I was glad to have come across this article that addresses the elephant in the room when it comes to demonizing substances and determining which ones are harmful and should be illegal.
There’s been some debate as to whether marijuana is, at $35+ billion annual revenue –the top cash crop in the United States. Here’s what we know it is: a cash crop! And we need some cash! We know that it is not a lethal substance; that is the only “drug” that is plucked from the earth and utilized in its natural, unadulterated, chemical state! We know that it is the most widely used “drug”, including internationally. We know that using marijuana doesn’t yield the same rate of negative consequences as alcohol; in fact, nothing does: date rape, rape, murder, domestic violence, buffoonery, blackouts, vehicle accidents/fatalities, overdose, jumping off of balconies and other folly-such deaths, strained relationships, job loss, liver disease, heart disease, dementia, encephalopathy, et al. We know that it was once legal. We know that slanderous propaganda, off the heels of a failed alcohol prohibition, targeted marijuana to be criminalized within, not only the justice system, but our minds. Some parents get more upset about their children using marijuana–nevermind that some of their children are already drinking– buying into the misrepresentation of marijuana as a gateway drug, when in fact, you are more likely to make a horrible decision, like trying a harder substance, while under the influence of alcohol. With alcohol, you may say or do something at any moment to destroy your life–you may become volatile. You may feel free, without limitations. You may get beer goggles and then an STD. You may get beer muscles and get your teeth knocked out. Now, there are exceptions to every rule and there are some people that can enjoy alcohol without abusing it. Still, it is the easiest and most frequently abused. Use and abuse are distinctly different. No matter how you use it, if you have more than 2 glasses you might feel bubble guts or a headache the next morning.
In the 1980’s, crack hit the US with a vengeance. Nancy Reagan declared a war on drugs, marijuana became a schedule one drug and there are people spending their lives in prison on marijuana-related charges. There are people that are getting arrested in their teens and getting 3 strikes before they hit 21 for marijuana related charges, or the ones that don’t stay in prison but have the felony on their record– the rest of their lives ruined because of this illegal, yet apparently prevalent, cash crop. I’ll discuss the racial disparity later. The point is that the United States has the largest prison population in the world, and many people are having to be subjected to prison life and cavity searches despite it being the safest, most natural substance that people are ingesting, including prescription drugs (whether being used as prescribed or abused).
Why can’t marijuana be sold just as are cigarettes? At this point, what is the point? The government can use the money from marijuana sales to fund drug awareness education. Why isn’t common sense prevailing? Everything should not boil down to insurmountable moral debates. It should be a matter of facts, irrefutable facts- non-debatable facts and when people learn the facts, they should accept them.
We see so many commercials for prescriptions to treat a variety of ailments, not all of which sound serious enough to require medical intervention. There’s a commercial that says, “opioid dependence is a real medical condition”. Apparently there was some doubt or prior confusion. So, what’s a medical condition? It’s simply a condition that requires treatment other than surgery. Those specific words are chosen in order to invoke a sense of urgency or concern. Consider that restless leg syndrome, chronic dry-eye and erectile dysfunction are also medical conditions. Not all medical conditions require medication. Many conditions could be resolved with a change in diet or lifestyle or both. The best method to combat any condition is with healthy choices. I am not suggesting that there’s no reason to take medication and that healthy lifestyle will cure mental illness, for example. I am suggesting that people pay more attention to marketing tactics and really consider whether the ‘medical condition’ is adversely impacting their daily lives.
I was delighted to see that Arianna Huffington also posted on the issue. It has come to the point that pretty much everyone meets the criteria to take one of the millions of prescription drugs available. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/opinion/diagnosis-human.html?smid=pl-share
I also came across this article that speaks to the same point, stating:
Unbiased science and clinical data has proven that culture, psychology, lifestyle, attachments, diet, hormones, toxicities, immune function, infection, gastrointestinal function are factors in depression, just as they are in most other chronic disorders. There is no single medicine that will remedy or restore each of these factors. Patients’ overall health benefits when their mood disorder is treated as part of a large whole body system and not a symptom to eradicate.
Prostitution should be legal.
There’s an episode of “Rules of Engagement” in which Timmy and Russell are sitting down at a diner discussing dating and Timmy is convoked to clarify himself, he says: It’s called dating, sir; whereas one leaves money on the table at a restaurant, as opposed to her nightstand.
And there it is. The act of courting is wooing with words and material items and the incentive is sex. Whether a woman asks for payment up front or you pay with your life (marriage), it’s up to her individual self to determine the value of experiencing her body. As long as there are rules for registering and getting tested for STD’s and safe-sex practices and education, there is really no need for it to be illegal. Some states, like VA, like to make laws that reflect individual morals, such as the ban on [heterosexual] couples living together unmarried. Prostitution, on a grander scale, is illegal because it is widely unaccepted. But here’s the thing: that doesn’t stop it. What it does is deters prostitutes, strung-out or not, from being honest with law enforcement and healthcare professionals. Communication is key for prevention of anything. We don’t have to like or partake in something for it to be a legal activity. Smoking is legal, drinking is legal, gambling is legal in some areas…prostitution should be legal. Going to jail is more often adding to the trauma that precipitated the behavior that resulted in the crime.
Of course there are a few places where it is legal. Places where it remains illegal need to run some stats and determine areas where regulations could use improvement and then implement those very modifications to the legislation in their respective districts.
There are many kinds of prostitutes. They’re not all just addicts. And those that are addicts are prostituting to support a habit they developed during either a carefree-fun or a horrible time in their lives they continue to use everyday because they are now running from some demons that they are trying to drown. There are high class, there are casual, there are professional, there are incidental prostitutes.
What’s funny is how much we blame the women. IT’S THE MEN. Men are openly sexually preoccupied. The men that are paying for the services are the ones that create a market for these women in the first place. If you own something that people are willing to pay you to experience, why wouldn’t you sell it for fast money? In some regard, you gotta admit that john is the fool. So what, women slide down poles naked? They wouldn’t be doing that if people weren’t willing to pay to see it. And people pay a lot of money for sex. It so happens that drugs will always at some point end up in the mix. Sex and drugs, like any other product, are propelled by supply and demand. As long as people want it, there will be someone that is willing to give/get it. Rather than punishing people for addiction or solicitation, we need to address the crux of the matter. This is not to say that I’m suggesting anyone become ‘Captain Save-a-ho’, but that the problem needs to be dealt with on a more intimate, yet communal, level. For instance, what circumstances and factors account for their choice of lifestyle, what life skills are needed to overcome the lure of fast money? Not all prostitutes need to be saved, but for some, it’s a red flag to their loved ones, a cry for help for others. The point being that prostitutes exist becuase men want them to. There are the few public officials, law-makers, there are the average citizens, but if men did not patronize sex-workers there would be no industry. If anyone is being immoral, is it not the married man or the middle-aged man that seeks teens rather than the prostitute that allows her body to be used for a nominal fee? Handle the problem in an intimate manner by discussing it with your children and be communal in that the neighborhood needs to reinforce the values enforced at home. If, in your neighborhood the case is already the latter, and yet prostitution and drug- dealing is acceptable, you might need a new neighbor; you’re only as good as the company you keep. The community should be vigilant of 13 year old girls on the streets on a weekday morning/early afternoon, rather than being in class. Truancy laws are hard to enforce when there are so many truant children and even more disengaged and disinterested adults in their lives.