US Marijuana Party

Friday, May 13, 2005

Marijuana and Me

by Burt Prelutsky
13 May 2005

Based on my experience with the stuff, along with witnessing its effect on others, I would say it makes people hungry, dozy and stupid.

Apparently, if we’re to believe his friend’s tape recordings, George W. Bush smoked pot at some time in his life. In some quarters, this president is taking some heat for having actually inhaled. Well, I’m confessing that I, too, smoked a little weed in my younger days. Unlike some people, such as Bill Maher, I’m not bragging about it. It’s simply something I did, like riding a bike and practicing my hook shot three hours a day, and now I don’t.

Therefore, unlike many of my fellow conservatives, when I discuss marijuana, I’ve had first hand experience with it. To begin with, I am certain that, overall, the stuff did me far less harm than the Marlboros I smoked and the vodka I drank in those days. Understand, I am not advocating its use. But I would argue that in a society where I was free to satisfy my cravings for nicotine, which kills thousands of Americans every year, and alcohol, which not only kills and maims thousands of others, but destroys careers, friendships and families, it is the height of absurdity and hypocrisy to make possession of pot illegal.

Based on my experience with the stuff, along with witnessing its effect on others, I would say it makes people hungry, dozy and stupid. Which sounds like the three dwarfs who didn’t get cast opposite Snow White. What it doesn’t sound like, and what it isn’t, is a societal scourge.

It doesn’t make people violent, and it is not so expensive that people have to resort to theft or prostitution in order to pay for it. I have heard people insist that marijuana use leads to cocaine, heroin, meth, ludes, ecstasy, and all those other scary drugs we hear about. That, my friends, is baloney. While it is probably true that every heroin addict at some point smoked some weed, it is ridiculous to suggest that the progression was inevitable. It’s like suggesting that some hood driving the getaway car for a gang of bank robbers started out driving to the movies and the mall, and thus doomed himself to a life of vehicular crime.

The problem with outlawing marijuana is that there is simply no upside to its prohibition. It wastes the time of cops, judges and prosecutors, who should be concentrating their efforts on the criminals and sociopaths who actually prey on us. It fills our prisons to overflowing, forcing us to either cough up millions of dollars to build more jails or, in order to make room, offer early releases to the felons who really need to be locked up.

In addition, it keeps the price of the cheap product higher than it otherwise would be for no other reason than that it’s illegal.

Also, let us not overlook the fact that it is a major industry, but nobody involved with it -- be they growers, distributors or consumers -- pays a single dollar in taxes. On the contrary, it drains much-needed tax dollars away from schools, roads and law enforcement. Talk about dumb!

In addition to everything else, its illegality is preventing people who require it for its various medicinal properties from obtaining it. Talk about cruel!

Lest you think I have written this because I feel the law breathing down my neck, I swear I haven’t smoked a joint in about 40 years. And inasmuch as George Bush apparently broke the law more recently than that, if the narcs come after me, I intend to roll over and give up the president!

You may be wondering why I quit using the stuff. Well, in the beginning, I must admit I enjoyed the reaction I got. It made me feel relaxed and very amusing. It was only later, on those occasions when I hadn’t indulged and my friends had, that I discovered how boring and stupid they all sounded. It occurred to me that perhaps, just maybe, marijuana didn’t really turn me into Oscar Wilde on one of his wittier days.

Once I decided to quit smoking, I just flushed my few joints down the toilet, and I never felt the slightest urge to ever light up again. Take my word for it, the stuff is about as addictive as cauliflower.

However, I did find I had to enter rehab in order to kick the brownie habit.


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