Why I Think Pot Should Still Be Illegal
Yoooo, duuuude. It's four-twenty, man. Fore- twen - tee. 420!!! Haha. You guys know what I'm talking about. Well, maybe not you losers. You don't know what I'm talking about. Or maybe you think you know what I'm talking about, but what I'm talking about isn't what you think I'm talking about. Even though I'm not actually talking, I'm writing. But you cool people know what I'm talkin about. What was I talking about?
Oh yeah. 420. Gathering together a few of your best buds, putting on some Phish, kickin back and chillin until someone says "I really feel like some White Castle," and you say, "Yeah man, me too," and then you drive there and it takes for-evvv-ver but then you eat some chicken rings dipped in honey mustard and you're like, "Dude, who ever came up with a chicken ring?" And your friend is like, yo, "Check it, I can blow a smoke ring through a chicken ring!" And you're like, "Awesome!"
Ah yes. 420. Like Christmas in April, except you burn trees instead of decorating them. And instead of Santa Claus, there's Seth Rogen. He doesn't come down your chimney, he smokes like one. Trust me, those jokes are wayyy funny if you're high.
But some people want to spend 420 gettin all protesty. Seems they want 420 to be less about a secret club of burners gettin high, and more about petitioning the Federal government to legalize Mary Jane. What a buzzkill.
Why you all out protestin? Come on man. It's 420. Spark it up. If you get busted by the cops, it's because you're being stupid. You stanked up your entire apartment building, and the neighbors called the cops? That's your bad dude. Not everyone likes the smell of weed. If it was legal, you'd still be an asshole for making poor old Miss McGillicutty wear a clothespin on her nose.
You got busted while hotboxing on the Garden State Parkway? That's your bad, dude. Fumbling with a lighter while doing 65 MPH? If pot was legal, you'd still be an idiot for driving while intoxicated.
You got busted while burning at a concert? Dude, cigarettes are banned at most concerts and public gatherings now. And there's some 8 year old with their dad sitting next to you. If weed was legal, you'd still be an asshole for blowing smoke all over people who may not want it.
You think legalized weed would be a free-for-all fun-happy-land with weed at every corner drugstore? Guess what? The government would tax the shit the same as cigarettes, you'd probably be paying just as much as you do now. Grow a plant in your backyard? You could, but when was the last time you grew anything? What are you, Farmer John? You got a degree in botany? Face it dude, you killed that cactus your girlfriend bought you. You'd still be buying from other people.
We live in a country that's slowly pushed cigarette smokers to the outside of everything. Legalized weed would put you right next to them. And you'd still be reprimanded for being high at work, high at your sister's piano recital, high at school. Just because it's legal doesn't mean everyone's gonna suddenly be okay with you ripping into a bag of Doritos, babbling about the hidden message in the Lord of the Rings movie and falling asleep at your desk. They'll still think you're an idiot.
Sure, there would never be a situation where you couldn't get pot. But think about it. That means no more road trips to your friend at college in Vermont because it seems the whole Northeast has suddenly gone dry. No more of those moments when you're meeting two guys from the Bronx at the rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike, just because your local boys fell through. No more searching for that one nugget you swore you dropped somewhere behind your dresser two years ago. No more being that kid who shows up to the party, and makes a dozen friends just by uttering those four magic words, "Yo, anybody wanna burn?"
Instead, you'll have Edwin Schrint, band geek, showing up behind the Denny's with a pack of Marlboro Ultra Danks, forcing you to find a new hangout spot to avoid him.
When the person who handed you your first joint said, "Everybody's doing it," they didn't mean "Everybody." They meant, "Everybody cool, everybody adventurous. Everybody fun and unconventional. Everybody interesting and daring." They didn't mean Mrs. Bitterman, the teacher who gave you an F for not showing the work on your math test.
Keep the potheads out of jail. Fine. But don't suddenly say, "Pot is legal," and open the door to everyone not cool enough to figure out how to smoke, discreetly and privately. Don't take away the rituals (Febreeze, a wet towel, Pure Citrus Air Freshener) and the secrets that make burning such a unique bonding experience. And in a country where smoking-related illness costs millions of dollars, and millions of lives a year, don't suddenly send the message, "Smoking is Ok because its legal." Why open that can of worms?
I've been around enough people who smoke to know that there are some people who just shouldn't smoke. The fact that it's illegal causes most stoners to be smart. To be careful. To be considerate. To not overdo it. Make it legal, and some of the space cases just may float off the grid entirely.
So reduce the penalties if you want. Get rid of jail time. But don't take away the one thing that makes pot cool. That's just not... cool, man.