Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One way to legalize it?

Something I frequently hear my students talk about is the hope that marijuana will be legalized one day. I've tried to tell them that they have some control over this in terms of registering to vote and electing legislators who will do so. However, I'm not sure this will work as there's a social stigma about weed that needs to be lost before legalization happens.

For a while I thought that it was only a matter of time before all the collegiate pot-heads would become respectable citizens who would hold office. When that happened, they would naturally legalize drugs because it was something that didn't have a bad effect upon them. I've come to realize, however, that the roadblock to this is the image of the tree-burner: the slacker, the dope-head, the fool who laughs at paint drying. This is not a good wage-earner or tax-payer, this is someone that our American Puritan work ethic always frowns upon. Alcohol, on the other hand, is seen as something that you earn with hard work ("It's Miller Time!"). So what the hippie lettuce lovers need is a "I'm a pot-achiever!" campaign. They need to prove they won't just waste away on their couches if they have a chance to smoke all they want.

Can this happen? I don't know; my own experiences w/ people smoking MJ are more along the lines of Cheech and Chong but I respect that people can use but not abuse. One way that the pro-chronic crowd can get their foot in the door may be thru selective legalization. Recent studies that it helps fight Alzheimer's could be seized upon to allow seniors to use it. This could have appeal to the American public: who deserves to light up more than those who have contributed so much to our nation? And while I have no data on this, I get a sense that the the plea to let the dying to have a toke is the argument most appealing to John and Jane Q Public, especially when those dying with great pain are brought up. Perhaps the folks at NORML should talk less about the drug war and more about grandma's suffering.

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