By Alvin Richardson, Columnist
This is not a gossip column so the title may be somewhat misleading. Just bear with me. Today’s offering is more akin to going out on the proverbial limb or venturing onto a slippery slope.
I do this in the name of public debate but don’t send me any critical e-mails on the choice of topic. Somebody’s got to say it so why not me? There are a couple of moves afoot in our country that revolve around the legalization of marijuana in both recreational and medicinal form.
I don’t have enough information or smarts to talk about the medicinal side of things. My take on that subject is that if it can help people with seizures and other major health issues have at it. Legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes is another deal entirely and certainly food for thought. I should say up front that I’ve not given left handed cigarettes a try.
It was pretty popular when I was in college during the 70’s but I was able to steer clear and there were three main reasons that I left it alone. 1) I was afraid of my daddy’s wrath 2) I was afraid of my momma’s shame and 3) I was afraid of going to jail on a five to 10 stretch during which I would probably become intimately acquainted with large men who wanted to be my best friend.
There are already a few states that have or soon will have laws making weed legal.
A few samplings: Alaska – You can have four ounces in your home but can’t have it in public. I suppose they did that so that those 24 hour winter nights could be made bearable. It also adds new meaning to getting into daddy’s liquor cabinet.
Colorado – If a person is 21 or over they can possess one ounce but cannot use it in public. You can also have up to six plants in your house. In that particular state there is renewed interest in hybrid marijuana plants that grow as big as banana trees.
Oregon – Beginning in July persons 21 or older can possess one ounce in public and eight ounces at home plus four plants that could conceivably be anywhere in scope from small to whopper (adding new meaning to the phrase “Could you supersize that for me?”) There is a tax on weed sales in the Great Northwest but those taxes are to be used for drug treatment programs. Now that’s the very definition of irony.
Washington – Their law goes into effect in July and you can possess one ounce of pot, 16 ounces of a marijuana infused product (read jumbo sized blunt) or 72 ounces in liquid form.) I don’t know what you’d call that drink – maybe a Grass – Hopper.
Now you better not take liberties with your cannabis cravings in Georgia. A conviction of possession of more than one ounce can actually be prosecuted as a felony with the possibility of one to 10 years in one of our fine state facilities.
Texas isn’t pussyfooting around either. If you get caught there with more than five ounces you might get to ride the lightning but most likely it will be about a two year stint in the pokey and a $10,000 fine.
In the states where Mary Jane can now roam freely there are certain things that are bound to happen. Let me refer you back to high school science class.
Newton’s Third Law states: For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. This law applies quite neatly to the legalization of marijuana in our country because there are always –I say again, always – unintended consequences.
I predict the following things will happen in places where reefer goes onto the open market (Just as Mr. Newton’s law foretold)
• People in the upper age brackets will be discussing their joints in an entirely new light.
• Colorado will have a new state slogan: Come for the marijuana; stay because you forgot to leave.
• The government will put a tax on this new product just like it does everything else thus becoming a democrtically based drug dealer. They might even wind up being worse than Al Pacino in the movie Scarface. Additionally the Democrats and Republican parties will have an ongoing debate about who gets to spend the money. Not sure if the Founding Fathers would have liked that turn of events.
• Stores in which pot is sold will get big enough to have greeters at the door. Their salutation as you come in will go something like this: “Dude, how’s it going?”
• There will be a new business model in these places where dope is sold – All marijuana dealerships will have a Waffle House right beside it. It’s a natural fit.
• The sale of greenhouses and potato chips will skyrocket. My advice is to buy stock in Frito Lay.
• New slogans to encourage people not to abuse marijuana will spring up. I don’t think they will ever be able to top the “Say no to crack” mantra – it was too funny. I
do have a couple of suggestions however – “Don’t do pot, your brain will rot” or “Keep off the Grass” although I know those aren’t too catchy.
I’m just making fun of these new laws here but maybe you could help your Congressperson remember Newton’s Third Law and all those bad reactions and unintended consequences that are possible. They just might wind up ruining a bunch of lives. Seriously. (E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)