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'Relax Your Muscles as Much as Possible'

Discussion in 'Marijuana News from The USA' started by Superjoint, Oct 27, 2002.

  1. By Vin Suprynowicz, Columnist
    Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

    Of the six tomato seedlings I bought last spring, two managed to make it through the summer, producing an occasional yellow fruit the size of my thumb -- never enough to make a meal.
    Now, as October wanes, my poor tomato vines are withered, sprawling things, only a few green leaves and a pair of struggling fruit the size of my little finger still hanging on, waiting for the frost.

    Just out of curiosity, I took my little coin-collecting scale out last week and weighed them. Just the flopped-over vines with the straggly withered leaves, you understand -- I didn't have the heart to tear them up by the roots and weigh the whole plants.

    Almost exactly 3 ounces.

    Most of the Nevada politicians who came in for endorsement interviews at the newspaper this year said they're going to vote against Question 9 (which would re-legalize up to 3 ounces of marijuana) come Nov. 5, because, "It's just too much; that's a lot of pot."

    But where do these prohibitionists think marijuana comes from? Do they really think the pot fairy leaves a plastic bag containing exactly 2.9 ounces of neatly trimmed leaves and buds hanging on your back door while you sleep?

    If it were legal for me to own up to 3 ounces of marijuana plant, but I could be sent to prison for possessing 3.1 ounces, would I risk growing even two marijuana plants at home, knowing they could end up weighing more than my two tomato vines? Even one plant?

    No, I wouldn't.

    Besides, virtually every candidate who trooped through our offices here at the Review-Journal this year, proclaiming in mock outrage "Three ounces is just too much!" was immediately asked, "How about 1 ounce? Would you vote to legalize an ounce?"

    Every one of them said, "No."

    If you vote "no" on Question 9, what is this "Drug War" you're really voting to continue? Let's look at a few facts.

    According to the outfit Common Sense for Drug Policy, which maintains the Web site -- http://www.drugwarfacts.org -- there are now approximately 77,000 state, local and federal inmates imprisoned on marijuana charges.

    According to FBI Uniform Crime reports on numbers of marijuana arrests, in 1991 there were 200,465 arrests in the United States for marijuana possession. But far from being "phased out," arrests for marijuana possession rose steadily through the 1990s, reaching 646,042 in 2000 (3,742 of those in Nevada alone -- costing 10,000 police hours just for "processing.") More than half of all federal inmates are now nonviolent drug inmates.

    According to the government-funded National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 800,000 million youths between 12 and 17 tried marijuana for the first time in 1991. But in 2000, according to the same survey, 1.6 million youths between 12 and 17 tried marijuana for the first time. "If arresting more people is supposed to stop kids from trying marijuana, it seems not to be working," comments Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project in D.C.

    What's life like in our prisons for those 77,000 marijuana convicts? Let's steel our nerves and go visit the Web site www.spr.org, where the Los Angeles outfit "Stop Prisoner Rape" has posted the little plain-talking handbill it has prepared for young men entering our prison system, titled "For Prisoners: Advice on Avoiding HIV/AIDS."

    The group's handout -- targeted primarily at heterosexual men who have no desire to ever be involved in homosexual activity -- advises:

    "HIV/AIDS transmission during a sexual assault is a serious concern. The following are practical tips for reducing your risk. ...

    "If you have a choice, try to avoid men who used needles for drugs in the past or are still doing so. ... The more often you are raped, the more exposed you will be, so especially try to avoid anal gang-bangs. The most dangerous situation of all is if your anus is bleeding, for that allows easy entry of the virus into your bloodstream. So try to use a lubricant or grease or cream if you can to minimize injury to your delicate internal body parts, avoid anal gang-bangs, and if you must endure forced anal penetration, try to relax your muscles as much as possible. These tactics are not 'cooperating' or consenting, they are just common-sense measures to try to save your life. ...

    "In many situations you are better off agreeing to do something (masturbating, oral sex, sex with a condom) rather than just resisting until you are overwhelmed and forced to deal with unprotected anal sex from one or many guys. You may feel you should resist to the end, but that would put your life in danger. There is no shame in doing what you have to do to survive; nothing changes the fact that rape is involved and you are not morally or legally responsible for it; these compromises are just pathways to your survival. It may even be to your advantage to develop skills in oral sex so that guys you have to deal with will be satisfied with that alone. Don't feel guilty about it; you're just trying to save your life. ..."

    Feeling pretty comfortable now with what the legal system is doing to these 77,000 nonviolent pot-smokers in your name? (And those are just the ones who end up doing hard time, mind you. Remember, 646,000 were arrested in 2000. Do you suppose most of them had a nice, restful night in jail? Do you realize, if their families spent a few thousand dollars apiece on legal fees, that adds up to more than a billion dollars, and taxpayer costs for lost police time are several times that?)

    Still going to tell me that treating them in this manner is just the way you show your "compassion" as you seek to "protect them from the health risks" of lighting up a joint, not to mention "sending the right message to the children"?

    Those who will vote "No; keep on with the drug war" claim they're afraid some school-bus driver might report to work stoned on dope, which would remain illegal under this proposal. But does anyone think today's drug laws could really prevent that? In fact, the Canadian Senate voted this month to re-legalize pot -- following the de-criminalization lead of England earlier this year -- based on medical and economic findings that traffic accidents can actually be expected to go down when dope is re-legalized, since some folks who currently swill booze will instead switch to marijuana, which actually tends to make users drive more cautiously.

    Drug policy scholar Matthew Elrod summarizes: "When cannabis use goes up, alcohol use goes down, resulting in a net decrease in drug-related traffic accidents. Economists Frank Chaloupka and Adit Laixuthai, for example, estimate that cannabis decriminalization would reduce youth traffic fatalities by 5.5 percent, youth drinking rates by 8 percent and binge drinking rates by 5 percent."

    Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of the books "Send in the Waco Killers" and "The Ballad of Carl Drega." For information on his books or his monthly newsletter visit www.privacyalert.us.

    Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV)
    Author: Vin Suprynowicz, Colomnist
    Published: Sunday, October 27, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 Las Vegas Review-Journal
    Contact: letters@lvrj.com
    Website: http://www.lvrj.com/

    Related Articles & Web Sites:


    Marijuana Policy Project

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