"Legalize It" was the title of Peter Tosh's reggae smash that still gets airplay every round of petitions and potential legislation regarding marijuana, especially out here in California. Every possible pot-supporting person of legal voting age who can offers his or her rationale for the benefits of allowing weed to be a legal and regulated substance like alcohol and tobacco. Crime statistics and health benefits are touted as if they are enough to justify puffing and passing the joint, spliff,blunt or pipe in private or public. They want to make it legal.
I was all set against the whole matter, particularly since I had turned over a new leaf some time ago. (Please, please, please pardon the pun.) I had my mind set on saying no until a fellow creative artist an poet shared his views. He offered the usual list of Bible verses that seem to drift out of context just enough to fit into most bud-smoking people's arguments, but then he made a sudden change in approach. His views were extremely personal, sharing them as he lit up a stick of California's own homegrown plants.
"It helps me, man," he said through a screen of smoke. "I can deal with the pain of this disease better when I am high."
Beyond the redness of his eyes, I could see his agony. He was worn out and his art studio was dusty and dim. It was not the perfect environment for a vibrant and young artist. He sighed with heavy breaths and struggled to get comfortable on his beaten-up couch. As I looked him over and heard his words, he showed me another side of the debate. He simply stated his case and showed me his daily struggle as things stood now.
"I used to dream of being like Rembrandt or Degas. Now, as I start to think about it, I realize that I will never be any of what I ever dramed. I'll be lucky to enjoy whatever I have alreay created in this life."
I see that it is not purely a drug of leisure. It is not for recreational purposes only. Some people need it for more than just a casual high. It may not be just a party drug for some of the people sufering and struggling out there. Here was a man once filled with creative juices bursting out of him. I really saw the other side of the whole debate.
On behalf of those who suffer and struggle, I humbly submit: Legalize it!