When I write on Facebook, it’s an entirely different audience — coming mostly from my work — so I write on a variety of subjects and I’m careful not to inundate them with drug war rants all the time. In some ways, that makes it more powerful when I do have something to say about drug policy.
We had a football player arrested this week, and I felt like saying something. Thought I’d share it with you as well.
Locally, we have that same tired scenario where a extremely talented young person has made the news and is probably going to have his very promising career sidelined because he got caught with 5 to 30 grams of marijuana.
And, of course, none of the solemn, disapproving articles Iâ€™ve read are asking â€œWhy?â€ And I donâ€™t mean â€œWhy did he smoke pot?â€ I know the answer to that. Or â€œWhy did he try to sell it to an undercover cop?â€ Iâ€™ve got a pretty good idea on that one as well. No, the question Iâ€™m looking for is â€œWhy the fuck are we still arresting people for this?”
Oh sure, some of you are getting ready to roll out the propaganda that weâ€™ve been force-fed for decades about how itâ€™s necessary to protect people from the evils of this plant — that it will enslave them, take away their motivation and make them unproductive members of society.
And that reminds me of a recent Daily Show with an appearance by Willie Nelson.
Willie Nelson has made sixty-eight studio albums, ten live albums, thirty-seven compilations, and twenty-seven collaborations. Heâ€™s toured all over the place in his bus. He founded Farm Aid and is president of the board. Heâ€™s done benefits, has been involved in politics and an activist for animal welfare and for LGBT rights. And he managed to do all this while smoking more pot than any other human probably has in the history of the world.
Yeah, pot really shortens your career. Just take a look at the unproductive lives of such potheads as Carl Sagan, Louis Armstrong, Bill Gates, Stephen Colbert, Rick Steves, Maya Angelou, Barrack Obama, Susan Sarandon, Ted Turner, Lady Gaga, Sarah Silverman, Morgan Freeman, Steve Jobs, Shel Silverstein, David Letterman, John Lennon, and the list goes on and on.
Yes, I know that (in some places anyway) itâ€™s still against the law. That doesnâ€™t make the law right. There’s a certain role we’re supposed to play when this happens, but Iâ€™m quite frankly too damned tired of doing the requisite sad shake of the head in disappointment when someone is caught doing this kind of law-breaking. In the meantime, societal leaders joke about their â€œyouthful indiscretionsâ€ and because they werenâ€™t caught (whether through luck or privilege) they face no consequences, even as they enforce damaging consequences against others.
Using marijuana responsibly isnâ€™t particularly hard to do, and compared to many other ordinary activities in our world (like bike-riding, eating sugar, or playing football) it’s far, far safer. But the laws against marijuana? Those can really mess a person up bad.