Yesterday all over the news and social media were stories being told of legal cannabis sales in Colorado. People lined up around the block at every pot store in Colorado to buy the first ever legal bud since the Prohibition of Cannabis began in the late thirties. What a memorable day for many. Cannabis users and supporters across the country and globe were all buzzing about Colorado and their wishes to be there.
As I sat and watched the revelry it became increasingly clear that something is seriously wrong with this country. As most complained of the “mile-high” prices shown on receipts, with taxation upwards of 14 dollars per 8th in some instances, I focused on the thoughts of the many hundreds and thousands of men and women who are currently incarcerated for growing, possessing and selling cannabis. I am curious to know how these people feel watching and reading this news. So before we complain about the price you’re paying for legal weed, think about the price these people have paid along the way to these momentous first days of 2014.
I am an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program Cardholder, and this allows me to grow, possess and use Cannabis for specific medical reasons. In the entire state of Oregon I am safe from persecution over this plant from local, county and state authorities. This is a state that upholds federal prohibition, but only barely. However, if you live here and have no documented medical condition that is approved for the program, then you are not protected, and are at risk of arrest and prosecution for possession.
I find the hypocrisy here the US particularly disturbing. This country was taught to me through all of elementary school that this is the land of the free built upon unwavering values of justice, liberty and brotherhood. If only I had known that was all propaganda back then, I wouldn’t feel so jaded today. The United States incarceration rate is unsustainable. The practice of private prisons for profit seriously undermines freedom in this country. These prisons have led to the development of more laws, mandatory minimums and exponentially increasing conviction rates, many for victimless crimes such as possession, distribution, manufacture or delivery, of a controlled substance.
Ronald Reagan’s presidency marked the start of decades of Exponential growth in incarceration rates, He is to blame for the unprecedented expansion of the drug war beyond Nixon’s work. This expansion has led to the number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increasing from 50,000 in 1980 to over 2,000,000 by 2006. This number continues to increase each year consecutively, with no end in sight. It is time to reconsider our failed policies, free the prisoners of the drug war, and focus on restoring our country to the land of the free.
~Just Say No To The Drug War~