David Brooks: 'Getting Stoned All the Time Is Not the Greatest Way to Spend Your Time'

David Brooks: 'Getting Stoned All the Time Is Not the Greatest Way to Spend Your Time'

New York Times columnist David Brooks elaborates on his column “Weed: Been There. Done That.” on Friday night’s broadcast of PBS’s “NewsHour.”

Partial transcript as follows:

BROOKS:Well, I think we probably will see it decriminalized. I’m not sure we will see it legalized. I am not super in favor of all the arrests that go on for people using marijuana.

But I — we will see how Colorado — Colorado works out. It is a good future of our system. It’s an experiment. We will figure out how it works. I have to say, I’m skeptical of it and I am dubious and I wouldn’t have supported it for a couple of reasons.

First, when you do get legalization, the price does collapse. It tends to collapse. You will get it much cheaper. If you have got much cheaper marijuana, more people will smoke it. And then you take away the legal penalties, more people are likely to smoke it. And so we will have states where more people are using marijuana.

Now, I’m not terrifically offended by it, but I do think there are a couple things to be worried about. One is, more teenagers will likely to spend it — and the science behind the teenage effect of marijuana use is pretty severe. It does have cognitive effects. It does lower I.Q. points over the long term. The addiction rates are much higher among teenagers than people who start as adults.

So that is a genuine health concern. And then the second thing, it’s — most of us age out of marijuana use, because it’s not that exciting when you find more serious and more uplifting pleasures. And so most people give it up as they hit middle age.

And I just would make the moral status argument that getting stoned all the time is not the greatest way to spend your time. And so it’s fine when you’re young. You can try it. And people want to try it periodically.

But I think the state through its laws should encourage a culture that discourages the use of marijuana on both moral grounds and health grounds.