Letter: Marijuana. Is it a moral issue?
I am on the fence about legalized recreational marijuana use. The proverbial fence that marks off boundaries between two sides and which should be removed when no longer needed. You might say I am perpetually on the fence, but believe the fence ought to be moved as needed before being torn down or rebuilt into an obnoxious rampart.
The rhetoric against marijuana use, I often see as a fortified landmine-ridden no-man's zone, and the rhetoric for the use as a high-flying kite blowing with the breeze to the end of a rainbow. Currently the kite seems to be flying between "recreational weed is necessary for medicinal purposes" and "weed is a liberty our forefathers fought and died to protect."
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The opposing side is equally obnoxious. The rampart is defended, but the landmines blow off with shouts of "Weed is going to fry your brain," "Oh, the societal costs," and "Blast the hippies anyway!" The noise is as deafening as the kite is quiet.
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But here's the crux, for me anyway. The whole thing is a simple moral issue. The object, intention and circumstances constitute a moral act and are in flux any time a person goes for the fourth, fifth or fifteenth drink of the night just as they are in flux when a person is taking a short or long puff on a low or high THC level joint.
Perhaps smoking ditch weed for one person gets that person higher than another person smoking a concentrated joint. Everyone reacts differently and once high, one doesn't really get more high. But one person's high is different from the next. The target is moving just as the fence I am sitting on moves.
I take one Benadryl and I am knocked out cold. I drink a green tea in the morning and I can't sleep that night - unless I have Benadryl. I smoke a joint though and nothing happens. The next guy smokes a joint and he ends up with vehicular manslaughter.
I am kind of a simpleton on the whole issue but feel FDA should take another crack at the stuff for the sake of moderate therapeutic purposes as befits a moral order. Yeah, I like the idea of everything being legal and people doing what they ought and nothing more. But that's been tried and fences were built here and there by the democracy of those dead that have gone before us. According to their laws, murderers generally go to jail, caffeine users get off scot-free and small-time marijuana users get revoked prison sentences.
The fence in South Dakota is shifting with the times (or with the election cycles) and that seems about the way it should.
Mr. Morris, you have written a piece that attempts to look at all sides of the recreational Marijuana issue. I understand your feelings of being "on the fence" regarding an issue. I wonder if you've ever considered an angle that approaches it as merely dollars and cents? Ben Cort, a recovering addict, addiction counselor, and author of Weed, Inc., makes a strong argument for weed having a potency cap placed on it. He also reveals the greed and money-making machine that presents itself when weed is allowed for recreational use. I learned a lot from him. Thank you for your thought-provoking article, Mr. Morris!