“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous,” wrote astrophysicist and OG TV science guy, Carl Sagan in 1971.
When the mustachioed badass of science, Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked this week by Chuck Nice, Co-Host of “Star Talk,” if he agreed with his “Cosmos” hosting predecessor that cannabis should be legalized, the professor dropped the hammer on decades of baloney.
“Relative to other things that are legal, there’s no reason for it to ever have been made illegal in the system of laws,” Professor Tyson said, adding that “Alcohol is legal and it can mess you up way more than a few J’s.”
“I can tell you’ve never smoked weed in your life,” mocked Nice at Tyson’s (maybe slightly outdated) turn of phrase.
“The last time I was in a cloud of it,” Tyson explained, “that’s how people spoke.”
Tyson, however, didn’t really have to explain a thing. Scientists are not known for being particularly cool, and there are so few who have broken through the curtain of public indifference.
True, the wild-haired-tongue-sticker-outer Albert Einstein became a pop-culture icon, and Stephen Hawking is a legit celeb, but no one else rocks the smooth, Lando Calrissian-esque charm of NdGT.
This is important, because the cannabis legalization movement needs respected voices with gravitas from outside of partisan politics to speak up, even if they are not personally cannabis consumers.
Not to take anything away, but it’s not like deGrasse Tyson had to be all that brave. He does have the support of, pretty much, the entire public health community when it comes to comparisons of marijuana to booze: The consensus claims cannabis is responsible for less addiction, less dangerous driving, less violent behavior, and fewer symptoms of poor health.
And, it seems, we agree.
According to a Quinnipiac poll published Aug. 3, a large majority of Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 believe cannabis should be completely legal in the United States, while an overwhelming 94 percent of voters support medical marijuana. The same poll proposes that 75 percent of respondents are fully opposed to the federal government trampling on the rights of states who have democratically legalized cannabis.
Sagan suggested that prohibition hasn’t exactly been making the best of a tool that “helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”
Will science (and cannabis) prevail in a country where a percentage of the voting populace believe global warming is fake news, chemtrails are real, vaccines cause autism and the world is flat?
Only time will tell. That is, if time itself isn’t a hoax.