Friday, April 3, 2009

When Will We Learn?

Anti-Prohibition Cartoon

President Barack Obama was recently asked in a town hall-style forum whether legalizing marijuana was a good way to grow the economy. The Prez chuckled and said no. "The answer is no — I don't think that is a good strategy to grow our economy."

But Obama has admitted to smoking and actually inhaling marijuana. He has in the past indicated a need for reform in the area of drug laws.

Will Wilkinson has
taken this need for truth a bit further in his article, "
I smoke pot, and I like it."
Marijuana is neither evil nor dangerous. Scientists have proven its medical uses. It has spared millions from anguish. But the casual pleasure marijuana has delivered is orders of magnitude greater than the pain it has assuaged, and pleasure matters too. That’s probably why Barack Obama smoked up the second and third times: because he liked it. That’s why tens of millions of Americans regularly take a puff, despite the misconceived laws meant to save us from our own wickedness.

The Atlantic Monthly’s Andrew Sullivan has been documenting on his blog the stories of typical, productive Americans—kids’ football coaches, secretaries of the PTA—who smoke marijuana because they like to smoke marijuana, but who understandably fear emerging fully from the “cannabis closet.” This is a profoundly necessary idea. If we’re to begin to roll back our stupid and deadly drug war, the stigma of responsible drug use has got to end, and marijuana is the best place to start. The super-savvy Barack Obama managed to turn a buck by coming out of the cannabis (and cocaine) closet in a bestselling memoir. That’s progress. But his admission came with the politicians’ caveat of regret. We’ll make real progress when solid, upstanding folk come out of the cannabis closet, heads held high.

So here we go. My name is Will Wilkinson. I smoke marijuana, and I like it.
There is a lesson to be learned from the days of Prohibition.

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