Much is made of the health effects of comparable substances. Alcohol and tobacco are frequently trumpeted as more dangerous than cannabis. This may be true, but they are dangerous in different ways. While tobacco and alcohol can kill you, and are frequently seen as evil and wicked because of that reason, (in a puritanical, temperance movement kind of way) they do not have the capacity of marijuana to cause brain damage and the general retarding of mental function. It is often said how cannabis has never killed anyone, or at least directly, compared to the rather large butcher’s bill for the two substances mentioned above. Again, this may be true, but it is a question of actual effects, and especially on those around us.
Cannabis use is frequently seen as a victimless crime – it is, as the rallying cry of stoners goes, a personal decision what we put into our own bodies. But the patchwork of interdependence which constitutes our personal relationships belies this idea. What we have then is this: physical damage verses mental, brain against brawn (so to speak). Most people would prefer to have schizophrenia than fatal lung cancer or liver disease. But would your family? A death is always traumatic, and not as easy to get over if it is brought on by self-indulgence; but it can be gotten-over, that’s the point. Yes, Fred is dead, but on the plus side, we’ll have all forgotten him within a year.
Compare that, (relatively) happy scenario with that of someone having bad side effects from too many spliffs. They hang on, tenaciously, while their whole family secretly wishes they’d preferred lager or Rothman’s. Sure you can die smoking to excess; you can most certainly drink yourself into an early grave. Have you never thought that this is actually the point in the first place? Surely it is better for you to pop you clogs early than to hang around, perpetually in the wings, leeching, even if unknowingly, off of your family’s reserves of kindness and concern?
It is callous, I know, and I have frequently been reigned in when trying to impart my message to others. On one occasion, I was dragged off a school debating podium by a team-mate who then had to make a grovelling apology to a roomful of emotionally shattered Year Sevens, who had reacted rather adversely to my suggestion that mummy would rather they were dead than a burden. But the point remains. In a competitive world, why should we continue to tolerate those who through their excessive cannabis consumption don’t even have the good grace to die?
The pragmatic case for cheap alcohol is that those who are likely to be heavy drinkers will do so anyway, and making it easier for them to achieve that early end they’ve been longing for is in everyone’s best interests. They get what they want, and their families, as well as local health care resources and society in general, get them out of the picture is quickly and humanely as possible. Add in a few funny drunken Facebook snaps and you’ve got a whole lifestyle.
Drunks are, after all, more entertaining, and can also prove rather useful in fields other than manual labour: writing, professional sports, acting, politics, etc. Before they do their patriotic duty and snuff it, I want to wring at least some humour from them, and some smokers are vaguely tolerable. But junkies are just so boring; they don’t have much comic potential, let alone any other skills. Watching a high man dance isn’t funny, it’s just depressing, but as soon as a boozy chap takes to the dance floor, you know you’re in for a whole night of top-notch viewing. See what I mean?
So, instead of legalising marijuana, we all need to realise the real use of the ban. It isn’t to keep people safe; it is the exact opposite of that: it’s to stop people from being too safe. People with addictive personalities will always find something to misuse, and so why on Earth would we want to let them get hold of something which will incapacitate them, but not get rid of them? It seems like a lost cause, as well as a giant waste of time and money, to me. So, to those who still don’t get why we need cannabis to be banned, as well as those wastes of space who would hedonistically indulge in it anyway, I say this: fancy a pint?