Saturday, August 06, 2005
I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that weed will be decriminalized within a decade. First, you have that new show on Showtime. That's going to generate a lot of water-cooler talk on the subject. People will have an excuse to broach that slightly dirty slightly sleazy topic with casual acquaintences. In the process, I think, many people will realize that the emperor is utterly starkers.
Such a large portion of the population indulge in illicit substances that you cannot possibly stamp it out or jail them all. Just like booze. I'd guess that at leat half as many people use weed as use alcohol. It's just the poorest, the stupidest, and the most marginal members of society that get caught and punished. You would be absolutely amazed at the functional, productive, respected members of the community that indulge in mind-altering substances without noticeable effect. I know of at least 2 over-40 people with houses on Summit that smoke weed every single day and have for decades. I'm seriously talking lawyers doctors teachers... Everybody. My high school art teacher was the biggest pothead I've ever seen. Good art teacher too. (I know it's a stereotype, but this guy could have been a caricature, he'd walk out of the kiln room trailing pot smoke from his 'fro, honest to god.)
See this for evidence.
This prohibitionist rhetoric of addiction and 'reefer madness' in relation to all illegal drugs is about to hit the same kind of naked emperor wall that the 'just abstain until marriage and you don't need to know anything else,' notion hit in the sixties. Too many people know people who have done coke and not gotten addicted. Too many people know social cigarette smokers. Too many people know productive college professors who smoke a joint on friday nights. Look at the prison population, then look at the college population. It ain't about the substance.
The 'black market', most of which is drugs, most of which is weed, is something like 10% of the US economy. Look at the financial incentives to get an unrefined plant product across the border and then make any argument about realistically securing our borders. How many decades has the drug war been going on? How many billions of dollars have been spent? Yet I can still find whatever within a day? So why would any half-intelligent western-educated terrorist with $50,000 be unable to get a suitcase nuke into the country?
I expect a fairly rapid cascading collective recognition that the drug war is an ineffective waste of money. Has forbidding the fruit ever worked? It took the depression to allow social mood to do away with prohibition. I expect that the sheer scale of the drug war will make for an easy way to chop billions out of the budget, but not until we hit bottom. The stock market took over a year to bottom out after the crash of '29. What with real-estate I expect that this crash will either take much longer to work through, or will be similar in severity and government impotence. Or we may stray toward Big Brother, but the grassroots reaction to the Kelo decision gives me hope.
(I'm not saying that addiction doesn't exist. I'm saying that when you have people addicted to gambling or online shopping, blaming the substance for the compulsive/destructive behavior is lacking in some basic reasoning and logical skills. I also agree with the South Park take that "There's a time and a place for everything, and it's called college.")
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