Our site features a well-written and thoughtful Peter Hitchens article about marijuana legalization.
Hitchens touches upon many themes that we reported in about the failed pot legalization effort in Oklahoma. Oklahoma voters had concerns about recreational marijuana from both a practical and cultural perspective. They were concerned about the effects of marijuana on teenagers, in particular. The state legalized medical marijuana in the early 1990s, and they were concerned that recreational use of the drug would worsen the problem. They were also concerned about the social effects of legalizing marijuana, which is by nature anti-social.
Marijuana, wherever it is used, creates a culture of certain opinions, values, and habits. People become apathetic and less able to appreciate higher things. They are also more likely to tolerate disorder. Hitchens writes, “Drugs destroy literature and art and leave blighted mind craving other kinds of satisfaction.”
Both supporters and opponents of legalizing marijuana recognize that it is the cultural issue, not the medical or legal effects of the drug, which is at the core of the debate. Lawrence Pasternack is a proponent for legalization. He gave me one of the most interesting quotes while researching Oklahoma’s legalization referendum. He called his opponents anti-revolutionary forces who “want Oklahoma to return to their dream of bygone era,” and “see marijuana anathema” to that dream.
Receive weekly emails to your inbox
It’s true, I believe. Marijuana is, despite the claims of its supporters, a revolutionary drug in terms of its effects. They want to smoke pot, but also the social revolution that comes with it–the indifference and apathy of widespread marijuana use, as well as the empty pleasures that rob man of his joy.
Its opponents, then, are “anti-revolutionaries.” They stand between proponents and an abyss that Hitchens describes in his essay’s close:
In the 1960s my generation believed we could have a Revolution of the Head. I remember the anticipation of pleasure and longing. The enchanting song of the Pied Piper lured us away from the mundane and the hardworking, the duty-driven and the ordinary. We thought that it would liberate us. As they dance and skip through the grim doors of the new world many still believe this. They haven’t noticed the writing above them, which says something about giving up hope. The lettering is now much covered by moss, but it is still there.