Ever since Prohibition was repealed, the ongoing excuse to keep alcohol and tobacco legal (as opposed to marijuana) is because they’re “part of our society”. Never mind the huge ongoing death toll from smoking, long-term alcohol abuse and drunk driving.
Well, millions of Americans use cannabis every day too. It is also part of our society. Except for medical cannabis patients in legal states, cannabis usage is just as underground as booze was during the Prohibition years…that is to say, it’s an open secret in many areas of society.
While created with the best of intentions (to save the American population from drunkenness and dissipated lives) Prohibition proved to be a spectacular failure. Prohibition created the “criminal underworld” that made, distributed and sold beer and distilled spirits to a clamoring market composed of the rich, the glamorous, the working public and yes, politicians. The bootlegger organizations made millions of dollars. And their business descendants — organized crime — are still at it, selling other illegal goods (as well as sex slaves) now.
When the Federal government decided to demonize cannabis, they called it marijuana to capitalize on and instill prejudice against Mexicans and foreigners. As happened during the years of Prohibition, criminal enterprises now flourish based on the current demand for marijuana, with legal consequences increasing based on the number of lives affected, like ripples in a pond.
As any caring parent knows, whatever you forbid to your teenager will be exactly what he wants to sneak around and use or do. It is the “forbidden” aspect attached by authority (read: parents or government) that makes the person want to thumb their nose at authority and do just the opposite of what is ordered.
Cannabis is not toxic. Never killed anyone. “Addictive” only in the sense that if you stop taking it, your adverse symptoms (like anxiety) can return. Oh wait. The definition of addiction is:
the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
Taking cannabis is not physically habit forming. Wanting to be free of pain and nausea is more than reasonable; we could argue that it is a human right.
No one has ever tried to ban tobacco use in all forms. They know that such an attempt would fail, partly because of the tobacco industry, partly because so many people use it. Never mind the death toll from long term tobacco use due to cancers. Never mind that nicotine is one of the most addictive (and one of the most toxic) substances known to humans. It is part of our society, and its addicts will pay any tax to get it. Even if it kills them.