Ten Reasons to Get High About Marijuana in 2009

By Norman Kent, Esq. , NORML Board Member

Okay, it is only February 1st, and more people this year have already died from peanut butter than pot.
Seriously, when you think about what has crossed the pages of our nation’s conscience in the past month, you have to wonder why we are all not getting high.
With thanks to Michael Phelps, I have ten good reasons to believe drug law reform will ‘take’ this year. Here is why.
Number One: The President
First of all, we elected a President who has admitted inhaling, and whose half brother just got arrested in Kenya for possession of marijuana. Growing up in urban Chicago, and having come from Hawaii, home of ‘Maui Waui,’ we have a man in the oval office that has an herbal background.
I am therefore not intimidated that, on his third day in office, while he was working on a nationwide economic stimulus package, some renegade prosecutors raided a medical dispensary in California. Those ugly efforts will cease soon enough. I am encouraged by President Obama’s prior public statements that such raids are counterproductive and provide illusory answers to real problems.
Number Two: The Medicine
Just as I was exploring the placement of my mom into an assisted living facility for early stage Alzheimer’s patients, I see a study released by Ohio State University this month. The research is indicating that marijuana has some potential capacity to reduce brain inflammation, which plays a role in Alzheimer’s. Mom, those brownies might taste differently next week.
While evidence showing the benefits of marijuana in multiple sclerosis cases has been advancing significantly, work in Alzheimer’s disease is still in its infancy. Still, another recent study performed at the Scripps Research Institute in California found that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, inhibits the formation of a brain plaque that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
Number Three: The Politics
If you light up a joint while walking down High Street in Medford, Massachusetts, not much is likely to happen to you. As of Jan. 2, Massachusetts became one of 12 states that have decriminalized marijuana possession to some extent. The new civil penalties for possession of less than 1 ounce include a $100 fine and forfeiture of one’s stash for those over 18 years of age. Minors will receive the same fine and be required to attend drug education classes.
In city after city, and state after state, once silent minorities are becoming vocal majorities and voting to enact legislation freeing marijuana from unjust law enforcement. When given the chance, we are winning the war against prohibition. Legislators in Michigan, Connecticut and even Florida are starting to re-introduce bills to lower penalties for pot. The whirlwind is commencing; just ask anyone in a dorm room within a wave of the White House after the inauguration.
Number Four: The Media
Marijuana has gone mainstream. Media outlets are no longer hiding in the shadows afraid to produce honest reports about the culture of marijuana. We are less likely to see commercials of pot smokers having their brains grilled in a frying pan. We are more likely to view legitimate programming which produces truths rather than trash about your stash.
One such report was featured on NBC news last week, a snippet of an hour long production on MSNBC entitled ‘Marijuana, Inc.’ Focusing more on economics then the sociology of pot, the well-supported report inescapably concluded that marijuana commerce is here to stay and unlikely to change. As even the NY Daily News said, “When it comes to marijuana, a whole lot of people voted some time ago to just say yes.” Ask the cast of the award winning Showtime series, ‘Weeds,’ which captures a growing American spirit.
Number Five: The Public
Even the Department of Health has said that 95 million Americans have over the age of 21 have tried marijuana at least once. Everyone except Bill Clinton has inhaled. The anti drug warriors have a hard time explaining to the average adult in the 21st century that millions of Americans are wrong when they light up every day.
It is normal to smoke pot. The vast amount of marijuana users today are parents choosing to calm down instead of liquor up, not just kids, looking to get high after class. Of course, they are too, adults treating arthritis, patients using it for multiple sclerosis, or people with HIV fighting a wasting syndrome. Pot smokers cross ethnic, sociological, and economic boundaries.
Number Six: The Celebrities
There is a lot of reason to hate the celebrity culture, paparazzi, and people who get their daily pulp from finding out where Brittany Spears went shopping. As more media types get busted with pot, the less newsworthy it becomes. The public could care less. An arrest for pot is not a career-ending event. As I finish this piece and send it off for distribution, I am watching Snoop Doggy Dogg being interviewed on ESPN for the NFL Countdown to the Super Bowl. It does not seem to have hurt him. And guess what Michael Phelps got caught doing this weekend? Toking off a bong!
Macauley Culkin, Bud Bundy, Willie Nelson, Art Garfunkel, and Al Gore’s son also make the High Subscription List. So do Allen Iverson, Matthew McConaughey, Whitney Houston, Oliver Stone, and even Queen Latifah. All have posted bail for pot. They are not doing too badly for themselves. Go visit Celebstoner for more prime examples of the intersection of celebrity and cannabis.
Number Seven: The Growers
In speaking out against rescheduling marijuana so as to remove it from its classification as dangerous, the most significant point that the Office of Drug Control Policy makes is that today’s weed ‘is not your grandfather’s pot.’
Exactly! It is not, but they miss the mark when they say today’s pot is ‘stronger.’
Today’s pot is also cleaner, safer, and healthier to consume. From vaporizers to hydroponic labs, the marijuana grown and consumed today is more precisely cultivated, carefully processed, and lovingly manicured then the mold-encased, dried-out weed we grew up on decades ago. That pot was often delivered to Americans from overseas after being buried in the dark, musky cargo hulls of ships for weeks at a time.
Now that Americans grow our own marijuana at home, we do not hear stories on a daily basis about people smoking rat poison or buying oregano. We have returned to the roots of our forefathers, lest we forget that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison all grew hemp. They did not turn out too bad, either. Today’s pot growers are the new revolutionary farmers.

Number Eight: The Police and Jails

Sadly, the criminal justice system in America is teeming with serious crimes and violence against Americans. A Department of Homeland Security must necessarily focus on threats from abroad. From drive-by shootings to corporate white collar crime, the jails in our country are simply not capable of housing all those who should arguably be locked up. So law enforcement has to prioritize. Building jails and keeping people in prisons costs more money than communities can afford. Pot smokers are the residual beneficiaries.
The necessities of twenty first century law enforcement have reduced pot to secondary priorities. More and more cities are encouraging cops to treat simple pot possession as a civil traffic infraction and just write a ticket. As those progressive initiatives take hold, pot prosecutions will diminish and pot users will be treated more fairly.
Number Nine: The Non Profits
The wealth of non profit organizations advocating drug law reform is growing exponentially. We are not just NORML anymore. Benefactors like Peter Lewis and George Soros have underwritten drug reform movements the way Hugh Hefner once helped NORML. The Marijuana Policy Project, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, the Drug Policy Alliance, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition are just a small sampling of honorable groups fighting to change the public perception in the way drug consumers are viewed and treated. If you enhance their efforts today, there is less of a chance that you will be bonding yourself or your child out of jail tomorrow.
Number Ten: The Internet
There is no better way to end this column then to point towards the awesome power of networking to generate partnerships for the common good. Overnight, hundreds of thousands of reformers can be linked for a specific goal, a targeted protest, or unified voice to speak out for or against a new law or proposed regulation.
The NORML blog and podcast draws hundreds of thousands of Americans daily who would otherwise never be reached but for the arm of the ‘Net. Stopthedrugwar.org, Marijuananews.com, and cannabisnews.com are amongst the target specific Internet resources drug law reformers can access instantly. There are too many more to mention.
Finally, the Internet has spawned awesome networking groups such as Facebook and MySpace, where activists, organizers, and reformers can synthesize their partnerships and causes. And there is always something new unfolding, like Twitter, which I have not figured out, but I know is catching on.
It’s Up to Us!
For too many years, pot smokers have been political prisoners, captive to repressive government and a rolling tide. 2009 represents a renewed opportunity to make the waters of justice run our way again.
*This was originally published at KentVent.com

0 thoughts

  1. Yes!
    Now can we get together and MAKE IT HAPPEN?
    A weekly mass mail to congress, the president and the senate would be a good start.
    Do you think we could get the “Big 3” together to gather the weekly talking points?
    We can link the weekly’s like ASA did last week and everyone can send the emails.
    Only by acting as one will we make things happen.

  2. Thank you for the encouraging post. I believe that much has changed already in our country and more change will come. We just need to be patient.
    Two side notes: I believe MA calls for a $1000 fine for minors that are caught with less than an ounce, unless the judge sees fit to reduce the fine. Another side note is that while Obama may be for federal decriminalization, it would be awhile until we saw total legalization… sometimes tradition (even stupid tradition) takes a long time to undo.
    Again, good post. 🙂

  3. so when is it going to become legal,I have read that it helps people who have problems sleeping and that sure is me

  4. FINALLY. the year that i see everyone looking upon my sweet cheeba with the respect it deserves. God Bless America :’]

  5. wait, in the last few months has Obama actually said anything about decriminalization of marijuana? or anything about marijuana at all for that matter?

  6. Thanks for the article.
    After the nomination of Judd Gregg for Commerce Secretary, I was ready to throw in the towel and move to Holland.
    But, for now, I will continue to be patient, sharing my views with my elected representatives, writing my blogs and telling Democratic fundraisers I won’t give them another cent until they support legalization.

  7. i second what Jeremy says i really do hope you’re right! but i also think what Glen said is needed to highten the awarness of our cause more frequently if 2009 is really going to be the year.

  8. How will the police state control the populace if they can no longer use marijuana as an excuse to break down the door, and trash your house? How can the police stop cars at random, especially when they like the car and want to seize it for “department” use, if they can’t use “I smelled pot.” as a legal argument?
    Much as I’d like to think things must change, I am wary of the police state giving up any power. Only when it becomes too expensive or dangerous will the cops stop badgering the law makers, and only when the law makers feel they will no longer get re-elected, will the laws change. They understand nothing else….

  9. i believe the % of legalizing weed will rise up!
    i thank to all my brother’s and sister’s who still
    smoke for peace. A big thanks NORMAN KENT, tnx for pblishing this men!!!! more power to you!!!

  10. One can only hope… honestly though I doubt Obama does anything regarding marijuana in his first term. His second term, now thats a different story.

  11. The media is really becoming far more supportive of real ideas instead of fear tactics. The internet is fueling real discussion. In a time when the economy is in shambles it is only going to make more sense to let people do what they want.

  12. I love Norm Kent, in a platonic, hippy, non-homosexual, manly way…
    There is no doubt within that whole publication, little personal belief other than foresight, and it was well written.
    This publication has inspired me to continue with my dream of teaching. (Teaching how to grow safely, being aware of laws, aware of rights, and aware of facts.)
    With or without legalization, it will, it is, and will continue to happen. Might as well make sure no-one accidentally kills someone in the process, or contributes towards the delinquency, and has a non-criminal objective in mind. This needs more positive light, and less criminal and negative aggravated responses to show that the cause is just, and civilized.
    Thank-you NORML.org and “Norm Kent”,

  13. ‘Go Gators’, if Obama doesn’t do anything his FIRST term, I will not vote to re-elect him for a second term.
    Simple as that.

  14. I’m going to have to agree 100% with this article, I have been smoking pot for years, and have no intention of stopping, unfortunatley they make it more and more difficult to enjoy the benefits, nobody needs to go to jail for such a wonderfull thing, save it for the baby rapers. Thanks

  15. Hi Cris,
    Nice job on your video. It is a cool feature that your state allows you to go on TV and present your (our) cause. Not many states do that. Perhaps they should.
    Keep up the fight!

  16. Heck yeah. If this is the year then like most of you said it just needs that first push into motion. Im trying to raise awareness as we speak to all my previous school friends and through my website. Great article keep fighting the good fight.

  17. We need to gather as the masses. Maybe time for another Woodstock? Even just a march. What about the weekend of before 4/20, we all get monday off for presidents day. We must be heard!!!
    !!!ReeForm!!! Support the Cure!!

  18. Thats a great picture of willie. I met him once and all i could say to him was, “Good show mr. nelson” rofl. His bus smelled like it has been smoked out in many many times. Im so happy that we have peple like willie that isn’t afraid of being known as a smoker and supporting norml.

  19. yeah cause ideology has gotten us so far already. I see no one factoring in some other current issues that are effected by lagalization so here goes.
    0.Until we actually make a true a stand as one group not a buch of tiny protests they won’t care about all that(hell prohibition on alcohol ended to cut down on drunk driving and public intoxication).
    1.Pro-pot organizations have more money now, and so do those who oppose it. Also doesn’t legalization work against groups like NORML, I mean most non-proffits won’t even make thier books public and we should trust where the money goes? Find someone with a 401k and ask how well that’s worked for them.
    2.We have no jobs for most of the “free people” in this country let alone all those that would thus deserve to be released and should be, but it won’t happen.
    3. “Medical Marijuana” is bs becuase the ills that it can actually heal make to much money elsewhere between anti-psychotics/anti-depresents and the saddists who prescribe them. Sorry to you people in such “pain”, but DCA and ketamine{need a couple more things for AIDS but that’s pretty much it} could actually heal your pain instead of masking it, but after all gotta distract you with an emotional issue like stem cell research.
    4. Obama and Bush have both smoked pot and done coccaine and judging by both of thier positions on drug control neither can grasp the difference(scary when you get down to brass tax). And Obama didn’t even say he would decriminalize it, what he said was little better than a we’ll see. exact quote “I think we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws”. That’s called pandering to the audience take speech and debate or watch “Thank You For Smoking”, the “I think” at the start of that sentence gave him an exit strategy since he can turn around and say “some study” changed his mind.
    5. No mention of the suggestion for a licenseing and education system for use and cultivation *cough*check your messages NORML. Let’s really prove something and hold ourselves to a higher standard of personal responsibility than alcohol users. After all someone well educated on something will always be safer than ignorance.
    But since I won’t be “allowed” by the government to toke up either way I’m not holding my breath*aside from ghoting the hit of course*. After all I’m one of those “mentally deranged individuals”(I can’t call him the N* word, but he can call my people that? btw it’s only by the racist one-drop rule that he’s the first black president seeing as he’s really bi-racial) who weren’t even included in the fair wage bill he just signed. I’ve been payed a lower wage(and I had more experience than the ones who were paid more than me) and been fired twice for a “psychological disorder” all in the past 5 yrs so don’t say discrimination outside of race, gender(third gender weren’t included either), religion, or sexual oreinatation doesn’t happen, becuase the homeless are really commited to the lie like those damn war vets(little nod to Family Guy there).

  20. jury nulification people !! register to vote take jury duty demand jury trials for ALL cannabis charges if we cant get the govt to change the law we will nulify or hang every jury we can .. and demanding jury trials will bankrupt so many small towns/counties they will be begging for the end of prohibition .. boycott all cannabis non friendly products and companys finally smoke american weed keep our $ in the stoner med.can. community

  21. kinda funny how they can turn you down for an organ transplant for smoking weed, but you can become the president and win 14 metals at the olympics?

  22. 1. Way to go Chris Ericson, we need one of you for every House and Senate race in this country. Well Done.
    2. Stop waisting so much time and energy on Obama.
    3. Again, we can all think of hundreds of reasons prohibition is an atrocity and marijuana should be legal. If ANY of them carried any weight with Congress marijuana would have been legal by 1970. If you want to write your congressman, don’t show him the light, kick him in the nuts. Don’t beg him to let dying people enjoy their last days on this earth, tell him to enjoy his last days in office, cause there’s no way your voting for him and you’ve pledged to talk 2 friends into not voting for him ( or her ) as well.

  23. I am a Nigerian and I love to smoke pot a lot sometimes me and my friends got busted and I was the only one that was caught cos i fell and I had to do time for just one night tho. Its absolutely NORML to smoke pot. I never knew of NORML until I saw a picture about it somewhere and then I saw the URL. I support the ideas all the way its NORML to get high once in a while. I write computer programs all day and I have noticed I code better while im high you can contact me on my email

  24. It’s always amusing that people seem to believe that Democrats are more likely to legalize marijuana. Especially when one considers the president at the time it was made illegal. I find it amusing, because there is only one party in this country: The Money Party. At least, New Hampshire, Montana, Washington, Arizona, and Michigan have drawn up resolutions centered around the 10th Amendment. Sort of strange, having the north in a position of seceding from the Union. These are exciting times indeed. Both parties have ignored all of the citizen voices, perhaps we should just ignore all of the federal government noise as well. After all, who the hell are they to tell us to pay our taxes, to not commit treason, to do all those things they are not doing. And yet, I still believe our revolution may be peaceful. Nice.

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