Vintage debates

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[2A] - vintageThe Vintage Vinyl incident shows that we need to have an open debate about drugs and society

The family that owns Vintage Vinyl and Hemp Emporium is facing drug related charges after a bust last week that included 104 marijuana plants, 34 kilograms of weed, LSD, magic mushrooms, hash, $53,000 in cash (which was both in Canadian and Chinese currency, according to CBC), a switchblade, and a rifle and ammunition.

The family has already appeared in court, and promptly after the news broke, Vintage Vinyl posted on their Facebook group “Thank you to everyone for your outpour of support and love! We’re so appreciative for our Vintage friends and family! Just to let everyone know we are and continue to be open regular hours so come down and visit us! Keep up the positive vibes and thoughts, and don’t believe everything you read… Much love! 🙂 🙂 :)- The Vintage Crew”     

The status got almost 500 likes and many comments, but it doesn’t make much sense, especially the “don’t believe everything you read part.” If one was to do this, then why did the family appear in court and why are they facing charges for possession? Is the proverbial “man” just out to get them?

Furthermore, it does not seem most people read, or at least thoughtfully, what the news had reported: they had a long barrel rifle and a switchblade. Obviously, but seemingly in need of clarification, the accused seem like they were willing to hurt people.
This flies in the face of many people protesting the charges, both on the Facebook post and the news stories comments. They were sending ‘good vibes’ to the store and comparing alcohol and marijuana; demonizing alcohol while elevating marijuana. For example, Jennifer Siemens posted under the aforementioned Facebook post “well, of all the crap alcohol causes….lets [sic] think about how much trouble marijuana causes…hmmm.”

It must not cause that much, considering the accused didn’t possess more weaponry. Tree Marie Pringle replied to Siemens’ question: “Marijuana causes happiness, smiles, munchies, endless conversations, chill time, pain reduces, helps people in so many ways you really can’t describe them all… booze… Makes people angry, black out, fight, alcohol poisoning, puking, hang overs [sic]…. So in the end… Marijuana is gods [sic] drug to make people happy and to help people in many different ways and alcohol is the devils [sic] drug to make everyone mad and angry and to fight and hurt one another.”

If you can get over the poor grammar, there is a good and subtle point here, and that is the cost of the war on drugs and what to do. The debate goes one of two ways: either dump more money into police forces and anti-drug units to try and suffocate the trade, thus far unsuccessful, or simply legalize drugs wholesale to eliminate crime rates. Going the latter route, you would simply deal with crimes associated with drugs, such as murder, possession of weapons, and so on.

The latter argument also draws very similar parallels to just after the Prohibition era when alcohol was legalized and crime rates went down. Yet, of course, legalizing would solve the problem of drug crimes only insofar as it would not be a crime anymore.

The emphasis is often on the whole slew of problems that legalization would solve, namely the crimes associated with the drug trade. The debate is sometimes also focused on legalizing for the sake of having drugs. But we should argue on the original intent of the law: would society be better off with drugs being legal or illegal? Inevitably, if drugs were legalized, they could either be sold by the government or by the free market, and would potentially create a huge demand, which, in turn, would create a huge tax base, along with many profits. Yet, is this desirable? These are the questions we should be asking.

Michael Chmielewski
Contributor

Photo courtesy of facebook.com

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