Last Dance with Mary Jane
By Leigh Pujado
I am fed up with marijuana laws. Maybe it is because I’ve watched one too many seasons of Showtime’s “Weeds” or because at this time last year I was on stage in our local playhouse production of “Reefer Madness.” Perhaps it’s because the stoners in my life are among some of the nicest, self-responsible people I know, or maybe it’s simply that I’ve grown weary of fear mongering idiots trumping up fictional causes and erecting erroneous soap boxes from which to spew their ignorant rhetoric.
Yes, marijuana is a dangerous, highly addictive substance. And Barack Obama is a Nazi Muslim and the Tooth Fairy is real!
The list of social and physical ills from ole’ Mary Jane is truly shocking. How many times have you visited a friend in the hospital suffering from complications due to marijuana-ism? How many people have you watched slowly kill themselves one spliff at a time? How many families have been torn apart by the filthy leaf? How many deranged stoners are out on the streets robbing our banks, raping our women, terrorizing our neighborhoods and corrupting our children? How frequently have you been the victim of physical or verbal assault due to an irrational individual who was dangerously high on reefer? How many of your loved ones have been killed by marijuana-holics?
Oh, right. None.
It’s time to get real about pot, people! It is time to stop wasting our time, our energy and our tax payers’ money on marijuana related crime. Where’s the crime? Show me the fucking crime. I’m die-ing to see it.
Pot smokers grab headlines, not for dangerous or violent crime, but for excessively slow-paced, non-sensical crap:
“Stoners Build Giant Igloo Out of Frosted Flakes”
“Man Arrested By Airport Security with Joint Hidden in Dredlocks”
“Tampa Bay Man Caught Smoking Pot in Ice Cream Truck”
“Bad Dancing Draws Suspicion and Pot Charges”
“Man Mooned Crowd Only Minutes After Being Released on Marijuana Charges”
“Woman Returns Burgers and Marijuana to Dairy Queen”
(These are real headlines!)
You never see “Stoner Robs First National Bank” because if a stoner were to actually attempt bank robbery the headline would read something like, “Man Found Napping with Squirt Gun in Lobby of First National Arrested for Marijuana.”
Some people will argue that marijuana laws must remain in place simply to keep us from harming ourselves with an unhealthy substance. Anyone who has ever been stoned can attest that marijuana is not even near the top of the list of dangerous things we put into our bodies. We’ve known for years that cigarettes are deadly and second hand smoke is, indeed, dangerous, so why don’t we arrest people for smoking? Obesity is killing people at alarming rates and costing our nation billions of dollars in health care. Where’s the “Just Say No to French Fries” bandwagon? I’ll get on it, I promise! But as far as I’m concerned, until they start locking up smokers and fat people, they need to leave the stoners alone.
And what about our precious alcohol? In 2007 41,059 people died in alcohol related accidents. Of those, 15,829 were killed by drunk drivers, averaging about one DUI death every 45 minutes. Look up some drunk driving statistics, and you’ll find out how certain partakers of our nation’s favorite legal drug are actually extremely dangerous and under-prosecuted. Meanwhile this great nation of cheeseburger-eating, chain-smoking booze-swillers is actively arresting pot-heads.
According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics there were 1,519,000 Drug Law Violation arrests in 2007. Of these 1.5 million arrests, 42% were for possession of marijuana. More specifically, we arrested 872,700 people for possessing Mary Jane and another 322,000 folks for selling it. Our law enforcement officers’ time could be better spent on more pressing issues if they weren’t tied up punishing potheads. In 2007 law enforcement also arrested 1.46 million people for DUI and for every drunk driver being arrested, there are 87 more undetected offenders on the roads. Why don’t we all eat some pork rinds, smoke a box of Camels and ponder that over a cross-town happy hour!
I’ll admit that marijuana is not the healthiest green plant at our disposal for consumption. Ounce for ounce, kale and broccoli have a greater nutritional value than marijuana but broccoli tends to clog up my bong and smoking kale just makes me mean.
But seriously, before I continue this rant, I should make mention of the fact that I do not smoke or ingest marijuana with any regularity. I have an enormous appetite and have difficulty staying awake past 9:30 so a plant that exacerbates my hunger and narcolepsy is not a good fit. While I defend its harmlessness, you may discard any pre-conceived notion about the author of this essay hammering out these words from the back of her Volkswagon Bus, giant spliff burning in the ashtray to her right and her two mangy muts in their hemp collars slobbering on her left. You were probably already envisioning me as one of the palm frond weavers or the downtown street musicians honking out crass notes on a decrepit horn, hat upturned on the sidewalk expecting a handout so that I might buy myself some weed later. I don’t look anything like a stereotypical stoner. Then again, all the weed lovers I know don’t either.
The truth is today’s Modern Stoner (say, what a great name for a magazine!) is not simply your garden variety hippie or Rastafarian. Today’s tokers come in all shapes, sizes, ages and socioeconomic classes. Stoners are everywhere, discreetly hiding their illegal pastime and leading otherwise normal lives.
I am not advocating that we all start waking and baking, build our lives around the mighty leaf and quote something from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” each day at 4:20 PM. Rather, I think it’s high time (hee hee) we focus our laws and law enforcement on real dangers to society. Leave the stoners alone. What, beyond raiding your fridge, did they ever do to you anyway?