I’m Getting Stoned (2016Jan29)


Friday, January 29, 2016                                          10:35 AM

I’m gonna get stoned. Don’t call me. I’m gonna get stoned and watch TV—I won’t be available for public appearances. I won’t be able to legally drive my car—hell, I’m not the safest driver when I’m straight—you don’t want the stoned me coming at you.

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This is my problem with modern living—life has a texture, a quality—and that’s its only purpose—the ‘economy’ doesn’t mean shit—it’s double-talk for how secure the fat cats are—the ‘economy’ for people like you and me is ‘I don’t have enough of it’. People argue, for instance, over childcare and maternity leave—as if those activities are secondary to a schmoe like you or me sitting in a cubicle making money for the man—what a truckload of utter bullshit.

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We should be taking care of our children (AKA our future) and debating whether or not we have the time and money to waste on sitting in cubicles making money—not the other way around. We should be spending our money on drug programs to help drug abusers—not programs to hunt them down and shoot them. Why do we have Prohibition for drugs when we know from history that prohibition doesn’t work? All we’ve accomplished is to create an international black market whose economy rivals many small nations—and some big ones. Fear-reaction politics has led us all down a very self-destructive path.

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Now we have clowns vying to be president—that should tell you just how far off track we’ve gotten. When did mature, educated people become such a small part of the electorate? Are we really this stupid? I don’t think so—people can be surprisingly clever—I think what’s happened is that we’re being purposely led astray by conservatives.

We know damn well that Religion is bullshit—but conservatives insist they want to carry that delusional baggage into the twenty-first century. We know that Capitalism is just organized greed—but the wealthy perpetuate it because the more common-sense future of socialism threatens their wealth and power of influence. If technology has already freed us from grubbing in the dirt individually, why can’t we see that digital technology is well on the way to freeing the entire human race from grubbing for a living? Independents try to frighten us with a loss of freedom that living under a caretaker government suggests—but having the government distribute wealth is no less dangerous than letting the fat cats run their employment free-for-alls which leave the least of us with the greatest challenges.

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The business-owners want to pick and choose from the pool of employable people—and let the rest of us shift for ourselves. With technology taking over people’s jobs, that ‘rest of them’ group grows ever larger—a mounting segment of the population grows impoverished while the overall productivity rises—and all that profit goes to the owners. What kind of bullshit is that? I’m getting stoned—fuck this bullshit.

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Kaleidoscope


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Saturday, March 30, 2013               1:54 AM

Oh My God! When I read back some of the crap I’ve written, I could easily puke. There’s something about writing—in trying my hardest to make myself crystal clear, I muddle about worse than if I’d told it plain. But then I re-read my so-called ‘plain speaking’ and I find it full of vacuous nothingness—in avoiding detail and subtlety, I’ve written the equivalent of ‘Life is like an onion’ or some other such fortune-cookie rubbish.

And what indication has the universe given me that what I write is worth the digital disk-space to store—much less a hope that someone else will come round just dying to read it? None whatsoever—trying to kid myself is out of the question—I may not be much of a writer, but I sure as hell know good reading when I read it. In my normal course of reading a book I make allowances for times when I’m not in the mood for that particular story—or not in the mood for reading, as a past-time, generally.

Granted, that was nearly never in my original life. But even then, I’d be sometimes obliged to start a new book, with a different tone or texture than the one I’d not yet finished. Nothing is so well-written that it is always a pleasure to read—even for a dyed-in-the-wool bookworm like ‘me-point-one’ used to be. And now that I’m just slightly living in comparison to those wonderful days, I still enjoy a book—just not without suffering from the sort of neck-cricks and backaches and blurry vision that less-enthusiastic ‘readers’ like to make a point of complaining about.

And this is the problem with writing—even if it’s good (a big if) it still can make my flesh crawl when mine comes at me suddenly. The pomposity, the mawkish pettifogging, the condescension—I sound like a prize jack-ass. And this would be the same bit of writing I had re-read days ago, immediately after writing it, and thinking it superb!

But I am used to this. Does anyone know the worst thing about LSD? It’s the crash. The heady delirium and fascination with all things is replaced with a hollow, worthless reality that is nothing more than what it has always been—the same thing, day after day, year after year. We don’t normally experience the dread stolidity of life—but the LSD, in simulating the altered perceptions and convoluted thought-patterns of a schizophrenic, gives us a glimpse of a world that seems to be hiding behind the ‘same-ol same-old’ of life. It makes us feel exalted and fascinated by all the colors and sounds of the psychedelicized world—we wander like wondering children in a magnificent amusement park.

Then it wears off—and back comes the flat-seeming world we left from. But now it’s shabby, drab, irritating sameness is put into high contrast—it’s almost painful just to exist without the LSD’s magic. That is the worst thing about LSD—it makes reality seem dreary. The funny thing is, that disappointment lasts and lasts—it isn’t a hangover, it isn’t anything—it’s just the world, the way it’s always been—revealed as the grey, unmusical reality that people get hurt in, get sick in, die in, go broke in, and nothing can be done to stop any of it.

No sense of delight I’ve ever gotten from LSD, or any drug, has ever been worth the cost of that crash—the drug wears off, but the crash lingers forever. It is an awareness that behind all our thoughts and feelings and opinions is a world that doesn’t give a damn how we feel or what we believe—it will still gladly mush us like bugs if that’s what’s going on this moment. Good people get punished. Bad people get ahead. Innocent people get hurt and criminals get away with murder. All philosophy evaporates in the presence of hunger or cold or fear. All happiness comes in an instant and is gone before we have the wits to fully realize we are happy.

So I tell myself that I’m too critical of my own writing—that I’m denying myself the same leeway I grant other authors (and, believe me, many an author has taken full advantage of it—the curse of being compulsive about finishing whatever book I’ve started). I tell myself that perception is a shifty bugger, and if I wait until tomorrow I’m just as likely to see some good in the same writing.

So, like all would-be artists, I spend a lot of time listening to my own music, reading my own poems, looking at my own drawings—always asking, “Is it any good? –and if it is, would I be able to tell?” Many of my proudest creations have given me mal de mer from the eternal rising and falling of my opinion of its quality—it’s a good job that I had a habit of giving away all my drawings most of my life—I’d still be checking them every day to see if they looked okay or not.  And I’m far too busy listening to my piano recordings to waste time on that. As far as the writing goes, I figure it’s good therapy, like a journal or something, so I should keep it up even if I’m positive that it’s all garbage. And some days, I’m treated to a good opinion of myself for a few hours—I actually enjoy some of my writing on those days.

That still leaves a percentage that I’ll always feel embarrassed to have been the author of—but with those I just tell myself ‘nobody reads my stuff anyway, so no biggie…’ One of the many perks of being an amateur. I don’t know how professionals do it—creativity is such a tightrope—if I had to merge it with making my living, I’d be lost. Plus they have to have patience with the jerks that pay for art—you’d think such people would be gracious patrons of ‘art’, but I gather that’s not quite how it works.

But it’s all conditional—one’s faith, one’s happiness, one’s self-confidence, one’s solvency—they come and go as the wheel of fortune spins. The auction price for a Van Gogh will dip and climb depending on the art market. What started as Matt and Trey making silly, irreverent cartoons has become the toast of Broadway and London—a devastating lampoon of a major faith during which, apparently, no one in the audience can stop laughing. People starve. People text while driving. People grow old. People laugh.

Is it not fitting that our mood should also rise and sink from moment to moment, transforming the jumbled pile of reality as would a kaleidoscope, into seemingly perfect geometries of meaning and fulfillment? Can I ever hope to write down words that would improve the life of any who read them? Or can I only hope to interest myself in that conceit as a means of avoiding my true uselessness? And could I tell the one from the other? Do I want to?

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The Law Makes The Crime


Sunday, September 30, 2012            3:44 AM

Crime-inciting Laws should be recognized for what they are. The USA went through a violent period of Prohibition and ultimately recognized that a Repeal of Prohibition was the right thing to do. The criminal distribution organizations were defanged by making their products available from a licensed liquor store.

Abortions were illegal for a long time but still happened—malpractice and unwanted children were the result. Rove v. Wade gave us the right to choose abortion, which stopped the horrors of backroom abortions and self-abortion attempts. Couples were able to plan their families—even when the Pill and other contraceptives failed to prevent pregnancies.

In both these cases, everyday citizens who found themselves in desperate straits were forced to go against the law to have a drink or to end an unwanted pregnancy. The fact that people will always seek these things, plus the fact that criminalizing these things did not prevent them from happening, plus the fact that criminals are prone to make money from these situations—all made the decision to legalize them a choice that (when all was said and done) was merely common sense.

How we have gone so many decades ignoring this common sense surrender to human nature with regard to controlled substances is a puzzle to many, myself included. Tons of money, manpower, and international cooperation have gone into the fight to keep society free of drugs—with no effect whatsoever. Anyone can get any drug—they need only ask for them from the criminals who sell them. People even grow or cook up their own drugs without too much difficulty.

Meanwhile, millions in taxes are wasted on the futile War on Drugs; billions in cash flow into the war-chests of the major drug cartels; and millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens are imprisoned on drug charges of a non-violent nature (which wastes more millions in tax money). Plus, there is the health issue—shared needles spreading disease, no help for the addicted, and no quality-control of the drugs being dealt, bought, or used. And, again, we see no change in the status quo. All that wealth, all the blood spilled, all the wasted effort—and drugs are still easily available on any street corner.

Would legalization make the problem better or worse? Well, firstly, how worse can things be? Plenty of people use illegal drugs every day. Will legalization cause an increase in their numbers? I don’t see how—anyone who wants drugs is getting drugs.

I won’t even go into the positive effects legalization could produce—they are not necessary to my argument. The drugs have won every battle in the war on drugs and they have created huge, networked criminal organizations around the world and in all the fifty states. Legalizing drugs would impact the criminal world like a body blow. The war on drugs, oddly enough, can be won by surrender.

The main difficulty is acceptance. No one wants to say, ‘Go ahead, use drugs all you want.’ But legalizing drugs is not an encouragement, but rather a freeing of drug-users from the fear and secrecy that present day drug use entails. And if it turns out that one drug, above all others, is just too dangerous to ignore we will have two advantages: 1) Other drugs can be offered as substitutes, and 2) we can better interdict a single substance than the entire spectrum of controlled substances we are banning at present.

To continue the War On Drugs is just plain stupid. It is a knee-jerk reaction to a situation that requires more thought than reflex.

So Sad


It’s sad, really. My PC does my spellchecking, but it is limited in its vocabulary, which requires me to check the spellchecker, not to mention the almost worthless grammar-checker. I didn’t study copyediting so that I could argue with a ‘user-friendly’ (read ‘dumbed-down’) grammar-checker. I have enough writing problems without heckling from my word-processor. Just ‘add’ the words to my PC’s ‘dictionary’, you say? Screw that—there’s no good mechanism for ensuring continuity of one’s own dictionary—and if they think they can glean new data from user input, I have no agreement in hand from MS giving me fair value for both my inconvenience and my input. Either way, MS Word is a fixer-upper, off-the-shelf app—just like it was twenty years ago. Like McDonalds, it satisfies the un-involved writer—for a serious writer, it’s about fifty-fifty, half convenience, half pain in the ass.

Rich people are manipulating the US Government to bail out their collapsed pyramid scheme called ‘investment and banking’. It is clearer than ever that these two industries should be kept separated, but the rich people are clamoring for a return to pro forma ‘regulation’, wherein these investors’ only rule is ‘don’t be left holding the bag’. The rich people also want to be given a pass on paying taxes—why should the government tax the wealthy when this country is full of helpless, hardworking, regular folk who can’t push back when they don’t like the deal?

The rich make me sad. They are so unconnected to reality that they fear poverty more than they appreciate their wealth. They’re not having as much fun as they hoped to while sailing their yachts and flying their private jets—but there’s one thing they’re dead sure of—they never want to find themselves on the street, among the 99%.

There are copyright-caretaker businesses that slap a ‘copyright-infringed’ on any recording of my piano-playing YouTube-uploads that aren’t my own, original works. Not just on my Beatles-song covers, or my Beach Boys covers, which I would expect, I suppose—no, they slap a ‘copyright-infringed’ on my classical piano performances, as well. Now, if their charge were that I was mauling these composers’ works with my horrendous recitals, they’d have an argument. In fact, I mostly post those types of things to demonstrate to anyone out there, who thinks they haven’t the right to post their perhaps-sub-par classical performances, that it is indeed not nearly as bad as that-guy-that’s-on-YouTube-already—my own personal ‘musical-empowerment’ project to any young, timid music-lovers across the globe.


Can you imagine the chutzpah of these cretins who charge me with copyright-infringement for posting Bach’s, Chopin’s, or Tchaikovsky’s piano works? Unbelievable! Just because their legal-watchdog agreements have one, single recording artist’s recording of the same Bach piece; they slap an ‘Invalid’ on my upload. Not only does YouTube condone this process, but they warn users like myself that, if I challenge any copyright accusation and fail, that they will cancel my account and remove my ‘YouTube channel’ from the internet. In more personal terms, this would be the total erasure of 900+ musical video uploads that I have placed on YouTube in good faith that they will not erase all my four years of work without a good reason.

Indeed, I have challenged all of my classical-music related accusations—and the good news is—YouTube will see reason when I point out that even Tchaikovsky’s compositions are well over a century old, not to mention Bach’s works being three times as old as that. Still, I feel insulted that the anti-infringement policies of YouTube favor the grasping law-clerks and place the onus of proof upon the accused. It makes me sad.

There are lots of things in this world that make me incredibly sad. The ones that sting me the worst are the situations in which stupidity has won the day, and money becomes the only real law. I used to feel that way about Big Tobacco, until someone finally nailed their asses to the wall. But nowadays it’s just as bad in the ‘war on drugs’—there are over one million prison convicts guilty of no violence other than growing, using, or having intent to sell some controlled substance. If that prison population could make me say that it’s much harder to buy drugs these days, maybe then it would make sense.

But, as it is, the law simply infringes on our rights to do things others may disapprove of (even though they will not be affected in any harmful way) and it doesn’t change the fact that drugs are grown, distributed, bought, sold, and used without interruption, every day, since Nancy Reagan announced the ‘just say no’ program—and did so for centuries before the issue became a ‘crisis’. Saddest of all, she’s right—people who are afraid of drugs, or see them as a danger, should say ‘no’—but those of us who are a bit lax about drug use because it is no more dangerous than alcohol or driving with a cell phone, should be given the personal freedom to look after our own health and choices, to say ‘yes’ where no victim is present and no violence is done.

In a larger sense, the poorly-named Patriot Act is a parallel notion on a wider scale—just because some powerful people have decided we all need protection from terrorists more than we need to keep our civil liberties and our privacy—we shouldn’t be asked to endure pat-downs every time we use mass transportation (or walk down the sidewalk—a brand-new totalitarianism just introduced in NYC). We are asked to suspend the rule of law whenever law enforcement gets nervous, suspend habeas corpus for suspects of terrorism—not for proof of terrorism, just suspicion. If our civil rights and our liberty are so non-essential in the age of terrorism, why did we bother enshrining them in our constitution, anyhow? It’s sad, how the cowardly have a monopoly on policy.

It makes me sad because I grew up during the Cold War—people forget what that was like. Let me tell you what it was like. It was just like the Republican and Democratic Parties of today, but with an ocean between them, and their leaders in possession of nuclear weapons. We were constantly arguing that our USA was superior to their USSR in every way. We allowed religions of all kinds—this was proof of our liberty-loving ways compared to the enforced atheism of the Soviets. We put big-shots in jail—even Nixon was driven from the Presidency by a caste-less, classless, populist nation. In the USSR, anyone who bad-mouthed Stalin got sent to the prison camps—and millions who didn’t do anything along with them. Our educational system was the Mecca for all foreigners with prowess in the sciences—no other nation innovated and invented like the good ol’USA. The Soviets taught their children political theory instead of science—and got nervous about giving anyone a chance to spend time in the free world, for fear they might not come back.

But now the big-shots control the media here—they don’t get exposed like they used to, when the fourth estate was a truly separate part of the media. And now, we do what the dastardly Commies used to do—arrest people without charges, without legal representation, and torture them during interrogation. That was one of the most awful things we dissed the Soviets about—their lack of respect for the individual. They are gone, but their methods live on. It makes me sad to see all those once-external evils now cropping up in our own neighborhoods. The Cold War is over, but I don’t know for sure whether the American people won that fight, or if the super-wealthy defeated both sides without anyone noticing.

Fascism and Drug Policy


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Wednesday, August 01, 2012         2:57 AM

Fascism Lives—And It’s Just Saying ‘No’

When Fascism first hit the world stage, it was hailed by many as an absolutism that would remove the unsightly wrinkles from our modern nations by insisting that each nation’s government had a right to categorize and control all the citizens of their nations. Today we call ‘categorization’ by its true name, ‘genocide’. We still fight governments over control of our lives, which has a tendency to creep up—but more importantly, we see few governments reversing their policies on surveillance and control—always creeping forward, but never moving back to the former, less-rigorous condition.

The governmental control over the Nazi’s lives was ultimately defeated, but it was defeated in part by America’s patriotic love of our ‘free’ way of life, which manifested itself as Americans’ willingness to cede control over their own fate and pull together to fight the enemy. Not only were military personnel expected to take orders without question—even the home front bought into the need for rationing gasoline, rationing food, blackout curfews, the Japanese-American concentration camps, metal and rubber drives, and even the presumed sacrifice of part of ones paycheck to buy ‘war bonds’ to support the government’s war activities. This was quite a different picture from the public response to the Viet Nam war, when our government’s military actions weren’t so fervently supported by its citizens.

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The modern ‘Free World’ is a more sophisticated arrangement. Firstly, while we roundly condemn any hint of genocide, we have nevertheless become a culture which clearly separates the rich from the poor, with the resulting effect of making us all 2nd-class citizens whose laws and activities are unilaterally determined by the smallest upper-class, proportionately, that history has to offer.

In this respect, western civilization has returned to fascism with but the one caveat—that we are all Jews now, at least insofar as our needs are being addressed by those in power. And I use the phrase ‘in power’ advisedly, since we can all agree that we live in a democratic nation in which no elected office-holder was given less votes than any other candidate. (Most of the time, anyhow.)

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But those in power are not these elected officials. The powerful are the super-wealthy, and the top management executives from the major corporations (domestic or otherwise), and the owners of mass-communication companies. Any one of the powerful may well be all of these things, but no one without at least one of these points of access is in a position to make a sea-change in the way our culture operates.

As a private citizen of no great notice, I will agree that I can vote for whoever I like at each and every election. But I will not concede that I am, therefore, influencing my country in any meaningful way. The candidates that make their way onto the ballots are chosen for me by both parties’ internal systems and are carefully chosen so as to play one against the other in frivolous, superficial arenas—while never brushing up against any substantive issue that might pit the citizens of our country against the wealthy-and-powerful’s established business and finance policies. The surface roils with issues of a personal nature, which entitle everyone to have an opinion, and to argue, before, during, and after any important choices are surreptitiously made for us by the ‘boys in the back room’.

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Secondly, our control over our own fate is tamped down severely by the incessancy of mass media, an entertainment industry that still pretends to inform us objectively and thoroughly. This ‘mass-media-amalgam’ has chosen to buy into the two-party democracy story-line, in an era during which neither party has done much in the way of serving the public, i.e. at a time when we need third-, fourth, even nth- party, candidates in our politics—local, state, or national. The Nazis called this ‘propaganda’. We call it ‘cable’ and pay for it every month.

Nothing is changed more than by narration. The rich and powerful decree to their enthralled news-reporting businesses what POV is to be used, and all the news is told to us as it is perceived by the powerful. No, it’s worse than that, it is couched in language that purposely presents an audience with a biased POV—not sharing the elites’ misperceptions, but misleading us as to the reality behind the news events. And while we are barraged daily with this drenching of nonsense, no substantive public debate can begin on the issues our elite would like to keep any attention from.

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Take this example. The gigantic downfall of the derivatives market was presented in the media as something that happened on the day they reported the plummeting of global markets that triggered. We are expected to believe that dedicated journalists had been haunting the offices and hallways of the executives in control of our financial institutions, and those running their corresponding governmental overseers. We are not expected to ask why none of this Credit Armageddon was reported on in the previous years, months or even days.

Here’s another example. DEA administrator Michele Leonhart recently responded to the question: “Why is marijuana bad?” with “Well, all illegal drugs are bad.” This condescension is meant to imply that all these bothersome details are above reproach, and always were, and always would be. The bitterest part of this ‘positioning’ is it’s implication that authority should not be questioned.

No, I take that back—even more embittering is that we citizens seem to stand still for them while they fit us with their ‘little peon’s’ driving-harnesses of oppression (Patent Pending). We are seeing employment figures rise by tiny increments over years of time. We are finding minimum wage employment, and being grateful for it. We have lost that American tradition of walking out on a job when our boss is too big of an ass. The only fear we need to fear is Unemployment—Liberty, sadly, takes the Silver in that race.

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Friday, August 03, 2012

8:49 PM

 

Let me come at the drug problem in a pragmatic way—maybe then I can change your mind… Are drugs dangerous? Yes. Without question. And, even, really dangerous, deadly dangerous—yes, drugs are dangerous.

Do we fear for our children’s safety? Yes, again. Yes we do. Ours are grown now, but all through middle school and high school we lived in fear of their safety. We still do, but it has become a more amorphous fear, the yang to the yin of our hopes for their success. But back in those school days—every night was a horror movie—no, a veritable Cineplex of horror movies running through our parental minds as we waited for the phone’s ring or the car’s headlights swerving across the ceiling, signifying that both of them were still breathing for one more day. And it wasn’t just drugs we feared for their safety’s sake, there are plenty of other fear-options—ask the parent of a teenager.

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To recap: Drugs are dangerous. They put our youngsters at risk every day, not to mention several types of adults—and the children they parent. It would appear obvious that drugs should be illegal. What is there to discuss?

I should like to discuss that which isn’t obvious—criminalizing drugs makes the problem worse. The drug problem has nothing to do with the law—well, no, that’s wrong—the drug problem has even bigger problems because of the law.

One of these additional drawbacks is the acquisition of great wealth by criminal organizations. The second drawback is that this black market economy is outside of both the domestic economy and the various governments’ (local, state, fed) taxation. When black market drugs are booming, none of that cash flow interacts with established businesses and NPOs. The money lost to drug lords is money that won’t be taxed by the government trying to control drugs with Customs, ATF, and DEA.

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A third drawback of criminalized drug policy is the surreptitious distribution methods that black markets require. By using secret, compartmentalized means of distribution, the destinations are unlimited—they include schools, social venues, bars, restaurants, and residential neighborhoods.

Taxed, controlled drugs sold only to adults (as with alcoholic beverages) would make the acquisition of drugs by minors more difficult. Plus, the loss of income suffered by black market drug suppliers would put them out of business, curtailing the flow of uncontrolled drugs to the ‘street and schoolyard’ locations. Plus, it would be difficult for them to match the prices on officially sanctioned drugs—so, even if they kept going, we would soon price them out of business. Their serpentine methods of harvesting, processing, smuggling, and dealing would cost far more than an aboveboard operation of the same commodity.

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We are afraid of drugs. We are especially afraid of drugs getting to our children. We want drugs to be illegal—they are too dangerous to allow the public to have legal access. It seems to make sense—but it doesn’t. What makes sense is for us to face the drug problem and stare it down. We need drug users to be visible, we need kids doing drugs to be visible, we need to treat addicts, we need to inspect the quality and purity of drugs being used. We need to study drugs as a part of our society.

Drugs are here. I could easily find a source for any illegal drug, if I wanted to. And everyone who wants to, finds a source. That drugs are criminalized doesn’t make them go away—it only drives them into the shadows where good people never look. Illegal drugs isolate the drug user from normal society—addiction isn’t treated until the most advanced condition presents them to the ER, half-dead already. And these separations of the drug-user/-abuser from the rest of us turn a mere black market into a full-fledged underground society, with pocket concentrations in the most underserved of neighborhoods.

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Would making drugs legal give our children the idea that we condone hard drugs? Not necessarily. The businesses would still have drug tests—getting a job, particularly one requiring responsible behavior, would still be out of reach for drug abusers. Traffic cops would still arrest drug abusers who drove while under the influence (just as with alcohol). Licenses, much like liquor licenses, would control the number of retail drug sales establishments and, more importantly, would be accompanied by regular inspections by the drug control authority (just as bars and nightclubs are inspected and restricted in the manner of selling and the rules of permissible customer behavior). The children themselves would be barred from any place that sells drugs or any venue that offers drugs for use, which would tell them, just as the liquor and tobacco rules do now, that these are dangerous substances that only adults can be responsible for.

But it would tell them one other, important thing—that the government doesn’t tell people what to do, even if it is dangerous. It would tell them that liberty includes the right to be an idiot—a truism that we see proved virtually daily on the news. Prohibition gave us a lesson in banned substances—it creates a criminalized society, it empowers outlaws and organized crime, and it doesn’t ever stop the flow of the commodity to market, because the market never goes away.

One other benefit would be to relieve the enormous pressure of inmates being held in prisons—releasing every non-violent drug ‘criminal’ would create a much needed reduction in our national prison capacity. I think it is high time we ‘grasped the thistle’ of drug abuse—to forgo our fantasies of a drug free society and begin the real work of having drugs in our society.

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