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Regarding your article “Stoned Alone” (11/14) by the anonymous Washington journalist alleging his career was destroyed by pot, the main point is this: Some people cannot smoke pot, just as some people can’t drink.
If people who can’t handle pot or alcohol feel, upon reaching their crisis, that they must attempt to shape or reform the world with regard to that issue, they should get into drug-abuse counseling. It’s an honorable business. I had an uncle, a World War II veteran, who was in AA back in the ’50s and ’60s. Once recovered, he stayed with the group and was sometimes called out in the middle of the night, like a doctor, by men who felt they were about to fall off the wagon. Those were better times in some ways. People whined less, and they weren’t so shameless about exploiting themselves. As far as I know, it never occurred to my uncle or any of his AA pals to become temperance busybodies.
As for the studies that “name withheld” referred to: It’s interesting, possibly valuable, and no doubt inevitable that we continue to learn about intoxication and the mind/brain mechanism. But what in terms of the moral and social issue did these studies prove beyond, “Pot gets you high”? Did anyone think otherwise?
“Stoned Alone” sniffs around some real issues but does not examine them, and then swallows whole two of the fallacies that make a constructive discussion about drugs almost impossible: 1.) Alcohol is a problem when it is “abused,” while marijuana is a problem when it is merely used. 2.) Drug-testing for alcohol and marijuana are somehow parallel, and equally acceptable.
Actually, both marijuana and alcohol can be used or abused, and the tests are fundamentally different. For alcohol, it’s an under-the-influence test, about which there is little argument, especially when there is dangerous machinery in the picture. Marijuana-testing, on the other hand, is an exercise in cultural arrogance and legal bullying. The marijuana test tells whether the subject has ingested up to six weeks before the test is administered. Can you imagine the outcry if people who had consumed alcohol any time during six weeks prior to testing could be drummed out of their jobs?
Lazy-minded thinking on this subject serves the liquor industry, fundamentalists, and legions of political opportunists, but many 15-year-olds see right through it, and the hypocrisy just increases the drug’s allure.
Personally, I have at least my share of problems, many of them relating to my own journalistic career, but I can’t blame them on occasional alcohol and pot consumption. In fact, that’s a big plus in my life. I wish I had more time for it.
St. Paul, Minn.