Do you remember when you were a kid and an adult told you that you couldn’t do something? It made that thing all the more tempting. If the adult had said yes, this thing you wanted lost some of its luster.
The same could be said about marijuana. As of yesterday morning, it is now legal for adults 21 and over in New York State to purchase the drug in small amounts and/or grow their own plants within their private residences.
Though it will take time for the market and regulations to be set up, I agree that this bill is an important one.
I understand the reasons that some might object, but if we are to learn anything from history, it is that an outright ban only compounds the problem. Addiction is real, as are the problems that are offshoots from addiction. In the United States, alcohol was banned from 1920 to 1933. While the lawmakers at the time had their hearts in the right places, they didn’t quite think things through. During the Prohibition era, crime increased via the gangs who took advantage of the illegal booze trade and tax revenues dipped to new lows.
From my perspective, I see only good things with this new law. From an economic standpoint not only will it bring in millions, if not billions of necessary income to the state, it will create new opportunities for business and employment. It will also cut down on the funds spent in the legal system to arrest and incarcerate accused dealers and users, taking the sting off communities of color who are frequently the target of law enforcement.
Only time will tell what the consequences of the law will be. My hope is that though there may be some minor drawbacks, it will overall be the solution to a problem that was needed long ago.
There is something about the power of music. A beloved song has a way of making it’s way into the listeners brain, conscious, and perhaps helping to change things for the better.
Billie Holiday is one of the most beloved singers of the 20th century. Though it has been six decades since her physical form left this Earth, her performances and songs continue to leave a mark on fans. The new biopic about her life, The United States vs. Billie Holiday dropped yesterday on Hulu.
The film stars singer/actress Andra Day as Holiday, Garrett Hedlund as Harry J. Anslinger, and Trevante Rhodes as Jimmy Fletcher. The audience follows Holiday as she battles drug addiction, racism, and gets involved with FBI agent Jimmy Fletcher. Woven into the narrative is the iconic and dark song Strange Fruit, which sadly is as potent today as it was during Holiday’s life time.
I really wanted to like this film. Day’s performance is worthy of the accolades she is receiving. Unfortunately, that is where I have to draw the line. Frankly, I was bored. I wanted to be hooked, but I was not. Whatever tension and drama I anticipated was sadly lacking. Especially with Anslinger’s obsession and persecution of Billie Holiday. That should have been more exciting that it was actually was.
Drug addiction is like any other disease. It requires a proper diagnosis and treatment for the person who is living with the addiction to be able to free themselves from their addiction.
The problem is that it is not treated as one would treat a another disease i.e. heart disease or cancer. Depending on the person who is suffering from drug addiction, they are at best enrolled in a detox program and at worst, put in jail.
Last week, singer and television star Demi Lovato had an overdose after being sober for a number of years. In addition to issues with drug abuse, she also suffers from mental illness.
Her overdose sheds a spotlight on the fact that drug addiction, despite being an illness, is not treated as an illness. For many (especially people of color), the common treatment is jail time. Ms. Lovato has the cushion of not only being white, but also being a famous performer. I’m not an expert in the law or addiction, but common sense tells me that instead of putting these people in jail, we should be treating them for their disease. Keeping them in jail only exacerbates the problem and makes it harder for them to return to every day life once they have completed their jail sentence.
I’m not a fan of Ms. Lovato, but I wish her well in seeking treatment for her disease.
It’s no secret that drug abuse and drug addiction is a plague on our society. Countless lives have been lost and/or destroyed to drug use or addiction.
Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would soon be opening a handful of safe injection sites in various neighborhoods. The purpose of these establishments is not to encourage drug addiction and abuse, but to save lives. Those who choose to enter will be given clean needles and access to trained medical professionals who will provide the overdose reversing medication naloxone to those who overdose. Information about treatment options will also be available.
I can understand why some would argue that these sites only encourage illegal drug use. But I disagree. I disagree because there are too many people overdosing and dying for no reason. If someone overdoses while inside of one these establishments, not only will the staff able to revive them, but they will be encouraged to seek help. The easy way out of combating drug abuse and addiction is prison. But that has proved to be a fruitless solution that mingles with other issues to create a larger problem. What is needed, from my perspective is not only medical treatment, but an understanding of why people seek out illegal drugs.