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It's time to legalise marijuana in Australia #420

...and here's a video of ex-cops smoking up.

If you were to take a box of money, and then set it on fire, you would need about a billion boxes to simulate just how wasteful the war on drugs has been.

If it wasn’t obvious from the above sentence, I am for legalising marijuana in Australia. Why? I think it's ridiculous to criminalise something that harms exactly nobody.  It also makes economic sense. Legally sold marijuana produces federal income through tax and protects our kids from getting questionable product, whereas police and prisons cost tax-payers money.

You may think I’m a pot-head and therefore giving this pitch from a position of self-interest, but I'm not.  To clarify, I'm a drinker, not a smoker.  I'm not saying I've never inhaled, just never in the amounts that would garner you any respect from actual smokers.  What I really want is to protect my kids from the situation I found myself in one day…

I used to live in a share-house that had a room set aside as the daily smoke room; that's how much pot was smoked in this house. There were four guys, four bedrooms, but marijuana got its own room while the fourth person to move in slept in the rumpus instead.  At the time my friends did all the smoking and I stuck to booze, mainly because I was still trying to overcome a massive case of childhood “Christian-goody-two-shoes”, and the WWJD mantra taught me that pot was bad.  We were all broke as shit and spent the last three days of every fortnight going hungry because we’d eaten everything in the house.  To keep everyone sedated and riot-free during that time, one of my roomies brewed beer and grew pot in the backyard.

It started out fine— a couple small plants mixed among the tomatoes.  But the plants kept getting bigger, and bigger... until eventually the grower was regularly pruning the top off of it so it would stop growing above the line-of-sight of the two meter fence.

My roomie became the local Jesus of the neighbourhood, providing the miracle of free booze and pot. To say the least, the parties at my place were popular as hell and became the thing of legends.  I’d come home from my studies to find leaf and bud drying on my back verandah, or on the floor, you couldn’t use the oven because people were trying to bake-dry pot so it could be smoked faster.  I in the meantime curled up with a beer and worked on writing my first novel.

It was a lovely cycle of events–till one day we came home and the plants were all gone.  The plants in the backyard were hardly a secret, everyone knew about it and while we were out someone had decided to knock off our motherlode…

For which I will always be, eternally, thankful.  That night we drank ourselves into oblivion, raising a glass to the end of the party dream.

I was woken up the next morning to the blurry-eyed vision of a man in a blue shirt.  Blinking twice before putting a pillow over my head, I screamed at the person who had rudely awoken me - "F*ck off Ben I finished drinking at 3am..." Which is when the figure very politely explained that he was not my roommate, he was a police officer here to search my room as part of a police drug raid…
I very slowly pulled the pillow off my head and tried to understand what was happening.  I got up and stumbled bleary-eyed and hungover-as-balls, first offering to help the officer search my room (I was that out of it) before making my way into the living room, which is when I noticed my terrified friends and the many other police officers in my house...

Fortunately, other than used bongs and pipes, there was little to find. We’d been robbed of any evidence of our hedonism the day before and the lads had been frantically smoking the last of the goods as fast as they could when they heard the police arrive.  We were all however painfully aware of one thing—had the authorities arrived one day earlier we would have faced real jail-time for someone growing a plant in the back yard.

Jail time. For a plant. At 18.

I didn’t have a lot of options on my living conditions as a teen, I was trying real hard just not to end up on the street.  I didn’t choose to move in with a group of pot-smokers instead of non-smokers, I moved to the only place that would have me.  Even if that wasn’t the case—jail time… for a plant?  In the grand scheme of our nation's moral-compass, we are societally placing owning a plant  alongside offenses such as rape and murder. 

The rest of the world is already taking measures to legalise cannabis and even though it remains illegal here, statistics show that 2/3 of Australians have at least tried it.  Based on those numbers, who are we trying to protect from the "dangers" of cannabis?  From what I've seen, the only thing that needs to live in fear of stoners is pepperoni pizza and bags of potato chips.

Short version, it's time to decriminalise marijuana.

That moment when you play the "No... you hang up!" game, but you haven't dialed anyone yet.

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