Pubdate: Tue, 15 Jun 2010
Source: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Red Bluff Daily News
Author: Richard Mazzucchi
Note: Richard Mazzucchi is a retired research
engineer specializing in energy efficiency and
renewable energy. He has travelled extensively
and now makes his home in Los Molinos, where he
is striving to manifest a sustainable and spiritual lifestyle.


The World Hemp Extravaganga Event 2010 has come and gone but the
debate goes on as to whether the gathering was appropriate or reflects
well upon the citizens of Tehama County.

The fact that federal and state statutes are at odds about the medical
efficacy and legality of cannabis sativa (marijuana) and its
psychoactive chemical constituent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),
underscores the extent of dissention. When legal and medical wrangling
combines with polarized accounts and attributions of THC effects on
individuals the debate often devolves into personal attacks and
widespread stereotyping.

The result is to widen the divide between those that feel marijuana is
an effective medication or relatively benign recreational drug and
those that believe marijuana use sets a bad example and is a stepping
stone to corruption and evil.

It is difficult for me to be dispassionate on this topic as a child of
the sixties generation with the Age of Aquarius promising an era of
peace, love, and happiness. I was a teenager when Woodstock showed
that tens of thousands of stoned flower children could gather and
enjoy three days of music and merriment without violence or civil unrest.

A decade later President Carter recommended that marijuana be
decriminalized as thousands of young Americans were being persecuted
and jailed for nothing more that possessing a weed with more names
than any plant ever known. It seemed obvious that this plant had taken
on far more significance that it alone justified - it became a
symbol of a generation of freedom loving and liberal Americans who are
feared and disrespected by millions of conservatives because they do
not conform to their visions of America.

Now 50 years later, with millions of Americans in jail, and millions
more with arrest records for drug possession this symbolic battle
continues due to the persistence of irrational fear and the
stereotyping of hippies, pot heads, longhairs, peaceniks, liberals,
and whomever by those that are feel threatened by change, take offense
at the expression of alternative ideas, and lack the humility needed
to live comfortably in an integrated and diverse population of
individuals each having their own personal preferences, cultural
norms, and belief systems.

While I do not recommend the use of mood altering substances, unless
prescribed, I assert that the mood altering affects of marijuana use
are benign relative to alcohol and know the legal and personal
consequences of choosing the former over the latter are anything but

I now fully understand from personal experience the wisdom of a
platitude my father shared with me upon discovering a small amount of
rag weed in the pocket of his flight jacket that I had worn earlier
that day when home from college. His simple, short, and heartfelt
statement was, "Rick, this is nothing but trouble!" I hoped then, and
continue to hope today that better days lie ahead when a God given
plant would no longer be feared as a root of evil.

Public events like WHEE2010 reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly of
marijuana. Many passionately believe that marijuana is good to relieve
pain, induce appetite, or just relax and reflect by stimulating the
senses and appreciating things from a different perspective. Others
rightly claim that marijuana is bad for developing minds, respiratory
health, worker productivity, short term memory, and for the legal and
family problems that often come with it in our society.

The ugly aspects are the inducement of minors to use marijuana and the
disparaging associations and sweeping indictments against adults that
choose to support, experience, or gather to appreciate marijuana as a
therapeutic or recreational drug.

The ugliest effect of all is the wholesale stigmatization and
incarceration of millions of peaceful Americans for doing nothing more
than enjoying or treating themselves with a natural weed.

A far greater good will prevail as adults are allowed to make their
own personal choices with appreciation of our diversity and
uniqueness, and our laws more fully embrace constitutional protections
of unrestricted speech, assembly, and privacy of effects to include
what substances one wishes to consume.

God will bless America as our laws evolve to better respect everyone
in our great nation. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake