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Rant #92
(published Mid-year, 2002)
Don't Fear the Reefer
by J.E.C.
Whilst watching the Superbowl and ingesting various toxins a few months ago, I had a chance to witness the premier of the Drug Enforcement Agency's new anti-drug campaign. Have you seen these? The ones with a black background and young kids giving direct addresses to the camera saying things like "I helped buy guns for murders", "I killed a judge in Nicaragua", "I helped terrorists buy bombs"; the implication being that your drug money was enabling bin Laden to carry out his reign of terror. And this gave me pause, as I smoked my joint, snorted a line of crystal meth and injected pure heroin into my veins. Was I helping the terrorists? Was it I who gave highjackers the funds to kill? Was I somehow indirectly responsible for 9-11, the effects of which I'd been fortunate enough to witness firsthand? "No," I thought happily, and plunged the needle into my arm.

Okay, drugs are harvested and produced by some very bad people. This is true. Money that buys cocaine makes its way to the FARC in Colombia, which in turn makes its way to killing women and children in churches. That's true. And during prohibition, the five dollars your grandfather handed over for a bottle of gin from Canada made its way to Al Capone, who used it to blow up people in Chicago. But I have to wonder in both cases if the responsibility for directing that money into the hands of homicidal criminals lies with the lawmakers.

Gun-control opponents have a favorite saying: "Outlaw guns, and only outlaws will have guns." That's as may be. It's certainly true that by outlawing marijuana, anyone wanting to smoke it must buy it from criminals. But if drugs weren't illegal, if pot was grown in North Carolina and cocaine in Georgia, do you think for an instant that the entire source of revenue for the South American drug lords wouldn't dry up over night?

And another thing: where do they get off singling out drugs as the lone product whose sale and manufacture leads to death and destruction? Here's what I would like to see: that same commercial, except instead of teenagers, there're a bunch of soccer moms in the background with their gas-guzzling SUVs prominently displayed. "I helped line the pockets of a Saudi government that deflects criticism of itself by abetting terrorism." "My car helped Saddam Hussein stay in power." "I helped blow up a bus of children in Israel." Something tells me the current administration wouldn't be as gung-ho about an anti-oil campaign. Or how about a commercial of society-women wearing African diamonds? "My jewelry is the reason genocide is being committed in Rwanda." How about the offensive line of the football team of any Big Ten school saying "Our jerseys and merchandising help keep ten-year-old Cambodians working eighteen hour days"? Is there blood on the pot I smoke and the coke I snort? Maybe. But if there is, it's there because of unconstitutional drug laws. And there sure as hell is blood on your SUV, your diamond ring, and your Nikes. So let's knock off with the selective morality; I'll leave you to your pretty stones and Chevy Suburbans if you leave me to my weed.

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