Marijuana has been on the American government’s hit-list since the 1860s. That’s over a century and a half of illegal doobies! Let’s be real here: for every narc in this country there are at least five “stoners” (if you will) sitting in a basement, listening to Cypress Hill, while taking their very own hits from the bong.
I’d like to place an emphasis on the basement scenario here: if you smoke weed, you know better than to parade around the mods with a fat, white grape blunt. However, if you’re really into Cheech and Chong, Wu Tang, and snacks you’ll find the occasional moment to truly unwind in a public setting.
At the 23rd Annual Hempfest, also known as the Boston Freedom Rally, weed fanatics from all over Grassachusetts let their hippy locks down without concern for the whereabouts of their eye drops or odor eliminators, items usually kept nearby to avoid suspicion. All of Boston Commons smelled of the sweet aroma of reefer, as hipsters, rastas, writers, thinkers, moms, dads, students, professors, and many more gathered together in a mass of diversity, each member devoted to the potential for a greater day. A day much like Hempfest, April 20th, or simply the release of the much anticipated The Hobbit trilogy, in which users no longer need to take a hit of social scrutiny, but rather, a hit of something a little easier on the mind, body and soul.
Since the 19th century, Marijuana has been harshly critiqued by authority. The Controlled Substance act of 1970 states that not only is cannabis a likely substance to be abused, but also negates the potential for medicinal use of the drug.
Well, let’s look at the facts:
First of all, it is physically impossible for an individual to ingest enough THC to overdose. In fact, in a Rolling Stones feature, rapper Rick Ross was asked if he's ever gotten too high and he, utterly confused, answered: “I don’t really know what that means.” The act of smoking itself is not good for the body. But then you have to ask yourself…why are cigarettes legal? The assumption that marijuana kills is simply fabricated to sustain the negative portrayal of the substance set forth in the 19th century.
Secondly, marijuana has been prescribed to a vast number of patients to help rehabilitate ailments such as glaucoma, anorexia, and even cancer. Decriminalization supports the prescribed use of cannabis with consideration for those who have suffered and seek refuge in the infamous green plant.
There was a period, as I’m sure all of you know, in which alcohol was illegal in America. The era of Prohibition also marked an era of rebellion as Al Capone and Mickey Duffy were the Seth Rogen and James Franco of their decade, illegally distributing a substance which has been legalized and abused since then.
In the past three years, I’ve seen many of my peers overdose on alcohol. I remember settling into my dorm on Newton the first week of freshmen year, watching as 17 and 18 year olds were hauled into ambulances on stretchers. I’ve seen adults experience divorce and unemployment due to their addiction to vodka, beer, and gin, yet those items remain legal.
It is not my opinion that everyone should start smoking weed. But, I would like to encourage those of you who haven’t already done so to question whether or not the stigma concerning marijuana use in this country is deserved.
On Tuesday, November 6th, many of you will be voting. Question 3 will ask you to consider where you stand on the issue of decriminalization in Massachusetts; you will have to ask yourself whether or not marijuana has the potential to do good. Rather than continue to let those who enjoy the occasional joint take a hit from the government, why not re-evaluate the direction of our concerns?