11.07.2012

Reeferendum: High Times in a Free Country

Last night saw a true victory for a large subset of Americans. A long-oppressed people, often unfairly discriminated against and told they were less of a citizen because of who they are, finally found redemption after having their voices heard in the most public of forums, voting. The dreams of generations before them finally came to fruition, as after a long struggle, an entire culture was able to make democracy work for them at last.

Of course, if you know me (or read yesterday's post) you know I'm not talking about the presidential election or anything inconsequential like that. No, I'm talking about a more direct and effective form of democracy, the proposition...specifically, the ones in the states of Colorado and Washington legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Whatever your feelings on the plant, the people wanted it and they finally got it...the system occasionally works.


For a long time, critics of legalization efforts have pointed to things like road safety and allegedly decreased motivation as reasons to keep Growhibition going. Since people never drive under the influence of universally legal drugs like alcohol and prescription pills, and I don't write thousand-word essays multiple times a week with the assistance of such herbal stimulants, both of those arguments are airtight...but it's highly encouraging to see the governments of two states treat its citizens like the responsible, taxpaying adults that most of them are and give them the right to make their own decisions about what they put into their body.

Of course, there are rules to it, as there should be. You have to be 21 years of age to legally partake. It must be purchased at state-regulated--and state-taxed--stores. You cannot be visibly and dangerously intoxicated in public. If you are impaired while driving and are pulled over for it, you will be arrested. Any of that sound familiar?

Regulation is the answer here just as it was in the other scenario, because Prohibition just does not work...and that was for something that could blind you or make you dead if you tried to make it at home illegally. Imagine trying to prohibit something that grows out of the ground? You may as well try to ban real grass. I, for one, am glad that the facade is finally starting to crumble in real ways.

In case you're a bit slow on the intake, I'm something of a cannabis enthusiast myself. (Gasp!) I honestly forget the stuff is even illegal sometimes, as when I smoke it nobody is killed, raped, robbed or maimed...generally, I just get a little goofier, want some Hot n'Spicy Cheez-Its, feel like creating something, and feel like life is generally not so bad. I don't go out and commit horrible crimes that I don't remember like in "Reefer Madness"...in fact, a huff and a puff here and there has likely stopped me from blowing somebody's house down.

There are those who would say that I use it as some kind of crutch to distract me from my problems, but not only will you see a commercial for pills to do the exact same thing (and lightly kill you as an added bonus) if you watch TV for over an hour...if my worst character flaw is a mild senti-mental attachment to increased endorphin production, I'm a truly remarkable man.

Moving on, it's a definite win for the folk it affects in those states, but the true triumph comes in the precedents that will be set. Possibly in a year or two, when Western civilization hasn't totally collapsed in those areas due to a naturally-occurring plant being legal to posess and consume, other states may take a second look at their policies. They may see the increased tax revenue, increased tourism, decrease in non-violent offenders stuffing an overcrowded prison system, and lack of man-made haze fog hovering over legalized areas and actually make a common-sense decision. Imagine that.

Overall, I'm just glad to see that real progress can still be effected at the ballot box. It's not even just about weed, it's about "we"...we the people deciding for ourselves how we want to be governed, what standards and practices are acceptable in the society we all share, and what personal choices we can be trusted to make...but yeah, it's definitely about weed too.

A new day is dawning, and for many residents of Washington and Colorado, it includes, for the first time, a perfectly legal wake-and-bake (well, under state law...federal law still prohibits the choice). Hopefully, it's only a matter of time before the governanny says we all can ingest whatever we want as long as it's not hurting anybody else...after all, we do call this a free country, right?

No comments: