Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Think For Yourself

I recently read this article about the decriminalization of marijuana in Massachusetts. The article talks about the new law and how the police plan on enforcing it. And the article includes the obligatory comment by someone opposed to the new law about the gateway effect and sending the wrong message to our children. But what is really interesting is the response to the article. As is often the case, the comments are much more interesting and informative than the article itself.

As you might expect, the majority of the comments are people in favor of the new law, which is not surprising since it was voted in by a majority of the people. People that like the new law mention things like not ruining a kid’s life because of being caught with a joint, or saving taxpayer money. You know, common-sense kinds of things.

The few comments from people opposed to the new law however are something different entirely. They are, almost invariably, a regurgitation of the same government propaganda we’ve been hearing for the past 70 years—it’s a gateway drug; it makes you a lazy slacker; it causes lung cancer; it causes brain damage; there is no safe level of use; successful, well-adjusted adults do not smoke it. The usual. These are the ones that want to put people in jail for smoking marijuana, yet their justifications for being so harsh are based on ignorance and/or misinformation.

My point is that with something as important as prohibition, which has destroyed countless people’s lives, maybe you should have some facts before you go talking about sending the right message to our kids. Don’t believe everything your government tells you (e.g., weapons of mass destruction). Do a little research. Spend 15 minutes with Google and see what you can find out. You might learn that virtually every major legitimate scientific study done since the 1940s, in this country and around the world, refutes these common misconceptions. Even studies conducted by our very own government recommend decriminalization. So all those reasons given by the people who oppose the new law are simply not based on any real facts. I’m not saying that there might not be other, valid reasons for opposing the decriminalization law, but I didn’t see a single one in any of the opposing comments.

It’s not that I’m trying to say that this is a good law. I think you can probably guess my opinion on that. My point is that if you are going to have a position on an important issue, please get some facts. Don’t believe everything you hear, and think for yourself.

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