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Hullabaloo


Monday, March 24, 2014

 
On marijuana as on so much else, progressives are always right but never respected.

by David Atkins

This is welcome news, but I'll be damned if it isn't tiresome to see this pattern repeated:

When President Obama gave the green light for states to set their own marijuana laws, he set in motion what is becoming unprecedented and much-needed change in our country’s antiquated and harshly counterproductive drug laws. Not only has Colorado and Washington State succesfully legalized recreational use of marijuana, other states are now exploring with similar legislation.

The amount of people behind bars because of possession of small amounts of marijuana has increased drastically since the War on Drugs was instituted by President Nixon in 1971. In Colorado alone, 9,000 residents a year were imprisoned prior to Amendment 64, the amendment that legalized marijuana in the state. Without a doubt, the criminalization of marijuana in America has become a very serious human rights issue, but one that Pres. Obama and states like Colorado are well on their way to fixing.

The easing of the drug laws is presenting Colorado with a complicated issue surrounding those who have been arrested after the passage, but prior to the implementation of, Amendment 64. Thankfully, in a historic ruling, Colorado judges have decided to retroactively apply the law to those incarcerated.

A panel of three Colorado Court of Appeals judges unanimously ruled in favor of allowing some state citizens who have been convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana prior to the implementation of Dec. 2012′s Amendment 64 to request their convictions be overturned.
I don't have a personal stake in this battle; I've never even tried the stuff. But it's been fairly obvious since I was a kid that allowing alcohol to be consumed essentially unchecked while treating marijuana like some demon weed never made any sense. But anyone who has dared point that out over the years has been treated like a "unserious" stoner, even as millions of lives were ruined or damaged not by pot itself, but by a seriously misguided set of laws.

Slowly but surely the tide is changing on that question. Eventually decriminalizing will even make its way through Congress.

But at no point will the people who were right all these decades get credit for being right. At no point will they be treated seriously, nor will all the braying jackasses who claimed decriminalization would spell the end of the American way of life receive the scorn and marginalization they so richNoly deserve.

It's more than just about the money--although of course there's big money in continuing the useless drug war. It's broadly cultural. For a society with only a few centuries of history under its belt and that loves to celebrate the rebel in its music and film, America has a very difficult time actually embracing agents of change. Even as our opinions of the elites continue to decline, most Americans generally still would rather go with the devils they know than take a chance on changing things for the better. That's a real shame.


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