“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.