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Put That In Your Pipe and Pass It Around

Discussion in 'Marijuana News from The USA' started by Superjoint, Sep 24, 2002.

  1. By Ben Rayner
    Source: Toronto Star

    For the better part of a century, the great marijuana debate has been a source of puzzled bemusement for many and a trigger for complete, blithering outrage amongst others who fail to see why any debate should exist at all in the first place.
    The argument remains, and always will remain, an irresolvable one. Such is the nature of the entire drug question.

    For every rational, reasoned point one can raise in favour of a permissive attitude towards the use or sale of mood-altering substances, there'll always be someone collapsed on the sidewalk outside a nightclub somewhere, twitching and foaming at the mouth in the throes of an overdose, to present an equally valid argument in opposition.

    Talk of liberalizing the laws governing pot in Canada has flared up off and on for about as long as the laws themselves have been in place. Our very own Prime Minister recommended a change in legislation while serving as Justice Minister under Trudeau. If, however, any progress has actually been made against bureaucratic stall tactics - a lengthy, inefficient "official commission" is the most common - it's usually been rendered meaningless when a change of government swats the whole, tiresome process back to square one again. Which is, of course, exactly what each nervous administration to wade into the marijuana fracas was praying would happen all along.

    The players change, the arguments on both sides are updated to fit the temper of the times, but some things have always held true. The most vocal and passionate opponents of pot use have likely never smoked a joint in their lives, and probably should. Meanwhile, those who've enthusiastically adopted pot legalization as their cause célébre are all too often genial, dreadlocked space cases in Rusted Root T-shirts who fit and define a rather obvious but enduring marijuana-advocate stereotype that doesn't preach terribly well to the unconverted. And, no matter how many "smoke-ins" are held and legal hemp "test crops" are cultivated and cautiously pot-positive government reports are tabled, at the end of the day nothing ever changes.

    Since the mid-'90s, though, pro-cannabis forces have gained new legitimacy thanks to the gradual institutional acceptance of marijuana's medicinal qualities. Compassion for the sick, suffering and dying has softened the hearts and made grudging supporters of traditionally conservative forces in the public and in office. And, since the federal Liberals will apparently be in power until the end of history, they've had no choice but to acknowledge that a growing majority of the public really doesn't think weed is necessarily an instrument of the Devil, a psychotic agent or the "gateway" to heroin addiction.

    The government has to do something soon, anyway, since it's sitting on an enormous crop of medicinal marijuana grown deep in an abandoned mine in Flin Flon, Man. - amidst, of course, the kind of impregnable security typical of U.S. missile bases - that it can't legally distribute to those who need it.

    Let's get on with it, already. And, not to undermine medicinal marijuana's worthy cause, let's also stop pretending that this is all about AIDS patients, wondrous hemp products and a renewable fuel source.

    Let us, once and for all, concede that the recreational smoking of pot is no big deal, that some drugs are much less potentially harmful than others and that it's ridiculous to legislate against a weed that can grow easily in ditches.

    I'm exceedingly fond of pot, myself, and I'd be hard-pressed to name more than a couple of people I know who don't light up from time to time. My mother, bless her, is about the only person I know personally who feels the act is particularly unnatural or dangerous. To me, it's a means of chemical relaxation preferable even to my beloved beer, a facilitator for abstract creative thought, a way of getting into those Beachcombers reruns on APTN, the reason I sometimes conduct heartfelt attempts to broker peace between my roommate's cat and my neighbour's dog. That's not so bad.

    I've known a couple of dedicated potheads, true, who became inert blobs of goo permanently fastened to the couch and Incredible Hulk cartoons, but - overlooking the side effects of smoking anything and the possible hazards of driving while under the influence - that's about as nefarious as marijuana gets. Career potheads are a far less objectionable lot than, for instance, career crackheads.

    Heavy pot smokers tend to be a Happy Gilmore-loving, stop-and-smell-the-roses breed, as opposed to fire-the-stolen-automatic-wildly-into-the-rose-bushes-'cause-"they've-been-followin'-me-all-week-tryin'-to-steal-my-sh--" variety of drug user.

    The federal government - fearing, no doubt, a Panama-esque invasion from U.S. troops fighting the War on Drugs (remember that one?) - will never stampede straight towards legalizing pot outright, as suggested in the recent, contentious Senate-committee report responsible for kicking the marijuana debate into high gear earlier this month.

    The fact that the feds let that enormous trial balloon float up with remarkably little fuss suggests, however, that they're close to opting for the more conservative tactic of official decriminalization. Whatever happens, of course, it'll make very little difference to the hundreds of thousands of Canadian pot smokers who've never paid any attention to the law as it stands, anyway.

    It would be a refreshing change, though, if a government actually allowed its citizens something that made them feel good for a change, besides the booze and tobacco it tacitly endorses through the collection of ever-increasing tax revenues.

    Not all of us are content to escape the penury of daily existence simply through vigorous exercise, the accumulation of wealth and goods and Prozac prescriptions, after all, and an artificial high is very often preferable to a natural low.

    Plus, cable TV, Creamsicles and Method Man and Redman make a helluva lot more sense when you're baked. That counts for something. I think.

    How'd you get in here, anyway?

    Note: Legalize pot already and stop the tedious, tiresome debate.

    Newshawk: puff_tuff
    Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
    Author: Ben Rayner
    Published: September 22, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 The Toronto Star
    Contact: lettertoed@thestar.com
    Website: http://www.thestar.com/
     

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