So tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, and the annual alcohol fueled debauchery in New Orleans. I have attended in the past- and to me the closest parallel is a crack house or shooting gallery…but much, much worse.
Just like spring break in florida or lake havausu, a penn state fottball game tailgate party, or virtually any friday/saturday night on a college campus- especially thouse with fraternities/sororities- it is a sad display of drug abuse.
Of course- this drug, Alcohol, is legal and blessed by the governments. They spend great deals of money, and manpower, to try and ensure that people can (ab)use this legal drug with as few problems as possible. Of course- the problems are many: violence, disrespect, rapes and sex with people too messed up to actually form consent, drunk driving, people passing out, vomitting, and urinating in the streets. And much general obnoxiousness.
And yet- new orleans has some of the strictest drug laws in the nation. Possession of a single joint is punishable by 6 moths in jail and a $500 fine.
I attended mardi gras for the first time in my early twenties. And I smoked pot- putting myself at a very real risk of being arrested- while watching alcohol fueled debauchery that would get people arrested anywhere else in our country.
But as New Orleans, and many other areas in our nation have learned- despite the cost of dealing with the issues alcohol presents- they can turn a pretty good profit on this drug.
Likewise, a couple of moths ago, shortly after New Year, I was talking with the heads of one of the medical marijuana dispensaries. When I said I had stayed home and had a mellow night he laughed and said the same was true for pretty much everyone he knew. None of us wanted to go out and deal with the alcohol fueled masses, nor dead with driving the gauntlet of drunks.
Really- ever since High School I have watched a world where alcohol abuse, and the problems it creates, are treated differently, less harshly, and with more compassion, then the use (not even abuse) of illicit drugs such as cannabis and others. Hell- try getting caught with LSD- one of the safest drugs ever created. I have friends who have done more time for LSD then murderers or rapists. Even simple cannabis users can end up with more legal repercussions then someone.
I am tired of the hypocrisy. I am tired of being treated as a criminal for what I choose to but in my body. I am tired of more lives being ruined by the law then by the drugs they outlaw. I am tired of people getting treated differently based solely on whether the drug is legal or illegal. And I am tired of many not being able to get the help, tratment, or support they need solely because their choice of intoxicant is deemed illegal.