The legalization of marijuana is on the ballot in Nevada, stirring up the amount of controversary expected from a state whose biggest export is nothing because what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. However, U.S. Drug Czar John Waters recently broke a Nevada law (which are hard to find) by actively campaigning against the dreaded Question 7.
The official law broken, buried in this pdf, is right here:
Nevada law requires every person or group of persons organized formally or informally who advocates the passage or defeat of a ballot question at any primary or general election to report their contributions and expenditures in excess of $100.
When the Drug Czar came to town back in 2002, the Marijuana Policy Project cried foul and filed suit. The Czar countered that campaigning against the question was part of his job in “speaking out about the dangers of illegal drugs.” The paradox is that, if Question 7 passes, marijuana would no longer be an illegal drug—so would it not be his job anymore?
I won’t weigh in on Question 7 itself, living in a city where medicinal marijuana is legal makes me aware of both the positivies and negatives, neither as extreme as either side in Nevada would have you believe. That said, illegally opposing legalization of something on the grounds that it’s illegal spins my head around with its level of absurdity. Using the same logic, I could just as easily say that legalizing marijuana would keep 14.6 million Americans from using illegal drugs every month. They’d still be smoking pot, it just wouldn’t be… y’know.
My mother, an elementary school librarian, recently told me about a book in which a kid decides that a ball point pen should be called a “frindle”. Since it’s a kid’s book, his years of campaigning are eventually rewarded and “frindle” is added to the dictionary. Let’s all wish “megagaltastic” the same fate. I bring this up (and have before) because social change is not unlike language.
There were outcries over the ebonics controversy destroying the English language, and later the same over pager slang. Our nation managed to survive both. Even “MILF” hasn’t destroyed any lives, despite it not being “a real word”.
At any rate, be it language, social change, or the legalization of a controlled substance, it takes those people who either knowingly break the rules or innovate into territory where rules have not yet ventured that push us as a culture, people, and planet. No cause, be it votes for women or gay marriage, can win without challenging what is “legal”. Our founding fathers, afterall, were traitors to the crown every one. If we limit ourselves to what is legal, we’re tacitly approving the world as it is. By breaking the law, we evolve.
I’m going to stop now, before I become a Think Different ad.