Earlier today I had a chance to read about the marijuana laws in the state of Colorado and it got me to thinking about how messed up we are in this country regarding vices. I do not claim to be an expert in any sense on any of these topics and I am not going to discuss pro or con, instead I am just going to speak on how we treat them.
To start the discussion, I want you to imagine a new product. Let me first advise you that the product will be addictive. Experts that have seen information on the product have also determined it will cause significant heath problems. These health issues will not be limited to those directly using the product, but will also effect those in close proximity. It is even likely that people will die due to usage of the product. Would you let me market this product? I am willing to make some concessions. Because of the health issues, I am willing to put a very prominent warning on the package and I will not sell it to minors. Likely, you still would not allow me to sell this product. I am of course talking about tobacco, which is as we all know perfectly legal and accepted product.The farming, manufacture and sale of the product employs thousands if not millions of people. Many levels of our government are increasing funded by taxes collected on the product. Because of these and other reasons its likely this vice will always be here.
On the other hand we have marijuana. Banned federally and minimally accepted as fringe medicinal treatment by some states. Still, millions of dollars are spent and there are thousands of employees in the industry of marijuana. However most of these resources are spent attempting to prevent people from using the product. Again, this is not an endorsement, but imagine the jobs and tax revenue if pot was treated similar to tobacco.
Alcohol is another that fits the category of a vice that is very detrimental to society, but enjoys the comfort of knowing it will never go away. It is true that at one point alcohol was illegal in this country, but I do not see that event returning. Heck even during prohibition, the crooks were often celebrated and many otherwise law abiding citizen broke the law when it came to alcohol. But even above a “protected” spot, alcohol enjoys a celebrated spot in our society. Think many St Patrick’s Day celebrations are happening today without alcohol? Celebrations and big events involve and promote alcohol all the time. How many beer commercials did you see during the Super Bowl? Yet we are also told, justifiably, of the dangers of drinking and driving.
So many things carry this mixed message it’ no wonder we’re all confused and can seemingly agree on nothing. Gambling is bad unless it’s a state sponsored lottery, being done on a riverboat or horse track, or happening in Nevada. It’s even illegal to have an office pool for the NCAA tournament, but websites exist to promote it. Sex is bad unless you are advertising drugs directed at enhancing the experience. The list keeps going.
I know I will never see it, but it would be nice to see some consistency applied.