Even 19 year old Geoff is amazed. The New York Times came out for legalizing pot. This week they’re running a series of editorials on the subject.
Spoiler alert: I lived through the sixties and everything that implies.
The gist of the Times argument is, we do a lot of things that are worse and the penalties for pot are crazy.
The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.
Many, many, many years ago I worked in Florida. I was very young, a disk jockey on an ‘underground’ station. One night a co-worker and I hit the Waffle House at 2:00 AM. We were stoned.
A sheriff’s deputy followed us as we left and before long was searching the car. Mike, my co-worker, was arrested for possession. I was released.
The bag wasn’t mine, though I certainly knew it was there.
I never saw Mike again. He made an arrangement with the prosecutor and enlisted in the Air Force.
Mike avoided a criminal record, but had to short circuit his professional career. Not everyone is so fortunate.
Here in California there is (wink, wink, nod, nod) medical marijuana. It is smoked by the world’s healthiest sick people!
In Colorado, Washington and soon in Alaska you can just got to the pot store.
It’s time to stop punishing guys like Mike for something most teens and young adults have tried. It can be done without encouraging consumption.