I smoked some marijuana the other day and went to the beach in Fort Lauderdale.
I eased back in my chair, looked up and saw the a lovely formation of wispy white clouds. The late-afternoon air had a hint of Florida autumn. The water was warm. The sounds of the beachgoers were soothing.
I was in paradise and I was stoned — again.
I’m 67 years old. I’m one of the most mature and stable people I know. I’m a high achiever and I almost never honk my horn at clueless drivers. I am an asset to society.
That’s why all this to-and-fro about legalizing medical marijuana makes me nuts. If anyone thinks that passing Amendment 2 is not a step toward legalizing recreational marijuana, then you’re been ingesting too much of the wrong kind of drugs.
I’m going to vote for Amendment 2 because it’s a step toward legalizing recreational marijuana. Everyone knows the reasons to make it legal, but I’ll give you the highlights:
— we’ll have fewer knucklehead “drug dealers” serving time in our prisons, which will save me and the nation’s moralists lots of tax money.
— we’ll piss off lots of Central and South American drug dealers who won’t be able to profit from our insatiable appetite for pot.
— we can control the manufacture and distribution of the stuff and tax it – just like we do with booze. And it will create jobs, which will please the GOP governor and legislators, who are very, very concerned about the middle class. The poor people too.
— we live in a free country. We can drink ourselves sick. We can kill ourselves with cigarettes. We can carry assault rifles into Target. Lots of us want some pot from time to time without a lot of hassle. Like my free-market friends say: “I want government off my back.”
Almost half of the adults in the U.S. have smoked pot, according to Pew Research. And that percentage is going to go higher and higher despite the best efforts of America’s morality police.
And as that number rises, there are going to be more and more voters who know from experience that smoking pot does not make them crave heroin.
They’ll know from experience that smoking pot does not make them want to get a gun and kill a spouse or a bar patron — like alcohol does with some people.
They’ll know from experience that it’s much easier to smoke pot on Sunday and get up on Monday and perform well at work than if they drank a case of Miller Lite while watching Sunday Night Football.
They’ll know from experience that alcohol seems to be far worse for the body and mind than smoking pot.
Americans ended Prohibition because it was a preposterous and Quixotic enterprise to begin with. Americans ended school segregation and many kinds of racial discrimination because Americans, for the most part, are good, fair and sensible. Americans are accepting same-sex marriage for the same reasons.
So, recreational pot will be legal sooner or later.
Sooner or later, smart Americans will simply overwhelm the morality gang with facts and logic and votes.
Now, back to my afternoon at the beach. When I got home, I had a wondrous plate of spaghetti and meat sauce and a salad that tingled my taste buds.
Even at my age, the munchies are still a thrill.
Tom O’Hara is a semi-retired newspaper editor who edits Context Florida and lives in Fort Lauderdale. Column courtesy of Context Florida.