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Our fifth President openly smoked hashish throughout his time as the US Ambassador to France and continued to do so pretty regularly until he passed away.
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Stoned vs. Drunk
At the end of a long work day, millions of Americans take a couple bong hits before dinner, at home or maybe at a friend's place that's on the way. It's nice to take a few minutes to unwind, and the marijuana helps with that.
This is where the similarities between marijuana and alcohol begin and end!
Usually but not always, people that don't use marijuana do not hang out while others are using it or while they're high. Because the only sort of inebriation many of them have experienced firsthand is alcohol, they have no choice but to try to relate the use and effects of smoking marijuana with the use and effects of alcohol - it's all they know. Based on the faulty assumptions drawn from that comparison, misinformation is often conceptualized and then spread as if factual.
Any time a public figure makes a stink about marijuana and its supposed evils, it is easy to tell that they have never used marijuana, spent any time around anyone that has used marijuana, or made any effort at all to learn even an iota or two about marijuana. This necessitates that any opinion they might have about marijuana can only be based on assumption and speculation, likely with some predisposed fear about 'drugs' and other misinformation thrown in for good measure. Not a rock solid base upon which to develop an opinion - especially one that is to be spouted like a geyser on TV.
It seems incredible that celebrities and other well-known people ranging from politicians to sports debaters can climb high on a stack of soap boxes in front of TV cameras and pontificate about 'weed' when they admittedly really know absolutely nothing about it, either inventing misinformation or excepting and regurgitating someone else's misinformation as fact. The days when journalists and newspeople were required and expected to be able to back up each story and article with facts and evidence are all but gone. The explosion of social media and the proliferation of cable television channels clambering for content have created an environment in which talking heads can say almost anything as long as it causes us to change to their channel or click, click, click. Seasoned journalists can be heard wondering out loud when, if and how the tenets of journalistic integrity on which they were weaned and raised still matter, and if so to what degree.
Not everyone that tries marijuana becomes a marijuana user, and for the many that don't, comments like, "yeah - it's not for me", or "I'd rather pop a beer" are typical. Among those that have tried and subsequently chosen to not use marijuana, finding a person that disparages it is not an easy task - go on, try to find someone. Even though using marijuana may not be a person's cup of tea so to speak, once sampled it invariably becomes clear that marijuana just wants to have fun, and that its effects are very different than those of alcohol.
None of the trademark signs of being drunk are typically manifested by stoned people. Slurring of words, loss of equilibrium, a slowed reaction time to stimuli, and the reduced capacity to make reasonable decisions are not effects experienced after using marijuana.
Marijuana use can induce a feeling of slight euphoria, heightened sensory perception, altered perception of time, increased appetite, anxiety, increased heart rate, pain-relief, short-term memory loss, being at peace, coming up with great (not really) ideas, dry mouth, and dilated pupils.
Many of us have had at least one night when we drank too much … waaaaay too much. It's easy to do. Partying with friends, or maybe with family at a wedding, the good times are rolling and there's an open bar and pretty soon you're blotto. From that moment on, things like throwing up on a friend, or ruining a relationship by running your mouth, or getting in the car and killing someone and/or yourself are all very distinct possibilities. Hopefully someone is paying attention and snags your keys so the worst can't happen, but it can be embarrassing and maybe dangerous to be told the next morning about your 'sexy' karaoke version of "Light My Fire", or to wake up in a room with a person whose name you can't recall.
It is difficult to smoke too much marijuana because you get to a point where you are 'good' and you just naturally stop. If you do get a little higher than you'd planned the worst thing that will happen is that you'll eat that whole bag of chips before you find a place to sit down and take a nice nap. Potheads don't get high and then become belligerent, or syrupy-sappy "I love you man", or turn into assholes and beat their wife or kids. Potheads listen to music and make love (not war) and watch TV and hang out.
The Big Difference
Of course, the biggest difference between marijuana and alcohol is that alcohol is very addictive and alcoholism is a devastating disease. Drinking alcohol brings with it the very real possibility of ruining and ending relationships, marriages and entire lives.
In the specific instance of one person in a relationship demanding (or even asking repeatedly) that the other stop using marijuana, where the marijuana user does not want to stop, technically, relationships and marriages can be harmed or even ruined by marijuana. Having noted that one caveat, none of the negatives that alcohol slyly hides behind deliciousness are true for marijuana. No addiction, no getting fired for coming back from lunch drunk, no getting violent, no killing self or others while behind the wheel, none of it. Clearly, pot is much less dangerous, harmful and destructive than alcohol.
It is all just so patently stupid. After the disaster that was prohibition, what indication has there ever been that could cause any rational person to think the government might possibly be more successful in getting rid of marijuana than they were with booze? Nothing short of martial law is going to stop people from getting high.
The lame attempts to rid America of marijuana have resulted in the exact same thing that happened during prohibition – a large criminal enterprise has made a fortune while the good ol’ dunderheads in D.C. hang on to an already-failed idea about trying to get rid of something when they should be taxing the shit out of it. Truly idiotic.
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