It seems like just last week we were saying #ByePhylicia. Wait. . .that was last week. Anyway, last week I got a text that said 2 Chainz was on Nancy Grace. I looked at my phone. Then looked again and again. I kept thinking to myself “2 Chainz on Nancy Grace, that shouldn’t be a thing.” I later found out that 2 Chainz appeared on Nancy Grace to “debate” her about the legalization of marijuana. If you haven’t heard, Denver legalized marijuana. You must be over 21, you cannot drive under the influence or smoke in public. If you haven’t seen the interview check Rolling Stone.
Whenever I hear that rappers are going to appear on “news” shows I get nervous; very nervous. I have flashbacks to Cam’ron on Bill O’Reily. The only thing funnier than Nancy Grace attempting to recite 2 Chainz lyrics was the way 2 Chainz gave Ms. Grace a college educated read.
2 Chainz did an amazing job at giving you a picture of the forest. I’m here to give you the trees (see what I did there?). You know I have a degree in Criminal Justice. As part of that degree we had to pick a concentration; mine was sociology. That concentration is my motivation to give you some facts on this topic. Nancy and her hair helmet only had one basic point that I could discern. She played countless videos of parents giving marijuana to children and claimed that was evidence of why weed should not be legal, full stop. After all, if weed were legal every parent would just pass their kid a bong, right? Do you have to be hyperbolic full time to get on TV?
What is true, is that if weed were to be legalized, more people would use it. An increase in use does not however mean an increase in crime or abuse. Don’t believe me? Check out Social Control Theory aka Social Bond Theory which was first proposed by Travis Hirschi in 1969. The Theory contains 4 elements: attachment to others, commitment to obeying rules, involvement in community activities and common beliefs. Basically, if a person meets all or most of these elements, s/he will not be criminal. Remember how you were taught to never fight a person who has nothing to lose? This is basically the academic version of that notion. A person who has a career, family, belief in the law and obligations would not become a deviant if they starting smoking weed. They would be a person who smokes weed and has a career, family, belief in the law and obligations.
If sociological theories aren’t your wave, let’s go to 2 Chainz’s point about tax payer savings. The Huffington Post reported that as of January 2014, 27.6% of inmates were incarcerated for marijuana related crimes. According to Salon.com, each Rikers Island inmate costs $460 per day which totals over $167,000/year. If you need some perspective, tuition at my alma mater Northeastern University is $42,534 annually. Tuition at NYU is $45,602. Riddle me this, why is jail more expensive than college? More importantly why are the tax payers on the hook for it? I don’t know about you, but the way my bank account is set up makes this feel unfair. Aside from the direct financial consequences, there are so many downstream consequences to the families of people who are incarcerated.
You can’t discuss marijuana without discussing the old “gateway drug” theory. It’s not even a theory but allow me to give you the tea on it. Basically, there was once a study done on heroin users. It found that all the people who used heroin had also used marijuana. That made it seem like weed leads to dope; it doesn’t. The short story is, just because heroin users smoke(d) weed it does not follow that weed smokers will use heroin. The longer story is that the study’s results may have been compromised because heavy drug users were recruited. Additionally, heavy drug users may have affiliation with peers who use drugs or they may have been socialized into illicit drug subcultures (from informahealthcare.com).
If you think there are no positive consequences from legalizing marijuana, let’s look back to Denver. Since weed has been legalized, homicide is down 60% and property crime is down 9%. The government would generate over $8B in tax revenue if weed were legalized nationwide.
As I was preparing to write this, I started thinking about my drug of choice. . .alcohol. According to the CDC, 30 people die in drunk driving accidents everyday and alcohol related crashes cost $59B. In 2012 there were 3.3M deaths caused by alcohol worldwide. The National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence reported that 17.6M or 1 out of 12 will suffer from alcohol abuse. Over 10% of children will live with a parent who has an alcohol problem (NIAA). Looking at these stats I’m wondering what’s so special about weed? At worst, it’s just as bad as alcohol and we regulate alcohol.
Lately there have been a lot of discussions about media portrayal. I’m wondering if this “debate” was a failed set up. I’ve been re watching the Wire on Amazon Prime and everything looks like a setup but I think 2 Chainz on HLN was an actual setup. She thought she would be able to ruffle a rapper’s feathers because after all, what could Mr. All I want for my Birthday is a Big Booty ho know? From where I’m sitting, I still can’t see why Nancy Grace and her helmet hairstyle were so bothered. Is it because she had to speak to someone who used to be named Tity Boi? Does she have a secret drug-addict past buried by hairspray and history? Is it because the appearance was her Illuminati final test and she failed?
Did you watch the interview? What did you think of Mr. Chainz’s appearance? If weed became legal would you blaze? Comment below and let me know!