Pubdate: Sun, 12 Jan 2014
Source: Delaware County Daily Times (PA)
Copyright: 2014 The Daily Times
Author: Christine Flowers


The quickest way to turn a liberal into a conservative is to take 
away his doobie. Faster than you can say "that ain't your grandma's 
brownie," he'll abandon his devotion to Big Government and start 
sounding like a member of the Confederate Army, spouting off about 
states' rights. The states he will likely point to are Colorado and 
Washington, which have decided to let their stressed-out, 
anxiety-ridden citizens kick back with some organic happy fibers 
without having to worry about The Man breathing down their necks.

That big Drug Enforcement Agency and the Federal Controlled 
Substances Act? Why, they're just indicia of a fascist police state. 
Liberals who normally believe that more government is better 
government tend to become squeamish at the thought of federal 
intervention when it comes to "limitations on inhalation and exhalation."

Oh what a difference a daze makes. If we were talking about abortion, 
the usual mantra of "my constitutional right to privacy" would be 
chanted while women of a certain age and level of hysteria would tell 
the government to stay out of their wombs. The "government" they 
would be referring to is not Uncle Sam, who kindly provided them with 
that right to abortion but, rather, the impudent state legislators 
like our own in Pennsylvania who try and restrict their right to abort a child.

There's also the whole controversy about same-sex marriage. The new 
battleground is at the local level, where Attorneys General like 
Kathleen Kane and state politicos in places like Sacramento and Des 
Moines (seriously, Des Moines?) try and extend the Windsor decision 
that dismantled the federal Defense of Marriage Act to their own 
little fiefdoms, where marriage is still structured as one man-one 
woman-at one time.

But when it comes to getting high, liberals have abandoned their 
fascination with Big Brother (or Big Uncle) and think that liberty is 
now spelled "L-O-C-A-L." The last time I checked, the Controlled 
Substances Act made it a federal crime to possess, use, sell or 
otherwise "intend to deliver" that controlled substance. Marijuana is 
still, under the federal act, a controlled substance. Now that 
Washington and Colorado (and who knows how many other future happy 
lands) have staked their claim to living high on the hemp, the feds 
find themselves in the strange position of having to arrest people 
who are in compliance with state law but who are still prime targets 
for the DEA.

Only, according to indications from the Justice Department, the same 
agency that engaged in Fast and Furious, dropped the slam dunk 
prosecution against the Black Panthers in 2009 and refused to defend 
the Defense of Marriage Act (thereby giving big ideas to AG Kane,) 
it's not going to prosecute Washingtonians and Coloradoans who get 
more action baking than contestants at the Pillsbury Bake Off.

So I've spent the last few paragraphs making light of a serious and, 
frankly, tragic situation. As the old saying goes, I have to laugh to 
keep from crying. But now comes the time for - if not tears - a cold 
splash of reality.

What is happening in this country is the bitter harvest of what was 
sown in the hedonistic decades after World War II. We went from being 
a society where people worked hard and assumed responsibility for 
their actions to one that placed pleasure, self-fulfillment, privacy 
and the desire to escape at the top of the priorities list.

The Delaware County Daily Times has spent the last week documenting 
the sad story of David Massi, a young man who overdosed on heroin. 
It's a saga of addiction that hits painfully close to home, including 
my own. I've lost a loved one to addiction, and while the pot 
advocates would strenuously deny that their drug of choice had 
anything to do with the wreckage of lives, methinks they doth protest 
too much. Ask most addicts how they were introduced to the sharp, 
irresistible and usually fatal pull of hard substances and a large 
number was marijuana.

The pot activists can snicker, but the reality isn't funny. Years 
ago, I dated a man who'd spent the 1980s and part of the 1990s in a 
drug-fueled haze. He dropped out of college, abandoned his plans of 
becoming a doctor, wasted his prodigious mind on monotonous and 
repetitive low-skilled jobs and spent his free time with women who 
thought getting high together was a sign of affection. I met him long 
after he'd seen the light, the shrink and the writing on the wall. 
And while he made sure to steer clear of generalizations, my ex was 
convinced of one thing: If he hadn't starting smoking pot in his 
senior year of high school, his life might have included a lot less 
grief and an Ivy League degree.

This obviously doesn't mean that everyone who lights "up" is doomed 
to fall "down" the rabbit hole. In fact, there are a surprising 
number of dopers (because that's the only way I can think of them) 
who will never progress beyond that numbing, dumbing buzz that pushes 
whatever pleasure buttons they need pushed. They'll go on functioning 
at some mediocre level.

But there are enough others out there like my ex, and young people 
like David Massi who won't be able to smoke a joint and move on, just 
as there are too many who can't stop after that first drink. The 
difference with alcohol, though, is that it has a purpose beyond 
intoxication while the only reason to smoke a joint (unless you have 
a serious medical condition) is to enter that zone where the lines 
blur and clarity surrenders to blissful idiocy.

That's why the events out West are so troubling. They signal a trend 
of normalizing the abnormal, a desire to escape and to dull the 
senses, a pursuit of selfish preference over a responsibility to the 
greater community, particularly our children. Perhaps another David 
Massi could be saved if we kept treating pot as a drug and not a "right."

But hey, at least it's looking good for states' righters these days.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom