A Discussion on Drugs

Tom: Hey John, what’s your thoughts on the decriminalization of drugs that is going on in some states?

John: I think it is absolutely stupid that the state government can legalize some drugs for medical purposes while the federal government says that the drug is illegal. Like in the state of California medical marijuana is legal but it is not legal in the United States. That makes no sense at all. And also now many states are lowering the penalty of drug crimes. That is just condoning drugs.

Tom: No man, I totally disagree. The decriminalization of drugs is not because the state is condoning drugs but because so many people are arrested and put in jail for using drugs and it is costing the state way too much money for such a small crime. That is why now if you have under a certain amount you don’t get in any trouble. It is not even worth dealing with if the person just has it for their own use.

John: So what happened to this whole war on drugs? What is it now, just the war on drugs over this amount? That is so stupid. If you have a drug no matter what it is you should be in trouble. Even if it is costing the government a lot of money, allowing a small amount to be legal will just lead to more and more until it is totally legal.

Tom: So I guess you don’t agree with Thomas Szasz theory that self medication should be legal for any drug that any American wants to put into their own body? He argues that there should not be any restrictions on the access to any drug. It is your own responsibility to get educated on the drug and he also thinks that if you commit a crime while on drugs, you must take full responsibility. The excuse of being high or under the influence means nothing to him.

John: What? Of course not, that guy is an idiot! His theory that every man is an island is just ridiculous. How can anyone ever believe that what you do has no effect on other people around you? Take, for example, a mother that uses hard drugs and because of this can’t provide food for her kids. Yea, what she does to her own body has no effect on others. Not!!!

Tom: Ok, Ok, I see your point there but still John don’t you think that each person should have some say as to what he or she wants to put in their own body and do with their life? As an adult you should be responsible enough to know what will happen if you do this drug so it should be your choice.

John: Tom are you saying this for all drugs, including the hard ones because even if you just want to try it one time with some of these there is a big possibility of addiction after just one time or even death. Also you speak as if all adults are educated. Seriously most people are idiots.

Tom: I meant it as a general question, but it is true that some of the harder drugs are more of forms of suicide than used to get an actual high or for medical purposes. And it is the government’s job to protect the people, even from themselves. That is why there are so many laws, but still if the government is going to protect us from drugs then what about the other hundred million things that can harm us? Why not outlaw tall buildings, aspirin, drain-o, rope and any other thing that can harm us? Where do we draw the line?

John: But with drugs you lose control and become addicted to it and won’t be able to make clear decisions anymore. It could lead you to do some stupid things just so you can get another fix. The other things you mentioned will just kill you and now cause you to do idiotic things that could harm other people.

Tom: Well then there are other drugs that are legal and do the exact same things. Take any addictive medication that is prescribed such as oxycodon or even more common cigarettes and alcohol. The nicotine in cigarettes is one of the most addictive drugs and who has not heard of an alcoholic? Why are these things legal when marijuana is not and it has been proven to work for medical purposes? What is it that makes some drugs legal or not? Is it the purpose, effects, the costs or is it just what is socially acceptable and what the government is able to control?

John: I don’t know. It might have something to do with the government not having a way to turn it into a business and tax it. Also they would have to make many new laws about its distribution and who would be able to buy it, such as an age limit or something, then the police must be trained to deal with the new laws. It would be a lot of work.

Tom: If the government did find a way to tax it, though, it would make a big business that could be taxed and that would lead to new jobs in the economy. Truthfully, marijuana is not that bad of a drug. It is just a plant; it grows naturally and if you should just so happen to set it on fire, there are some side effects. It only causes people to be hungry, happy and sleepy. There is never a time when you see an angry or sad pothead. Cigarettes are a lot worse than marijuana. Cigarettes are so harmful to you and the people around you; do you believe that if it was introduced into the market today for the first time it would be legal?

John: If it was introduced today with all we know about the effects, then, no, I don’t believe it would be legal, but, as you said, it can’t be taken away now because it is socially acceptable. I still don’t approve of marijuana, though. I think it is morally wrong but it is probably illegal right now because it is known to be a gateway drug. It might not be that bad and, yes, it does relieve pain for cancer patients and others who have had surgery, but the legalization of one illegal drug could lead to the legalization of harder drugs like cocaine or heroin, that serve no medical purposes at all. Would you agree that hard drugs should not become legal? Do you really think anyone is responsible enough to take those kinds of drugs?

Tom: No I agree that hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin should not become legal because, one, there is no medical use for those drugs and, two, the high you get from those drugs does not equal the harm it does to your body. As for marijuana being a gateway drug, you think it might have something to do with the fact that in the U.S. today smoking a joint is just as illegal as injecting heroin, so someone who experiments with drugs might have the state of mind that “Hey I’m going to get in trouble anyway so I might as well go all out and not get in trouble for a drug that isn’t even bad.”

John: It’s true that cocaine and marijuana are on completely different levels and that state of mind could be true to a drug user. So I guess marijuana shouldn’t be prosecuted the same as hard drugs. But if that is the case, then since marijuana is legal, wouldn’t there be a great increase in the people who use, since it is now legal?

Tom: Well, most people would not just starting smoking because it is legal. Just because it became legal would you go to the store and buy a baggy and a Dutch?

John: Tom, of course not. I want nothing to do with it, even if it was socially acceptable. But maybe a lot of young people who have not made up their minds would like to try. And that is a good point you made before. What do you suggest, that I can just walk into a store and buy some weed? Or should it be handled like cigarettes and just walk into any gas station or bodega and you look up to see twenty different types of marijuana that you can choose from and you just need to show an ID to buy? We all know that kids can get a hold of this the same way they get beer and cigarettes.

Tom: Hahaha, that would be funny to see. It should be handled the same way as any other drug, you can buy it at CVS over the counter at the pharmacy. Well, as of right now young kids have no problem getting a older sibling to get them some beer or buy a pack of cigarettes. But as it is right now, anyone any age is able to buy any drug they want as long as they have some money. Drug dealers don’t discriminate, so taking this drug off the street and putting it in the store might very well stop a lot of kids from getting their hands on it.

John: Still, though, now kids will be legally able to get their hands on pot. Don’t you think that is a major problem?

Tom: Look, John, it is a major problem, but underage kids getting stuff is a completely separate issue.

John: Not the way I see it. These issues are hand in hand because once the drug is legal then we have to worry about this.

Tom: Well, if that is the case then the U.S. must crack down harder on places that sell it and give a harder sentence to those who buy for minors. The problem with this is that the majority of kids ages 16 to 20 drinks even though it is illegal. I really don’t see any way to stop this problem other than lowering the drinking age because the kids are not going to stop.

John: That is exactly the point, Tom. We can’t stop underage kids from doing illegal things so the only solution is to lower the age limit, so in the end the kids get to smoke and drink legally now. Then that brings us back to the issue of the decriminalization of drugs that is going on. Because so many people are being charged for such minor crimes such as smoking a joint, underage drinking and smoking the state does not see it worth spending all of that money to charge such pointless things. So now in the end it is becoming legal anyway.

Tom: Well, you would think that if so many people are being charged and the state is losing so much money then it shows peoples true opinion that the drinking age should be lowered and marijuana should be legal. Well, at least that is what it is starting to look like now that so many states are starting to decriminalize these things. Who knows, maybe sometime soon it might come to be that the drinking age is 18 and you are able to go buy weed for your own personal use at a nearby store.