Thursday, July 07, 2005

Raising the Barr 

I saw Roseanne Barr on the tonight show this evening, and in returning to her original stand-up roots, she's really redeemed herself in my eyes. But she said something profound, which I think should be engraved on the door of every school in the country:
The war on drugs is waged on poor minority people on street drugs by rich white people on prescription drugs.
I paraphrase, but that is as consice a description of the issue as I've ever seen.

Ask yourself -- why are certain drugs (marijuana, cocaine, heroin) illegal, while certain others (nicotine, alcohol, Vicodin) legal? Hint: the first three were associated, around the time of prohibition, with African Americans and Mexicans, prostitutes and the Chinese. Meantime, the white people were smoking and drinking, and respectable people who can afford doctors can get all the happy pills they want.

Yes -- the War on (Some) Drugs has always been and always be an ethnic/class war. When did it get started in the modern age? Richard Nixon. Why? Because Hippies smoked pot and dropped acid. Remember: Nixon was a fucking lush. The War on (Some) Drugs really cranked into high gear during the administration of the most over-rated American of the 20th Century -- Ronald Reagan. Or, as I like to call him, Ronald Fucking Reagan.

Some number from the CDC:

Number of people killed by tobacco every year in the US: 440,000.
Number of people killed by alcohol every year in the US: 85,000 directly; another 19,774 due to drunk driving.
Number of people killed by marijuana every year in the US: 0. The CDC doesn't even have statistics...

I've said it before here, and I'll say it again. If the Federal government really wants to make a big gain in their War on (Some) Drugs, the best thing they could do is legalize marijuana. By a vast majority, it's the one drug that most anti-Drug Warriors want legal. It also has proven medical uses -- just ask all those cancer and AIDS patients. If the government just legalized pot, the immediate benefits would be enormous. First off -- a boost in tax revenue. I'm sure the government could produce and market a pack of high-quality joints cheaply enough, then sell them for five or ten bucks a pack, most of that cost being taxes. The growing of the product could be a boon for family farmers, and reduce the cost of government subsidies to them. Selling at a price comparable to alcohol, it would cut the legs off of the illegal market. Pot dealers would have no incentive whatsoever, and less of a market. And, by legalizing marijuana, the government would free up enormous law enforcement resource to go after meth labs or crack dealers.

Any problems with legalization could be dealt with in the same way as current alcohol laws -- get stoned at home, no problem. Get stoned and drive, you're a criminal.

It's a practical solution, the only one that makes any sense -- but the puritanical attitude of the powers that be are the only thing that keep it from happening. Ironic, considering that, at this point, it's the Baby Boomers in charge -- the same generation that discovered pot en masse when they were in college. But, hypocrites that they are, they've turned into their own grandparents. Nobody under 60 should have any issues with pot at all. (They also shouldn't have any issues with sex, but that's another rant entirely.) But the rebelious generation lost their collective balls when they tasted power, and continue to betray themselves and us.

Maybe, when Gen X starts to take over, we'll see sanity in drug laws. Hoping, of course, that my generation doesn't grow up to be a pack of two-faced assholes as well. They just have to remember -- it's always 4:20 somewhere.

The simple (and sad) fact is that only two groups of people gain from drug laws............

1) The people charged with enforcing drug laws and those who jail drug offenders.
2) Those making money from selling drugs on the black market.
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