Cannabis causes harm. But no one cares
National Post, 9 October 2018
Legal pot will be good for the rich snowboarding set, and the corporations. But it will be catastrophic for a great many others, just as alcohol is
Later this month, recreational use of marijuana will become legal in Canada. The toll of human misery will accordingly increase, but not to worry, some very wealthy firms will make a lot of money and the government will get its share of the booty, just as it does with tobacco, gambling and alcohol.
It has never been clear exactly what problem the legalization of marijuana is the solution to.
Over a year ago I asked questions about what social good legalized pot is supposed to achieve. The government did not have answers then and, on the threshold of legalization, is not greatly bothered to find any.
I have always suspected that the guilty conscience of the affluent is a major factor. Their adult children have the luxury of whiling away a few years snowboarding and smoking pot, but are not in legal jeopardy because rich kids do not get pot convictions. The prime minister himself alluded to that when he acknowledged that his late brother Michel was charged with possession but their father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, made it go away.
No one predicts an increase in industriousness or health or greater social harmony from legal pot. To the contrary, employers are putting in place restrictions on pot use. Mental-health experts, already lamenting the lack of resources for the treatment, know that marijuana smoking will only make those problems worse at least for the young, but not only them.
So it is in the end a libertarian argument. If you want to smoke pot, you should be able to. Fair enough; not every private vice should be prohibited by public law. The same argument applies of course to heroin and cocaine and opioids, but very few people are quite so bold to apply the argument consistently.
For those who seek a distinction between marijuana and “hard” drugs like opiates and meth, and “soft” drugs like pot, the usual recourse is to liken pot to alcohol. We not only have legal alcohol, but use public dollars to promote its consumption, so why should marijuana be any different? Getting high on a joint is just like getting drunk, so treat it the same.
It’s not, physiologically, but leave that aside and take the argument in the other direction. If you had a society in which alcohol consumption was non-existent, or at least rare, would it be a good idea to try to increase it?
Continue reading at the National Post: https://nationalpost.com/opinion/father-raymond-j-de-souza-cannabis-causes-harm-but-no-one-cares