Flame away but I’m just going to say it: pot is disgusting. Smoking pot is the worst of all. The stuff stinks. It’s worse than regular cigarettes, in my view. I don’t like to be in the same indoor space with people who are doing it.
Libertarians are celebrating the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states, including California where potheads celebrated with vandalizing the iconic Hollywood sign by turning it into “Hollyweed.” Others are celebrating by planning to hand out free joints at the Trump inauguration.
Well, here’s one libertarian anarchist who isn’t celebrating. While of course I’m happy with less government controls over any aspect of human behavior, and getting these poor souls out of prison is essential, I actually agree with Ayn Rand on this one: “I would fight for your legal right to use marijuana; I would fight you to the death that you morally should not do it, because it destroys the mind.”
Sorry, my friends, but pot makes you dopey. It thereby ruins social occasions by making the whole scene less intelligent. And it is extremely rude to smoke that stuff around people like me who won’t touch the stuff. It is especially annoying to attempt to belittle and poke fun of those of us who have zero interest in sucking in a plant that makes you stupid.
It’s for this reason that I’m particularly annoyed at how strangely fashionable marijuana has become. When I was a kid, it was considered deviant and dangerous. You say that today around nearly anyone under 30 years old and you will get a lecture on how wonderful pot truly is.
Cite all the bogus science you want, but I know better, just from life experience. I vaguely recall when pot went from being verboten to being in vogue. I was in graduate school in Virginia and rooming with four guys in the top floor of a house. They were fiends for the stuff.
Every night, and I mean every night, they would get a twelve
pack of beer, turn on the oldies rock station, break out the pot, and smoke away, from 5pm until 1am. They just sat there on the sofa having idiotic conversations packed with pseudo-profundity. They talked about the universe, life on other planets, cartoon characters, and so on.
I wouldn’t normally begrudge anyone’s way of having fun, but every single night? Over time, I couldn’t stop my rising feeling of disdain.
They used to push me to join in. It became high pressure over time. Finally I gave in and took a puff. I was instantly sick. I raided the fridge and went to bed, hating myself. I never smoked again, and I never will (ok, I did eat one brownie once).
Meanwhile, in the intervening years, pot smoking went from being a habit of losers to becoming a universal culture among young people. There seem to be dozens of ways to consume it: pipes, vapes, bongs, edibles, and so on. I can’t keep up with it all. And the varieties of pot that are available boggle the mind. Whenever I’m offered it, I get a full presentation, as if I’m in a fancy bar with a wine tasting.
Meanwhile, the claims made for the substance have become increasingly implausible. To hear pot smokers go on about it, you would swear that it is the magic path to a long, happy, successful life. It’s not a gateway to anything other than bliss.
What I see is much more obvious: pot makes you dumb. There is a hint of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo in every toker: that lazy, slightly
brainless, slop-headed, slow walking, slow talking flightiness that comes from deadening one’s normal responses to life anxieties.
It’s probably right that marijuana is not deadly and I’m not here to weigh in on whether it’s unhealthy. The dangers of it are more subtle. Its use presumes that life anxieties all need to go away, all the time. Breathe in the magic smoke and exhale all your troubles.
This I do not believe. The mind needs anxiety training, especially at a young age.
Disappointments, fears, and worries need to be part of the life narrative, because they only intensify with age. If we find some magic way to blunt our senses to them at a young age, how can we expect to function well in an adult world?
Pot is infantilizing. Nay, it’s worse. Even infants express frustration and disappointment. Pot takes even that away and returns you to a fetal state of being.
All that aside, the aesthetic of pot is just plain tacky. I’ve seen it many times. Whenever I’m invited to an “after party” following some public event, I always hope against hope that it won’t involve pot. I’m almost always wrong. As soon as the smoke (and stink) begins to envelope the room, the conversation takes a nosedive.
Then I have to spend the next day trying to get the smell out of my clothes and hair. It’s to the point that it turns my stomach.
It also makes me sad how people judge me so severely for not being a weed user. I’ve had wonderfully promising friendships come to an abrupt halt once I confess that I don’t smoke it. The person looks disappointed at first and they I can just see what he or she is thinking: “well, you can never be my friend.”
Whatever the wonderful effects pot has on people, an attitude of tolerance toward nonsmokers is not one of them. Bigotry is a better description. How is it that has become socially obligatory to be vicious towards tobacco smokers but infinitely tolerant and even celebratory towards marijuana smokers?
So that I’m clear, I don’t want these people jailed. I don’t want them harassed. I don’t think they should be even taxed. If you want to grow a plant, package it, sell it, consume it, that’s fine. Like dressing poorly and not showering, these people are only harming themselves.
It’s rather obvious that the more than police crack down, the more popular pot becomes. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that it is illegalization that itself has subsidized pot’s implausible popularity. It’s an easy way to “break bad and seem to stand up to the man.” The best case for taking it off the list of forbidden fruits is that its very normalcy would subject it to the court of taste and manners. And in this court, I’m almost certain that pot would lose.
I would love to see the return of the good old days when marijuana use was widely seen as deviant and dopey, a habit of losers. But to get there, it will be essential to roll back the government’s war on grass, so that normal standards of social disapproval -- more discerning, more severe, and more effective -- can come into play. At that point, that reality that pot is actually gross will again become obvious.