Monday, February 22, 2016

Week of 02/22/2016

Georgia’s Pot Hypocrisy
Back during the holiday season, there was a story that really served as a kick in the genitals for anyone who was ever a child.
A nine-year old boy wanted a Sony PlayStation 4 game system for Christmas.  So come Christmas Day, he sees this big box under the tree for him, he tears open the wrapping and sees the words “PlayStation 4” and is overjoyed.
"This is the best Christmas ever,” he says twice, “this is the best Christmas ever, thank you Santa!"
And instead of a game system, there was a block of wood with a crude drawing and a note saying “You’re welcome”.
The boy was crushed.  And so was his father.  He took it back to the store, and, after some phone calls and some serious questions as to whether the store was being pranked, he got an actual game console along with a $100 gift card.
Thankfully there was a resolution to the problem, but it still did not take away the dramatic soul-crushing blow of that young boy when his greatest high of his so-far-brief life was smashed with the utter betrayal that only a malevolent universe could bring.  He will remember this betrayal for the rest of his life and it will affect how he sees things.
I know this from experience.  The “joys” of the holidays are diminished once you spend Christmas Eve in the Emergency Room, or spending Christmas Day by yourself while the rest of the family is enjoying festivities elsewhere.  The “magic” of the season goes away after that.  And it doesn’t come back once it is gone.
I’m sure a whole group of people in Georgia, children and parents alike, felt a similar betrayal last year.
In 2015, Georgia legislators approved legislation that legalized the use of cannabis oil for medical reasons.  They defied decades of entrenched mind-control from fascist “Drug War” fanatics and saw the need to help those in serious distress that only byproducts of marijuana could provide.
Even Georgia’s Governor, Nathan “Raw” Deal, seemingly saw reason and signed the legislation into law.
Unfortunately, instead of a medicinal PlayStation, patients and parents found a block of legal wood and the words “You’re welcome” scribbled on it.
You see, while the use of medicinal marijuana was legalized under specific conditions and specific situations in Georgia, the state still did not legalize the supply.  Patients and parents of patients can use all the medicinal marijuana they can get their hands on.  They just can’t get their hands on it without breaking the law.
They can’t go to states like Colorado, where marijuana is completely legal, and bring it to Georgia, because that would be a violation of federal drug laws.  And they can’t grow it in Georgia – even for your own use – because that too is illegal.
And Georgia’s Governor knew this when he signed it into law!  This is why he’s known by this commentator as “Raw Deal”.  It seems to be what this state has been getting from him.
Of course, signing the legislation seemed politically expedient.  Public opinion demanded it be enacted.  The pain and frustration recounted by patients and parents alike were too staggering to ignore.  And I’m sure even he could rationalize that it would be okay if he did it provided that it ultimately did nothing to change the status quo.  “The Pot” would still be illegal.  He was just substituting a legislative game system with a block of wood.
So this year, the legislators are trying to fix this.  They’re trying to enact legislation that would allow the state to provide a supply of marijuana that could be used in those very specific legal situations.
Unfortunately, they’re running into legislative roadblocks by the usual suspects.  The same fascist “Drug War” fanatics that are using the same tired-old broke-ass talking points about giving in on this one subject is somehow equivalent to legislating every chemical substance under the sun, and then, you know, we somehow de-evolve into a “Mad Max” society.
Funny, because the same fear was used when the subject of same-sex marriages came up, and that hasn’t materialized since the Supreme Court legalized it.  Makes you wonder if the whole “world will come to an end” line has been over-played just a little bit.
Anyway, one has to wonder if “Raw Deal” will sign off on this legislation should it make it to his desk, or if he will kiss it off and side with the “Drug War” fanatics.
Maybe a better question to ask would be which companies would be profitable enough to convince the governor to sign off on this idea.  After all, law enforcement on all levels have a financial incentive to keep “The Pots” as illegal as possible.  They can seize money and cars and physical property under asset forfeiture laws enacted because of the “Drug War”.  And it is money and property that they don’t ever have to give back, even if no charges are ever filed.  That’s a lot of money and power at stake, and you’ll need a pretty strong financial argument to counter it.
But the ideal question to ask would be why we’re even pussyfooting around on the subject.
Let’s get brutally honest here... as a practical libertarian, I see the subject of marijuana as one of individual liberty.  We were hoodwinked into making it illegal in the 1930’s, which was on par with Prohibition over a decade earlier.  A lot of the arguments that were used then are still being used now, only now we know they’re bunk.  Legal and legalized drugs, especially the ones coming from Big Pharma, are far more dangerous and are more of a “gateway drug” than marijuana ever was.
Hey, there are drugs being advertised on television right now where one of the side-effects given is death!  Death!  And that drug is legal!  There are other drugs that can lead one to commit suicide or have heart attacks.  They impair your judgement, impair your driving skills, cause serious and permanent health risks, and those are all legal.  But marijuana is supposedly the “bad” drug.
And all indications are that full legalization for consenting adults has been a boom for Colorado.  However, good luck convincing the fanatics of that.
So, maybe baby steps are the way to go on this.  First show the benefits of medicinal use (which, by the way, was never really done only because the fanatics imposed a Catch-22 on the subject), show that these people don’t later become meth-addicts or coke-heads, rip and burn the prohibitionist scripts into a fine ash and then smoke it, then talk about full-blown legalization for the rest of the adults. 
I know we’re fighting generations of “this is bad, let’s outlaw it” brainwashing here, but it’s not the first time that we’ve had this kind of problem.  But at the very least, if you’re one of the legislators that voted for legalization for medicinal use, you should be obligated to follow that up with supporting legislation that makes last year’s law more than just an empty gesture.
And that, by the way, should also apply to the man who campaigned in 2014 as the “Real Deal”, a.k.a. Governor Nathan Deal.  Give the people what they pushed for, a legislative game system, and not a political block of wood.

No comments: