug ought to be released from its illegalized prison. I'm not on a mission, I'm just curious.
The question behind this question is really a comparison between MJ and alcohol-an addictive and legal drug which is easily obtainable and alters on'e mental state and good-decision making capabilities.
Here are the observable facts. Alcohol, which I very rarely partake, can become lethal fairly easily. It all too often causes car accidents, relieves people of their inhibitions contributing to violence, injury, unplanned pregnancy and the spread of STD's. Consumed over many years, alcohol often leads to brain impairments, cirrhosis of the liver and early death. In the US some 100,000 deaths are attributed to alcohol use each year. Alcohol, alongside crack-cocaine, is the most damaging to a developing fetus of any drug (fetal-alcohol syndrome, anyone?).
Don't shoot the messenger, but you can't level any of these charges against MJ.
Marijuana, so far as we know, has no lethal dose; however, it does have a number of legitimate medicinal applications, particularly for cancer patients suffering severe nausea. It is not a good idea to operate a car after using MJ; however, it is far less inhibiting than alcohol when it comes to driving.
I have heard of a number of people who have smoked themselves stupid on marijuana, and many more than have drank themselves stupid and sometimes drank themselves dead. So far, I've not heard of anyone smoking himself dead on MJ.
MJ has also been lambasted as a gateway drug to harder more dangerous substance abuse. This claim is probably the most lefitimate case against the drug; however, I dare say it is not near as bad a risk or problem as we'd like to think. Alcohol can also be as just an effective gateway drug.
Then there's the fact that marijuana is naturally occurring. It doesn't have to be cooked down in a lab or chemically altered before use. There's something to this. I'm not sure what, but something.
So, I would go as far as to say that, plainly speaking, marijuana is less dangerous and harmful to both individuals and society than alcohol. But, alcohol is culturally acceptable, whi
le MJ is associated with law-breaking, bra-burning hippies from the 60's; and thus, it started out with a very negative social connotation.
Why is marijuana illegal Given that we're supposed to live in an enlightened society, I'm not quite sure. Again, I'm not advocating that we legalize of encourage the use of yet another mind altering chemical. i'm simiply remarking at a head scratching quandery. I think it is clear that alcohol is wose than marijuana, yet alcohol is legal and Mary-Jane is not. Somehow, that almost seems a bit silly...don't you think?
Clearly, there is more to say on the subject (not to mention the would be tax benefits), and I certainly don't know everything about it. So, any further comments or corrections are appreciated.


Erin Miller said...

Well now we know what to do to spice up chaplaincy graduation!

And to clarify to any blog readers... I do not know Nathan or his drug tendancies that well.

Vicki Hesse said...

Pass the bong... just kidding!

One of the problems with MJ is the way that it prevents the user from connecting with others authentically. {land mine response}

more later!

Audrey said...

No doubt alcohol is more dangerous. People have certainly known that for a long time, and of course there was even an amendment to US Constitution forbidding alcohol for 13 years! I'm not sure when MJ really became popular. Like you i associate its rise with the 60s "hippie" movement.

I'm not sure what it means to connect to someone "authentically" - i doubt either MJ or alcohol really allows a true authentic connection? If we're just comparing the two, i think MJ is clearly safer of the two if you assume people must have some way to escape or numb the pain or whatever. I guess people will always search for that.

One of the things about the Prohibition era was the rise of organized crime around brewing and distributing it. Of course that problem currently exists with MJ and other drugs as well. But prior to Prohibition, there were companies such as Anheiser Bush (getting some of my info from Wikipedia here) that were decimated by the new constitution. Repealing prohibition reestablished the former "legitimate" companies. I don't think there have ever been big companies employing lots of people (legitimately) that grew and sold MJ. Maybe that has something to do with it. Likely a lot of the reasons are just politics.

lance said...

i don't know about the gateway argument. i've heard it used as a reason not to teach bridge to kids, too.

there's a lot of information out there, there's a lot of ways to get messed up, there's a lot of things to do. the curious/misguided/experimental among us are going to find out about them and try them, regardless of whether marijuana is legal.

i just don't understand a life stance of prohibition. how about education and honesty?