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Marijuana: Don't Step On The Grass

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Devastating warfare, widespread poverty and epidemic disease are major
problems facing the world. An inanimate, nontoxic plant responsible for
fewer deaths than George W. Bush is not one of them. Marijuana takes the
rap for a lot of things. According to the government, pot smokers are
likely to shoot their friends and rape comely young maidens--if they ever
get their lazy asses off the couch. Well, I hate to break it to you,
friends, but you shouldn't necessarily believe everything the government
says. (Shocking, I know. I'll give you a second to catch your breath.)

The history of marijuana prohibition is a sickening chronology of lies.
Racism and xenophobia drove the crusade to ban pot in the 1930s. The
American Medical Association opposed prohibition, But Congress was more
swayed by narcotics czar Henry Anslinger's lurid tales of stoned black jazz
musicians and Latinos slacking on their menial jobs and endangering the
virtue of white women.

Propaganda flicks like "Reefer Madness," now stocked in the comedy aisle,
played on Joe Average's fear of the unknown. Today, we get our "Reefer
Madness" 30 hilarious seconds at a time, courtesy of your tax dollars and
the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

Authoritarians and pop culture alike stereotype marijuana users as
sedentary buffoons content to sit around pondering the dubious glories of
Doritos and Phish. Tell that to the late Carl Sagan, brilliant physicist,
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and pot smoker. Marijuana residue was found
on a pipe believed to be owned by William Shakespeare. Even notorious stiff
Al Gore reportedly sparked up a few in his younger days.

Retired NFL star Mark Stepnoski, one of the league's top linemen for the
Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s, came out of the smoky closet and admitted he
used marijuana during his career and advocates its legalization. Stepnoski,
now president of the Texas chapter of the National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Laws, said it was non-addictive and a better painkiller
than most prescription drugs.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, frontrunner in the race for California asylum
keeper, casually confessed to smoking pot during his weightlifting days in
a now-infamous decades-old interview. If Mr. Universe can find time to
light a spliff between sets, the rest of us can probably manage too.

But you don't need any of these examples. All you have to do is look
anywhere on this campus to find responsible, successful people who get high
without falling into academic disrepair or moral turpitude.

I generally hate to praise Europe and Canada, now tiny specks in the
distance on the road to serfdom, but when it comes to pot, they've got us
beat hands down. You can buy grass openly in Amsterdam cafes, and guess
what? Their economy hasn't collapsed, crime hasn't skyrocketed and no one
thinks Pauly Shore is a genius.

Our neighbors to the north, butt of so many jokes, are now laughing at us
as John Ashcroft fumes over their steps towards decriminalization. It's
hard to blame him. Sanity in such close proximity to, well, Ashcroftism, is
an unflattering comparison.

It is impossible to overdose on marijuana, something that cannot be said
for innocuous household medicines like aspirin. Nor does the marjuana high
induce destructive, antisocial behavior. But don't take my word for it.

"Neither the marijuana user nor the drug itself can be said to consitute a
threat to public safety."

Who said that? Jerry Garcia? Woody Harrelson? No, those kind words come
from a 1972 report comissioned by that bleeding-heart hippie, Richard Nixon.

That commission recommended decriminalization. My recommendation goes a
step further: tolerance. Though my fingers recoil from typing the word so
often used as the battering ram of the diversity-crazed left, tolerance is
exactly what pot smokers deserve.

Until someone blows smoke in your face or crashes their car through your
front door, you really shouldn't care what they do in the privacy of their
own home. Marijuana users aren't bothering you or me. Let's return the favor.

Pubdate: Fri, 03 Oct 2003
Source: Auburn Plainsman, The (AL Edu)
Copyright: 2003 The Auburn Plainsman
Contact: monasterio@theplainsman.com
Website: The Auburn Plainsman