The Logic Of Legalization

A reader writes:

I agree that stoner humor is tiresome (and inaccurate, but that's another fight), but why do we need to make this all about sick people? I'm not trying to be heartless--but I'm willing to wager that a very small portion of marijuana used is to manage sickness. It's a very important part of why legalization is important, and maybe it's an effective message politically, but whenever I hear arguments for legalization couched in medical marijuana terms, I get the feeling that people are thinking "yeah, right. These weed activist people just want to get high." And you know, they're sort of right. I *do* want to get high. What's it to you?

It's not just a medical issue--we need to assert our freedom to engage in an activity that harms very few people and results in needless jailtime and wasted tax dollars. The cancer patient struggling with chemo-induced nausea is an important reason to legalize, but so am I--a 21-year-old gainfully employed elite-college grad who's minding her own business (or the 21-year-old high-school dropout aspiring rapper, for that matter). A "stoner," if you will. I think activists fear that image won't translate well in terms of garnering support, but I think it may appeal to Americans' appreciation of personal liberty. At the very least, they'll appreciate the straight talk.

As Dish readers well know, this is also my position. I do not see the fact that marijuana provides great pleasure as a reason to ban it. My point in the post was a narrower one. If the laws permit medical marijuana, they should only support medical marijuana. And our success in providing medical marijuana responsibly, legally and humanely will be a critical test of whether a more ambitious end to prohibition can be achieved. One step at a time. But, yes, I sense a sea-change. A long, long overdue sea-change.