Many people today pose the question, why is alcohol legal but weed is still not? One glaring factor that stands out involving legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes is the inability to determine impairment and users banking on that fact.
The drug is federally considered a Schedule I drug. Still, each state is determining legislation for their jurisdiction, with most making marijuana legal for medicinal purposes and several allowing it to be legal recreationally as well. While the techniques for assessing impairment are lacking, driving under the influence arrests are prevalent.
People are not being responsible for their use; instead, they are getting behind the wheel with elevated THC levels in their system. Despite states legalizing the substance, driving impaired is still an arrestable offense, and using it publicly with it being a federally prohibited drug could technically bring charges.
A primary consideration before recreational legalization among states was the ability to gauge impairment, as is the case with alcohol use. When driving under the influence of alcohol, law enforcement has the authority to administer breathalyzer testing with drivers on the roadside, plus blood tests can measure the impairment.
Currently, measuring impairment from marijuana cannot effectively be tested. THC levels in the bloodstream can be determined through lab draws, but the indication is that impairment is not directly associated with these levels. Research is ongoing to establish tools comparable to the Breathalyzer to test for a driver’s marijuana impairment which is looking promising.
Unfortunately, people are of the mindset that stoned driving is less dangerous than drunk driving, getting behind the wheel with a false sense of being safe. Driving under the influence of weed is as hazardous as driving drunk; driving impaired in any capacity is unsafe.
Why Does Weed Remain Illegal But Alcohol Came Out Of Prohibition?
Sometimes the rules and regulations are full of contradictions creating confusion instead of making any sort of sense. That can be said for the laws that say alcohol, a substance that produces impairment, health concerns, and potential hazards, is legal, albeit marijuana, described comparably, is not. Consider what it means to legalize a substance.
When looking at the term in the literal sense, “legalizing” means the government is permitting its citizens to participate in its use without any repercussions. When considering the legalization of weed, legislators look at it in terms of recreational and medicinal purposes.
Recreational use is strictly for having a good time, and medicinal use assists with symptoms associated with a health condition. Alcohol legalization permits the usage of any spirits, beer, wine, and on.
In the same vein that marijuana is a psychoactive compound, alcohol is also psychoactive. This term refers to the fact that these substances alter the mind. Alcoholic beverages consist of ethanol produced from fermenting sources of alcohol like fruits or grains.
Countless variants exist with alcohol, but the broad categories include wine, spirits, and beer, with many subcategories. Innovative ways of consuming are constantly being created by producers, mostly because drinking is a primary component in many cultures associated with celebrations, festivals, and dining worldwide.
In Russia, it’s customary to have vodka, while the French enjoy dinnertime with a nice glass of wine, and the English prefer beer. The beverage can be a source of health-related ailments, particularly when overindulging. These conditions can include ulcers, liver disease, cancers, and on.
Alcohol is indeed a legal product, with all countries having their own guidelines on when drinking is permitted and the legal age to start drinking. In the US, a person must be 21, UK citizens must be 18, and in many areas in Europe, people must be 16. It is customary in most European countries for children to partake in a drink at dinnertime when young.
That means the first drink is not a harsh swallow but a relaxed and more effortless introduction when they come of age.
Why is alcohol legal when it is known to be responsible for thousands of deaths each year, creates aggressive and depressive behavior, and impairs a person making them a danger to themselves? It’s a centuries-old tradition, one passing from one generation, culture, class to the next.
Attempting to ban a historical substance will result in people finding a way to buy and sell, whether illegal or not, as the government saw with prohibition. But isn’t that true with marijuana?
You can essentially say relatively the same things about the herb, except perhaps the upper classes found the substance beneath them, associated with crime and “subclasses,” causing the government to ban it. They enjoyed champagne and spirits, keeping it legal, but weed didn’t make the cut because that society wanted it that way.
How Is Marijuana Viewed Now?
Marijuana had always had a stigma attached to it, carried from the days when it was banned. Nowadays, after remaining stagnant for years, the stigma is starting to release. It is still federally a Schedule I drug in the US. Still, states are being given the freedom to make their own legislation, with most legalizing weed medicinally and some doing so recreationally.
Many countries still deem it illegal. The UK legalized weed for medicinal purposes in 2018, but it is exceptionally expensive and challenging to get. Why is weed having such difficulty in gaining legalization when alcohol is legal? Weed is viewed as a drug. Technically alcohol is also a drug but seen in a separate category.
Marijuana is classed along the same lines as an illicit substance like ketamine, cocaine, and other harsh drugs. While marijuana is obviously safer than any of these and considered somewhat less dangerous than overindulging in alcohol, the only reason for weed to be illegal and alcohol to be legal is that that’s how the government wants it.
Cannabis has been unfairly associated with crime and found to be “anti-establishment,” considering protests against the war at Woodstock while enjoying the substance and the commencements on Hyde Park on April 20th each year to have some cannabis and protest whatever injustices are happening globally.
Perhaps this is some of the problems with legalizing cannabis; logic doesn’t seem part of the equation. Eventually, like alcohol, it will no longer be banned.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.