Actually, it is not such a grand experiment. Prohibition is the experiment. The war on drugs, has been an experiment. The results are in: they are failures. All prohibition of alcohol accomplished was enrich a criminal class and a prison/law-enforcement industrial complex. The same has been the case in the war on drugs. Now, two states have ended the experiment, as best they can considering it is still a federal crime, regarding marijuana. In the first day of legal pot sales in Colorado, 1 million dollars was cleared. Again, that is in one day, in a middle of the road state population wise.
All this has started talk around the country. In New York the movement to at least decriminalize, and maybe even legalize pot for recreational use has gained ground. Advocates of criminal justice reform and aficionados alike are calling for overhauling a system that makes villains of people perpetrating a crime in which the only victims are those choosing to be. It is about time. We are not talking about legalizing harder drugs, like heroin or cocaine (though that, too, has its merits.) We are talking about a plant with less lasting health effects than ANY legal recreational drug, including caffeine.We are talking about a substance with legitimate medical purposes, and one that inhibits our worst behavior, rather than exacerbate it the way our country’s favorite drug does.
I will be honest with you, yes, I smoke pot. Well, not lately, because I am a part-time employee at a book store and sales of MY books have been slow on a good month, but when the opportunity arises, I occasionally light up. I keep it at the low-end of moderation, not because that some how that mitigates the moral wrong of it, because there is no moral wrong of it, but because it keeps my tolerance low and allows me to enjoy it more. It makes me giddy, relaxed and able to enjoy the company of others in a different (note I don’t say “better”) way. Over all it has had a positive influence in my life. I have known far fewer people who abuse it than abuse alcohol, even as a percentage of each drugs consumers.
So I am glad to see our country finally waking up. I hope we wake all the way up and end the experiment completely. As I hinted above, ending the entire war on drugs has its benefits. Not the least of which is treating addiction as the medical issue it is, rather than as a criminal one. We have a chance to answer decades of hypocrisy, racist enforcement policy, and cruelty. Two states have stepped up and called the prohibitionists’ bluff. Who will be bold enough to join them?