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May 19, 2012


It's time...

To admit that I'm involved in the Doping of America also. It is who I am.

How? Well, if not for me and people like me the War on Drugs would not be happening. No demand for drugs, no dope from our government. I suppose I should feel guilty... but...

Some people are just born bad. I'm as bad as say, a cat. I have teeth and claws, I'm cuddly, although not covered with a lot of hair... and my instincts tell me to survive, to get on top, to reduce risk of harm to myself, to hunt for what I need to survive (and NO, not Dexter style), and to want my catnip.

It's hard to believe, that in 1974 I was 20 years old. Just 3 years before, Nixon had passed his infamous Drug Control Act, which made the cannabis nightmare for those who came of age in the 1960's, so much worse. By coming of age, I'm figuring someone who was 20 in 1960. Then the Beat generation handled the torch to the Hippies. Flower children were born. Cannabis became ever more popular... which inspired angst from the government who saw it all as a threat to America. To society. Peace... who would want peace? Peace is something pacifists want, and during the cold war, the Viet Nam war, the government certainly didn't see peace loving hippies as part of the solution.

But did they (the federal government) really think that cannabis, LSD, magic mushrooms, peyote, and pills were bad? They really didn't know, except for the pills, amphetamines and downers, that is - Mama's Little Helpers, ironically prescribed by doctors in record numbers. And then, it just became obvious, tobacco caused cancer, heart disease and a slew of other problems. The Surgeon General of the US made a statement finally about how dangerous smoking was to health. But was smoking pot the same thing?

They didn't know and they didn't care. All they cared about was that "drugs" were a threat to America because users did not fit the picture of America established during the 1950's. Peace was fiction. And no one gave flowers to the enemy. Then, to make things worse, the Beatles came along with their long hair and music - psychedelic music. And Bob Dylan, recent recipient of the president's Medal of Freedom, came along singing "everyone must get stoned".

In 1970 President Nixon established the most distinguished Blue Ribbon committee ever to study the influence of "drugs". Nixon was a warrior... and he was convinced the scourge of drugs, of hippies were bad for America. The committee however disagreed, and recommended legalizing cannabis. It was called the Shafer committee, or the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. President Nixon was pissed!  This wasn't the findings he was looking for to go forwards with a War on Drugs. He ignored the recommendations of the committee completely, and much like passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, he pushed through his infamous Controlled Substances Act of 1971. It established the drug scheduling table, which listed cannabis as a Schedule One narcotic with zero benefit to society and as highly addictive and dangerous. All dope, because it wasn't true then, and it isn't true today. The War on Drugs, on the American people began. Either we were to go straight or suffer the consequences.

To me your 20's are a vital part of who you are, who you become. I'm well aware of the influence of earlier age, like your first 3 years, or during public education years where we learn essential American ideals, along with reading, writing and arithmetic. But one's twenties are often overlooked in the frenzy that occurs when we leave home to start our adult life. Maybe family, helicopter style, watches your every move. Maybe you were wild during your teen years, and landed yourself in juvenile detention, a ward of the state. Fact is, people in their twenties are suppose to grow up and live according to established morals, mores, and know right from wrong. It was something so simple: you go to college, church, you date and you get married. You buy a house with a white-picket fence, you have 2 children. You become an executive or a blue-class worker or join the military to fight wars. You smoke cigarettes or drink booze if you must or if you are at a party. That is the way it's done. The way it's suppose to be done. It's an established rule of society, unquestionable... no variations permitted, and hippies were a variation.

But, I get ahead of myself...

I have made reference here before about my run-in with the law over a pot-pipe in the mid-1980's. It's actually amazing that when that happened I only paid a $50 fine in NY State, when the potential sentence to punish me could have been much more severe, like a year in jail, or a higher fine. My crime was essentially as serious as disturbing the peace would have been, or assault, criminal threatening, etc.

I found out recently that possession of drug paraphernalia generally carries a stiffer penalty than simple possession does, and by an odd twist of fate, I was charged with possession of marijuana, although the truth is it was a pipe/paraphernalia - I had no marijuana, so I should have been given a stiffer penalty, or fought the case on the basis that I wasn't in possession of marijuana, but rather the more serious offense of having a pipe.

The back-story is this:

At the time I was really into metal detecting; that's a hobby, what most people would associate to the eccentric person walking the beach with that machine that looks like a weed trimmer, who is looking "for lost jewelry and money". It was and is a lot more than that. It's a hobby where one can get out and go anywhere people have been to look for treasure. That could be the middle of a forest, a public park, a field... seeking old coins and jewelry, and relics of the past.

The pipe I was busted with was one such find. I found it during a week vacation visiting home, attending my sister's wedding. I cleaned it up and it was passed around at the wedding reception. A beautiful, brass pipe, made in India. Pocket-sized. On my ride home I stuck it in the passenger seat of my car so I would not lose it - it was after all, a very special pipe.

My car was searched, my dirty laundry gone through, all on a dark stretch of highway in the Catskills.  I got pulled over for what appeared to the officer who pulled me over, that I had gone through a red light, a light on a dark, lonely stretch of road in rural NY State where I had to make a left turn and was sitting at a green light as I waited to let an on-coming car go first... I was in no hurry.

To the cop who pulled me over, I made my turn and the traffic light was changing to red. To a state trouper just coming over the rise of the hill I was turning up onto, it looked to him like I went through a red light, because he had a green light. Coincidence. Wow.

The officer saw the pipe on my seat with his flashlight as he peered into my car window. "Out of the car, please", he ordered.

Another police cruiser pulled up also. And we're talking about a very remote part of eastern NY state. Then began the "good cop-bad cop" scenario. See, on the dashboard of my 1971, Saab 99, I had a "slide-box" with coins inside in cardboard "slabs" that I'd shown my family during the vacation. In the back of my car - in my trunk, I had mechanics tools, as I expected the possibility of having to fix my car alongside the road at any time. It had happened often in the past. My car was a Saab, about 15 years old. I also had mace in the glove box, which I had a FID card from MA to buy. But in NY they frown on such things.

So good cop interrogates me, asking about the coins, the tools in my car, the mace, while bad cop is whirling about outside convinced I'm a burglar, a thief, and DUI. I explain the coins are mine, the tools are to fix my car, not commit burglaries, and I have a Federal ID card to possess mace. I get put in hand-cuffs, get to ride in the back of a police cruiser for about 10 miles to state police head-quarters, to meet the captain.

I sit and talk to the captain with hand-cuffs behind my back, very tight hand-cuffs, for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile I'm being assessed for being drunk, and the bad cop is looking up statutes on mace in NY. After those 15 or so minutes the captain tells the officer to remove my hand-cuffs, and states they could calibrate their breathalyzers - that I'm definitely not intoxicated - and I wasn't, thank-you. Just tired driving the 11 hour trip home after my sister's wedding week. It felt good to have the cuffs off finally, and then the bad cop returned and said, "mace is considered a noxious substance, not approved in NY" - he asked, "could he dispose of it?"

"Sure, go ahead", I said. He informed me they were confiscating the pipe, and I was given two tickets. One for going through a red light, one for possession of marijuana. I had to go to court at a later date for the possession ticket, the red light I could mail in the fine.

I secured one extension to the court date, which doubled my fine, but the area I was busted, the court was 5 hours from my home... I had a job, I couldn't easily make that trip that was scheduled at night. My dad got me help from a a local district attorney, who gave me advice but couldn't represent me unless I paid him a lot of money. The reason I pleaded guilty was that truthfully, I couldn't afford not to... despite the chance of a year in jail, I had little choice. The key to my guilt was that the pipe had been smoked out of within the previous 3 days, and according to the DA, that gave them grounds, unless I wanted to challenge it. And again, no thanks... as I couldn't afford to fight it and the whole thing was ludicrous enough already for me. I just wanted it over with.

I lucked out, the judge fined me $50, doubled because of the extension the DA got for me, and that was that. No jail-time.

Or so I thought. Until 2001 I never gave the bust much thought. At no time was I formally "arrested" or read the Miranda act. I was driven back to my car that night I was busted, and I returned home - with two tickets. But in 2001, with the aftermath of 9/11, the country changed. Background knowledge of an individual became a need to know. And anything related to "drugs" in an individual's past was a death sentence when it came to getting a good job.

Present time:

Just the other day, at work, I work with a fellow tech who has a degree in Political Science, while my degree is in English, whom I was talking with, when the talk turned to politics. We generally think alike, but we were discussing how New England is the least religious of states, while southern states are most religious, and how NE is subject to, according to my co-worker, full of libertarian fantasies, at which point, I said I may tend towards Libertarians, but really I am quite conservative and I simply want "government out of my face"... to which he freaked out saying "the government isn't in my face, they have nothing to do with me, it's all corporate America..."  He called me an idiot and other fine things and stormed off to have a cigarette. He came back and apologize, but didn't want to discuss it.

Too bad. Because we're both correct.

Corporate America, Wall Street, state and federal governments all do things that impact the freedom of Americans.

A genuine conservative asks only that personal freedom not be treaded on. That one can live one's life with liberty and freedom for all.

Willie Nelson, the Willie that's of country star fame and status, and who has had more than one run-in with law-enforcement over pot, recently made it clear he wants government out of his face too when it comes to cannabis, LINK is HERE to Willie's NORML POST.

There are logical and justifiable reasons as to why I used cannabis starting in my early 20's and for many years after... and none of my reasons are due to being rebellious or dangerous. But, as a result of my mid-80's bust, the government enables the type of discrimination I am encountering in the job market, in finding a mate, as in bonding between other cannabis club members is an underground affair, and unlike tobacco and alcohol users, cannabis users can't simply admit they like cannabis. They more often than not deny it, attest instead that they don't do drugs. Most people chose to play it safe and say "NO". When the answer is "Yes".

My fellow co-worker believes government isn't in my face. But of course it is. The most obvious example is with gay individuals, and the Federal Marriage Act, an attempt by the gov't to dictate what form human bonding can become. Recent actions out of Washington are positive on the Gay Rights issue, not so much for the rights of those who wish to use a plant called cannabis. Culling Americans by way of drug testing is very popular in America, in which cannabis users are unfairly affected as the cannabis metabolite lasts in the blood and urine weeks longer than other drugs, and that's what is tested for.

My government also tells me I can't play online Texas Hold'em. My co-worker plays poker too. Does he seriously believe gov't isn't messing with his ability to play decent online poker?

I'm not against laws or the government in general... I'm only saying there are particular regulations that without a doubt infringe on personal liberty and freedom. Activities that are personal, and relatively safe by comparison to alternatives, if they can truly be called that, i.e. tobacco and alcohol.

Fact is, I know people with misdemeanor offenses involving violent behavior, and companies seriously don't care, in the case of males especially, if violent behavior is present in a background check, since males are expected to be violent and unlike the stigma of "drugs", violence is tolerated.

The perfect example is Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who was busted over a boating incident, in which he ignored the orders of a police officer and was arrested. Mitt, well, he had money and in court vehemently fought the arrest, and all charges were dropped. I suppose I would have done the same, had I had his money, but I didn't and don't. I could even fight it now some 25 years later, if I had the money. I don't.

In my previous post about the airport security supervisor found out (a phoned in tip) that he was an illegal alien, using a dead-man's ID, the sad thing is this guy could rise in the ranks of a security oriented firm, passing fingerprint tests even while his fingerprints couldn't  match those of the dead man, while a person who uses cannabis or has a "drug offense of any level" is quickly identified and denied employment.

Whether government regulates something, passes laws against something, or conspires with Wall Street or corporate American, it's in my face if what I want to do is find a better job, or use cannabis safely in my castle.

My co-worker is wrong to simply get upset over the notion "liberals" always say it's the government.

As highlighted by this secret meeting between corporate bankers and the Federal government starting in 1906 and lasting at least until 1916, called the Jeckyl Island Duck Hunt that Led to the Federal Reserve, it's obvious there is a lot of back-room secret government activities that shape the lives of Americans, whether for good or bad, these actions undermine democracy, by being hidden, non-transparent. We The People don't have a clue about what's going on. And that's not right.

Next time... how Colorado hopes to become the first state to legalize recreational cannabis... and how it's about time...

Am I really a bad person???

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