Carlos, Ron, Barney, and….well, me (including Toronto Story #2)

I love Carlos Santana.  If you know anything about him, the following will not surprise you: It’s a pretty basic argument Carlos is making here, but I agree. 

Now, check out this piece (also from Raw Story, a fine Web site): Reps. Paul and Frank are asking something pretty basic as well, but it should make sense to anyone who understands that Reefer Madness is utter, thorough bullshit.  It amazes me that at the very least the US still denies the notion that industrial marijuana, which wouldn’t get you high if you stood in the middle of a burning field of it, has actual uses.  You might be tired of the back-and-forth on this issue—I certainly am—but there are too many potential uses for the industrial version, and as for straight-up cannabis, folks, the same is simply true. 

I happen to live in a city where tolerance for marijuana is becoming world-known.  I’ve stood in the middle of a crowd at Yonge/Dundas Square smoking joints and pipes with a couple of hundred others.  Nothing untoward happened.  And the police made a show of their departure from the scene for the time of the demonstration.  As many local cops say, there are more important things to deal with.  

There are even places in this town where you can smoke or vaporize your weed.  Yes, US residents.  Be jealous.  Or change the laws.  I was sitting at one such place, enjoying a joint and trying to write; when I write, sometimes I forget to check my surroundings and, well, I was getting high.  I heard a low voice to my left.  Someone standing.  I turned around and saw two city cops.  Involuntarily, I tried to hide the remains of that joint, but it was too late.  They had every one of us dead to rights, and I had this mortal vision of jail.  I don’t care what country you’re in, jail blows like little else.  Canada really is the nicest country I’ve ever known, but I still wouldn’t spend a night in a Canadian jail if instead I could wash dishes at the Octo-Mom’s house, for instance.  So I thought about those scenes while trying to figure out what was happening.  It turned out they were doing something called a “premises check” and none of us were going to the hoosegow after all.   Someone near me said, “Liberating, isn’t it?”

Oh, sure.  Right after the heart attack.  When I told people there I was from the States, they realized why I reacted with terror.  One person said, “This is Toronto.  It’s different here.”  True words, folks.

If you’re wondering why I’m talking about this at all, my interest in the subject generally has a creative underpinning, at least in part, so if you’ll forgive me under the circumstances by adding one more link, this time to something I wrote for Rhizomes just before we moved from the US.  If you’d like to read it, you’ll find it at 

Legalization hasn’t yet come to Canada, although it should, for the same reasons the US federal government should legalize and tax cannabis as well as make good use of the industrial variety.  It’s basic logic.  It doesn’t matter whether Carlos Santana says so, or Reps. Paul and Frank, or some guy in Toronto blogging about the issue; the common sense of legalization matters more.


About johnwylam1957

I'm a poet and teacher now living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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