The push for pot

MarijuanaThe following post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.

When Colorado and Washington voters approved ballot initiatives last November to legalize the use and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, freedom lost a step. Nine days after the votes, the stock of just one medical marijuana vendor shot from three dollars up to $215. Today, experienced entrepreneurs are anxious for these pot markets to expand.

In 1975 I was a senior in high school living in northern Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C. The mid-’70s was the height of the pot craze just before the more troubling cocaine boom in the ’80s.

I know what pot is because I used it. I know what pot culture is because I lived it. I just shake my head when I hear people say that there’s nothing wrong with marijuana – and then try to contrast its adverse effects against those of liquor or certain prescription drugs. But here’s the problem with that thinking: It’s insular, it’s juvenile, and it’s dysfunctional. It’s like homosexual activists justifying “gay parenting” or “gay adoption” by arguing that their parental results are at least as good as the worst examples among heterosexuals. True, I could drive my car while stoned when I couldn’t while drunk, but that contrast is no justification for me to drive my car while stoned.

We have entered a progressive age of intellectual dishonesty and deceit to cover a multitude of sins. We live in an age of cultural mediocrity and basement-level expectations. Think of the major cultural battles today. Think of what many Americans, led by delusional youth, now go to the mat over: sodomy, narcotics, liquor, pornography, gambling and smoking pot. They ask to be treated like adults when their causes and motivations couldn’t be any more juvenile.

The progressive right, in its libertarian splendor, fuels this nonsense in principle. It diminishes the value of free markets, private property and, worst of all, individual liberty just to excuse bad behavior. I was once a libertarian when I smoked pot and only thought of myself – when I was 18. Public hue and outcry in defense of bad behavior is little more than a 2-year-old’s tantrum when he doesn’t get the candy he wants for breakfast.

It’s true, we often do mix petty pot users with hardened criminals in our prison system. Yes, marijuana has medicinal value like prescription drugs. But are those sound reasons to legally universalize pot? No. My guess is that reasonable and responsible people can address those situations one by one without granting wholesale justifications for people to exercise diminished capacities. I’ll say it again: If you’re stoned or drunk, if you’re slightly buzzed or even a bit tipsy, you’re less free in that moment than the moment before you engaged that behavior. And, yes, in a free society, the rest of us have a responsibility to prudently mitigate bad behavior and to act justifiably to scorn cultures of bad behavior. It’s amazing that we say no to tobacco use but embrace pot.

As newlyweds, I remember demanding that my wife smoke her cigarettes out on the porch while I felt completely justified smoking pot in the apartment. The more we make laws based on individual preferences, in the name of individual liberties, we will destroy our free society.

For Sutherland Institute, I’m Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.

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  • Mr.L

    Uhhh….So what’s your argument?

    • Frank

      Dude, you must be stoned!

  • Jordan Wutkee

    “When Colorado and Washington voters approved ballot initiatives last November to legalize the use and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, freedom lost a step.”

    Do you not realize how ridiculous this sounds?

    Remove government control over personal choices = less freedom. Okay.

    I’m a Mormon. I’ve never smoked anything, nor ever had a drop of alcohol to drink. I think that everyone ought to try that lifestyle and see what the benefits are. I don’t encourage anyone to do otherwise. However, I also don’t force anyone to live the way I think they ought to live. I don’t have any right to do so, and neither do you.

    Governments have as much authority to regulate marijuana as they do to tell you which vegetables you must eat.

  • Adison

    Just a quick word a little off topic but I could not leave it unsaid. It is very clear that from every study I have seem that has focused specifically on the ability of same sex couples to parent, ones that study specifically same sex couples, that they do just as well and sometimes better that different gender couples. Using studies on divorce and single parenthood to prove that same sex parenting wont work is comparing apples to oranges meaning that comparing a monogamous happy couple to one that, for whatever reason, split up or never got together is unfair and irresponsible. So yes arguing that….

    “gay parenting” or “gay adoption” by arguing that their parental results are at least as good as the worst examples among heterosexuals.

    Is a poor argument because it is untrue, Please use real examples.

    Here is an article from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy that covers this topic well. http://www.aamft.org/imis15/content/consumer_updates/Same-sex_Parents_and_Their_Children.aspx

    Now pot, should be regulated but not illegal.

    • Paul Mero

      Here is a quote from the research you cite: “One of the biggest challenges facing same-sex parented families is that
      they must live in a culture that supports heterosexist and homophobic
      attitudes and beliefs, which can affect these families in a variety of
      ways.” And that’s called “credible research.” I’ll stick with my point…a point argued by gay lawyers before the Hawaii Supreme Court: we’re just as good as the worst of you, hence, we should have the same rights.

      Now, back to pot…you’re wrong. ;)

      • Adison

        One sentence in a paragraph, a paragraph that describes how same sex couples are just as effective at being parents as different sex couples, this sentence that talks about some of the unique challenges faced by same sex couples should not be used as an argument to why this source is not credible. The above statement was made by a lawyer. (not a researcher) Most research shows that same sex parents are just as effective. I understand that the point of the statement in the article above is to describe a type of argument rather than prove a point. I however felt the need to clarify it as an incorrect statement by the lawyer.

        Back to pot :)….(I actually really appreciated the winking face, it gave me a chuckle) By regulated I mean just as with alcohol and medications pot should be a controlled substance. Meaning that someones access to it can be revoked if misused. Age limits can be put in place. If there is a legal, responsible path made for adults to obtain pot then people will be less likely to use illegal means. This would lessen the amount of crimes committed and help to lighten the load on our incarceration facilities. I think I agree with you on some aspects regarding the legalization of pot though I do not think I lose freedom when I drink. I have made a choice to drink and that is an expression of freedom. I know that I will have less inhibitions and I that must accept the consequences of my actions while inebriated. Can I have a more in depth explanation on how it will make us a less free society? Are there some changes you would recommend that could help our prison system without legalizing pot?