Recently two states legalized the recreational use of marijuana: Colorado and my state, Washington. In full disclosure, even though, like Bill Clinton, I have never personally tried pot, I voted for passage of this law.
And I want to apologize for my decision. I had no idea that legalizing weed would unleash a tidal wave of chaos, undermining the social contract of this once great state.
For years, my parents, my minister and my 7th grade science teacher, Mr. Curtis, warned me about the dangers of marijuana. The critically acclaimed 1936 documentary film Reefer Madness proved conclusively that even a single puff of marijuana could lead to a life of heroin addiction, crime and attempting to French kiss nuns during mass.
The evidence is overwhelming that prolonged marijuana use can interfere with one’s ability to concentrate and inhibit one’s motivation. In a 1987 study of rhesus monkeys, researchers found that those monkeys who had routinely inhaled marijuana over a six-month period displayed no motivation to accomplish anything constructive, instead opting to lie around and pick fleas out of their fur. Critics of the study’s findings argued: “What did you expect? Were you waiting for them to draw engineering plans for the next space shuttle? They’re rhesus monkeys, for fuck’s sake.” Critics of legitimate scientific studies often use very coarse language.
Recreational use of marijuana is still against the law in 48 states, and with good reason. Those states know that if you made it legal, thousands of people would be driving 10 miles an hour in a 55 mph zone, endangering the lives of drunk drivers everywhere.
Shockingly, marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America, behind alcohol and tobacco. Sure, around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. And it’s true that over 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking. But that pales in comparison to the millions of stoners each year who recklessly scarf down bags of Doritos and cookies loaded with trans-fats instead of far healthier food choices like pomegranate.
The people peddling this nefarious legislation to legalize pot point to studies which show that long-term pot smoking is not harmful and cannot be proven to lead to the use of hard drugs. To which I say, “Hey, it’s not polite to point.” See what smoking marijuana does to your manners? In addition, regular use of pot leads to finding things funny that aren’t really all that funny – like saying the words duckbilled platypus out loud. Stoners find this hilarious. But you don’t see any platypuses laughing. They have feelings, you know.
Some researchers are concerned that it’s just a matter of time before your average pot smoker starts heading down a slippery slope of watching Duck Dynasty marathons, eventually totally forgetting to show up for work, and before you know it, torturing puppies for sport. Can we really afford to just sit there idly and do nothing as these weed whackers attempt to do bodily harm to your innocent cocker spaniel?
Just look at the chaos already created here in Washington State. According to one study (which I just made up to bolster my argument), in the months since recreational pot has become legal, the number one most ordered item at the Starbucks drive-through has become “Um, I forgot what I came here for.”
Health food stores are closing up and re-opening as 7-Elevens in anticipation of the epidemic of munchies predicted to explode in this state. Good luck finding a spinach salad anywhere in Washington soon.
Health insurance companies are fearful that a rise in pot smoking could lead to a dramatic decline in cigarette smoking and alcohol-related deaths, which in turn could mean they may have to stop increasing insurance rates by 15% per year, much to the concern of their shareholders. Prison guards are worried, as this legislation could lead to reduced prison over-crowding from drug busts for pot possession, threatening their job security.
Another major concern is the impact that legalizing pot will have on state tax coffers. Oh sure, proponents of legalization like my stoner neighbor Doobie McTokehead (along with a few hundred economists) have argued that legalizing and taxing marijuana nationwide could, by conservative estimates, generate close to $9 billion in taxes per year. But with all these stoners playing Grand Theft Auto online until 3:00 in the morning, can we really count on them to remember to pay their taxes? I think not.
I am doing what I can to forestall the inevitable unraveling of our social fabric by refusing to do business with any establishment that promotes marijuana use with words like “pot” or “stoned” or “joint” in their name. So no more trips to the Pottery Barn or Bridgestone Tires for me. No more Christmas shopping at any business engaged in any sort of joint venture. I’m taking a stand to protect our nation’s environment from pot pollution.
Sadly, my state already seems to be embracing its new status as the stoner capital of America. The legislature just introduced a new state motto to attract tourists: “Visit Washington. Come for our legalized pot. Stay because you can’t remember how you got here or where you came from.”