Wednesday, June 06, 2012
High & Mighty
Just for the hell of it I decided a couple of days ago to post my month-and-a-half-old piece on marijuana culture, with a fresh lede, over on the Huffington Post's politics page. I figured if nothing else it'd be fun to see the reaction from the HuffPo peanut gallery. Unfortunately, for the first time in my four-year history of writing for the site, a piece of mine got kind of buried instead of being afforded pretty good placement. Not quite sure why but I'm certainly not going to read too much into it.
Anyway, I've managed to eke out around 30 comments or so, so far, and as you can imagine they're all highly indignant -- and some of them, as expected, are pure gold.
Here now, a few of my favorites:
"You need to crawl out from under the rock you're buried in and spend ten minutes to actually get educated. I don't use pot in any form right now ... Hemp isn't a legitimate reason to legalize cannabis, even though you admit it's got merits? Medical use isn't legit in any situation because you have seen people abuse the system? I'm sick to death of my tax dollars being wasted imprisoning people for no good reason, big pharmaceutical companies controlling dangerous medications that are less effective, and the most green crop, hemp, being outlawed for absolutely no good reason. Do some reading, maybe you'll even manage to accidentally learn something."
-- Jeremy Echols (who then proceeded to post six links to articles, more than a few of them from NORML and such, that supposedly proved his point; by the way, Echols is, as it turns out, a serial commenter on pot legalization issues over at HuffPo)
Thanks for the advice. And it's not like there are a handful of people abusing the system here in California -- the system itself is a joke and everyone knows it. My contention is that the reason for this is that the entire notion of a medical marijuana system is a joke. Either legalize it and accept that it's something people enjoy and that they have the right to or don't -- but don't pretend that it's "medication" that some people need and others don't.
"This kind of misinformed propaganda actually does damage to the movement. This Chez guy has got to be a little embarrassed for exposing his ignorance. Peace Chez!"
And peace right back at you, hippie.
"The only damage Chez has done is to his reputation as a compassionate human being, if he ever had one that is."
-- The Walker
"You should of gotten high before you wrote this, it would have been more authentic."
That'll do, madkoz. That'll do.
"'Pot is popular because it messes you up good -- everything else is incidental.' So? 'in the end, you're pushing for the legalization of pot because it makes you feel good.' So? Keep in mind that Morphine is legal. Valium is legal. Alcohol is legal. Recreational sex is legal. The first two have medical uses, as does Marijuana. The second two don't - they just makes you feel good. The fact that something creates a pleasant effect should not make it illegal, and unless it affects you personally, it should be none of your business."
Yup. And I acknowledged all of this in the piece.
"'Maybe pot-smoking can ease the pain of terminal cancer' Not maybe. Not only terminal cancer but the wasting effects of HIV/AIDS patient and those with arthritis and glaucoma. 'Maybe there are religions that require it as part of their ritual' Not maybe. Just because your beliefs don't embrace this ritual, does not mean it is not valid. 'Maybe it's been used throughout the years by brilliant minds and its history is so interesting that university-level classes can be taught on it' Not maybe. Try throughout the history of mankind, Years make it sound like this spans a couple of decades."
It eases the pain of terminal cancer because it fucking feels good. There are undoubtedly a hell of a lot of other things can perform this same impressive feat. Again, not saying marijuana doesn't have its benefits, only that if one of them wasn't the fact that it gets you high, nobody would be arguing. It's promoted for, ironically, the exact same reason it's inexplicably prohibited. As for the religious aspect -- yeah, couldn't care less about that. It's not a legitimate concern. A lot of stupid religious rituals have demanded a lot of odd and even grotesque acts and furnishings throughout history, it doesn't mean they all deserve to be made legal or considered moral.
"I guess bothering to google the facts before you blog is to much to ask of Chaz. I guess the Federal Goverment has run a Medical Marijuana program because the Feds really enjoy getting 4 Americans super messed up."
-- Nicon (whose profile icon is a guy smoking weed)
Wow. Seems like a surprisingly small program.
"Personally, I prefer some lying old fossil with his horror stories of gateway drugs to this kind of faintly patronizing hipsterish put-down. For the record, I've been smoking pot for 55 years. I don't have a medical marijuana card and wouldn't--I can get better quality, cheaper, and the government doesn't know who I am or where I live, and the respect I have for law enforcement on any drug issue has long since evaporated. The issue of legalizing marijuana, to those of us who aren't first-time users, who don't believe that it's a universal panacea, and who aren't giddy with the idea of being able to smoke it in public (because we already do), to such as us, it has less to do with obtaining the government's permission to toke up and almost everything to do with ending forfeiture, the corrupt practice of seizing property, and getting tens of thousands of otherwise harmless people out of jail. And Mr Pazienza, who is apparently unaware of the teenybopper eidolon evoked by his ecstasy use, should be ashamed for hanging his argument on the lamest of stoner stereotypes."
Yes, the lamest of stoner stereotypes. Please see several of the comments listed. As for the argument that legalization would end a governmental practice that's ruined the lives of people for no good reason -- no shit, that's self-evident and I even said so in the piece. And yeah, I did ecstasy. Did a hell of a lot of other drugs, too.
"Why doesn't he care about injustice? Or innocent people going to jail? He can't possibly think pot is worth locking people up over! That doesn't make any sense to anybody who isn't a terrible bigot and/or making money off of it. First they came for the potheads and nobody cared ..."
-- Sister Lauren
I want a bumper sticker with that last line on it.
"Oktoberfest? st patricks day? cinco de mayo? happy hour? alcohol poisoning, dui, date rape, fighting... gooooooooooooOOOOOOO alcohol!!!!"
-- sean omearar
Because it's obviously one or the other. Besides, I could easily say, "mild hallucinations, sloth, giggling like an idiot, making shitty music, being a general annoyance to anyone not high, faux-philosophical arguments that make sense only to you, your whole house smelling like hell, sitting on your couch watching How High? for the 138th time and actually thinking it's funny... goooooOOOO weed!!!" and it'd be just as dumb.
And drum roll, please -- my personal favorite:
"What is getting high?? Getting high is altering your consciousness. Altering your consciousness is a form of travel . Travel is a breaking with the routine in order to explore the enviroment in novel ways. Deviating from the preconceived routine is crucial to gain insight into our relationship to life,others and our place in the cosmos. It also provides us with the knowledge that there is more than one way to experience and live life. This is crucial in nourishing curiosity, flexibility and tolerance, all important attitudes in decreasing tensions and promoting sharing among humans. Perhaps Chaz snickers at the pairing of the word cosmos with getting high. Yet mainstream religions are well respected when they promote a quest for the Divine. Unfortunately they then hand out rules saying "And this is the only way". End of curiosity and tolerance. Would Chaz say that prohibiting travel is a legitimate issue determining who you vote for? He would say that travel is a human right, I'm sure. That only dictatorships limit travel. Yet not all of us have the means or ability to travel.Fortunately our centuries of human ancestors have passed down the knowledge of plants that can allow the most humble of us that experience."
Well that's just, like, your opinion, man.