Artur Davis: Rebuttal #2
The arguments for legalizing marijuana turn on the idea that the risks are limited, or on a libertarian notion that individuals should have the license to weigh the risk for themselves.
I’ve yet to hear a case that an explosion of social marijuana use will improve public health, strengthen families or communities, or add to the public good in any measurable way. I’m dubious about ending a whole class of criminal laws with nothing positive to show for it.
There is certainly room to evaluate the defects in how marijuana laws are enforced; many judges and state level defense lawyers are convinced that minorities are more likely to face felony charges for marijuana related crimes, and that the system is replete with inconsistencies in how marijuana offenders are treated, for reasons rooted in class, race, geography, etc. That conversation ought to happen, but there is ample room to reform the disparities without throwing up our hands altogether.
One risk argument should be addressed head-on. The idea that legalizing marijuana won’t provide a gateway to harder drug use strikes me as way too optimistic. Even without resorting to a ream of data–which is unreliable given the fact that admitting to marijuana use is far more fashionable than admitting to, say, cocaine or heroin–it’s hard to refute the fact that narcotics drive their users to want even more of a stimulant.
I simply don’t buy the notion that a society that can’t manage its diet, or its alcohol consumption, or even its credit card limits, will suddenly discover the gft of responsibility when it comes to pot.