Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Great American Divide

It's probably not PC, and it may even tick some people off by saying it, but in my opinion we have reached the point in America where we have developed almost too much diversity in our quest to give everyone the right to hold their opinions scared. Before you say anything, let me point out that we currently have a government of elected officials that can't even agree on a single issue, and instead each defends their own point of view with no options allowed for compromise. I understand the need for those who hold their opinions as truth to vehemently defend what they believe. But there needs to be a point when they do what is best for the good of everyone instead focusing on what is best for the highly vocal and politically active few.

Being an American, and supported by our constitution, we each have to right to live as we want in our own lifestyle, as long as we do not interfere with the rights of others. What this means is that we should be able to live as we want without fear of interference from others who disagree with our lifestyle or beliefs. It does NOT mean that we can impose our opinions on the majority because we believe we are right. When it comes to the good of everyone, we need to realize that our opinions and beliefs should not be the deciding factor in whether we do something together as a country or not. What should be the primary consideration is whether an action is positive and serves the people while furthering our country's position, or is it negative and does it damage our people and our position.

In order to obtain desired freedoms, this country was built around diversity. People from many different faiths, lifestyles, and opinions came together and formed a union that was based on the good of all, and developed through compromise and cooperation. Over the years this direction has been diverted by those who would have us go back to become the type of country we broke away from in the first place. The American revolution took place because the people came together to fight for a place where everyone could follow their own direction while uniting as a fellowship of freedom seekers. Diversity is highly desirable and a positive contribution to the fullness and depth of our collective American ancestry. It should never be used as a heavy handed tool to divide and separate those who make up this union of freedom. But ultimately the choice is ours. We can either work together or fall apart!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Should cannabis prohibition be repealed?

The primary problem with cannabis prohibition is basically the same problem we had with alcohol prohibition. When a majority of the people in a country want something, whether it is legal or not, they will find ways to obtain it even if it has to be obtained through underground means.  The fact is that most people really don’t care how they obtain something they want as long as they can get it, and if they want it bad enough they will go to great lengths to get it.  As a result, the more people want something the greater lengths business oriented people will go to supply it for a profit. It is the law of supply and demand.

According to a United Nations survey there are over 90 million regular users of cannabis. That large of a number does not necessarily mean that those people are right about the use of something that is illegal in most all countries, it only means that they will do whatever is necessary to obtain it. This fact leaves the criminal element to step in and fill the gap between a country’s prohibition laws and those wanting a substance like cannabis that is illegal in their country. The shining example of this is the mob organizations that became so powerful in this country during alcohol prohibition. One has to wonder if we could have avoided all the violence that developed out of organized crime syndicates that came into being then if prohibition had not been enacted.

It seems reasonable to me that instead of spending billions on “The War on Drugs” and still not stemming the tide of cannabis use, we could instead possible be making billions from a controlled and taxed industry of cannabis production.  When we put a young person in prison for cannabis possession we only serve to make them more criminalized and they seem to only learn skills that make them better criminals. When we spend billions on housing, feeding, and maintaining those incarcerated for cannabis possession, we take billions away from those who are starving and living in cardboard shacks, those who could really use our assistance.  In my opinion, we need to re-evaluate our priorities and consider the needs of the many over the prohibition objections of the few.

Finally, hemp, the generic form of cannabis, can be used to make a lot of other products, as they were in the past before prohibition. The fact is that our American classic “Blue Jeans” were originally made from hemp fabric because it is much more resilient and stronger than cotton weaves.  Once cannabis prohibition was enacted, a lot of things that were originally made from hemp were changed and produced from other resources because prohibition made it very difficult to get a permit to grow hemp for commercial uses. Even our founding fathers knew the value of hemp production for raw materials. Both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington had large hemp fields and often referred to them in letters and other writings as being very productive.

Now I realize there is a lot of debate about this issue and that I haven't even touched on the medical side of this issue, and that there are many who will disagree with me vehemently no matter what reasons I may have. However, in my opinion if like those who were against alcohol legalization for ethical or moral reason, you are against cannabis legalization, then my advice to you is don’t use it and avoid any moral dilemmas for yourself. What I would hope that you don’t do is what would be in my opinion costing us more young lives and billions more in tax dollars by keeping it illegal for others who do use cannabis.