Anyone that read David Brooks’ latest op-ed must wonder if he was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol when he wrote it. It was likely his second most incoherent piece in as many months.
The new year brings with it two states that have legalized marijuana. Colorado and Washington are on the cusp of a new era.
David Brooks seem to believe that all these ‘new’ pot smokers would be in a marijuana induced stupor. The reality is that the reaction to marijuana or many other recreational drugs is personal in nature. Many responsible users of recreational drugs are generally in full control. It is no different than many who use the most consumed recreational drug, alcohol.
Does David Brooks know many who surround him are likely marijuana users?
David Brooks fails to realize that many Americans he is interacting with are on so many drugs, legal and illegal that his concern of “nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be,” has likely occurred already. It is almost guaranteed that many in his office are already on depressants or other drugs.
The biggest problem with David Brook’s piece however is his singular attack on marijuana. Is alcohol any better than marijuana? Alcohol kills brain cells and destroys many organs. It has been linked to various types of cancers. Marijuana may or may not share some or all of those side effects as well. Why then should one be legal and the other not. Why should the use of marijuana have a negative connotation while alcohol not?
Marijuana users will now have the freedom to smoke without fear in the states that have legalized it. Others believe the tax collected is more effective in government’s hands than in those of the illegal drug dealers. Others believe bringing it out in the open allows for those that get addicted to get support from state dollars collected from the tax on marijuana.
Another benefit of marijuana legalization is that the stigma of seeking treatment would attenuate. Bill Maher thinks support for broader legalization of marijuana can get you elected. One should view marijuana legalization as one less avenue by which mostly minority youth lives can be destroyed by a legal system that disproportionately target them for harsher sentences.
While David Brooks meanders in platitudes, those supporting legalization of marijuana now, and hopefully other drugs later, live in today’s reality. If your drug use does not have a physical or financial impact on someone else, you should have the freedom to do it. I thought that was a Conservative mantra as well.