Friday, August 20, 2010

On the Brighter Side of Recession

The last time our economy was this bad, our nation was undergoing an experiment. It was hailed in papers as “The Noble Experiment,” but it has gone down in history as one of the biggest blunders in American history: alcohol prohibition.

Prohibition didn’t end in 1933, however. And since Richard Nixon declared that America was engaged in a “War on Drugs,” over 40 million people have been thrown in jail at taxpayer expense. Meanwhile, billions of dollars have flowed into the hands of drug cartels, terrorists, and worst of all, hippies.

Be honest, wouldn’t it be nice to buy your weed from someone who has showered in the past 24 hours? Ugh, and no more awful Phish music playing in the background. When did stoners stop listening to real rock music?

But I digress.

We’re in the middle of a “recession” that will soon be a depression (if not a desperation or downright desolation). One thing that helped pull us out of the Great Depression (besides WWII) was the 21st amendment and the instatement of a tax on alcohol.

Legalizing drugs, even if it’s just marijuana, would provide several benefits:

- tax revenues from the legal sale
- decrease in public spending on law enforcement
- decrease in public spending on incarceration
- removal of major source of funding for organized crime

While I support legalizing every drug (and I make this from a position of having studied pharmacology, addiction, and treatment), I know this is a tough sell. It might be necessary to ease people into drug legalization, and weed is, coincidentally, a great gateway drug towards this end.

So, I’ll set aside the argument for legalizing all drugs in favor of focusing on marijuana (as tough as it can be to focus on cannabis, I’ll give it a shot…).

More people die from being arrested with weed, raped in prison, and contracting AIDS than from smoking weed itself. When looking at successful people, it’s almost harder to find someone who hasn’t smoked weed than someone who has:

Barack Obama
George W. Bush
Clarence Thomas
Al and Tipper Gore
Newt Gingrich
Dan Quayle
Arnold Scharzenegger
John F. Kennedy
Michael Bloomberg
George Pataki
Pierre Elliot Trudeau (former Canadian Prime Minister, for all the Canuck stoners)
John Kerry
Bill Clinton
… and those are just politicians. I defy you to listen to music made by pot-virgins for more than a week without shoving screwdrivers in your ears. On the other hand, if you have to be high to enjoy the music, then your music is like someone who is ugly and only gets laid when the other person is drunk.

Wow, it’s hard to stay focused…

Perhaps the most important but least talked about issue in the drug war is the little problem of selective enforcement. A cop can’t arrest someone for being black, but if they have a little weed on them, that’s enough to drag them in and ruin their life. Whoops, did that person who looked black turn out to be a really tan college student? Well, I guess a warning will scare them straight…

But the worst abuses are often political. It is very well documented that Nixon kept close tabs on his “enemies,” from John Lennon to Jackie Gleason. Really any of those liberal pinko fags who spoke out against unpopular wars or government policies could expect to be watched like hawks, and files full of their illicit drug use were kept in the event they had to be “silenced.”

By making something that is nearly ubiquitous illegal, the government has the potential for arresting nearly anyone they want. And they don’t have to let a pesky little thing like “the truth” get in the way, because planting a bag on someone and putting an officer’s word against that of a suspect in court is usually enough.

So legalize it, and I promise: we’ll forget why we even banned it in the first place.


  1. I defy you to listen to music made by pot-virgins for more than a week without shoving screwdrivers in your ears.

    Would you be referring to Ted Nugent?

  2. "More people die from being arrested with weed, raped in prison, and contracting AIDS than from smoking weed itself."

    Why do prisoners rape each other? Are they all fucking nuts?

    I think it's cruel to cram prisoners together into overflowing prisons. I think at least prisons should be segregated by crime category; rapists with rapists, drug dealers with drug dealers, serial killers with serial killers, white-collar tax evaders with white-collar tax evaders, teenage drunk drivers with teenage drunk drivers, etc.

    Doesn't make sense to lock up a kid for simple drug possession with bipolar wife beaters.

    What's the purpose of imprisonment anyway?

    a) deterrent through example?
    b) keep society safe by locking up offenders?
    c) rehabilitate convicts in preparation for reintegration in society?
    d) punish by causing pain an anguish?

  3. e) provide jobs for people with no skills beyond being an asshole

    And prisoners rape each other because they can. I think sometimes we give humanity a little too much credit by focusing only on the good people we know and deal with on a daily basis, forgetting there are thousands out there who would rape the first thing that moves once no one else is looking (or get off even more knowing someone is watching).

    To me, prison should be for people who cannot possibly function on the outside without hurting others. It fails at rehabilitation, and other programs such as community service or directed career training are far more effective. I think also think punishment for the sake of punishment is cruel; fines should be the primary form of punishment, and I think the proceeds ought to go towards victims.

    As far as deterrence goes... there certainly is a degree of success in preventing most people from most crimes if they know they can be punished for it, though we have to accept the fact that there is a limit to this and that making punishment increasingly worse will garner diminishing returns. Nothing can prevent every crime of passion, and there's not much we can do about people who don't think straight to begin with... besides seperate them from society so the rest of us can go about our lives.

  4. Oh! The list is not complete. What about ...

    f) lock up political dissidents to shut them up.
    g) provide slave labor for the State.
    h) provide a steady supply of organ donors and medical test subjects for the People's Republic of China

  5. I think you have h) bass ackwards...


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