What’s the going rate to live and do the right thing in America? What’s the going rate for justice and equality for all? As someone who has worked in manufacturing quality assurance for the past 20 years, I ask myself this a lot. My American Dream was to get a decent paying job, possibly own some land, and to be left the fuck alone as I harmlessly consume cannabis in my home; two out of three ain’t bad.
I’ve traveled across America multiple times in my life for work and life events. Recently I’ve been trekking from Seattle to Minneapolis for my son going to college. Since my last trip, two of the States on my way have legalized marijuana for recreational use; one of those included medical at the same time -This made me feel safer as a brown American, for it’s one less excuse to get shot by a cop.
To prepare for my journey, I stopped at a pot shop on my way home from work. I bought an ounce and a disposable vape pen, but this isn’t enough for five days with my kids and me since I have to share. The legal purchase in Washington State is one ounce of flower, 16 grams of edibles, and 7 grams of concentrate, an example of bullshit regulation. I stopped at another shop my way home and bought two more eighths on sale for the house while I was gone with my daughter to get my son.
The next day we were off, but before we left the free State of Washington, we stopped at the last pot shop or first one, pending on your direction. It’s a beautiful, well-kept store that had more Idaho plates in the parking lot than Washington. Here we grabbed some infused truffles and two infused joints for the road.
The responsible conversation is to say smoking and driving is dangerous, but that is also an ignorant one. Cannabis is more like coffee than alcohol in this respect. I found the most dangerous part is packing the bowl or getting caught. With 13 hours to drive, there’s plenty to think upon and smoke. I’ve been driving so much that it becomes mechanical. You’re a bag of flesh and bones operating a machine, a metal box on wheels, your Robotech.
As usual, I drive through Idaho as fast as I can with a slight pause in a small old mining town called Wallace to show my daughter The Center of The Universe; it’s a street sign. Our trip that day ended in Bozeman, Mt., a college town where I’ve always met good weed and people. This time cannabis has been legalized for recreational use in Montana. There’s no place for the average American to buy weed, but I felt safer for it.
Right before Billings, Mt one has to make a choice. Do I head through North or South Dakota? South Dakota just did the double down and legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational, the only state ever to do so; I choose this route for that – If you legalize it, they will come. Just like Montana, there are no stores, but as a brown American, I feel safer for one less reason to be shot at, or even if I became a case, it would make for one hell of a story and precedent. After thirteen hours of driving, we ended in Sioux Falls, S.D.
There’s not much to report on S.D, probably why they legalized marijuana, but still, I could see a vibrant dessert festival or outback industry, do not underestimate cannabis tourism. The next morning we were off to grab my son and stop by Paisley Park for road trip’s sake, but Paisley Park was closed due to COVID. To make up for it, Minnesota has the In and Out of chicken joints known as Raising Cane’s. Chicken so good, make you wanna slap your momma – especially on weed.
I took the northern route to see Paisley Park and stopped in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota needs to legalize weed so tourists can feel safe consuming cannabis and visiting Fargo; it’s a lovely small-town city.
After 23 hours of driving, we made it home with about a gram left and no incidents.
By writing this, I’ve admitted to crimes, but these aren’t things I’m worried about going to prison for while I sit in my home in Washington State. We the people, shouldn’t have to worry at all. Cannabis crimes aren’t crimes that deserve life loss, i.e., police shootings, detention, and incarceration.
Since I started this write, the MORE Act passed through the house, and Biden won Georgia like thirty times already. America has set a fucked up precedent among the world, an export of racism and control known as prohibition. Reflecting upon my past travels through my homeland (‘mericuh!) I’ve always felt like an illegal alien even though I don’t speak Spanish. There’s an injustice that pervades us, making America not so great ever.
When slavery ended, there wasn’t a nation sized barbecue; instead, pure hate has to find “legal” Jim Crow ways to make things “safe.” Philando Castille had a gun permit and was upfront with the cop. The cop said he smelt marijuana and felt his life in danger – prohibition kills. The concept of pure capitalism and prohibition to protect us has done more harm than good.
I started this write with a question of what is the cost of the quality of life? And let me explain why, as someone who has been behind the scenes in different manufacturing industries across the Rocky Mountains, some checks and balances are questionable.
People usually don’t want to see how the hamburger is made, but you should have a fucking clue. Pure capitalism encourages the lowest bidder, which means someone is doing something for less, which leads to lesser quality somewhere along the line. You can’t null and void capitalism for the good it does, but some things needn’t be left up to profit; Things like aviation, medical, prisons, and justice do not fit in a for-profit model.
What’s it worth to do all the right things and contribute to society when someone with a grudge can incarcerate you and seize all your nice things?
What have been the costs to want to live in a civilized society that includes cannabis? The loss of many lives and wasted dollars funding ignorant programs and groups, the worth is priceless, but the costs have been too high.
I write this as someone who has observed bad practices in the name of protecting the populace at the lowest cost, and in the end, it’s the citizen who loses out when corners are cut, or laws are created with no foundation in reality.
The future is an all-inclusive society that includes ending prohibition; this is the promise of America. America almost had it right during the reconstruction after the Civil War, but because racism has no logic, it took a step backward 100 years out of the pettiness of white men and women.
From 1936 to 1966, a yearly publication was known as The Negro Travelers Green Book or simply The Green Book was published, helping black Americans navigate through America’s blatant disregard for people of color as human beings at the time. In that sense, American cannabis consumers need a modern day Green Book for cannabis. The pandemic has made everyone reevaluate their own realities; prohibition is no different. We’ve restructured what 9 to 5 looks like; it’s time to restructure what justice and equality mean.