I should begin by explaining that I have rather strong libertarian, capitalistic tendencies. But when I’m asked about the tobacco industry – yet again to the cannabis industry – I confess to having very mixed feelings. Remember that I was born in 1940. I grew up in the good old days of not a cough and a carload, 9/10 doctors who smoke, recommend… and so on. Back in those days, on the evening news with John Cameron Swayze, he would be smoking while he gave the news. You’d see a little cigarette over there with the smoke rising up, and so on. On the topic of cigarette advertising, when I wrote the article for National Review on why conservatives should support the legalization of marijuana which was in December of 1972, seemed like only yesterday.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to live a long life (I’ll be 80 this year) probably fear Alzheimer’s Disease more than almost anything else, and the last 10 years of Ronald Reagan’s life demonstrate why.
He was 94 when he finally died in 2004, of Alzheimer’s, 10 years after he was diagnosed. His long life meant that he suffered longer from the worst of Alzheimer’s than most people. His family also had to endure seeing his decline over a period of years. The Reagans could afford to hire nurses and others to spare the family the onerous burden that exhausts most families – physically, emotionally and financially – but that did not lessen their heartbreak.
Every day there are news stories about marijuana legalization, the marijuana business and financial analysis, medical marijuana/CBD studies, etc. However, there is almost no discussion of marijuana prohibition, which remains the policy of the U.S. government and the Trump administration.
As CannaLawBlog.com reported, “During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump asserted that, as president, he would allow states to choose whether to legalize marijuana without interference from the federal government.
“After his election, however, Trump’s position completely reversed. In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo, an Obama-era policy of not interfering with states who have legalized marijuana. Trump’s press secretary at the time, Sean Spicer, then implied that there would be a crackdown on legalization states. Sessions, however, did not specifically order law enforcement to direct more resources toward enforcing marijuana laws.”
April 20th (420, 4/20 and 4:20) became the international symbol of the celebration of marijuana use as an act of public defiance against marijuana prohibition. It was furtive at first, but with increasingly public defiance.
Over the almost four decades since it began, “420” has become vastly bigger and more open, but it remains essentially a one day celebration. Now the time has come for us to move beyond having just a one day party and make it a month of defiance, planning and mobilization for however long it takes to take back our freedom.
One of the things I have said often in speeches and written about is that the best two-word explanation for marijuana prohibition is bad journalism. You’ll hear that again, and again.
There are so many examples of that. Don’t get me started.
I remember, for example, when I was at NORML, there was a really terrible article in The Washington Times which tends to specialize in articles about marijuana in particular. So I called up the reporter and said, “Could I send you some material that contradicts the party line?” She said, “Oh, I’d love to see it, but that, you know, there’s really no point in it. I was just given this assignment. I probably will be writing about it again.” But what I had to do was to call the drug czars office and get them to say something. And that was journalism dealing with marijuana. You know, it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. And this went on for decades.
Oh, surely now, isn’t that an overstatement? Mass murder? After all, it’s a complicated subject, and we need to be careful about it.
I would double down, and say NO, in fact, it is actually a huge understatement and it would be obvious if so many of our institutions weren’t morally, intellectually, scientifically, medically, journalistically, politically, ethically and spiritually bankrupt. (Did I miss anyone?)
Right now we are living (and/or dying) through a pandemic that is the result of the failure of virtually all of our institutions, and if we cannot now see how this is happening, then it’s only a matter of time before we will all lose our freedom, if not our lives. And we cannot blame a virus.
The whole context of family communication around the topic of cannabis is one that is fraught with tension, one might say. I could help if everybody got stoned first, but that’s the whole topic, isn’t it? How do you talk to your children, or grandchildren? Not being the marrying kind, I don’t have any grandchildren. But, one of the great things about having been involved with the marijuana reform movements over the decades is that I actually occasionally get to meet these “young people” they’re called. Yes, that’s it.
Going to college campuses and debating narcs was one of the more enjoyable aspects of being involved with the issue.