Marijuana: When I Was a Child, I Thought as a Child, But …

When I was a child, I thought as a child, but I did not DARE speak my thoughts for fear of being ridiculed and embarrassed.  Through my teenage years, I thought that using certain psychoactive drugs to wake up in the morning, facilitate social interaction and relieve headaches was a sign of moral weakness.  Of course, I am referring to caffeine, alcohol and aspirin, all legal but all having some or great potential for abuse.

Our only legal drug for relaxation and relief of stress is alcohol, but alcohol is likely to be addictive for about ten percent of the population.  In addition, alcohol is known to cause many of its drinkers to become verbally loud and physically violent (in addition to impairing their driving).  We need something safer, and that drug is marijuana.  Marijuana is a calming drug and has not been observed to result in violent or other dangerous behavior.  It is an excellent choice for relaxing; if you use too much, you just go to sleep.  In addition, its psychoactive effects wear off in a few hours (although its metabolites remain for over one week).

On the subject of driving, the State of Washington years ago tested many people on a driving simulator on the effects of intoxicating amounts of marijuana.  They discovered only one impairment: driving somewhat BELOW the speed limit!

In these times when many people are stressed out from having to work at two jobs (or more) to support their families, they may fail at both tasks if their only choice is alcohol.  Since they probably face having to work on five or six (or even seven) consecutive days, they need “immediate” relief from their continuing stress.  Getting relaxed through will power is NOT an option for these people.

I, and perhaps you the reader, have been fortunate enough to obtain a good education and enjoy employment that provides sufficient income from just one job.  Nearly all of my jobs (except for delivering newspapers as a teenager) have been enjoyable and I have with rare exception looked forward to going to work.  But both of us know that most people have not been so fortunate.  They are suffering from the continuing consequences of the Great Recession, despite a decrease in statistical unemployment.

Of course, no mind-altering drug should ever be used by children or anyone else under (say) 21, and the proposed legalization of marijuana would not alter any laws that currently protect children and teenagers from unsuitable drugs.