Walton Brown’s Reefer Madness November 24, 2010Posted by bermudashorts in Uncategorized.
I’m still struggling to understand Walton Brown’s editorial in the Royal Gazette today. He mentions that “We have to first listen and better understand young people before we can begin communicating with them on this issue.” so why don’t we start right here…
Mr. Brown firmly states that he is not in favour of legalisation or decriminalisation. Yet, one of his main ideas for marijuana policy is decriminalisation. He believes that people should not be given criminal records for posession. That is decriminalizing pot, Mr. Brown, I’m not sure why you think otherwise?
The one thing he got right in this editorial, “smoking anything is not good for you”. Correct, smoking is not the healthiest practice. However, smoking weed is a lot less harmful than smoking cigarettes.
I’m not sure whether his portrayal of the pro-legalization arguments are misrepresented on purpose, or out of misunderstanding.
He states that the “juvenile” juxtaposition of alcohol’s legality and weed’s illegality is unfounded. He argues that moderate amounts of alcohol have health benefits while smoking weed has none. I suppose that is true if you put it that way. However, the “juvenile juxtaposition” is based on the idea that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana, which it is. Alcohol can make some people angry and violent, and it goes without saying that drunk driving can be lethal. When you compare that to the only “dangerous” effect of smoking marijuana (its bad for your lungs), this argument makes a lot of sense. If someone smokes a lot of weed, chances are they may eat an extra bag of Cheetos or fall asleep and will probably be too lazy to even get behind the wheel of a car. If our government does not want to “validate the use of something that so clearly destructive” they had better outlaw alcohol, cigarettes and ban all cars with combustion engines.
He also does not buy the argument that legalization and taxation would earn revenue for the government and end the profitability of the illegal trade, which I don’t quite understand. If the government grows, taxes and regulates the selling of weed, chances are the price of what you pay for say an eighth would go down dramatically. The government has the ability to put any person growing a bunch plants in their closet, out of business via economic strangulation. There is also not just tax revenues to be gained, but huge savings in the police, prisons and court system. Money that can be better allocated to fighting real crime.
He mentions that he’d like to lower demand, much like the demand has lowered for cigarettes in the past 30 years. People have stopped smoking cigarettes because they are extremely bad for you. Everyone has seen the anti-smoking ads where they list the different harmful chemicals in cigarettes. Your average joint doesn’t have those. People won’t stop smoking weed for the same reason, mainly because it is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Truth be told, there is no way to stop people from smoking weed.
If Mr. Brown want’s a meaningful conversation with young people about weed, he’ll have to understand that most young people enjoy getting high and don’t want to be fed a bunch of lies about marijuana’s ill effects.
ps. I suggest that Mr. Brown go and pay a visit to California. Although they didn’t pass Prop. 19, weed is practically legal anyways.