Criminalize Coffee, Not Cannabis

America's real drug problem is our addiction to coffee says Robert Rosenthal, but that can be easily solved by turning all the coffee shops into marijuana dealers.

12.16.10 9:06 AM ET

There's only one solution.

It’s time to face the fact that we have a serious drug addiction in this country. Two-thirds of Americans are daily users. With it, they achieve a “buzz”, even referring to it as their "fix.” Without it, they experience severe withdrawal.

Criminalize coffee now.

More problematic yet is that caffeine is clearly a “ gateway” drug. You don't need fancy research reports to prove that a majority of those who innocently start their day with a cup of Joe inevitably move on to harder drugs. Like Prozac, Ambien, and Viagra.

As with any prohibition, over-stimulated, coffee-breath abusers will be understandably upset and deprivation will lead to desperation. But there is a compensatory antidote: trade in the caffeine for cannabis. And convert coffee shops into dispensaries.

Marijuana is medicine, after all. It’s an ironic coincidence that Willie Nelson was just busted for pot possession at the same time that conservative N.J. Governor Chris Christie approved the legalization of medical weed in the aptly named “garden state.” And unlike coffee, the heavenly homegrown is certainly no gateway to harder stuff. Judging by Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and Bob Marley, if grass is the gateway to anything, it’s long hair and hit records. Of any genre.

So instead of marching into Starbucks for a morning cup of brew, saunter in for a big bowl of bud. Rather than chugging Colombian Supremo, you’d be smoking Colombian Supremo. From mochaccino to Mary Jane, from jitter juice to joint, from java to ganja, say bye-bye barista, hello pot-ista. It gives a whole new meaning to doppio.

Savor the flavor of Pike Place Roast? Wait ‘til you try Maui Wauie. You think Juan Valdez grows good beans? His reefer’ll blow you away. French Roast, out. Panama Red, in. To hell with chai, toke on Thai. No more brewing a pot, smoke it instead.

Ours is a speedy, anxious, increasingly frantic culture, caught in the vicious grip of the drip. It’s high time we go caffeine free. The slogan claims, “America runs on Dunkin.” But it would “ fly on a fatty.”

They’ll just have to keep those munchkins coming.

Plus: Check out Hungry Beast, for more news on the latest restaurants, hot chefs, and tasty recipes.

Robert Rosenthal earned a professional culinary degree while president of a top global advertising agency. He has also performed stand-up in New York's hottest comedy clubs, hosted his own food programs on TV and radio and published articles in Cookie, Adweek, and Advertising Age, which calls him "undoubtedly one of the industry's most colorful characters."