What’s to Stop You From “Getting all Potted Up on Weed and Then Getting Behind the Wheel?”

October 27th 2014

"The Daily Show" host and comedian Jon Stewart shed light on one of the bigger hypocrisies in the anti-marijuana legalization sector: how they condemn marijuana use while condoning, and even promoting, the consumption of an arguably more harmful drug: alcohol.

One prime example Jon Stewart uses to illustrate his point is a Fox News host who asks the question, "what's to stop someone from getting all potted up on weed and then getting behind the wheel," only in a later segment, to exclaim that he's "going to get real drunk" on New Year's Eve.

Stewart utilizes this hypocrisy to question why alcohol consumption, and even over consumption, has become "socially acceptable" while weed is still considered a "deadly gateway drug that no sane person could ever hope to escape." In fact, Stewart notes, "Our view of alcohol is not even benign indifference, but celebratory. While marijuana always leads you down a dark path."

This persistent viewpoint continues despite evidence proving the contrary. While the lifetime dependency risk for marijuana is 9 percent, it is 15 percent for alcohol. In addition, alcohol consumption and dependency in general can prove to be more dangerous than marijuana: roughly 300 people die from alcohol poisoning annually, while there have been zero marijuana overdose deaths. This statistic makes sense, considering drinking 10 times the recommended serving of alcohol can be fatal, while one would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint to lead to death. So as a society, we are glorifying the use of a potentially life-threatening drug while deeming a non-fatal substance hazardous.

Marijuana is actually also medicinally useful as well as a less addictive alternative to prescription painkillers. A recent study even showed that cannabis may help lengthen the lifespan of people who suffered from brain trauma.

Now, even Jon Stewart notes that "pot, like everything else, can have its downsides," but that still begs the question of why we continue to demonize this substance, while we celebrate alcohol, all the while ignoring its very real and obvious dangers. Luckily, the tides are turning: a Pew survey revealed that 69% of Americans believe alcohol is harmful to a person's health, while only 15% believe marijuana is. Now we need must take this wisdom to the ballot box and vote for  legislators who support marijuana decriminalization in the upcoming midterm elections.