I often find myself wondering about drug laws because there doesn’t seem to be any real rhyme or reason to them. Some potentially harmful synthetic drugs are regulated and sold as medicine, while other more natural and less harmful ones remain illegal. Alcohol is legal as long as you meet the age requirement, don’t drive with it, and purchase it at the correct locations between the correct times as county laws dictate. But, if you go through the correct channels, there is a veritable buffet of prescription medications that can do everything from taking away a headache to creating a terrifyingly massive erection. There are also a number of, completely legal, store bought items that can get you loaded. A balloon full of nitrous oxide will get you feeling great for a few minutes and, I’m told, computer duster will put you on Neptune for brief periods of time. You can even soak a rag in varnish and just go to huff city until you piss yourself and slip into a coma, and the police can’t do a thing about it. Honestly, if you think creatively, just about anything can get you so high that only dogs can hear you. Take a look around, what constitutes a drug is only limited by your own imagination.
That’s kind of why I get so confused about marijuana. We already have drugs that act as painkillers that come with a warning label, why not try one without? Marijuana has been proven to alleviate pain and is practically impossible to overdose on. I could go take a bottle of Tylenol, hop in the bathtub and be dead in a few hours. If I tried that by eating a dozen pot brownies, I’d just end up talking about the exceptionally intense and weird night I spent in the bathtub and how much extra sleep I got. The chances of something terrible happening seem pretty negligible.
I don’t really use marijuana, mostly due to its ever fluxing legality, but I’m aware that the science seems to point to it being a viable solution to a lot of physical and mental ailments. I had two friends that both suffered from schizophrenia and both claimed that smoking pot was one of the best ways to suppress their anxiety, stabilize their mood and prevent an undesirable episode. Sure, there are plenty of people out there getting high just for the sake of getting high. They range from everyday people seeking a recreational activity to these dusty and musty underachievers who just want to watch bad television, eat cheese puffs and feel good all day. Both of these types of people exist in, and out, of the drug culture though. So why do we care if someone is smoking weed all day? I would be content to live in a world where we could continually dislike something without imposing some kind of rule that stopped everyone else from doing it. If someone wants to enjoy a drink after work, that’s fine. If someone wants to smoke crack until they look like they could host Tales from the Crypt, that’s their business too. We should be offering help, not giving people a criminal record so they can be guaranteed a future of difficulty in finding a good job and achieving a fulfilling life.
How can we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech without also having the freedom of substances and our own bodies? People across the country are angry because other people are trying to regulate their food choices. They are outraged and fighting against the guidelines restricting the use of trans-fat and sugar, and why shouldn’t they be? It should be your right to fill your body with garbage if you want to. It is definitely against someone’s best interest to binge on crystal meth but putting them into jail for possession isn’t helping them out. It’s just ensuring that their life is ruined for the long term. With background and credit checks, you can’t afford to stray too far out of the guidelines set by society. It’s sort of strange because, the more you think about it, the more pervasive and needlessly rigid it all seems.
The “because I said so” argument didn’t work on me when I was six and it isn’t going to work any better now that I am an adult. It hinges entirely on coming from a place of authority and could easily be substituted for “because I am in charge.” It’s a quick way for parents to assert dominance and maintain the status quo without offering understanding– and it works identically when issued by your government, church or school. If you have access to information (and everyone reading this does), then you can’t really accept this as a valid argument. Everything is so much more complicated than that and drugs are no exception. They don’t express a morality or have an agenda; they simply do what their chemical properties allow them to do. Stimulants offer an additional burst of energy and the focus required to get much needed work finished. Opioids eliminate physical pain and relax the body. Psychedelics offer a new way to perceive reality. They give perspective and a change of venue that would be otherwise unachievable. The novelty offered by drugs can breed creativity and wisdom instead of something purely negative.
I sometimes cannot believe that I live in a country that will allow me to buy a case of Tussin DM and a handgun but not one lousy jazz cigarette. I’ll probably have a lot more fun with the guns and Tussin, but it seems strange that I can’t have a sprig of some plant to smoke. In the end, I don’t really care if I can’t purchase marijuana or have my own personal supply of Benzedrine, but I would like to understand why that choice was made for me and the reasoning behind it. We live a life that is often far removed from the decisions that have been made to shape it. People, even the really stupid ones, need to be able to make up their own minds. We should all do some serious and sober thinking about how, and if, we should be getting totally high.