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Marijuana Legalization — The Civil Rights Battle It’s Still OK To Mock


Reefer MadnessI’m the epitome of the marijuana legalization “movement” that Chez Pazienza mocks and demeans in his latest Huffington Post piece entitled “Reefer Madness”. Pazienza seems to think those of us fighting to end our War on (Certain American Citizens Using Non-Pharmaceutical, Non-Alcoholic Tobacco-Free) Drugs are just unabashed hedonists hiding behind lofty rhetoric to get our wacky tobaccy legal so we can get doped up in peace.

Here are some of the relevant excerpts from Pazienza:

A couple of weeks back, though, Bob Cesca and I had a little debate going on our podcast and radio show about the merits – or lack thereof, in my opinion – of the “culture” of marijuana….

You know, the “movement” full of people who basically take the diametrically opposing side of the argument to those who feel that pot is the devil’s weed, mythologizing it rather than castigating it, claiming that it heals all wounds and has near-magical properties that can be used in the service of mankind if the closed-minded politicians would just give it a chance.

Here’s my issue with the marijuana culture – the, ahem, “fight” to gain national acceptance of pot beyond the fact that a hell of a lot of people use it or have used it at one point in their lives: it’s for the most part disingenuous…. for God’s sake be honest about why you like weed. You like to get high. That hemp-is-beneficial-to-mankind and I-need-it-as-medicine horseshit is exactly that: horseshit.

Yeah, sure, I like to get high. That doesn’t make marijuana prohibition any less evil.

Pazienza goes to great lengths in the piece to indicate that he actually does want to see marijuana legalized. He accepts that it does have medicinal properties and that hemp is an amazingly valuable crop for its myriad of industrial uses. He even posits that its none of the government’s business to police the habits of citizens so long as they are doing no harm to others.

So why the vitriol toward those trying to get marijuana legalized?

It seems to me that marijuana legalization is the only civil rights issue in America where it is still acceptable to mock the oppressed by questioning the selfish motives of those fighting for equality. Can you imagine the uproar if Pazienza were questioning the motives of those fighting for acceptance of equal marriage rights for gay people by observing “You like to get laid, and it’s very likely nothing more noble than that. Admit it.” Or if Pazienza castigated a woman fighting for health insurance coverage of birth control as just “She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.” Or if he demeaned those fighting against “English only” laws as just “too lazy to learn English”.

Yes, indeed, many people who support marijuana legalization just want to get high without having the police, clad in body armor and toting automatic weapons, breaking down their door in the middle of the night, throwing flash-bang grenades into their living room, and shooting seven times inside our homes, killing our family pets while our children are asleep in the next room. How disingenuous of them to want an end to that, just because they like to smoke weed.

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About Author

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.


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