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Lucky Number 19?

(First published on Urban Times on 16th Oct 2010)

Proposition 19 is a measure that proposes the regulation and taxation of marijuana in the state of California. The vote is in November.

Which leaves me thinking. Is this the first step toward the reversal of the tried, tested, and failed war on drugs, the policy that gave us the cartels, the police-states, the prejudice, the wrongful imprisonment of millions of individuals, not to mention the strain on the penal system, the strain on the economy, the modern witch-hunts, and the massive black hole in human consciousness research?

Will this be the beginning of the end for this god-awful, miserable state of affairs? Will the drug prohibition be repealed, letting society enter an age of conscious adventurism, free from puritan guilt — or alcohol-marinated stupor — ready to take on the endless horizon?

I hope so. We’ve lived in the dark for far too long.


Optimism and poetry aside, it’s not going to be that easy or straightforward — or non-political.

Here’s something to consider. The nature of the discussed substance. It’s mellow and calm, taking away stress, tension, making people feel relaxed, chilled, warm and fuzzy inside. Isn’t it a beautiful coincidence that after the crisis, in the wake of austerity, marijuana is the new drug of choice? A substance that fits the times ahead?

Let me explain. In the previous few decades, in the age of boom and productivity, turnover and efficiency, we had alcohol and nicotine readily available. Mean stuff, substances that allowed one to work long hours, take the edge off, keep the momentum going up until the age of retirement, at which point the side-effects would rear their ugly head — cirrhosis, cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease etc.

Now, with the boom gone and efficiency in second place, and retirement out the window, and a future of hard, grim, proper management ahead of us, alcohol and tobacco seem dated. The rules are changing so as to let a new substance back in the game, one that chills you out, makes you soft, allows you to feel good with little on the table. It tightens the belt, reins in those frantic impulses, and in general goes with the times of austerity that loom in the horizon. Forget the sugar-laced munchies, that’s how it went in times of affluence. When the wallet is empty, the munchies are satisfied with whatever’s available. That’s what makes cannabis a good choice these days. It makes you settle for anything. Yeah man, chill!

Or am I being arbitrary, cocky and prejudiced, using anti-poetic license to link otherwise unrelated matters?

Whatever man, says a voice in my head. Chill. Let it be. Let it happen.

I oblige. I sit back and wish that Proposition 19 passes. Usher in an age of open-mindedness and respect, an era of open-ended research and renewed interest in altered states of consciousness. An era of fewer stereotypes and higher (pun semi-intended!) understanding.

As I look to the sky, the voice in my head resumes its mantra. Stargazing is wonderful, it says to me, and taking a breather is great. The world could use a chill-pill or two to wind down, relax, and not burn the hell out.

Still, remember: achievement wasn’t founded on reefers and whatev’s. It was created through the combination of sharp insight and decisive action.

I agreed. So I leaned back and wished that people would go easy on Proposition 19 if it got passed, letting marijuana find its rightful place in society, gradually, on its own. The world will be watching closely, eager to decide whether to follow in 19’s footsteps or not.

It’s up to Californians to make a good impression.

Did I mention that I don’t enjoy marijuana? I used to, but not anymore. It’s not my thing. But I can see its usefulness, if imbibed wisely and not abused.

I finished my beer and went to bed, dreaming of change and a smarter society.