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The following diary is a personal reflection on my experience with Marijuana. Your mileage may vary.

I once took a "personality" test during a job interview. Maybe you're familiar with it, lots of questions about morality and judgement, like "It's wrong to steal from your employer. Agree / Disagree."  One of the questions was "Stereotypes are based on truths. Agree / Disagree."  To this day, I'm not sure which answer they were looking for on that one. To agree reveals a type of prejudice, and to disagree is to deny a common repeating pattern.

There are a lot of stereotypes associated with marijuana users... like they're all unwashed dreadlocked unemployed hippies.  Last night I saw CNN's "Marijuana Inc." where a couple who drove to Humboldt sought work as bud trimmers. They showed the guy smoking a bowl, and of course, he was an unwashed, dreadlocked, and unemployed. But most marijuana users take umbrage at those stereotypes. It just so happens that all of the hippies I've known have smoked marijuana, but their unkempt appearance and minimal hygiene were not byproducts of extended drug use the way you would find with junkies and meth addicts, rather their disregard for the commonly accepted notion of possessions were incidental to their marijuana use. Take away the marijuana, and they were still just as happy.

I find that marijuana is a paradox. On the one hand it placates the basest desires - give a joint, a burrito, and a blanket to someone who has nothing and they're good for a few hours. But on the other hand it awakens a gnawing sense of discontent - give someone making $26,000 a joint, and they'll start thinking about advancing their position in life.  Give someone making $100,000 a joint and they'll start thinking about all that is missing from their life. To me, weed clarifies my desires and lets my heart cry out for what it wants, but chronic use becomes the thing that prevents me from obtaining it all.

While marijuana prohibition has been in effect for about 100 years, it only became classified as Schedule I in 1972, during the presidency of Richard Nixon.  At the time, Nixon was battling two wars: One in Vietnam, and the other in the USA against the people protesting the war in Vietnam. As part of his strategy of domestic suppression, he made marijuana illegal.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services owns a patent on marijuana use. U.S. Patent # 6630507 specifies the use of cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. But the DEA, in conjunction with the FDA, who is in charge scheduling controlled substances and enforcing the law, claims that cannabinoids have no medical value. A lack of medical value is the deciding criteria in assigning a drug to the Schedule I list. So our government simultaneously claims marijuana has no medical value, meanwhile it holds a patent describing marijuana's medical value.

The other defining difference between Schedule I and Schedule II is that a Schedule I drug has no accepted safe use. Marijuana has a hundred compounds in it, but the physical and psychological effects are produced by cannabinoids (discussed above) and THC. Synthetic THC is made by Abbott Pharmaceuticals, who had 2012 revenues of $40 Billion. Synthetic THC is sold as dronabinol, and marketed under the brand name Marinol which is a Schedule III drug.  For the record, the FDA claims 4 people have died from Marinol overdose.  And yet in the history of mankind no person has ever died from a marijuana overdose.  Therefore one has to interpret the FDA's stance on "safe use" to mean that any marijuana use, though nonfatal, is unsafe. How can the FDA claim marijuana exposure is unsafe, but cannabinoids and synthetic THC are?  

I think this leads us to the crux of the issue: What, exactly, is "unsafe" about marijuana consumption?  Given my experience that marijuana diminishes immediate need consumerism while amplifying big picture discontent, one can see how the status quo depends on keeping marijuana illegal.  We are all slaves to capitalism, just as the people who live in The Matrix were merely a source of energy, we are all seen by the ruling class as providing fuel for our economic engine.

They say that ending marijuana prohibition would result in a $43 Billion economic shift.  Monies spent on black market marijuana would no longer go to drug cartels and instead go to local businesses, employing local workers.  Taxes would be collected. Law enforcement would be able to focus on violent crime. About 3/4 of a million arrests would stop clogging our courts, with less money wasted on attorneys and fines. Approximately 50,000 prisoners would be released, relieving the burden on the for-profit prison system. Arrests, court appearances and incarceration all decrease worker productivity.

But beyond the immediate, beneficial economic shift would be an underlying one more upsetting to the balance of the status quo.  I believe the unsatiated desires that make consumers load up on plastic crap would be replaced by a minimalist frame of mind. The money saved would allow people to spend more on higher quality foods, forcing a trend towards organics and against GMO. Instead of drinking ourselves into oblivion on Friday night, Americans would spend time learning how to get high, and by that I don't mean the art of inhaling smoke, I mean directing your mind to become more receptive to being elevated. Instead of dogmatically following a religion, people might be inclined to seek and find their own definition of God.

It's no wonder why ending prohibition scares the crap out of the ruling class.

Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 6:34 PM PT: I missed an obvious economic shift. The average cost of incarceration per prisoner is $30,000.  If 50,000 prisoners were let go, that would amount to $1.5 Billion taken away from the prisons, many of which are private.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting take. (12+ / 0-)

    I'm certainly for full legalization of pot. I'm not sure how other people would use it, but I can tell you I'd use it the same way I do now: rarely and socially, and when someone else has some. I guess that makes me a mooch, doesn't it?!

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:44:13 AM PST

    •  Last night we went to a (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, chimene, Dirtandiron, DvCM

      New Year's Eve potluck a few blocks up the street. Socialized with some neighbors I'd never met before. Also went casually to the dessert table and learned, first-hand, that all confections aren't created equal. You have to take the hand-printed labels seriously. The friends who brought me were laughing at me. I guess it was comical, but not really to me.  

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 01:51:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Someday I'll tell the story (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        karmsy, chimene, DvCM

        of how my grandmother accidentally ate a pot brownie...

        What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

        by commonmass on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 01:58:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, this confection was clearly labeled. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chimene

          But not, I thought, cut and presented prudently. I learned you don't just pick up a "sweet" at a party and nibble it casually, as you would nurse a glass of wine.

          It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

          by karmsy on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:06:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  same with my Grandma (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          karmsy, wenchacha

          She walked into my brothers house and said "mmm-brownies" and popped one into her mouth before anyone could say a thing. She had never even thought about doing any drugs in her life. Two hours of outright hilarity ensued much to the consternation of my sister-in-law who made them.

          Grandma ate several more brownies but by then they had been substituted for regular ones. She had the munchies bad and marveled at how good things tasted. Even the G'babies noticed how happy Grandma was and began to perform, to her delight. After a couple of hours in which every little thing was super funny to Grandma (and to us all) she got sleepy and was driven home still unawares. It took several months for us to come clean with her but she forgave us.

          America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

          by cacamp on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:00:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'll go down the (BS) list. (18+ / 0-)

    1.  People will drive stoned, and since we don't have an instant test for marijuana any laws will be unenforceable.  THEREFORE, we must ban marijuana to stop carnage on the expressways.  

    2. Marijuana causes cancer.  Smoking anything causes cancer, so therefore if you smoke marijuana you will get cancer.

    3.  Marijuana abuse turns healthy, productive individuals into criminals.  Therefore, it's bad because if you smoke it, you're a criminal!

    4.  If you smoke marijuana, you will of course immediately begin shooting black tar heroin.  Because...  magic.

    5.  Terrorists sell marijuana.  If you buy drugs, you support terrorists.

    6.  Marijuana nowadays is DIFFERENT from when I smoked it as a kid.  It's always laced with some other drug, and as a result if you smoke it, you're actually taking PCP, or Cocaine, or something else which is far more expensive and really doesn't make sense to be dusting on prime bud...

    Funny to notice how many of the arguments I hear against pot are circular in nature.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:06:01 PM PST

    •  That "laced" thing kills me (8+ / 0-)

      I have not seen pot laced with anything since the early 70's.

      People don't realize that pot users have become connoisseurs.  We want organic home grown and everyone knows a guy or a guy who knows a guy who grows it.

      We don't want out door grown, pesticide doused, insect ridden big leafed marijuana, we want grown in someone's basement under lights and maybe hydroponically pot.

      Like wine, marijuana is in the cultivation.

      Laced. I hear it all the time. I never see it.

      O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

      by Kevanlove on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:11:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Blueberry... best cure for PTSD I've ever found. (7+ / 0-)

        Ahh, so sweet and mellow.  Nice taste...

        plus a nice warm feeling which totally obliterates the PTSD panic attack.

        Not that I would ever admit to disagreeing with the VA's suggested course of treatment, mind you.

        /snark

        I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

        by detroitmechworks on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:23:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've got some of those seeds (2+ / 0-)

          I'm just waiting for the state to get it's license thing together.

          I'm never leaving WA state to live somewhere else.

          Unless it's Colorado. ;-)

          O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

          by Kevanlove on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:42:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevanlove, kbman, wenchacha

          my late husband used it for that. It also helped him when he had late stage liver cancer from exposure to agent orange. He was able to live a normal, active life until nearly the end. That makes it nearly a miracle drug in my book.

          It was origionaly reccomended to him by a VA doctor, off the record, of course.

          His reguar docotor tried everything to get him off of it including marinol none it was at all helpful.

          There is more to pot than just THC. I am convinced that other ingrediants alone or in conjunction with the THC are what give people relief.

          It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

          by PSWaterspirit on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:29:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sorry for your loss (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wenchacha, PSWaterspirit

            I think that if it did nothing other than making someone laugh it is worthwhile. Especially when someone is in such terrible pain. If it made them forget about it for while, that's enough.

            O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

            by Kevanlove on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:11:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  One is cannabidiol ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wenchacha, PSWaterspirit
            Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in cannabis. It is a major constituent of the plant, representing up to 40% in its extracts.[2]

            It has displayed sedative effects in animal tests.[3] Some research, however, indicates that CBD can increase alertness.[4] It may decrease the rate of THC clearance from the body, perhaps by interfering with the metabolism of THC in the liver.

            Medically, it has been shown to relieve convulsion, inflammation, anxiety, and nausea, as well as inhibit cancer cell growth.[5] Recent studies have shown cannabidiol to be as effective as atypical antipsychotics in treating schizophrenia.[6] Studies have also shown that it may relieve symptoms of dystonia.[7][8]

            In November 2007, it was reported that CBD reduces growth of aggressive human breast cancer cells in vitro and reduces their invasiveness.[9]

            Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

            by kbman on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:37:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  it makes brown men rape white women too n/t (0+ / 0-)

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:07:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  One that I saw recently (0+ / 0-)

      Someone pointed out to the one time that a german black market growing added lead to his buds to make them heavier, and several people got lead poisoning.  This guy then claimed legalization would result in this happening more often. Because, you know, regulation.

      You will not rest, settle for less • Until you guzzle and squander whats left • Do not deny that you live and let die - MUSE

      by bondibox on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:34:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My take is that frustrated people look for a drug (9+ / 0-)

    to help them take the edge off.

    Would we rather have them using alcohol, which reduces inhibitions and leads to fights, rapes, and spectacular car crashes; or marijuana, which leads to silly puns, weird music, and staying home and going to sleep. Stoners can be obnoxious, particularly when they are trying to explain some hilarious insight to someone who isn't. Drunks are dangerous, both to themselves and others.

  •  good work, with some quibbles: (12+ / 0-)

    first, regular use doesn't make every one unable to function productively

    second, relieving the burden on "the for profit prison system"--

    there's no way a prison should be run for profit, and the fact that it's been a business that's been increasing here in the usa, is a major indicator of the pawned state of the union

    and the entire law enforcement, criminal justice and both state-run and for-profit prison systems and their millions of employees, are just fine with having more and more inmates

    lastly, while i agree that many users find themselves grown intellectually/spiritually to the point that they're no longer interested in buying "things" they don't need

    many of the pot smokers i know are well-adjusted, useful members of society, but just as addicted to "things" as the chamber of commerce approves

    after all that, thanks for bringing the subject up

    •  Admittedly, those are faults with my writing (0+ / 0-)

      What I wanted to say was that legalization would reduce the profitability of the private prison system, but I found that only 1 in 8 prisoners incarcerated for drugs are in for marijuana.  We could release them all and it might end the overcrowding, and that's it.

      And I function very productively when I smoke often. I have never missed work due to having smoked out the night before, and I passed the Cisco network certification test after 30 days, armed with a study guide and an ounce of BC buds.

      But it changes my priorities too much.  I'll meditate instead of cleaning the kitchen.  After initially being unsatisfied with the status quo, I'll settle for it.

      You will not rest, settle for less • Until you guzzle and squander whats left • Do not deny that you live and let die - MUSE

      by bondibox on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:27:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting diary, thanks. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, chimene, David54

    Yes, the "war on drugs" DOES cost society, on every level, and, yes, there IS political will to keep it going, among other things, because of all the careers and livelihoods tied up in it.

    I agree with you that many mood-altering substances, including pot, threaten to mute the consumer impulse. For this reason, they directly jeopardize interests of the status quo.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 01:38:01 PM PST

  •  I've had a long history with Marijuana since 1973. (4+ / 0-)

    I haven't been in close proximity to it for the last 5 or 6 years. I've been a habitual smoker, at times, and a casual smoker at other times, and I've left it alone for years at a time.
    I would never buy marijuana now that I knew or suspected came from Mexico. It has blood on it.

    It absolutely should be legalized for adults. Cultivation of small amounts should be allowed and probably licensed and taxed.
    The proceeds and the savings in law enforcement should be spent on substance abuse programs.

    It is habit forming for some people. That's partly because they set their lives up to facilitate that.
    If someone has a "problem" with it, they should consider treatment or a personal discipline program that mediates or eliminates their problem.
    Chronic use does create a mental fog. It makes some people stupid.
    Other people experience no difficulties with it.

    I think it is a great way to relax. It's much better than most pharmaceutical antidepressants, for the average person.  It's effectiveness as a "relaxant" is inversely related to quantity of consumption. It's more effective the less of it you use.

    I think it should be for adults, and kept away from kids, for the most part. (Sure, they'll experiment, just like tobacco and alcohol, but the law should be structured to keep kids from being heavily involved, unlike the current situation, which thrusts succeeding generations of inner city kids into the sale and undisciplined use of it).
    I think kids need to stay sharp and focused on their studies. A lot of people will claim it helps them focus and makes them smarter, etc, but most older potheads will agree with me.

    As a framing contractor and handyman, I've endured years of working with stoned co-workers, and worked in that state myself. I wouldn't subject myself to that torture again. What people do on their own time is their own business.

    Again, I think it needs to be legalized asap, and our societies efforts need to be directed to protecting children and helping them get an education, rather than being trapped in the drug sales/criminal justice/ incarceration system, which is all too common now.

    The "problems" with pot are fairly mild compared to most other drugs (including alcohol) and I think they could be dealt with fairly easily with treatment, counseling, and personal self-discipline regimens.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:41:50 PM PST

    •  Speaking of stoned co-workers (0+ / 0-)

      You know how New Years and St. Patricks day are the worst nights to go bar hopping because of all the "amateur drunks"?  Well I've noticed that 4/20 is a terrible day at work because everyone thinks they have carte blanche to come in stoned.

      You will not rest, settle for less • Until you guzzle and squander whats left • Do not deny that you live and let die - MUSE

      by bondibox on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:32:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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