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Barbara Kay Says Mean Things About Marijuana Users and the Reform Movement

Submitted by smorgan on
Barbara Kay's latest column on marijuana policy at The National Post is a remarkable achievement. I've simply never seen an article that endorses marijuana decriminalization while simultaneously serving up such silly anti-pot propaganda.

Kay maintains that she supports decrim, but opposes legalization, urging proponents to "inquire more deeply into recent scientific findings" about marijuana. After encouraging a science-based debate, Kay launches into a series of wildly unscientific generalizations:

…because alcohol in moderation is culturally aligned with enhanced fellowship and animated human interaction, it is therefore a communal as well as an individual good. Conversely, the purpose of marijuana is the alteration of consciousness, an end achieved by a process that thrives in solitude and mental torpor.

What!? Rather obviously, the "enhanced fellowship and animated human interaction" achieved through alcohol use is the direct result of the "alteration of consciousness." Kay is literally suggesting that marijuana users seek "alteration of consciousness" while alcohol users do not. That is just not true. What else can I say? People use alcohol and marijuana for the same reason. They like the way it makes them feel.

Equally dishonest is her characterization of marijuana use as a "process that thrives in solitude and mental torpor." To whatever extent marijuana is consumed in more solitary settings than alcohol, mightn't that have something to do with the fact that one is illegal and can get you arrested, while the other is sold openly at bars, concerts, and sporting events? Here in the U.S., public use of marijuana at interracial jazz clubs was one of the reasons the drug became prohibited to begin with.

Whenever one reads such silly arguments, it's only natural to wonder what the author wants. People don't just go around pretending alcohol doesn’t alter consciousness because that's what they believe. No one actually believes that. Right?

In this case, it seems Kay is motivated by animosity towards what she describes as "the nihilist agenda of cynical all-drug legalizers who are exploiting marijuana’s relatively innocent image as their Trojan horse." If that's what she thinks drug policy reform is all about, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by anything else she says.

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