When discussing the legalization of Marijuana, take a mechanistic view of one symptom of a much larger social problem. You cannot talk about legalizing marijuana without getting into discussions of other “Social problems”. I am talking about all other “drugs”– prostitution, health care, social security, or just about any other issue that we as a country, and as a people are dealing with. For the purposes of this paper, I will confine, or rather use the legalization of marijuana issue as a model for how we can deal with this, as well as other problems that we are correcting as we approach the next millenium.
The obvious arguments for legalization that are used, happen to be ones that the masses that make this argument usually resort to– the health and environment benefits. One argument that is hardly ever used, however, and the one that I wish to concentrate on, is the fact that the drug problems in this country, as well as the others that are listed above are included in the group of “SOICIAL PROBLEMS”.
Think about that for a minute. What entails? A social problem is a problem that faces a society. Now I want you to think about your society. Not society, but your specific and immediate society. What does it consist of? Whom does it consist of? Immediate answers might be school, neighborhood, church, work, town, and family. In other words, we can define it as your community. Your community is your society, now exclusive of your friends and others you consider to be in your peer group who may actually encourage certain types of “Immoral” behavior. Who in your community would sit back and let you abuse your body and mind with excessive drug use? Schools would suspend; families could react with everything from tough love to ultimatums. Very rarely is it someone outside of your society that will reach out to you and give that helping hand. Some ex-drug abuser’s testimony may spark the revelation in you to kick your habit. But it is your community that will help you. You see, put very simply, drug abuse is a “Social Problem” and more often than not your society will help you or ostracize you, depending of course on your particular situation. Thus, while you may not kick, you would certainly take steps to curb your habit from becoming obvious or debilitating to your life.
Now what does this have to do with legalization? I’ll tell you. As long as the government is waging the war on drugs, in a poor manner I might add, society won’t. Society won’t because it doesn’t have to, the government takes care of it for us, so rather than discuss these issues with your child you can spend that time working, in order to pay the government to keep protecting your child for you.
The problem with government intervention, stretching past drugs, is that the government is not a community, it is a large beaurocratic mess of forms, protocols, and so on. The reason for this is nothing more than the simple fact that the government tries to deal with everyone at the same time. What works in Peoria, Illinois on Tuesday may not work for Winder, Georgia on Wednesday. The government looks at us as a series of numbers and statistics and then they create the laws and regulations designed to effect the greatest number of people, or the majority. When the anomalies pop up into the equation, more structures and regulations are added to try and accommodate the new statistics. Let’s take a look at how this would work in a classroom. The exercise is simple– using just the first initial and last name of each of the students in a random class, as well as their social security numbers and the grades that they have received over the course of the current school year, divide the class into three groups. Every group is to write an evaluation of the study habits, and general scholastic performance of every student. Using that information, design a system to improve the class. Next, put all of this information together and try and apply it to the rest of the school, and then apply it to the entire school system. Now this is a very simplistic exercise and I acknowledge the fact that the drug problem is more complex, but this serves as an example of what happens when the government tries to use regulations to deal with a social problem.
First of all, the information consists of nothing but numbers. The information tells nothing of whether a student was sick on the week he received a zero on a test, or what was happening in their private lives that could effect the grades received for a particular assignment. There are thousands of unique factors that contribute to each and every student’s individual performance. To try and look at just numbers and try to regulate behavior based on that information is not only a Herculean task, but also it is an almost impossible mission to accomplish. The sheer manpower that such an endeavor would take– gathering the information, collating, processing, analyzing, modifying, and then turning it over to a committee to decide how it is all going to be used is a never ending task. You’d have a better chance of gathering an infinite number of monkeys to write all of Shakespeare’s works, and It would take less time for the monkeys. (Haha) You can start to see the ineffectiveness of a large beauracracy trying to deal with problems that are so obviously needed to be dealt with by our social communities, in turn, social problems.
Now if you asked the instructor of a class to summarize the scholastic performance of each of their students, chances are they are going to be able to tell you things. For example, when the student was sick, or whether or not they had difficulty understanding a particular segment or assignment, but otherwise do fine in class. Now ask that instructor what they would do to improve their classroom. It will probably work for that classroom or society if you will. Say for instance there is a window that opens onto a playground and the teacher says that a set of blinds to keep the kids from being distracted would improve class performance. Does that mean that all classrooms should have blinds on their windows?
With marijuana, the problem is essentially the same. If you look at all of the kids who smoke marijuana as individuals you will see that the reasons and motivations for their use numbers in the thousands. You have peer pressure, escapism, or just simple experimentation and these are just a few to name. Later on, take a piece of paper and make a list of reasons for using drugs, such as marijuana. Not your reasons, just the reasons that anybody may feel at a given time. Now, similar to the first exercise, try and make a regulation that covers all of the reasons why abuse runs rampant. Now remember, these are the reasons you came up with, there are now 259 million other Americans with their own list of reasons why. You get the idea that the task on hand is an overwhelming one at the least. It is something that the government, any government anywhere, could never ever accomplish.
This brings us back to the main thrust of this paper. Legalization of marijuana like any other social problem is just that– a social problem. And as a social problem, it is best dealt with within a society. Societies that consist of people who know you, care for you, and even love you. Given the chance, we as a people will in fact work out these and any other problems that we, as a society, and individuals are confronted with in our daily existence.
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