I apologize for my absence; not that I think there are many of you left reading this blog, but because for those of you that are, I appreciate it. It’s been very hard to write since our daughter passed away; I’ve given myself over to more twaddlish things. I feel that that is changing, I hope it is.
Recently, the state that I live in legalized marijuana for recreational use; I honestly don’t have a problem with medical marijuana. I believe firmly that our Heavenly Father prepared all the plants and herbs here for our use—not ABUSE let’s be clear, but that many things, including marijuana have been bastardized and used in ways that our Father in Heaven didn’t intend. But that’s another topic altogether.
However, this new law legalizing recreational usage, seems to me to pose some problems.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with the Law of Unintended Consequences, it's also known as “What is seen, and What is Not Seen”; an economic parable by Frederic Bastiat called the “Broken Window Fallacy,” is the basis of this law, and I’d like to start there.
From “What is Seen and What is Not Seen”:
“Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation – "It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?"
Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.
Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier's trade – that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs – I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.
But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, "Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”
It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.”
Now, I recognize that M. Bastiat is dealing with something a little different, but the concept is quite applicable.
The Libertarian in me is totally fine with legalized marijuana; the Lord based earth life around his law of Agency. You are given the commandment, and are allowed to choose to follow it or not; that inspiration was given as the basis for the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The fewer the laws, the more we can exercise our Agency.
So as recreational marijuana was legalized, what are the unintended consequences?
Let’s take as our example a man we’ll call Seth. Seth loves to smoke a joint after work occasionally, instead of going to the bars. Now that it’s legal he can do that without difficult repercussions, and Seth gets high quite often; so often in fact that Seth loses his job. Because Seth was fired, he can draw unemployment for many months without much trouble to himself. And, because he is unemployed, Seth is eligible for food stamps.
Who is going to pay for these social services? Where do the funds come from for Seth’s unemployment and food stamps?
I recognize that not everyone who uses marijuana will become addicted, but at some point, Seth may want to go through rehab. This is a good thing, a positive development for himself and his family, and hopefully, for the social “safety net” that allowed Seth to live his lifestyle without many sacrifices.
But, who’s going to pay for rehab? Where are those funds coming from?
Some will argue that they come from our new socialized medical plan; that may be true, but that only means that you and I are paying for Seth to get clean. I don’t know about you, but I can tell you that I voted no on the marijuana proposition, so even though I disagreed with the implementation of such a disastrous law, I’m now paying the consequences of it by contributing the fruits of my labor and my husband’s for all the services that Seth—and many more like Seth will need.
Another argument bandied about, is that “alcohol is legal, and it hasn’t turned out as bad as those naysayers so long ago claimed.” Really? One statistic I read says that 15,000,000 are dependent on alcohol. That’s a lot of self-medicating in and of itself, but Marijuana dwarfs that at around 83,000,000 who’ve TRIED it; I can find no solid statistics on addiction; I suspect that that is intentional; A drugged populace cannot actively engage in the political process; just a hunch. Out of those 83M, how many became, or will become, addicts? How many will use it as a gateway drug when its effectiveness diminishes?
But I digress. Alcohol is cleared from your system in a matter of hours; marijuana takes days. My husband’s employer has a zero tolerance for the presence of THC in their factory staff--because of its effect on BRAIN FUNCTION; so how many factory workers are going to lose their jobs? How many employers will be sued for discrimination because someone wants to partake of a legal substance and is terminated for doing so?
Unintended consequences; they come back to bite society in the backside more often than we realize and as a general rule, good, hardworking individuals are paying for it. And even scarier...this is only from an economic standpoint. What about our children? The safety of our roads? Workplaces? Who cares, the potheads have spoken.