cross posted at mLaw
For the record, for what it’s worth, and while every (generally assumed to be well intentioned, but still demonstrably) ill-informed, under-informed or outright propagandized ‘stake holder’ is chiming in about how to legalize cannabis, or not legalize as the case may be, we here at mLaw think it is part of our civic duty to express our very real concern, founded as it is upon significant anecdotal experience and ceaseless empirical study, regarding what is, to our minds, perhaps the most frightening and destructive (frightening and destructive to average American families, institutions of higher learning and the halls of power in the US) aspect of a typical American cannabis user’s outlook and mindset that, should cannabis be legalized in the US, could weave its way into the fabric of the American psyche.
As the debate churns on in the US about how to move beyond the prohibition of cannabis it is mostly being carried out by;
• ashamed dry-dopers who are as concerned today about burnishing their “legacies” as they were years ago about ensuring that all of the “choom” is consumed by employing the technique of “total absorbsion”,
• interested private parties who have made scads of booty while cannabis has been illegal (from private prison builders to pharmaceutical manufacturers and liquor distillers),
• propagandized daddies and mommies who fear for their toddlers who someday may choose to put a buzz on and consequently find themselves at ‘rock bottom’ (after taking a frightening and uncontrolled death ride on the devil’s own highway) being elected president of the United States (see the horrific life stories of Ronald Reagan, Bill/and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, for example), and,
• members of our respected federal, state and local law enforcement establishment (who worked together to arrest more than 800,000 Americans for drug possession in 2011 and 749,825 last year, with 87 percent being cannabis possessors, and during the same time period arrested just over 500,000 Americans for violent crimes – 4.2 percent of all arrests, compared to drug arrests which comprise 12.7 of all arrests in 2012) who just love throwing scary and dangerous college kids into jail, ruining their lives forever with a criminal record, because they look so good in their body armor and mirrored aviator sunglasses.
While any sentient being can see that the debate is hopelessly tilted toward ill-conceived and dangerous support for maintaining federal prohibition by these highly vested parties, we have to remember the deep and ever metastasizing psychological and philosophical toll exacted on our country’s body politic when our citizens choose to use cannabis. Because of this, the editors of mLaw want to go on record to state our belief that:
The use of cannabis by otherwise law abiding, thoughtful, intelligent, productive US citizens is in fact a threat to our current society in general and modern America in particular…
As any American cannabis user knows, cannabis is safer than both tobacco and alcohol (the two most frequently used drugs in America). In fact, very recently the director of Australia’s government office for Alcohol Policy Research, Professor Robin Room, called for legalizing cannabis (in part) so that heavy drinkers can temper their intake of debilitating alcohol with cannabis in the effort to reduce the alarming rate of alcohol related violence and injury in Australia.
And, although cannabis’ relative safety as a recreationally used substance is not the only concept that an American cannabis user is confronted with upon ingesting this “useful substance” (term coined by writer Thomas Pynchon), this fact does dovetail into our awareness at mLaw of what we view as the most dangerous quality of cannabis: this being, that cannabis users become aware through their personal usage of the substance that they have been surrounded by both liars and cultural custodian know-nothings for their entire lives, which is a paradigm shifting danger that threatens lying and bullying law enforcers, legislators, clergy, educators, health professionals, business owners, media kingpins and parents across this great land.
To be quite clear, it is the awareness of the boldfaced and agreed upon hypocrisy that underpins our nation’s prohibition of cannabis that is in itself paradigm shifting. Of course, appreciating this hypocrisy stoned can be of interest and worthy of speculation about its ramifications, but it ain’t necessary to be high to appreciate the gross hypocrisy and the conscious choices made by those who cooperate with prohibition (as referenced above) that is required to continue the despicable and amoral charade.
Cannabis users come to be aware that this confederacy of liars and know-nothings has conspired to propagandize lies, censor and thwart scientific study, dehumanize, economically shun and imprison entire sectors of our society inhabited by millions of citizens, blithely determining that these Americans cannot take part in building and advancing our country and civilization (no matter what skills, energies or ideas they have that we will lose).
In short, cannabis users very quickly realize that (with respect to cannabis) the law is a lie, politicians are lairs, and there is a massive and broad based conspiracy to hold up these insane and socially debilitating laws and demonize and cast out anyone who does not take up defending the indefensible and the destructive.
How does this awareness threaten the superstructures of power in America and place the “American Way of Life” under a seismic and existential threat?
Well, we have been told by our president, for example, that banking felons “broke no laws” (a nonsensical mashing of words that simply does not comport with reality as it is apprehended by most Americans), we have been told by our leaders, the military, weapons manufacturers and our ‘friends in the middle east’ that it is a humanitarian act to blow the pancakes out of little children whose leaders we want to overthrow. We have been advised that “no one is listening to your telephone calls”. We have been told that having defined pension benefits, being members of a union and sending our children to public schools is treasonous to the free market and basically un-American. We have been told that killing hundreds of thousands and displacing millions of poor people in countries we have invaded will promote small-d democracy. We have been told that health care is not a human right–but owning an insurance company is a right that must be protected by our nation’s laws. We have been told that we have free and fair elections. We have told that we are accorded the right of ‘due process’ under our constitution. We are told that patriots and good people don’t give weapons to terrorists. We are led to believe that there is upward social mobility in America’s class system. We are told that we have the best schools and healthcare. We are led to believe that giving trillions in tax payer dollars to the private owners of private businesses with absolutely no strings attached (except for the proviso that no banker will go to jail) will spur economic growth for the poor in America. We have been advised that protest, the kind of spirited civic engagement that led to us declaring ourselves “free” people as we broke from the UK in a revolution, has to be clamped down on and rendered illegal under federal laws.
A cannabis user in America knows one thing is sure – that the system of politics and law enforcement lies about who (and for what reason) it is doing its protecting; and who (and for what reason) will be ignored, imprisoned, abandoned, trampled upon and dictated to. A substance that clarifies in the minds of users that the American government is a lying, rich person protecting racket that disregards science and morality in service of protecting the wealth of the already wealthy and perpetuating biggoted stereotypes is a very dangerous commodity indeed in modern America.
Most cannabis users I know really think that they are good Americans and they understand their relationship to the law, society and law enforcement. But, growing up during wartime (the American drug war) with all of its fakery, bigotry, lying and all of the lives ruined; although they are often reminded of all the goodness in our country (so much goodness that we coined the term “American exceptionalism” that was used very recently by President Obama) they also are keenly aware of what GWBush mis-said; “fool me once…won’t get fooled again.”
Therefore, to reiterate, the editors of mLaw believe that:
The use of cannabis by otherwise law abiding, thoughtful, intelligent, productive US citizens is in fact a threat to our current society in general and modern America in particular, and cannabis should therefore be immediately legalized at the federal level.
CORRECTION : many thanks to wendydavis for helping me correct a typo in the original post – I mistakenly reported that in 2012 there were more than 50,000 arrests for violent crimes when in fact that figure is 10 times higher; 500,000 arrests.
Photo by Ian Sane released under a Creative Commons license.