As I’ve mentioned many times, I print emails that I do not agree with in all their particulars. I’m not a big industrial hemp activist, for instance. But this email really got to me, simply as an artifact, one of the shattered lives of the drug war …
Josh, I think I told you long ago that I an an ex-con, I got pulled out of college and sent to prison for two years in the early 70’s, for simple possession.
And it isn’t like I was some crook hiding-out in a small southern Missouri college (Druru), I was an honor student, a nationally ranked diver and program director of the campus radio station, sports editor of the school paper, etc etc. While I may have broken moral codes often along the way, I can honestly say that with few exceptions, I was never a real criminal in any way, I just smoke pot.
And now some states are recognizing that does not constitute a crime, it is like something out of A Clockwork Orange.
It was devastating to my education, to say the least, and took away the two most likely occupations I might have pursued, teaching and law. And in the enduing years, that felony record haunted me professionally, it denied me more than a few opportunities that I might have enjoyed along the way.
I have been an industrial hemp legalization activist for years now, and always helped promote decriminalization of smoking pot. So I am certainly in union with those revelers celebrating this end of the 2nd prohibition, and I deeply envy them for the freedom that Kansas will be stubbornly slow in emulating.
Watching the revelry in Washington State, and waiting for the same in Colorado, where I will likely move to, it was a bittersweet victory for me, because all I can thnk is that because of these draconian prohibition laws, my entire life’s opportunity was diminished.
I hope you understand what I am about to say, some folks I have said it to just dn;t get it.
YOU WILL NEVER SEE A REFERENDUM TRYING TO LEGALIZE REAL CRIME. WE WILL NEVER SEE A REFERENDUM TO LEGALIZE PETTY THIEVERY OR ASSAULT OR ANY OTHER REAL CRIME.
The fact that this issue actually is on ballot referendums should be a wake-up call to all law enforcement, even those in states where the laws still stand against pot, that the people they are sending to prison for drug crimes may not be cirminals at all. And it is the law, not the person, that needs to be dealt with.
Sorry to vent, but it has been a very bittersweet victory, and when I think about how my opportunities dried up.
I don’t know if you have ever read Jack Herrer’s “The Emporer has No Clothes”, but the history of this “crime” becoming a crime is well illustrated in that work, and it is worth the effort to read it, just to understand how monopolists in capitalist clothing (Hearst, et al) can turn a personal choice into a crime, for the sake of profane profits.
Of all the facts involved here, that one frustrates me the most, that people like me (and John Sinclair and so many others) had to give up the best promise in their own lives, because some greedy billionaires did not want to compete with hemp.
Pot wasn’t made illegal because it is a drug, Josh, they did it to protect their cotton, paper, fuel and fiber monopolies.
And million of people like me have suffered for it.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.