Thursday, February 5, 2009

I am supposed to be writing a speech about the Constitution, a speech I am supposed to give at a competition on Sunday. Whoops. But instead I am sharing a conversation that just happened. The exact conversation, word for word.

Mom: How's the speech coming?
Hayley: Okay.
Mom: Just okay, not amazing?
Hayley: Well, I write better at night.
Mom: Like those people who say they write better songs when they're smoking marijuana.
Hayley: Those songs are better.
Mom: No, it seems better because you're impaired. 

Staying up late is apparently comparable to drug use. But no, that's not what piqued my interest in transferring the writing from the topic of the Constitution to this post. Marijuana, man. In the past two years, my views on drugs have been horrifically mutilated, undergoing facelift after facelift. I'm not sure I even know what my views are anymore, much less do I have any philosophical justification for them. But I've always been confused on marijuana.

I read an awful novel Can't Get There From Here about homeless teens in New York, and when panhandling their leader instructed them to write "Need Money for Marywana" on their signs. Because even though they wanted the money for food, no one believed them. They got more money for being "honest" than just outright begging. Because the people who gave these kids money assumed they were in the weeds with their drug use anyway. (Pardon the pun.) 

But marijuana has no inherent negative health effects. (Besides the obvious one of inhaling smoke in general.) Marijuana only causes dependency in extremely heavy users. Marijuana actually has select health benefits and limited side-effects. In light of all this, the main tenet behind marijuana's prohibition is that is a gateway drug. That strikes me as a funny law - this is illegal not because it's bad but because it could possibly lead to things that are bad. What? Of course.

That actually might be true. I have no idea, I'm not an expert. I can only speak from personal experience. In San Francisco, it was cocaine that litter the streets, not marijuana. The police officers we interviewed said the biggest problem in the Tenderloin District was meth, with heroin a close second. Even in Golden Gate Park, the organic hippy drug capital, marijuana wasn't that prevalent. So I can't help but question, as much as I hate drugs and what they do to people, is marijuana worth prohibiting? 

Maybe it is. But I can't help but wonder when I look at the price society pays while marijuana is illegal, is there a good reason why we passed these laws?


Micah E. said...

I remember during confidential sources year (that's going back a ways) before I bailed on debate, our club met with a journalist to get an inside perspective on sources. One of the examples they brought up was how they wrote an article confidentially about their use of medical marijuana... apparently, there is a whole (illicit) organization that works to get marijuana to people who need it medically. I can't imagine that they're working without federal knowledge.

That, and there was weed everywhere at the YWAM base in Samoa, syrsly, we had to clear a bunch of it away when we were setting up our dig site.

Art said...

I have no insight that can shed light on this dilemma, but... I didn't realize you had a [current] blog until today.

How did I miss it?

You are a committed blogger. I love you.

Hayley said...

Micah, exactly. Marijuana is so prevalent, you'd think it's actually legal. I mean, I could easily get my hands on some weed any time I wanted. Marijuana /abuse/ rates are tiny, especially when compared with marijuana /use/ rates. Somehow all of that doesn't seem to add up with the people getting sent to jail for possession. I'm not sure that's justice.

Art said...

What about this article:

The basic premise it argues is that marijuana only hurts yourself; since you're not infringing on anyone else's liberty, there's no need for it to be illegal.