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Legalize It!

by TRACY McLELLAN

“Marijuana is a godsend and means nothing but the best”

-Ken Kesey

“Pot is a values-changing drug”

-George Carlin

The illegality of marijuana/hemp is criminal. Its psychoactive properties are what are dearest to me. It is something other than society’s obey, consume, go to work, watch TV, no free thought. Marijuana’s illegality engenders so much stigma it is almost impossible to talk rationally about it at all. It is almost commanded to accept the underlying assumptions of the prohibition model. Because of that it is almost a matter of rite and necessity that to justify as positive marijuana’s psychoactive properties it is necessary to run through the litany and list of hemp’s industrial applications before even mentioning those others.

Hemp makes a fine paper. Ancient rainforests in Canada of 400 year old trees are currently being clearcut to make pulp to turn into paper. What an absurdity! It would be sustainable not to speak of more organic, natural and ecological to rather make pulp out of hemp. The original Declaration of Independence is written on hemp paper. The nut of the problem always comes down to capitalism, which is to say, greed. Obey, consume, watch TV, go to work, no free thought.

Hemp also makes a fine clothing. It is softer, more absorbent, and more durable than cotton. Hemp also requires less pesticides and herbicides and depletes the soil less than cotton. Which is why too it’s illegal–what use have we and capitalism to do with hemp when we are doing just fine in the capitalist sweatshop business thank you very much?

Marijuana has a wide range of medical applications. It relieves stress. It is effective in relieving the pressure in the retina in glaucoma patients, thusly preventing blindness. It is an effective agent against spasticity in muscular dystrophy patients. It is effective in treating the nausea associated with chemotherapy in AIDS and cancer patients. It is a superb analgesic. Almost anything for which you have to take a pill, marijuana is probably effective in treating or mitigating. Marijuana doesn’t have the side effects that almost every pharmaceutical has. It is effective in treating the symptoms of the common could. It is the best laxative. It has other medical properties. Its seed is excellent feed for pet birds and is a protein that has other food applications. I’ve heard it averred that the oil in the seed can be turned into a fuel. Hemp leaves can be used as biomass like corn can, to create methanol. This technology in corn is counterproductive and inviable, although I’m not so sure the same is true in hemp.

For all these reasons alone hemp’s illegality is criminal. But why should that be a surprise of the government, in which, just like you can tell that President Bush II is lying in that he opens his mouth–or, almost the twin too of Kerry in this, dissembling and canting–you can tell the US government is acting with capitalist depradation whenever it acts at all.

Most importantly, marijuana has spiritual affects. Getting high on pot and altering consciousness is a beautful thing and in that, a rite of religion. For religion is nothing more, though nothing less, than how a live is lived from day to day. When the mainstream culture bothers to portray marijuana intoxication at all, it represents it as getting duh, being all dumb and stupid man. When it is being kind it portrays a lazy drug addict or homeless vagrant who wants nothing other than to veg out, sate the munchies and maybe watch TV.

I beg to differ. I intuit the phonyness of TV and loath it when high, along with the sickening commercialism. Althought pot’s altered state of consciousness is, by definition not normal consciouness, by what leap of logic is it assumed that it is thusly worse? At worst, pot is innocuous. It is far more harmless than the legal drugs alcohol and tobacco. There is nothing but disinformation surrounding it as an issue in the corporate press and in received wisdom. I’d be embarrassed to admit what miniscule quantities I’m talking about here; how so much depends on so little.

I don’t get lazy at all. On the contrary, I get a jolt of adrenaline, a foreboding of forbidden pleasures, and anticipation of happiness. My heartbeat quickens, and I want to do just about anything. That could mean listening to music (although I’ll admit here that I haven’t been listening to much music since I stepped in front of an SUV on the expressway on March 19, 2003), or playing sports (ditto), brushing my teeth or taking a shower, or just about anything else. In short the urge is there. More, I’m a better reader, writer and thinker for getting high. All of these things are a raison d’etre for possession of pot, and a weight and a chore in its absence. I am not nearly as productive for pot’s prohibition both in what I get done, and in what I am unstressed enough to leave undone. Unemployed, I feel confident that pot’s legality would offer me job and career prospects because pot is such a remarkably diverse plant. Pot is the cornerstone of my happiness, a simple affair, yet one which causes so much needless suffering. I am deeper when I get high, and better for it. In that it’s a fundamental rite of my religion, and protected by the freedom of religion clause in the First Amendment.

Pot’s illegality is criminal finally because for all these reasons marijuana/hemp could be an essential component of a sustainable world. Ours is not now and threatens cataclysm at every step. Especially subjective reasons are enough to illustrate the criminality of pot’s prohibition. And I hereby demand its decriminalization.

TRACY McLELLAN is an activist who is recovering from hip surgery in the Chicago area. You may contact him at tracymacL@yahoo.com.

 

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