-62 votes

My Argument Against Marijuana

Update:

I'm intrigued by many of the comments.

First, of all, many people have yelled at me for pointing a gun at their head or something. WTF? Did you read what I wrote?

Second, although some people have been pretty comfortable with the point I've made even though they disagree, most people are quite visceral about what I've said.

I have 41 downvotes at the moment. Why? Because I've made a moral argument against the voluntary choice to use drugs including marijuana. It's frankly the same position, if perhaps formulated sort of specifically, as Ron Paul.

I said that Marijuana is not some big demon, and sure, if you've been through hell that sort of thing might help you. I'm not condemning you.

What do you think Ron Paul is all about, why do people worship him? He's a moral man. So, in fact, is someone like Alex Jones. They have a sense of commitment of their duties to themselves, their families, their God. There is a sense of higher moral purpose.

Now, that alone doesn't make marijuana bad, but I'm trying to say that having a 'goodie-two-shoe' 'boy scout' commitment to doing right is a good thing, and we need that attitude. We are awake in that we aren't naive, and we think for ourselves, but we must have that commitment and be proud of that aspect of our character.

Okay, so I also think that this sort of do-the-right-thing morality involves staying away from drugs if you can. Chemicals that alter you mental state. Why's that such a controversial position? The CIA planting drugs in communities, the DOJ putting people in jail for it - can't you see this as a two-pronged attack?

So, you're not evil if you smoke pot. But, if I wanted my kids to aspire to something better in life, to do their duty to God - whichever God - if I was looking for that 'spark' in someone... I'd tell my kids to stay away, and I do grow skeptical of people who smoke pot. Look, I have good friends that are liberal who think that if everything in society isn't circumscribed by law and regulation, then surely everything will go wrong and everyone will die. They are smart and well-intentioned, but they're wrong. They don't think quite right. Likewise, smoking pot is not this guarantee of being something bad or whatever, but I would automatically think something's not right.

And it's the same as if I wanted to go play sports with friends, or board games, or see a show of some kind and they want to get drunk and bang girls they don't care about. I'd have a problem with those people.

Everyone's different and have different tastes, but certain qualities and activities are just of a certain type that borders on that edge of nihilism and narcissism or what have you.

Anyway, some of this is private opinion. But I KNOW that this community is really motivated by the drug issue, and I am POLITICALLY ON BOARD with that issue. However, I thought it would be constructive to bring in a counter opinion. Look, some of us think ending the drug war will save our communities. Others think that spreading hemp plants all over the world like Johnny Appleseed will save the universe. That's deranged, and I was trying to start an adult conversation without relying on sophomoric talking points to say that perhaps drugs are really not a good thing, even if criminalization is a horrific overreach, and so perhaps this community needs to think about how much we want to celebrate marijuana.

I don't get why people get so pissed when you disagree with stuff they do. I didn't call names and presented a rational argument. I DON'T have to accept what you do, and I DON'T have to ignore it because it's what you want. What I can't do is ever force or coerce anyone. But on a public forum - you better damn believe I have a right to piss people off if I think it'll make the world a little better. And my goal isn't to just piss people off, but make an argument in spite of whether people choose to be pissed off.

41 down votes because I said marijuana might sort of be bad - I hate the 'this community is such and such' or 'I might have to quit'. No, not at all! I'm not going there. But I'm a little dismayed that there seems to be a big pothead situation here.

***********************************************************

I have been wanting to do this for a while, I'm finally in the mood.

So, this is basically an abstract/moral argument.

Happiness is the goal of life, not the purpose of it. While we meaningfully pursue our purpose, we are happy. Purpose includes basic material objectives, and abstract spiritual objective. Eating good food can make you happy. Rest can make you happy. Exercise can make you happy. Creating can make you happy. Social activity can make you happy.

Now, there are these 'drug' things. They can be anything from refined sugar (maybe), or caffeine (better argument), to marijuana or coke. I would argue that any drug is a moral negative. That doesn't mean enjoying a coffee is evil, but all else being equal, one would hope to pursue life's goals for their own sakes. This argument will make more sense in a minute. Of course, coffee has utility: alertness, creative brain power, but in this case I'm talking about that warm feeling itself as an end in and of itself.

Marijuana has utility, in theory, but the main reason why people use it is for that feeling in and of itself. And this is in fact why I distinguish alcohol from marijuana. It is a matter of intensity. Still, I won't beat around the bush. I think that alcohol is a strong moral negative, and that people drink it way more often than what might be proper. So we can conflate the two. All I'm saying is that mere marijuana use equates to heavy alcohol use. Equivocate with me if you choose, my abstract point remains the same.

The problem, then, with marijuana is that it induces a state of felt happiness. Let's discuss psychological reward mechanisms. Bringing a little science in here, we can say that generally happiness is the result of the sensation produced by dopamine in the brain. Basic survival tasks have been fine tuned and balanced by millions of years of evolution to reward survival achievements: eating, sleeping, sex, social activity with an appropriate amount of dopamine. Apparently, creative thinking, strategic planning is a uniquely human survival mechanism also rewarded.

There's more to it! With memory and conceptual thinking, we can associate these building block reward mechanisms with abstract spiritual successes. When Jesus talks about hunger and the bread of life, he equates the sensation of pure joy a starving person receives from having bread with the abstraction of a spiritual starvation and a spiritual feast.

The point is that this mechanism is real, and physiological, but it's the foundation of all our abstract and spiritual pursuits as well.

I concur that people *can* use marijuana and be functional and purposeful people. However, this is often not the case despite exceptions, and there are downsides not often discussed.

What drugs, including marijuana and alcohol for that matter do is that they induce a dopamine release related not to any act or achievement (that's natural and proper) but rather to the act of usage and using the drug itself. This throws the reward mechanism out of whack.

With heavy drugs, like heroine or cocaine, you see people destroy themselves and those they love because of this interrupted reward loop.

But, even marijuana has a bad effect. A person can still have a purpose while using, but marijuana consumes much more of that reward function than a mere 'thing you do' should. This means that you are wasting 'purpose' resources no matter what when you use.

Granted, let's say you grew up in a crappy household. Psychologically, you might be devoting so many resources to coping with that that drug use might actually free up resources by suppressing the effect of those issues. This isn't a good argument for drugs, if you can't gather.

So drugs interfere with your basic moral purpose and happiness mechanism. And this in turn prevents healthy moral and emotional growth.

Consider the way users act:
1. They are hyper defensive about their drug use. Why is this? Think about how you would feel if a beloved relative died? That person is a source of happiness and being in your life. Marijuana induces an artificial happiness, and so it takes on the role of an artificial loved one. Hence, many (not all) legalizes are hyper defensive. Losing their beloved grass scares them immensely.
2. Lack of self-awareness. It is well documented that marijuana can induce paranoid thinking. This isn't a political comment. I'm just making the point that I know users personally who get wrapped up in unrealistic ideas and have no self-awareness. Yeah, people can indeed lack self-awareness, but marijuana seems to be forcibly, chemically driving a certain lack of self awareness in people. That includes an awareness of the negative effects of using. Linking to point #1, people's state of fear over losing marijuana is chemically induced by the drug's effect on the brain, but people don't realize this. The feeling comes from their brain chemistry, and they act in response to it, but they have no rational, conceptual awareness of their hyper-defensiveness.

Those are just two examples of the sort of effects drugs have on the brain.

It's immoral because the reward process is so foundational to the greater moral purpose of pursuing virtue and a better life.

From a political perspective, the law doesn't have a place using coercive violence against drug users. But that's a general point that is so much broader than the issue of drugs.

Plus, despite my light-handed approach to this issue, drugs do in fact cause enormous harm to people and communities - this is just a fact. I like more foundational abstract arguments, but the basic pragmatic one works pretty well too.

So, that's my argument.

Like I said, we probably drink alcohol too much, but hey we do it. So, if a marijuana user is reading this, I might expect at least someone to think: "You know, he's pretty much right, but of course a vice is a vice and there's no mortal sin in a little smoke here and there." That's all I'm getting at.

Of course, if my argument is very valid, people will freak out in defense of their drug use and call me names.

******

I've thought about it just a bit more.

The idea is that morality is thought of in terms of general principles that inspire moral growth in a direction, as opposed to black and white. It isn't about demonization or 'drugs are bad'.

It's about, which direction do you want to go in.

I'm saying we should go in that direction of greater balance. Balance between physiology and spirituality. We have to eat, and sleep, and so forth. It affects our chemistry and therefore psychology. So we should try to be healthy so our chemistry is balanced. This means more spiritual energy to pursue the heights, if you will.

It's very clear that drug use is an unhealthy, unbalancing activity. That's what I'm trying to say.

While, therefore, drugs aren't 'bad' so-to-speak, I think I can legitimately argue for treating them with extreme reservation.

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Stopped reading at:

Because I've made a moral argument against the voluntary choice to use drugs including marijuana.

Something is either voluntary or it isn't. There is no third way on that.

Arguing against someone's choice seems kinda silly to me. But, then again, what would a Hillbilly know about such things?

Way too long of a diatribe for me to read it all but.....

if you rather not smoke pot, sure, fine with me as long as you don't try to stop me from smoking it responsibly if I choose to do so.

A better title for your article would be: My Argument Against Marijuana, Alcohol, Prescription Drugs, Coffee and Soft Drinks. The arguments I read apply to all of them.

When did it become morally wrong to use God's plants? Oh, that's right, since the "modern" white man decided so.

But it's trendy to like weed!

I can't even tell you how many times I've been attacked for daring to speak against the notion that pot cures all things. I've seen pot go from legal to illegal back to legal more than once, and I've certainly smoked---and grown---my share of the stuff.

Actually I've done a lot of drugs. Cola, meth, LSD (the real stuff, not your modern rat-poison garbage), and so on. They all do some bad. And they all do some good. Meth is wonder drug for asthma. Opium is a miracle cure for insomnia. In my case, and that of a couple of my family members and several friends, pot is terrible for asthma---even if eaten or vaped---yet we get lectured endlessly by pot-zealots about how wonderfully beneficial it is for lung ailments.

I like pot. It's fun sometimes. It's beneficial sometimes. But it's also harmful sometimes, and it's not for everyone, and at times it's not for anyone. If all you wanna-be pot advocates actually tried to find the enlightenment you seem to hold so dear, you would know that the truth of all things always lies in the middle. Blind advocacy---like blind opposition---will only bring suspicion down on you, and rightfully so. Honesty will bring a productive conversation that leads to real change.

Conversely, it drives me equally insane to see all the little anti-drug ninnies pissing themselves with fear over the thought of someone smoking meth, only to go pop a few Ritalin.

A movie you should love

Reefer Madness (1938)


http://youtu.be/54xWo7ITFbg

I do not agree with you.

Weed is one of the few truly magical plants on our planet…

I could go on and on why but that is basically a waste of time. So instead I will post a funny music video. Hope it make you smile


http://youtu.be/WeYsTmIzjkw

Read it all with an open mind

i used to think like you. then i smoked weed and found out how wrong i had been.

i read a few books on weed first because i wanted to be educated about what i was putting into my body.

books are good - don't you think?
especially ones with lots of footnotes referencing scientific studies.

i'd like to recommend that you read a book titled "Marijuana Gateway to Health: How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease" by Clint Werner

I'd also like you to clear up for me exactly what your meant to say when you said:

What do you think Ron Paul is all about, why do people worship him? He's a moral man. So, in fact, is someone like Alex Jones. They have a sense of commitment of their duties to themselves, their families, their God. There is a sense of higher moral purpose.

Do you not know any dope smokers who fit that description? Do you want a list? There is one you know - created just for this situation.

I haven't read a single comment, but I'd bet people are going off on you because they are incensed that anyone would be so arrogant and apparently willfully ignorant.

come on man. the knowledge base on this is huge. are you really that uninformed about the modern day cannabis consumer? Stop thinking Cheech and Chong and start thinking Jobs and Clarence Thomas.

i could have taken offense at your characterization of people who smoke weed. But you know what you know. I'd suggest you try to find a better class of stoners to hang out with.

btw, i do understand that you're not down with using force to impose your preferences and that's the real important stuff.

do yourself a solid and read the book. you'll thank me.

the stranger's picture

You appear to have "opened

You appear to have "opened up" and offered your honest opinion. And you clearly put some thought into this essay. But it's off base in so many respects it would be an effort just to correct. You need to think this through, perhaps distill what you're trying to say. Even then, It seems to lack sufficient understanding of the subject; useful first hand experience perhaps. It's been a while since I've had a smoke, but I really wanted a toke about halfway though this mythic journey.

perfect!

i should stop reading the comments now. i can't imagine one better. well said strangerr

One comment and one question

Marijuana is not a drug.
Have you ever tried any form of cannabis?

beephree

Famous quote from ex

"I hate it when you smoke that stuff......You you just......just seem so happy".
Gotta randomly piss in a cup for my employer. Total bullshit and another discussion. Sometimes I miss burning a doob but not that bad. When happy Mexican disappeared and one hit paralysis weed became the norm it wasn't that much fun anymore anyway.

The unhealthy part

of marijuana is ...... ?

This was thoughtfully written.

And deserving of conversation.

You misrepresent all the way around. Education is the key.

You said that you didn't call anyone names then characterized those who believe cannabis can save the world as deranged. You also called cannabis supporters potheads.

You've made your mind up about pot and apparently done it without reading a single book on the topic. I'd suggest Marijuana: Gateway to Health : How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease if you decide to educate yourself.

Remember before you knew about libertarianism. Before you knew if Ron Paul. Remember how you came to learn that things weren't the way you thought they were and that you had been flat out wrong on some things? That's the way you will be with cannabis if you take the time to learn about it.

Either way, as long as you aren't supporting any laws to prevent others from using it then you're okay by me.

My friend Ben Harper says it best :
"my choice is what I choose to do
and if I'm causing no harm
it shouldn't bother you
your choice is who you choose to be
and if your causin' no harm
then you're alright with me

if you don't like my fire
then don't come around
cause I'm gonna burn one down"

Different picture

Marijuana is good, healthy and natural. All perspectives to the contrary are literally unsubstantiated by facts and evidence. If the plant were indeed a menace to society then that society would not embrace it. Since our society embraces it, even against violent aggression by the state, it stands to reason that there is more than simply a perceived benefit. If you want enlightenment on the subject then find out everything that you can know about cannabis. The plant and its benefits really speak for themselves.

I hope that you will find the truth about cannabis every bit as refreshing as I have. Because to know cannabis is to know the one true divine herb that was so graciously given our humble species.

Oh yeah, well...

I'm against marijuana too. But I've forgotten why.

God forgives always. Man forgives sometimes. But Nature never forgives.

My argument against people

My argument against people who think they can tell me what I can and can not put in my body.. IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

Jeez. There's bigger & better things to worry about. This way of thinking is over.

ChristianAnarchist's picture

Ok, I vote the OP up one (not

Ok, I vote the OP up one (not that it makes much difference). I also agree that all vice is "bad" and you should not do them. I might tell you so. Where I draw the line is using any force to make you "behave". As long as you don't hurt someone then you have not broken any true "laws" (common law or natural law). Eating too much is bad for you, smoking too much is bad for you, drinking too much is bad for you (there's a really long list here...)

The answer though is not legislation (the use of force to compel behavior modification).

Beware the cult of "government"...

Think of all the music you've enjoyed listening to....

and realize that much of it was written while high.

The same is true of literature you've read and art that you found interesting and beautiful.

I'll smoke it and go to a drawer to retrieve a pencil, decide to clean out the drawer, two hours later, my whole house is cleaned in detail.

One more bong hit and my car is magically washed and waxed.

Then I eat a half-gallon of ice cream.

Your very first statement >>

Your very first statement
>> Happiness is the goal of life, not the purpose of it.
'goal' is a synonym of 'purpose'. The pursuit of happiness is decent enough goal/purpose in life. If you confuse the precepts of your arguments, then you end up in a bad analysis.

Also the negative effects of marijuana are not sufficiently established. There is a great absence of scientific studies on Marijuana because of FDA and DEA interference.

Lastly, think of the alcohol ban of the 1920s. The artificial limit on the supply of liquor resulted in highly concentrated liquor production. The same is the case with Marijuana. Producers have selectively bred the plant to contain a very high concentration of THC to get the maximum profit for the risk that they take. Take away Government from the picture, then such issues or moral dilemmas will reduce or cease to exist.

egapele's picture

Hint: do not use the word "we" as a pronoun

when expressing personal opinions here at the DP.

:)

I am for diapers and baby food being

taxed the same rates as soda, alcohol, and tobacco.

Perhaps when I think about the sheer volume of ignorant kids who grow up to be violence condoning statists ... I am thinking the tax for all baby items should be triple the rates of soda, alcohol, and tobacco.

It is said if you tax something you get less of it. Since I am for less ignorant kids being produced by ignorant parents who grow up to be tyranny enablers I say tax the hell out of all baby needs so there are less of them.

Perhaps children should be taxed directly as a liability to liberty assumed by any legal parent or guardian. I don't want to offend any constitutionalists so I further propose children are taxed in a direct manner that conforms to article 1, section 8 based on the census, etc.

LOL I'm glad I read your

LOL I'm glad I read your diatribe. you've put a lot of thought into it, I guess. Is cannabis really a drug? do you really equate marijuana usage with heavy alcohol usage?

I'm vascilating

on whether this is linear thinking, or tunnel vision.
Might be both.

Here's number 57

Religions is also a drug IMHO

Religions is also a drug IMHO and I have seen it have all the same negative affects as any other drug. I really don't care about your moral arguments as long as you aren't arguing to have your morality instituted by force.

"In reality, the Constitution itself is incapable of achieving what we would like in limiting government power, no matter how well written."

~ Ron Paul, End the Fed

I love

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and I'm not immoral.....much.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. ~J. Swift

All of your points are valid, but..

...what most people here will believe is that you wish to use force (prohibition)to prevent people from using a drug. Each and every one of your comments goes hand and hand with alcohol, another drug. If you say marijuana is bad, then you also agree that alcohol is bad, based on your arguments. If you ever drink to the point of getting a buzz or more, then you are guilty of everything you mentioned above. But to me that is okay. You see even though I smoke and drink, I agree that doing such things is not really good for my health, but I enjoy it anyhow. I also control myself, meaning I get my shit done.

Being fat and lazy is most likely worse than smoking too much weed (unless you are fat and lazy and smoke too much weed). Again the fat lazy man will have many of the undesired traits you mention above.

But with all that said, as long as you do not promote the use of government to try and get your "way", then there is nothing wrong. But as soon as you say that the government should promote not using drugs or that they should fund projects such as D.A.R.E. then you have crossed the line from your opinion to using force. At this point you become the enemy of many people.

Who cares what you think about marijuana?

If you don't like it, then don't smoke it, buy it or sell it? "God " created it for a reason. Actually many reasons. It's hundreds of beneficial uses have a history going back thousands of years.

Maybe for you it was just to confound you. And no, I didn't read the 1,943 words you wrote trying to figure it out.

"A vote for the lesser of two evils is a vote to keep things the same", Buckminster Fuller..
A choice for liberty is always a choice for liberty.

Morality?

Are you even serious?

So Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were immoral?

Do you smoke pot? Have you ever?

Im always amazed at the do-gooders. Why stop there? We can ban tobacco, alcohol, prescription pain killers, paint, glue, gas..........

Take it from this self professed lover of great weed.. what I do is none of your business. I receive way more benefit from weed than I do your tyrannical (in nature) post.

Take care!

'Peace is a powerful message.' Ron Paul

Don't forget coffee

cola, and chocolate.