“Pot is Back!” proclaims the July cover article in Philadelphia Magazine that delves into residents’ of the Main Line (aka rich suburbia) secret use of marijuana to relax after the trials and tribulations of daily life. The show Weeds also highlights the life of a suburban widow, who lacking any real job skills took over her late husband’s place as a drug dealer in order to make ends meet. What is interesting about this article and show is that they show an acceptance of the drug not seen since before it was made illegal (that’s right it hasn’t always been).
What is the cause of this turn in attitude towards a drug believed to lead to laziness, inactivity and a gateway to harsher drugs such as cocaine and heroin? Is it just a matter of the “right” people supporting it?
As mentioned before this plant was not always illegal and served a number of purposes such as clothing, food, incense, rope and many more. There was actually a law in the 1600s and 1700s that ordered farmers to grow the plant. It wasn’t until the 1900s that the fight against marijuana began as it was associated with Mexicans, and Latin American and African American jazz musicians. As this fight coincided with the enactment of prohibition laws, many people were not aware of the passing of laws against marijuana.
Since then, marijuana has been a target in the government’s “war on drugs,” but interestingly only Mexico is in the news for production, while Canada is the second largest provider for the US market. Despite laws enforced with medical marijuana, there will always be a way around them for people who want to find them.
But what will this mean exactly for all communities? Will it take away the need for drug dealers? We are led to believe that dealers flourish most in impoverished or poor neighborhoods and that these neighborhoods mostly house minorities. The above-mentioned article shows that it is not only people in poor neighborhoods who seek to make a living from or just enjoy marijuana. Why then are only those who cannot afford bail made to pay for trying to make a living?
Making medical marijuana legal will not combat problems that come with drug dealing in these neighborhoods. Even if a person were able to get their doctor to prescribe an ID card, depending on the state fees range up to $150.
It is hard to foresee what effects the legalization of marijuana will have on society, but I do believe that one less aspect of the “war on drugs” will lessen the distraction from more important issues that are going on in the world.