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Friday, October 29, 2010
Is this the face of the pro-marijuana movement in Oregon?
What you see here is the entrance to the Portland headquarters of the "Yes on Measure 74" campaign. It's tucked away in the parking lot of a tattoo parlor at the corner of SE 67th and Foster. The office isn't visible to passing traffic on the main thoroughfare. I drove over there last Monday afternoon. No one was inside and it seemed to be hidden, as if all involved were ashamed to be seen, out in public, supporting of the measure.
And that seems to be the case for the pro-pot movement at large in the states. Plenty of people support outright legalization and many more agree that the War on Drugs has been a farce. This country's ridiculous continued criminalization of weed has led to an intense series of clashes between feuding drug lords in Mexico that have resulted in thousands of deaths.
An article in Time Magazine from 2008 includes a poll that claims that 42% of adult US citizens have at least tried marijuana. Many Americans love weed and they're going to keep smoking it no matter how much its cultivation ravages our neighbors to the south. I'm sure you've heard these arguments before. The time has come, hell, it came 20 years ago, to finally legalize pot in the United States.
But yet the very topic, even medicinal marijuana, remains taboo. I asked several friends and family members if they'd be voting in favor of Measure 74. They all said yes but none of them were willing to stick a "Yes on 74" sign on their property or a sticker in the back window of their cars. Why is that?
Because marijuana is an illegal drug in this country and many of us have grown up watching commercials like the one below that demonizes it, putting weed on the same shelf next to meth and cocaine.
I'd go so far as to argue that weed is more harmless than alcohol. If anything, this country should have stuck with Prohibition but legalized marijuana. From a governmental stand-point, doesn't it make more sense to allow your citizens access to a drug that makes them goofy and mellow instead of sloppy, overconfident and prone to violence? Just saying....
It'll be interesting to see what will happen if California manages to pass Proposition 19 next week. Will the rest of the western states fall into line like dominoes? Will the issue make it to the Supreme Court? Could we be a few short years away from legalized marijuana in this country?
Well, here's hoping...
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