Proposition 19, the pot legalization initiative which was recently defeated in California, brought out the familiar arguments on both sides. I was a bit surprised to read Josh Marshall’s take on this: against legalization, but in favor of “decriminalizing” marijuana. The idea is to keep usage in check by keeping it in the closet.
Here’s what I think. Legalize it, and the use pot would increase somewhat, but use of alcohol would decrease. And that’s good, because a number of people have a need to put themselves into an altered state of consciousness, and it’s a lot easier on the body to do that with marijuana than alcohol. The stoner might gain a few pounds, but he can maintain his habit over several decades and still remain in reasonably good health. Especially if he invests in a vaporizer. Years of heavy drinking, on the other hand, will destroy the body.
There are former marijuana smokers, vehemently opposed to legalization, who will say that they lost years of their life toking up daily when they could have been doing something productive. (The fact that their problem occurred when pot was illegal is usually lost on them.) And to them I would ask a simple question:
“How’s your liver?”