Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson is one of the most famous scientists living today. This week, he said that there’s “no reason” for marijuana to have ever been made illegal.
Tyson said this in response to a question submitted by Tom Angell of the marijuana legalization group Marijuana Majority:
“If you really analyze it, relative to other things that are legal, there’s no reason for it to ever have been made illegal in the system of laws.”
Tyson then added:
“Alcohol is legal, and it can mess you up way more than smoking a few J’s.”
He mirrors the late Carl Sagan in his views of marijuana usage. Sagan wrote in an anonymous essay:
“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”
Tyson once said in a Reddit AMA in 2015:
“I don’t count myself among active recreational drug users. For me, the least altered state of awareness I can achieve is the one I seek, because that one is most likely to be closest to reality.”
So, yes, you can support marijuana legalization without actually doing it regularly. His arguments for legalization are on sound scientific footing. Experts have found that marijuana is less harmful and less habit-forming than alcohol. It is also less of an impairment to driving and doesn’t cause as much violent behavior.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon placed marijuana in the highest level of federal prohibition against the advice of his marijuana task force, who said the drug isn’t that dangerous and didn’t need to be federally prohibited.
Tyson’s remarks are very similar to some made by former President Barack Obama in 2014:
“I don’t think [marijuana] is more dangerous than alcohol. As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life.”
It really needs to be legal across the country.
Featured image via Twitter.