No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get away from the legalized marijuana issues.
I was talking with an acquaintance this week about idiocy of Washington’s tax scheme for legalized marijuana. He’s a numbers guy and is well-versed in tax bureaucracies, and their miraculously functional illogic. We had started out by discussing how the measure was sold in this state, which focused almost exclusively on “new tax revenue” and “being able to focus law enforcement on other matters other than marijuana-related offenses”. (I’ve lived in this state for 13 years, and I can say I was aware of any great law enforcement push to enforce the laws when it comes to marijuana. But then, that may be influenced by the fact that police departments pass out munchies to those openly defying the law, so there’s that…) It also flies in the face of data which is pretty clear that we don’t have an epidemic of incarceration solely because of marijuana possession and use.
The dual-mindedness of the people in this state on this issue simply boggles the mind. The state has undergone a crusade against smoking in which some counties decided that bad second-hand smoke studies were a good basis for banning smoking in all public places, including bars and restaurants specifically set up to cater to smoking customers, and the state legislature followed shortly after with a ban on smoking in all public places, including within 25 feet of any doorway. This was followed by local authorities moving to ban people from smoking in their own residences if they live in public housing. The legislature, not to be out done, came back with a proposal to ban smoking in an automobile if there are children present. And yet these very same tyrant wannabes needed a drool rag to wipe up after their tax lust. I have yet to hear how all but banning the smoking of tobacco products can be an imperative for public health, and yet pot smoking doesn’t create some of the very same harms we’re preventing with the anti-smoking crusade. The utter dishonesty of it sickens me. Putting aside the addiction issue. Putting aside the evidence (yes, I know that the studies are mixed) regarding how much longer marijuana impairs you than alcohol does, I defy anyone in the public health community to tell me that smoking tobacco is a public health threat that requires increasing restrictions on liberty, but that lighting up a joint is something that the government should be cool with. But then, if there was any honesty, it would require an admission that the government is ok with harm to its citizens, as long as it is getting paid.
But then the police being able to concentrate on “other offenses” is really a poor argument too. It isn’t an accident that as part of the move to legalize recreational marijuana use, the state legislature had to set limits for legal impairment for drivers with regard to their use of marijuana…meaning that they knew what everyone knew, and didn’t want to discuss. That as with alcohol, there would be people who would not be able to stop themselves from using, and driving, and that like with alcohol, people would be harmed as a result.
And now, in the fashion we have come to expect in this country, it appears that even toking up isn’t immune to forces of entitlement and the playing of race cards, as this story in The Root demonstrates.
When I read this story earlier this week, I realized that if the Earth was going to have an extinction-level collision with an asteroid, I’d probably be up on the roof, writing “Hit Here First”. Just the very idea that white people will get all the good weed is a fair condensed version of everything that is wrong with this country today. I read the headline, and thought to myself that I would give my last dollar to be able to go back in time, and be right there to respond to Rodney King’s famous question with an emphatic “NO!”
We aren’t even fiddling while Rome burns any more. We’re sitting in the ashes, and blaming each other because it is too hot. With stratospheric “real” unemployment numbers, a government addicted to spending what it doesn’t have, and an educational system that would have made Ponzi blanch at its brazenness, people now want to worry that someone might get a better buzz than they did, simply because of their skin color. And the people who are most worried don’t seem to care that each of those problems with society are magnified in “their communities”…a problem which the community organizer in chief is unable or unwilling to solve, opting instead to use race as a wedge, and pursue redistribution. But then, smart people realize that the “If a man is hungry, take someone else’s fish at gunpoint and give it to him” is a plan that simply discourages fishing.
Then there is the “WHAT?” factor to the underlying logic. I grew up next to a large urban center(and went to college in it) that was living under similar economic conditions before Obama and the Democrats took them nationwide. It didn’t seem to affect the ability of persons of color to obtain Hennessy, Couvoisier, Tanqueray, etc. In fact, I never once heard a concern uttered about the white people getting all the good booze. The article suggests that we had to have Obama as President to get us to the point of seriously considering marijuana legalization. It seems only fair that since he is intent on limiting the economy so that everything but the amounts we spend on his vacations and golf is a finite resource, that someone could now publish a piece about the fear of segregation of pot based on race and NOT do so as a work of satire.
Things like this almost make me want to root for the collapse of our civilization. But instead, it may prove more profitable for those in power to simply let us fade away in a cloud of smoke and mellowness…as long as someone with a different skin color doesn’t get a better class of weed. Maybe we could get Philip Morris to come up with a couple of premium blends. Then we could solve the problem, AND make an evil corporation cool again.