Our world is overflowing with options on how to live your life, the only limit to your ambition being the depth of your pockets or the limit of your imagination. But then there is the ever-present boundary of morality.
Morals are simply inescapable. As long you walk this earth your will be subjected to someone or other’s beliefs regarding what they consider acceptable standards of behavior. You will be weighed and measured by their personal opinion. This opinion, as all of ours, will be shaped by firsthand experience and the information we choose to accept, reject or ignore. Some personal morals are so generic and shared amongst us that they shape the very fabric of our society. Murder and rape are so collectively frowned upon that we have laws against these acts, and rightly so. The act of harming or putting someone else in harm’s way should be discouraged.
The dagga debate has long evolved past the points of its potential harms to individuals and those around them. We now know for a fact that cannabis cannot be compared to the likes of alcohol or tobacco for one simple reason. While it is not a completely harmless substance to use, it does not pose anywhere near the same level of risk as our existing legal intoxicants do.
So what then is it that gets some people to so fiercely oppose its legalization? The crowd which appears to be standing tallest and shouting loudest against the current legalization efforts is a small minority of typically religious folk who see no room for cannabis in our world. Their view is mostly black and white, with a pinch of extremism. To them all dagga users are victims wallowing in poverty, substance abuse and madness. The thought of there being successful or just plain average cannabis users is sheer blasphemy. That as few as 30% of middle class South Africans consume dagga must have many of these prohibitionists frothing all over their bibles and wringing their rosary beads to breaking point. It’s odd how these folk regularly and repeatedly embarrass and shame themselves with outrageous views, much of which would have been considered morally consistent with society a few decades ago, but now reflect how out of touch they are with the norms of day to day South Africa in the 21st century.
One of the tragedies of these moral crusaders is the harm they do by brandishing their religion as a part of what makes them so special. I know a fare share of people who subscribe to one religion or another and they are nothing like the anti-cannabis lot. Yet our general view of them is tarnished by the acts of these few prohbitionists. Perhaps we will forgive them for they know not what they do.
Clearly what we are dealing with here is an inability to see past one’s outdated subjective belief system and instead accept a new socially acceptable moral standard. Anyone who supports the continued prohibition of cannabis displays a severe case of selective morals. I would go so far as saying it is quite immoral to consider someone a criminal or madman for at most harming themselves by smoking some grass.
In conclusion what we have here are a bunch of people who are suffering from self inflicted selective morals, which could turn into a nasty case of the immorals.
For more info on the local cannabis culture & movement: