Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Let's Tell The Truth About Marijuana

"A weed is a flower, too, once you get to know it." ~ Eeyore from "Winnie The Pooh"

After 72 years of the debate being controlled by those who've made it a taboo to even talk about the subject, it's time to tell the truth about marijuana.

The deck is still stacked, of course, in favor of cannabis prohibition. The reason? Folks who know that marijuana is harmless are often too intimidated to say so, because until now, speaking cannabis truth has carried a heavy price.

For years, a few brave medical doctors such as Lester Grinspoon of Harvard have been voices in the wilderness of marijuana prohibition. Their repeated calls for an open and honest debate on the subject have largely fallen on deaf ears, because until now, when it comes to marijuana, those who know won't say, and those who say don't know.

To depart from official, ONDCP-backed orthodoxy on the subject has been to risk expulsion from polite society, to risk the scorn of peers, to risk being branded as a slack-jawed pothead incapable of forming a coherent sentence, to risk losing the right to be taken seriously, to risk ridicule as a stoner stereotype, to risk dismissal from our jobs, to risk loss of our families and homes, and to risk legal consequences including arrest and incarceration.

Why are the anti-pot forces so scared of an open discussion? If the facts are on their side, why must anti-marijuana warriors try to shut down the debate? If health is the issue, why aren't the extensive scientific studies considered relevant? If crime is the issue, then why can't we discuss alternatives to the failed criminal model? If kids are the issue, then why can't we (novel idea) just be honest with them about the effects, drawbacks, and rewards of marijuana use?

Ah, "the kids." Seems they are mentioned every time the legalization of marijuana is mentioned, as in "what kind of message will that send the kids?"

Well, how about sending them the message that it's now OK to be honest about drugs? How about being honest enough about marijuana so that the warnings against using harder drugs like meth, cocaine, and heroin will be taken seriously, rather than being dismissed as just more hysterical propaganda -- you know, like what we've been telling them for seven decades about pot?

If we expect young people to take us seriously, we have to tell them the truth. When we tell them ridiculous things about marijuana, they're not going to listen when we try to tell them about the dangers of other drugs.

Lights In The Darkness

Just before any quantum change in public perceptions, there are brave visionaries who are ahead of the curve, who are leading the way towards a better understanding of the truth.

Because many are in the position of fearing professional reprisal and loss of livelihood, being honest about marijuana has until now been a luxury which can be indulged by only a few. But thank goodness these few push open the door a little wider, letting in the truth, and in any open debate in a free society, the truth will eventually prevail.

• People like travel guru Rick Steves, who says he decided to speak the truth about marijuana because he has no boss, thus he doesn't have to worry about being fired.

• People like film director John Holowach, whose excellent documentary High: The True Tale of American Marijuana has been largely ignored by the mainstream press.

• People like Ed Rosenthal and Jack Herer and Dennis Peron and Keith Stroup and Rob Kampia and Paul Stanford and so many others who have managed to make changing minds and rules about marijuana not only their life's work, but also a paying occupation.

These leaders are all contributing to changing the paradigm -- changing it so much that soon, my brothers and sisters, we will all be able to speak the truth without fear. It's time for truth and reconciliation, and if you're a pot prisoner or a medical marijuana patient or a righteous caregiver or a recreational smoker, the truth will set you free.

It's A Done Deal

People have grown tired of the official lies about marijuana. The public is rapidly reaching a critical mass where folks will no longer be willing to be led, unthinking and sheep-like, down the primrose path of prohibition.

The cannabis cat is out of the bag. Too many people know the truth about marijuana for the ganja genie to be stuffed back into the bottle.

Let's tell the truth about marijuana.

Marijuana Facts: The Truth About Pot

Erowid: The Truth About Marijuana

Change The Climate: Time To Tell The Truth About Marijuana


Steven said...

I couldn't agree with you more. One of the biggest obstacles in the way of changing the mindset of the average American regarding Cannabis is for pot smokers to "come out of the closet." It is too easy for politicians to cast us all into stereotypes because we are all trained to hide in our turtle shell for protection. Similar to the gay rights movement, I believe it is important for people who support Marijuana come out of the wood work and bond together to shed previously held stereotypes. That and the combination of new technologies will really allow us to unite this movement under one roof.

Ace said...

You know, I used to be comfortable operating in the gray area of weed-law. I thought and to a certain extent still do think that people who get cards for phantom back pain or migraines are fools for not just operating in the gray area. Just smoke it discretely and don't make a big fuss about legalization.

I barely use it anyway, so this approach worked fine for me. Now I feel differently.

On Christmas Eve I was traveling through a state that has very strict pot laws. I was in a junker car with out of state plates and I am young. A cop pulled me over. He said I was going five miles over the speed limit--I was. He had been following me for miles. He was looking for a reason to stop me.

He was a K-9 unit. He asked me if I had drugs, I said no. He asked if he could search the car, I said no. He proceeded to do a walk around on the car with his dog and, apparently, the dog signaled--whatever that means. I think he could have just said the dog signaled even if it hadn't.

Anyway, he found a small amount of weed--less than an 8th of an ounce. Now I'm in big trouble. I'm facing a felony charge and loss of my financial aid.

I wasn't smoking weed in the car, hadn't smoked at all that day and I am not all dreadlocked or hippied out.

So now, even though I was operating very responsibly in the gray area of weed law, I got busted. I no longer feel safe in the gray area. This has forced me to pick a side. I pick legalization.

Bach said...

Time To Tell The Truth About Marijuana is a brilliant piece of writing. This may be single best reason to reform marijuana laws.

Bach said...

Yikes, that's a sad story and on Christmas eve too. Talk about bad luck... It makes you wonder how the cop felt that night, after work, about the damage he knew he'd done to a young persons life?

Anonymous said...

Well said. I have to agree with Bach- simply brilliant.

Bill Bill said...

Well said. Check out this recent article in Japan about what is going on over here. Mind you, I didn't have the courage to post it to my blog (instead only a blip on my twitter account, and where I found a link to this blog post):

Tokyo Metropolis Mag: Marijuana Underground. Celebrity busts student smokers have Japan’s authorities in a tizz.


Jennifer McKenzie said...

Well, I disagree.
As one who has seen the destruction that pot use can do to someone's life, I view it like alcohol. Legalization? Sure. Then tax it, regulate it, make it illegal to smoke it and drive, start slamming people for selling it to minors.
I don't have a problem with legalization. But it's a drug. A DRUG. I don't advocate making Vicodin available at drug bars.
Regulate it and I'll get behind it.
If you want to use it as a "pain killer" then get it from a pharmacy. That's where sick people get their drugs.
And if you had weed in your car and got caught with it, that's on YOU. Weed is still illegal. If you had an open container of alcohol, you'd be facing the same charges.
I guess until you've seen someone who smokes pot all day, trims when he can, carries a gun for "protection" and start using meth to "stay awake to guard the crop" maybe it all seems like a "fun drug" that's being demonized.
I don't think so.

☮~alapoet~☠ said...

Jennifer, what "destruction"?

I'd love to be able to get my (here in Washington, legal, doctor-recommended) medicine from a pharmacy. But I can't do that. The pharmacy can't sell it. That doesn't make marijuana any less legal; it just makes it harder to get.

If someone you care about is using meth and carrying guns, then those are separate issues than marijuana. While I'm sorry for your pain in that regard, I don't think it's particularly relevant to the issue of marijuana or its legalization -- which, by the way, already happened here, 11 years ago, for medical uses.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

But it's NOT a separate issue. The growing of pot is an ugly and very profitable business.
The legalization that's been proposed doesn't protect people from the nasty part of pot. What I've seen is this attempt to change pot from a drug to a "harmless" herb. That's not reality either.
When both sides treat the drug as a drug, to be approved by the FDA, distributed by qualified physicians and regulated in the open, pot will continue to encourage a criminal and dark lifestyle.
If you're going to do a reality check, take a look at the "pot culture". Some of it is valuable, necessary. Some of it is very violent and very ugly.
Let's not spread rainbows over it to hide the consequences.
Legality might be the answer, but it has to be legality the way alcohol is legal.
No one is proposing that. It seems to be all the way legal (a harmless herb) or all the way illegal (no tolerance).
I'm an advocate of making users, growers and distributors pay taxes, be accountable and be out in the open.
And the lifestyle pot encourages at the moment IS relevant to our discussion. There's money involved. Money. Right now, it's all illegal money. And believe me, those involved would like to keep it that way.

☮~alapoet~☠ said...

Jennifer, one needn't "spread any rainbows" to know that the reason for all the money and, as you put it, "the nasty part of pot" is the very ILLEGALITY of the pot trade.

It's nothing intrinsic about marijuana. It's something intrinsic about illegality.

Legalize marijuana, and the profits (and violence) associated with the pot trade is gone -- overnight.

You seem intent on equating marijuana with alcohol. But that's an imperfect analogy, and I believe you are probably aware of that. As much as you emphasize marijuana should be "like alcohol," it simply is not. Spend some time around alcoholics; spend some time around potheads. Notice which group tends to get into fights, wreck cars, etc. Yes, the alcohol group.

Another inaccuracy in your post: You aver that "no one is proposing" that controls similar to the ones over alcohol be enacted to regulate marijuana. That is incorrect. In fact, NORML, the Marijuana Policy Project and a number of other marijuana organizations have proposed EXACTLY that:


As for "the lifestyle pot encourages" and there being "money involved," once again: That is due to pot's ILLEGALITY, not its effects. The "lifestyle pot encourages" is to listen to music and eat Doritos.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

And yet, it IS legal in California and I've seen "Pot related crime" (breaking and entering, murder, robbery, gang activity)increase in my area. Humboldt County. You've heard of Humboldt County, right?
It IS like alcohol. Many who drink just...get drunk. Pot impairs. I'm sorry, but I don't buy the "harmless" idea. Which is probably the stumbling block the "Legalize Pot" movement will run into.
I totally disagree that legalizing it will reduce the crime associated with it. We legalized "medical marijuana" here. Yet, the people I see getting their cards are people who want to sell in Nevada, a "no tolerance" state.
I know that some NEED this drug. But until those who use it recognize that it ISN'T harmless in the hands of an addict, then it will continue to be illegal.
Not to mention that the "Lifestyle" of listening to music and eating Doritos only applies to the user, not the grower or the seller. What about them? What is THEIR lifestyle?
Illegality is not the only thing responsible for the criminality associated with pot.
Perhaps it's because I live where it's grown. I can't camp in many places lest I'm shot for stumbling onto someone's crop.
In Mendocino County, where pot is totally legal and accepted, two people were murder and their feet cut off by the Hawaiian mob. They were growing legally, yet they dealing UNREGULATED DEALING. And they got screwed. And they're dead.
Sorry. I just don't see pot as "harmless".
When you buy your bag, you might think about the community where it was grown. Maybe it's not all that healthy after all.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

Oh, and thank you for the link. I'm definitely going to check it out. I'd love an alternative to the law enforcement solution which is too extreme IMHO.

☮~alapoet~☠ said...

Jennifer, once again the deleterious effects you mention (illegal crops, huge profits, murder, etc.) are not due to marijuana, and certainly not due to medical marijuana.

They are due to the fact that marijuana is still illegal everywhere under federal law -- thus is vastly profitable on the black market.

Take away the black market by legalizing across the board, and all this goes away. See alcohol Prohibition. Do we have any Al Capones anymore? NO, because alcohol is legal, and black market profits are non-existent.

I happen to live in a place where, like California, marijuana is legal for medical use. California isn't the only state; 13 states have legalized it. And I can assuredly tell you that violence is NOT associated with the legal medical marijuana trade here in Washington.

Please know that when I "buy my bag," I know EXACTLY where it was grown. I know EXACTLY who grew it. And I know ASSUREDLY that yes, it is quite healthy indeed, and NO, it has NO connection to criminal gangs, guns, or people getting their feet cut off.