In my life, I've seen many wonders: The glorious advent of nearly universal air conditioning, a genuine miracle. Jet air travel, which makes coast-to-coast travel a breeze.
Color TV, and although there is nothing good to watch on the networks, you can buy or download travelogues and biographies, and they are often fun to watch.
The disappearance of smoking from theaters, planes, and trains.
The internet, which allows us to communicate with our families as much as we wish.
These are all great things.
There have also been bad things: The disappearance of civility in public discourse, in which the most vile names are tossed around on TV as if such slurs were not going to lacerate the subject.
The shocking deterioration of men’s dressing, such that grown men dress like small children. But of all the losses we have put up with, of all the blows against our common humanity, I see few worse than the legalization of marijuana.
Marijuana, an early phenomenon among jazz musicians, spread in the 1960s to universities.
I had it when I was a law student.
For a while, it was a lot of fun.
I would huff and puff .
It made me feel very much as if it were a Johnnie Walker Black on ice.
That was in 1969.
Then the ingredients changed in a big way.
By 1980, marijuana was so strong that one puff made me feel as if the room were spinning, as if my legs were rubber, as if I were unable to form a thought or a sentence.
I felt very much as if I were anesthetized — and I was. I’m afraid it gets much worse.
Now, roughly 55% of Americans live in states that allow retail sales of marijuana to anyone above 18, or in some cases, 21.
On TV and in movies, smoking marijuana is portrayed as a great thing.
Dope is a drug that makes the user stupider, slower, less risk averse, a far worse driver, a more irresponsible parent or child, a much inferior student.
I have been in 12-step programs for 33 years. I hear the stories. I see the results.
It’s also a "gateway" drug.
In many cases, by no means all, the user loves the feeling of being high so much that he or she "graduates" to the hard stuff : cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine.
When that happens, the user reaches the stage of being barely able to function.
He or she is also taking in poison that destroys organs and sets the stage for death.
It’s at that stage users need so much to be high they are playing Russian roulette every day. They might get a "hot load" or a "hot needle" where the drug has not been prepared "properly" and the user dies as the drug stops the heart from pumping.
Why do we need this?
Why, with so many real, inevitable problems, do we need to allow and glorify a drug that harms everyone who touches it? Supposedly marijuana eases the pain of cancer patients. If that’s true, those patients should have it. But overall, we have just dumped on this country a load of toxins that do nothing productive and too much that’s lethal, slowly or quickly. Stay the h**l away.
Ben Stein is a writer, an actor, and a lawyer who served as a speechwriter in the Nixon administration as the Watergate scandal unfolded. He began his unlikely road to stardom when director John Hughes as the numbingly dull economics teacher in the urban comedy, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Read more more reports from Ben Stein — Click Here Now.
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