Smoke ’em if you got ’em

20 Apr

Today is a day that many people identify with one specific activity, to quote wikpedia:

April 20 (4/20 in U.S. date notation) has evolved into a counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. Some events have a political nature to them, advocating for the decriminalization of non-medical cannabis in the United States.

Happy counterculture holiday everyone!

(How ridiculous is this? Thank you, Thank you.)

Cannabis culture in general seems to be changing in the U.S. Over the past few years many states have legalized the medical use of marijuana, and probably just as many of those states have also had police raids on some of their licensed dispensaries.

It’s clear with even a brief look, we’re conflicted.

And I still wonder why. As someone who has taught a few years of freshman english, where I allowed students to choose their topics for reasearch papers, I have read quite a bit of research trying to show that marijuana should be legalized for not only medical, but recreational use.

They make a cute point, cutely.

Movies like “Pineapple Express,” and, well, every other movie Seth Rogen was making for awhile, promote lifestyles that include marijuana. Actor/comedian Zach Galifianakis, pulled out a joint and smoked it on live TV. Granted, it was on Bill Maher’s talk show but I’m pretty sure Galifianakis didn’t face any repercussions. Meanwhile, pot-smoking legend Willie Nelson gets arrested for weed, gets a slap on the wrist and, in the media, it’s laughed about because, well, it just doesn’t seem to be a big deal.

If you look for a reason why it is illegal, there are mixed views. To cite a source of the interwebs,

Many people assume that marijuana was made illegal through some kind of process involving scientific, medical, and government hearings; that it was to protect the citizens from what was determined to be a dangerous drug.

The actual story shows a much different picture. Those who voted on the legal fate of this plant never had the facts, but were dependent on information supplied by those who had a specific agenda to deceive lawmakers. You’ll see below that the very first federal vote to prohibit marijuana was based entirely on a documented lie on the floor of the Senate.

You’ll also see that the history of marijuana’s criminalization is filled with:

  • Racism
  • Fear
  • Protection of Corporate Profits
  • Yellow Journalism
  • Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or Corrupt Legislators
  • Personal Career Advancement and Greed

Now, all personal opinions aside, you can’t deny that with bigger issues such as Gay Equality on the agenda, it’s no wonder that marijuana/cannabis/weed/pot or whatever you call it, and the use of it,  doesn’t seem to be quite as big a deal in the media anymore.

My question is, will this mainstreaming of a counterculture in the media actually effect a change in legality? If so, how will we think of it then? Will 4:20 become an actually recognized celebration? At least… more than it currently is.

I really don’t know.


2 Responses to “Smoke ’em if you got ’em”

  1. Sarah April 20, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    I really have no opinion on this subject. . .legal or illegal, people are going to continue to smoke. At least if it’s illegal, they don’t have to pay taxes on it.

    However, there is one thing that gets me every time I hear about it. . .
    To arrest Willie Nelson for having pot is ridiculous. Every one knows he has it. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to know that if Willie is rolling through your town, he’s also probably rolling a joint. It just seems mean to arrest him for it when he’s so honest about it.

    And that is all.

  2. nikki April 21, 2011 at 3:06 am #

    I think pot should be legal because 1. It’s just not a big deal, 2. Think of all the money we’d save not arresting people for possession, resale, growing, transporting, etc., 3. Think of all the tax revenue from it.

    That aside, the way that pot was made illegal is a prime example of failure of our legislative process. The question is, how do we fix it?

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