Thursday, June 07, 2012
Comment of the Week
From regular reader, always brilliant commenter, writer and attorney Eric, responding to the argument that smoking marijuana should be considered a civil right.
Look, if I had my druthers, marijuana wouldn't just be decriminalized, it would be legalized and states would sell it the same way they do alcohol and tax the hell out of it. My state grows a lot of the stuff and we could use the revenue. And the War On Drugs corrupts law enforcement, ties up court systems with a lot of piddling horseshit, incarcerates a lot of non-violent 'criminals', creates a lot of incidental violent crime via prohibition, and has all sorts of nasty effects.
There's lots of good arguments for decriminalization and/or legalization, in short. More arguments than there are for criminalization.
But 'it's my civil right to do what I want with my body' isn't one of them. Because, you know, it's not really true: first, because society can forbid you from doing things that affect others. Second, because society can implement at least some restrictions to keep you from hurting yourself. And society can implement restrictions to protect people who can't protect themselves. So it is that society can regulate food additives, alcohol sales, smoking, seatbelts, motorcycle helmets, assorted drugs and all sorts of things that one might try and say "it's my body."
There are a number of incredibly irritating marijuana advocates in this country who will annoyingly overstate health benefits, understate health risks, and make all sorts of spurious arguments about incidental and industrial uses of hemp, when all they really want is to get high. If they confined themselves to making the argument that marijuana is almost certainly somewhere between tobacco and alcohol on the spectrum of health and public safety and that society just can't afford to keep processing minor drug offenders through the courts and incarcerating many of them, they'd be on to something. But no. They have to go on as if weed were a miracle plant and all they're concerned with is the general welfare and enlightenment of humanity, blah, blah, blah. You know what it does? It doesn't make anyone want to legalize pot, it fills people who might otherwise favor legalization with an urge to fire potheads out of a very large cannon aimed at the middle of the ocean."
That just about sums it up.