Every day in America we find ourselves waking up in the midst of a social revolution. Titans are crumbling, industries are being redefined and even statues and icons, some beloved for years, now fall like stones in a crumbling castle. A larger wave of change than we have seen in decades now rolls across America. Whether you support this revolution or oppose it, most everyone agrees – it’s happening now.
At the heart of the revolution is an ideal. An ideal based on fairness and justice with a strong intolerance of traditions that no longer hold up to our modern ideals. As a nation, we are now rethinking a number of issues which, although traditional, have little else going for them except “It’s always been that way”. As Americans we have rejected the idea of embracing tradition that has negativity associated with it simply because “It’s always been that way”. We have also rejected the concept of people becoming victims of mindless traditions with no basis in fact. In a nutshell, we want to think we’re better than that.
Within the spectrum of American life, perhaps nothing is more deserving of our reconsideration than the humble Cannabis plant. That may sound like a bold claim, but it’s really not, based on the evidence at hand. Let’s examine Cannabis in America today to determine if Cannabis is truly worthy of the derision our society heaps upon it, or if it is the ultimate victim. We will examine the question “Could cannabis be evil?” from three perspectives in our inaugural three-part blog post, Moral, Social and Economic, to see if cannabis truly exerts a pernicious influence on our modern American society.
All great truths begin as blasphemies… George Bernard Shaw
Since the statement “Good people don’t smoke marijuana” calls the morality of Cannabis into question, we must address this issue first. After all, if the consumption of Cannabis in any form is immoral or sinful we need to stop right here. Fortunately, the consumption of Cannabis is not a sin, and I believe I can prove that to both a reasonable and biblical standard (if not one in the same to you).
Within the structure of Western Monotheism some concepts are universal. It makes no difference if you are a Jewish rabbi, Catholic priest or Muslim Imam, there are some principals we all have in common. One of the most predominate is that God is not an idiot who makes mistakes. In fact assigning those attributes to God is considered by many to be a blasphemy itself. That’s why people taking the stand that “the consumption of Cannabis is a sin” have a very serious problem… and it’s called the endocannabinoid system.
It’s a natural part of every human being and it plays a vital role in us being healthy and productive. The malfunction of it causes a variety of ailments, therefore, it is an essential system to us in every way. This particular system both uses, and produces, cannabinoids as part of the function of a healthy human being. Healthy, normal people are born with cannabinoids in our bodies and we produce them throughout our lives, even in those who think “good people don’t use cannabis”.
With this fact in consideration, believers of any faith now must face the truth about what they really believe. If God created us with an endocannabinoid system, yet having cannabinoids in your body is a sin… it means God condemned all of mankind as sinners through no fault of our own. Does anything about that sound like the God you learned about from the time you were a child or anything you believe in today? Of course not, within the accepted framework of Western Monotheism this simply can not be the case.
Believers are therefore left with a clear choice in front of them:
Either Cannabis consumption is NOT a sin, -or-
God is an all-powerful goofball who seriously blew it. A third option simply does not exist.
While this evidence, if carefully examined, will demonstrate to most rational people that cannabis use is not a sin or moral statement one way or the other, we don’t live in a world of only rational people. Within our midst also exist CAVE people. In this case CAVE is an acronym for Citizens Against Virtually Everything. If it is new, different, or it is anything where the application within society requires an open mind or the examination of evidence… CAVE people are generally against it. So, for the CAVE people out there, let’s continue to examine cannabis in the raw light of morality to see if there is a basis for the belief consuming it carries any moral implications, whatsoever.
Let’s begin with the authority argument, the belief based upon some higher authority declaring cannabis bad, illegal or otherwise judging it – makes cannabis inherently bad. i.e. – “Cannabis is illegal, so smoking it must be bad”. Frankly, the very nature of this argument was called into question so eloquently by da Vinci, I will not attempt any further explanation of it. Instead I’ll share the opinions of two of the greatest minds who have ever lived:
Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is simply using his memory.
– Leonardo da Vinci
Einstein had a similar view –
“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of the truth.” — Albert Einstein
Another popular argument used by CAVE people is the observation that in a minority of users, cannabis can become psychologically addictive. And from our best observations and data this certainly appears to be the case. There’s no point in disputing it. What is worth disputing is the imparting of any moral or immoral values based upon this.
Cannabis can be psychologically addictive, no argument here. Other things in our daily lives that can also be psychologically and sometimes, PHYSICALLY ADDICTIVE include:
Opiods in any form
Of all the items above, cannabis is by far the safest and least toxic of the group. According to one US Government report, overdosing on cannabis would require a person to eat over 1500 pounds of it in less than 30 minutes. Good luck taking yourself out that way. While it is purely supposition, I suspect eating even 100 pounds of cigarettes, alcohol, opiates or laxatives within double the time frame of one hour would be quite fatal. Yet, in the face of overwhelming evidence it is cannabis that is declared “evil”. A stigma so severe it costs thousands of Americans their careers and reputations every year. In light of all this evidence, it certainly would appear the stigma of cannabis use and it’s consequences qualify as far more evil than the use of cannabis could ever be.
The fact is, the moral argument “good people don’t use cannabis” is a fallacy, plain and simple. Anyone claiming the moral high ground on the issue of cannabis consumption actually has no authority or standing to make that claim, plain and simple. Cannabis consumption is not a moral issue
Join us next week as we explore the possibilities that cannabis may be evil based upon social values as we take a look to see if the influence of cannabis on society is either pernicious or simply benign.