If you’re not familiar with 420 (four-twenty), click the above link. Its practically a national holiday in America and if we’re lucky, it could very well catch on here in the UK.
America is usually several steps ahead of the UK and the US’s attitude to cannabis is a great example of this fact. Its where the pointless “war on drugs” began and it just might be where it ends too.
Since Obama got hit with a “legalise cannabis question” from an overwhelming number of people online, all of America is rolling with frenzied momentum towards legalising this hippy’s favourite plant.
The O-man shouldn’t have been so dismissive of such a serious and relevant question, but he’s a popular politician so he can’t be seen to be soft on drugs.
That hasn’t prevented Senator Ron Paul, who is also a popular politician, from calling for an end to the war on drugs, but he is a hero and libertarian and not afraid to express an opinion.
American Conservative magazine can see the pace of change regarding cannabis laws in America. And the conservative right seem down with it too.
Even the mainstream press is getting in on the act, with Time Magazine asking and answering, “Why Legalising Marijuana Makes Sense”.
Not only that, Time Magazine also asks and answers, “Is Pot Good For You?” Of course it is!
Why the sudden shift in America?
Two things right now are forcing people to rethink their stance on cannabis in the states, one of which already applies here in the UK.
Its the economy, stupid.
With this whole recession/depression nonsense, can anyone disregard the effect a legalised cannabis market would have on a nation’s GDP?
Legalising weed, in an instant, would create legitimate jobs that would be taxed, not to mention a tax on the actual product itself. It would raise a lot of money and fast.
Wait, let me revise that. It would bring an already established and thriving black market economy into the mainstream. Ka-ching!
Its been said that if weed were legal and 420 were a proper holiday, it would have the same sort of effect on the economy as xmas. Ka-double-ching.
Weed smokers would willingly be taxed in return for not being criminalised, so says Salon Magazine. I sure as hell would be ready to pay tax on my dope, if I didn’t have to worry about being arrested for toking!
The other problem in America is one that hasn’t reached Europe yet, but it could in the future and that is gang related violence.
The southern border of America is where the real drug war is taking place, but not between law enforcement and criminals, but between rival drug gangs. Police on both sides of the border have been ineffectual and possibly corrupt, when they’re not getting caught in the crossfire. The death toll is sadly, quite high and its bad for business on both sides of the border.
The trouble on America’s border is forcing people to realise that the drug market should be under some sort of government control and regulation, for without that, it leaves criminal gangs running the show.
Just as the prohibition of alcohol in the states in the early part of the last century created gangsters like Al Capone, the prohibition of drugs created Pablo Escobar and those like him who control the industry today.
America’s finally grasping that legalising cannabis would solve more problems than it could ever create. By legitimising an existing industry, America will reap the rewards financially and it would help create a new stability along the Rio Grande.
Check out this report from the very respected Cato Institute, which looks at the positive effects of the decriminalisation of all drugs in Portugal. Its very enlightening and worth a quick read.
You’ll notice in all of debate and discussion in America, there hasn’t been any talk of cannabis-induced psychosis or schizophrenia, nor the demonisation of the stronger strains of cannabis known as “skunk”. That’s because its all spin and bullshit created here in the UK to allow our politicians to use weed as a political football that scores easy own-goals with the ill-informed electorate.
In the states, stronger weed is prized and celebrated for being particularly “medicinal” and is seen to be more beneficial, not less. There are no “cannabis hysteria mums” and no mention of unproven links to mental illness. Remember, a former Surgeon General in America (C. Everett Coop if memory serves), called marijuana “the most therapeutically beneficial substance known to man”.
Confusion continues to reign where cannabis policy is concerned here in the UK, with random, pointless changes in classification and penalties every couple of years whether we need them or not.
Even the government’s own drug counselling service, Ask Frank, is telling younger callers that “cannabis is safer than alcohol.” Its completely true and in line with what the experts say, but its inconsistent with the government’s own stated policy, which of course, ignores the advice of the aforementioned experts they employ.
There are already whispers in Whitehall, many politicians here can see the scrawl on the wall, but are wondering how to right all of the wrongs of the last few years. The government has used the media to paint a totally false picture of the dangers of cannabis, so how do they turn it back around?
Simple, just let the lies quietly fade away and replace them with the promise of cold hard cash.
Is it going to take open gang warfare on the streets of Britain for our leaders to deal with cannabis responsibly? I hope to god it doesn’t come to that, but I don’t see any other way for them wake up and start dealing with reality.
The Guardian published a great report last week, which states that ending the prohibition on drugs would save the UK around £14 billion pounds. That’s an amount that can’t be ignored, especially in these difficult economic times. Law enforcement, the penal system could all be overhauled and the resources could be redirected to actual crimes with victims and everything…!
They’re searching for the green shoots of recovery, perhaps cannabis is literally the cash crop greenery we’ve all been seeking.
And maybe one day, we’ll all be able to openly commemorate 420 in the manner appropriate to the event. And that’s exactly what this hippy is going to do right now, as I spark up a juicy, skunky spliff.