Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Ganja Grannies Get the Pokey

Say it isn’t so grandma! Did you get thrown in the pokey for growing marijuana?

Last Friday, two senior grandmothers—one 72 years old and the other 65—were busted for growing cannabis in their home. With bail set at $100,000, they are still behind bars. Are women of this age going to jump bail and high-tail it across the border? I don’t think so. Set bail at a reasonable level and let these ladies go home.

At what point do we just make this stuff legal again? Twenty-six million Americans smoke marijuana frequently and a whopping 100 million Americans admit to smoking pot at some point in their life—that’s one third of the US population. More people use cannabis on a regular basis than drink green tea.

Cannabis has been part of humanity as far back as man has been documenting history. How long has it been used, 10,000 years, 50,000 years? No one really knows but man and cannabis have probably evolved together for quite some time.

Why, after thousands of years of use, was cannabis made illegal 80 years ago? Two reasons: Big Business and racism. Dupont introduced synthetic material which had to compete with the sturdy hemp fabrics. To eliminate his competition, Mr. Dupont pushed his political friends in Washington to make the cannabis plant illegal. In addition, Hearst Paper Manufacturing produced paper goods based on timber that came from Hearst’s vast land holdings—Hearst wanted to eliminate paper made from hemp. Hearst Publishing used their media to promote horror stories about marijuana, “The Crazy Mexican Weed”. During the Great Depression, Mexicans were racially targeted for taking jobs from whites and the marijuana law was a key tool for deportation. Corporate greed and racism were the driving forces behind criminalization.

Isn’t it time to stop criminalizing benign human behavior? Clearly, a significant portion of the population does not believe that the use of cannabis is a crime. Adults of all ages smoke pot and now we even have grandmothers grow it. It’s safer than alcohol, safer than cigarettes and has medicinal value; what else does this plant need to do…back flips?

It’s time to stop the madness. Do we really need a multi-billion dollar prison industry to lock-up people for doing something that’s been legal for eons? Let people be people.

-Roger Ingalls

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Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

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