Cannabis News Students for Sensible Drug Policy
  Today's Marijuana Naysayers May Be Blowing Smoke
Posted by FoM on April 02, 2001 at 14:14:20 PT
By Jeff Mahoney  
Source: Hamilton Spectator  

cannabis They used to tell us that marijuana would lay waste to a whole generation, making it feeble and soft, albeit with the lung capacity to inhale like pearl divers. We'd be ripe pickings for the Soviets. The Red Army would enslave the world while we all stood idly by saying, "Wow, bad scene."

Well, that's not what happened. Ironically, the generation that smoked all that pot turned out to be the most fiercely energetic, acquisitive, unmellow son-of-a-bitch generation that the free enterprise system has ever produced. It got the munchies.

The Soviets would be the ones who rolled over. Who would have guessed it? Marijuana has never been able to live up to the negative hysteria its critics have tried to whip up for it. Drugs and the drug trade have certainly taken their toll on individual lives and on society as a whole, a toll which cannot be minimized. But no one has ever been able to convincingly establish that marijuana itself is any worse than, say, alcohol. It certainly does not appear to be as addictive as alcohol, or anywhere near as costly and injurious in terms of lives and families shipwrecked over it.

Yet marijuana remains on the books, and alcohol is freely sold and advertised. The hysteria persists -- though now it seems to be more of a rearguard, almost fatalistic hysteria, in contrast to the kind of pre-emptive hysteria of pot's critics in the '60s. Those now opposed to the legalization of marijuana seem to sense that some kind of large, seismic shift is at hand in the public's institutional response to the drug, a shift in the openness and outward expression of the public's tolerance and in its thinning patience with laws that no longer seem terribly practical, fair or relevant.

In the last few months especially, events have really begun to shape themselves into some kind of showdown. First, in the last federal election, we had something called The Marijuana Party. And south of the border, several states voted in propositions calling for the legalized selling of marijuana for medicinal purposes -- the California proposition is now being challenged before the Supreme Court.

In Canada, the laws against the selling of marijuana are also being challenged before our Supreme Court, by an Ontario man who uses the drug for medicinal purposes.

There are many fronts on which the marijuana lobby is pressing its advantage, but nowhere do they see a more promising wedge than on the medicinal-use front. I think they are calculating that once they get past that hurdle, they're home free. And they're probably right.

Perhaps that's why the U.S. Justice Department is fighting so fiercely against the California proposition. Its lawyer recently argued that marijuana's medicinal benefits are anecdotal only and that there is no basis for its use as a treatment or a relief, that allowing what amounts to marijuana pharmacies opens the doors to " charlatans." Yes, charlatans, as opposed, to the legitimate, accredited professionals who are selling the stuff on the street where sick people will presumably have to get it if the state proposition is struck down.

The federal government decided to pursue the case on a civil basis rather than criminally because it knew it could probably never get a jury that would oppose the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

That reckoning reflects just how profound the shift in public opinion has been. Of course it is a shift that has been building for decades.

There has long been a vigorous marijuana counter-culture. Right here in Hamilton we have had Brother Walter and his Church of the Universe, which accords hemp a sacramental status. When that counter-culture surfaced from the underground, it did so largely on the strength of its potential as comedy material. Cheech and Chong, that kind of thing.

But then, more and more, so-called head shops began to flourish openly in the economy. And, increasingly, Hollywood has produced mainstream movies and even TV shows in which the casual enjoyment of marijuana is portrayed in an almost positive, or at least non-judgmental, light.

And the outright stoner, or pothead, has become a kind of stock figure of gentle, comic amusement rather than contempt.

When public figures of the stature of a Stockwell Day and a Bill Clinton admit to trying marijuana, when even George W. Bush admits to using cocaine, you know that something is starting to give way in the brave front of society's "official" anti-marijuana posturing.

Why are we loath to admit it? Almost everyone of a certain age tried marijuana, at least once, and generally, they didn't go screaming mad. And many, many people among us still use it frequently, even grow it in their homes. All kinds of people -- business executives, arch conservatives, stock exchange types, the ones who turned the economy hydroponic. It cuts across all kinds of lines.

Just look on the Internet. There are thousands of marijuana sites. They gleefully tell you how to build your own water pipe out of plastic pop bottles and bits of tubing. They share dictionaries of pot slang -- flower tops, shake, blunts, shotgun. They recommend good games to play when stoned, like Ganga Farmer, a video game featuring a gun-toting Rastafarian on top of a microbus, "protecting his crop" from federal agents swarming in by helicopter and parachute.

Don't misunderstand me. Marijuana is bad for you. Inhaling it scorches your lungs and throat. You're far better off not smoking it, than smoking it. But the same can be said of alcohol, cigarettes, even potato chips.

They're not illegal. We don't waste billions of dollars trying to run down the people who use and sell them.

What we should do is legalize pot, and tax it to the skies. At least then we could regulate its traffic, control quality and cost, get it out of the hands of organized crime and into the hands of huge, respectable corporations which we can then sue into the ground when we determine that marijuana use is making us sick.

They'll have to put horrible pictures and warnings on the marijuana cigarette packages. The whole thing will be totally deromanticized and consumption will go way, way down.

Everything's backwards. The people who hate marijuana should push for its legalization if they really want to squash it, not tell alarmist lies about it, which make people resent them and distrust everything they say.

Those who love it should oppose legalization because a big part of its appeal is its forbiddenness, the sub-culture humour that the taboo engenders, and the feeling it gives them that they're "rebels," like Woody Harrelson or Bob Marley.

Complete Title: Pot's Coming To a Boil Today's Marijuana Naysayers May Just Be Blowing Smoke

Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Author: Jeff Mahoney
Published: March 31, 2001
Copyright: The Hamilton Spectator 2001
Contact: letters@hamiltonspectator.com
Website: http://www.hamiltonspectator.com/

Related Articles & Web Site:

The Compassion Club
http://www.thecompassionclub.org/

Not a Tokin' Freedom
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread9074.shtml

Supreme Court To Hear Constitutional Challenge
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread9019.shtml


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Comment #5 posted by Cuzn Buzz on April 04, 2001 at 09:15:55 PT:

JAZZ PLAYERS
Actualy marijuana prohibition never was about marijuana.
It was about Jazz players.
More specificaly negro jazz players.
America used to be much more racist than it is today.
The races got to mingling at places where negro jazz players played.
You almost can't get a good negro jazz player on stage without him burning a bit of the herb first.
Lots of white folks enjoyed the music of the negro jazz players, and started hanging out at clubs where the negro jazz players were performing. Some of the patrons of the clubs enjoyed the herb, and being kind hearted souls, introduced many young white people to the git down ganja.
When the young white people listened to the music after smoking, it seemed more intense, more beautiful...better.
This of course led to dancing.
It was noticed that certain young white women would not only dance with negroes at the jazz clubs, but they would also take a puff from a marijuana cigarette after a negro jazz player passed it to them.
Lordy...who knows what else might have been going on!
In the political climate of those times this was incendiary stuff. Jazz music, negroes and whites mingling, people having fun...oh the horror.
A bunch of constipated clan members in positions of authority decided those patrons of the negro jazz clubs were just plain having too much fun, and decided they'd wipe the smiles off those faces....and anyway, if negro jazz players like smoking marijuana it's a safe bet that untalented negroes enjoy it too, so a law against marijauna could also be used to control negroes, race mixing, dancing, jazz, and who knows what other sorts of things.
And so we have been treated to decades of control of people, places, thought, ect. by the small minded bigots who made laws, more small minded bigots who enforced them, and more small minded bigots who told them they were doing "tha lords work", and patted them on the back for "a job well done".
What WERE we thinking?


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Comment #4 posted by MDG on April 03, 2001 at 10:31:40 PT
Oh, come on...
As long as I can remember, I've always been opposed to sports. But, I'd be happy to "play" a round of golf if I was allowed to burn one down at each tee. I guess it'd be "Tee(HC) time". Anyway, just think how funny it would be to use a "putter". Of course, I'd probably forget where the hell I hit the ball.
Mike...


[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #3 posted by r.earing on April 03, 2001 at 07:26:23 PT:

NOW I'm scared of pot!
Minutes ago i was puffing happily.Then I read this article.Holy Smokes...what if pot turns you into a greedy baby boomer hypocrite golfer!A whole generation started out with a nice counter culture vibe,then blam,they're all jabbering into cell phones trying to sell Nortel stock.This could be worse than the old line about men growing boobs.I'd rather have a nice rack than CARE about how Tiger Woods is doing on THE tour!Maybe pot use is a stepping stone to investment banking!Arrgh! Thanks for ruining it for me.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by dddd on April 02, 2001 at 21:50:46 PT
'thank ya mam'
Yup,,,The Marijuana question is the 'monster in the closet',for the
infinitesmal group of antis,who are desperately trying to revive the
morbid corpse of prohibition,and all the phony baggage that goes with
it.

It always amazes me to hear people try to defend Marijuana prohibition.These
people come in two different forms;

In the first category,we have the sad brainwashed ignorant,but perhaps
innocent people who have bought into the hysteria,and twisted facts of the
anti cults.........

Then we have the actual purveyors of deception,who are aware of the absurd
nature of their position,but their livelyhood is dependent upon maintaining the
hysterical villification of the sweet leaf......These are the evil shitheads who
make it really hard not to hate......But I think that most everyone who is involved
with trying to change the absurd laws against marijuana,are above hate,or
revenge......................JAH is no secret.........................


dddd


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Comment #1 posted by aocp on April 02, 2001 at 18:08:29 PT
Speaking volumes
Everything's backwards. The people who hate marijuana should push for its legalization if they really want to squash it, not tell alarmist lies about it, which make people resent them and distrust everything they say.

Wham, bam, you know the rest. Two things: (1) what if the antis don't really want to squash it? What if MJ prohibition is just a tool to keep something more sinister at work in business? (2) This will backlash and as Kap is always saying, i'd get out of the way of the wave when it hits. The foxholes the antis are in are just gonna drown 'em.

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