A few minutes ago, I posted this tweet:
Ok. Gymmed, showered, groceried. What now? Cigar and blog? Beer and TV?
I got a couple good-natured responses. This was one of them:
neither, cigar + weed mixed together until a blunt is created. Light, toke and enjoy
Then I said:
Ha. Those days are long behind me.
Then, what started out as a reminiscent missive became the debate to end all debates when his reply came:
its funny, ppl quit smoking weed but keep drinking. If you do research you will find weed is much MUCH safer and better for you
(I left the person that I spoke with anonymous only because I don’t know how he feels about being talked about publicly. They are more than welcome to comment and take credit for their thoughts, but I want that to be their choice, not mine.)
I’ll spare you all the rest of the back and forth, but I feel like my stance on alcohol versus marijuana is both clear and correct. The biggest difference between the two substances is legality. That’s it. I don’t smoke marijuana because it is illegal.
When you dissect the arguments for legalizing marijuana, most of them are sound. In fact, this is a big in fact, I agree that enough firm precedent exists in this country to legalize marijuana in the relatively near future. AND I’M OK WITH THAT. My argument against marijuana isn’t a fundamental one, it’s a practical one.
Look, I’m no angel. There may be a time place when I have to defend a loved one or make any number of snap judgement calls that could potentially land me in a bit of hot water, but those scenarios would all be dictated by instincts. Whether or not to buy a bag and smoke a bowl, even if I just sit on my patio without bothering anyone, isn’t instinctive. It’s a long-term thought process with multiple steps.
The go to argument for most when discussing the legality of marijuana is that weed is safer and better for you than alcohol. My response to that argument is, “So what?”. Alcohol being legal HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MARIJUANA BEING ILLEGAL. Its a sad commentary on the state of your logic if the first thing you say when confronted with reality is “but its better than beer!”.
Really, though, most of the people the fight the hardest to legalize marijuana do the cause the most harm. Arguing marijuana against alcohol is a lost cause. Beer, and by virtue of ingredient, alcohol, is ingrained in our culture. Right or wrong, that’s an undeniable fact. Beer ads in national magazines, on TV all afternoon and evening, during every sporting event worldwide… no one is ever going to beat beer.
But, the pro-marijuana person says, drinking and driving kills people and ruins lives! Smoking weed just makes you lazy for an hour.
Agreed. Drinking and driving is high on the list of most unforgivable, irresponsible things that a person can do. Drinking and driving is MUCH worse than smoking a bowl while you watch the Indians game tonight. There is only one thing that drinking and driving has in common with smoking weed; they’re both illegal.
There’s where the argument derails. The pro-marijuana majority doesn’t take into account that it’s just as illegal for me to cause a scene in public whether I’m drunk from alcohol, high from weed or even sober and just being an asshole. Same ticket, same fine, same opportunity for me to be a dick to the police and end up spending a night on a very uncomfortable bench. It’s not the substance that gets me into trouble, it’s the behavior.
I’ve finished a Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA in the process of writing this post. Just one. It hasn’t hurt my liver, because I don’t overload my liver to the point of adverse effects. I’m not drunk, but I realize that scientifically, this 9% alcohol by volume ale is enough to cause slight impairments to my reaction times. I’m a responsible drinker, who’s sitting on my patio futzing around with my blog.
Its apples to oranges to compare a person who responsibly uses marijuana to an alcoholic that regularly drives drunk. That’s no different from comparing a person who responsibly uses marijuana to a career thief, or mugger, or much worse. Those are behaviors, not substances.
I’m the person that the pro-marijuana people profess to be, just with a different substance. And that’s fine. Personally, I have no problem with someone doing what I’m doing right now, just with a bowl instead of a bottle, but it’s not legal. That’s why I’m not doing it, and its also why I have no sympathy for those who have created trouble for themselves by using or selling marijuana.
A person can do dumb things and hurt themselves and others drunk, they can do dumb things that hurt themselves and others high, and a person can do those same dumb things sober. Believe me, I’ve done them all in each state of mind. I know plenty of people who have smoked marijuana that have led good lives. No criminal issues, no broken marriages, no abusive parenting. I also know people who smoke weed that are no good thieves that routinely beat up their girlfriends and end up in jail. Guess what. I know people in both of those groups that smoke weed, drink beer and who do neither. Being a bad husband or parent isn’t a substance, it’s a person. If the government re-enacted prohibition tomorrow, and I had a beer on my patio, I’d be the same fundamental person that I am right now. If, with the same legislative stroke the government made marijuana legal and I smoke a bowl, I’d still be the same man. No abusing either substance, I wouldn’t run my car into a family of four and I wouldn’t ruin my relationship.
I have friends and family members that were ruined because of an addiction to marijuana and I have many friends that were ruined by addiction to alcohol. I blame neither substance, I blame the sad fact that those I care about let those substances control them. Its their fault, regardless of which one is legal.
I believe in personal accountability, so I’m actually for the legalization of marijuana with the same controls and stipulations that surround alcohol. But today? Its illegal, so I’m drinking a beer.