Pubdate: Wed, 06 May 2015
Source: Seattle Weekly (WA)
Column: Higher Ground
Copyright: 2015 Village Voice Media
Author: Michael A. Stusser


When deciding what you think about marijuana legalization, it's 
important to ask, "What's in it for me?"

The most recent Pew Research Center poll shows that a majority of 
Americans nationwide, 53 percent, now support the legalization of 
cannabis. I'm actually surprised it's that low, but then again, I'm a 
marijuana columnist.

But here is the most interesting stat from that poll: Of those 
surveyed who now support legalization but changed their minds on the 
issue (40 percent of the 53 percent), the main reason for the shift 
was self-interest. "The more that people learn about marijuana and 
look at the benefits of legalization," noted Tom Angell, Chairman of 
the Marijuana Policy Project, "the more likely they are to support reform."

Given this new info-and a desire to bring the 47 percent who remain 
prohibitionists out of the Dark Ages-I'd like to lay out some new 
bennies about cannabis.

Less drinking! Fewer hangovers! Weed's been proven to help people cut 
back on their drinking. A study in Harm Reduction Journal showed that 
more and more drinkers are replacing booze, prescription drugs, and 
other harmful and illegal drugs with pot. Not only is marijuana safer 
than alcohol, it's less likely to cause withdrawal problems, not to 
mention liver failure.

Game of Thrones. Imagine watching it while stoned to the BeJesus!

A catalyst for creativity. Ask Jon Stewart, Maya Angelou, Natalie 
Portman, Carl Sagan, Dr. Gupta, Rihanna, Bob Marley, Sergey Brin, or 
President Obama. Ganja has been shown to have positive creative 
effects-including better test results when individuals are asked to 
come up with new ideas. On the flip side, short-term memories tend to 
function worse when high.

Endocannabinoids fight brain aging. You can do the New York Times 
crossword, sudoku, or smoke a fatty. It's a no-brainer.

One word: Nugtella. It's a delicious hazelnut cannabis-infused Nutella treat!

Verbal fluency. Cannabis can create a cacophony of creative chasms 
for cogent cognitive communication (man).

Epileptic seizures are a downer. Almost 90 percent of Americans 
polled now believe that folks should have access to medical marijuana 
if a doc says it can help.

Vinyl. The chances of someone dusting off their record player and 
spinning some of the amazing vinyl records stored away in a crate 
somewhere increases 947 percent if the individual smokes herb.

We need the "War on Drugs" money. Fill in the blank: I'd rather spend 
the $41.3 billion per year on _____.

Cannabis is eco-friendly. Not only does the plant grow like a weed, 
but it's able to suck up underground toxins (a process called 
phytoremediation), which makes for healthier and better farmland.

Legalization is a conservative cause. Smaller, unobtrusive 
government, states' rights, individual liberties, etc.

Paying for prisoners is annoying. Half of the 1.6 million people 
currently in prison are serving time for drug offenses, at a cost of 
$25,000 a year apiece. Do the math. (It's $40 billion.)

More time in sweatpants!

Sick of sucking up to the Saudis? Cannabis is an alternative fuel 
source. Both cannabis and the hemp plant crank out what is known as 
biomass. Biomass can be turned into all kinds of fuel, including 
biodiesel and ethanol. Not quite a solar Tesla, but close.

Add it to your smoothie. The cannabis plant is chock-full of 
disease-fighting, anti-inflammatory antioxidants. So even if you 
don't want to get stoned, raw cannabis is a great additive to go with 
your wheatgrass and Super Blue Green Algae. The cannabis seed is rich 
in protein, fatty acids, and omega-3. And fiber! Don't forget about fiber!

Cannabis causes job growth. Who doesn't want more jobs (and tax 
revenue)? The marijuana market is filled with them: budtenders, 
trimmers, new cannabis-app designers, security guards, developers of 
seed-to-sale tracking software and weed websites, and of course 
cannabis columnists (thank you!).

Less familial strife. In a study of 635 couples over nine years 
(culminating in 2014), the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 
found that couples who smoke weed together have lower rates of 
domestic violence.

Tax revenue. If we taxed marijuana at the same rate as alcohol and 
tobacco, it would bring in more than $8.7 billion a year nationwide. 
Pot can fix the potholes!

Weed makes ya skinny. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public 
Health studied 4,600 adults and found that "current marijuana users 
had significantly smaller waist circumference than participants who 
had never used marijuana, even after adjusting for factors like age, 
sex, tobacco and alcohol use, and physical activity levels. They also 
had higher levels of HDL [i.e., good cholesterol]." A study from the 
American Journal of Epidemiology also found that peeps who smoke pot 
are less prone to obesity-even though they did indeed chow more 
calories from the munchies.

People are getting baked . . . whether it's legal or not. Finally, 
for those who haven't been stoned since college, weed is fun. Maybe 
you forgot. Maybe it made you paranoid, or you were concerned the DEA 
might break down your dorm room door. Forget all that-it's time to 
party like it's 2099! Come on over . . . to the green side!
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom