Re: Marijuana use should be a personal choice
For this argument, I will concede that the effects of marijuana on the human body are fairly benign. In fact, if you like, I’ll even let you say that it provides a full day’s supply of vitamins and minerals. It doesn’t, but that’s not relevant to the argument. The issue, which you brought up, is motivation. On the surface, many people are probably thinking of someone spending his weekend slouching on the couch, watching TV, smoking a joint and eating Twinkies. On an individual scale, that seems pretty harmless. But on a national scale, it’s far more serious.
First, let’s look at the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States. Last year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, it was approximately $13.8 trillion. The GDP is basically nothing more than how much we as a nation earned. And with this money, we buy stuff. We also build schools, fight wars, fight crime, fight poverty, build roads, etc. The GDP is, in reality, a product of our collective motivation. We don’t do anything without the motivation to do it. We don’t build jets, write software, cure diseases, or even flip burgers unless we are motivated to do it.
Picture yourself as the chief executive of a sovereign state or nation. You are trying to balance the budget and provide for the general welfare of your people. This is not an easy task. How inclined are you to legalize marijuana after you connect the dots? An increase in marijuana means a decrease in motivation. A decrease in motivation means a decrease in revenue. A decrease in revenue means less service to the people. It means more poverty, which typically means more crime.
I’m not talking about a nation of potheads. I’m talking about an overall collective drop in the peoples’ motivation to produce. In our case, a 5 percent drop in production would cost us close to $700 billion in one year. That’s not to say that everybody will smoke marijuana. But as a nation, if you cut motivation, you cut revenue. And with a national debt that, according to the Bureau of the Public Debt, exceeds $9.6 trillion, we need all of the motivation that we can get.
Richard Eldridge is a senior majoring in biology.