How did we end up in a world where Big Gulps are being banned in New York while the welcome mat for potheads is being rolled out in Colorado? How is it that cigarette smokers are pariahs, while people smoking weed are being cheered? This is despite the fact that potheads are almost universally recognized as unmotivated, low class, degenerate – and, yes, smelly failures. Even the ones that get somewhere in life, like Barack Obama, usually turn out to be mediocrities.
Moreover, we all recognize that smoking is a dirty habit that makes you die younger while drinking is a potentially dangerous habit that leads to hundreds of thousands of deaths per year, but we want to condone pot use on top of that? That's like saying you've got a bad back and a bad shoulder; so why not break your knee cap to top it all off. How many lives are we willing to flush down the drain because a significant number of Americans tried pot a handful of times in their lives, got away with it and now feel guilty about it? One hundred for every person in prison? 1000? 10,000? There's a reason pot was made illegal in the first place and quite frankly, the only reason alcohol and cigarettes are legal is because they're so deeply ingrained in our society that we can't get rid of them.
There is certainly a financial and human cost to keeping marijuana illegal and we can see it in our prisons. But, there would be an even larger cost to making it legal.
1) It's extremely addictive for some people: If you don't want to take my word for it, listen to Dr. Drew Pinsky who has been working with addicts for decades.