Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pot Calling Kettle Black

As reported by Drudge, today is the day that Colorado makes recreational pot smoking legal. As a conservative you might think I would be all up in arms about this outrage, if so, then you really haven't been paying attention to my post.

No, I think this move by Colorado is a good move on a couple of levels. First, to some extent it decriminalizes an activity that is only harmful to the extent that it makes criminals of a large segment of the population that have experimented with pot. Potheads, while generally useless for the most part, are almost never violent or dangerous, unlike drunks and outer hard drug users. To ruin lives over the experimenting with this substance is absurd.

By way of illustration, I am going to talk about the first time I was offered pot. I was 14 or 15 years old. A friend from high school had invited me to join a Masonic youth organization. Since he is now a well respected guy, i'll call him CS. CS was always a smart guy, far smarter than me, and in fact continued to show his intelligence throughout high school. What he did that day was show a bad choice of friends. This guy that was toking away and driving along like everything was fine. As I've said before, I often wonder how I survived the years between 15 and 25. In any case, when they offered me a 'hit', I declined and asked to be brought home. They were pissed, but did it. After that, while we continued to be friends off and on, my relationship with CS remained cool throughout high school.

So there are two aspects to this little story of high school angst. First off, there is the inexcusable ignorance of the douche driving the car that put my young life in danger with his rather caviler use of a hallucinogenic substance. He really had no business driving that car. That being said, that was not the last time I ever got in a car with a impaired driver at the wheel. Stupidity all around. The second aspect to take away from this is to consider for a second if I had been offered a cigarette rather than a hit on a bong? My refusal would have been the same, as back then I didn't much care for cigarette smoke. That it was an illegal substance put myself, my friend, and the driver in jeopardy for a conflict with the law. This escalation from peer pressure to legal entanglement is unfair and silly.

While I was in the (all volunteer) Army, I knew a few guys whose lives were ruined by succumbing to the temptation to smoke some pot in their barracks rooms. They by and large were otherwise very intelligent guys, who did a stupid thing. At that time, the unit commanders had the right to 'inspect' the barracks rooms, using a drug sniffing dog to detect the presence of drugs. The fact that equally ranked married guys who were living in base housing were not subject to similar inspections was not lost on us. On the other hand, the rules were very clear, and those that chose to ignore them were perhaps not as intelligent as they appeared. That was actually the point I think.

So it comes down to judgment. At one time or another, we all fail to exercise good judgement, and sometimes the consequences of the bad decisions can haunt us for years. By legalizing pot, Colorado has dampened the consequences of making the bad decision to use it. The windfall here is that the law enforcement effort to contain pot usage can now be employed on more needy areas. This I think is a good thing.

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