With the reform of New York state’s marijuana laws it looks as if decriminalization has a bright future in many other states. However, sale and cultivation of pot, possession of hashish, cocaine and numerous other drugs are still felonies. It is important that we not lose sight of the fact that cannabis reform is only part of the problem of drug reform.
The government has no right to tell us what to put in our bodies. We are victims of uneven and arbitrary prohibition of foods and plants. As a matter of fact, most legal drugs in our society are far more dangerous than many illegal drugs could possibly be. Tobacco’s link to heart attacks, cancer and emphysema has been medically substantiated. Yet, the government spends hundreds of millions of dollars on price subsidies to tobacco farmers. Hundreds of thousands of people are alcoholics with a cost of billions of dollars a year to our society. But if people want to kill themselves with tobacco and alcohol, it’s their affair. Yet substances “so relatively innocuous as hashish, cocaine and heroin, which is everyone’s scapegoat, are not nearly as bad for you as “Police Woman” and “Baretta” want us to believe.
The struggle for drug reform goes back thousands of years. Control of drugs has traditionally been in the hands of the priests and medicine men. Drug use is an inalienable part of people’s control over their minds and bodies. Paths to knowledge have always been controlled by the ruling classes, and drugs are merely another path to knowledge.
Doctors are our modern day medicine men. Anything they want us to take is “medicine” and anything they don’t want us to take are “dangerous drugs.” Doctors seem to cure “magically” and many things we would like to know are kept as mumbo-jumbo.
As we see, moral taboos in our society bend with political and economic pressures and trends. With tobacco and alcohol being legal, we can surmise that illegality of other recreational drugs cannot be for personal health reasons.
So, while we are smoking well-deserved celebration joints for decriminalization in our respective states, let us not be complacent with a marijuana law that leaves dealers in jail, or makes us snort in fear. The depth of life can be as meaningful as the length of it.
Charlotte Faye Greenberg
Editor and Publisher