Duane Smith | The Right to Get High and Judgment

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

On, April 3, Politico reported the “Senate will act on marijuana legalization with or without Biden.” According to the article, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is putting together new federal marijuana reform legislation. Schumer said Joe Biden’s reticence won’t deter the Senate from taking aggressive action to loosen federal restrictions.

A week earlier The New York Times published an article, “Five Who Used Marijuana in Past Will Exit White House.” The Times explored inconsistencies with a new White House that had pledged to embrace progressive positions regarding marijuana, but had pushed some staff members to resign due to past marijuana use. Others had been asked to sign a pledge not to use marijuana while working for the government, and must submit to random drug tests. As is often the case, what is good for the people is often quite different for leadership!

So, why is Biden reticent to practice marijuana reform within his White House administration? Could it be that it’s in Biden’s best interest to secure and sustain the brightest and healthiest minds he possibly can, and to protect their cognitive senses? What could be more important for the president of the most powerful nation on Earth than surrounding himself with optimally functioning brainpower? Maybe votes, and good poll numbers? Time will reveal! Regardless, at the core of this debate is a judgment call, the ability to discern, “What is best for our nation?” Perhaps, however, more importantly, is the topic of good judgment. I know there are some young people in Santa Clarita who would think it’s really dope that Chuck Schumer is looking to secure a future that includes increased freedoms to get high!

The other day, I took my kids to the Santa Clarita Skate Park. The skate park was packed with masked young people. As I stood off to the side observing my kids, and countless others negotiating the pools, rails and steps, I also could not help but overhear the conversations of young people on the sidelines taking breaks. The genesis for this letter is two young men discussing “the ultimate high.” The authority of the two in their late teens said he recently had gotten so high that the skin of a girl they were both clearly familiar with had become translucent, and her bones the color of neon lights! The other young man stared in awe, as the other spoke very professorially about his transcendent experience. The young man with X-ray vision concluded, “But, what really made me realize that I had achieved the ‘ultimate high’ was the fact that I had entered a ‘completely non-judgmental place’ in my being.” Moments later, an extension of the group of boys started discussing, inappropriately, a young girl who was circling the park on a scooter.

The girl looked to be 16 or 17. At one point in the conversation, one of the boys said, “Dudes…she’s only 11!” 

Another young man responded, “So! If her mom doesn’t care, why should we?” He then pointed to a woman with a video camera and said, “Check out her mom! The other day, she was even making twerking videos of her daughter!”

Later, as I was exiting with my kids, a group of other boys, 12-13 years old, were sitting on a railing, boldly taunting a sheriff’s deputy parked across the lot. After a few moments, the deputy, a lone petite woman, slowly drove by the boys, as they continued, “What are you looking at? You going to do something? Look at her!” As the boys continued to mock and laugh, the deputy pulled into the street and left. 

With all the above considered, the words of the first young man spoke loudest to me. He had “entered a completely non-judgmental place of being.” There is a difference between being non-judgmental and the self-induced-inability to judge, just as there is a difference between poor judgement and good judgement. High or not, good judgment seems to be a fading practice. 

But, our leaders, even a conflicted White House, know that, if you give the people what they want, they will vote for you! But at what cost?

Duane Smith

Agua Dulce

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