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5 Reasons Legalized Marijuana Might Be Bad for Pot Smokers
By Adam Tod Brown September 11, 2013 741,920 views Viral It’s a good time to be a marijuana smoker. Colorado and Washington have already enacted laws making weed legal for recreational use, and another 20 or so states allow it for medicinal use. With such a huge swath of the nation no longer harshing the mellow of their resident […]

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September 14, 2013

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It’s a good time to be a marijuana smoker. Colorado and Washington have already enacted laws making weed legal for recreational use, and another 20 or so states allow it for medicinal use. With such a huge swath of the nation no longer harshing the mellow of their resident smokers, it appears the domino effect that marijuana proponents hope will lead to legalization at the federal level is finally gaining momentum.Translation: It’s just a matter of time before you’re able to walk into your local 7-Eleven and buy a fat sack of Marlboro Marijuana 100’s.


If you’re a smoker, it’s the dream you’ve always dreamed of, but is it really going to be the stoner utopia some people are expecting? Probably not. Here are five reasons weed smokers shouldn’t be looking forward to federally legalized marijuana.

#5. Medical Marijuana Is “Legal” Enough

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Right off the bat, let me make it clear that the point of this article is not that we should go back to the days of full-on marijuana prohibition. If you knew me personally, you’d know I wouldn’t make that point. That said, provided Obama cools it with kicking in dispensary doors, I’d be completely content if marijuana reform never goes beyond making it legal at the state level for medicinal use only.
The last part of the preceding sentence probably has a lot of people howling, especially weed smokers in states that don’t currently have medical marijuana laws in place. If that’s you, please, hear me out. Or read me out, I guess. Whatever the case, you have no reason to be upset.
For one thing, your state will almost certainly legalize medical marijuana well before it becomes “alcohol” legal at the federal level, which is what I’m arguing against in this article. I hope every state legalizes marijuana for medical use immediately. Your state will eventually.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images News/Getty Images
And then this will be you.

I’m definitely not saying that shouldn’t happen, I’m just saying I want it to happen in every state and then that’s as legal as marijuana ever gets.
If you’re a casual user with no health conditions to speak of, though, that plan might still sound like a downer. After all, there’s nothing medical about just wanting to party. Well, speaking as someone who has extensively researched the subject, let me assure you, if you don’t have at least one of the “conditions” that qualify a person for a weed card, you’re probably built from man-made materials and wouldn’t benefit from weed’s healing properties anyway.
As for everyone else, if you live in a state that allows medical marijuana, you can find a doctor willing to recommend that you smoke it to alleviate the symptoms of some bullshit malady you don’t actually have.

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
“Ha! I just wrote that you’re not into Floyd that much.”

Don’t let the words “medicinal use” lead you to believe otherwise. If you can’t get a weed card in a medical marijuana state, you just plain don’t want to get high.
Still, getting that card is a hassle. Recreational marijuana doesn’t have any such hoops to jump through, what’s the point of keeping that “medicinal use only” requirement in place? Simple, if we don’t …

#4. It Won’t Be “Medicine” Anymore


Well, duh, of course it won’t be medicine anymore, that’s the point, right? Making it easier to buy and all that good stuff? While that’s true, what will it mean for people who do actually reap some benefits from using marijuana regularly? If you’re the type who smokes several times a day because it “helps your depression,” is labeling marijuana the “new beer” really an initiative you want to get behind? That’s definitely where things are headed, as evidenced by this marijuana ad that premiered at a NASCAR event recently:
Once that happens, you’re no longer that person who treats their depression with medical marijuana, you’re that person who treats their depression with beer. Lots of people do that now — we call them alcoholics. Do you think the label society will place on the habitual weed smokers of the world once Blue Dream becomes the new Coors Light will be any more flattering?
Of course it won’t. People barely buy into claims of marijuana’s health benefits as it is right now. Putting it on store shelves next to the Colt 45 and implying it’s the same thing is definitely not going to alleviate any of those people’s concerns. Even worse, that “New Beer” ad isn’t the work of some misguided lone wolf marijuana activist with too much production money on his hands; it comes directly from the Marijuana Policy Project, which, according to its Wikipedia page (the only source I trust), is the “largest organization working solely on marijuana policy reform in the United States in terms of its budget, number of members, and staff.”

Evan Agostini/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
This is all of them!

With more and more states inching closer to allowing marijuana for medical use, the biggest pot lobby in all the land is pushing a slogan that most people will assume means there’s essentially no difference between smoking weed and getting drunk. Smart!
Despite all this, one question remains. How damn great will it be when weed really is the new beer? Won’t it be the best when you can just stand around at a bar or sporting event with a lit joint in your hand, just as so many others do now with an open beer?
Sure, but you’re out of your damn mind if you think it will ever come to that, because …

#3. Weed Will Be the New Cigarettes

Uriel Sinai/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Whether it gives you lung cancer or not, smoking marijuana is still smoking. How many places can you smoke cigarettes right now? If you live in an apartment, you probably can’t even smoke at home anymore. There are plenty of cities and towns in this country where smoking in open air places like beaches or parks is forbidden.
Simply put, people hate the smell of cigarette smoke. If you think they’ll take more of a liking to weed smoke, you’re dreaming. It didn’t even take one year for Seattle lawmakers to start pushing for bans on public pot smoking. Residents have taken to complaining about weed smoke the same way they do cigarette smoke. Check out this quote from a concerned Seattle bus driver who complained about passengers blowing pot smoke directly in his face:
“Once that takes place, I feel inebriated, I feel lightheaded, I’m no longer safe as a bus driver to operate that bus, and I then have to notify the county to send another driver out.”

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty
Kids these days, man.

OK, so obviously that guy either has a drug test coming up that he knows he’s not going to pass or is awful at making up excuses to leave work early. Either way, that was a bad example. If you’re looking for a more relevant quote from Seattle’s push to ban blazing up in public, try this one:
“I’m not a tobacco smoker, I don’t like walking through tobacco smoke. I would imagine non-pot smokers would feel the same way.”

Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
Also people who hate magicians.

Is that a quote from some stuffy politician who just wants to rain on everyone’s pot party? Nope, those are the words of marijuana advocate and Washington Hempfest organizer Vivian McPeak, commenting on the public pot ban.
Again, I’m definitely not saying that decriminalizing marijuana is a bad thing, but those who think it will lead to beer drinkers and weed smokers partaking in their favorite poisons side by side at the bar while watching Sunday Night Football are probably getting their hopes up a bit too … much.
The smoke won’t be the only annoying thing about legalized weed, though.

Adam Tod Brown

Adam is a full-time editor and columnist at Cracked and a full time everything everywhere else. He also runs the @Cracked Twitter account. Hey, speaking of that!


  1. “When across the board legalization finally clears the way for corporate America to start peddling pot, is there any reason to expect that they’ll hit on anything but the most stereotypical and embarrassing aspects of weed culture when it comes time to advertise their brands to the public”
    Of course they will. Why would marijuana companies just feature a bunch of hippies and pot heads in advertisements when they want to EXPAND their customer base? That would be like beer companies featuring a bunch of alcoholics and underage college students. The reason advertisements always feature good looking, well dressed people is because they want to present a good image that will attract customers. Marijuana companies would be no different.

    1. Eh, I don’t care just as long as they don’t get anywhere near me.Addict Smokers of any kind (from what I’ve seen not movies) usually smell bad, they also seem to be more pathetic and dull, I almost feel bad for them. Maybe I’m wrong maybe there’s some sophisticated smoker who doesn’t smell bad and looks nice and isn’t dull some one please prove me wrong. Anyways I feel that once marijuana becomes common place (maybe it already is it’s just hidden away from my eye) it’ll be very similar to cigarettes and beer it’s just a new poison, well other than all the medicines.

      1. I will be happy to trade your little inconveniences for the police to STOP beating people and ruining their lives.

        1. NYC politicians ban 44 ounce drinks, alcohol [one of the most dangerous drugs mankind has] is consumed en masse every day, I say f**k IT let people consume whatever the hell they want. Just…keep it in your house. Seriously, pot smells friggin awful.
          And stop being douchebags about it!

          1. Qne big problem with legal marijuana is how to legislate and enforce laws governing people under the influence of the drug.
            Consider alcohol, you cannot drive, operate machinery at work, drink during work time at most places. Now apply that to marijuana, some stoner drives a car and has an accident, someone makes a mistake at work causing an accident.
            How would you reliably devise a test to determine how under the influence you are? With alcohol a simple mg/l test is easy to administer. How to do that with weed? The simple solution, any other result than a negative would class you ad being under the influence.
            This would lead to insurers raising weed smokers premiums and create lots of reasons why people could be sued, fired, held criminally responsible for being under the influence of weed.
            You are having surgery, your surgeon is stoned. Still want him to operate? Your kids bus driver has a joint before starting work, want him to still drive that bus?
            Reply Hide All See All 4 Replies

            1. apfelschorle
              • 0

              “We shouldn’t legalize weed because YOUR SURGEON MIGHT OPERATE ON YOU STONED.”
              Yeah, that seems like a reasonable argument.

            2. amodefajita
              • 0

              mg/l tests for alcohol don’t test how “under the influence” or impaired people actually are either. 99% of people drive completely normal with a .08.

          2. These reasons are all really superficial.
            1) Wanting the marijuana market to exist in some kind of noncompetitive secret club is completely unrealistic. The demand has been growing too fast for the price to stay high and the dealers and growers to treat each other like best friends forever. As much as I like hippies, I think we all need to stop being so nostalgic and realize that we live in progressive and tumultuous times.
            2) I have absolutely no qualms with watching s****y commercials for weed, and people who smoke weed are already associated with stereotypical “stoners” as it is. If anything, that association is going to be less prevalent as the market becomes bigger and more diverse, but if it doesn’t, that’s okay too. Being high does make me lazy and stupid. That’s what makes it fun. Judge me for it if it makes you feel better.
            3) Not being able to smoke weed on the bus or in a bar is still worse than not being able to smoke weed anywhere. And really, who the hell smokes weed on a bus? Dick move.
            4/5) Firstly, I have my doubts about marijuana being used to treat depression. Smoking weed to make your depression go away for a while is only better than drinking your depression away for two reasons: 1) marijuana doesn’t make people prone to violence, and 2) it isn’t physically addicting. Other than that, it’s still just a quick fix to a complicated problem. Furthermore, Marijuana may be a legitimate medicine (either for depression or other ailments), but that doesn’t change the fact that 75% of people (pulling that number out of my ass, but if anything I think I’m lowballing it–I would very much like to be proven wrong here) who smoke do so recreationally, whether they have a prescription or not. As it stands right now, a medical marijuana card is a joke. If somebody who actually needs marijuana to function–someone who is a part of that other 25%–is getting flak or being judged for their marijuana use, and they tell the judging party they have a prescription from their doctor, that will not help their case at all. Plenty of regular stoners have prescriptions from their doctors, and they are considered completely equal in the eyes of the law, even though they might just be using their prescription to score some bud for the party tonight. The idea of legitimate doctors and medical establishments being used to get high really bothers me. I’d prefer we all just be honest about why we smoke. I am 100% okay with being labeled as something, as long as I am not being labeled as a law-breaker.

            1. DarkXid
              • 0

              Well. I don’t know about you, but just having a bag of weed cures my depression right up.

          3. “Weed shouldn’t be completely legalized so drug dealers get to stay in business”
            What the f**k am I reading?
            Also, are you implying the Cartels aren’t already the big competitors?
            This article is bad and you should feel bad.

            1. StewitusP.Johnnyknocker
              • 0

              Hey, next time a point comes along, you should jump. That way it won’t fly so far over your head.

          4. while that was an interesting read it did not convince me that legalizing cannabis would be worse than it being semi-legal. Firstly unless it’s legal or at least semi-legal at federal level there will still be the DEA harrassing dispensiaries. Secondly I don’t live in Washington or Colorado, nor do I live in one of the states where medicinal cannabis is legal. Instead I live in a first world country that is one of america’s lapdogs so despite the minor annoyances outlined in this article, full legalisation of the sweet maria jane would be monumental for people living in countries like Australia because when it comes to drug law reform our leaders can’t do anything progressive unless america says it’s ok. Also the majority of voters are ridiculously sheepish on this issue so the faster America can achieve full legalization the faster we can get it, give or take ten or so years (our so called leaders are really behind the eightball)

            1. We should all just stop having this silly argument and share a big giant blunt and pass it around

              1. PG-100

                • +1

                Nah bro, nah. Nah.
                Medical marijuana isn’t legal enough. That’s really just leaving a whole bunch of room for all sorts of wacky bullshit to go on. There isn’t much more to say about that one, that’s more just simple disagreement. I’m a somewhat principled man, I like things to be straight and clear. The idea of weed only being de facto legal doesn’t sit well with me.
                And you’re right, weed might not really be medicine anymore, just like beer isn’t. Ya know what they give people rather than beer for, say, anxiety? Benzodiazepines, which affect the GABA receptors exactly like alcohol does except it doesn’t have all the side effects of alcohol, cause trying to use alcohol as a medicine would be insanely difficult and not terribly safe (I wish benzos were as legal as alcohol…booze has never agreed with me terribly well, and I hate all the pissing). They’d probably eventually wind up doing the same thing for weed, they’d take that s**t and perfect a way to make a more predictable medicine out of it for people who didn’t want the side effects.
                Weed wouldn’t really be a whole lot like cigs, but just in relation to the smoking thing A) it’s not like having weed being illegal or only medically legal would change where you could smoke it, and B) I guess I’m not sure where you were expecting to be able to smoke. When I personally think of legal weed, I think of being able to do things like chill on my porch smoking with some friends. While weed doesn’t seem to stick around nearly so badly as tobacco (which obviously quickly makes anyplace indoors smell f*****g disgusting), I’m a young guy; for my whole life I’ve been trained to view smoking anything as being a purely outdoor activity.
                Most importantly that’s all ignoring the myriad of different ways in which one could consume weed. Heck, in a bar they could easily sell alcohol/weed mixtures, one could eat pot consumables, use a mini-vaporizer or something, there would be a whole ton of ways to get stoned that wouldn’t involve straight smoking.
                Yeah, the ads might be obnoxious, but I consider a whole lot of different ads obnoxious. Hey, at least the whole stoner association might well change; only time will tell.
                As a side note that chick from the commercial seriously has some astounding boobies going on there. I’d thoroughly enjoy burying my face in them and settling in to take a short nap. Like, my god, look at the things. They’re beautiful.
                And #1? Well that depends. Is all weed created the same? I don’t think so. Unlike with tobacco people aren’t just looking for a fix, and unlike with alcohol people aren’t just looking for A) alright taste and B) to get drunk. THC is obviously the primary thing going on, but there are also the entire army of cannabinoids and things that distinctly color the whole experience. All sorts of different strains have all sorts of different characteristics. Sure, there will likely be cheap swag weed for people just looking to get stoned, but mass production will only be able to get to a certain point before it can no longer keep up with the quality of more lovingly grown weed.

                1. Just for information – Reason why there is no scientific proof Drug X caused Condition Y. Its not that the tests prove negative, but you can’t do a scientifically rigorous test.
                  Self reporting is notoriously unreliable – ask a pot head how much he smokes, plus it is hard to screen out background on a self selecting group. What you need is a proper double blind test.
                  Researchers A are given Drug A. Researchers B are given Drug B. One of those is a placebo BUT THE RESEARCHERS DO NOT KNOW WHICH IS WHICH
                  Half of each of the 2 test groups (A and B) are told This is Drug X. The other half are told This is a Placebo.
                  You may also have a control group – no drug, no placebo.
                  Imagine if you are in the group told it is a placebo, but in actual fact it is drug X, and it leads to psychotic episodes in a statistically significant sub set. What do you think you would do?
                  “Your honour, the testers published results acknowledge it was their experiment that led to psychosis in the plantiffs of this class action….”
                  So which scientists are going to risk ruin their own lives to prove a theory?

                  1. What a ridiculous “article”. Clearly this is a joke.
                    #5. Medical Marijuana is a legal EXCEPTION. It is not legal. You can (and will) still lose your job, your housing, government assistance, rights, and even your freedom.
                    #4. Marijuana IS a medicine. There is nothing very special about “medical marijuana”. It’s the same thing as “regular” marijuana, it’s just used for specific things. Is Aspirin not a medicine, since you can buy it without even going to the pharmacy?
                    #3. Nicotine is a poison. Tobacco kills. Cannabis does not. No comparison. And you don’t have to smoke cannabis to enjoy it. The best way to consume cannabis is vaporization, which produces little to no smell, and no second hand effects.
                    #2. Beer commercials are obnoxious, and promote dangerous activity. Soda commercials are obnoxious. Come to think of it, ALL advertising is obnoxious. In a smart society, we wouldn’t allow such advertising for alcohol, tobacco, big-harma products, caffeinated products, or fast food — but welcome to ‘merika.
                    #1. Again, welcome to ‘merika. You must be new here. In legal industries, people make money. The best cannabis will always be produced by small boutique growers that actually care about their products, just like wine.
                    And for the record, “decriminalizing” cannabis is stupid. It allows the market to get bigger without providing any legal way to supply that market. You have heard of supply and demand, haven’t you? It’s the sales and production of cannabis that cause all the current problems, not the users.
                    CANNABIS MUST AND WILL BE LEGALIZED. Get used to it.

                    1. Clearly, this is one of the dumbest, not well thought out arguments about weed I’ve seen for a very long time, if ever.
                      JUST LEGALIZE IT ALREADY!

                      1. All these reasons are exactly why I have no problem with it being legalized and heavily regulated. Make it legal, but definitely not a free-for-all. Keep it restricted and discreet.

                        1. #5 No it isn’t. I live in NY and buying pot is a f*****g pain, it’s over priced and can be dangerous
                          #4 Using something for fun doesn’t diminish its medical benefits or the people who use it for that reason. I simply don’t care about the public and its perception of what I do, smoking pot included.
                          #3 So what? People should use filters and people probably shouldn’t smoke pot in public areas.
                          #2 I don’t give two shits. Small price to pay for what is extreme convenience vs. extreme annoyance
                          #1. See #2. The people who get rich off weed right now aren’t saints. They use all sorts of chemicals to make those plants grow. I feel like your perception of the weed industry is purely ripped from films.
                          I cannot adequately express how much I loathe the sentiment in this article.

                          1. The rising popularity of small batch, craft beer leads me to believe that the conglomeration of weed growing wouldn’t necessarily destroy all of the local farmers. Frankly, it would seem like those consumers with “taste” would still by local just to avoid the generic big name stuff (just like drinking say, Rogue Dead Guy Ale as opposed to Miller Lite). Of course, then there would just be another group of pretentious people talking about “floral notes”, etc. etc. whilst describing their favorite brand.

                            1. The only problems with encouraging people to get medical marijuana for “bullshit” reasons is that it makes it more difficult for people who really do have those chronic illnesses like depression, fibromyalgia, MS, lupus, etc. to be taken seriously by doctors. And it strengthens the anti-marijuana crowd’s claims that no one on medical marijuana is truly ill or receiving any health benefits from it.
                              But I’ve always wondered whether legalization would really be that great of a set up, too. Rather than legalizing it, why not simply decriminalize it or make it a lower law enforcement priority?

                              1. #1 has me sputtering with excitement! Schadenfreude Overdrive!

                                1. #2 was one of the most obnoxious advertisements for anything I’ve ever seen, and I used to play Head On commercials on loop for the Nielsen Company.
                                  Right up until I played that video, I didn’t care one way or the other about dope legalization. Now, I realize the bleak and dystopian future that awaits us should it ever come to pass.

                                  1. WhyNo

                                    • +5

                                    Anyone else get the vaporizer ad at the bottom?

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