America's Relationship with Marijuana

Monday, April 22, 2013

America has a love-hate relationship with marijuana. Millions of people use the drug but it remains mostly illegal. A journalist and self-professed marijuana enthusiast explores the country's dysfunctional relationship with cannabis and his own experience with the drug in a new book, "Marijuanamerica."  

Part travelogue, part analysis, author Alfred Ryan Nerz goes inside a medical marijuana dispensary and finds himself entrenched with a major West Coast dealer as he looks at the drug's effects on everything from physical pain to memory. Nerz also examines the move towards legalizing the drug and asks if "marijuana is hurting or helping us?"


Ryan Nerz

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer and Mythili Rao

Comments [4]


Ed from NYC, you are right about some things. Most people aren't uber-successful whether they use intoxicants or not, and most who do use them keep it under control enough that it has little or no effect on their performance in life. It is true though that heavy pot smokers usually aren’t the most successful people. There are some very successful "functional stoners" like there are functional alcoholics who are still very successful despite the fact that they drink way too much. I think being a heavy drinker is worse for your health though and more likely to make someone useless, just a burden on society. Moderation is important when it comes to vices like this.

Personally, I think it's dumb to be stoned all the time, or drunk. At a minimum I think it stunts your growth in life, mentally and emotionally. Moderate use that hurts no one else is no big deal though. It's your life. Do what you want as long as you don't hurt others or put them at great risk of harm. If you want to waste your time watching reality TV and get your morals from the Real Housewives series, I think you're rotting your brain it's your life. If you want to drink six pack after work, I think you're hurting yourself and you're probably not emotionally available for your family, but it's your life. If you want to smoke weed every night after work, it's pretty much the same as drinking, none of my damned business. It's your life.

I don't think it matters much whether marijuana is hurting us or helping us. It's a vice. For some it's medicine that helps them. Some may find that it helps with creativity or otherwise improves the quality of their lives. For most it's probably just an unhealthy vice. It's not meth though, not heroin. It's not causing a lot of crime. It' not alcohol which is behind most violent crime we see in courts. It's jut pot and not that big of a threat to us. The prohibition against it, on the other hand, is most definitely causing way more harm than good. It's an expensive mess that doesn't even put a dent in the supply or demand. It makes organized crime groups rich and funds other criminal enterprises. It makes it easier for drug trafficking organizations to get the hard stuff out because so many millions buy their pot from the same black market where these other drugs are offered. It causes all the problems Alcohol Prohibition caused and more. The question we should be asking is whether this particular prohibition helps us or hurts us, and whether pot is such a threat that it makes any sense at all to continue with this failed prohibition we should conclude does far more harm than good.

Apr. 22 2013 05:24 PM
CK from Yorktown

How is pot so much worse than alcohol? Seems to have very similar effects and in fact, some medical advantages. Why not legalize it, manage as alcohol is managed and taxed. I think the discussion is hypocritical considering how many (including legislators) have used it but want to keep it illegal. Silly.

Apr. 22 2013 03:08 PM
Ed from NYC

This writer confuses financial success and career success with life success. Because one is pulling down six figures and driving a BMW and smokes pot doesn't mean this person is fulfilled, happy and well-adjusted.

This is not to put down pot smokers but this is such shallow writing and shallow ideas about success. I bet evidence suggests that most regular pot smokers are not uber-successful financially and have life problems that are often associated with regular, consistent drug use.

This guy is just an advocate concerned with the upper tier and making money off of marijuana. He's a profiteer, not a reporter.

Apr. 22 2013 09:48 AM

Stop and frisk on Wall Street!

Apr. 22 2013 09:45 AM

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