A drug debate

Vic and another reader took issue with my reply to Vic: The other correspondent suggested that I look to Alaska as an example of a state where, apparently, lots of people smoke grass and nobody does anything about it. My first thought was flippant”- “What! A good Republican state that doesn’t care if its citizens smoke pot!!!” Vic’s riposte to me explains why this could be:

“I suggest that our streets (and homes and persons) are not safe, and that they would be safer without our idiotic drug laws, because then there wouldn’t be black-market prices for drugs, there wouldn’t be robberies and burglaries (and worse) for drugs, and there wouldn’t be gang-banging for the purpose of maintaining drug territories. Booze, too, is troublesome for our society, but I suggest that because of the repeal of prohibition, booze is less troublesome than it was during prohibition, and it is less troublesome than the drugs that are the subject of our idiotic drug laws. Vic”

I mostly agree with Vic. As a child of the “me generation” I went for a couple years getting stoned nearly every weekend. For a short period it was closer to four or five nights a week. I even experimented with amphetamines for a few months. I’m aware of the lure of mind-altering drugs. Today I’ve become a poor-man’s wine snob.

I’ve never tried heroin, cocaine or meth-amphetamines. I can imagine a time when a potent enough strain of marijuana, which is already much more potent than the stuff I smoked thirty years ago, could become a menace through hybridization. I would be happy to let doctors prescribe marijuana’s THC to give sick people an appetite. I know from personal experience that it works. I’d be happy to let doctors prescribe heroin to people suffering great pain. But the three other drugs I mentioned are far greater threats to people and society. I’ve come to buy the conservative argument about gateway drugs. If we were going to legalize marijuana I’d want it regulated as strictly if not more so than liquor.

It’s often argued that motorcycle riders should have the freedom to choose to ride without helmets. It’s also argued that it’s not fair for society to cover the medical expenses of injured riders who have lifelong brain injuries because of their choice to be free. I agree with both positions. This is just one more example of why the middle ground appeals to me. People are often wrong only when they insist that the people who disagree with them are wrong.

A word of warning for the Grassroots Party – marijuana legalization is not my top priority. If I’m elected to Congress I’d probably be content to speak candidly about marijuana law reform and leave it at that.

As for our prison populations. . . As a former school board member I was always unhappy that we were willing to pay the much more exorbitant expenses of 24-hour-a-day jailing than for a good 8-hour-a-day education. The little Republican under my new Democratic skin is appalled at this.