Jim Musgrave’s award-winning story, “Letter to the President of the United States,” appears along with 15 other excellent stories in this year’s Eric Hoffer Award Winners. You can purchase a copy online today.
Jim’s story is a psychological drama that takes place at the beginning of the war in Iraq in 2003. An Iraqi engineer who worked for Saddam Hussein has lost his memory due to traumatic events, and a U. S. Marine Sergeant and Arab-American translator gets his psychiatrist father to assist him in recovering the engineer’s memory along with what might be called his “soul.”
In my drinking and drug using days, I would have looked at legislation such as Proposition 19 on the California ballot in November as a way to get high without the risk. Today, after being clean and sober for over 21 years, I have a more judiciously practical outlook on the issue. First of all, one must realize that those who will make the money off this drug probably have never used it, or, if they have, they used it truly in a socially acceptable way. Therefore, this idea of taxing, selling and regulating marijuana “for profit” is simply a way to escape the much more difficult tasks of solving our school crisis (yeah, I’m an egghead teacher) and the lack of jobs in California. Oh, sure, legalizing this drug will create some new jobs, but my question is about what the cost in lives, addictions, accidents and criminal behaviors will be? Has anybody crunched those numbers yet? It’s easy (any homeboy with a calculator and some access to weed can do it) to figure out how much profit one can make selling to those people who think life is more fun with THC in their brains (those of us who have really used the drug can tell you a much different story about its effects on the brain), but it takes some difficult calculating to figure out how much damage such legalization will bring to the social structure of California:
- Legalization and defacto “sponsorship” of weed by the state will turn on millions of new “users” thus creating an open market for the real drug dealers to move in and sell them the “better stuff” and really get them hooked. I don’t agree that Maryjane use automatically leads to the use of stronger drugs, but I do believe (and have seen) it used by illegal drug dealers as a “gateway free taste” to clientele in order to make them accessible to the stronger “highs.” Of course, the truly highest drugs in the “Church of Drugs” are the opiate derivatives, and this is where the real money is (Prop. 19 folks seem to forget this point quite easily). Therefore, legalization would provide the real drug dealers with an easy “tasting party,” completely legally, and then they (the drug gangs and cartels) simply move in on the action and make the big sales!
- When you’re stoned on THC you lose your ability to perceive distances. Therefore, you cannot drive without endangering yourself or others. Also, this drug is not a “social lubricant” because when you’re high you go into yourself, and your short-term memory is greatly affected (you can’t remember what you just said to somebody!). Therefore, that’s why you always see stoners sitting around, doing nothing but listening to music or laughing at the TV (or plug-in your latest media gadget). If you don’t have short-term memory, you are, in effect, in a drug-induced “blackout”! Crimes are often committed in blackouts.
- The State/Corporate controllers want this drug legalized because it causes people to consume much more! Have you ever heard of the “munchies”? They’re real! Can you imagine the health costs after obesity spikes from this drug? They (the State/Corporate controllers) won’t give us socialized health care as it is, so who benefits in the reduced health of our state’s population: the private health care system and all the junk food peddlers!
- Mexico’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on marijuana has led to the drug cartels taking over many communities. It works this way: no jobs, time on your hands, easy money selling drugs, buying guns to protect your “profits”, killing folks who get in your way. The same can happen in California (once owned by Mexico, by the way). Look at the situation realistically in your own community. How many “dealers” in your hood (La Jolla to Southeast San Diego, it makes no difference to dealers and cartels)?
- Education will be (almost literally) a “joke.” As a college educator, it’s almost impossible to get the attention of students who are distracted already by more than 15,000 different media messages bombarding their brains every day! Can you see teaching a stoned student in the classroom? I can’t. Look at what happened at nearby San Diego State Stoner University. It became a campus drug dealer’s heaven! That’s what could happen to all our college and high school campuses when this Prop. 19 passes!
- The California legislature already could “give a shit” about the working people (or, should I say “out of working” people) in their state. This is just one more way they can dodge their responsibilities “the easy way” the way of the drug user, the way of the lazy, doped-up stoners that this initiative will create by the hundreds of thousands!
As a former abuser of drugs and alcohol, I humbly request that you ask those people who have actually used marijuana in order to find out its effects on the brain. Don’t ask these folks pushing Proposition 19. Ask a real user! Of course, if they are in “denial,” the way I used to be, you might not get an honest answer. But, then again, they won’t remember what they told you anyway, so you can forget about them as reliable sources of “reality.”
As they say in my program, “Thanks for letting me share.”