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Friday, May 9, 2014

Pot: I Don't Like It But I'm Not Sure Why

Okay, I admit it. As liberal as I strive to be about most social issues, I don't feel comfortable with pot. There, I said it. And, to be honest, I have no concrete reasons why.

I've been thinking about it lately, and I just can't put my finger on it. You know how sometimes you get a gut feeling that says "Don't do that" or "This is wrong"? That's the feeling I get about marijuana. Needless to say, I would never partake myself, but I do have friends who smoke (sometimes pretty regularly) and it doesn't change my opinion of them. I'm not going to stop hanging out with them, I do not have a lower opinion of their morality or judgment, and I am certainly not going to tell them what to do.

But I do worry about said friends. I can't help it! I always tell them not to drive when they're high. I get nervous when they go to buy it. I worry about how it will affect their schoolwork or job. And I guess the worst thing is that I try not to be around them when they're high. I just get kind of uncomfortable, which doesn't really make logical sense. None of them are obnoxious high, none have ever put me in danger while high, none perpetually hang around with dealers or hard drug addicts, and none have ever pressured me into trying it.

The way the U.S. is coming around to pot should put me more at ease. The "it's illegal" argument is slowly but surely becoming null and void. I grew up in Vermont, where its recreational use was no secret well before the state legalized medical marijuana in 2004 (see the complete list of 22 states here). The most recent state to legalize medical marijuana was Illinois in 2013, while Colorado and Washington state got buckets of media attention when they legalized recreational use in 2013 and late 2012, respectively. From what I've read, like this article, the legality of it seems to be handled fairly well for being so new. For example, in Colorado state residents 21 and older can only buy an ounce at a time and can also be ticketed for driving under the influence. Personally, I wish this was treated the same as a DUI, because I don't think you should drive if you're under the influence of anything that alters your mental state, but that's probably a topic for another post.

Anyhoo, my point here is that when I read about the legal policies that go along with pot and think about it objectively I really should be fine with it, knowing myself. And really, if everyone were responsible and didn't put themselves or other people in danger (like driving while high), it would make sense. People of age can imbibe alcohol responsibly (or at least they're supposed to) and, as my one friend constantly points out to me, there are no laws against caffeine, which is something many people take in daily -- and probably in excessive amounts.

So, what IS it, then? The only thing that makes sense is that I don't want the people I care about to get in harm's way, whether it be getting shanked by their dealer or thinking they can jump off their roof and fly when they're as high as a kite.

Maybe my feelings will change as the legalization progresses, but until then, should I be feeling bad about not liking pot?

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