Will We Ever Learn To Get Along?

One of the problems we face on the issue of marijuana legalization is that people on both sides of the issue tend to ignore and discredit any information that does not agree with their preconceived notions about marijuana. The anti-marijuana groups, the Federal Government and several major medical organizations including the American Medical Association and the Institute of Medicine readily discount mountains of information about the efficacy of marijuana as a medicine, because as they repeat often, smoking is a crude way to administer medicine and smoking anything cannot be good for our respiratory system. This I might add is a very good argument. Many anti-marijuana groups including our government claim that almost all of the evidence supporting marijuana as medicine is anecdotal, based of the reports of people who use marijuana and that proper dosage can never be determined in a smoked product. This also is a very good argument. But as you read the DEA report titled “The DEA Position on Marijuana” you will find it also peppered with words and terms such as (may cause, could cause,  might cause and could be associated with) and lots of anecdotal information. On the other hand when people say that marijuana has never caused a death or that it is a miracle cure, it can hardly be proven and is hard to believe.  http://www.justice.gov/dea/docs/marijuana_position_2011.pdf

With literally millions of people using marijuana on a regular basis, I would be shocked to find no problems or adverse effects from marijuana use and both sides of the issue have plenty of information to present. One of the misconceptions that the Government uses is the increase in the prevalence of marijuana use, as a reason for drug dependency treatment. It is unclear how much of this is driven by people avoiding prosecution or prison by volunteering for drug rehabilitation or just to save their job. One thing is clear. The evidence presented by the government does not differentiate, but it is worth noting that marijuana dependency treatment increased as drug courts became more available.

Most things we choose to do as people come with inherent risks. When we choose our activities, we weigh those risks against the reasons we chose to participate in those activities. Sometimes we choose wisely and other times we do not. Some people have made careers out of bad decisions and prospered because of it. For example, Evel Knievel, who thrilled Americans with his dangerous dare-devil act of jumping his motorcycle and sometimes crashing spectacularly. How about the Jackass Movies where people regularly do stupid and dangerous things just for public acknowledgement or financial gain? Isn’t it odd that we will cheer someone for jumping buses with a motorcycle or riding a bicycle off a roof and then try to ruin the lives of those who choose to smoke marijuana? Isn’t it also odd that alcohol use is openly advertised and accepted and marijuana use is punished and its users shunned by society? Isn’t it also odd that we still claim to be a free people while seeking new ways to prohibit any activity we deem immoral, unhealthy, dangerous or offensive.

Ban on sack lunches. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-04-11/news/ct-met-school-lunch-restrictions-041120110410_1_lunch-food-provider-public-school

Ban on cloths lines. http://www.care2.com/causes/join-the-fight-to-legalize-clotheslines.html

Ban on large sugary drinks. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21201680?ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Ban on tobacco use. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/ND-measure-would-reimburse-smoking-ban-costs-4217360.php

Ban on home gardens. http://righttruth.typepad.com/right_truth/2009/03/feds-to-ban-backyard-gardens.html

Ban on low rider pants. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2004-05-16/news/0405150320_1_louisiana-house-louisiana-legislator-ban-low-riding-pants

Ban on raw milk. http://wewantorganicfood.com/2007/10/31/healthy-raw-milk-outlawed-in-california/

Ban on lemonade stands. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/05/23/beck-as-crackdowns-on-lemonade-stands-mount-kids-will-learn-to-acquiesce-to-government/

Seat belt and helmet laws. http://www.motorists.org/seat-belt-laws/busybodies

Ban on dietary advice. http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2012/09/21/north-carolina-paleo-diet-blogger-locked-free-speech-fight

Challenge anyone? Type in any activity in BING or GOOGLE search followed by “ban” and see what comes up.

Only when we learn to accept people doing things that we may not like or agree with will we ever be truly free.

Randy Johnson