Ummm... actually, other than the non-stop media coverage of a bunch of happy stoners standing in line waiting to buy dope, pretty much nothing has changed.
Well, nothing has changed, and everything has changed. It's sort of amazing to tell the truth. It's like a societal truth had come out from the darkness and people are suddenly able to talk about marijuana without whispering or giggling, and there just seems to be a sense of relief throughout the city.
My personal opinion on this is that it's a massive step in the right direction, and gives me hope that our government will some day come to its senses and stop this ridiculous "war on drugs."
I know that this topic makes some people uncomfortable, and that my views might be controversial, but I truly believe that the prohibition of intoxicating substances does infinitely more harm than it does good, and I guess I have some pretty personal reasons for believing it.
I may have mentioned my cousin here and there in conversation. The thing is... she isn't really my cousin - that's just the most convenient word I have to describe our relationship. In reality she is my dad and step-mom's goddaughter.
Now why on earth, you might ask, do two vehemently atheist ex-Catholics have a goddaughter?
Well, here's the story.
My step mother is an immigrant from Germany, and as such, she tends to gravitate to other immigrants. In the 1970's her best friend was a woman from Czechoslovakia who had escaped from the communist country with her husband. My step-mom and her friend were both physicians working at a clinic in a rather rough part of town.
One night her friend was working late, and as she was locking up the building she was approached by a man who wanted drugs. What happened next is a bit unclear, but suffice it to say her friend was shot. She was also 8 months pregnant. They were able to save the baby, but not her friend.
Fearing that the baby could be sent back to communist Czechoslovakia should something ever happen to him, her friend's husband asked my dad and step-mom if they would agree to take custody of her if he were to die.
They, of course, agreed and had all of the legal papers drawn up. They also became her god parents and my "cousin" and her father became a part of our family, joining us for family vacations, weekend get-togethers and holiday celebrations.
The way I see it, making drugs illegal only makes them more scarce and more valuable than they otherwise would be. It creates currency for organized crime, and turns a social problem into a criminal one.
It also forces users into contact with criminals which leads many of them down a road that they would otherwise not have taken. It pushes addicts underground and makes them much more reluctant to seek help for their problems than they otherwise might be.
I know there will be many people who disagree with me on this one, and I'm certainly not saying that legalizing drugs would be without problems or incidents. I'm sure legalization would increase use, and probable mean that some folks would become addicts who otherwise wouldn't.
But the way I see it, people ought to have the freedom to mess up their own lives if they want to, and it's not like people with addictive tendencies don't already have access to alcohol - one of the most addictive substances around.
But at least if drugs were legal, innocent people would stop getting caught in the crossfire of this crazy war. And my "cousin's" mother, and thousands and thousands of other people like her would still be alive. That's the way I see it anyhow.
What do you think about the legalization of recreational drugs?