Ridiculous Arguments Against Marijuana Legalization: Part I
Marijuana legalization is a hot topic these days. With our closest northern neighbor, Canada, set to remove prohibition in July, 2018, it’s quite apparent how pot attitudes have changed. In fact, a Pew Research poll reveals that 57% of Americans favor legalizing recreational Cannabis.
So why hasn’t it happened yet? That’s a complex question, but one glaring problem is the absurd arguments and logical fallacies pushed by anti-marijuana advocates. Misinformation is a powerful thing, and the only way to counter it is with cold, hard facts.
That being said, let’s see what some people are saying and point out just how dead wrong they really are.
The “Slippery Slope”
This argument has been used over a variety of issues, and it seems marijuana is no exception. In fact, America’s most unpopular governor, Chris Christie once argued, “Then why not legalize heroin…Let’s legalize cocaine. Let’s legalize heroin. Let’s legalize angel dust. Let’s legalize all of it. What’s the difference?”
Let’s not. The social and health consequences of the “hard” drugs listed by Christie are devastating. Compare that to marijuana, whose biggest crime (and health impact) is creating long lines at Taco Bell.
But there’s plenty of proof. A 2007 report published in The Lancet ranks marijuana lower than any of the drugs (and many others) that Christie mentioned in terms of harm and potential for addiction.
Pot Was Banned for the Sake of Our Health
Nope. It was banned for much more sinister reasons. Remember Donald Trump’s infamous “bad hombres” remark when referring to illegal Mexican immigrants and their alleged criminal tendencies? Well, this is the exact reason why marijuana was banned in the first place.
According to an entry on the educational website, drugpolicy.org, marijuana’s prohibition came about due to a mix of scare tactics about Mexican-Americans and their allegedly dangerous behavior due to cannabis usage. It effectively became a good excuse to unfairly “search, detain and deport Mexican immigrants.”
To this day, the “War on Drugs” still has a knack for targeting minorities.
Pot Encourages Criminal Behavior
Okay, yes it does. But that’s only because purchasing it makes you a criminal. In fact, anyone who’s used cannabis – medicinally or recreationally – knows its effects very well. When you’re high, you can barely bring yourself to do the dishes, let alone beat someone up or kill the neighbor who keyed your car. But let’s see what statistics have to say.
An article in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors states that “Alcohol was more than twice as likely to be a contributing factor to violent crimes than nonviolent crimes…” and 62% of those convicted of violent crimes did so under the influence of alcohol. And this stuff is legal.
Okay, so alcohol is a huge factor in violent crime. But what about pot? Well, according to the conclusions drawn by the National Academy of Sciences, “…cannabis preparations (e.g., marihuana, hashish) or THC decrease aggressive and violent behavior.”
So the next time you’re tempted to take the gloves off because of your co-worker’s snarky remarks about your haircut, try smoking joint. Better yet, both of you should.
Nobody’s saying that marijuana is 100% harmless. There are plenty of studies indicating that it can have adverse effects, especially on young, developing brains. But after decades of failed attempts to curb its black market consumption, we need to stop relying on laws to eliminate certain behaviors. Instead, the onus should be on parents to educate their kids about responsible cannabis use, just like they (hopefully) do with alcohol and cigarettes.