Good news, potheads! You no longer have to drive down to Uruguay to hang out in a nation where your recreational smoking predilections won’t get you thrown in prison.
Yesterday’s Toronto Star gave us the news. Recreational cannabis is now legal north of the border. “As Canada stops treating cannabis as a ‘social evil,’ police look to ‘culture change’ in enforcement.” Their coverage of the event went on to discuss expedited pardons for pot possessors, a province-by-province breakdown of the price of weed, and photos of normal, average everyday Canadians standing in long lines at their newly opened weed shops as though they enjoyed waiting for that first iPhone a decade ago.
And, from the looks of the crowd, I’m sure many did.
Yesterday, cartoonist/storyteller Erik Larsen scored one of the biggest (probably unintentional) public relations victories in comics. The 239th issue of Savage Dragon (full disclosure: it’s one of my absolute favorite comics, for reasons I’ll probably explain in an upcoming Brainiac On Banjo column) went on sale the same day Canadian weed went legal. The lead character, his wife and children, and some members of the supporting cast relocated to the Great White North last year. Toronto, to be exact, which happens to be my favorite city in North America. I identify with, and am jealous of, any Chicagoan who moves to Toronto. Will the Savage Dragon mellow out and become the Magic Dragon?
Oh, and, umm, yes, I did recolor the Dragon’s maple leaf t-shirt. The leaf was red and still is on the copies you might see at your friendly neighborhood comics shop. Rest assured, I alter maple leaves, not marijuana leaves.
I have no doubt that those people who believe marijuana is a gateway drug also believe global warming is a hoax. Their “evidence” is that Xty-X percent of surveyed heroin addicts previously had pot. This is not evidence of anything. 81.1% of heroin addicts were breastfed. Ergo, according to the logic of these morons, breastfeeding is a gateway to heroin addiction. However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, ‘harder’ substances. Also, cross-sensitization is not unique to marijuana. Alcohol and nicotine also prime the brain for a heightened response to other drugs and are, like marijuana, also typically used before a person progresses to other, more harmful substances.”
That’s the word of the United States governments, which continues to spend nearly sixteen billion dollars each year to incarcerate weed users. Of course, there is a highly disproportionate number of “minorities” in that group, so therefore a lot of Americans feel it’s okay.
That number does not include the amount of taxpayers’ money that is spent on law enforcement endeavors with respect to cannibals. Seeing how Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy added nearly two trillion dollars to our deficit, and the next round will add over three trillion more. Saving a few billion dollars here and a few billion dollars there and, before you know it, you’ve saved… well, nowhere nearly enough to make Trump stop being an asshole, but it helps.
Is marijuana dangerous? You bet it could be. But to be fair, we must ask “compared to what?” Driving? Owning a gun? Having a gun pointed at you? How about alcohol? Nicotine? Acetylsalicylic acid? Acetylsalicylic acid combined with alcohol? That last one is astonishingly common and potentially lethal. All these substances are in common use, to understate the obvious, and all are legal.
But, what about the children? Please reread my previous paragraph and then go fuck yourself. Every single time you read or hear somebody forcing their so-called ethics down your throat defending their rabid behavior as “for the children,” you are listening to or reading the words of a coward without the courage of his or her convictions taking the back-alley shortcut to a humongous pile of bullshit.
The problems of keeping marijuana illegal far, far outweigh the benefits. Colorado was the first state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis about five years ago. Since then, eight other states and the District of Columbia have followed in Colorado’s footsteps… as of this writing. Gallup says 64% of Americans favor legalization, and that number probably is low because potheads are not particularly known for offering a clear response.
If you fear the further legalization of cannabis, I have some advice for you. Pull the stick out of your ass, bang yourself over the head with it repeatedly, and then have your doctor prescribe something for the pain.
Marijuana might help.