Sunday, August 18, 2013

Stoners Unite

I live in a state that was settled by poor gringos invited by the Spanish government to kill as many Kickapoo and Karakawan Indians as possible so the land would become commercial. That backfired when years later the Anglo settlers waged war on Mexico (who had fought for Independence from Spain) and declared their own Lone Star Republic as independent. (This was the war that included The Alamo defeat).  It was complicated further when the war debt to the United States and continued Mexican harassment compelled the lone republic to join the states (really, they were forcibly annexed but don't mention that to any Texan. It hurts their pride.) Mexico really regretted their earlier mistreatment of Texas when a war was manufactured in 1845 that resulted in the seizure of Texas (Until then Mexico didn't recognize the Lone Star republic), New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, California, and some of Wyoming. I owe my free music education to this blatantly immoral event. To show their gratitude for their official liberty, Texas joined the Confederacy as a slave state about 12 years later...and then back to the Union after Lee surrendered to Grant. Are you following all that? France had a short claim to territory on the coast that's hardly worth mentioning except it's the 6th flag referred to by the amusement park.

Texans have an official policy that is intolerant of drugs. Zero tolerance. The people themselves, including the politicians, are not very concerned with drugs. The main priority is sovereignty as their history should suggest. Any hint that Washington Yankees or "Northern Suits" are dictating business in Texas riles the locals like nothing else. My presence here is tolerated because I try to adapt, wearing cowboy hats, working on the pipeline, chewing tobacco, driving gas guzzling vans...etc. But I'll never be a Texan. I'm not a Yankee either. I'm not even American, although that's what my passport says.

I forget what my point was. I think I want to try to understand why Texas is not one of the growing number of states who have decriminalized marijuana. The tobacco lobbyists...anything that hints of "alternative" or "hippie"...Christian/Baptist rhetoric, among other influences spring to mind. Pot has never been a problem drug but when you criminalize it like Texas then it suddenly becomes a problem drug and a man with a hammer treats every problem like a nail.

Washington State has, for the last year, been openly flaunting the federal criminalization of marijuana. Pot is legal for recreational use in Washington. That's right. No more pretending to have back spasms. You straight up can buy and smoke pot for no other reason than you like to play the bongo drums while stoned. You can only grow it if you have a medical need...which is a little odd because the people with a medical need are the only ones who might not be fit enough to do the work to grow it. Although, I'm pretty sure if you are sick and have a medical grower's license then you'll have lots of friends helping you grow lots of pot.

I think it's fair to be concerned that legalizing pot might be seen by kids as officially condoning it. But that's taking a big brother approach to government. It was never the government's decision to approve what I smoke. I don't need their approval to do anything. They don't condone or condemn anything I do*...because I don't obey their opinions. The whole Federal micro-management of distant affairs is blatantly anti-constitutional, ignorant and misguided...and ineffective. If you legalize gay marriages that doesn't mean the Government encourages people to be gay. It's merely announcing officially that the government has no opinion on the matter and all things are treated equally...which is what it should've been from the start. I remember Presidential candidate Ralph Nader's response when he was asked about late term abortions, "It's none of my business." Nader was the guy none of you voted for because you thought Al Gore and Obama would've been better. Nice job. Maybe in 20 years we'll get to where we would've been in 2001 if Nader had won.

So, it's not a step in the wrong direction unless you really need the government to tell you how to live or to hold your hand through the parenting of your children. "It's illegal and you'll go to jail." is not a valid argument to use on your kid for anything...let alone smoking pot. "If you smoke pot then I'm going to take away your xbox privileges." is a slightly better approach because it makes YOU, the parent, completely responsible. Don't farm out morality to legislators because politicians are corporate pawns. Texans who want to smoke pot, do smoke pot. They break the law and they don't care. Texans who don't want to smoke pot won't start when it becomes legal.

My best argument for decriminalization is the fact that 70-80 years of prohibition HAVE NOT WORKED. There is no deterrent factor. No decrease in use. No effect on consumption or cultivation. The pot quality has only gotten stronger, uses for pot have only expanded. We tried this for 14 years with booze and that failed miserably too. How many new brands of Whiskey were invented during Prohibition? Tons. Maybe the punishments were too lenient or maybe the drug is too good. I don't know. Booze is a patently horrible substance but we still guzzle it down. I bought a six-pack of XX today to get me through the coming hellish week.

Countries that have capital punishment for drugs seem to still have problems. I'd say that's the only way to move forward; either make it a capital crime to smoke pot, punishable by public beheading...or legalize it. Because we've tried the middle road and it doesn't work. The threat of jail hasn't stopped anyone from growing it or smoking it. Mexico is being turned inside out because of the gangs competing to sell shitty pot. Instead of Al Capone's Chicago we sent all the violence to Sinaloa...but our jails are bursting with people whose main crime involved a weed that was villainized because it competed with tobacco. Is it any coincidence the Stone-Age states of Florida and Georgia make it a felony to possess?

Whatever argument you have against the continued criminalization of pot has effectively been contradicted by the evidence that 80 years have given us. If you don't like it then don't smoke it. And move to Florida!

The status quo failed and Washington State refuses to delude itself any longer. To be fair, we can revisit this question in 80 years and decide if it was a good decision.

*Even secretive CIA operations selling cocaine or smuggling heroin from Afghanistan aren't condoning drug use. Those are merely power plays, buying influence in the timeless petty struggle for world domination and wealth accumulation. DON'T LET IT FOOL YOU; Feds are merely kindergarten kids who never grew up and have bigger bags of popcorn to fight over.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.