So where do we really stand? Yes, that is a rhetoric question. A question that nonetheless still deserves its due consideration. Especially if we consider cannabis as being the subject matter at hand and (as a matter of urgency) what exactly we can still consider as “fact” surrounding it. I’m sure many of us would admit that a lot of stigma still dogs the issues around cannabis consumption in the modern world. Many more would agree that it is the single most successful illegal drug out there, not prone to the whims and fancies of the Stock Market successes in the 80s like cocaine. Nor even the decimation of the LSD labs in the late 90s. No sir, cannabis survives and even thrives in all times, it’s a permanent growth industry, and make no mistake, South African production is proportionally staggering when considered against the competing surface-areas of some of the world’s more well-known cultivators. So I ask again (with no small amount of mirth in my voice) where do we really stand on this subject?
Firstly, I would like to quote Chuck Palahnuik’s quote from his novel Diary. “What people don’t understand, they can make mean anything”. That sentence actually describes a lot of what is evident today out there on the internet with regards to the pros and cons for legalising weed. If you’re a pro, then there are enough Youtube clips and documentaries to keep you busy for years, convincing you that it cures everything from emphysema to syphilis. Similarly, if you’re against, there are years and years of accumulated negative articles published in the most respected volumes of knowledge about every subject you can think of, let alone measly plant called cannabis sativa. Either way, both camps are properly (or rather maybe evenly) substantiated. Although lately there are many more pro-related articles on the net, but that could simply be a counter-propaganda tactic in the vein of “let’s drown them in noise then”! So, we really cannot use any of these as trusted resources any more, as almost all of them have been diluted and tainted by special interest groups with their own personal agendas.
What is disturbing then is the fact that due to everyone having the same podiums, the same megaphones, all these “opinions” quickly become null and void to the general punter. We have a real problem when absolute uncertainty reigns on something that has become one of the most contentious debates of recent history. If you’re for it, by God are for it. Yet if you’re against it, damn the man who mentions it in front of your kids! It becomes rather silly rather quickly. But what real choice do we have? We are after all, intelligent and smart and well-read and adequately versed in the art of debate to say the least, and as such should probably have a bloody opinion on the subject. Wait, I digress…
The thing is, we can pretend and continue to try to justify our opinions with facts and figures, tables and intake records, sourced from the darkest reaches of the winter web. We can keep using the same rehashed arguments and bullet points. Or, we can accept this as being a cultural issue. We can admit that the initial use, consumption, and even reverence that gave the plant its mythical reputation and value in the 16th century, was primarily due to the cultural estimation of the tribes that used it on a daily basis (as abhorrent as that may have seemed to Western cultures). We should also then be able to admit that the prohibition and eventual criminalisation of its use was because of colonialist rule during the early to late 18th century. In an ideal world, we’d be able to draw an exact delineation between the 2 extremes and come to a balanced and acceptable solution. A cultural solution that would actually take modern science into account whilst regaining the long lost benefits of cultural integration and feelings of inclusion that was considered as dangerous by the old xenophobic rulers of the recent past.
A cultural solution, well that would imply we regain the roots (so to speak) of the culture about cannabis, as ancient as they may be. If anything, we can appreciate the fallacies of the past as well as the exaggerated legends. However, taking only the present into account, I personally verify that the easiest way to integrate a society is by toking up together. I have seen it with my own eyes, I have lived it. Not even only across racial divides, but jocks and nerds, gays and straights, cats and freaking dogs if they could. So why are we still preventing this? Why are we still allowing this vestige of racial colonialism to govern our current climate of society and nation establishment, let alone building… They don’t call it the peace pipe for nothing.
A serious approach is what’s required. And regardless of the stereotypical stoner caricature you may have, I am entirely capable of being serious, baked or not.
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