The Pot Editorial


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.

Pot: The Big Surprise

potIf you asked 18 year Geoff if marijuana would ever be sold legally in the United States, the answer would be, “No!” Granted, he was probably stoned at the time. But even grownup Geoff is surprised at what just happened.

Unless you have no short term memory, you probably know marijuana sales became legal in Colorado on January 1. Medical marijuana (wink, wink, nod, nod) was already legal in Colorado and a bunch of other states.

Conventional wisdom says governments are risk averse. Pols don’t want the blame should legalization go bad. The status quo has much less downside.

So, again, big surprise this would happen.

Some friends are worried about their children. Valid concern. I don’t want my doctor/dentist/airline pilot going to work stoned either. Will legalization change that? No.

Too many people are in jail for simple drug offenses. They’re not from everywhere. We enforce our laws more stringently against the poor and non-whites. That’s unfair.

This morning in the Times, David Brooks wrote in opposition to Colorado’s change. He told stories of his teen years, when he was stoned–which he now regrets.

Only luck and privilege kept him from going to jail. That’s what today’s drug laws do.

Business is brisk in Colorado. There are lines to get in.

The price of pot, predicted to fall over time, has gone up. The AP reports one dispensary selling 1/8 ounce for $70.

Doesn’t anyone else find this a bit surreal? People are walking into stores and buying pot! Through my entire life those who govern have said exactly the opposite. Some still do.

Big surprise, all of it.