Features — 09 February 2019
No shame in USA’s marijuana game

When you think on all the stress, and all the violence (we’re talking violence in its worst form), and all the ignorance that was spread and all the hypocritical things that were said and all the liars the USA’s fraudulent weed law made out of honest people, ih mek yu feel like cry.

Have you ever had a stick of weed in your pocket, one lee stick, and you look up and see a police officer walking toward you? I haven’t, but I daam well have enough love in me to know that it was no happy feeling for a brother in such a position. Many a productive person’s life got disrupted, even derailed, because of possession of a stick of marijuana. Many got taken to detention cell, many had to pay hefty fines, and quite a few actually went to jail.

The entire nation saw, most of us for the first time, the horrors at the detention cell at the police station. Yes, it took a brave officer to spill it. Hooray for this officer. He deserves a medal. At the annual September celebrations we expect no less than a meritorious medal for what he has done to expose the filthy crime of detention.

Ai, Commissioner Williams must already be cursing departed disappointed disgusted disgruntled former commissioner, Mr. Whylie, for leaving office before his time was up. Ah, it is so easy to be second in command. It is Commissioner Whylie who should be pretending not to know about the filth in the detention cell, not Commissioner Williams. But, they say he, Williams, coveted the job.

Many Belizeans have died because marijuana was declared a deadly drug by the USA. Illegality turned the marijuana bud into a bonanza and this led to turf wars. Some people who were selling weed made a bigger profit when the USA brought big heat on the product, and some people jumped into the trade and made a mint. But some people died and there was a lot of grief, and some people’s world was hugely disrupted, to the extent that their livelihoods, their small businesses, failed.

Becky Little, in the story,”Why the U.S. Made Marijuana Illegal”, on history.com, said “the drug wasn’t always prohibited. Anglo-Americans and Europeans have known about marijuana’s medicinal benefits since at least the 1830s…Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, an Irish doctor studying in India, documented that cannabis extracts could ease cholera symptoms like stomach pain and vomiting. By the late 19th century, Americans and Europeans could buy cannabis extracts in pharmacies and doctors’ offices to help with stomach aches, migraines, inflammation, insomnia, and other ailments.

Just because people in the past used something for medicinal purposes doesn’t always mean it was a good idea. But modern research has backed up claims that marijuana has real medical benefits. For example, it can decrease seizures and alleviate pain without causing physical dependence.”

Then, we saw the USA at its biased worst. Little says “Americans’ attitudes towards cannabis shifted at the turn of the century…partly motivated by Mexican immigration to the U.S. around the time of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, according to Eric Schlosser, author of Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market.

“The prejudices and fears that greeted these peasant immigrants also extended to their traditional means of intoxication: smoking marijuana,” Schlosser wrote for The Atlantic in 1994. “Police officers in Texas claimed that marijuana incited violent crimes, aroused a ‘lust for blood,’ and gave its users ‘superhuman strength.’ Rumors spread that Mexicans were distributing this ‘killer weed’ to unsuspecting American schoolchildren.”

You know, some people should feel like fools. We can’t ignore that some people are just plain gullible. And gullible Belizeans who believe everything handed down from the children of the former slave master swallowed the lie like they were drinking strawberry lemonade. They swallowed American propaganda, bait, hook, line and sinker, and now those same propagandists are singing a brand new song. I know what I’d do if I were made a fool of. I’d put on sack cloth, eat the humble pie. Look, only a malicious person condemns a contrite man forever. There is salvation.

We won’t go into the race part, where their “white” lawmakers started to change when they saw how much the drug laws to contain marijuana were affecting their own kids. It was hoodwink from the get go, and any objective person who has eyes to see and wanted to, would have seen the extreme bias in the marijuana law, and the absolutely draconian nature of the penalties.

Belize doesn’t complain with America for their efforts to contain cocaine. How wrong, how disrespectful it was/is to classify weed with the man-made (man-tampered with) cocaine, methamphetamine, and the opioids, heroin and fentanyl? Weed belonged with tobacco, deserved no more than a warning that it wasn’t all good for adults and especially bad for young (developing) minds. Call me a marginal disciple of Peter Tosh but my observation is that weed is not excellent brain food.

Ah, all along the great America was playing a game, a delay tactic to allow their business folk to get their marijuana production package together so they could corner the market. And now they have. It is respectable now to grow weed in America. They burned the weed fields in our country, and now they are growing it.

No less than a former speaker of their House of Representatives, Mr. John Boehner, is now a big executive in a marijuana company in the US. Boehner, a big tobacco man, was firmly against any legalization of weed, but now he’s changed his tune. Now they have all the parts of the game in country it’s big business for the former House Speaker and his friends. At the present time, it’s only the medical part that he is drawing profits from. There are millions of veterans of their war machine, and they need medical marijuana.

Years ago another high profile American, a former candidate for president, Bob Dole, got on noon day television and declared his support for a certain blue pill. This was always a taboo subject in our country, just for adults to think and talk about. Sometimes it leaked into their songs, and literature, but for the most part it was chat for old men drinking rum. Then along came Mr. Dole and male erection problems became stuff for advertisers during their Scooby Doo and Little Mermaid shows. Bah, everything is bottom line.

It is very clear that the Americans owe us a huge apology for what they have cost us, but we can’t blame them for all that went wrong here because of illegal marijuana. Our leaders, and that includes all people in leadership positions, could have balanced the unfair law with sound education and explanations.

They could have ensured that weed users didn’t land so hard. If they had done that, they wouldn’t have helped create this situation where our youth no longer have trust in their words. It is bad when youth realize that a lot of mature people tell lies and are downright hypocritical. You can’t tell lies to people and think they will forget your deceit. When young people lose their belief in their elders, bad things happen.

I guess we should thank heaven for the small mercy, have some happiness with such a high profile American, Boehner, now in on the game.  Really, better sense tells us that cry as much as we like, we can never get spilt milk back into the bottle. So yes, there is joy in our camp that a weed-condemning devil has found salvation. It is not possible that weed will lose all its stigma; it will take some doing, their having created such a mess with their drug policy over the years. But Mr. Boehner lending his name to the cause can only improve weed’s image.

Of course it’s a righteous cause. Weed has the full recommendation for stress problems and pain. But we don’t want the young ones to think that they have license.

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Deshawn Swasey

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