It seems that a marijuana dealer in the U.K. was arrested and given a choice –
Convicted UK pot dealer Terry Bennett, 32, was just sentenced to the grown-up version of writing “I will not chew gum in class” on the chalkboard 100 times. He must pen a 5,000-word essay about the dangers of cannabis by April 4—or spend a year in jail.
Besides the considerations of whether or not this is brainwashing or a curtailing of free speech, I think this presents a fantastic opportunity for writing a satirical piece.
Here’s what I would write if I were in Terry’s shoes …
”’The Dangers of Cannabis”’ – A Forced Essay by Johnny Joint
Cannabis, or Cannabis sativa, aka “marijuana”, “Mary Jane”, “Pot”, “Weed” “Muggles”, “Dope”, “Ganja” and a hundred other names, is a fast-growing plant with commercial, medical and recreational uses that has been utilized without incident for thousands of years, but only since it was outlawed by a handful of powerful politicians and corporate shills has it acquired a bad reputation.
No matter how upstanding you are, you are likely to have encounters with police that can result in arrest. Here’s why:
» Improved technology and training enable police to arrest people for petty crimes that in the past were ignored due to lack of manpower and resources.
» A law enforcement doctrine called proactive policing has spread across the land. It calls for zero tolerance of petty offenses, including such things as jaywalking, loitering, and drinking a beer on the street. Proactive policing has reduced crime—no question—but to do so it requires huge numbers of arrests of petty offenders who in years past would never have seen the inside of a jail.
» The volume of arrests has caused a boom in jail and court construction and the creation of a criminal justice system that employs hundreds of thousands and requires ever more arrests to justify its existence.
» The near universal installation of computers in police cruisers, and their ability to access law enforcement databases instantly allows police to make more arrests for what I call administrative crimes. These are failure to maintain tags, licenses, and car insurance; outstanding arrest warrants; driving with suspended licenses; failure to appear at court hearings; and violation of probation and parole. None of these crimes involves theft, violence, or injury. They are not offenses against people but against the state. In the past, paper records made arrests for these crimes difficult, especially when the offender moved to another state. With the advent of computers, the jails are stuffed with people guilty of not paying fees, not doing paperwork, not showing up in court, and in general thumbing their noses at the system.
» People are shocked to discover that they can be arrested for things they didn’t even know were illegal. For example, millions of parents chauffeuring the kids in the van or SUV don’t realize that the stimulants and antidepressants prescribed for hyperactive children are scheduled narcotics. Kids carry these pills around in their pockets and book bags. The pills scatter inside the vehicle and can get Mom busted if she cannot produce a written prescription during a routine traffic stop.
» Dope, my friends, let’s talk about dope. The magic herb is everywhere, as are the powders and crystals that bliss out millions every day. The world may be becoming more tolerant of drugs, but cops, courts, and legislatures are not. Almost any quantity of a controlled substance can get you arrested in most places. Most people have no idea how serious drug possession is.
» People have worse manners than in the past. Whether this is due to less effective parenting, a decline in church attendance, increased use of drugs, disorder at public schools, or the pervasive influence of TV shows where everyone is “in your face” is a topic best left to the talk shows. All I know for a fact is that people don’t know how to behave. They act out in front of cops and get busted for being obnoxious.
Ladies, you, yes you, are paying for a major portion of the criminal justice system. The system is not funded exclusively by that perennially overburdened group, the taxpayers. A big chunk of system funding comes from defendants’ families. By and large, this means women are paying thousands of dollars to get the men they love legal representation, reduced sentences, and freedom. Women pay the lawyers, women pay the bail bonds, women pay the drug court costs, and women pay the probation fees. When men get arrested, women get poor.
Every day, at the courts, in attorneys’ offices, and in probation departments, one sees a stream of women clutching money orders funded by mortgaging their homes and liquidating their savings. Often it’s more than one woman. It’s mom, sister, aunt, and cousin who have cleaned themselves out to get their man out of jail. Money that would have funded a new home or car, an education, or a retirement is swallowed up in an instant by the financial black hole that is the criminal justice system.
The system devours the investment capital of poor Americans and is one of the major reasons the poor stay poor. Elected officials love to describe how much money they pour into poor neighborhoods and community services. They never, ever, discuss how much is drained out by the criminal justice system. Ladies, the best way to keep your savings in the bank and your folding money in your purse is to keep your men away from cops and out of jail.
The First Danger
Therefore, the first danger of cannabis is that you’ll lose your money, your car, your home, your family and your future – all because of a plant that has been repeatedly proven to have far more benefit than drawback, and a broken political and legal system.
Your fees, fines etc. will go in part to pay for your incarceration, but you won’t necessarily be staying in a government-run institution. More likely you’ll be doing your time in a privately-run prison that has won the concession for operating the correctional institutions in your town.
These private companies make fortunes off of your arrest, and make no mistake – so do the cops. The more arrests they have the greater their chances for promotions and for increased government funding in the “war against drugs”. Your freedom and your future are sacrificed in order to make a profit for these groups.
The Second Danger
So we find the second danger of cannabis – you will enrich others as you suffer.
Even though marijuana has infused through every level of society, from poor to rich, the stereotypical user is seen as either an aging hippie or a rap-talking gangsta. You either wear a headband with flowers printed on it or a black do-rag. There’s nothing allowed between these two extremes.
Yet every single day doctors, lawyers, judges, policemen, housewives, corporate executives, students, professional and amateur sportsmen – they all partake of cannabis. You could be talking to your local Avon dealer and never suspect that in reality she is a drug-crazed demon ready to devour you and your entire family, including the dog, the cat and the three goldfish that Junior has in his room.
The Third Danger
This is the third danger of cannabis – that you’re going to be unfairly judged and categorized.
The great majority of pot smokers are recreational users, and as such they usually have a few years of experience beneath their hemp belts in regulating their ganja intake. It is only the total newcomer to toking that may commit the cardinal sin of over-smoking. The result? They’ll get a bad case of the munchies, devour anything edible in the house, then fall fast asleep with a half-eaten Twinkie sticking out of their mouth.
The Fourth Danger
So the fourth evil of cannabis is that you’re going to have to explain, over and over again, exactly WHY weed is not evil.
Alcohol often leads to driving like an idiot, fighting, pissing your pants in public and many other embarrassing events. Cigarette smoking leads to throat, lung, mouth and various other cancers, makes you smell like an ashtray, turns your fingernails yellow and makes you an outlaw in today’s health-conscious society.
Cannabis makes you horny, hungry and sleepy, hopefully in that order. You don’t feel like starting fights; you don’t really want to go out driving; if you’re smart enough to consume your ganja by either eating it or using a vaporizer then your health risks are minimized.
But you’ll still be seen as an outlaw. While some younger folk might enjoy developing such a “rep”, we older folks just want to be left alone to toke in peace, get a piece, eat a slice and sleep real nice.
Again, long-term studies – double-blind, peer-reviewed – have PROVEN that marijuana, i.e. cannabis, is no more dangerous than eating flash-frozen broccoli with your chemically-enhanced steak.
And we ALL do that, now don’t we?
The Fifth Danger
The fifth evil of cannabis – you’ll be perceived, and treated, as a criminal, just because the political and legal systems don’t want to give up their profit-making rackets.
Modern society has become one big competition. From the time we enter Kindergarten we are urged, nay, taught to be better than everyone else. We have to score the highest on tests in order to enter the college of our choice, so that we can compete with others like us to graduate with the highest GPA, so that we can compete equally for that high-status, high-paying corporate job, so that we can afford to buy that huge house and expensive luxury car so that we can compete with our neighbors …
McDonald’s competes with Burger King; Ford with GM; America with just about every single friggin’ Third-World country. The U.K. competes with itself, in the process falling to the lowest levels of employment, satisfaction, and pride since Cromwell stomped around the Blessed Isle. The mighty Brits with their stiff upper lips compensate by sentencing blokes with a couple of pounds of happy herb to writing ludicrous essays about the evils of something that they KNOW, through years of experience, is a blessing from Nature, but once again because of the short-sightedness of the societies we live in is seen as a horrible aberration from the norm.
Competition breeds ego and violence; competition means there is a winner AND a loser. But all that pales when you’re driving the newest-model FartMaster 3000-E Luxury Coupe, doesn’t it? It’s almost worth all the pain, suffering and loss you’ve inflicted on your “enemy”, isn’t it?
Buddha forbid we kick back, do up a few righteous joints of Haze and decide to play Stoner Monopoly for a few hours, laughing, hugging and smiling all the while.
Yeah, that would just be criminal, wouldn’t it?
The Sixth Danger
Cannabis Evil #6: You might become less competitive, and the world economy will come crashing down around your sandal-shod feet.
To be totally honest here (since I REALLY don’t want to spend the next 365 days avoiding “Bubba”), cannabis usage DOES have a couple of peccadillos – you become forgetful, you aren’t nearly as motivated as the guy doing coke or meth, and you start to think that the cartoons on the telly are the inventions of geniuses who should be elected world leaders. You might stare at the palm of your hand for a couple of hours, marveling at the intricacy of the lines contained therein. You might get on the floor with your cat and play “Tom and Jerry”, or you might go out for a walk and marvel at the clouds.
In a word, you won’t be PRODUCTIVE, and THAT is the driving force of our world today. If you don’t PRODUCE something, be it an object or a service, you are seen as a waste of human life. You are referred to by such terms as “gadfly”, “layabout” and “ne’er-do-well” or, in the modern world, as “that fucking lazy bum”.
The Seventh Danger
The Eighth Danger
The eighth evil of cannabis is that many tokers will develop an interest in growing their own supply of herb, in order to assure quality and quantity. They will read up on growing techniques, probably spending a couple of bucks on how-to manuals from Amazon or Tokin’ Toys, then when they are ready to take the plunge they’ll go ahead and order a starter kit consisting of a few trays, cubes of rock wool, fertilizer, lamps and so on, in the process stimulating the world economy just that little bit.
Statistics tell us that only about 50% of these first-time farmers will end up with a viable crop, but they won’t all give up at that point. They’ll read a bit more, buy some fancier equipment (enriching the economy further still) and will likely be victorious in their efforts. They will be rewarded with a bumper crop of sticky, glowing herb that will help them to become one with the Tao, or at least get them ready for a marathon viewing session of the Naughty Night Nurse trilogy.
But in doing all of this home growing our intrepid farmer is short-cutting the accepted economic model, growing HIS OWN by HIS OWN HANDS. He isn’t paying inflated prices to middlemen who wouldn’t know a spliff from a queef. He isn’t participating in the Master Plan, as set forth by The Powers That Be.
He isn’t playing cricket, by gum!
The Ninth Danger
The Tenth Danger
The tenth and (for now) last evil of cannabis – by smoking and toking, you are joining the ranks of some heavy-hitters throughout history, men and women who are renowned for their genius, whether it be in the field of fine arts, business, science or a thousand other pursuits. Entire industries – the rap business, for example – would not even exist, making it’s masters tons of money, were it not for cannabis.
And this fact will bring forth jealousy in those who do not smoke. They will question why you are putting yourself so far above them, walking around with that smug look of self-righteousness on your face and in general acting like your defecation is not odoriferous.
Congratulations, stoner – you have invoked the green-eyed beast!
Well, now … that’s 2,500 words in a little over an hour and a half. I’m sure Terry can pull this off to everyone’s satisfaction.
Good luck, Brother! If you need a hand with the edits and such, ring me up.