John Colson: Hit and Run | AspenTimes.com

John Colson: Hit and Run

John ColsonAspen Times Weekly

Oh, how far we have come.Next week, in one of Colorado’s open havens of progressive thought and alternative behavior – Boulder, that is- there will be an example of the kind of exuberant celebration that one typically associates with rites of spring, or young love, or a sudden advance in some kind of social justice.Actually, that last bit is exactly what I’m talking about, as the Cannabis Therapy Institute will celebrate the fulfillment of a dream for many sick and hurting people in this benighted state.The Cannabis Health Fair is scheduled for Sept. 12, and in a way it is a concrete manifestation of the voters’ decision nine years ago, when we took control of at least one part of our destiny and approved a law, Amendment 20 to the state constitution, that made it legal to use marijuana for medical purposes.It also is one more crack in the wall of the ridiculous drug war in this country and the world, a war that manufactures criminals and props up a criminal culture, alienates huge numbers of otherwise industrious citizens, and generally wreaks havoc everywhere for no good purpose, other than to perpetuate the “cops & robbers” industry of drug enforcement agents.But, I digress. Back to the topic at hand.”The Cannabis Health Fair is a full-day patient outreach event designed to answer questions about cannabis as medicine and how to become a legal patient in Colorado,” states an e-mail announcement of the event. “There will be displays from medical cannabis dispensaries as well as other hemp and cannabis-related businesses.”There also will be a presentation on the case of Jason Lauve, who was busted last year when his home was raided and police found what they said was 20 times the amount of pot that a legitimate medical marijuana patient is allowed under the law.Lauve protested that he was simply a poor farmer and that the plants he was growing “provided little usable marijuana,” according to the website Denver Legal News Examiner.And while the cops, predictably enough, were entirely unsympathetic and arrested poor Lauve, the jury concluded otherwise and handed his pot plants back to him when they recently set him free. It took a week-long trial and three hours of deliberations for the jury to make that decision, by the way.So, on one part of the state we have a cannabis health fair going on, while at the same time we have drug agents roaming through the hills in search of pot plants, at a cost we can only guess at since the budgets of these agencies are anything but transparent.Is there a disconnect here, or is it just me?There are many serious crimes going on around us all the time, from the typical mugging or burglary to the more serious (in my mind, at least) white-collar varieties. There is a crying need to better enforce our traffic laws so motorists are not effectively wielding lethal weapons while paying inadequate attention. There are may things that police officers should focus on that would serve us better, cost us less and bring a slightly raised level of rationality to the public perception of law enforcement.But the war on pot is exciting; it’s a chance for officers to use a wide range of expensive, dangerous toys, not to mention an expensive, dangerous philosophy. It’s a chance for cops to practice the silliness they see on television and pretend they’re making a difference.And it’s an industry, plain and simple. Billions of dollars and man-hours go into the business every year in this country, and that fact is compounded around the world, as everyone from the local cop shop to the Drug Enforcement Administration gets to play with big bucks and big ego trips. And all for what?I’ll tell you for what. To continue an ineffective, outmoded and ultimately damaging form of bigotry, in which pot is somehow a heinous substance while tobacco and alcohol enjoy complete acceptance in society and the law. To ruin hundreds of thousands of lives for no other reason than a stupid set of laws proclaims it is a job that must be done.The roots of this inequity go back a ways, and we’ll get to that some other time.For now, let’s enjoy the fact that in Colorado and a growing number of other states, marijuana’s bad rap has eased up a bit, just a bit, with the admission that it is an acceptable, effective medication for certain ailments and diseases.At least the use of pot to heal ourselves will not land us in the pokey.jcolson@aspentimes.com

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