I don’t smoke pot. (It just makes me sleepy. Plus, I’m 35 weeks pregnant, so it’s probably not the best time to be taking up weed as a hobby.) But when it comes to marijuana, I’ve always adopted kind of a live-and-let-live mentality. Oh, I know full well that it’s illegal in all but 15 U.S. states, but like a lot of people I know (and Willie Nelson, who I don’t know), I don’t think pot should be illegal in any of them. I even know someone who knows someone who knows someone who’s related to someone who may be (or may not be ) a full-time, professional ganja dealer to rich people who like to have their drug of choice delivered to them directly and regularly in a civilized manner. And near where my husband and I own a weekend country home, there’s a really nice estate that everyone always knew housed a grassroots pot-growing establishment. (Of course, the people finally got busted and, needless to say, don’t live there anymore.) I know lots of people who smoke weed on occasion, but they don’t bother me and I don’t bother them. Frankly, I’ve never seen pot as being any more dangerous than alcohol. But it is as dangerous, and may actually be worse.
Of course, I already know about the notorious drug cartels in Mexico, which provide the U.S. with 40-60% of the marijuana its citizens smoke. As you know, innocent (and not-so-innocent) people are murdered all the time in Mexico by the various warring drug factions. It’s an ugly, deadly, and highly-profitable business in which, unfortunately, our country is completely complicit. But theoretically, a pot-smoking person’s conscience should be clean if they never procure any weed that originates in Mexico, and instead just stick to the home-grown stuff, right? Wrong.
And wouldn’t you know that a terrifying and affecting documentary-style TV show I watched the other night on the National Geographic Channel called Drugs, Inc. was what made me change my mind. (By the way, NatGeo airs really good and fascinating programming; don’t even get me started on Locked Up Abroad and Dog Whisperer.) Drugs, Inc. scared me into believing that if you don’t think your pot-smoking habit is in any way connected to the Mexican drug cartels, it’s always really tough to know that for sure. The Mexican drug cartels don’t just operate in Mexico; they also maintain their presence here in the U.S. Even if you think you know the guy who quietly grows a small amount of marijuana on his land, you can never be absolutely certain that no one is being blackmailed, harmed, or even killed just so you can get high once next weekend. (Besides, if this guy is growing said pot in a state where it’s not legal, who knows what else he’s doing that’s against the law, or against your moral code?)
I don’t have any desire to get high, but even if I did, there’s no way I could live with myself knowing that I’d contributed in a small way to a stranger’s untimely death in Mexico — even if I do think that pot should be legalized in the U.S. Which is why I feel sufficiently guilty about all the times I smoked pot in college. Who the hell knows where that crappy cannabis came from, or who got hurt getting it to my roommates and me?
So, if you or anyone you know has the desire to smoke weed, the only truly conscionable way to do it is to move to one of the 15 states mentioned above, get a doctor’s note, file the proper paperwork, and do it legally. Otherwise, you’re not only killing a few of your brain cells to the north, you may also be killing a few of our human neighbors to the south.