Smoking marihuana is more fun than drinking beer, But a friend of ours was captured and they gave him thirty years. Phil Ochs from Small Circle of Friends
I should be more excited about Proposition 64 which if passed will legalize the recreational consumption of marijuana in California. After all, as an individual who grew up in San Francisco close to the Haight Ashbury, I have been a user of this substance for most of my life since experimenting with the stuff as a teenager.
Currently for me, making it OK to legally smoke a joint should be a big deal; but it isn’t. It appears that I am suffering from a strange case of “Reefer Madness” In this case apathy seems to be a more appropriate sentiment. I just don’t care.
How could such a condition exist for an individual who has been an avid consumer of pot even before my foray into the counter-culture while attending college at UC Santa Barbara and living in Isla Vista? Has smoking weed for so long finally turned my mind to mush to such an extent that it has destroyed my brain into a permanent state of station identification?
I don’t think so. It is still possible for me to conduct business and write articles which make sense to some folks. However, these activities are best done straight under the influence of nothing stronger than coffee. I learned a long time ago that wine and/or weed are not a creative force for a matter of any substance. On the other hand consuming moderate amounts of alcohol and marijuana can be a pleasurable pastime when not on the clock.
With this being the case why does Proposition 64 not excite me? Perhaps the reason for this is that one of the greatest allures of smoking pot is that it is illegal. Such a “we versus them” mentality was an important component of the counter culture generation in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Going along with the loss of all the paranoia associated with being as a doper is the concern that by legalizing weed, the outcome will not be satisfactory. There is a haunting suspicion with my generation that if the government gets involved with marijuana distribution, they will screw the process up like has been done with virtually everything else they have tried to regulate.
Not even taking into account warning labels, disclaimers, packaging requirements, calorie counts for edibles, and formulating THC percentages, we can count on the “do gooders” in Sacramento to eventually reduce the quality of cannabis to save consumers from themselves.
And let’s not forget controversies which will inevitably ensue when some expert concludes pot causes cancer for labratory mice that eat triple the amount of cheese they would ordinarily consume. There will be so many studies done that an extra 10 cents per gram will be needed just to fund research grants. People like me who have been under the influence for years will become valuable guinea pigs for studies on long term effects of cannabis use providing we can remember to show up for meetings.
There are also likely legal issues that would come up should marijuana become regulated by the government. Using the same logic as the anti firearms lobby utilizes to make gun makers such as Smith & Wesson responsible for crimes committed with their weapons; we can expect similar suits against weed purveyors.
I can just see the defrocked American’s with Disabilities attorney’s suing the makers of Cheetos for millions of dollars claiming that this product caused poisoning for their midnight munchies challenged clients. Baskin Robbins might find themselves on the defensive should a consumer of what Alice B Toklas distributed O.D. on massive amounts of Pralines and Cream. Who would pay if a recreational marijuana user needs to attend a 12 step Jack in the Box avoidance program?
Even then, as things stand consuming marijuana still violates Federal laws. Theoretically, emissaries from Washington D.C. can crash the party at any time and arrest all who are involved with pot sales. Likely, this same type of stalemate will continue until the Feds changes their stance. Unfortunately, there are just too many individuals in our puritanesque culture to allow for the legalization of marijuana to be the law of the entire land.
The biggest issue that various agencies in government from local communities to Washington D.C. are trying to deal with is whether marijuana and its derivatives as a class #1 drug have legitimate medical uses. Those in favor claim that ingestion of THC assists the appetites of cancer patients undergoing chemo therapy or treatment for anorexia. It has many other applications including providing assistance for sleeping and providing pain management for those with chronic arthritis.
On the other hand under the present system in California recreational users of pot can be granted a user card approved by a so called doctor for any imaginable reason varying from I hate my mother-in-law to claiming depression because their regular dope dealer is on vacation in Hawaii.
The bottom line is that marijuana and immigration laws are basically on the same level of selective non enforcement. In both cases this leads to a lack of respect for government authority. A good example of this is sanctuary cities in places such as Berkeley and San Francisco where dopers’ and illegal aliens can run free with impunity with no consequences of being busted.
This Wild West state of affairs is not good for society. In many ways things have not changed much since the days of Cheech & Chong. Most of the laws pertaining to pot are literally and figuratively “up in smoke”. Even worse is the money wasted over the years with enforcement and its effects on thousands of citizens? Putting people in jail has accomplished virtually nothing and wasted tax payer’s dollars with dubious results.
A choice needs to be made to either legalize pot sales, while trying to regulate its distribution versus the present system of anarchy which no one seems to like. This November, it will be up to California voters to weigh in on how they feel on the subject. Fortunately, the playing field for the vote on Proposition 64 is on a fairly equal level. With exception of some pro-pot business interests, there isn’t lot money being spent on this campaign.
Perhaps this present sad state of affairs explains my apathy about the outcome of Prop 64. Few people believe that there is a significant risk of weed becoming a so called gateway drug which will lead to consumption of heroin and hard drugs. Yeh, it makes people forget promises made in the dark, where their car keys are located, and leads to a temporary state of couch potato syndrome; but smoking pot just does not seem to be such an important issue to me these days.
As such by a narrow margin, I plan on making a “yes” vote on Proposition 64. After all of these years it would seem to be hypocritical for me to become a follower of Nancy Reagan’s “Just say No” philosophy. The Baby Boomer generation and their siblings, who had to endure the “noble experiment” outlawing weed, should have this chapter of American history humanely come to an end on November 8th.