Published in the August 13, 2015 edition
BY MARK SARDELLA
Last week, a drunk Lynnfield woman was spotted driving the wrong way on Route 128, heading south on the northbound side of the highway. Luckily, Wakefield Police were able to stop and arrest her before she killed herself or anyone else.
She was wasted on a legal drug, alcohol, not (as far as we know) on the, as of this moment, still illegal marijuana. But this incident does raise the obvious question: Why on earth would anyone want to add another legal mind-altering drug to the mix?
I bring this up because of something else that happened last week. Wednesday, Aug. 5 was the deadline for filing ballot initiatives with the Massachusetts Attorney General for the November 2016 election. As expected, several of these ballot questions seek to legalize recreational marijuana, making us the next “stoner state.” If that appellation appeals to you, I suspect your judgment may be impaired.
Not so very long ago it was a no-brainer that recreational drug use was a bad thing – something that society frowned upon. But in today’s topsy-turvy, PC world, if you oppose legalizing marijuana, you’re the one who’s viewed as out-of-step.
At one time, “cool” was equated with being original and different. So, maybe in 1970 it would have been cool and edgy to favor legalizing weed. Today, it just makes you a conformist.
Naturally, young people tend to favor legalizing another party drug. Also favoring legalization are middle-aged and older types who want to be regarded as “cool” by millennials. Here’s a dirty little secret: The kids you share a joint with may tell you to your face that you’re cool but what they’re really thinking is that you’re cool “for an old person.”
Again, until fairly recently, the societal norm had always been that use of recreational drugs was unacceptable and should be discouraged in every way possible. That was the attitude going back as far as anyone can remember; its longevity rooted in the time-tested wisdom, logic and common sense belief that nothing good comes of using and abusing drugs.
It’s also why the arguments in favor of legalization always involve some form of strained and convoluted logic.
For example, “Well, alcohol is legal, so pot should be too.”
Tell that to the Wakefield cops who had to chase the the sloshed wrong-way driver on Route 128 last week. And if you think someone wasted on today’s high-test weed isn’t capable of making that same mistake, you haven’t watched enough Cheech and Chong movies.
“But marijuana is much safer than alcohol,” is another typical argument.
Yes, and jumping off a 10-story building is five times safer than jumping off a 50-story building. But neither activity could be recommended as “safe.”
“But in states where it’s legal,” another claim goes, “marijuana use has stayed the same or gone down!”
Sure it has. Apparently, we’re supposed to believe that all of the time, energy and big money currently being poured into the effort to make marijuana legally available in corner pot shops are aimed at decreasing its use.
I prefer to go with time-tested laws of economics and human nature, like the one that goes something like this: “That which you make more desirable and more available, you get more of.”
Pot proponents have already been working overtime and spending a fortune to make pot more desirable by dressing up its image – even to the point of calling it “medicine.” Now, the next step is to make it more available through legalization. They can deny it all they want, but the goal of marijuana legalization is more drug use.
“But weed is abundant and plentiful now,” the argument goes. “We’re just taking it out of the underground economy so we can tax and regulate it.”
Yes, we understand that some of our greedy representatives in government see a lucrative business and want to get their cut by taxing legal weed.
But not all of them.
Gov. Charlie Baker said last week that he didn’t know anyone in the addiction treatment community who favored legalizing marijuana.
Come to think of it, neither do I. Those are the experts we should be listening to, not the people who see a buck to be made or who just want to get high.
We are in a drug addiction crisis. I’ll cast my vote with those who deal with addiction every single day and say ‘NO’ to legalizing weed.
If that means I’m not cool — oh well. I’ll just have to soldier on somehow.