I’m not personally a fan of drug prohibition, for reasons I’ve written about in the past, but there’s a major problem with my opinion: the fact that all my reasonings against prohibition are based in paper, and don’t always hold up in the chaos of reality. That’s not to say that I think pot should actually be illegal — I believe the opposite — but there’s a side to the issue that a lot of people either overlook or willfully ignore. This side to the issue is called “most stoners are idiots”.
Don’t pretend that you don’t know what I mean. Everyone has heard the counterexamples to this; plenty of successful, intelligent people smoke pot, and sometimes they smoke a lot of pot. That doesn’t matter. The vast, vast majority of people who smoke pot every day are lazy, stupid, and unambitious. If you disagree with this, don’t bother reading the rest of this article. I’m too busy being honest to care about people who can’t cope with reality.
There’s a very simple reason why people who smoke pot constantly are that way, though. It’s not that pot actually physiologically causes a person to behave like that (or if it does, I’m not qualified enough to know). As far as I know, it’s largely a psychological thing. Think about it: when you’re just sitting around, not doing anything, what tends to happen? You get bored. But when you’re high, you don’t get bored. Smoking pot is a great way to relax and escape the tedium of reality, but it’s also an escape from the things about reality that cause people to actually do things. If you’re just sitting around relaxing all the time, you’re being lazy. You’ll act stupid because you’ll be high all the time. You won’t be motivated to further yourself because you’ll be in a neutral state of relaxation all the time. That’s why stoners have the reputation that they have.
If you want to chase your dreams, you need the motivation to do so. If you smoke pot all the time, you’ll keep receiving the little burst of artificial happiness that being high gives you, and eventually you’ll forget how much more rewarding it is to actually do something for real. I know this because I’ve experienced it before. It’s very easy to smoke pot once, be happy, then wake up the next day and think “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if I smoked pot again?” Pretty soon, you lose track of what you were trying to do in the first place and you end up settling for drug-induced happiness instead of actual happiness.
The scary thing is, this is an easy settlement to make. Drugs are a lot of fun.
What’s more fun than drugs? Building a house, writing a book, making a lot of money, or getting married to someone you love. What’s less fun that drugs? Doing the dishes, having a shitty job, going to class, or admitting that you’re not as successful as you always wanted to be.
Smoking pot can make all the less-fun things into more-fun things, but without all those little annoyances in your life you start to lose your motivation to achieve the actual more-fun things. Pretty soon it becomes easy to rationalize your drug intake with a line of thought that sounds an awful lot like, “Drugs make me happy without much effort, so I’ll settle for that instead of making an effort at doing something worthwhile.” That’s laziness. And the worst thing about it is, you won’t have very much respect for yourself. It might seem like you do, but when you see other people you knew in high school becoming the next Bill Gates, you’ll look at yourself and say, “What the hell did I do with my life?”
For some people, pot can cause the creative stroke of brilliance that lets them do things they only ever dreamed of. For most people, pot is just something to do for fun and really doesn’t help them at all. I always seem to hear the excuse that people are using drugs to “find themselves”. That sounds deep and meaningful when you’re sixteen, but when you get older it starts to ring hollow. How exactly are you going to find yourself if you keep using drugs to escape yourself? You need to put things in perspective in a way that indicates actual maturity.
When I see someone who has so much potential for long-term happiness throw that potential away in pursuit of short-term happiness, it’s so frustrating and depressing that I can’t put it into words. In one case, a person who did this was someone I loved like a brother, who had such an enormous impact on my life that I truly believed, even in my normally-cynical heart, that he’d be there forever. That person meant too much for me to ever fully let him go. In the end, though friendships can be repaired in time, damage is done forever, and I’ll never be able to forget the times that I’ve been lied to over a drug.
It’s easy to realize that there’s no real scientific or logical reason to make pot illegal. On paper, it seems like the people who build their lives around a drug that’s not even particularly potent or addictive could easily be ignored. It seems easy to realize that you don’t need to have them in your life. You shouldn’t have to care about them. In reality, sometimes they’re people that you love.
Their actions explain why pot is illegal better than any after-school special ever could.