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'Mother of God, I'm stoned' I slur before reaching for the skins and proceeding to roll another fat spliff 'Good shit this'.
'Aye' is the lazy reply from my friend, the Monkey, who is sat across the room with his colouring book, filling its pages with felt-tip images of wacky people against a back drop of what appears to be the lake district.
A Fawlty Towers episode is playing on the television. Despite having witnessed Basil's goose stepping a thousand times before, I howl with laughter and light up the newly assembled joint before throwing it over to the artist in the corner of the room.
Somewhere in the distance, maybe even the otherside of town, I hear the sound of a door opening and closing. A moment later my girlfriend ambles into the apartment, obviously knackered and irate after a hard day in the corporate rat race. She slumps down in an armchair and the monkey passes her the joint. She begins to complain about the pains of her day at the office....'godamn this and godamn that'.... but soon settles down after a few tokes on the medicine stick. Fawlty Towers is turned down to make way for some music - Pink Floyd - at my girlfriend's request. We talk, listen, smoke, philosophise, smoke some more, laugh, joke, relax. The room is warm and bright and unthreatening. Nothing exciting is happening within this enclosure but the room is filled with an air of satisfaction. Over on the coffee table sits the bag of weed, an illegal and unequivocally evil substance. 'Cannabis will ruin your life' we were told. With the tribulations of a days work nothing but a distant memory my girlfriend takes another drag then sends the joint my way. The monkey continues his frantic sketching, totally immersed in his work.
Outside in the streets, drunken animals roam. A brawl breaks out and amidst a flurry of fists, blood is drawn, wounds opened, jaws shattered and bodies grounded. Shouts of abuse penetrate the night air and somewhere below my apartment window, a Burburry clad bastard uses one hand to piss in a shop doorway, whilst supping from a can of Carling with the other hand. Intoxicated and insatiable for the thrill of the fight, he disregards the beer can against the shop window and throws himself into the feud, exchanging punches and placing a sharp, strategic kick to the head of a fallen rival. 'Drinking will ruin your life, unless you consume in moderation' we were told. The limp, bleeding bodies in the street never thought it would be in this way.
In a stoned haze I return from the window and sit back down. 'Let those bastards fight' I think. 'Too much harmony and happiness in this apartment. Not an aggressive bone in my body right now. Perhaps the government could distribute cannabis to calm down the drunken masses and prevent fights at the taxi rank.' I'm deep in thought by now. 'Cannabis to curb our drinking culture. Now there's an idea......................'
So should cannabis be legalised? Of course it should. I'm not a white coat man and I'm not a politician so I won't be throwing questionable statistics at you like some sort of absolute and definitive evidence to support my stance on this one. Firstly I should make it clear that I am a smoker of the demon drug so perhaps my opinion is a biased one but I want to take a rational and sensible approach to this controversial question (something the oppositionists seem unable to do).
Let me make another thing clear. I am a drinker before I am a smoker. Contrary to what you might believe after reading the first few paragraphs of this review, I'll take a night of drinking over a night of smoking. It's horses for courses when it comes to drugs and I find that alcohol usually does it best for me. As an individual you are welcome to exercise your choice to live a sober existance and take reality at face value. But whether you consume a bottle of wine after work or wake up to a line of coke before you brush your teeth on a morning, its all for the same reason - to smooth over the sharp and distinct edges of reality and alter it to suit your taste. We live in such evil times right now that, for many, booze and drugs are the only way. Or, you might be a hopeless addict. Or, you might need stimulants to arouse the creative beast within you. Either way, drugs are here to stay and the religious and political utopia of a drug free society is nothing but an unachievable ideal pushed by victims (with whom i sympathise), the moral highgrounders (whom I hate), the power-hungry (whom I hate even more) and the uneducated.
But why is cannabis, in particular, causing such a storm over its legality? The outlawing of cannabis in the first place appeared to be rather ambigious. Smack and crack are both powerfully addictive drugs that can transform even the most well adjusted person into a hopelessly addicted cabbage, ready to sell his own grandma for a hit. Likewise, cocaine gives you a physical urge to take more and more whilst playing havoc with your nasal tissues. LSD is banned for it's ability (unlikely as it is) to turn our slightest insecurities into ferociously scary and depressing attacks on our permanent mentality. As much as we might disagree with it, there are seemingly logical reasons for why these drugs remain illegal. But why cannabis? A weed enjoyed by millions. There are so many unfounded statistics regarding the effect of cannabis on our mental health and it was established years ago that weed yields little physical dependence upon the user. Lets take alcohol for comparison.
Alcohol has always been legal (except during the ridiculous prohibition in 1930s America that allowed the mafia to flourish whilst disappointing many millions of law abiding connoisseurs and drinkers across the nation). In moderation, drinking is socially acceptable. It was done in the bible so the church has no grounds to appeal for its banishment. And alcohol has been enjoyed by everyone since the beginning of time. But who the fuck wants to drink in moderation? Not me. Where's the fun in that? Due to the social status of alcohol and its role in everyday life, the only way to tackle the negative affects of booze is through education and support. Next time you stroll through the streets of town in the evening, take a look around you at the intoxicated and debauched tomfoolery of the revelers. The fighting and the pissing and the vomiting and the shouting and the singing. That is not a group of ravaged cannabis abusers on a rampage. That was you, in your youth (or maybe last night) after a night on the tiles. Most of this disturbance is just the British nature that resides within all of us and will never leave our soles unless we all move to France and start copulating in cafes (sitting down of course). The real, nasty disturbance comes from a small minority of drinkers that are allowed to scare the innocent away from the streets through thier desire to commit devastation week after week. But because alcohol is so acceptable in society, it will never be banned. Instead the animal perpetrators of such carnage are targeted by police and government policies, usually unsuccessfully.
In comparison, cannabis is such a peaceful drug. Compare the pissed-up thugs from an English football match to the stoned patrons of the Woodstock festival. Cannabis does not have the ability to fuck with your brain in the same way that dropping a tab of acid (or even mushrooms) might cause you to slit your throat under the pretense that a crowd of nazi executioners are chasing you through Doncaster city centre, desperate to infiltrate your brain for the secret information that you are harboring inside. Cannabis won't make you break into your neighbours greenhouse and steal his lawn mower so you can flog it for a bag of grass. It's addictive nature is no more powerful than alcohol. You can't overdose on cannabis. It's easier to die from O'Ding on Fisherman's Friend or Trebor Extra Strong mints. If you don't believe me then try it. (If tommorrow The Guardian displays the headline 'Man found dead in newsagents after night of Trebor abuse' then don't blaim me).
The real problems with cannabis lie in our inability to question the anti-drug propaganda that we are spoon fed by the media and the over zealous white coat brigade with thier mountains of poorly defined statistics. Weed was legal as recently as the 1930s in America until the church groups and paranoid (ironically) busy bodies decided that it was time to shut down the party. Media and religious pressure on the government led to the criminalisation of cannabis. If you wish to learn more about the power of the media in relation to the casting of cannabis as the devil's drug, go to HMV and buy a copy of Reefer Madness. This 1934 film (originally titled Tell Your Children) was produced as an exploitation film aimed at swaying public and governemental support towards the criminalisation of cannabis. Ironically, the campness and absurdity of the film is now enjoyed by millions of stoners across the world.
The long term affects of cannabis indulgence are poorly understood and until there is concrete evidence, continue to ask yourself if it is such a bad thing if people want to consume this drug in the confines of thier own homes. Should the government ever publish a report that gives an exact and definite link between weed and mental illness, it is up to you to personally question the reliability of this data. And even it proves to be founded, is cannabis really more of a strain on our fragile mentalities than growing up in this crazy fucked up century on planet earth. The rich and powerfull control us and until they decide that the legalisation of cannabis will benefit them, it will remain illegal. You don't believe me? Just watch the tax margins imposed on cannabis sales by the government if they ever do see fit to allow us the freedom to smoke legally. Perhaps it should remain illegal afterall..............................
Language issues- considering the age group of this site...
MrStab 04.01.2010 03:41
The long-term effects of alcohol ARE understood, on the other hand, yet that's legal. Good article all the same, though.
Bojack 07.11.2009 03:16
I thought I'd give you a rating of 'exceptional' not only because your review was so well written, but because hopefully it will counter-act some of the unfair feedback you have had previously! Very well written, wow, what a capacity for the English language. I don't know how much I agree with a lot of what you're saying- I would have to say against my better judgement I do agree (weirdly enough), but I do not want to agree (if you know what I mean). I think it should be legalised, whether or not you smoke or don't, because someone who smokes a joint shouldn't be a criminal because of it. It's simply not a criminal activity. It's not a dangerous drug, either. In moderation (as they say!), it's mostly safe- biologically that is, but again (and I quote), "horses for courses".
Excellent writing, I may have a butchers at your other reviews! And guys, don't get so annoyed at ridiculous comments, you know what you think and you don't need to justify it!