Thursday, November 11, 2010

For the Children

While I’m on the subject of marijuana legalization, I just have to spend a few moments rebutting one of the stupidest arguments I heard in the recent debate on CA’s Proposition 19 - “If you legalize pot, all your kids will be doing it”.

To understand why I think this is such a dumb argument I have to relate the following. When I was a kid growing up in the suburbs of Chicago in the late 70’s it was way, way easier for me (and everyone else I knew) to get our hands on pot than alcohol. Why was this? Because alcohol was legal for people 21 and over and pot was illegal for everybody.

The people I bought pot from, and the only way that anybody I knew got pot, were acquaintances of mine – sometimes slightly older kids. Meanwhile the only place to buy liquor was stores and bars. The kids selling me pot weren’t taking any great risk in doing so – we’re talking very small quantities here and you had to be a true idiot to get caught. The people who weren’t selling me liquor were doing so because they didn’t want to lose their liquor license for the sake of a cheap case of beer and a bottle of peach schnapps.

This may all be anecdotal, but I’m pretty sure it’s not. If you want to stop people from selling any kind of drug to kids you have to (a) legalize that drug for use by adults, (b) license the sale of that drug, (c) revoke that license if they are caught selling to minors. You need the carrot and the stick. If I were emperor of CA, I’d tie your liquor license, your lottery concession, and your marijuana license into one big bundle – get caught selling any of these to minors and we’ll revoke all three.

Prop 19 and Huck Finn

While reading Huckleberry Finn to Annelise I came across the following:

Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let me. But she wouldn't. She said it was a mean practice and wasn't clean, and I must try to not do it any more. That is just the way with some people. They get down on a thing when they don't know nothing about it. Here she was a bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to anybody, being gone, you see, yet finding a power of fault with me for doing a thing that had some good in it. And she took snuff too; of course that was all right, because she done it herself.

For those that voted “no” on California’s recent Proposition 19, it seems like Huck has got your number.