I am a mixed martial arts fan, and in reading the news today concerning the sport, I was disappointed to see that Nick Diaz, a fighter hated by many people but someone I routinely cheer for, tested positive for marijuana following a recent loss. This is not the first offense for Diaz and because of that, he likely faces a long suspension but I am not disappointed that he tested positive for what he did, I am more disappointed that marijuana continues to be marked as a dangerous and illegal drug when there are so many facts that prove the opposite.
This is often a country of hypocrisy but in the case of marijuana, it is even worse than usual. To have alcohol consumed at virtually every public establishment legally while non violent, pot offenders sit in jail is one of the longest running and most ridiculous travesties of justice in American culture.
We live in a society of drug users. From nicotine, to caffeine, to any number of prescription drugs used to “relax”, you would be hard pressed to find someone in this country that truly does no drugs. We demand our right to calm ourselves but we are illogical in our choice of what is allowed and what isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, drugs are generally bad. Drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and LSD are dangerous and should be kept away from the general public but to classify marijuana in the same category is beyond ridiculous. For a comparison, let us take a look at alcohol. Anyone who has gotten drunk in their life knows that too much alcohol has a serious effect on a human being. Physically, alcohol affects coordination, balance, vision and over time will destroy both the liver and the brain. Even worse, alcohols biggest negative is the effect it has on others when you are using it. Though the numbers vary, alcohol is typically involved in over 40% of all fatality related accidents. Almost half. Even worse, consider the following example. On a Friday night in this country, most bars are packed. Full of people getting drunk, and despite the fact that drunk driving is illegal and dangerous, how many of those people do you think have a designated driver? Or will take a taxi home that night? A small percentage, let me assure you. Despite that fact, instead of ensuring people are drinking responsibility, police would rather let those people leave, get in their cars, and drive off before pulling them over to enforce this “law”. In doing so we wind up with literally thousands of drunks on the roads virtually every single night, thousands of people whose vehicles have now become weapons of destruction. Additionally, we accept the fact that people are just going to do this, going to kill others with their irresponsible use of alcohol, and we are happy to just catch the ones we can and let the rest slip through the cracks, often killing innocent people as a result. If we really cared about people not doing this willing act of endangering other innocent people, wouldn’t we have a system in place to prevent the drunk from even driving in the first place.
The reason I attack alcohol so feverishly is that when you look at those facts, and then compare the damage that something like marijuana does to a person you see there is truly no comparison between the two. In truth, the biggest reason, at least in my opinion, marijuana remains illegal is simply because of the religiously zealous and the government’s refusal to admit they were wrong. On top of that, during a time in our country when so many states are financially struggling, we are ignoring a cash crop that people are using anyway and in doing so, throwing away literally hundreds of millions of potential tax dollars that would benefit states in ways that few other things would right now while doing practically no damage beyond anything that is already going on.
Wake up people and get with the times. People are going to use, en masse, anything they deem worth their time and whether you like it or not, there are many of us out here who enjoy smoking a joint as much as you enjoy downing a shot of whiskey. the only difference is that while your drinking contributes to death of others legally, our habit gets us thrown in jail while harming no one save ourselves, and that harm to us is far less than legal things like cigarettes and alcohol.