The Canadian discussion of whether marijuana should be legal has been concluded. Now we must ask how.
I was the target generation of Reagan’s ‘Just Say No!’ campaign. The police had drug-demos in our school with things like V.I.P. (Values, Influences, and Peers). Fear tactics were in full swing. ‘Drugs will kill you’. ‘One hit and you’re hooked’. ‘Criminal’ this and ‘prison’ that. It was imposing. The commercial with the wire-brain, the “he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”, and the commercial with the frying pan were my personal favourites.
The problem was, at the same time as the anti-drug campaigns were in full swing other influences were at play. Every summer my family and I would drive down east to visit my grandparents. I am very thankful for these road trips because I received a first class music education in the back seat of an 1980s Crown Victoria. Songs like John Prine’s “Illegal Smile” and Johnny Cash’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” filled my impressionable ears. Later on I’d witness my parents and their friends howl with laughter at Up in Smoke. I was 12 when I saw ‘Dazed and Confused’, 17 when I saw ‘Half Baked’, and 18 when I saw ‘Clerks’.
These songs and movies did not make me do drugs. What they did was overpower the government message. They took away all the fear the government was trying to install into my young mind and made it look fun.
I did not say no to drugs. Like alcohol I went searching for weed before it was ever offered to me. I needed to see what all the fuss was about. I loved it. Right away I loved it. Alcohol makes you dumb, takes away your control, makes you do dumb things, makes you say dumb things. Weed makes you zone, takes away your anxiety, makes you eat, and makes you very careful in choosing your words.
Looking back on the “say no to drugs” childhood I had I could never believe it was legal in Amsterdam. I thought, “geez people must be dying all over the place!” Now I look at places like the Netherlands and Portugal and see a clear example of the model we should be following. They see drug abuse as a symptom of a larger problem. They know they can’t arrest their way out of drug abuse.
It’s also no surprise why a pre-science government would lump weed in with opiates. It makes you dopey, at least on the surface. We know now that’s not the case. Kevin Smith and Seth Rogan have made careers out of being baked all the time. But declassifying an illegal drug is more complicated than it may seem. There are international security agreements to consider. The USA is trying to fight a war on african americans… err… drugs you know!
The Trailer Park Boys summarized it clearly when they wrote and filmed the movie “Don’t Legalize It.” Criminals love prohibition of inelastic commodities. It’s the perfect business opportunity; a gap in a market that legal businesses aren’t allowed to fill.
So much money! 20% of Canadians smoked weed last year. That is 7,032,000 people! Let’s just say that each person smoked one $5 joint at a concert. I’d say that’s a ridiculously conservative estimate considering I have purchased a half ounce for personal use in the last year. That’s $35,160,000 that did not go to legit businesses. The entire population of Washington is 7,000,000. They’re anticipating, wait for it, $190,000,000 over 4 years. That’s a lot of zeros.
Speaking of Washington weed is already legal there and in Colorado. God bless America! State’s rights are fantastic. You have to respect an institution that can somehow have weed illegal on the federal level yet legal at the state level. It defies logic. Who cares?! They’re doing it anyway!
This mindless ramble can be summarized thusly.
- Weed is fun.
- Millions of Canadians smoke it regularly.
- No one cares that it’s illegal.
- It hurts less people than alcohol or tobacco which are legal.
- Millions of dollars are going to organized crime instead of farmers, distributors and dispensaries.
- Thousands of farmers, drivers and dealers are not paying income taxes.
- Our law enforcement, legal, and prison systems could use a break from this massive waste of time.
- When it’s no longer stigmatized as a crime people who really need help might be able to get it.
This whole blog entry was pointless because by this time next year weed will be legal in Canada. Felt good to get it all out though.