On March 31st, New York joined 15 other states to legalize Marijuana for recreational use. Now, call me old fashioned or maybe I haven’t fully grasped all the ramifications of having marijuana freely flowing through my state, but the idea of having a mind-altering drug being readily accessible to anyone who wants it as long as they have met the age requirement, is “a hard pill to swallow.”
Now listen, Marijuana for medicinal purposes I fully support and that has been legal in New York since July 2014. But, I find it hard to accept that soon New Yorkers 21 years and older may be able to legally grow it in their backyards, just as they do other vegetables and spices, conveniently have it delivered to their doorsteps, or gather in “consumption lounges” or other public places to “recreationally” consume a drug that was once, and in some states still, considered harmful?
Sure I’ve heard the arguments about personal freedoms and the right to choose whether or not to get high, reduction in drug related crime due to less prosecutions, increased safety regulations, and yes the $7 billion industry to be gained once it’s fully established. Yes I’ve heard the comparisons to the alcohol industry and how “well” that turned out. Yes, I’ve heard them all over and over again, but this “if we can’t beat them them then let’s join them and while we’re at it let’s make some money attitude” does not sit well with me.
And what about the social implications? Will this legitimization be worth the price we might have to pay someday? Increased addictions, anxiety, paranoia and illnesses are just some of the things we will have to contend with. What is the message we are sending to our youths anyway? Already they are facing too many issues in today’s society. Do we really need to complicate it with the legalization of a drug that is already way too over abused that has been proven to impact our reasoning, our judgement and ultimately our behaviors? Besides isn’t it just plain morally wrong? What do you think?