There’s a lot of discussion about marijuana these days. Many people are celebrating the slow march toward legalization that is happening in the States and other places in the world. Decriminalization, regulation, legalization… Often people taut the amount of taxes collected, which in my native state of Colorado has surpassed alcohol tax. Crime rates in Colorado are sinking, and despite the hand wringing and fear pornography churned out on the local news, there seems to be no downside to weed. Admittedly, traffic is slower. But if that bothers you, smoke a joint, and shift into the slow lane with the other stoners. But don’t light up in victory.
Now, hear me out. I’m all for “legalization”, but we are going about it in the wrong manner, or perhaps we are simply resting on our laurels. We can smoke, and despite the cost, none of us are going to jail.
And yet, we are.
Don’t get caught smoking and driving. For some reason, this will land you in hot water. Despite having dissimilar effects on the body, toking and drinking have been equated to the same thing. In the eyes of our benevolent leaders, sin is sin. It doesn’t matter that the amount of active THC in a person’s system isn’t measurable. Any paraphernalia and you’re heading for court. At the very least, the system will extract a large sum of money before sending you on your way. Why? Because it can. Just as it made cannabis illegal in the first place, and put people in jail, and ruined lives…
Now, I’ve driven drunk (allegedly). And I’ve driven high (allegedly). There is no comparison. If I can smoke tobacco and drive, if I can drink caffeine and drive, I can smoke “dope” and drive. I think driving drunk is dangerous. I think driving caffeinated is irritating. I don’t smoke tobacco at all, but I think driving high is fantastic. Admittedly, I make mistakes while driving stoned, but I also make mistakes while driving stone sober, and the ones I make while high are usually of little consequence. I missed my turn. I was ten under the speed limit. This is unlike the mistakes made while driving drunk. The statistics in Colorado will support this: traffic accidents are also at a low (surprise, surprise!). The joke goes like this: what is the difference between a drunk driver and a stoned driver? The drunk runs the stop sign. The stoner waits for the sign to turn green.
Driving will always be dangerous. Smoking while driving is only more dangerous if you drop your joint.
I’m not advocating the allowance of smoking and driving. Not at all. I’m advocating something much larger than that. I’m advocating deregulation. If it works for the banks – and they’re mostly criminals (allegedly) – it will work for the common man and our mostly benign motives. We only want to be left alone, to live our lives, and I can’t do that with the taxman’s hand in my pocket and the policy man’s flashlight searing my eyes. Am I calling for anarchy? Not at all. I’m calling for less interference from the idiots that pretend to rule. I’m advocating for the end of top down micro management. I’m calling for an end of the cloak of benevolence. It isn’t benevolence. It’s a cloak, and some shitty people are wearing it (some very good people too).
Make weed free. I’m not saying that the government should grow it and hand it out, because they’d fuck it up, no doubt. Instead, strike all laws concerning weed from the books. Allow a laissez faire market to develop around it with only supply and demand to dictate the price. There will always be demand. Forget the taxes. They’re going to a broken school system (if any of the money actually makes it there…). While we’re at it, our governors, representatives, senators, and the president himself should apologize for making cannabis illegal in the first place. It was stolen from us. Someone should apologize for it, and our supposed leaders are the ones to do it.
Is it a tall order? Is it unrealistic? I bet a hundred years ago, people would have told you it’d be impossible to make hemp illegal. I know twenty years ago, it looked like weed would never be legal again. Now, we have some weird amalgamation. Good for us, because we’re moving in the right direction. But we’re not there yet. Keep pushing, my slacker, stoner friends. Keep smoking. And as long as we’re talking cannabis, hemp, and legalization, let’s start demanding that apology. Is it over shooting the mark? Yes. But we can stop as soon as cannabis and hemp are free. As much as I might like it, I don’t actually need that apology.