So High, So What?

by Nicky Paris

You don't have to be a consumer of marijuana waiting for stop signs to turn green to see that the legalization of the drug seems to be right around the corner.

The most common illicit drug in America has become more mainstream than ever, but that doesn't necessarily mean everyone is joining in on the parade. Why are people who don't smoke marijuana so judgmental against those who do? If someone wants to smoke a blunt, bong, bowl or all of the above and roll up to the Taco Bell drive-thru on a tricycle, I think that's called "their business."

The reality is that people smoke weed whether you like it or not. In fact, more people probably smoke than you think. Whether you're a marijuana consumer or not, here's the pressing question: So high, so what?

To be blunt (pun intended), this article isn't about why marijuana should be legal or illegal. This article is about how people are smoking weed and you need to be less judgmental. Why is smoking weed so frowned upon? Is it the smell? Is it because it's viewed as an illegal substance? Or is it because of the long lines at your local fast food establishment around 1 am? More importantly, why is weed viewed as being so bad for you when there are things worse for you being used legally every single day?

Although 16 states have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana so far, many are unhappy about the rising consumption of marijuana in the forefront of the American conscience.

Will being a marijuana user always be frowned upon, regardless of legalization? Or will the general consensus shift once marijuana loses its criminal penalties? Let's be real, smoking weed doesn't make you a criminal; it makes you hungry for 12 baskets of Olive Garden breadsticks.

Studies show that one marijuana arrest occurs every 42 seconds in the United States. Bitch don't kill my vibe.

Marijuana consumers are often labeled as being lazy, unmotivated individuals, but isn't that a double standard? What about people who don't smoke weed and collect unemployment or disability from the government while they sit home at watch reruns of "Dawson's Creek"? Are they defined as being lazy?

Marijuana use doesn't necessarily make you lazy. In fact, some of the world's greatest influences have admitted to the likes of getting "toasted," including President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, John Stewart, Bill Maher, George W. Bush, Bill Gates and more.

That's right, people; we said the great and powerful Oprah. I view Oprah the same way that the citizens of Oz viewed the Wizard and don't you forget it. Before you question or doubt the abilities of someone who uses marijuana, quickly remember that Michael Phelps, who was famously caught smoking weed, is a 22-time Olympic medalist.

Not to turn into Bill Nye the Science Guy, but marijuana is less toxic than most of the medicine that is legally prescribed each and every day in the US. In fact, you're more likely to overdose on Tylenol than you ever would consuming marijuana.

What's interesting about those who are opposed to marijuana use is that most see no harm in consuming alcohol when there is factual evidence about its dangers. Alcohol results in almost three million deaths every year; marijuana results in zero. So, why the judgment?

Why doesn't marijuana get the same "pass" that alcohol seems to get? What's even more interesting is, as binge drinking normalizes, our culture is plainly accepting it. If you drink, you drink to get drunk. What does this societal acceptance say about us?

Suppose the tables were turned and alcohol was viewed as an illegal substance and marijuana was advertised everywhere you looked. Would marijuana be viewed differently from a mainstream perspective?

It can't be disputed that marijuana has medicinal purposes. It can aid in cancer treatments, pain management and even optimal deficiencies; yet, it is a controversial problem and ongoing debate.

Are there negative aspects to consuming marijuana? Of course, but what does alcohol aid? Before you judge someone for using marijuana, look at the cold, hard facts in black and white and realize that your preconceived notions may have been way off.

You can be a marijuana user without being a bum or a misfit of society. In fact, you can be a marijuana user, light up and positively influence people's lives, become the leader of the free world or become a 22-time Olympic medalist.

Stop the judgment: So high, so what?

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