It's silly-season again, which in the Formula 1 world refers to the period of time when contracts are being renegotiated and no one is quite sure who will drive for which team next year. But the way I'm using it refers to Election Mania. This year is turning out to be quite nutty, what with the chick in Delaware who thinks there's mice with human brains running around; and, well, actually, she's the funniest thing going at the moment. Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity should be fun, but it's not actually all that funny.
California has a couple of fun things happening. I'm hoping that there's a high voter turnout for Proposition 19, which would legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol or cigarettes. I'm a fan of this. And not because I smoke pot. I don't. I've tried it, and it makes me tired, and messes me up for days, and it's just not worth it. I'm silly enough, and eat enough junk food as it is. I don't need any other substances encouraging me in my life of sloth and video games.
Here's what I know about pot:
I know it's an ancient herb that has been smoked for five thousand years, and has proven medical uses. I also know that Americans take a crapload of drugs from so-called "pharmaceutical" companies that haven't been around as long as pot, aren't natural, and haven't been proven in the long-term.
I know that pot helps people with many diseases, from cancer patients, to people suffering from AIDS, to people who have migraines. It could actually be called an original wonder-drug.
Then I look at the people who are against Prop 19. One of the biggest lobbies funding the No on Prop 19 cause is Big Alcohol. Which leads me to another point. Whether you smoke or not, whether you think it's right to smoke or not, please tell me how alcohol can be legal and pot can't. How can it be that every nice restaurant around has a wine list, and pot isn't legal? How can it be that people joke all the time about how smashed they got over the weekend, or they sit around on Sundays watching football and drinking beer, or they can go to clubs and freely get hammered, but pot is illegal.
Alcohol has no redeeming qualities about it. It's a poison. It's a toxin. Pot, at least, has qualities that are natural, and medicinal.
Another thing. When you drink too much, you do stupid things. I know this from experience. One time when I was living in England, I drank too much and started yelling at a guy for giving his girlfriend flowers because I assumed he was a jerk who had done something bad, worth apologizing with flowers. I was angry then. But my point is, people get drunk and they do stupid things like get into fights, or have affairs, or any other number of stupid things that people do when they're drunk.
When you smoke too much pot, here's what happens: You eat a lot of Doritos, you watch some stupid Ashton Kutcher movie (ie Dude Where's my Car), and then you pass out and wake up with a kink in your neck. And you stink.
Nobody smokes pot and then gets violent and beats people up. Seriously. Find me one person who has just smoked pot (ie doesn't have any other drugs or alcohol in their system) and has committed a violent crime. Potheads pass out with their PS3 controller in one hand, and their other hand in the donut box.
The idea that we spend billions of dollars arresting people for this seriously Blows My Mind. Are you kidding me? Is that how you want your tax dollars spent? Personally, in a state where the police are behind in testing rape kits (sometimes passing the statute of limitations for prosecuting), I think it's morally and criminally wrong that police resources go to arresting and prosecuting potheads. It's beyond wrong. It's disgusting.
Now I'm not saying that pot is completely benign. Obviously it slows your reaction time, it can make you distracted, it can make you eat a lot of junk food. So regulate it, like we do tobacco and alcohol. That's what Prop 19 does.
Oh, I haven't even touched on the drug cartels yet. It's estimated that up to 60% of the profits of drug cartels comes from marijuana. Why do we continue wasting our tax money while we line the pockets of the Bad People when it could be the other way around? Take the money from the Bad People, and use it in our schools. And free up police man-hours and overcrowded jails while we're at it. Two for one.
I mean, look at what happened to organized crime during prohibition. Prohibition doesn't work, period.
Some people say that legalizing marijuana is a slippery slope, and that pot is a gateway drug. Maybe it's a gateway drug because kids get it from drug dealers. Maybe, if you made it available freely, people wouldn't talk to drug dealers as much, and they wouldn't be drawn into other drugs.
Prop 19 supporters currently have a small edge with 6 weeks to go. I'm hoping that common sense will outweigh fear tactics. It will happen sooner or later. We won't keep fighting this losing war on drugs forever. It's just a matter of how much more money we're going to waste on it.
That's why I gave money to LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. They are responsible people with backgrounds in law enforcement who are countering the fear mongering that is being backed by pharmaceutical and alcohol companies.
I used to go to a 7-11 that was across from a pot dispensary in Hollywood. I asked the guy who owned it whether he liked the location, and he said he loved the marijuana customers. They bought so much stuff, he said. It was so good for business. So maybe we can get the junk-food lobby throwing some money towards legalization???