Higher Ground: Come Over to the Green Side

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 Majority, “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!

For more Higher Ground, visit highergroundtv.com.

 
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