When I Was Young:
Below, is my story to a woman from my home town whose father was a part-time police officer and also a teacher. I was a Hampton Beach New Hampshire kid growing up in the ‘60s:
Although he [her father] was part of a police force that twice arrested me for being “knowingly present with marijuana,” he always seemed like he didn’t want to do what he was forced to do. Always liked him and considered him a fair man.
One of those times there were four of us kids sleeping in a car. They put us in jail, charging us with “sleeping in a motor vehicle.” They then towed and searched the car. They found some pot seeds on the front floor of the passenger side. The two kids in the front seat were charged with “possession,” and the two of us in the back with being “knowingly present.”
The other time I got this same charge was when I was in a beach house with 16 other kids. They raided the place and found a “nickle bag” in the sport coat of one of the kids who was sleeping, his sport coat slouched over a hard chair. He and the people in the room he was in got charged with possession; the rest of us got the “knowingly present” charge.
In both instances I was found guilty at Hampton District Court — who was that judge — lol? — and in both cases I was found innocent at the Superior Court in Exeter. What’s sad is in the District Court I witnessed several kids plead guilty, clearly at their parent’s urging. But they were innocent! That’s how it was back then.
Sadly, due to this reality, many of my friends did not do well in life. Back then — and still today — mainstream society frowned upon them. In a way, we each became victimized. Many went on in life to worse problems, drug dependency, alcoholism or off to Vietnam only to find a new array of problems.
I don’t believe this happened from being young person around pot. I believe what happened was a direct consequence of the resultant stigmatization and condemnation of the community.
I became one of the lucky ones because I always kept my consciousness. I developed a strong conscience when fighting for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. Otherwise, I believe I also would have met hard luck in life. Instead, I became a musician — even an elected politician — who got to live an interesting lifestyle, one free from the pain and agony of distress.
But that was me, a young white teenager growing up in a white suburban community, “The American Dream.”
Were I a black kid living in an urban area, near-automatically I’d have gone to jail, my life ruined. Any sensible person, with a good heart, capable of analyzing the socio-economical statistical reality would know and understand this as true.
A Sad Manipulative Reality!
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Many are the folks who’ve suffered from America’s draconian drug laws often racially administered. The only folks who have profited from this are the politicians and the corporate profiteers for whom the politicians serve. The profiteers provide the politician money for re-election, over and over until they also prosper.
Ever wonder why US politicians hold a 15–20% approval rating but a 95% re-election rate?
“Elect me, I’m tough on drugs, I’m tough on crime — I will fight to win the “Drug War!” The political party pecking order ordains, obscene amounts of money gets spent on political advertising, the media is compliant and a “genuinely-concerned” citizenry elects them over and over.
Today, as then, the drug smuggling routes are also weapon smuggling routes, often propping up dictatorial governments in smaller nations full of resources like oil, diamonds, gold, silver, copper, tin, timber, rubber, lithium … you name it! Meanwhile, the cash made goes into profiteering pockets — banks included — and hiring private mercenary armies for protection.
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There’s something terribly wrong with this reality!
Indeed, drug problems will never ever get solved with a policy of criminal sanctions which have spawned private prisons and probation departments, stringent drug forfeiture laws and urine-testing companies. Nearly every politician has a family member, a friend or a donor benefiting from this.
Everybody’s getting a piece, except the poor kid who needs a break in life! All the kid needs is a reasonable education, hope for a good job that pays a living wage and the faith they can create a family that will do well in life.
Essentially, drug problems in society need become treated from a medical and sociological point of view, not by imposing life-destroying criminal sanctions. Drugs will always exist and no free society will ever win a drug war. America can’t even keep drugs out of prisons! The political emphasis must be rooted in a policy of harm reduction.
So Now People Who Hated Pot Are Money Hip!
So now legalizing marijuana has become hot. Even today’s Republicans are in on it! Nothing beats making profits in capitalistic America! For those privileged and connected, marijuana has become yet another way “to make another buck!”
So, in more and more states, pot is now becoming legal to sell for recreational purposes. Be prepared for corporatized dispensaries. Also be prepared to pay top dollar for something you could easily grow yourself!
Back in the days when I was a New Hampshire state representative I introduced a bill in 1989 to study drug legalization. The bill produced an amazing public hearing and the proponents clearly and overwhelmingly won the debate. But, of course, the bill didn’t pass.
More a musician than a politician and having served two terms in office, I decided to get out of politics by running for Congress calling for drug legalization. I knew I’d lose — lol! This enabled me to to become a Cambridge Harvard Square street musician — a step up — lol!
But in the course of my campaign I gave a 1990 speech in Washington DC at the Mayflower Hotel which was featuring a combined National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and National Drug Policy Conference.
It was here I introduced The Marijuana-Tobacco Trafficking Elimination Act:
Take the commercialized push out of selling licit and illicit smoking substances. Make it legal to grow, possess and sell both marijuana and tobacco. Make it illegal to sell either substance in a commercialized rolled-cigarette form. It would therefore become a practice to sell these substances in a pouched form and preserve the freedom of people to possess and roll their own products.
So eventually, Bayer or Monsanto or Walmart or Amazon will eventually monopolize the pot market. And the banks, the politicians and the media will do well, each subjugated by a six and seven-digit salaried consultant class acting on behalf of America’s oligarchy!
And the beat goes on ….
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Finally, the true problem is, whether I’m a musician or a politician? Nobody ever listens to me — lol!