A Response To The New York Times Op/Ed 'Weed: Been There. Done That': Why Weed Isn't The Devil

by Sean Levinson

New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks published an op-ed last week entitled "Weed: Been There. Done That" in which he proceeds to discuss the traumatic experiences he had with pot in high school that forever twisted his faith in our lady Jane.

But after reading the piece, I soon realized that, like most vocal pot critics these days, this guy doesn't know the first thing about weed's true purpose.

Brooks starts off his editorial by revealing that like every kid at the time, he and his buddies smoked a considerable amount of weed in high school. They had their fair share of laughs, Brooks says, but then he and his friends just sort of phased it out of their lives.

Brooks decided to quit, not primarily because he got bored of getting high, but mostly because, as Brooks says, "stoned people do stupid things (that's basically the point)."

Sure they do, Dave. And all drunk people tear their families apart, right? That's clearly the point of alcohol.

The columnist then describes four aspects of his path to maturity that drove him away from weed.

Before I list these things, it must be noted that Brooks is basing his entire argument on events that took place while he was in high school.

Did this guy let every stupid thing he did when he was a kid stop him from ever doing anything like it again?

The amount of things I love doing now that were nowhere near as enjoyable in high school is endless. Sex. Drinking. Reading. Your intellect does not peak in high school, therefore you're not going to understand how to have fun properly and most efficiently until college or even a few years after. If you lose your boner in the back of a car or get a headache reading "The Catcher in the Rye" in high school, this does not mean you shouldn't maybe try again when you're just a tad bit older to see what the big deal is.

Anyway, the first of Brooks' traumas occurred when he was stoned in English class and had to give a presentation. He ended up making a fool of himself due to his altered state and as a result, felt "like a total loser."

"It is still one of those embarrassing memories that pop up unbidden at 4 in the morning," he writes.

Because this was the only time he was embarrassed in high school.

Next was Brooks having to watch a friend of his become a full-on stoner, one who Brooks describes as "the smartest of us." Brooks doesn't discuss where this dude is now, but he does say that "something sad happened to him as he sunk deeper into pothead life."

Looks like he didn't go on to attend an Ivy League school like his friends. What. A. Loser. If something truly sad did happen to Brooks' former friend, it most definitely wasn't solely because of weed, as any stoner will agree. I will also infer that whatever happened to this guy was probably brought on by his friends' refusing to hang out with him because he wanted to smoke instead of join the Army.

Third was the development of what Brooks called "higher pleasures" (no pun intended.) This guy is such a prick he doesn't even recognize his own jokes. Brooks and his friends (except for the lone stoner of course) "graduated to more satisfying pleasures," such as "going somewhere, becoming better about something, learning more about something… experiencing a sense of accomplishment."

My deepest sympathies to Brooks, who has apparently never experienced marijuana's ability to strengthen one's confidence, work ethic and enthusiasm. Working towards a goal often gets boring, repetitive and ultimately painful, and some people (myself included) have found that weed makes this process a hell of a lot more fun and worthwhile.

Lastly was Brooks' realization that smoking weed is "not something people admire." Neither is believing in Jesus or hunting on a full stomach, some would say, but those are practically requirements for mass admiration in this country.

He writes that weed doesn't help you become a smarter, more responsible person because it hinders "powers of reason, temperance and self-control." This claim stuck out to me because most of the stoners I know would argue the opposite on the basis that reason, temperance and self-control are what are holding us back from living passionate, unashamed and adventurous lives. Weed doesn't make people act like lunatics, Mr. Brooks, it's alcohol you're thinking of.

I know that if I had valued reason and self-control above all things during my academic career, I probably wouldn't have bothered giving my all at anything nor would I have known how.

The last few paragraphs of Brooks' editorial consist of him speaking about "the moral status of drug use" and his fears that Colorado and Washington are going to turn this country into a mob of lazy imbeciles who don't care about anything. He says that smoking weed should be discouraged rather than encouraged. Well I say the opposite, especially with adults, and my opinion trumps Brooks' simply because I have smoked weed as a mature adult and I have both seen and felt what weed can do to those who need it most.

Veterans need weed. Politicians need weed. Parents need weed. Anyone slaving away at some soul-sucking nine-to-five in a cubicle needs weed. I would even say that cops should smoke weed. We have so much love, laughter and potential for greatness in our hearts, and I believe that weed not only unlocks these qualities but also eliminates the insecurity and anger that puts them so far out of reach.

The more adults we have smoking weed, the better off the world will be because we will re-discover what truly makes life worth living and how much we truly care about each other.

Brooks is a conservative, therefore it's extremely difficult for his opinions to change upon uncovering new information. Yet I think that if he just took the time to find the strand that would amplify his mental and physical state to the highest degree, well, that would easily be the most fun this poor bastard has had in a very long time.

I assure you, David Brooks, that some of the stuff we're smoking in 2014 can make you enjoy your family, friends and job more than you ever have before. Trust me, brah, it's out there waiting for you. You just haven't looked hard enough.

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