Cultural Changes Caused By Legalized Marijuana

 

Having lived through the '60s, I'd say "deep and profound." 

American culture will shake at the rafters.  The most obvious will be the impact on Big Pharma and the Liquor Lobby, but the ramifications will be much more subtle and far reaching. 

First of all, as comedian Dennis Miller has mentioned, if Xanax and grass went head to head to see which is more beneficial, “Xanax would lose.”  Weed is cheaper, healthier, more effective and more fun to use.  Grass encourages social interaction, not isolation.  And you don’t need an Rx from some hotshot doctor who owns you.  Xanax is an anti-depressant; marijuana is a natural euphoriant.  There’s a big difference.  The former is a laboratory concoction of white lab-coated, conservative prudes; the latter is a gift of nature with absolutely NO SIDE EFFECTS.  If you overindulge smoke you don’t even get sick as with whiskey; you pass out and wake up without even a hangover.  The normal response of people turning on the first time is to burst out laughing. 

(See the podcast with Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Dean of Harvard Medical School, which I arranged some years ago when there were no legal marijuana states.  Also, you can see the plug for Mirror Reversal at the bottom of the first page, the Atheist Novel to the right.) 

The Liquor Lobby will be impacted big time.  As hippies we’d telephone each other,”Hey man, whip out the Dylan, The Grand Funk Railroad, the Joe Cocker, and some weed, we’re all coming over.”  Bars and lounges will lose because we didn’t need strangers overcharging us for a cocktail or glass of beer.  We preferred to stay at home without cops spying on us and making petty judgments. 

The gun lobby will lose.  Personally speaking, grass is biophilic, I didn’t even like to look at the damn things—I still don’t. 

Vanity fashion will lose.  The ‘60s brought on the jeans revolution.  We didn’t care about designer clothes.  You were judged for being a “good guy” and somebody you can trust.  Sure we dug ornate shirts and pants, but most of the time we made the clothes ourselves. 

These stupid TV sit-coms with the canned laughter will go looking for viewers.  We made our own show.  We were insulted by TV actors and commercial marketers treating us like we were sixth graders and talking down to us and telling us what to consume.    Celeb magazines will stay on the supermarket display stands untouched and unsold. Who cares which movie star got jilted? They’re mostly overambitious, perfidious, Machiavellian people.  We have our own life.   

I can go on and on with more cultural changes.  Hope you’ll offer others. 

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Tags: grass, weed

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Comment by Luara on December 27, 2013 at 10:56am

Let's try to show each other mutual respect by attacking the content of the arguments and not the character of those forwarding the arguments.

Indeed - but calling a question I asked you "sanctimonious" does not follow your own dictum. 

Comment by Luara on December 27, 2013 at 10:53am

Laura I have sensed a great deal of hostility in your responses.

I have just been asking you questions - what do you think is hostile about them?

And have you actually ever tried MJ?  If not, what does your attitude towards it come from?

Comment by Richard Goscicki on December 27, 2013 at 10:44am

If mj is legalized, drug companies will lose billions.

< This I doubt. Marijuana isn't going to replace Xanax because people are in a more or less normal state of consciousness while on Xanax, so they can do their jobs. >>>

(Peter, with your permission I’ll finish off these points with Laura.)

Pot Stories deals with these issues profusely.  An excerpt.  

“Suppose you have a bad gambling or sex habit.  There’s no end to the damage the addiction could cause you.  Addicted gamblers will support their habit ‘til they’re broke.  In final stages, cigarette fiends will smoke through tracheotomies.  Heroin or crack users will do anything to get more.  A satyrisist or nymphomaniac can never be satisfied no matter the frequency or number of people they engage.  Their addiction is insatiable.  It’s like trying to put out a fire with dry straw. 

“With marijuana, guess what happens when you OD?  You pass out into a deep, restful sleep, and when you wake up you don’t even have a hangover!  The drug companies would love that, right?  How big is the anti-nausea, anti-hangover market?  A billion, two billion? 

“And guess what.  If popular anti-depressants like Prozac or Paxil went head to head with marijuana in controlled university experiments, Prozac and Paxil would lose!  Grass is a natural euphoriant; there’s a big difference.  With grass you feel happy to be alive, more vibrant.  On Prozac you feel totally neutral, barely alive, you’re a perfect couch potato—not to mention side effects like nausea, headaches, drowsiness, loss of appetite and even fuckin’ diarrhea.    

“How big is the anti-depressant market, one billion, five billion?  Just Pfizer alone will lose over a billion when Zoloft goes generic.  The entire market was estimated at over 11 billion five years ago.  Do you think the drug companies want to compete with a natural substance that not only alleviates depression but makes the subject happy to be alive?  And it’s not synthesized in a sterilized, aseptic laboratory by white-robed, limp-dick, yuppie scientists who only care about paying off their jumbo mortgage and growing their fecund brood of kids for their respective squirrely churches. 

“Make the connection between the cigarette magnates and these pharmaceutical pricks.  They’re sociopaths that care nothing about the results of their behavior down the line.  They’re Machiavellian schemers that sacrifice tens of thousands of incarcerated souls so they can dine in elegant restaurants and buy outlandish mansions with bedrooms that never get slept in.  They’re self-aggrandizing plutocrats that devised and nurtured a corrupt lobby system by legally bribing venal politicians to get their way.  It’s so sick… the hypocrisy of it.  Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who admits to making four million in one year, said it got to the point where he didn’t even have to offer money.  He said he could just pull some senior senator aside and say, ‘You know, Senator… Eli Lilly has its eye on you.’ And the scoundrel would vote pro-Eli Lilly no matter how harmful it was to America and its people.”  

 

McGirk waited for a red light on 32nd Street though he didn’t have to.  I could tell he was thinking about what I’d said.  I pressed the point.  

Comment by Peter Martin Page on December 27, 2013 at 9:56am

Laura I have sensed a great deal of hostility in your responses. Let's try to show each other mutual respect by attacking the content of the arguments and not the character of those forwarding the arguments. 

Comment by Luara on December 27, 2013 at 9:50am

If mj is legalized, drug companies will lose billions.

This I doubt. Marijuana isn't going to replace Xanax because people are in a more or less normal state of consciousness while on Xanax, so they can do their jobs. 

I've heard that brand names from the drug culture like "Acapulco Gold" have already been claimed. 

Maybe drug companies will start selling purified marijuana for medical purposes.  Maybe liquor companies would start selling joints. 

Comment by Luara on December 27, 2013 at 9:28am

with regard to marijuana the system itself is corrupt

I wrote a review of Carl Hart's book High Price, which you might find interesting. It includes an extensive criticism of the Drug War from a black man's point of view. It's not oriented towards MJ, but about the racist elements of the Drug War particularly against crack cocaine and meth. It's not so much about pharmaceutical co. corruption, but rather he contends the Drug War serves to excuse people from doing something about racism and inner city poverty (blame it all on crack).

Are Paris Hilton or Miley Cyrus—both drenched in privilege and the best that money can buy—examples of the culmination of the American dream?

Suppose they smoke marijuana, would that change your perspective? Very likely they do.

There is such a thing as Marijuana Anonymous you know ...  For some people, apparently MJ becomes itself a compulsion.  Although some people are probably there because it was court-ordered.  I've never been to it :)

Comment by Luara on December 27, 2013 at 9:11am

From my experience with marijuana, I can see an element of truth in what Richard says. 

MJ did cause new thoughts for me.  One steps out of the habitual thought patterns, the dailyness that dominates life. 

Time out often isn't really time out, because you keep on thinking along the same lines.  MJ helps prevent that.  Also, a lot of new thoughts come up.  It often stimulated creativity for that.

Time out with MJ tends to be really good time out.  Time out that results in poetry.  Or otherwise memorable experiences.   MJ was a good part of my life for about 25 years.  I got stoned about once every couple weeks.  I only stopped because I developed an allergy to it :(

It's an intriguing assertion that if more people used MJ, our culture would change in good ways.  And I can see how someone would extrapolate from the kinds of MJ experiences I had, to that belief. 

However, it's also an assertion without evidence.  Lots of people use MJ now - has that affected our culture in positive ways?  Lots of people smoke a joint after dinner, instead of wine.  It's just part of their life.  Are those people any less materialistic than anyone else?  MJ has already been legalized in some states - is there really a positive difference in the culture? 

Many real changes are more difficult than simply using a drug.  They involve people dealing with uncomfortable feelings - and drug highs tend not to be about dealing with uncomfortable feelings. 

Comment by Richard Goscicki on December 27, 2013 at 8:59am

As I said to myself when the cop shined his flashlight in my tired bloodshot eyes (as described in Pot Stories), “looks like I have some explaining to do.”  First, Laura’s excellent question, then Peter’s after some more thought and preparation.

Grass helps us break the chains of conditioning. Why do you believe this?  >>>

Of course, I can only make these assertions based on my own subjective experience, most stemming way back to the ‘60s. I admit I should be more up on the latest scientific research but the few cases that I did study I found to be contaminated and corrupted by social mores and biases.  Plus, to my mind as described in Pot Stories, in the 1993 Waxman Committee on cigarette abuses, the people running the drug companies are “despicable” and contemptible liars.  In other words, with regard to marijuana the system itself is corrupt—even at the university level.  I’ll have you know, Big Pharma funds much of medical school cost and even pressures academia to keep the number of medical colleges very limited so as to have a high patient to doctor ratio.  The wellbeing and suffering of the people is of minor importance.  If mj is legalized, drug companies will lose billions. 

I mentioned Lester’s podcast, but I believe his groundbreaking Marijuana Reconsidered could also throw some light on the question.

Here’s an excerpt from Mirror Reversal that deals with the question: 

(My Cynthia is an evolutionary biology professor who’s just been slipped a powerful psychedelic drug, DMT)

“With this toast to biodiversity, I paid Gaia my last respects and homage.  Now I can be like everybody else, hypnotized in a cloud of consumerism, glass-eyed sleepwalkers.  I’m going to lust after jewelery and imported luxury cars.  I’m going to start acting like the people in TV commercials—wrapped in plastic and edited for television.  Look everybody, aren’t I winsome?  Hit me with a Doris Day snowball.  I’m going to have an orgasm every time somebody designs a new electric rotisserie.  Why should I be the one who worries about the few thousand snow leopards in Central Asia, or the few hundred rhinos in Central Africa, or even the few dozen gibbons in Java?  All of a sudden, I see myself in a new light; I don’t give a damn anymore.”

I guess the main point is that consumerism has divorced most Americans from nature and grass helps us reconnect.  Another book that could throw light on the subject is my collaborator’s Man Made God, describing pre-agriculture, female-oriented society, worshipping fertility goddesses instead of the three paternal, Mafia God of the three remaining major religions. Wealth and private property caused a biologic convergence, a regression to a primal monkey state with more emphasis on hierarchy.   

So let me ask a question:  Are Paris Hilton or Miley Cyrus—both drenched in privilege and the best that money can buy—examples of the culmination of the American dream?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment by Luara on December 27, 2013 at 8:49am

Peter,
You wrote

Next time you feel the impulse to light up a joint you might want to consider that. Not because it is, or is not, legal but because it will not allow you to live your life to its fullest potential.

Yes you are making a judgement about what enables someone else to live life to their fullest potential.

I wrote:

How can you decide for someone else what their "fullest potential" is?

not
In what way are you not trying to decide for someone else what their fullest potential is? Maybe someone feels their fullest potential involves getting stoned now and then. I can understand that idea.
Please don't sling pejoratives because I called you on it (sanctimonious). I don't appreciate being called names.

Have you ever tried marijuana?  Where does your attitude above come from - government propaganda?  There's a lot of that around.

Comment by Peter Martin Page on December 27, 2013 at 7:00am

Richard, we seem to agree on most issues with one major exception. You believe mj reconnects us to a more primitive state, more human and compassionate. I don't believe our more primitive state is humane or compassionate. I believe the opposite. 

I believe humans, in their primitive state, are superstitious and barbaric. The Romantic Primitivism you believe in has a long history. I see it in the Garden of Eden myth and it lives on in the popular beliefs that give virtuous characteristics our most barbaric thugs and vilify achievers. I think 'Lord of the Flies' was a more accurate representation of thenature of primitive humanity. The argument wether civilization has had a corrupting or purifying influence on human character is one that triggers all sorts of idealism. 

When Rousseau answered that question by stating man is good by nature and society forced him to become evil, he has tapped into the most powerful tool religion has used to control us: absolution. I resist the temptation of absolution since I believe it will cost me my freedom. I want to be responsible for my actions, speech and thought since I believe I achieve freedom by achieving responsibility. I find Romantic Primitivism a repulsive ideology since I view it as a deceptive trap. I want to live the most modern, sophisticated, empirical, materialist (not to be confused with materialistic) life I can achieve. I have no desire to go back to the garden. I bet it was a miserable and cruel existence.

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