September 30, 2011

Legalizing Marijuana

Legalize itI'd like to see marijuana legalized in the United States. Had I said this five years ago, most of you probably would have assumed that I was a pothead. Until fairly recently, most people assumed that anyone pro-legalization must be a regular drug user. Today, it seems easier to imagine someone saying that for other reasons. For the record, I have not used marijuana for at least 15 years.

I do believe that legalization would be good for the economy, both for the taxes it would generate and for the savings in criminal justice expenditures, but that is not the main reason I support it. The main reason I support marijuana legalization comes down to freedom. I believe that persons of legal age should be free to buy, possess, and use marijuana in precisely the same way we can now do with alcohol. I'll even go one step beyond that and say that we should be able to grow small amounts of marijuana for our personal use as well.

Why would the author of an atheist blog bother to sound off about marijuana? What irks me most about how the U.S. government has handled marijuana is the focus on myths and outright lies to stoke fear and ignorance in the public about the nature of the drug. The government made a serious mistake by classifying marijuana as a schedule 1 narcotic. Alcohol and nicotine are the appropriate points of comparison; not heroin. From a reality-based perspective, this sort of thing really drives me crazy.