Sometime ago I read a post proposing the idea that cannabis should be treated just like alcohol from a regulatory standpoint. The author proposed nationwide legalization followed by limited regulation at both the federal and state levels. His idea was basically to apply the current rules for alcohol to cannabis.
He went on to discuss what the new cannabis landscape would look like. I admit that his assessment was fair and probably accurate. But I would like to offer a different take. Rather than looking exclusively at regulations, what would everyday life look like if we treated cannabis just like alcohol?
Pot in Grocery Stores
One of the first things I thought of when considering my new take on the ‘treat cannabis just like alcohol’ idea was availability. I used to live in upstate New York where wine and spirits could not be sold in grocery stores. You could only get beer and hard cider with your groceries. Liquor stores carried the hard stuff. Where I now live in central Florida, alcohol of all types is available at the grocery store.
What if cannabis were treated just like alcohol? Would my local market have to open an entirely new marijuana section? We already have four or five aisles devoted just to wine. There need to be just as many marijuana varieties out there. But would it even be practical to take marijuana out of dispensaries?
There is also the question of what to do with marijuana in states that only allow medical consumption. Utah is one such state. According to BeehiveFarmacy.com in Brigham City, all cannabis purchased in Utah must come from a state licensed pharmacy. Would those pharmacies go away if we treated cannabis just like alcohol?
Driving Under the Influence
Thinking about grocery shopping at a market that carries both alcohol and marijuana led me to the next concern: driving under the influence. It is already a problem. Multiple states have instituted severe penalties for driving under the influence of cannabis. I’m guessing it’s not such a huge problem in the Beehive State, given the fact that only medical cannabis is allowed. It is probably a bigger problem in neighboring states like Colorado and Arizona.
I need to believe that treating cannabis just like alcohol would lead to more instances of driving under the influence. We already know that alcohol and cars do not mix. In fact, they kill people when they are combined. There would be no reason to suspect that things would be any different with marijuana.
Marijuana, Travel, and Entertainment
Continuing my journey into a world in which cannabis was treated just like alcohol, I was reminded of a recent cruise experience. We sailed on a family-friendly cruise line to avoid the party atmosphere. However, my wife and I did visit the adults-only deck once. What did we find? Countless people enjoying the sun and water with drinks in hand.
I don’t mind people drinking. It is their business. But I don’t drink, and I don’t enjoy being the only non-drinker in a crowd of hundreds of people. What if cannabis were just like alcohol? Would my next cruise include an entire deck devoted to alcohol and booze? Nothing would surprise me.
I guess what I am getting at is this: I don’t understand the world’s love affair with alcohol. Likewise, I do not know why it needs to play such an important role in so many people’s lives. I fear that treating cannabis just like alcohol would only give people yet another reason to spend time getting intoxicated. I just don’t get it.