April 23, 2019 | 67° F

Reasons to stir the 'pot'

Why do I vehemently advocate and defend the position that the legalization of marijuana is an endeavor worth pursuing with conviction and dedication? Because I believe the law should strive to be virtuous, and unjust laws ought to be challenged and repealed. I believe that the United States Constitution is the closest embodiment of a sovereign authority that the people of this great country should ever heed. I believe it is imperative for society to adapt and mature in unison with the ever-changing present. I know that sometimes the popular opinion is not always the peoples' opinion. Furthermore, I find hypocrisy a vile and grotesque disservice to one's soul. This wretched form of deception is born from loins of deceit and cloaked in a coat of virtue — a wolf in sheep's clothing is a despicable coward who is of a far greater threat than the wolf himself. Any society, social group or individual who finds the thought of legalizing marijuana reprehensible and scowls at the utterance of such, yet condones the drinking of alcohol and smoking of tobacco, has unfairly and without thought made a hypocritical decision.

Metaphorically speaking, society is similar to the tectonic plates that form the earth's surface. Like the grinding, sliding or separation of these plates, society tends to progress slowly and the effects of the movement are only evident over long periods of time. The seven continents that make up the earth's surface are constantly moving ever so slightly. Scientists are able to track this movement, hence, we confirm its occurrence; however, no one takes notice — mankind has a tendency to forget what is not constantly made a reminder to us. We pay it no mind because it bears no consequence in our lives, until of course, when the surface of the earth can no longer withstand the intense accumulation of pressure. At this point, it reminds mankind, in the form of earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, just how much force lies hidden below the surface; Out of sight, out of mind.

Similar to tectonic motion, political movements are spurred quietly, behind closed doors and without notice, until the pressure from within, from the people, is sufficient enough to induce a shift of magnitude resulting in reform. In order to achieve reform we must be adroit in our strategy, and we must be organized in this noble effort to illuminate the minds of the American people. A "grassroots" movement is based on the principles decreed in The Declaration of Independence and supported by the Constitution, the standard by which all laws must be measured. This concept is intrinsically tied to legal theory handed down from the antediluvian civilizations. Cicero, the great Roman legal theorist, wrote the notion of justice in De Republica: "True law is right reason…it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain." The prosecution of marijuana-related offenses blatantly disregards any notion of justice.

Reason and rationale are both virtuous and noble, but contemporary American society prefers to make decisions based on figures and statistics. An empirical, economic analysis purporting the costs of the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of non-violent marijuana-related offenses is essential. The cost-benefit analysis must also provide an accurate model that will estimate the profitability of this endeavor. The 21st century has brought forth social issues that are superior to the welfare of the state; national security and economic stability should be the focus of our manpower and resources. Many will argue that numerous jobs will be lost in the divisions and subdivisions of law enforcement, whose primary focus revolves around the arrest and prosecution of marijuana-related crimes. This argument is invalid because its premise is false. These jobs would not be lost; they would simply be redistributed and dispersed onto areas that plague our current condition. These problems include, but are not exclusive to, threats of terror and issues pertaining to the protection, and security and defense of our borders. These are truly concerns of consequence that require additional funding, support and manpower.  Consenting adults who smoke marijuana in the privacy of their own homes is bagatelle in comparison to the dilemmas that present themselves to the modern American, and thus should not be the concern of the American government.

I feel it is necessary to inject a brief comparison between alcohol and marijuana. Alcohol is both legal and sociably acceptable, but the physical, social and degenerative effects that result from chronic alcohol abuse are exponentially greater than the effects of marijuana. Barbiturates, benzodiazepines and alcohol are the only drugs that have the possibility of a withdrawal-related death. This means that the body of an alcoholic becomes so physically dependent on the substance, that if he decides to quit cold turkey, without proper medical attention, he risks death. Even with proper medical detoxification there is the possibility of severe shakes, seizures and hallucinations.

Marijuana is not a physically addictive substance, nor has it ever been the cause of death on a death certificate.

I ask the readers to look at the social impact of alcohol. The rage and violent behavior often associated with alcoholism has proven to be detrimental to the American family.

David Berger is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

David Berger

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