Being a student at one of the world’s largest public universities makes avoiding passionate debaters practically impossible.
Most of the time such debate appears to be intelligent. You’ll simply overhear a few of your peers calmly tossing out points and counter-points, secretly nod your head at the validity of their claims, and decide to get moving to your next class. While your passivity normally gets the best of you, there might even be the occasion when you find the subject matter especially interesting and decided to stick around, maybe even tossing in a few carefully worded points of your own.
And then, of course, there’s that third type of debate that you might overhear while strolling through campus. This style of discourse is completely devoid of the intelligence, civility and multi-syllabic vocabulary that you have come to expect from university students, and at the exact instant you walk by seems to be focused on some inane tangent such as the proper usage of the word “whom.” While this mindless word-war can take different forms and center upon different issues, the events of the past few months have probably ensured that the vast majority of these debates will start with something along the lines of “Dude, weed should totally be legalized.“
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the fight to legalize marijuana is a stupid one, in fact, it’s far from it. All I’m saying is that there’s a whole spectrum of stupid people who’ve decided that this cause is completely devoid of any potential negative impacts and view their “struggle” as a modern day civil rights issue. Lucky for me, most of the people I’m currently insulting will probably never realize it, either because their still baked or completely comatose after yesterday’s 4-20 smoke-fest. (Lookin‘ at you, Santa Cruz …)
Despite the negative impact that these ranters likely have on the issue’s public image, the marijuana debate has certainly caught fire in the last couple of months, especially in California.
Early in his term, Barack Obama’s administration announced that the Department of Justice will no longer prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries operating within the laws of the state in which they’re based, California included. No more than a few weeks after this announcement news began breaking about the California State Assembly’s AB 390, a measure introduced by San Francisco’s Tom Ammiano designed to completely legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults. Media coverage for AB 390 only increased when it became clear that motivation behind the bill was the nearly $1 billion in tax revenue that could be gained by lifting the current ban, rather than Ammiano’s secret love for weed and Frisbee golf.
Such steps towards a change in our nation’s drug policy, as well as the amount of publicity given to the issue, has been like throwing fuel on the very same fire that the aforementioned and inarticulate stoner population uses to light their joints and tell everyone how great the world would be if we tossed the law aside and everyone just got high.
Let me see if I’ve got this straight, hippies: California drops the ban and everyone instantly becomes a Willie Nelson/Allen Ginsberg hybrid working towards world peace and self-realization? I think not.
The marijuana discussion is a valuable one to have, but it ultimately just boils down to whether or not the state is going to put the stamp of approval and collect taxes on something that millions of consenting adults are already doing in the privacy of their own homes. The world won’t change, wars will still be fought and your favorite Jimi Hendrix song won’t suddenly start playing every time the sun breaks the horizon. Sorry to kill your high, bro, but at the end of the day it’s just not terribly important.
JAMES NOONAN would like to state that the anti-marijuana debate is full of just as many idiots and half-baked claims as the pro-side, but they’re so much less fun to pick on. Be sure to mellow out before e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.