American opinion is split on many issues, and on few more so than marijuana. A slim majority of voters in several states have opted to end, in varying degrees, its prohibition. That trend is growing, but not without opposition. Opponents fear that, to take it off the list of life-damaging substances is to increase the perils of abuse, especially among youth. So strong is their opposition that they are challenged to understand, or in some cases credit the extent of support for ending the prohibition among so many friends and neighbors whose agreement they have mistakenly taken for granted for years.
Opponents of marijuana ask themselves, faced with legal pot, "Where did all these stoners come from so sudden? Why do they look so much like everybody else, instead of like dangerous criminals and deviants. And why are so many celebrities popping up to say they smoke the stuff?" This is a sensible reaction that slows the process of lifting the prohibition and stigmata that has dogged users and devotees of Cannabis for four generations.
The answer is that they've always been there, right before their eyes. They don't look like criminals and desperadoes because they are not, nor have they ever been. Hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens have been living normal, everyday lives, pursuing professional careers and respectable occupations. They differ from us only in the distinction of being daily consumers of a substance that would get them arrested in most places if detected.
Without advocating for or against recreational use of marijuana, and with strong objections to its use by the very young, I present the stories of these friends and neighbors who live knowing that, if exposed as drug users, it could be disastrous. They are, in every other important respect, model citizens. Most often found socially in the company of fellow enthusiasts of the bud, they have operated on the arcs that the uninitiated read about in lurid press accounts of the infamous "drug rings" periodically seined from society by those uber-zealous lawmen they commonly refer to as "the narcs".
They are, all of them, the children of prohibition. They have thrived and grown as a class for four generations. That is a tribute to the quality of their character, if not their determination to abide by the law. It is a little-known story, and it will be told.
Risks and challenges
I expect to be inundated with worthwhile stories. Choosing from the thousands out there, and collecting them, will come at a cost of time and money. Except for Washington and Colorado, most jurisdictions still have prohibition in place, and interference by authorities, and reluctant informants in those places might slow progress. Strong opposition to ending prohibition may hamper or interfere with progress in a variety of possible ways. Paramount is the need to safeguard the privacy and security of all who participate, including the author.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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