Delicious as it is, it is hard to make sense of such indignation. I have my own qualms about the empirical rigor of “addiction” as a biological and chemical phenomenon, but ask yourself how many potheads you know who smoke a joint once a year, as if it were Thanksgiving cranberry sauce or Dom Perignon. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has produced interminable, largely unread reports on something called “marijuana use disorders,” popularly known as smoking a ton of weed. “Marijuana use disorders,” according to this federal agency, “are often associated with dependence — in which a person feels withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug. People who use marijuana frequently often report irritability, mood and sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, and/or various forms of physical discomfort that peak within the first week after quitting and last up to two weeks.” This is a description of everyone’s college roommate working at Goldman who almost majored in outdoor rec and now has to get high every other weekend in the Hamptons to keep his life together.
But it is a mistake for upper-middle-class white people to assume that something they seem to enjoy without adverse consequences can be used safely by others lacking in social capital and, frankly, some of the life skills that allowed them to scale the ladders of meritocracy. In that sense, dope legalization is like free trade, lax immigration law, and the so-called sexual revolution, whose fruits have been blissful guilt-free sex — or so we thought: The post-Weinstein revelations about sexual harassment in Hollywood, Congress, and less rarefied workplaces are telling a different story — and delayed marriage for the wealthy and upper-middle class and the misery of broken homes and absent parents for those further down the economic ladder.