>Apparently April 20th is officially “Pot Day.” Ryan Grim over at The Huffington Post has an interesting article about the origins of the whole “420” thing that, from its position as something of a cultural phenomenon, is worth reading. Hell, there are articles today all over the place about pot smoking, medical marijuana, the status of the legalization movement, etc. Also over at Huffington Post, former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper has a post about why members of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) feel pot, among other drugs, should be legalized. I recently read an article from The Economist that compared statistics from prohibition countries vs. non-prohibition countries that debunked a lot of the myths about it. There is also a case to be made that a lot of the violence, particularly in Mexico, would be eliminated if we put an end to this ludicrous “War on Drugs.” A statistic I heard on the radio was that 70% of the multi-billion dollar drug trade in Mexico is comprised of marijuana being shipped to the USA. So it seems to me that if you are a pot smoker in this country, unless you grow it yourself there is probably a pretty fair chance there is some drug cartel blood on your hands when you fire up.
I have mixed feelings about prohibition. On the one hand, I think it’s ridiculous that alcohol is legal and pot is not; the Stamper piece elucidates why quite succinctly. I say legalize all this shit and tax the bejeezus out of it; prohibition really isn’t stopping the people who want to do it from doing so. I was disappointed that President Obama was so flippant when asked about the effect that legalization might have vis-a-vis our economic woes.
Personally, I think he’s dead wrong. Not only would the taxation of pot and other drugs generate tons of revenue, but eliminating the asinine ban on growing hemp for its multitude of uses would also be an avenue for generating income. It’s ridiculous.
All that said, I am no fan of marijuana. I’ve never tried it myself (I’ve never taken any illicit drugs at all, for that matter). I’ve never had any interest, nor do I now. When I was younger, I was pretty judgemental about it, and I have to admit that, to a degree, after some years of not feeling that way it is starting to creep back into my psyche. Probably because I have a teenager facing the hurdles of growing up in what seems a cloud of it everywhere but home. There seems to be a glorification of it everywhere I look now — on TV, in music, the “loveable stoner” archetype that dominates pop culture. It scares me the roads he could take, because I know many, many people who have turned their lives upside down with something as simple as pot smoking. If it weren’t illegal, a lot of that would change . . . but I don’t care what anyone says, the habitual smokers I’ve known have been every bit as addicted to it as anything else, and as unwilling to give it up in the face of their best interests (even if that best interest is called “probation”). I don’t like being around people who are stoned. I don’t dislike it as much as I dislike being around people who are utterly wasted on alcohol (and I have been there myself, once), but it still adjusts a personality such that the person I am face to face with isn’t the one I probably became friends with in the first place. I don’t like that. I have had, and currently have, co-workers who were/are regular stoners outside of work who are difficult to work with because they just can’t seem to remember shit. Coincidence? Perhaps, and I’m willing to accept a charge that they are being judged by my own bias, but usually my exasperation in these situations has already been tweaked long before I learn of their proclivity for getting stoned. The last all ages show we did was the last simply because of the steady stream of kids coming in that reeked of weed. I hate standing in line at the video store behind some kid in a stained hoodie, baked and reeking, renting a stack of video games and a couple boxes of candy. It breaks my heart, to be honest.
It’s an adult thing, and I think adults should be allowed to do what they want provided no one is getting hurt. I wouldn’t partake even if it was legal. But to deny the risks of people getting hooked on pot and coming up short as productive members of a society is, to me, every bit as ludicrous as making it illegal in the first place. Some people can deal with it. A lot can’t. I’m not saying people shouldn’t have the choice, but to try and paint it as some beautiful, earthy thing that “connects one to nature” is a crock. Maybe that’s your experience, but it ain’t everyone’s.
The Digital Detox Challenge
This from Adbusters:
Computer screens, iPods, TVs, phones and the dozens of other devices we’re cybernetically attached to are so pervasive that we can’t escape them. We live them, we breath them, we need them … Or do we?
On Monday, April 20, Adbusters challenges you to do the unthinkable: unplug. Say good-bye to Twitter and Facebook. Turn off your TV, iPhone and Xbox. Reconnect with the natural world and the people around you. You’ll be amazed at how the magic creeps back into your life.
Go to www.adbusters.org for inspiration, articles, videos, posters and more. Next Monday, don’t be afraid and don’t find excuses … take the plunge and see what happens.
After a weekend out of town with no email, no computer, no TV, no iPod, and very little phone (Sid called me twice), I am more convinced than ever that I am going to do this. Coming back, even after being in a city, and even though I was only gone a couple days, was a shock. So since I can’t unplug during the day because my (current) job requires a lot of plug-in, I am going to practice this little exercise outside of the hours of 7:00 AM (when work starts) to 4:30 PM (when it ends). After that, no electronic bullshit. We’ll see how it goes.
I think I’ll journal old school, then scan what I wrote and upload it to my blog while I’m at work. Or not. We’ll see.
Here’s a picture of an obnoxious seagull demanding potato chips: