Of course, we know the dangers of drinking alcohol and driving. Similarly, a recent study published in the British Medical Journal showed that marijuana users who drove within three hours of smoking nearly doubled their chances of causing a crash compared with sober drivers. And the American Society of Addiction Medicine just released a statement saying the drug "impairs memory, motor function and respiratory health when smoked -- and can be addictive."
To say marijuana isn't so dangerous as alcohol is like saying a plain doughnut isn't so bad for us as a glazed one. The point is what? Wouldn't it simply be better to ditch the doughnuts from our diets and try whole-wheat toast with organic peanut butter and sliced bananas as a more nutritious way to start our days?
It suffices to say here that justifying the use of one drug because it's not so dangerous as another drug is weak reasoning in any book and bad grounds for justifying usage of either of them. And such a statement coming from a sitting president of the United States is simply reckless leadership run amok.
As far as why the president gave his pro-marijuana comments to The New Yorker, I think Donald Moorse, a Portland, Ore., medical marijuana dispensary owner, hit the cannabis nail right on the head: The president's views "will influence people throughout the country. I think that's why he made the comments."
And how does the president justify his pro-marijuana stance? He believes that if marijuana is legalized, fewer young blacks and Latinos will be imprisoned.
Obama said about the legalization of pot in Washington and Colorado: "It's important for it to go forward because it's important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished."
And he explained who those "select few" are when he said: "Middle-class kids don't get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do. And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties."
Fox News summarized that "the president echoed the argument that pro-legalization advocates often make, stressing the cost to society of locking up minor drug offenders."
So let me get this straight: If pot is legalized, we pay less to incarcerate minor drug offenders by unleashing and increasing major pot smokers and smoking in every stratum of society as if there will be no price to pay -- personal, monetary or otherwise -- in doing so?
No wonder the Drug Free America Foundation said on its website this past week about Obama: "His laissez-faire attitude about legalization has drug policy and prevention experts scratching their heads in confusion as to why the President will not give clear guidance on this important issue."
The foundation went on to say, "President Obama is surrounded by ... myriad ... experts who have voiced serious concerns about the harms of marijuana and rejected legalization, so either he is seriously ill-informed about the issue or is completely ignoring warnings from his highly-esteemed advisers."
Fox News also noted that Obama's own Office of National Drug Control Policy "lists a range of negative health and mental consequences from the drug, including schizophrenia, lower IQ ('as much as an 8 point drop') and higher risk of heart attack."
More double talk and more double standards from the White House. How shocking.
Remember the days when presidents modeled and espoused healthy living, beginning by denouncing drug use rather than justifying it?
Maybe it's time we fight all addictive drugs instead of making excuses for using them. Maybe it's time we teach and model for young people that life can be good enough on its own merit without altering reality by drug use.
I'm not here making a case for or against the medicinal use of marijuana. However, it's very difficult for me to believe that America, average healthy Americans and particularly our younger generations are going to be better off with pot's legalization.
I'm all for freedom, but when liberty turns into licentiousness, it's time to reconsider why we're doing what we're doing. Just because we can doesn't mean we should. And if that's the case, what other illicit passion is going to be next in the lineup of legalization?
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