Whatever their specific views, and how well- or ill-informed they are about the facts, everyone who continues to oppose marijuana legalization must believe that the costs outweigh the benefits. But crucially, they must also believe that they somehow have the right to impose their own cost-benefit analyses on everyone else. They must further believe that what they see as the net harm of allowing other adults to do as they please with their own bodies somehow outweighs the very obvious, widespread harms and dubious benefits of the War on (Some) Drugs.
But if we legalize marijuana, much less other narcotics, aren’t we sending the wrong message to our children? No, “we” aren’t. Good and bad are not the only two moral categories. The effects of things with significant costs as well as benefits—not only pot but alcohol too, not to mention cigarettes and junk food—need to be looked at realistically, not labelled as “taboo,” which only makes them more attractive to rebellious teens. Our children deserve a more nuanced, more accurate view of reality, and if anything, this is what parents have an obligation to provide for them. Seems like, at least when it comes to adult pot use, 58% of Americans now agree.