Years ago when my city-bred teen nephew came to visit Grandma here on the farm, he discovered native cannabis in the field! “Whee,” he thought, “I’ll send this home to my friends and we’ll do marijuana!” Poor lad. He didn’t know that local cannabis is a lousy smoke. More important, he didn’t know that Grandma was watching; his package never even reached the post office.
It’s not my nephew’s story or our beautiful wild cannabis that inspires me now to argue that we should legalize marijuana. No, I put this shocker forth today because evangelical leader Pat Robertson just said, “I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol.” Now Rev. Robertson is not my favorite resource, but if he encourages legalizing marijuana, then maybe many of his evangelical followers might follow suit. I can hope.
Personally, I never enjoyed using pot. I nearly choked when I once tried to smoke it, and when friends and I tried marijuana brownies? We fell asleep.
So why should this infamous plant become legal in Iowa – and the whole USA?
It would be more honest. Marijuana is not as dangerous to health as alcohol or cigarettes. First cause of death in the USA is cigarettes, and alcohol’s just down the list. Marijuana doesn’t seem to have killed anyone yet. (Center for Disease Control) In 2008 legal pain killers killed 15,000 people, no marijuana deaths.
Marijuana doesn’t cause the damage that alcohol does. Too much alcohol can make people do crazy things – drive stupidly, beat wives, or leave children unattended; marijuana just puts them to sleep.
And the money we would save! Money now spent apprehending marijuana users (read the sheriff’s reports in the Journal-Express) and the money spent on keeping them in prison.