I have a feeling that what follows is going to be an unpopular opinion for some people in my age group, but in light of recent laws that essentially make marijuana legal in the states of Colorado and Washington, I feel compelled to talk about it.
Marijuana should remain illegal in New York. And anywhere else it is currently illegal.
It’s a good thing that marijuana is illegal (I’m not talking about medicinal marijuana, if you’re about to bring that up—that I’m all for). The reason I think this isn’t because I believe all people who smoke marijuana are criminals, but because of the consequences that could follow if it suddenly became legal and eventually went as mainstream as drinking or smoking cigarettes.
The fact of the matter is, marijuana is a drug that some people have turned into a lifestyle, and it doesn’t really seem to hurt anybody, including the people that participate in said lifestyle, in terms of their overall health. I have heard the argument that people who smoke marijuana become way too lazy, and I think there is merit to that, but is pot destroying communities because of it? I don’t think so.
Do I think a person should go to an American prison because they are caught with marijuana on their person? No. I think it is a terrible thing that people are sitting in jail and being “rehabilitated” because of having this drug on them. The level of wasted taxpayer money for putting a person in jail for a crime that seems minor does not make any sense to me. Putting somebody in jail for having marijuana on his or her person is like putting somebody in jail for being caught illegally parking somewhere. A fine makes much more sense to me. It would make a lot more sense for both society and for local and state governments, too.
I know what you are going to say: “If you think it’s no big deal, then why do you still think it should be illegal?”
My reasoning has to do with children and irresponsible adults. If marijuana became legal, then it would suddenly become glamorized through large-scale advertising. I don’t think it would be a good thing for a family to be watching the Super Bowl and suddenly an advertisement pops on the TV screen that is funny and enticing while selling marijuana. And that’s jus the start of the issues we’d be dealing with. If marijuana were driving profits and being sold on a mass scale, that would create more problems than the advocates of this idea would like to admit.
This is not something that we as a nation need to embrace and add to our culture. Yes, it is just outrageous that people can lose years in jail and their reputation as good people because of smoking pot. I remember a kid on my high school football team lost his entire college future and ended up in jail because he was caught with marijuana at a party. I just don’t think that’s right.
But it doesn’t mean we need to go overboard and start turning America into Amsterdam, either.
Read David Lion Rattiner’s take on everything Hamptons, and more, every day on his blog at danshamptons.com.