Legalize it and be done with it

“The amount of money and of legal energy being given to prosecute hundreds of thousands of Americans who are caught with a few ounces of marijuana in their jeans simply makes no sense – the kindest way to put it. A sterner way to put it is that it is an outrage, an imposition on basic civil liberties and on the reasonable expenditure of social energy.”

– William F. Buckley, Jr.

When I want to relax, premium alcohol and tobacco are my drugs of choice.

To all those moral busybodies and health Nazis who just tsk-tsked me, I really don’t care what you think.

What I choose to put in my body is my business, not yours.

I was born with free will and I live in a country where my individual liberty is supposed to be precious and protected, therefore it should be up to me – not politicians, not law enforcement, not do-gooding buttinskies, not strangers, not my neighbors – to decide what I eat, drink and smoke.

That simple philosophy is the reason why I will be voting YES on Proposal 18-1 – the legalization of marijuana – when the Nov. 6 election rolls around. Legalize it, regulate it, tax it and be done with it.

To be clear, I have absolutely no desire to use marijuana, but I also have absolutely no desire to stop anyone else – other than minors – from doing so.

I also have absolutely no desire to continue seeing my tax money wasted on arresting and prosecuting marijuana users.

I want my police officers and prosecutors going after real criminals like killers, thieves, scam artists, rapists and pedophiles, not folks who want to smoke a joint, munch some Fritos and fall asleep while watching Netflix.

Both sides of the legalization debate have statistics, studies and stories they like to trot out to support their positions.

I won’t be quoting, citing or refuting any of those here because frankly, I don’t care and everybody has their own set of ‘facts’ these days.

To me, this whole issue is very simple.

News flash – the War on Drugs, much like Prohibition (1920-33), has been a complete failure and a colossal waste of time, effort and public money.

There’s a lot of people out there who use marijuana for recreational purposes.

There are plenty of decent folks who enjoy firing up their bongs at the end of a long day the same way I like to load up my frost-covered cocktail shaker with Bombay Sapphire gin after sitting through yet another painful local government meeting.

They’re not bad people. They’re not criminals. They’re not deviants.

They’re people with a drug of choice that happens to be illegal because long ago the pezzi da novanta (big shots) in government feared the country would be conquered by “reefer madness” and we all know what that leads to – jazz music and the mixing of the races.

Believe it or not, there are people out there who go to work every day, pay taxes, raise families and hold up their end of the carpool in between tokes. They just need a little something to take the edge off.

Just like with drinkers, marijuana enthusiasts run the gamut from responsible users to hardcore abusers.

You can find that same range of drinkers perched atop barstools all over downtown Oxford right now. Should we revive the temperance movement and petition the village council to shut down all those evil saloons or should we trust the majority of people to drink responsibly and let the legal system handle the minority that crosses the line and endangers others?

Now, is marijuana harmless? Of course not. Don’t be a dope – pun intended.

Marijuana is bad for your health. It can damage your brain and your body. It can be addictive in severe cases. It impairs your ability to drive. But so what?

There’s plenty of legal stuff out there that’s bad for us, particularly when enjoyed excessively – alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, red meat, soda pop, butter, junk food, bacon, real sugar, fake sugar, etc.

Millions of people still consume these things every day because they choose to.

Thanks to warning labels, depressing TV commercials and so-called experts who earn their living wagging their fingers at others, people know these things cause cancer, heart disease, strokes, liver disease, diabetes, etc., but in their minds, the momentary pleasures they afford are worth the risk.

That’s something each individual, not government, must decide for him or herself.

Things should not be outlawed just because they’re bad for us.

Things should be not outlawed because certain self-righteous, uptight people believe it’s their sacred duty to control the personal habits and decisions of others through the coercive power of the State.

If you don’t like something, don’t do it, but don’t tell others they can’t. Mind your own business and keep your hands to yourself – sound advice at any age.

Life is hard. People should have the freedom to pick the poisons that help them unwind and deal with all the stress and problems we face on a daily basis.

Like Frank Sinatra once said, “I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.”

I like my poisons. I like my freedom.

I will not vote to deny others the same just because my drugs of choice happen to be different from theirs.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it – or don’t. I really don’t care.

6 Responses to "Legalize it and be done with it"

  1. Robert H stowers   October 18, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    I have depended on the Oxford Leader to write articles that been researched, investigate and proven to make logical sense. When you write that you really don’t care about”Facts” or what other people think ( not law enforcement, not neighbors). Is there a Plan for keeping this drug out of the hands and mouthes of minors. If there is no Plan in place then I choose to vote NO. Maybe you should stop sitting through yet another painful local goverment meeting and get a real job, that is not so stressful. Mabey when you were writing this article you were under the influence that caused you to write your Own Opinion not facts or logic.

    Reply
    • CJ Carnacchio   October 19, 2018 at 8:30 am

      In response to Mr. Stowers’ comments, This is not a news article. “My Way” is a column — an opinion piece that represents my personal view — and is clearly labeled as such.

      Reply
  2. stephanie   October 25, 2018 at 11:20 am

    I’ve waited months for the next “my way” column; this did not disappoint. As always CJ, you hit the nail on the head.

    Reply
    • CJ Carnacchio   October 25, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      That’s kind of you to say. Thank you very much.

      Reply
  3. Erik Dolan   October 26, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    I love that we live in a country where we can have these discussions, debate the merits, and ultimately stand up to have our votes counted in order to determine our collective direction. In this case however, I could not disagree more with the above assertions.

    We live in a society where far too many persons are already “checked out” from the toils and “stress” of their daily lives… and frankly from reality. Our society has become weak, confused, and unmotivated and I can’t help but to wonder how Americans coped with stress before even the unemployed had a 55″ inch tv. The consumption of marijuana disproportionately (and negatively) impacts those already predisposed to be unproductive members of society.

    Inconvenient statistics suggest that it leads to a far greater instance of workplace accidents, lack of personal and professional productivity, and a greater instance of traffic accidents. Contrary to what many suggest- marijuana is also a gateway drug for a large percentage of those inclined to partake.

    In a society that is already seemingly suffering from a greater instance of overall cognitive impairment, lack of productivity, lack of general knowledge, and poor decision making, the last thing that society needs is to embrace that trend and say- “Have at it. Speed up the process”.

    To some this will sound “elitist”, “arrogant”, “judgemental”, etc. to which I steal your line and say “I really don’t care”.

    Despite our difference of opinions on the matter I do appreciate the fact that you have the courage, in a world of deteriorating courage, to put your beliefs out there in black and white and stand for your convictions.

    Reply
  4. Zack   November 9, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Buckley said: “It can damage your brain and your body. It can be addictive in severe cases. It impairs your ability to drive. But so what?”

    So, as you said, “It impairs your ability to drive”, it still IS a police problem and society still has to pay the police for enforcement when you’re driving buzzed.

    You don’t address the pain and suffering at the hands of marijuanos, who are too impaired to drive, who could give a rip about the other guy while being too ripped to drive and injures or deaths an innocent person. BUT SO WHAT!!

    As long as you get to get buzzed that’s all that’s important. Perhaps some day you’ll be held accountable and you’ll squirm and squeal like a low life to try to find some loophole to blame someone else rather than yourself self. They all do. You won’t be different.

    Reply

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