Vermont, you have stolen my heart. No, not just because that’s where Ben and Jerry’s is from (though, as a stoner, that certainly doesn’t hurt). A group of Vermont lawmakers have threatened to reinstate alcohol prohibition unless a vote is passed to legalize cannabis.
The move is not really meant to be taken super seriously, it was more to make a point and expose the abject lunacy of maintaining cannabis prohibition when alcohol is perfectly legal. Though it may be just a shrewd, Stephen Colbert-esque way to rub egg in the faces of the cannabis legalization opponents, two representatives actually filed a bill in early April that would reinstate booze prohibition.
The penalties for alcohol possession, consumption and distribution would reflect those penalties currently in effect for cannabis. That would mean that persons who had small amounts of booze on them would be fined up to $500 and anyone who was found to be selling or distributing alcohol could be slapped with 30 years in prison and potentially $1 million in fines.
This makes me so happy I feel like dancing. I don’t even know myself how long I have been saying that I would only take anti-cannabis supporters seriously if they were also in favor of banning alcohol. Truth be told, I don’t really want alcohol banned. I only feel that people who decry the villainies of cannabis based on grounds of public safety and health risk and then turn around and have a glass of wine or a beer are some of the biggest hypocrites in our modern age.
One of the representatives sponsoring the bill, Jean O’Sullivan, said herself she doesn’t want to reinstate alcohol prohibition, but instead claimed the bill was meant to break up the political logjam surrounding cannabis bills before the legislators. “The object was to basically embarrass leadership to say that we have [marijuana legalization bills] in front of us, and they’re going absolutely nowhere,” commented O’Sullivan.
This bill may just be a flash in the pan and not see any dramatic shift in current state policy. But it is very refreshing to see that there are some intelligent people in power who are willing to go to bat for legalization. I hope lawmakers in other states follow suit. In the race for legalization, science and fact are the tortoise; fear and selfishness are the hare. Ours is a slow and steady march to a common sense approach toward cannabis.
Hopefully a move like this will be a catalyst for reason. I’ll keep an eye on this and report back if anything develops. Somehow, I think threatening America’s (sometimes) ridiculous allegiance to, and love affair with alcohol might actually help remove some of the plaque from our political cannabis arteries.
Maybe if some politician’s college-age child gets arrested and charged for possession of a six-pack, they will stop being terrified corporate puppets and actually make their state a better place. You know, like they were elected to do in the first place.