Smoking marijuana is as accepted as the word 'damn'

Arizona Daily Wildcat


A joint costs about $5, only a buck and some change more than a pack of cigarettes. You can get marijuana for a few cents more than tobacco. How refreshing it is to know the laws of supply and demand have pushed prices down on illegal drugs as well.

"'I smoke weed with my dad,'" Nicole, who is now 16, says in an Oct. 10 New York Times story. "'Obviously he feels fine about it. Since I started smoking weed, we've become a lot closer.'"

So, kids have to smoke pot to get closer to parents who allow it and even smoke with them. What a sad commentary on the state of some parents' values. It takes marijuana to build relationships with children? It takes a substance that destroys motivation and brain cells? It takes a reliance on illegal drug use to bring some families together?

This is just one illustration of how smoking pot is becoming an acceptable habit. Marijuana use is now considered by a lot of kids as a rite of passage, and breaking the law has become too damn acceptable.

But today's kids are a product of the baby boom, and today's parents are a product of an age where drug use was accepted as a rite of passage, where getting high was glorified. What's to stop curious kids from trying the same things their parents did when they were younger? Why shouldn't today's kids be getting that same high their parents did 30 years ago? "My parents did it, why can't I?" they say.

The social acceptance of marijuana use can easily be compared to the acceptance of profanity. Words like "bitch" and "damn" appear on television screens and kids get the idea that swearing is cool. "My favorite actors do it, why shouldn't I?" they say.

Take a walk around campus and you'll hear "fuck you" more than "how are you." The more people swear, the more it becomes an acceptable behavior, and smoking pot has entered the same unpatrolled airspace.

The New York Times reported on a 1995 federal survey released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration saying that the number of teen-agers using marijuana has nearly doubled since 1992. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University said that by the time young people turn 17, 62 percent know someone who uses marijuana.

But looking at statistics is not even necessary to realize that America is accepting marijuana usage as a part of growing up. There are statistics that say drug use is going up, and there are those that say it's going down. But just look around the corner at a friend of yours, and chances are, you'll be staring a joint in the face.

"A 16-year-old boy in Bronxville, N.Y. said he could find marijuana by walking a mile in any direction from his high school," the Times reported. "Angel, 17, said it is sold under the counter in groceries and flower shops around his South Bronx neighborhood in New York City."

It might even be understandable that today's kids are wanting to experiment. With a president that openly admitted he tried marijuana but didn't inhale, it seems logical that kids would want to follow in the footsteps of their country's esteemed leader. H ell, on MTV in June 1992, Clinton quipped that if he tried marijuana again, he would inhale.

Thanks, Bill, for reinforcing the notion that drug use is acceptable. Just like airplane passengers can be arrested for joking about bringing bombs onto airplanes, Clinton should have been removed for even coming close to advocating the use of an illegal drug to an audience of teens ready and willing to experiment.

It's pitiful, but the fact is, Americans never considered kicking him out for that, because they respected his "honesty" and candid approach to his use of marijuana.

Well, Bill, those in the know say that drug use among teen-agers has doubled since 1992. Be proud and smoke out with your new recruits. Have a joint, inhale, and make sure Chelsea gets one too.

Adam Djurdjulov is a journalism senior and Wildcat opinions editor. His column, 'Airing it Out,' appears Mondays.