Friday, June 20, 2014

New York State of High

Well, pot dealers throughout New York State can breathe – or exhale – a sigh of relief. Medical marijuana has been legislatively approved, but our Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has seen to it that patients who will be allowed it (and it’s a narrow list) can’t smoke it. They can eat it, use a tincture, and even vaporize it (like the e-cigarettes you can’t use anywhere in New York City except in your own home), but you can’t smoke it. Smoke is bad, all smoke is bad; Cuomo would like to make New York a smoke-free state. (I know most people hate smoking now, but good luck with that.) So New York’s many recreational pot smokers will still be getting their stash from one friendly neighborhood dealer or another. And we tell kids crime doesn’t pay!

Don’t get me wrong: I’m delighted that people with cancer, AIDS, MS, epilepsy and a few other horrible diseases will finally be able to get the marijuana relief they need. But political leaders still have a blunt up their asses about recreational pot. They’re genuinely afraid of it, think it’s dangerous. Cuomo even called it a “gateway drug,” a term I haven’t heard in decades.

He thinks pot smoking is what’s causing the considerable uptick in heroin use. This is not true. What is true is that people want to get high, and getting loaded on perfectly legal and truly dangerous alcohol is often not what they want. But illegal pot – even the mediocre street stuff, never mind the really good stuff – is expensive. Heroin is cheap and a true vacation from reality. Many of the newer heroin users don’t shoot it up, they snort it, like millions used to do with cocaine, which was always pricey but is now virtually unaffordable.

Unfortunately, there will always be drug and alcohol users who behave irresponsibly, driving when they’re truly impaired, giving in to violent behavior, etc. This makes it very bad for people who behave themselves when they’re snockered. I’ve never been much of a drinker, but I was a heavy pot smoker in my day, and if it was legal, affordable and of…high quality, I’d smoke again. And if it was all those things and properly regulated, marijuana would be a true job creator and deliver a fortune in taxes to local, state and federal authorities. It would be a real shot in the arm, so to speak, to a listless economy. 

But so long as people like Cuomo, people who are apparently very ignorant about drugs and human nature, and who feel politically obliged to cater to the square minority are in power, we’ll pretend that pot is a dangerous portal to narcotics and a social scourge instead of the least harmful antidote to the trials of daily modern life contained in the anesthetizing box. Too bad. Too silly, too stupid, and too, too, bad. Hopefully Colorado will set a good example and we’ll live to see sensible policy grow like a weed from coast to coast.

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