The Atlantic would have you believe that marijuana ruins families. One of their recent articles by a writer using the pseudonym Leah Allen tugs at the heart strings of anyone reading. It talks of abuse -- both substance and physical. It discusses a father, absent from his family, continually messing up both his own and their lives. And it talks about his obsession with marijuana -- growing, smoking, cultivating. But, let's for a moment consider the situation better by replacing the word marijuana in this writer's prose with another substance of the legal variety this time. You tell us if it doesn't make sense:
"That fear came most palpably for us while my dad was driving. He was likely to get distracted by other cars, by songs on the radio, or, in later years, by photos on his phone, sometimes turning his attention completely away from the wheel. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that [alcohol] more than doubles a driver’s risk of being in an accident. Many of our road trips ended early with broken-down cars left on the side of the road. On good days, my dad would forget to fill them with gas or change the oil. On bad days, he would nudge into something and a tire would go.
The anxiety hit us when we considered all the implications. What if our dad got caught? What if he went to jail again? This happened sporadically throughout my childhood -- there were unmarked weeks or months where my dad would disappear. Even today, I don’t know the exact charges. We don’t talk of these things.
We were ashamed of his habit. It was the elephant in the room, the omnipresent thing we could never discuss. We were confused when he forgot us and hurt that he didn’t love us enough to quit [drinking] once and for all."
Or how about this one?:
"That was the same year my dad forgot us. He always had a spotty memory, a well-documented side-effect of [alcohol]. Pick-up times were regularly missed by several hours. Dinners -- half-cooked, half eaten -- were left in the microwave or on the stovetop. Birthdays brushed by unnoticed. Once he remembered my birthday two years in a row and sent the same CD both times."
If we're being completely honest here, it is very clear that this writer's father had a substance abuse problem. While tragic, that cannot be pinned onto marijuana. If there was never such thing as marijuana, do you really think he wouldn't have found something else? Substance abuse is a real problem, but not a problem with the availability of any one substance. It is a psychological problem that has to be addressed within oneself. This article could very well be called "My Dad Will Never Stop Drinking." Our hearts are with you Leah Allen, but please refrain from trying to hijack the marijuana debate with your father's personal issues.