Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Change of Opinion---It comes once in a Blue Moon

Yesterday I had an epiphany, I was sitting there in front of Wholey's Fish Market in the Strip and this is what happened, (in my brain)

Adelina, you sometimes like to drink alcohol right?
It is fun to do and is fun to do with friends right?
Well, yes.
You have partied a few times haven't you?
Well... yes a few.
Adelina, be honest, your mother, sisters, and roommates have found you face first in the toilet.
Ok, ok brain, yes I sometimes take it to the extreme. But it doesn't happen THAT often.
It also leads to accidents right?
Um.. I am sure everyone knows that this is true brain, why are you asking these questions?
Well Adelina, why is it then that you do not like the idea of smoking pot.
Mother-f. You are a tricky little trickster brain.....

Moral of the story, I might have to change my thinking on the issue of smoking pot.

Background story, I've never smoked, ever. Yeah I know, big shock, I get that a lot. Apparently I look like a girl who will just fire up the bowl. (Pffftttt, even writing in drug lingo makes me laugh hysterically.) I've got the staring at me with a quizzical look up on their faces, "Never ever?" more than once. I think that everyone has this idea that everyone smokes, and I just don't.

Usually I am totally against the idea of smoking. Not because I don't think it could be entertaining, but because it is illegal and because when I was younger those 'Anti-Drug' commercials scared the shit out of me. Literally my mother would have to wake me up at night because I would be crying and screaming about those commercials. Not only pot, but all of them scared the shit out of me. (Click here and see if this isn't just a little crazy.) It is illegal to smoke, a point that I will get back to later. Granted if you want to smoke, do it, it is your choice, it is just not one that I truly understand nor take part in.

In the office there has been much talk about the group called NORML. (Click here for their website.) They often have concerts and speakers on the subject of marijuana law reform. Currently their cause has been doubled because of the House Bill 1393 for Pennsylvania that was introduced in April. (Click here for the Bill.)

Now with this all going around me I guess my brain decided to make me think about the world and the old vs. new order of things. Everyone remembers Prohibition. The another reform that was passed to make the consumption of something (alcohol) illegal. I do remember something of high school history, this Prohibition didn't really work.

The Temperance movement blamed alcohol for many of society's ills, especially crime and murder. Saloons, a social haven for men who lived in the still untamed West, were viewed by many, especially women, as a place of debauchery and evil. Prohibition, members of the Temperance movement urged, would stop husbands from spending all the family income on alcohol and prevent accidents in the workplace caused by workers who drank during lunch.

Blaming alcohol on society's ills. I mean it couldn't be the people, the SOCIETY could it? Nope, better blame something else. It has to be something else other than people and free will. Hmm... guess we better blame alcohol, that sneaky little substance that always talks you into doing stupid stuff, makes you drink it, and makes you want it more. Never mind, that is the person pulling the glass to their lips after they order it. You can't blame alcohol, but you can blame the person. Free will baby, free will.

Just in case no one knows what free will is, or thinks that it is not really true, I have complied a list of definitions.

free will

–noun and independent choice; voluntary decision: You took on the responsibility of your own free will.
2.Philosophy. the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.

free will
The ability or discretion to choose; free choice: chose to remain behind of my own free will.

The power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will.

free will
The ability to choose, think, and act voluntarily. For many philosophers, to believe in free will is to believe that human beings can be the authors of their own actions and to reject the idea that human actions are determined by external conditions or fate. (See determinism, fatalism, and predestination.)

free will

in humans, the power or capacity to choose among alternatives or to act in certain situations independently of natural, social, or divine restraints. Free will is denied by those who espouse any of various forms of determinism. Arguments for free will are based on the subjective experience of freedom, on sentiments of guilt, on revealed religion, and on the universal supposition of responsibility for personal actions that underlies the concepts of law, reward, punishment, and incentive. In theology, the existence of free will must be reconciled with God's omniscience and goodness (in allowing man to choose badly), and with divine grace, which allegedly is necessary for any meritorious act. A prominent feature of modern Existentialism is the concept of a radical, perpetual, and frequently agonizing freedom of choice. Jean-Paul Sartre, for example, speaks of the individual "condemned to be free" even though his situation may be wholly determined.

I think we all get the point.

For about thirteen years alcohol was made illegal. In the end it was a huge failure. John D. Rockefeller, Jr stated that, "When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before."

Now is there a correlation? I think so. Prohibition doesn't work. When you tell someone not to do something, it because something that they want to do more. My boyfriend just painted the kitchen, he told me not to touch the walls because they weren't dry. I touched the walls. I just had to make sure. I needed to know for myself. This is the same when it deals with anything. Your parents say, "Adelina, don't go out with that boy he is bad news." I say "Sign me up for date number two!' And that is just coming from your parents and significant other. When it is the government, don't you think that you would want to do it even more? Back to my point of I don't do it because it is illegal.

I do things that are illegal all the time. I go more than the set speed limit, I cross when there is no cross walk, I even cross when there is a cross walk and the light is red, and the list of laws on this page, I am pretty sure I have broken some of those too. Laws sometimes are put into effect and then not changed when their use is over. People break the laws, maybe it is a tiny infraction or a large federal offense, it just happens. People have the right to chose what they want and what they do on a day to day basis. So why would the government impose another type of Prohibition and then be concerned when it once again doesn't work? This doesn't make sense to me at all.

National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2007, 14.4 million Americans aged 12 or older used marijuana at least once in the month prior to being surveyed, which is similar to the 2006 rate. About 6,000 people a day in 2007 used marijuana for the first time—2.1 million Americans. Of these, 62.2 percent were under age 18.

It just doesn't work. People are still smoking, so why not just make it legal and see if anything lowers after that. Look at the statistics for deaths in the United States.

Tobacco 435,0001
Poor Diet and Physical Inactivity 365,0001
Alcohol 85,000 1
Microbial Agents 75,0001
Toxic Agents 55,0001
Motor Vehicle Crashes 26,3471
Adverse Reactions to Prescription Drugs 32,0002
Suicide 30,6223
Incidents Involving Firearms 29,0001
Homicide 20,3084
Sexual Behaviors 20,0001
All Illicit Drug Use, Direct and Indirect 17,0001, 5
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Such As Aspirin 7,6006
Marijuana 07

Now I do not see anyone being told not to eat Mcdonald's anymore, or told that their Marlboro's need to be put out. So why is it that people are being told not to smoke Marijuana? With all the people out there that are smoking, or trying pot, why aren't there more deaths resulting from the use of it? (Click here for another survey of FDA approved drugs vs Pot). (Ps. as I am sure others will be interested--sexual behaviors is HIV, STD stuff not anything like, having sex on a fish tank and accidentally drowning, which I kinda hoped that wrong?)

Maybe I am just not informed enough about the pros and cons. But I see the connection between alcohol and pot, and I just don't see the difference anymore. I think my main problem is that they (the pro-smokers) base the claim that pot helps with health ailments. Ok, I can see this in some cases, but so did someone else before you,

"There were, however, several loopholes for people to legally drink during Prohibition. For instance, the 18th Amendment did not mention the actual drinking of liquor. Since Prohibition went into effect a full year after the 18th Amendment's ratification, many people bought cases of then-legal alcohol and stored them for personal use. The Volstead Act allowed alcohol consumption if it was prescribed by a doctor. Needless to say, large numbers of new prescriptions were written for alcohol."

I see the uses for medical marijuana and I get that it could help, for REAL ISSUES and DISEASES. I think though, that I would have more respect for the 'cause' if they said, I just want to smoke it. In this article by the Washington Post it shows that scripts written by Doctors to use Pot has gone up, with the symptoms of just 'pain' being the leading cause. Pain. Hm...

Guess it must be that easy to get a license, "Dr. I have this pain in my ass. I think I need something."
Dr: "Better start smoking pot."
Me: "But how will that get rid of my boyfriend?" (HAHAHAHA, little humor.)

In the end it comes down to this. People want to smoke and will smoke. I feel that running purely on the campaign that it is good for medical use is bullshit, which is why I have the most issues with it. If you want to smoke, do it. Just don't tell me that it is because you have a pain. If you have a real medical problem that it helps with, i.e. chemotherapy, glaucoma, etc then by all means I will be the one to light the bong (Pfffftttt) for you. But if you are doing it just for 'pain' then you will get the look of disgust.

Tell the House what you really think, smoking is fun to do and you think it should be legal because of that reason. Alcohol is, so why shouldn't Marijuana?

My opinion is changed. I don't do it, and probably won't ever try. But if you want to do it go ahead. It is a choice and people make then each day. Free will dictates that if you want to do something you will do it. If the government can't stop you, then who am I to try.

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