August 19, 2013

Marijuana Doesn’t Ruin Your Life, But Marijuana Prohibition Can

August 19, 2013
marijuana prohibition

marijuana prohibitionWe have all heard marijuana prohibitionists state quite emphatically that ‘marijuana will ruin your life!’ They say it with such disgust and contempt, as if because they themselves believe it to be undeniably true, then it clearly must be true. However, it’s obviously not true because there are countless people that have smoked marijuana and have gone on to do some amazing and admirable things. The plant itself is harmless, while the person using it may or may not be.

I always point out to marijuana prohibitionists that marijuana has never ruined my life or the life of anyone that I know. That’s because we use marijuana responsibly and are responsible people. What I also point out to marijuana prohibitionists is the ramifications on my life and people that I know as a result of being caught with marijuana in the wrong place at the wrong time by law enforcement. The unjust laws that go along with marijuana prohibition have wreaked havoc on many lives that I have personally witnessed, despite the fact that the plant itself is harmless.

Many of my friends have served jail time for marijuana only offenses. I have met many people over the years while running this blog that have served state and/or federal prison time for marijuana only offenses. Days/months/years have been taken from these people; days that they can never get back. And for what? For being caught with marijuana? A plant that is harmless? The thought of taking someone’s freedom for marijuana makes me sadder than I can express in words.

I know a lot of people that have the ‘marijuana scarlet letter’ attached to their names due to marijuana prohibition. The ‘marijuana scarlet letter’ is what I call having a marijuana offense on your record that potential employers, landlords, etc can see when they pull up a background check. I know way too many people that only have a single marijuana offense on their record and can’t get a decent job as a result. Not having a decent job can ruin someone’s life very quickly, and all it takes is one marijuana offense on one’s record and that painful reality can become sadly real.

Having a marijuana offense on one’s record can also make it almost impossible to go to college since you can’t file for grants and other financial assistance. From the federal government’s FASFA website, “if you are convicted of a drug-related felony or misdemeanor that took place while you were receiving Federal student aid, you will become ineligible to receive further aid for a specified period of time upon conviction.” If you are able to get through college without financial assistance, congratulations. But if you are like the average college student, and whether or not you get financial aid largely determines whether or not you go to college, getting a marijuana conviction can ruin your college hopes in a hurry.

One of the saddest things that I hear about and have witnessed is when the government takes children away from their parents, solely and only because of marijuana. I know a lot of responsible parents that prefer to have a toke at the end of the day rather than a glass of wine. If a K-9 cop came bursting through the door and found a parent with a bottle in their hand in front of their kids it’s OK, but if the same K-9 cop finds one joint tucked away inside of a drawer of a dresser out of the reach of children he can decide to rip the children out of their home and charge the parent with multiple felonies. I simply can’t believe that anyone thinks that scenario is acceptable, yet it happens regularly. Disgusting.

I’ve heard some prohibitionists try to soften their stance while still keeping marijuana prohibition in place. They say something like, ‘marijuana is decriminalized in your state, so you have nothing to worry about, it’s not like you are going to jail.’ I can speak from first hand experience that getting a marijuana ticket is not as bad as going to jail, but it’s harsher than marijuana prohibitionists lead on. My best friend was riding in my car when we got pulled over for no reason. He had a pipe in his pocket, and I had about 14 grams in my pocket. After an extensive search by the cops and a successful field sobriety test on my part, all the officers found was the pipe and a personal amount of marijuana that we both accepted.

We were given a ticket ($500 each), which according to marijuana prohibitionists we just needed to pay and be on our merry way, right? Wrong. My buddy and I got our licenses suspended for 6 months. This wasn’t a problem for me but it was a huge problem for my friend. Because he lost his license he lost his job. Because he lost his job he lost his home and his car. His life is back on track after a long detour, but he wouldn’t have had to go through all of that in the first place had it not been for marijuana prohibition. For a long time marijuana prohibition, even a decriminalized version of prohibition in Oregon, ruined his life.

I have used marijuana for a long time (20+ years), and the plant alone has not ruined my life. I know I’m not alone. Have you consumed marijuana your whole life and are successful? Are you on the crap end of the scale where marijuana prohibition has unfairly ruined your life due to scapegoating, incarceration, asset forfeiture, etc? Share your story in the comments below. Stories are powerful. You never know who could be reading, and it just might change their mind or provide them encouragement to keep fighting! END MARIJUANA PROHIBITION NOW!!!!


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