Here’s a shocker: I have smoked marijuana.

Here’s another shocker: I don’t smoke marijuana anymore—I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I rarely even take Tylenol, and I don’t even drink caffeinated coffee. I am as stone-cold sober of a stone-cold sober prude as you will ever, ever meet. But I don’t regret my Wacky Tobackey Era even the slightest bit, and although nowadays I personally find the idea of being stoned utterly terrifying—first I get paranoid, then I crave a bunch of junk food, and then me no think good no more? Nein, Danke—if I had to choose to be chained to either a stoned person, a drunk person, a legal-drug pharma’d out person, or a cigarette smoker for the rest of my life, I would choose the stoner hands down, a-duh. Why? It’s obvious. See…wait, I just had it. Gimme a second. {Ten minutes of silence.} What?

So, just because my own dalliances with the Wonder Herb are long in the past (though perhaps not forever—because of my 2012 eye injury, I’m going to get glaucoma at 40) doesn’t mean I begrudge anyone else the pleasure. The fact that my own relationship to pot, or lack thereof, does not determine my views on others’ use of it, or on its burgeoning legality in several states (most notably Colorado), is the primary way you can tell me apart from New York Times columnist David Brooks, since we look exactly alike, and our political views are otherwise identical. (For those of you reading this stoned, THAT WAS SARCASM. For those of you reading this very stoned, sarcasm is when you say something that is the opposite of what you mean, but it requires context to understand why you’re doing that. But what, really, is context, when you think about it? I mean, when you really think about it? Isn’t it, like the opposite of “text”? Con-text? Like against text? OH MY GOD best idea for a conference panel EVER, CON/TEXT: AGAINST TEXT AND THE TEXT OF CONTEXT. It’ll be a revolution. Gimme a second. {Two hours of silence; one pint of Coconut Bliss Mint Galactica; one packet of Traer Joe’s Inner Peas Crispy Pea Snacks.} What?).

Paul Krugman’s recent ill-timed day off meant that Brooks got to write a widely-mocked column, wherein he let loose on poor, oxygen-deprived Colorado for having the decency to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana. The first recreational dispensaries opened yesterday to enormous queues. This does not make David Brooks happy, because while he, David Brooks, and his rich white friends, had moderate amounts of “fun” as young people rocking up the hookie-dookies, nobody should be able to get the Kind Budz without going directly to jail and maybe forcing a bunch of people in another, poorer country to get murdered while we’re at it, because then everyone will be outright encouraged to partake in the Magic Green Dirt-Vines all day long, since legality will make it cheaper*, and when things are cheap and legal, literally everyone will want them.

davidbrooksweed

McDonald’s has a dollar menu—food (or rather “food”) that literally couldn’t be cheaper, and is pumped full of chemicals that make you addicted to it, and indeed, while we’re on the subject, is much, much, much worse for you than occasional marijuana use (and I’d even say chronic marijuana use if you vaporize). And yet, the price, legality and plenty of the Dollar Menu has never so much as tempted me to step foot inside a McDonald’s, an act in which I have not engaged since 1998, and even then it was under protest to buy my dipshit abusive boyfriend at the time his Evil Fuel. You could not make me eat a McDonald’s Dollar Menu item if the only other option were a cactus with its spikes still on. If you put a gun to my head and threatened to blow my brains out if I didn’t force down a Bacon McDouble, I’d honestly have to think about it for a second (and I would definitely puke up the Bacon McDouble). Because guess what? If people really don’t want something, making it cheap and easy isn’t going to make them want it.

But guess what? It turns out that people really want marijuana. And good for them.

Marijuana legislation doesn’t just happen—forgive me—at the grassroots level. It is, as far as I can tell, the only true grassroots movement to affect legislation in my lifetime. The only thing that comes close is civil rights legislation and the marriage equality movement—but even they have some help from the corporate sector, either from companies that want a do-goodey rep, or companies (such as wedding planners) that will benefit directly.

The marijahooba has, as far as I can tell, no corporate interests in its corner whatsoever. Since everything is on the state level, there is no agribusiness conglomerate that could benefit from local legalization, as manufacture and distribution would still be punishable as a federal felony. There are, however, innumerable rich lobbies that are very interested in keeping pot illegal: the private prison industry that thrives on incarcerating nonviolent offenders, a disgustingly unfair and disproportionate amount of whom are underserved minorities. Then there are the alcohol and regular-tobackey industries, who don’t want another (and better) intoxicant harshing their profit-mellow. And, of course, we’ve got Big Med and Big Pharma, pissed as ever that since you can’t patent THC, they can’t make billions on Weedbilafy. Add in the Moral Values crowd (to which David Brooks belongs, and whose major players usually have financial interests in one or more of the above), and you have a massive juggernaut of lobbying and advertising. And yet, people love weed so much that in Colorado and Washington (and other states, such as CA and OR, where medical marijuana is legal), the simple power of potheads managing to get out of bed before 4 p.m. to go and vote beat that juggernaut. Hookie-Dookie-hooray.

So, to recap, here’s what I’ve learned in the past few days:

  1. People fucking love weed.
  2. David Brooks loved weed once, but doesn’t anymore, and thus doesn’t want anyone else to get any either; also, he probably eats every meal from the McDonald’s Dollar Menu, since having something legally available, plentiful and cheap means you have to consume it.
  3. These weed legalization measures passed not only without the help of big corporate money, but despite the hindrance of massive corporate money for the opposition, because…
  4. See #1.

Now, I can’t help but wonder. Is there anything else that people love enough that their simple love for it could affect legal change for the better? I mean, educators such as myself can only wish that people loved school and learning as much as they love weed, so that legislation re-funding universities and de-standardized-testifying K-12 would also pass despite the massive opposition from corporate interests. And, similarly, supporters of civil and human rights can only wish that people could love equality as much as they love weed.

But, alas, none of these things will ever be as popular as weed, because they’re not weed. But, you guys, check it out. I totally figured it out. I have a solution. Are you ready? Oh my god, it’s such a good idea. I gotta write it down. I gotta write it down. {Two days of silence; multiple locations of Baja Fresh visited} What? Oh, right. Here goes: the solution is just to allow the pro-weed juggernaut to run its course and—here’s hoping—go national. Then, once weed is totally legal, we can fix the school system using the good old invisible hand of the market: that is, by offering the people who help us free weed.

(*according to my brother-in-law, who is very smart, the recreational shops in Colorado actually raised their prices midday, and hopefully also renamed some of their strains David Brooks.)

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60 thoughts on “You Put Your Weeeeeeeed In Here (and by “Here” I mean David Brooks’ Ass)

  1. I wish I could share your faith that corporations have and will continue to have no interest in pot. I suspect that in ten years’ time, some scary conglomerate called something non-threatening and focus-group tested, like “MJ’s”, will sprout up on every corner like Starbucks, or, well, weeds.

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  2. My thought on legal weed. I haven’t smoked the stuff in decades and would *never* participate in the illegal drug trade, even if I didn’t buy it myself, because it’s so harmful to communities. My own neighborhood had a high incidence of shots fired until a major bust of a minor gang, mostly for marijuana dealing, a year ago. Illegal guns were a big part of the bust. If legal drugs diminish the violence, I’m all for it. Cocaine is another matter; tremendous carnage in Latin America.

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    1. I am more concerned about the massively uneven incarceration rates for marijuana possession between whites and nonwhites. I would like that “easy” reason to put nonviolent minority offenders in jail taken off the table for good.

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  3. Dear Rebecca, you are a smashing writer. Thanks for that. Thanks, too, for calling out that pasty milquetoast. You managed the higher hanging fruit well, and made sure the low hanging fruit was understood to be more complex and deeply problematic than many liberals would be able to recognize; after their perfunctory scoff, that is. David Brooks- Nein, Danke.

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  4. It’s a few years old, but this Chicago Reader article remains an excellent account of racial disparities in pot arrests: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/chicago-marijuana-arrest-statistics/Content?oid=4198958. The scam works like this: Cops see a black dude. They want to throw the black dude in jail. Suddenly, magically, they “find” a “baggie” of “pot” in the backseat of the black dude’s car. Repeat the scam often enough, and pretty soon Rahm Emanuel is closing down a buttload of South Side schools. Because everybody’s in prison.

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    1. I would suspect rather than magically finding pot its just a higher incident of searching and targetting other races than white, not to say that planting shit doesnt happen, BUT If cops pulled over and questioned as many middle class white kids as impoverished black & hispanics there’d probably be a more even ratio.

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  5. I live in lovely CO, and I recently made a joke in California, to some wine nerds, about how in 10 years weed will be like microbrews and wine: bougie-ass ways to spend your money and pretend that your palette is all exceptional. It’s already like that! with the David Brooks strains. It’s just not bougie. But with all the taxes levied on it–the one point I’d quibble with is that taxation makes it more expensive than its former street cost and law enforcement are worried about taxation’s role in maintaining an illegal market–it’s well on its way to being yet another mark of a vanishing middle/leisure class.

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    1. Of course, I am one of those bougie-ass wine and microbrew nerds, whose strong opinions about both far exceed my budget for them. Still not into weed, though.

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      1. Due to the amazing variety of marijuana strains with differing tastes and effects, the cannabis industry is a wonderful analog for wineries/microbrews. I already know quite a few cannabis snobs in California. Personally, on my blog, I am one of those “cannabis critics” O’Reilly mocked on his show a few weeks ago.

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  6. I should also say that I’m thrilled that, in CO at least, we can cut down on disproportionate incarceration of nonviolent offenders. And that we can be a role model for other states (coughcoughcalifornia) to do the same.

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  7. Great piece, completely agree. Astonishing when you see it down on paper how the world works.. crazy! Will be interesting to see how this has progressed in 10 years time…

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  8. Don’t forget that because hemp is illegal, we also have all kinds of problems with growing low-THC hemp, which is an AWESOME and hardy plant for making paper, ropes, clothes, oil, etc. Anything that allows us to reduce the need for wood-chipping our forests, and lets us make jeans from hemp fiber again that last so long you can hand them down to the next generation has got to be a good thing in this ecologically stressed world, right?

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  9. Very thought provoking and funny. Thanks. I’m glad you explained what sarcasm was because I was very stoned when reading this. It is truly amazing that a bunch of potheads were able to make this happen, especially when you consider there are even more corporate entities against legalization than you mentioned, when you consider all the other, non-pharmacological uses of this plant, such as fiber, textiles, and hemp oil. Cotton, lumber, and petrochemical industries may also have a problem with its legalization. Pierre Dupont and others made a lot of money replacing the natural components of hemp with their patented, synthetic replacements. You can read about how a bunch of rich industrialists turned hemp into a dangerous narcotic HERE. It’s bigger than just a bunch of stoners wanting to get high and kicking the ridiculous “War on Drugs” (aka war on nonviolent minority potheads) to the curb, although those are both great things. Wait, what were we talking about again?

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  10. So, so stoned. Con-text. Fuck me! You just sent me into space. And, here, “…very interested in keeping pot illegal: the private prison industry that thrives on incarcerating nonviolent offenders, a disgustingly unfair and disproportionate amount of whom are underserved minorities.” LOL-ERS! I just watched Moore’s, ‘Capitalism: A Love Story,’ yesterday. A kid got thrown into the slammer for throwing a piece of cow, cooked cow, otherwise known as beef, at his stepdad. Geesus! Also, bumped into a police woman person (a few years ago), in Australia, who was telling me that she quit the force because it’s corrupt: apparently the rumours are true and they actually do have incarceration… KPI’s, I suppose. They need to incarcerate x number of people in x amount of time. The stoners, perfect, harmless, hippie dippie victims. Sorry for long comment. Stoned, remember – makes me ever so reckless; surfaces my long repressed recalcitrance… fighting against comment etiquette since 2012). Also, you write good; well, even. Made me wanna say hi for longer for some reason. Cheerio.

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  11. I love the concept of your article… and the on-the-surface support of “stoners” … but as someone who does smoke marijuana recreationally and regularly, is a good mother and full time employee at XYZ company… I’m a bit offended at your stereotypes and generalizations. “Pot heads” as it were, are not all dread lock rocking, hippy dressing, roll out of bed at 4pm “stoners”. THANKYOUVERYMUCH. Otherwise, bravo for so articulately laying out your thoughts on the subject, very funny to read.

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  12. People indeed love the magic grass but while reading your post many thoughts came to my mind and then I realized that it would be better that marijuana legalization on large scale could indeed effect the agro-business.
    It will be a pure horror if people started cultivating weed instead of growing rice or barley, if you know what I mean.
    Little bit of something is always good but excess of it makes it only worse.

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  13. I have nothing against those that choose to use drugs in a recreational manner (tried & I didn’t like it), but I do have concerns about legalisation and what not. I mean, sure, you could still get your hands on it but it came at quite a risk. Now that it is readily available, I can’t help but fear it will become much more easy to access weed if you are a minor, like alcohol and ciggies.

    Either way, nice post and grats on FP.

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  14. I really enjoyed the read. It’s a simplistic truth, something naturally occurring must be bad for you and should then be illegal, but while things that are indeed bad for you must be shoved down your throat in massive quantities. Then we wonder why we are in the state we are in; the answer is because no one was getting high

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  15. weed will be used for good things it will be legal at some point. It will be used for apparel, for building, medicines which is already being used, for much more lets think possitively.

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  16. At least you have a choice…what about the millions who are being forced to take drugs by the Mental Health Workers, those who are forced to go to a psychiatrist because someone didn’t like how they were different. I always felt our differences were what makes life interesting.

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