It has become quite difficult to take a radical stance against marijuana’s place in the contemporary world because two state governments have already retaliated against their federal counterpart and legalized its recreational use. Movements against recreational marijuana use crumble all too quickly at the mercy of, as far as I can tell, little-to-no substantiated evidence discounting its use. Taking a stance against what appears to be a harmless drug often ends in vain; there is an enormous financial incentive for our government to legalize it and seemingly very little reason not to.
While the case against marijuana’s specific impacts may be hard-pressed, it’s more reasonable to step back and ask society why it would use a drug recreationally to begin with. The justifications are frequently twofold: as a social outlet and as a coping mechanism. Problematically, further scrutiny of either justification unveils a number of facts that undermine the argument for recreational drug use. Because the quantity of possible social outlets in high school or in life as a whole is inherently infinite, this type of reasoning becomes underwhelming; the social outlets provided by recreational drug use could be replaced with alternative social opportunities anyway, should that be someone’s concern. Drug use as a coping mechanism isn’t just futile but is also dangerous as it can create a cycle of dependence. Because the surreal effects of consumption are transient, the issues that an individual tries to escape inevitably resurface when they dissipate. Worse, substituting effective coping mechanisms for drugs inhibits the development of long-term solutions to traumatizing problems.
The question then becomes not whether one can prove speculation surrounding marijuana to be true, but rather whether or not the uncertainty surrounding the consequences of recreational use outweigh potential gains. In my eyes, because drugs can’t legitimately solve problems, the risk cannot be worth the reward.