Dear Thomas M. Harrigan,
I am a parent. I have been a parent now for not quite eight years. I know that makes me a rookie to this whole parenthood game in some respects, but I sort of feel like caring for and nurturing a child — two children actually — for this long without winding up in jail, or with the kids on the street or worse that I’m just as qualified as anyone to speak to what is potentially good and what is potential harmful to a child. Your comments recently to the House Oversight Committee that “every single parent” opposes marijuana legalization would be laughable if it wasn’t yet another blatant attempt by the people whose power is derived from prohibition to maintain the status quo, and to preserve that power.
I don’t oppose marijuana legalization, Mr. Harrigan. I advocate the living hell out of it. I cannot speak for single, solitary other parent I know but I do believe that if I polled them the majority would support legalization provided common sense safety measures are taken to regulate its sale and trafficking. Keep pot out of the hands of minors — or at least make the same effort you do with cigarettes and booze — and you will have drastically reduced the impact of one of the worst domestic policies this country has ever implemented, and as the great people of Colorado are proving, you’ll also magically create billions of dollars of revenue throughout the states, seemingly out of thin, if not smoky air.
Let me explain to you exactly why I am to be counted among the 55% or more of Americans who now fully support the complete legalization of marijuana. I’ll explain it in three easy to understand points. I think even power-hungry bureaucrats like you could understand them.
I Have a Calendar that says “2014” On It
Your testimony before Congress is more befitting a DEA agent from the Reagan 80’s, Tommy. The “science” you say you’re basing your opinions on is old. Even with the absolutely bonkers restrictions the government puts on marijuana research, enough of it has still been done that we know so many of the old, stale talking points are just pure bunk. Gateway drug? Please, that canard has been cliché since The Beatles played Sullivan. If pot were a gateway drug I’d be dead in the streets with a hypodermic needle in my arm because of all the pot I smoked in my youth.
Pot research has shown us that it’s literally impossible to “overdose” on marijuana because it doesn’t interact with the parts of your brain that cause overdose, and more importantly the toxicity threshold for pot is so high you’d have to eat an entire field worth of it in one sitting — if not more — in order to poison your body to the point of death. As Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) chastised you, you clearly “haven’t kept up with society, you haven’t kept up with science, it’s part of the problem.” You shouldn’t feel too badly about it; I think a lot of conservative people wind-up that way because they progress to a certain point and then just stop. You clearly stopped paying attention to what the real deal with weed is a long, long time ago.
I didn’t though. I’ve watched documentaries and read countless studies and none of them set off the kind of alarm bells that meth, heroin, crack or cocaine do. Staying up on drug science is an essential part of someone in your position, sir. If you can’t take the time to read-up on the new research into drugs, you should not be in the DRUG Enforcement Agency.
I Don’t Think My Kid or Any Kid Should Spend Time in Jail for Having Some Weed
We have hit a tipping point, Mr. Harrigan. In 2011, there were over 600,000 arrests in this country for simple marijuana possession. To put that into perspective, if you took all the arrests for violent crimes, added them all up together and stacked up against the pot arrests you’d come up short. If you’re young, black and male in this country you’d be better off not even taking a job landscaping because apparently if a cop were to catch you with a weed in your hands, you’d be spending a long, long time in the pokey, but we will get to that.
The simple truth is that a large, large number of us have smoked pot, or even do still regularly. Pot isn’t even part of the counterculture anymore; it’s been wholly mainstreamed. Ask any pot smoker to name some famous fellow tokers and you’re likely to hear Carl Sagan and Barack Obama mentioned just as much as you’d hear Jerry Garcia or Bob Marley’s name. Well, okay maybe not Marley’s name, but still, you get my point.
So because we’ve all at least dabbled in pot, we know that the biggest, scariest, meanest boogey man you’ve created about marijuana just isn’t a reality. Therefore none of us one of our kids should spend any time in jail for having some pot on them. That’s just ludicrous in 2014 to treat a plant that is responsible for zero deaths in the sum total of human existence on this planet like it’s a harbinger of instant death and destruction. We incarcerate far too many people in this country, and non-violent drug offenders are among the most desperately in need of sentencing reform as well as swift decriminalization and legalization of marijuana.
I’m Not a Racist A-Hole
There is no way on God’s Green Earth that the black community on average smokes pot four times as much as white folks do. Yet, in 2010 four times as many African-Americans as white people were put behind bars for pot possession. That is the very definition of injustice, sir. It is the epitome of inequality for one race to be the victim of a societal witch hunt, especially when that witch hunt is predicated on false and outdated data and social paradigms. It is just appalling, and frankly a pock mark on our society that we have in many cases traded slave quarters for prison cells.
Every time I hear a politician or pundit — always white — saying that if the black community just focused on keeping their families together their problems would all vanish, I want to print out every news story about the incarceration rates of black people for drug offenses and tell those idiots to stuff it. It’s hard to keep Daddy around when you’re shipping off to the clink for smoking the same pot a Wall Street trader smokes after a long day of stepping over the American economy to make a few bucks.
It’s time for reform. It’s time to legalize pot and send these men and women back home to their families where they belong. Violent drug kingpins are one thing, but good and honest Americans who just so happened to choose pot and not booze for their vice are something entirely different.
It’s Time for You to Go, and Take Your Friends with You
Mr. Harrigan, your performance on the Hill this week was an embarrassment to modern Americans everywhere. It’s clear from your testimony that you have every intention of bitterly clinging to old and antiquated research and ideology, and you have therefore surpassed your usefulness in your current capacity. I daresay you’re not the only one in your organization, but you’re the one you popped your head out this time; we’ll get to the others as well. Maybe you could do us a favor and just round them up on your way. If you can’t be bothered to do that, just do the first and go.
You are the problem, Mr. Harrigan. Not pot. Not society. Not overly permissive parenting. You. Your blind allegiance to reality-deprived rhetoric is also simultaneously blinding you to the simple fact that you are an ever-shrinking minority of people who doesn’t see the abject damage done by the War on Drugs and wants to stop it. You are the one who is stopping society from progressing. You are the one helping to keep the black market thriving and the cartels swelled with power.
It’s time for you to go, Thomas Harrigan; way passed time. Better get that CV out and start freshening it up.