One of the horrible results of the coming election—not as horrible as the possibility of electing Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump President, perhaps, but horrible still—will be the nation’s final capitulation to the movement started in the 1960’s to keep the country, the culture and the poor stoned. Cognitive dissonance will ensure it on the Republican side, as opponents to legal pot will be the same old fogeys who proclaim that gay marriage will destroy the earth, causing a valid and correct argument to be destroyed by a senseless one. Others in the party, caring about staying in power more than our society’s welfare, will just give in, citing the usual ethically inert rationalizations that legalizing drugs is the lesser of two evils and that we need to use treatment, not punishment. Meanwhile, Democrats will pander to its pot-loving base, while also stumping for state governments legalizing the crap to close budget deficits created by their fiscally irresponsible policies. Heck, even I would rather see the pot industry taxed instead of me.
And we will be bombarded by the pairing of pot legalization with the allegedly racist “mass incarceration problem,” which is really and truly the “too many African Americans break laws and expect to get away with it because their parents and culture don’t send the message that its a big deal” problem. The big deal they, and we, are now being told is that they get punished for breaking laws, which is racist because Black Lives Matter.
I was in court watching sentencings a couple months back in Northern Virginia. While the crimes the defendants being sentenced for were not drug related, every single one of those sentenced–-every one—had either a pot charge dropped in favor of a guilty plea for a more serious crime, had record of drug arrests, or had tested positive for pot during while awaiting sentence or on parole. Bernie and Hillary and the gang (the gang including journalists, who like their weed) would have us believe that the prisons are just teeming with otherwise law-abiding black citizens who are there because they engaged in harmless recreational drug use and nothing else. The new paradigm, pushed by the President (of course), is that prison should only be for violent felons, not habitual scoff-laws who often dabble in violence too.
Ah, yes, this is all going to work out so well.
I encountered two stories on the web that show the path we are on as well as the muddled thinking and dishonesty that got us there.
In Maine (and elsewhere ), there is a heroin epidemic. I will maintain until my dying day that the current spike in the use of this deadly drug is directly related to the government and the culture weakening its message to society about drug use by caving on marijuana. Oh, I’m sure there will be studies aplenty “proving” otherwise, by researchers who want legalized recreational drugs and make sure their objective research supports their preference, but the fact that several states have legalized pot and so many legislators, commentators and celebrities mock drug laws is what turned heroin use, any illegal drug use, from a social taboo to a beneficiary of the “It’s a dumb law” rationalization. Paris, Maine is following Gloucester, Massachusetts in taking the next step down the slope:
Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Chief Leonard Campanello said heroin is a problem for them as well. With four overdose deaths in the first three months of 2015, Chief Campanello decided it was time to do something different. He wrote a Facebook post that outlined his plan and people took notice. “2.4 million hits, shared another 30,000 times to another 30 million people, so here we are,” Chief Campanello said.
Gloucester started the first police assisted rehab program. Addicts seeking help can come to the police station with their drugs; instead of handcuffs and a jail cell they’ll get into a rehab program and be assigned a mentor called an “angel.” Their rehab is paid for with state seizure money. “We couldn’t think of a better way to spend money out of drug dealer’s pockets than to put it into the care of the people they helped get addicted,” Chief Campanello said. In just four months, the Gloucester initiative helped place 220 addicts in treatment facilities and already police departments across the country are taking notice. “
1. This is how bad ideas spread.
2. Funny: “We couldn’t think of a better way to spend money out of drug dealer’s pockets than to put it into the care of the people they helped get addicted.” The government also helped them get addicted, and will apparently redouble its efforts.
3. What a great plan! A kid warms up by becoming a regular pot user, and since the stigma against heroin is falling away and the drug is cheap, decides to try that. What’s the risk? He won’t get addicted; he is smarter than those other junkies. If he’s wrong, so what? The state provides free treatment: all he has to do is turn in his drugs. Ah, but the plan sounds compassionate and keeps the protesters and pundits at bay.
4. As the line of heroin use acceptance and enabling get pushed forward, the culture will push it further. In “Little Miss Sunshine,” the wise, unconventional and free grandfather, a heroin user, says to his grandson,
“Let me tell ya, don’t do that stuff. When you’re young, you’re crazy to do that shit. What about me? I’m old. When you’re old you’re crazy not to do it.”
When the re-make comes around, Grandpa will be extolling heroin for young and old. That will happen sooner than you think: that movie is a decade old, and the charming, bespectacled, chubby little actress who played Olive, who looked so out of place in the “Little Miss Sunshine” beauty pageant…
…now looks like this:
I bet Abigail Breslin smokes pot, too. Cultural norms, like children, can change dramatically before you know it.
The second story is on Da Tech Guy blog, as he recounts another blogger’s revealing experience regarding medical marijuana and its devotees. He writes in part (read the whole thing):
…[T]his young woman was stating quite bluntly that anybody who is looking to score recreational pot to get high, including the young, is able to get a license to circumvent federal law to do so. One might think that my conclusion is rather obvious, particularly when you read her description of the shop and the people there…However there is a lot of incentive to ignore this reality:
- The sellers pretend otherwise because they see easy money.
- The state pretends otherwise because they see easy tax revenue
- The elected officials pretend otherwise because they the likelihood of big contributions coming from the lobbyist to protect this business.
- The lobbyists pretend otherwise because they see a big pie with a piece reserved for them.
- The bureaucracies pretend otherwise because see they power to licence dispensaries and distribution as a way to reward friends and punish enemies.
- And of course Democrats pretend otherwise because their base is the main customer base for this product and wants it.
Now I’ve said many times that I have a perverse incentive to go along with this. Every single drugged out loser out there increases the value and price to any employer for people like my sons who don’t touch the stuff, because everybody is just dying to have some pothead changing their oil, to cook their food, and ringing up their groceries and working in their factories. Pot legal on the state level is a geek full employment plan at every single level. But I think it’s a bad thing for society to normalize a product that messes with your brain, that leads the vulnerable to other worse drugs and helps trap people in a permanent underclass.
That’s not only a morally wrong thing, but it’s a stupid thing that…a windfall for some will cost society in terms of pain, treasure and achievement. That’s the story that’s hiding in that piece and I think a hell of a lot more people need to know and understand it before they jump on the medical pot wagon or decide to push pot as an alternative to opioids. It’s a horrible idea and creating a legal space for a permanently stoned underclass joined by a bunch of teens who won’t know better protected by law will have costs long after we’re dead and gone.
This is so clear to people like me and Da Tech Guy, but it is also clear that neither of us have the influence or support necessary to stop the inevitable. People believe what they want to believe, especially when there are so many role models, celebrities and journalists sneering at the idea that one of the purposes of laws is to guide society into safe, responsible, productive habits, and who want their tokes besides. I apologize for not being sufficiently successful or influential that I could have some tangible impact, and I don’t even have the excuse of being stoned. Because I and many others have had neither the wit nor persuasiveness to stop this social disaster, many dangerous drugs (not dangerous to health in all cases, but dangerous to the prospects of a successful and productive life) are going to join alcohol and nicotine as embedded parts of the American culture, causing our nation to be weaker, dumber, poorer and less successful from this point on.
There will be no going back.
Spark and Pointer: Fred