[DAMN!! This was supposed to be published yesterday, but my stupid apartment complex WiFi went out several times, and despite it saying that it got scheduled, it failed, so my apologies. Pretend it's yesterday while you're reading, I guess. :/ ]
Today is April 20th. While a lot of unfortunate things happened on this day, the massacre at Columbine High School, Hitler was born, the damnable oil spill in the Gulf last year, this day also means something special to a lot of Americans. April 20th, or 4/20 as it is affectionately known to some, is an unofficial national holiday for people who like to smoke pot or people who support the legalization of marijuana. While I personally haven't had much to do with this particular day in history, I know plenty of people who have. This year, the day seems to have gone off without a hitch (SO FAR--I don't want to jinx it), a.k.a. no oil spills, natural disasters, or incidents extreme violence and hatred. So, I decided to speak a little to the day and why so many anti-4/20 people could use a little mellowing themselves.
Marijuana is still illegal in many US states, and is only "legal" for medicinal purposes in some states. For some reason, weed has been labeled a gateway drug that will lead people who smoke it to try other drugs, many more dangerous and harmful like heroin, cocaine, and opium. While there is no unequivocal proof for this claim, many people do believe it. Pot is a mind altering drug, and like other mind altering substances, alcohol, and even tobacco and caffeine, it requires moderation and caution in its usage. However, as far as I know, nobody ever overdosed from smoking too much grass. It requires moderation for different reasons. It can cause some people to lose motivation for anything besides having that lovely high that the THC brings. But, in its defense, those people probably didn't have far to go to lose that motivation anyway.
Some people think weed is dangerous, and even a threat to the lives and safety of America's youth and everyone else, so that even to consider making marijuana legal seems absurd. This is a fallacy, based on unfounded opinions, rumors, and propaganda. It is more dangerous now, as an "illegal" drug, than it would be as a legal drug. The illegality of it breeds corruption, violence and other dangers, because cartels and growers can turn a higher profit on something that is hard to get due to its illegal status. If marijuana were legal, it could be regulated more closely, and monitored, much like alcohol production is regulated. Take note, there isn't a whole lot of moonshine these days in the states since Prohibition ended. And if the "War On Drugs" would end, with respect specifically to weed (the other illegal drugs should probably stay illegal), not only could we see the negative results disappear, i.e. the violence and secrecy involved with transporting, selling and using an illegal drug, but some positive results could come about as well.
By legalizing it and regulating it, the government could tax marijuana and generate some more money to combat the tailspin of debt and deficit we have at the moment. The government could control who consumes the product and why. These may not sound like pleasant reasons to the average stoner who wants to fight the powers that be, but on the road to legalization, some compromise must be made, and if that means adding a federal sales tax to the sale of ganja, maybe we should just deal with that.
So, while the extreme conservatives may still hold that weed is one of the many evil things corrupting the youth and turning everyone into a bunch of unpatriotic, lazy, anarchist, pro-choice liberals, it's high time we try to gain a little perspective on the possibility of there being more greens to cash out of what we call the marijuana industry.