The U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends billions each year to remind us that we’d be depressed, nauseous, headachey, and unable to have sex without their products. The U.S. alcohol industry pours billions into convincing us that a cold six-pack is a more precious and desirable commodity than a hot supermodel. In contrast, the U.S. medical marijuana industry mostly relies on stoned hypochondriacs to promote its wares via word of mouth. So far, that’s been an incredibly successful marketing strategy. But with hundreds of pot dispensaries both rolling in cash and looking to distinguish themselves in a crowded market, more of them are beginning to advertise. “Finally!” anti-marijuana advocates must be exclaiming around the country. “Some light at the end of the tunnel!”

 

For years, marijuana ads have been commonplace on TV. Between 1996 and 2006, the federal government More…

I’ve smoked a lot of weed in my day. Blunts with boys on stoops in bad neighborhoods, metal pipes with middle-aged Buddhists, roaches with an old man hooked up to an oxygen tank at a Dead concert, and gravity bongs made out of POM bottles. I would never classify my avocation as an addiction. But perhaps an appetite? Something old Aristotle might say is “the cause of all actions that appear pleasant”? I’d say so.

One would assume that a philosopher would approve of such appetites. Weed does, after all, inspire thinking, pondering, concluding — all that good stuff. But reading a line from his Rhetoric gave me a twinge of uneasiness, as though an assumed supporter no longer stood by me. He writes, “A ‘criminal act’ … is due to moral badness, for that is the source of all actions inspired by our appetite.”

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