Washington, DC

I’m walking home the other day and there is guy who is just blitzed out of his mind and this is about 4 in the afternoon and as I see him weaving back and forth he stops and tries to take a leak right on the sidewalk. Well he falls down and is lying face first on some grass and takes a leak. Other times I’ve walked around and seen folks drinking beers in groups who become very loud and sometimes violent. Let me contrast this with another night I was walking home where I passed two guys smoking a joint. They were happy and friendly and did not produce 16 empty beer cans/bottles in their wake. So it occurred to me, we really ought to legalize marijuana. Now granted I’ve mostly seen its use with the Grateful Dead crowd, but I’ve never seen anyone violent who just smoked some weed. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating drug use here. I’m not saying its use should be mandatory. But if there are those above a certain age, they should be permitted. And I think the streets of DC is a perfect place for legalization. Think of the taxes that the city could earn and hell, it might even put a dent in some of the illegal drug dealing on our corners. Additionally, when you smoke a joint that is it, it is gone, no refuse to worry about, no violence, no folks pissing on the sidewalks. So why don’t we legalize it? Is it that much worse than drinking alcohol?

Comments (20)


  2. hear hear!

  3. Stockard Channing

    I think that frog in the rocking chair is high

  4. i also agree…..pop..

  5. I’m all for it. Just think of how many people have been sent to prison for something essentially harmless. The interesting dynamic is that the people that would fight the hardest to keep it illegal are the people that are being devastated the most. I’ve never heard of anyone being run over by a high driver. But alcohol related deaths ar ethrough the roof.

  6. for me, this is a no brainer. ABSOLUTELY!

  7. Without taking a stand one way or the other I must wonder if “I’ve never heard of anyone being run over by a high driver.” is actually true? I mean while the pot heads may not be violent, I would not say their terribly alert either.. :)

  8. AMEN! let the movement begin…
    while this may never happen, it most certainly should be considered. i agree with the stance that alcohol causes many more problems than pot. i’m not saying that people do stupid things when stoned but more times than not that stupid thing involves eating way too much junk food.

  9. Smoking pot is not a “high” priority with the police. I believe it is a misdemeanor in DC, subject to a fine. However, you’re never going to see it legal in DC because Congress won’t allow it. A decade or so ago we voted on medical marijuana, and Congress told us we couldn’t count the votes.

  10. I agree, completely, that cannabis should be legalized.

    However, I think that your comparison of the drunken troublemaker with the blissed out stoner is slightly too simplistic.

    Firstly, it’s unlikely that a pot user would completely forgo alcohol, even if pot were legalized. More likely would be the pot user would smoke AND drink, thus compounding the problem. I know Muslims, for example, who don’t drink for religious reasons but do smoke – they might be the exception. But more likely you’d be adding pot to the mix of public drunkenness, rather replacing public drunkenness with public, um, stonedness?

    Secondly – the nuisance factor should not be disregarded. While pot users may not dump as many bottles as drinkers, you still have necessary paraphanallia and the trash the goes along with the “munchies.”

    Finally, there are personal behaviour issues. While pot remains illegal, users will be more likely to use inside their homes or make efforts not to draw attention to themselves if using in public. If legal, there would be less of an incentive to fly “under the radar.”

    A perfect example is tourists in Holland who don’t quite get the subtlety of the situation there and will “dramatically” smoke in public, as if to make a point. Those who have spent time in the Netherlands know that this is considered poor form – a policy of tolerance and the acceptance of coffee shops means that smokers are expected to show some respect and consideration to others.

    I remember seeing a father with his kids ask some teenagers to smoke elsewhere in a park in Amsterdam – these teenagers were smoking a three foot bong! It’s one thing to hit a bowl or a quick spliff (similar to smoking a cig) rather than blatantly hitting a large bong in full sight of kids and families.

  11. There’s no reason why alcohol and ganja shouldn’t be treated the same way in our society. Clearly we’re not ready to take that step yet, though. Another 20 years ought to do it–once the WWII generation is finally gone.

    I remember Proposition 59 back in ’98. Unofficially, I heard it passed by about 85%. If there’s going to be a place where it gets legalized, DC will not be the first. Congress would never allow it to happen, and any major official attempts would really hurt any recent progress that’s been made on the Statehood/Congressional Representation front.

  12. I agree.
    Scenario…..You are jay walking like all good DC’ers do. You stop in the middle of the road. Coming from the left is a drunk driver. Coming from the right is a high driver. Walk calmly in front of the rightside driver. The drunk driver on the left would be flying and never see you in time. Where as the high driver will see you…THINK he is flying down the road and slam on his brakes a whole block away. Life saved. :-)

  13. But them who would drink and get sh*t-faced in all our bars? That would wipe out like 80% of the tax revenue for the city – crippling DC forever!

  14. Not our decision to make

    From Mother Jones …

    Last year [1998], a group of concerned Washington, D.C., residents fought to have an initiative placed on their November ballot to legalize the medical use of marijuana. But two weeks before the November vote, Rep. Bob Barr’s (R-Ga.) amendment to the District’s budget forbade the use of funds for any ballot initiative that would “legalize or otherwise reduce penalties [for]…any Schedule I substance.”

    What happened next was an example of American politics at its most bizarre, and yet another chapter in the District of Columbia’s ongoing struggle to get out from under Congress’s thumb. The initiative stayed on the ballot, and more than 100,000 D.C. residents voted on it. But D.C.’s Board of Elections couldn’t count, certify, or release the results of the vote. To do so would have violated Barr’s amendment, even though the estimated cost of tabulating the results (which amounts to pushing a button on a computer) works out to $1.64. Four months and a lawsuit later, we still don’t know the outcome of the vote.

    Rest of the story here http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/1999/03/pot.html

  15. It blows my mind how ignorant people are about drugs in general for that matter — especially when it comes to cannabis, its effects on the body and those who consume it. The war on drugs is the single largest, most costly, longest war America has lost since the day it began nearly 50 years ago. While some experts may say that LSD was the reason why the U.S. government decided to take up the war on drugs, marijuana was classified as the “gateway drug” and was listed by the DEA to be as dangerous to the public health right along side cocaine, meth and heroin. Education and treatment are the ONLY proven and effective ways to prevent drug use and/or future abuse. Legalization would control consumption by the public, dampen crime associated with the drug trade and offer alternative solutions to treat non-violent drug users other than locking them up in our already overcrowded prison system.

    Viva Willie Nelson, and may the Red-Headed Stranger ride forever.

  16. In the state I grew up in, marijuana for personal use was legal. It was only a small amount, and you had to grow it yourself–it was illegal to sell it. I remember going to a friend’s house as a little girl, and there were potted pot plants :-) all the way up the staircase. We knew it was there. It was SO not a big deal. And with no selling, it was all pretty much smoked in people’s homes. Then the feds said state law had to accord with federal law, and there it went. But it worked perfectly well.

    When I was in college, the neighborhood near the college was a drug den, with really dangerous gangs and open air markets. I did my senior project on the neighborhood, and found out that most of the gangs’ revenue was made off pot–these really dangerous gangs, everyone assumed they were selling really bad stuff. They were doing that, too. But their bread and butter was college kids buying pot. It made me really anti-pot buying, because I saw the violence it financed, and very pro-pot legalization, because it would take that big source of revenue out of the criminals’ pockets and make it harder to organize drug “dealerships” lucratively.

  17. GforGood– a stoner friend of mine in high school had a saying–drunk drivers run red lights, stoned drivers wait for stop signs to turn green. better to be a little slower driving then wild and crazy like the drunks.

  18. audi



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