Legalizing pot isn't about medicine, it's about getting high

10.08.2013 05:27

-- At first glance, my 11-year-old son
seems like your everyday, all-American kid.
He loves baseball and basketball, plays Xbox
with his friends when they come over, and
posts innocuous pictures of the family dog on
his Instagram feed. Given these mundane
facts about the boy, you can imagine my
surprise when, while watching the news
(again, seemingly from out of nowhere) he
asked me, "If pot is so bad, why are they
trying to legalize it?"
And, just like that, the long and involved talk
my wife and I had given our children about
drugs was tossed out the window.
We had explained the harmful effects of
marijuana. Like cigarettes, smoking marijuana
introduces tar, carbon monoxide and cancer-
causing agents into your body.
Neither my wife nor I anticipated that our
son would be stopped on the street by
unscrupulous potheads petitioning outside of
the local grocery store and being fed a line
of rhetoric that went against what we were
trying to teach him.
It turns out that potheads
weren't exactly the problem;
they were the symptom. Let me
tell you why.
If you have a fever and you go
to the doctor and he tells you
that you have pneumonia, do
you ask him to treat the fever,
or do you ask him to treat the
pneumonia? Most of us would
ask him to treat the
pneumonia because the pneumonia is the
problem; the fever is the symptom.
It's the same way with the argument about
the legalization of marijuana. I'm not
interested in focusing on the symptom; I
want to eradicate the problem. And the
problem is that we're even considering
legalizing marijuana at all.
Let's take a look at the medical marijuana
issue in Los Angeles (where I live) and we
can see where legalization takes us. It has
been my experience that anyone can get a
medical marijuana card in L.A.; all you need
is $25-$100 and the ability to lie about
needing it. You just make an appointment
with some company, walk in and state your
problem(s) and why you need a card (with no
proof of medical conditions whatsoever) and
you will be prescribed a card that is good for
one year. It's a toothless system that isn't
Why are some of the people
who petition for legalizing
marijuana so passionate about
it? Because when you smoke
pot, you get loaded. You fry
your brain. That's why the
patients I see in my treatment
center call it "getting baked."
Pot is all about getting really
Now, I have nothing against
people who smoke pot. In fact,
I believe it is a crime to put
someone in prison for smoking
pot. Honestly, do we really
need some idiot frat boy to get
picked up during Mardi Gras for
smoking pot and find himself
locked in a cage with a
monster for six months? Kevin
Sabet, a former senior adviser
to the White House Office of
National Drug Control Policy
poses a terrific point when he
says that criminal processing
for possession of marijuana
needs improvement, but
legalization is a step too far.
Marijuana supporters like to argue that
marijuana is similar to alcohol. While alcohol
is legal, it also accounts for tens of
thousands of deaths every year in car
accidents or other drinking-related
misfortunes. But we can't turn the clock back
on that one because it's too embedded in
our society.
Opinion: Why I changed my mind on weed
Supporters of marijuana say that marijuana
should be legalized because old people and
women and children who have ailments like
glaucoma or cancer or intractable seizures
need it.
It is painful to watch people suffer. I am not
against helping people. In a perfect world, a
woman suffering from cancer should be able
to get a prescription from her doctor, go to a
pharmacy, acquire her medical marijuana, go
home and recuperate from her last round of
chemotherapy. But we don't live in a perfect
world, and you don't need a Ph.D. to see
that the spirit of that argument is being
exploited by people who aren't using the
marijuana for medical reasons at all; they are
using it to get high.
Introducing legalized marijuana into our
culture would be like using gasoline to put
out a fire, because it stunts growth.
Do you know why we don't see potheads out
in public? It's because they're sitting at
home smoking weed and staring at their
television sets or playing video games all
day. Do you have any idea how many
marijuana addicts I encounter at my rehab on
a daily basis? They talk about wanting to be
productive. But what pot does is it kills their
motivation -- it destroys people's ability to
go out and work and to have a career. It
makes them want to do nothing but lie
around all day. Is that what you want for
your children? Is that what you want for your
loved ones?
And how do you market marijuana? We have
only just now moved into an era where
cigarette smoking is commonly known to be
harmful, but now advertisers have a new
product to sell. Who do you think they're
going to market their product to? Not you or
me, because we're not stupid enough to
believe the lie; we know too much. They're
going to follow in the footsteps of the
cigarette companies in the 1980s and market
this stuff to young people.
The very idea of that sickens me. I know
what marijuana does to the human mind
because I started smoking weed when I was
15 years old. It literally robbed me of my
motivation to participate in my own life. I
was absolutely OK with sitting around all day
eating cookies and watching television and
getting high with my friends. But, to go out
and earn a living and do something with my
life? That was all stuff that I was going to do
later after I came down off of the marijuana.
But, then I'd smoke some more and think,
"Why bother?" . . . and, eventually, I started
shooting heroin. If my family had not
intervened and sought professional help, I
would probably still be wandering aimlessly
through the streets today; searching for that
elusive "perfect high."
Even if you only stay with marijuana in your
repertoire of illicit drugs to abuse, it will
never yield positive results. Ever.
And, I posit this to marijuana abusers
everywhere: Are you really that weak? Are
you really that uncomfortable in your own
skin that you can't handle living your life or
having real experiences without being high?
Is it really impossible for you to live life
without a drug? Because, if it is, it breaks my
heart and I feel sorry for you. Because that's
no way to live.
And my kid, he's going to know the truth
about you. He's going to know that every
time you approach him arguing for the
legalization of marijuana, what you're really
doing is asking him to vote to make it OK for
you to spend the rest of your life half-baked
on your sofa, too stoned to go out and play
with your own kids or do the things you've
always dreamed of doing. To my kid, I'm
going to say that this means one less
competitor on his road to a successful and
fulfilling life.
And, to the potheads who are so passionate
about being allowed to smoke their lives
away, I have only one thing to say: Dream