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(USA) What’s the worst that could happen? Marijuana is legalized

Does marijuana have a shot at being legalized? If weed was suddenly made legal, there would be parties in the streets and green banners hung from windows and rafters everywhere in Seattle.

In a recent KOMO news story, a Wallingford man was robbed by four men posing as FBI agents on a drug raid. They made off with several pounds of the green booty and left him dazed and confused. The police responded to his robbery call and in the process, found dozens of marijuana plants in his house. They took it upon themselves to cart off his crops.

If I were the police, I’d be more concerned about fake FBI agents 

breaking and entering than I would a home-hydroponics project. It’s a good bet that similar seizures take place on a regular basis. Even though Washington state allows medicinal possession and use of marijuana, there are no other provisions in the law. A 60-day supply is allowed for authorized users, but growing and supplying other users is a sticky web, and this is what our unscrupulous hero got caught in. He was growing quite a bit more than 60 days’ worth.

Possessing and growing more than 15 plants can net you legal challenges and penalties. So it’s quasi-legal to “spark an L” in Seattle, but if you don’t toe the line, you’ll be in trouble. I wonder what the side effects of gradual legalization would be.

Would every day turn into a solstice parade? Would free-spirited Seattleites in hemp threads ride their bikes to “coffeeshops” like some American Amsterdam? Maybe every weekend would be another Bumbershoot or Folklife, and parks would host spontaneous drum circles. I think the plant is powerful enough to effect that sort of change, for better or for worse. Hempfest would either flourish or cease to exist from waning demand.

The character of marijuana is entirely different than that of other villified drugs. It doesn’t addict like meth or heroin; it has a much milder influence on the user, and it’s all natural. It’s greener than alcohol because it can be grown right in your backyard or basement.

It’s used quite a bit in Seattle. I don’t use, but I do smell it around Greenlake all the time. It’s either one guy who’s always there, or a group of people who take turns making their presence smelt. Every festival, outdoor concert and the occasional walk in the park is bound to elicit a little of that oregano and chive skunkiness as long as you’re in Seattle.

So on behalf of all the stoners out there, I think the city should reconsider its attitude toward something that grows in the earth and does very little harm to anyone. If it ever became something that contributed to crime, violence or agression, we’d have cause for concern, but I don’t think relaxing the standards on a relaxant will do that.

It helps people with chronic illness feel better, and it helps people with chronic stress chill out. It can’t be all that bad. Just do a favor to any homeowners you know with brightly lit basements and keep quiet. You may be cutting off an HIV or cancer patient’s supply of pain medication.

Reach columnist Jackson Rohrbaugh at opinion@dailyuw.com.

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