Ask Bookworm — the legalized pot edition

Obama smoking potA friend emailed me this question:  “Explain to me the hypocrisy of a nation that denigrates tobacco use while simultaneously legalizing marijuana?”

Silly friend!  It’s very simple really.  If you know the facts, you’ll know that there’s no hypocrisy.  Marijuana is totally different from cigarettes.  Here goes . . . .

Marijuana makes the smoker feel good.  Cigarettes, by contrast, make the smoker feel . . . uh, good.

Okay, ignore that one.  This next one is the real difference:

Cigarettes release a foul stench when smoked.  Marijuana, by contrast, releases . . . uh, a foul stench when smoked.

Hmm.  This is harder than I thought.  Okay, here’s the real reason:

Our totally cool president smoked reefers.  By contrast, our totally cool president never . . . oh, wait.  Never mind.  He also smoked cigarettes.

Let’s just ignore those irrelevancies.  This is the real reason behind the different treatment:

Second hand marijuana smoke merely makes your clothes smell.  By contrast, second hand cigarette smoke . . . uh, merely makes your clothes smell.

Wait!  Wait.  I think I’ve got it:

Cigarette smoke causes all sorts of lung problems and cancers.  By contrast, marijuana has no known health . . . oh, forget that.  Actually, although studies have been limited, it turns out that marijuana has a lot of negative health effects, especially in young people’s developing brains.

You want to know the honest-to-God truth about the difference between marijuana and tobacco?  Here it is:

Although cigarette smoking gives people a pleasant buzz, it doesn’t impair their cognitive functions.  When it comes to marijuana, the whole purpose is to impair cognitive functions.  (Just think about whether you’d rather get in a car driven by a smoker or a stoner.)  When a political party is working hard to undermine a country’s social and economic strength, there’s nothing better than having on hand a true opiate of the masses, especially one that leaves the young generation sufficiently unambitious (which is arguably pot’s most deleterious effect) not to care about the fact that their future is vanishing before their eyes.

The other reason is that cigarettes have been around long enough that their production is a corporate endeavor.  Leftists hate corporations.  The best way to kill the Leftist love affair with marijuana is for Big Tobacco to start producing it and take over the market.

If I had my druthers, nobody would smoke anything.  I hate the smell of the stuff — all of it, whether cigarettes or pot or cigars or car exhaust — especially when it infiltrates my clothes and my hair.  When I lived in England, after a night out I’d always shower off from head to toe to get rid of the ubiquitous smoke smell, and that was true even in the depths of winter when we had no hot water at 3 a.m.  I hate cold showers, but I hate the smell of smoke even more.  That smoke spreads beyond the smokers person is a good reason for following the old-fashioned approach of having smokers’ cars in trains or in private clubs, but it’s absolutely no reason to demonize one kind of smoke while lavishing love on another.

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  • Matt_SE

    Cigarettes are legal, marijuana is not (with a couple of exceptions).
    Rebellion is cool.
    This is the counter-culture at work…right up to the point that it becomes legal nationwide. Then, some other pastime will have to take up the banner.
    That said, I don’t think marijuana will be the end of western civilization. We’ve got much bigger problems than that.
    Let the states sort it out. If they can find ways to integrate it like alcohol, I suppose I can live with it.

  • Libby

    Ugh, this one one of the Left’s hypocrisies that drives me batty!
    You’ve nailed the primary difference, but I’ll add one more: look at who smoke cigarettes vs. pot. Tobacco is the choice of blue collar, lower class Americans (think: Marlboro Man and the white trailer trash). Pot is for the cool kids – 60’s radicals, rappers, entertainers, and even our “first black president.” So demonizing cigarettes and glorifying pot is also demonizing traditional, lower-class America and elevating our free-thinking, creative, betters.


    Almost every act regarded in the mid-20th century as a vice was, by the opening of the 21st century, considered a virtue. As gambling, obscenity, pornography, drugs, divorce, homosexuality, abortion and sneering disaffection became The New Virtue, government at all levels began to move in on the action, starting with casinos and currently involving, in several states and the District of Columbia, an officially approved and bureaucratically managed narcotics trade. – – On Decadence

  • jj

    We’ve already had the discussion regarding the simple unassailable fact that human beings, from time to time, like to have their cognitive functions impaired a little.  That would be sort of the point.  And I can’t really put the arm on Colorado and Washington too hard, they may in fact be shining specimens of democracy in action: people in both states voted for this.  I admit freely I don’t know why, but then I don’t know why the hell both states voted for Obama, either.  There is much, as the F0unders were well aware, to deplore about democracy.
    The fact is, at least in Washington, that the state sees an opportunity to suck in some more money.  To piss away brainlessly.  I don’t know what Colorado’s deal is, but that’s it in Washington.  Every commercial in the run-up to the election spoke to the financial benefit for the state (“why give that money to drug gangs, when you could give it to the idiot gang in Olympia?”) as though that were the only consideration.  Under such a barrage, soon enough it became the only consideration.
    But here’s the thing.  In the 13 months since that election, the Washington State Liquor Control Board (they gave it to them because they did such a brilliant job with booze) has been in deep thought, many a meeting, and endless discussion and rule writing about how this is to be handled.  Any time a government agency engages in non-stop meetings for over a year, every sentient being knows the end result is going to be incomprehensible.  Spaghetti.  With meatballs.
    And everybody is also fully aware that the state is in it purely for the dough.  Everybody is further aware that by the time these idiots finish writing the rules, a nickel bag will cost forty bucks.  Ergo, everybody (except the government, the government seems never to figure it out) is also fully aware that 90% of our consumers are going to take a look at the price list, laugh, and head on down to the corner to buy from Lennie, from whom they’ve been buying for the last ten years.  Without the taxes, or the other assorted BS about how much anybody can buy in a day.  Lennie doesn’t care about any of that, won’t give them any crap about it, and doesn’t collect sales taxes.
    Washington – which really is run by idiots – did this a couple of years ago with booze.  They got rid of the state stores, and “privatized” liquor sales.  Except they didn’t, quite.  They set up so many rules for private businesses that were so witless (example: a retail outlet has to be a store of at least 10,000 square feet.  Which meant nobody except Costco could sell liquor)  that within thirty days of taking effect most of the rules had to be scrapped as unworkable.  (Kind of like Obamacare.)  Then they allowed only certain wholesalers, and the wholesalers couldn’t wholesale: they had to sell to the stores at the price the state set, as opposed to the price the market did.  Then they added taxes so absurd that everybody in western Washington drives to Oregon to buy booze.  There’s a sliding scale tax for bottle size.  Another tax for the booze itself, the proof thereof – a joke.  Then, after those you get to the state sales tax.  A bottle that in the rest of the world costs $24.95 plus sales tax, in this state will set you back $45 because of the size tax, the proof tax, etc., etc.  The stores have to have signs in the aisles explaining that the price you see on the bottle is not remotely the price you pay.  And the price in every store is always the same, there are no sales, or promotions, etc.
    Now – they can get away with this, because they can exert control over the producers.  (Wholesalers.)  They can regulate the supply of booze, so there’s no choice: you pay the goddam taxes.  Washington thinks they can do this with pot.  They can’t.  They don’t seem to realize they have no possibility of exercising control over the supply of something anyone can grow for himself.  And guys like Lennie grow for a living.  Lennie doesn’t hold still for state inspections, doesn’t care about being licensed, and isn’t gonna pay the taxes. You can multiply him by a couple of thousand guys currently in business, who are NOT going to go away.  So, beginning today, it’s a fiasco.  But it will be funny, watching the light slowly come on as the state realizes there isn’t a damn thing they can do. 

    • Libby

      You’re right, JJ. Here in CO we’ve also already seen bureaucratic incompetence: the state’s completely mismanaged the db for medical marijuana user, seller & grower license holders (full of bad data), and they hired random temp workers to update it, putting all of these license-holders at risk for theft (or worse, if a gang wants to put one of them out of business).
      In addition, the usual nanny-staters who’ve been harassing cigarette smokers are already floating the idea of ordinances against smoking in view of children (even when on one’s own property). Welcome to the joys of legalized smoking, dudes!

    • SADIE

      If any product can be taxed and legislated with lots of hoops to jump, through and around, it shall be done. Although I am not quite sure what Rhode Island had in mind for hiring bank tellers.
      Rhode Island: Rhode Island becomes the eighth state to enact a “ban the box” law that prohibits prospective employers from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal history on written job applications.

  • JKB

    You did miss that second-hand smoke from pot is a direct threat to a person who might have a job that has random drug testing.  I wonder if they’ll be so draconian in enforcing the smoking of pot in public places where they place other at risk of career and life altering consequences.  
    But the shoe hasn’t dropped yet, that is the ever growing taxes.  I know one place that legalized, did vote in a tax shortly thereafter.  And when the cash starts rolling in, the Feds will legalize for the tax dollars.  The DEA will go all regulatory with their continued enforcement in the vein of the BATF, i.e., to keep down the untaxed competition.  

  • Ymarsakar

    Cigs are a type of stimulant, like coffee. It squeezes out more productive work time from a population.
    Marijuana, however, presupposes that the population is already out of control and needs to “chill”. No work is expected from them. No maturity and human progress is expected out of the cattle that will be “chilled”, whether they like it or not.

  • Ymarsakar

    Also marijuana can be grown in a person’s backyard. So it is feasibly self sustainable. Whereas cigs require money. The government always wants that money.
    It’d be nice if we could just let people do what they want. However, that’s kind of hard when we all live in the Leftist totalitarian system.

  • Call me Lennie

    Actually, along with it’s calming effects which helps one cope with stress, nicotine probably improves cognitive function.  I have no doubt this was part of the allure of cigarettes.  And I wonder if it’s mere coincidence that one of the most productive periods in our nation’s history, the post WWII period, coincided with a time when huge numbers of men smoked — which was a habit that everyone who was in the WWII military picked up.
    And I think you’re missing one important element, Book-ster.  Cigarette smoking was the habit that our WWII parents was hooked on, while marijuana was disdained.  So naturally, our  bratty, ingrate, bung-holesque Boomer generation elites had to reverse the order, just so the could thumb their noses at the group which sacrificed all to give them everything.  I really do think it’s that simple 

  • Ymarsakar

    Marijuana also makes it easier for women to be sexually conditioned and men to be brainwashed. As it breaks down certain independent judgment algorithms that activate during brain maturation.

  • Mike Devx

    Book, you say, “If I had my druthers, nobody would smoke anything.”
    Do you really believe that if you could only have your way (have your druthers), that no one would smoke anything?  That means, of course, dictatorial governmental decree, not a campaign of persuasion (“nobody would smoke everything” means decree, not persuasion – or, in convincing 300 million people that you are right, you would be the best propagandist in history).
    I prefer to think that both tobacco and marijuana should be as legal as alcohol.  Cigarettes and alcohol are demonstrably worse for you than marijuana over the long run.  Cigarettes and to a degree alcohol are phsyically addictive, where as to the best of my knowledge, marijuana is not. Alcohol impairs the judgment just as much or more than marijuana.  
    I cam accept, **perhaps** and maybe, some very limited government regulation of tobacco smoke in public business places, under health concerns.  But I’m even dubious about that.  Otherwise, I think it should be left entirely up to businesses whether they want to allow smoking – and attract and repel the clientele they wish to attract or repel.  It’s their business, and government, as always, without a *compelling* concern, should butt out.  People are free to choose their businesses.  If I suffer emphysema, do I have the right to dictate to you, as a business, that you cannot allow smoking?  No. And Hell No.  And f$*cking hell no.  I’ve had relatives die of emphyzema and a relative suffering from it now, and I still feel that way.  Someone with a deathly allergic reaction to  peanut butter must *never*, and I mean NEVER, be allowed to restrict the sale or use of peanut butter.  Unless they are within their own business, which they own and do not merely work within.
    If I had my druthers, people would be free.

    • Bookworm

      Oh boy, Mike Devx, was I unclear.  What I was trying to say is that, in an imaginary perfect world, there would be nothing to smoke and no reason to smoke it.  I erred terribly if I left the impression that I would use the heavy hand of the police state to stop smoking.  I just like to dream of a “perfect” smoke free world (with a few unicorns frolicking in far away meadows).

      • Ellen

        Me too.  I grew up with a chain smoking mother and it gave me a loathing of cigarettes that is visceral.  Sadly, two of my sisters are chain smokers as well and it’s doing them no good.

  • Ymarsakar

    My interpretation of what Book was saying is that people have personal standards. Those personal standards become pretty nasty when enforced from the top by an Authority with a weapon pointed at your child’s head though. Even if you were willing to do what is good for the community, being forced to do it is quite something else. Nobody likes being treated like shat for doing what they would have done anyways. And nobody likes being treated like a dog or cattle, for doing something they don’t want to do either.
    While you could negotiate with a smoker for them to move their smoking someplace else, the government is not something you can negotiate or sway. Not this Regime at least. It doesn’t matter what martial arts you know, it doesn’t matter how many senators you can bribe, it doesn’t matter how many political connections you were born with, the power of the State is inherently an unstable, unequal, and unjust existence. It was not the COnstitution that the Founding Fathers thought would keep the politicians in check. It was the people that Constitution was made to protect, that would enforce the rules. It didn’t matter if the Constitution existed or not, so long as the people’s power remained capable of execution. That’s why it doesn’t matter if a country is ruled by a dictatorship, such as Rome’s Republican system, or by an enlightened meritocracy. A good people can always produce a system that works, no matter what the system is called. Since that is true, then it doesn’t matter what system of government we use. They just use a system designed to promote and sustain the power of individuals: the people. A bunch of cattle and slaves, however, are not “people” as the Founding Fathers considered it. No Constitution ever written by humanity, could protect a bunch of cattle and slaves from the prod and the pen.
    Unlike alcohol’s temporary (well, mostly) higher brain function limiter, marijuana is permanent to semi-permanent. If you were young and you took marijuana, your brain essentially got a lobotomy. And there’s no real way you can un-lobotomize yourself. If you were older and took it, then it might serve medicinal purposes such as morphine or other drugs. But we’re talking about a system controlled by the Left and their minions. They can make classes for children into evil. And they have. They will touch drug control as well.