12/6/12= 4:20, 24/7? Today it’s a day to celebrate the end of marijuana prohibition, at least in Washington State. Denver waits in the wings as its Recreational marijuana law goes into effect. The law in Washington
stipulates that pot is not be smoked in public, but don’t expect that to stop anyone as the police policy is a verbal warning. What Better time than now to review our nations massively misguided and completely failed drug policies than now? Today the war on drugs took a strange turn. It’s not unlike when World War 1 nearly ground to a halt years ahead of schedule when average soldiers from both sides were so disdainful of the war they basically formed gentleman’s agreements and stopped fighting. In this case that agreement manifests in the fact that you only need to
abstain from pot long enough to make ‘good pee’ top get a job. It also manifests is a quiet agreement among most Americans that your just not going to rat out your pot guy or your pot dealing neighbors adult son so long as he gives you a decent count and doesn’t turn your street into a pot drive-through. Call it indifference or willful ignorance, the fact is people just have other things to worry about then getting involved in a police investigation that will likely result in nothing more than a pissed off neighbor who has been inconvenienced by a ticket who now hates your guts for being a tool for the man. I have experienced completely legal recreational marijuana use in my trips to Amsterdam. It’s a real thrill the first few times a cop nods a polite hello as you blaze away at a sidewalk café in the Red Light District. After you get over the learned desire to run for your life it’s a lot of fun. Now that it’s legal in some places shouldn’t it be legal everywhere? Are people in Washington State any more or less American that everyone else? How can one carry an ounce of weed in a few feet and suddenly go from citizen to criminal or vice versa without actually traveling to another nation? Medical Marijuana is subject to equally ridiculous laws, but do provide a small amount of protection for prescription holders who commute. Your cool in the airport and I would suppose the train station, but then you’re totally subject to local laws.
Unrealistic “Just Say No” Policy
The War on Drugs is a complete failure. First a generation of Reagan era teens found out just say no was so far over the top that they ignored the entire message to the point where it became a joke. The “Just Say No” approach was simple. Don’t try drugs and there’s no chance you’ll get hooked. Pretty cut and dry. This sort of extreme view is totally understandable if you’re talking about crack, heroin or Angel Dust, as for, Pot, not so much. While the “Just Say No” Policy seemed infinitely
sensible it didn’t jibe with reality. Drug use of all kinds shot up during the 1980’s and is in some ways a hallmark of its successes and excesses. An 8-ball holding Gordon Gecko with a faked out blonde in a speeding Porsche and an AMEX Black Card are more the image of the 80’s than any image of upstanding drug free family values and worry free prosperity the Republican’s, especially Cargo Cult Republicans, think should come to mind in a discussion of the halcyon days of Ronald Reagan where no drug users were rare and raging. It was way too simple to be true and ultimately self-defeating. From the first puff of the first joint ever came the instant realization this was no ‘gateway” into a life of crime and drugs. Overdosing is unheard of and hangovers and calories associated with acceptable alcohol just don’t exist. Add to that that people sitting around a bowl of Doritos watching old Kids in the hall skits are not really likely to be out committing violent crimes. A few hours later they are no longer buzzed and go on with life as if it had never happened. So much for Nancy Reagan and her misguided attempt to suppress drug use by likening it to lycanthropy; it was never going to work. One little bite and you are a werewolf forever, cursed to have no control over your life and the cycles of addiction.
Various Tragic Unintentional Consequences of Misguided US Anti-Marijuana Policy
The collateral damage to this idiocy was that after seeing many drugs do not have hugely adverse and dangerous side effects, a lot of people got hooked on drugs that really WERE dangerous, because, after all, the Public Service Announcements
about pot couldn’t have been more laughably wrong. Caffeine is a more potent and dangerous ‘gateway drug’. The brisk sales of super dangerous 5 Hour Energy Drink, heart hammering Red Bull and of course the infamous Four Loko caffeinated canned booze drink that killed a few people. The Criminal Element Forget your innocuous buddy who knows someone and can get you an ounce for a killer price, he’s a white collar criminal at worst in most states depending on how much he is holding or using the federal mails (idiotic, UPS may steal your weed at worst, but it’s unlikely they’d call the cops in most cases). Think of your street dealers. Guys I used to meet on Jamaica Avenue in Hollis, Queens (home of LL Cool J and Run DMC, peace!) with nicknames like ‘Slice’, “Big Man”, ‘Donuts’, and my personal favorite “Whopper”. Whether he was extolling the size of his bags or just that he hung in front of Burger King is an open question only he can answer, wherever he is now, but that’s not the point. Street Dealers kill your property value. Pot dealers and
their relatively genteel clientele are tolerated until they give way to purveyors of more hardcore drugs and their mind mangled zombie slaves. It’s these kinds of drug deals that really need to be done away with. Legalization and some taxation are such a huge. The money spent suppressing an unstoppable demand as opposed to regulating and taxing it would be astronomical. Give half of it to medical research and we could probably cure AIDS! Beyond our borders, especially to the south, a violent drug war is being fought. While Canada boasts a low intensity old fashioned small to medium sized pot dealer spats, Mexico has a much bigger problem. The money thrown at this problem by our government to cut off supply for pot can never approach the amount of money and innovation being used by ruthless Mexican Drug Lords to circumvent the attempt to interdict their shipments. Some estimates have put the number of Mexico’s men women and children killed in drug related violence at least 50,000 in the last 3 years alone, with some estimates as high as 120,000 violent deaths in just six years under president Felipe Calderon. For comparison it took 8 years to lose that many people in Vietnam and those were armed, trained soldiers. America’s combined 21st century wars have been horrible but American casualties are nowhere near 50,000 dead. Were it even close the Afghan and Iraqi wars would have been won or abandoned quickly long ago, but I have addressed that in detail in past posts. The 8 some odd decade experiment in making marijuana illegal has been a failure. Aside from giving the FBI something to do while simultaneously feeding T-Shirt companies and rehab’s some money nothing was gained. In fact drug use became somewhat glamorized. It’s time for real responsible drug education as well as taxation and regulation. If the Netherlands can proudly have a building clearly labeled ‘Bureau of Prostitutes’ in one of the nicest parts of Amsterdam surely we can handle a similar government agency here quietly issuing tax stamps from Tempe Arizona.
Americans will always be overly puritanical but this aspect of our overly self-hating national outlook is so impractical that even members of prewar generations who were raised in complete fear of “Reefer Madness” want pot to be legal, they have seen too much proof it’s as ‘harmless’ as alcohol.
If the chaos legalization wreaks upon the current violent drug gangs running around our borders, throughout northern Mexico as well as every US city to one extent or another, is anything like what happened to the spats wearing, Chicago Sewing Machine sporting roaring 20’s mobsters when booze became legal again we can expect a near collapse of these dangerous, violent criminal entities. Then, if history repeats itself these organizations will become so cash poor and desperate for money they will play right into the hands of law enforcement. Deprived of any
way to generate, let alone produce any sort of respectable bribe money, these organizations will be all but gone within a decade. Smoke up Washington State. December 4, 2012, the First Day of the End of America’s fruitless “War on Drugs”. From here on in its 4:20/24/7. Amsterdam is still a cheaper flight from New York, so I am going to wait for the Colorado law to kick in to travel to smoke my first ever legal joint outside Amsterdam.