Ever since Kari decided to tie Blue Oregon to Facebook, a bunch of us have migrated conversations to that platform. It ain't long form or comprehensive, but it's quick and affords the reward of instant feedback, and the cherry on top is that I now have a whole bunch of new "friends" who are obliged to attend my funeral. It's your own danged fault Kari.
Anyhow, running the list a couple of days ago, I came upon an exchange between some of our indefatigable Pot Warriors and a senior member of our congressional delegation, and what a depressing exchange it was. The Warriors asserting that Marijuana is the Second coming of the Holy Grail, enabling you to, as Neil Diamond once opined, "Drop your shrink and stop your drinkin' " and many other wondrous things; while the legislator rebutting with old and tired tropes about impairment, gateway drugs, and other fun fact-free facts. Really depressing stuff for the year 2010.
Now mind you, I have a huge respect for both the legislator in question and for the hemp guys in their organic footwear and their cute little retro hats, but nobody's bothering with the cold equations anymore.
The fact is that while America's mainstream drugs of choice, coffee and distilled liquor, have only been discovered and broadly used for a few hundred years, cannabis has been in use for thousands of years. It ain't a gateway drug, or a driver of psychosis, or a disproportionate cancer risk, and except for rare cases of libertarian students in Baptist schools who worship Aqua Buddha does not set people on paths of scary self destruction as is the case with methamphetamine, cocaine, and some of the more outre' club drugs.
So to remind: The cannabis trade and attempts to quash it, have made a mockery of our system for about fifty years now. millions of people have become criminals and have had their lives destroyed. The state has incarcerated hundreds of thousands, and spent hundreds of millions of dollars, that could have been better spent elsewhere. And the continued prohibition has contributed mightily to the rampant cynicism that dominates our modern culture. When students are taught a bunch of flatly untrue crap about this relatively innocuous drug, they are then way less inclined to believe anything drooled out by clueless authority figures about truly dangerous substances to which they also have ready access. Meanwhile, the pro-pot guys have taken to touting the alleged medical benefits of this wondrous panacea with a militancy not seen since the long, ultimately successful struggle to elevate chiropractic treatment to the level of a bona fide medical procedure.
For once could we please just do the sane thing? Legalize it for adults. Explain to adolescents, that they will get their shot as soon as they've matured enough that the development of their natural brain chemistry is not at risk, as we do with alcohol. Then standardize and tax by potency, as we do with alcohol.