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High time 

Everyone's doing it, so why not me too, right? "It's easy," they said. "No big deal." So I thought, why not?

So I jumped on the medical marijuana bandwagon and made up a fake ailment to get my hands on some o' that dank green. It's super easy to do. Go to the right doctor and tell 'em about your lower back pain, insomnia, or appetite loss, and voilà!

Then I looked through the classified ads of this very newspaper and called a mobile dispensary and lickety-split, I got dope on delivery. And now I'm so. Freaking. HIGH! I just want to rape, kill, and then commit suicide, just like the 1936 film Reefer Madness warned! Damn, why didn't I listen to Nancy Reagan and "JUST SAY NO?" Now I just keep seeing my brain—which looks exactly like a sunny-side-up egg frying in a skillet—on drugs. Oh lordy! What have I done?

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Ridiculous, right? Anti-marijuana propaganda has long spread disinformation about cannabis, and it continues to (just watch next week's issue for the letters to the editor freaking out over this column), but facts are facts, and despite the federal government listing pot as a Schedule I drug along with heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, the truth is marijuana does not have a high potential for abuse, it has dozens of accepted medical uses, and it's much safer to consume than many pharmaceuticals, not to mention tobacco and alcohol.

Zero—the number of people who have died from marijuana use. Zilch. Zip.

The very fact that the feds list marijuana as more dangerous than Schedule II drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and OxyContin is crazy! Jesus, are they high? But marijuana policies have long lacked any semblance of reason. Worse, we continue to arrest users and ruin otherwise productive lives all because they wanted to smoke a little weed and relax. Maybe order a pizza. Play video games. Order another pizza.

Just last year, nationwide there were nearly 620,000 arrests for simple marijuana possession, which is more than 1,700 a day! If you're black, your chance of being arrested for pot is much greater. In California, for instance, you're 2.2 times more likely to be arrested even though white and black Americans use marijuana at comparable rates. It could be worse. If you live in Iowa, blacks are 8.3 times more likely to be arrested for dope. Iowa. Sheesh!

Can't we face the truth? The drug war is an ineffectual waste of money, and focusing on marijuana over harder drugs is the biggest farce of all.

"I don't like drug abuse, or drug use. That said, I dislike the 'war on drugs' more. It is a war on people of color; it is a war on poor people, and it is an outrage," said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, adding he'd back the proposed 2016 marijuana legalization initiative.

Incidentally, Newsom has also already thrown in his bid for the 2018 governor's race. This state's going to be a mile-high, man!

It's true that California has twice defeated attempts to legalize recreational pot in the state, first in 1972 and again in 2010, but a lot has changed since 2010, when then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the feds would "vigorously enforce" federal drug laws despite state legalization.

After Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, President Obama said, "We've got bigger fish to fry," suggesting he had the munchies, am I right? He added, "It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it's legal."

I'm going to miss that guy when Donald Trump's the new prez.

Anyway, have you noticed that the populations of Colorado and Washington have not turned into flesh-eating zombies? Amazing, right? And for all intents and purposes, pot's already pretty close to legal in California. When we approved Proposition 215 in 1996, we became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. It's been a bumpy ride—just ask Charles Lynch or the so-called Doobie Dozen—but Proposition 215 opened the door to recreational use, and now that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a trio of bills that regulate the medical marijuana industry, we're one step closer to proving the industry can function safely.

And it is an industry, just like tobacco and alcohol. Just recently, country music star and well-known pothead Willie Nelson announced his partnership with Tuatara Capital L.P. to establish "Willie's Reserve," a "premium cannabis lifestyle brand."

"I hear stories from people across the country about how the end of marijuana prohibition is improving their lives. Legal marijuana makes sense. Good business will prove it can work in America," Nelson said before receding to his trailer and taking a nap.

Polls suggest that if pot legalization is on the Nov. 8, 2016, ballot, a majority of Californians will vote to pass it. Then the fun begins. SLO County has already proven itself extra douche-y when it comes to medical marijuana, blocking dispensaries and hassling legal users. What's it going to do when it's legal? May I recommend trying a brownie? 

The Shredder believes in hugs and pugs, not drugs ... for kids. Adults can do what they want. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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