The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
A bag of marijuana being prepared for sale sits next to a money jar at BotanaCare in Northglenn, Colorado December 31, 2013. Proprietors of the first marijuana retailers licensed to sell pot for recreational use in Colorado, including BotanaCare, were busy rolling joints and stocking shelves with their leafy merchandise on Tuesday, ahead of a New Year A bag of marijuana being prepared for sale sits next to a money jar at BotanaCare in Northglenn, Colorado December 31, 2013. Proprietors of the first marijuana retailers licensed to sell pot for recreational use in Colorado, including BotanaCare, were busy rolling joints and stocking shelves with their leafy merchandise on Tuesday, ahead of a New Year's Day grand opening that marks a new chapter in America's drug culture. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY POLITICS DRUGS) - RTX16YCJ  

Why I’m against legalizing pot

Photo of David Lawrence
David Lawrence
Author, 'The King of White-Collar Boxing'

Yeah, that’s right; I’m a fairly hip guy who is against legalizing pot. Before most people had even heard of pot I was experimenting with it in 1963. I had just moved to Great Neck from East Meadow, Long Island. I was 16. I met a couple of seventeen year old losers who were in private school and they turned me on to grass.

I got high, dopey, and loopy; I laughed and ate a lot. It was a goof. This was before I heard of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. There was music in my ears like a sponge.

I had heard that pot led to harder drugs but I didn’t believe it. I thought that was the older generation trying to discourage us from smoking weed.

And perhaps pot doesn’t lead to harder drugs for a lot of people. Boxing doesn’t kill a lot of people. But it kills some. I used to poo-poo people who said you could get brain damage from boxing. Then I got a negative EEG. Do we need to sanction new vices and temptations? Must pot become societally sanctified? How do we profit from its potential negativity?

I followed the typical route of a young drug user. In about three months I was stealing Dexedrines, Benzedrines, and sleeping pills from my mom’s bathroom drawer.

I was also drinking Scotch to the point where I passed out. I hated the taste but I thought getting high was a badge of honor. I wanted to be cool. To impress a friend I snorted Clorox Bleach. I felt my lungs ripping out. I could have died.

When I told my mom that I was feeling kind of suicidal she sent me to a shrink. He straightened me out. He taught me that I didn’t have to be Mr. Cool. I went from straight D’s to straight A’s in school.

Pot had been part of my decline. Legalizing it is stupid. Just because alcohol is legal doesn’t mean we should legalize another damaging substance. The only justification is that it might not be worse than alcohol. Some endorsement.

In college I started experimenting again. I tried mescaline and had a bad trip. I went temporarily psychotic. I saw faces jumping out of walls. I stood on a city corner and couldn’t tell whether a red light meant stop or go.

The next time I smoked pot I had another bad trip like on mescaline. It scared me to death. I asked myself, “Why am I doing this?” That was thirty-five years ago and I never touched it again. You couldn’t pay me enough to smoke weed.

I realize that my reactions to pot were worse than most. But why should we risk even a small number of our youth going up in smoke?

The eighties were the cocaine era. I was in the insurance business and the young executives used to do lines in each other’s offices. I picked up the habit for about a year until I started getting nervous, sweaty, and paranoid. I bought two thousand dollars’ worth of coke for my last fling.

Instead of putting it up my nose I flushed it down the toilet. I taught myself the lesson that it was too expensive to pursue this habit and I never touched coke again.