Marijuana isn't actually marijuana and it doesn't matter if it's legalized or not. That's not what we're talking about.
We're talking about liberation.
It reminds me of bubble gum in schools. One day, our dean said to give a detention to anyone chewing gum. By the end of the first week, I had issued 50 detentions! The other teachers had done the same to include about 250 students.
The students comradely reveled in their sentences, meanwhile the bubble gum market shot through the roof! We thought we could sweat the small stuff, and that's the same argument as targeting the gateway drug. By sweating the small stuff you create a culture around small stuff. The untucked shirt is a gateway to poor posture which is gateway to chewing gum which is a gateway to talking back which is a gateway to failure is the way that logic works. Despite the karmic randomness we would witness everyday, we really believed this.
Eventually bubble gum became boring and a non issue.
Sometimes this is an effective way to relate to each other. We make a big deal about marijuana or bubble gum or Buddha's Birthday, but all these things are illusion. We can try and study the mystery of these illusions and pin down the causes and conditions, like historical relevance or comparative analysis, but it doesn't even come close to the reality that these illusions are free from illusion and the mystery from which they arose.
I don't care if they legalize marijuana, or if they don't. I don't care if they make alcohol illegal. I am a little more interested in the huge prison complexes that are privately owned, trying to add more beds. Something tells me that as long as there are these huge prisons, they will try and fill them. Something tells me that those who want to use marijuana for medicinal use will use it for medicinal use. Something tells me those that want to use marijuana for fun will use it for fun.
But we're not talking about marijuana. We're talking about the absence of the illusion and the mystery of what marijuana is. What will take the place of marijuana? Who will become the next marginalized group?
Personally, in New Orleans, Austin, and to even larger degree Northern California, marijuana has become a non issue. One time a police officer showed up at my father's house in Uptown NOLA and asked me if I had seen any signs of drugs, and I said well I smell pot all the time, and he laughed at me, holding up a little silver foil. He said he was interested in "real" stuff.
Of course, I don't know what the implications are for minorities in those places if the police would be more interested in New Orleans if you were black. From the sidelines of Mardi Gras, I'd venture to say that cops aren't interested in marijuana, even if your purple, green, or golden.
That doesn't stop them from moving on to other items which might get a young black male arrested, like a "weapon" (knife? I carry a knife everyday as a farmer) or having a nice car in a bad neighborhood or just having dreadlocks.
Marijuana isn't the problem and legalizing it isn't the solution. My friend Nathan at Dangerous Harvests makes some great points about how marijuana factors in to the industrial prison business, but I feel like these are short term (good for 50 years?) at best.
I think the problem is who is it that makes it illegal and who is it that will lock you up? How do we legalize or ilegalize...I just made the word up...illegalize the one who is trying legalize or illegalize?
I like what Suzuki Roshi said: Give your students a large field. Observe, bare witness. The appropriate response seems to be a combination of questioning the dream like facade of this issue, and if your find your self in a voting booth, always vote for liberation.