Neal Smith


Ok, so, who smokes Marijuana? Who really thinks they can identify a “Stoner” by the clothes they wear, the music they listen to, their job (or lack thereof), their station in life or their lifestyle? Do only “Hippie types” smoke pot? What about doctors, lawyers, judges, business professionals? What about politicians? Or, is everyone who smokes Marijuana akin to Cheech and Chong?

Stereotyping is a part of human nature, steeped in tribal associations going back thousands of years. Stereotypes also contain at least a little bit of truth. But the human animal is too diverse, too willing to cut their own individual paths to stay to anybody’s personality assessment of themselves. That’s another one of those pesky human traits…a stereotype, if you will.

Marijuana doesn’t make you something you’re not already. If you’re motivated in life, take your responsibilities seriously, and want to make a positive contribution to society and you smoke Marijuana, you’ll likely continue on that path, probably with a better attitude. If you’re lazy and don’t mind living hand-to-mouth and smoke Marijuana, you’ll probably continue in that lifestyle. Marijuana doesn’t change the basic person you are.

Remember the claim that Marijuana kills brain cells? It’s not true. In fact, there are several studies that show Marijuana helps to protect brain cells.  Using Marijuana does not alter one’s mental capacities. There is also no evidence that Marijuana is a factor in causing amotivational syndrome.  Not much has been written on Amotivational Syndrome in the last several years. A 1971 study produced information that

Heavy smokers and light smokers of marijuana were comparedfor general psychological health, stable personality traits,changes in personality induced by long-term use of marijuana,effects of multiple drug use, and the “amotivational syndrome”that is said to result from heavy use of the drug. Results didnot indicate any overall pattern of excess psychopathology foreither group, although significant differences were found inlevels of depression and organicity and in various personalitytraits. The findings suggest that heavy use of marijuana maybe related to already existing depression and that impairedmotivation may be a manifestation of depression rather thana consequence of frequent mairjuana use.

So, what does a “Stoner” look like? There’s no way to make a simple, straight-forward description. Some wear three-piece suits, others, blue jeans. Long hair on a man doesn’t mean a pot smoker underneath.  Nor does working in a profession preclude the idea of coming home to a joint rather than a martini.

In spite of his backtracking on the issue, President Barack Obama admitted to smoking pot. During his 2008 campaign, he told a reporter that in his youth he smoked pot: “…I inhaled. That was the point.” Like him or hate him, he smoked Marijuana and became President of the United States. George W. Bush admitted to smoking pot. Even though Bill Clinton famously said he “Didn’t inhale,” numerous reports state he did at least during his tenure as Governor of Arkansas.  While there is some dispute, there is some pretty good evidence that John F. Kennedy smoked Marijuana to relieve his back pain. Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said: “Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica.” George Washington and Thomas Jefferson exchanged letters discussing their Hemp crops, including separating male and female plants to increase potency. It would seem that a number of U.S. Presidents have some experience with Marijuana.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also publicly admitted smoking Marijuana. He was asked by a New York Magazine reporter if he had ever smoked Marijuana and Bloomberg replied “You bet I did and I enjoyed it!” Not your “Cheech and Chong” kind of pot smoker by any stretch of the imagination.

Former New Mexico Governor and 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Gary Johnson has smoked Marijuana for multiple broken bones and severe pain following a 50-foot fall while paragliding. Speaking in 1999, Governor Johnson said:

“The nation’s so-called War on Drugs has been a miserable failure. It hasn’t worked. The drug problem is getting worse. I think it is the number one problem facing this country today . . . We really need to put all the options on the table . . . and one of the things that’s going to get talked about is decriminalization . . . What I’m trying to do here is launch discussion.”

Scientists, inventors, journalists, musicians and learned people of many stripes have smoked Marijuana.  Astronomer, scientist and astrochemist Carl Sagan admitted smoking Marijuana daily. He said of Marijuana:

“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”

Talk show host, former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander and motivational speaker Montel Williams smokes Marijuana as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis.

“Marijuana may not work for everyone, but what it has done for me is given me my life back,” Williams told the Frederick News-Post.

Famous Musicians going back to the early 20th century smoked Marijuana. Cab Calloway, Benny Goodman and others wrote and performed songs praising Marijuana. Louis Armstrong refused to perform unless he was stoned. And does anyone need to see a cite to know that musician Willie Nelson, who has helped save family farms, doesn’t smoke Marijuana? Actors by the score report smoking pot. And America’s “Most trusted man” Walter Cronkite reported using Marijuana to fight cancer. Mike Wallace used it throughout his life to battle depression.

Millions of Americans, from all walks of life and socioeconomic circumstances use Marijuana and live peaceful, productive lives. Sure, there are people whose main goal in life is to avoid anything that might make them have to do something with their lives; always has been, always will be. It can’t be proven that Marijuana causes this attitude, and it may be a result rather than a cause.

To sum: We’ve seen several examples of presidents and other political leaders, journalists and a military leader who smoked Marijuana. They are hardly amotivated, couch potato-type losers. Sure, there are those who waste their lives. But are they losers because they smoke pot, or do they smoke pot because they can’t face their own weaknesses?

Regardless, spending of Billions of dollars nationwide to investigate, arrest, convict and incarcerate Marijuana users makes no sense. It would be far better to tax, regulate and control Marijuana like alcohol. It would give government a new tax base and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in new industries. Everyone wins.