I promise, I didn’t write this column high on the Ganja
The decision by the State of Illinois to legalize marijuana has raised some concerns from foes. But marijuana is really no different than alcohol. And if they want to eliminate marijuana, they should eliminate alcohol, too, from our retail stores.
By Ray Hanania
Anybody my age, Baby Boomers, probably are sympathetic to the argument that there is no difference between drinking alcohol and smoking pot.
Marijuana was a big part of teenage and young adult life in the 1960s. Instead of drinking Jack Daniels, we smoked pot.
It was our parents, many of them drunks and alcoholics, who didn’t want us to smoke pot. They were savaging our society in booze binges, involved in some horrible DUI accidents and deaths. And yet somehow, the only thing they could get angry about was marijuana.
It’s about time that the marijuana laws have been changed. And smoking pot should be treated no differently than drinking a whiskey, a Scotch and water, a Harvey Wallbanger, or a rum and coke. There are lighter alcoholic drinks, such as beer or champagne.
You drink in excess, and cause a public disturbance or, even worse, get in an accident, then you should be punished. Being under the influence is a responsibility with consequences. But for far too long, there was this ridiculous double standard that separated smoking pot from drinking booze.
I’ve always argued that if we can’t smoke pot, then we should ban alcohol, too.
The truth is, there is no difference between pot and booze. Sure, maybe smoking a joint might cause cancer. But drinking a beer might cause your liver to whither into nothingness. So, don’t give me this garbage about how dangerous pot smoking is, and then be silent on booze.
For those who hate booze, at least you are being fair.
So, get over it if you are upset. Chances are your anger has more to do with the 1960s mentality than with the reality of life. You might still be angry that Jane Fonda went to North Vietnam and palled around with the Viet Cong. It wasn’t her greatest moment, but don’t take it out on the pot.
Still defending President LBJ who lied about the Viet Cong attack against our warship, the U.S.S. Maddox back in 1964 at the Gulf of Tonkin just to artificially increase our involvement in the war? Get over it. LBJ did lie and that lie probably killed more Americans during an 8-year period than marijuana could ever injure.
Upset that some people think the Moon Walk was staged ay a Hollywood movie set. Maybe it was. Hollywood lies about a lot of stuff for the sake of dramatic entertainment and outrageous profits. Get over that, too.
I bet our parents drank more booze worrying about whether or not the Sputnik was the beginning of a nuclear holocaust, and then took out that anger against us young people over marijuana and other hallucinogens. It’s the past, pal. Quit hallucinating over it and just calm down.
Not all of today’s Baby Boomers were Stoners. And I am not going to be like Mr. Hypocrite, former President Bill Clinton, who didn’t take drugs or have sex with women who worked for him. Yes, I smoked some pot during Freshman and Sophomore year at Bowen High school. The racism at Bogan High school, the nuns at Little Flower High school and the different environment at Reavis High school beat the growing habit out of me by the time I left for college.
I went through the booze period during the Disco years in the late 1970s and 1980s. Those were far more dangerous than toking on reefer during football games at Bowen High school.
Today, medicine and pills keep me away from my habit of “social drinking” occasional alcohol like red wine or a Schlitz Malt Liquor – if I could find those damn little cans of beer.
And I can sneak away to smoke a cigar, once in a while on vacation or at the Lake House.
I don’t have to be high to sing some of these lyrics from Steve Miller; “I’m a joker. I’m a smoker. I’m a mid-night toker. I get my lovin’ on the run. Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh … “
And to quote a famous toker from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982):
“I’ve been thinking about this, Mr. Hand. If I’m here and you’re here, doesn’t that make it our time? Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with a little feast on our time.” – Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn).
And, from Fraternity of Man, a band most people have forgotten: “Don’t bogart that joint, my friend (dude). Pass it over to me.”
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. This column was originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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