Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Politically Middle of the Road View on Marijuana Use

I must admit that the whole legalization of marijuana issue has me a bit torn.  Here’s a stream of consciousness look on the topic.  My perspective is of someone who has never smoked a joint or consumed substances with pot in them but has been in venues where friends have gotten stoned.  Because the below is stream of consciousness, I freely mix facts and opinions.

By the way, what inspired me to write this was someone's secondhand smoke drifting through my balcony window, not for the first time.

  1. Marijuana stinks to high Heaven. 
  2. Accordingly any legalization should find a way to balance people’s right to smoke the stuff with non-user’s rights to not smell the stuff.
  3. Marijuana is overall safer and less addictive than cigarette smoking or alcohol drinking.
  4. On the flip side cigarettes don’t leave you as impaired as pot smoking does.
  5. Marijuana has some definitely medical benefits including for cancer patients.
  6. People who promote the medical benefits aren’t always honest about what they’re doing (while the benefits are real, it’s unlikely they would push as hard for a drug with the exact same medical benefits that didn’t allow them to get stoned).
  7. Some people benefit pot improves creativity while others think it hampers it.  My gut feeling (no empirical data here) is it enhances creativity in some ways but hampers it in others.
  8. Given that marijuana does make you stoned, it’s not unreasonable to also accept impairment laws comparable to alcohol (extra slow driving is still risky, particularly on the freeway).
  9. In a contained environment not immediately accessible to non-smokers, people should be legally allowed to smoke pot as much as they’d like.
  10. Employers should still have the right to discipline employees using pot if the pot use is having a negative effect on their job performance (just as most employees frown on drinking at work).
  11. However, if a regularly pot user is performing to the employer’s satisfaction, their pot use should be a non-issue.
  12. People promoting the legalization of marijuana need to publicly state that they’ll take personal responsibility for the impact that their pot smoking has on themselves and others.
  13. One random stranger once blew pot smoke in my face for no reason. That should be condemned by pot smokers, just as most cigarette smokers would concede that deliberately blowing cigarette smoke in someone’s face is wrong.
  14. If marijuana is legalized, the public needs to be educated further on what pot smoking does and doesn’t do (this includes educating people who oppose pot on moral grounds).
  15. The usual cigarette etiquette rules ought to apply to pot smoking (Don’t light a joint in someone’s home without their permission and allow time for guests who don’t wish to smoke pot to visit your home without being exposed to the substance).
  16. Conversely, if after a decent visit the owner of a home tells guests they wish to light up now, non-smokers must recognize that time has been given to them and if they wish to stay longer still, they will be breathing in secondhand pot smoke.
  17. Venues that are off limit to cigarette smoking because the smell bothers others should likewise be off limits to pot smoking.
  18. In terms of pot ingestion that doesn’t give off a strong odour (e.g. special brownies), impairment rules specific to pot (which are different than alcohol rules) should apply BUT in such a case, the smoke aspect should be seen as a non-issue. In other words, in a ballpark, don’t smoke but by all means eat your brownies.
  19. Pot smokers and non-pot smokers should both view films like Reefer Madness as unintentional comedies and enjoy them as such.
  20. Pot is not a gateway drug. It will no more lead to cocaine or heroin ingestion than cigarettes or alcohol will.
  21. In summary, I believe that people should have the right to smoke pot but if they get that right, they must also accept the responsibility that goes along with it.
  22. Likewise, non-pot smokers should have the right to a pot-smoke free environment while at the same time recognizing and respecting that there ought to be certain venues where pot smoking is permitted to happen, and not go out of their way to disrupt pot-friendly environments.
  23. I wouldn’t vote for a blanket legalizing of marijuana but I would vote for legislation legalizing marijuana use if it acknowledged that there was a certain level of responsibility needed with pot use.

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