California -- So one guy is dead and another is in a hospital with bullet holes after a reported weekend shoot-out near North San Juan over some pot. You know ... the green, leafy substance one out of every 10 doctors says will ease your pain faster than a pill-popping Rush Limbaugh could shout, ďLiberal Potheads!Ē
Enough of the reefer madness already. I know a friend-of-a-friendís-friend who smoked pot once or a thousand times, and he never once put a cat in a microwave or shot heroin into his big toe.
In fact, the only way youíd ever know he enjoys his pot is if you looked in his pantry and saw the 1,000 packs of Oreos and 500 jars of Costco jumbo peanut butter.
My pot-smoking (sometimes he eats it with milk and cookies) friend-of-a-friendís-friend doesnít look like someone the FBI would bother pursuing.
Not with Osama bin Laden still on the loose and federal agents still wondering what happened to the guy who jumped out of a jet plane with millions of dollars and a parachute. The pothead I know is semi-retired, has snow-white hair and goes to bed by 9 p.m., mostly, I suspect, because he eats too much pot and gets tired.
Just so you know, there is a BIG difference between pot and ... say ... crank. All you need do is compare the user profiles.
A typical pothead is generally:
2. Not an early riser.
3. Casual dresser (buttons can be problematic).
4. Romantic (hence the late mornings).
5. Weight-challenged (there is no Oreo/peanutbutter diet).
A typical crankhead, by comparison, is generally:
1. Hyper (they can vacuum an entire block in one hour).
2. An early riser (mostly because they never sleep in the first place).
3. Romantic (at least until their teeth fall out).
4. Casual dresser (they eventually sell their wardrobe to pay for the crank).
5. Weight-challenged (they sell all of their Oreos and Peanutbutter to the potheads and get very skinny).
And before any of you start suggesting that a pothead eventually becomes a crankhead, stop. Itís not true. Lots of potheads have never tried crank and lots of crankheads have never tried pot. The government wants us to believe that because it allows them to continue to trade pot for oil. Thatís right, Americans.
My friendís-friendís-friend says he heard about the government plot from a guy he buys Oreos from at WalMart. He says that all that pot the DEA guys take from the farms around North San Juan goes straight to Washington, D.C., where they grind it up into a boatload of brownies and ship it to Saudi in exchange for a few barrels of oil. As you know, itís hard to grow pot in the desert, even with all the heat, and those sheiks like to kick back on those giant floor pillows listening to Michael Jacksonís greatest hits.
How else can you possibly explain why the federal government keeps putting heat on the potheads and their crops that could, if taxed properly, fund parks, roads, schools and a gigantic crankhead rehab center? Thatís right, Americans, potheads helping crankheads, in cooperation with the FBI and Internal Revenue Service.
And if we can finally decriminalize pot we wonít need to keep building prisons to house potheads and their suppliers. Last time I checked, they were stacking inmates six high at San Quentin and paying the guards $100,000 per year, with medical benefits and an unlimited supply of rubber gloves.
According to one estimate, the state spends $160 million per year to arrest, prosecute and imprison marijuana offenders. Our prisons house around 173,000 people today, and seven of every 10 of them we release eventually wind up behind bars again. Yet the state is about to spend another $7 billion or so to build new prisons and add new beds. This at a time when our schools could use some money and our medical-care costs are out of reach for many families. Whatís wrong with this picture?
They also estimate that taxes from pot sales could generate as much as $3 billion per year.
ďYes ... but wonít that lead to more pot use?Ē you ask once again. I donít think so. Why would every single Californian start smoking pot when they have pain pills, booze and Viagra? Besides, half the fun is breaking the law.
One thing Iím fairly certain of is this: If pot were legal today, one guy would probably still be alive and another would probably not be in a hospital with bullet holes in his skin.
Jeff Ackerman is the publisher of The Union. His column appears on Tuesdays.
Union, The (Grass Valley, CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Union