Sunday, July 10, 2011

Marijuana Laws.

The Huffington Post recently reported that "the federal government" (the article did not specify what office or branch) ruled that cannabis had no accepted medical purpose. This, from people who've likely never smoked it and/or experienced its nausea-reducing effects on themselves or observed it in other people. No, these bureaucrats, most of whom I'm certain have no medical or even science degrees, have taken it upon themselves to declare what should or should not be prescribed.

You know, when between 70% and 80% of every state in the union approves of medical marijuana being made legal, you'd think that there might be politicians everywhere clamoring all over themselves to be the first one to endorse legalization. Aside from Ron Paul, I don't know of any prominent Republicans who are even bothering to address the issue. For the most part, major Republican players remain firmly opposed to marijuana for medical, recreational, or spiritual use. Could there be a deeper reason?

Here's a thought: In 1972, Richard M. Nixon declared his "war on drugs." At the time, he was firmly opposed in the war on Vietnam, and one thing every unpopular president loves to do is throw up a war and drum up national crisis in order to bolster bad polling numbers. But in Nixon's case, I believe it went deeper. Many of Nixon's opponents were hippies - long-haired bead-wearing young people who were smoking cannabis on a regular basis. How to go after these pot-headed peaceniks? Why, by taking away their weed, that's how! And in 20 years' time, who knows? The lack of marijuana could spark a war-mongering right-wing revival.

What happened? 22 years later, 1994, Bill Clinton watched his Democratic majorities in both the house and Senate disappear, as Republicans took control with their "Contract with America." The Republican revival was on!

Coincidence?

We should be cautious before drawing any conclusions, here. Correlation does not imply causation. It could entirely be just happenstance. But it doesn't necessarily need to be true, does it? What needs to be true, is that certain Republican party leaders believe it. If they think that legalizing pot will cause the hippies to come back, and result in more recreational-use-inspired liberalism to boot them from office, it would explain their stubborn refusal to bow to the overwhelming majority of their constituents.

Now, obviously smoking pot doesn't make you a liberal, any more than taking oxy contin makes you a conservative. But if politicians believe that such mind-altering drugs can indeed alter the mind in just this way, it would explain a great many things, wouldn't it?

Especially not legalizing and taxing, and thus boosting the economy, and jobs, and treasury revenues, at a time when our government is so desperately in need of a balanced budget, and a thriving economy.

To help end the Great Depression, prohibition of alcohol was ended. It worked. Yes, a war helped, too, but the recovery began before the war did. So isn't it time our government woke up and legalized cannabis? Like now, when it's so bloody obviously the right thing to do?

Eric

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