yle=”text-align: center;”>AND NON-STONERS ALIKE.
I WRITE THIS to people the world over, to those for whom marijuana is free and equal, and to those who – as I do – still languish under the archaic restrictions of foolhardy hysteria: it’s time we all put an end to this absurd prohibition.
That time of the year is upon us again, and no doubt we’ll herald the 20th of April with yet another plume of sweet smoke. Now, let’s get this out of the way early: I am a loyal subject of the good Queen Mary, a zealot of the noble herb, and devotee of the naughtiest plant in the bush – in short, I’m a stoner.
I am one of many millions of everyday stoners, the casual breathers of weed, who do so without impact upon the normalcy of their lives. We are parents, and siblings, grandparents, and cousins alike. We have jobs, live in houses, care for our pets, and hold healthy relationships. We pay our taxes, our rent, and our home loans too, we have phone plans, and internet bundles, we pay our bills on time, and greet our neighbours with a smile, and we don’t have criminal records. But every day, we break the law.
This childish embargo restricts both our freedom and wellbeing, and is a source of ruin wherever it’s upheld. Nobody should be treated like a criminal for the sake of an ludicrous law, criminalising something we know to be pure is the only true crime that is committed. Personally, I don’t mind being considered delinquent if it’s in defiance of an unreasonable decree. However, most cannot share my audacious apathy, they have families and careers, reputations and debts, and scariest of all, parents and friends.
We stoners know well the irrationality of the laws set against us. We’ve been fed a parade of fantasy, but now we know the deplorable truth why these rules were formed. Here, in Australia, we’ve heard the pathetic rhetoric as to how our nation made that independent decision to do exactly as we were told to (as we so often do).
We’ve seen that in its zeal, this ceaseless campaign destroys more lives than it saves. It nurtures a violent lawlessness, fuelling international crime syndicates, while imposing an unnecessary drain on resources, which are desperately needed elsewhere.
We know the results, places like Portugal (and soon Canada) record since their decision to decriminalise, and the boon some American states have experienced since they made marijuana available. We’ve witnessed that lifting the restrictions did not lead to further social or criminal problems, as the fear mongers pledged it would, but rather, served to lower instances of harm in the regions where it was enacted.
We’re aware of overwhelming reports of the medical benefits, from easement to treatment, to claims of the downright miraculous. We’ve seen the rejuvenating effects of hemp oils, and the restorative properties of cannabinoids. We’ve examined the articles and heard the tales, both empirical and anecdotal, of weed’s emerging powers, which, even as you read these words, continue to avail and liberate untold numbers of people in need.
We’ve read that the cultivation of hemp is more sustainable, more productive, and less impactful than many other commodities of its kind. We’ve learned the incredible number of applications it has, and we’ve been told wonderful claims, of benefits that crops of hemp could one day provide.
We recognise we have cultivated and experimented with cannabis for thousands of years. We have felt its effects, and we believe this plant we love, is provably healthy, and effectively safe – and we know the number of direct deaths from its ingestion stands eternally, at zero.
And most importantly, we know our own, personal experiences.
Nevertheless, with such a weight of evidence on our side, marijuana remains illegal. Why? If used properly, and without an impact upon others, why shouldn’t we be able to taste that good air? Because the law was created with a moral, not a logical, compass as a guide, designed by those who would deny health and liberty behind a masquerade of safety and protection.
It is the restriction of personal decision, and the freedom to explore a natural substance within one’s consciousness. It exists only to impede an individual’s right of sovereignty over their own body and mind. It is control. Make no mistake, this isn’t a war on drugs, this is a war on choice – and like any other war, facts and stats never count as much as perception.
To win our battle, we must paint our picture. We must promote positive icons and stop endorsing the juvenile clichés. The days of the shiftless stoner must end. It is time to show us for who we are. It is time we ushered in the constructive archetypes we know to be true. It’s time we cast aside the heavy shackles of stereotypes, shake away the antiquated images of the abstracted couch potatoes with a bong in one hand and a microwave pizza in the other. It is the visage of the high functioning, the day-to-day stoner we must be advocating – the stoner who is every bit like you, and those you know.
Therefore, we all must ensure we use the herb appropriately, and treat it with respect. If we truly believe our choice is harmless, then we should wield it as innocently as we claim it to be. This means, we must embrace the ancient enemy of stoners: responsibility. And believe me when I say, no one has been more committed to the perpetual antipathy of responsibility, than I.
Our responsibility must be drawn from our belief in the righteousness of our cause. We must stop hiding our choices as though they are fraught with shame. We must use it openly, and proudly – and we must act maturely in tandem.
We must be wise in our choices. We must employ rationality, reasonability, logic, and virtue in all our decisions. We must be honest about the potential risks. We must refrain from using it in dangerous situations, or circumstances where it may impair another, we must not drive under the influence of it, we must keep it far from children and other at risk users, and we must never ever, blame it for our problems, our foibles, or our failings.
Wherever possible, we should grow it ourselves. We should keep it local, and keep it natural. We must no longer contribute to a global criminality. We hope it will given to the people, and if we choose to grow it, we should not sell it, we should trade among our society as it is always desirable to have less dealers, and more growers in the world.
We must look out for each other, and continue the embracing community – our mantra should be all-inclusive, and our goal should be to show the world this is a substance of peace. I know together, we can bring about the overdue winter of weed’s negative stigma.
I write this letter not to teach, or preach, not to berate, or scorn, but as an appeal – as an opportunity to work as one, for a cause we to know to be right. To oppose incredulous thought, and to change the perception from what people think it is, to how it actually is.
Someone very wise once remarked that cannabis produces the serenity and insight, sensitivity, and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world. I believe, as stoners the world over do, that through the treatment of the herb one can enrich their life. We believe that marijuana gifts comfort and respite for minds wearied by the stresses of our times. We believe the plant holds a mysterious quality that can forge family from friends, and friends from strangers. It allows us to laugh at ourselves, and embrace our imperfections, it humbles us, and brings equality to all those who share in its fire.
I believe in marijuana. I believe in what I do. I have seen the benefits with my own eyes, and I wish the same for you. I’m not here promoting its habitual use – no fair advocate would recommend to anyone the perennial consumption of any substance – use it as you desire, or don’t at all. I merely attest that it works for me, and for many I know, but it won’t always for everybody, and for no one, if used irresponsibly. But I implore whoever reads this to make your own conclusion, not one based on some obsolete data, or the overripe hyperbole of an out of touch politician, but solely upon one’s own resolution.
This campaign is about choice, about the freedom to choose, and our right to explore. We, as a society, must stop attaching morality to a riskless personal decision, and linking criminality to something so innocuous – the stigma must be lifted, the illegality must be razed, and the prohibition must end, so that the therapy may begin.
But this change must start with us stoners, we must be the action we wish to witness. We must be responsible, and treat our love with respect. We cannot continue in ignorance forever. A great person once observed that smoking the herb reveals to you, your true self – I wonder what our prohibition reveals about us.
Happy 420 to all
LAST article / article (coming soon)
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